Sunday, July 14, 2024

“I Will Ask the Father” [Matt's Messages]

“I Will Ask the Father”
Life in Jesus’ Name - The Gospel of John
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
July 14, 2024 :: John 14:16-24  

The things that Jesus promises His disciples (and therefore you and me) in these nine verses are almost too good for words!

Yesterday, I struggled to put my astonishment and joy into clear sentences that would capture the glory of these promises. They are just so huge and so wonderful.

I’m sure that Jesus’ disciples were struggling to take them all in. Especially because they were still reeling from the shocking news that Jesus was leaving them. Jesus said that He was going away. And they couldn’t follow Him.

So they were troubled in their hearts. Who wouldn’t be?! But Jesus has been comforting them, strengthening them for the days ahead.

Jesus told them about His Father’s spacious house and how He is the way to get there. And He’s told them about His amazing oneness with His Father, and how when they look at Him they have seen the Father. And He’s promised them that they will continue to do great things in His name. And that He will answer their prayers about “whatever” and “anything.”

And He’s pointed out, as we saw last week in verse 15, that if they truly love  Him, then they will faithfully obey His commands. Real love means real obedience. Which we’ll hear Him say again and again this week. 

And then in our first verse today, Jesus explains from where the power will come to obey His commands. 

Jesus says that He will pray that the Father will give us exactly what we need. In fact, Jesus says that He pray that the Father will give us exactly Whom we need.

[VIDEO WILL BE EMBEDDED HERE.]

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth.” 

That is humongous. First off, just that Jesus promises to pray for His disciples to get this gift. “I will ask the Father.” How comforting that should be!

Yes, He’s going away, but He’s promising when He’s away to pray for His disciples. And you know that He’s doing that for us today, too, right?

“I will ask the Father.” And how do you think the Father is going to feel about the Son’s prayer request? How does the Father feel about the Son? He loves Him, right? Jesus is His beloved Son with whom He is well-pleased.

He will say, “Yes,” to this request!

Jesus says so. “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth.” It’s going to happen!

Jesus hasn’t prayed it yet. He’s promised to ask the Father. He’s going to do that after His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. But He’s going to ask the Father, and the Father is going to give the disciples “another Counselor.”

Now that word translated “Counselor” is notoriously difficult to capture in English.

The Greek word is “paraclaytos,” and it’s only used a few times. All of them by John in the New Testament. We’ll see four of them in these Farewell Teachings of chapters 14, 15, and 16.

It comes from two Greek words that means “someone called alongside.”

Para” - alongside.  “Claytos” - one called. Often shortened to “Paraclete” in transliterated English.

Not Parakeet! Jesus hasn’t promised us all exotic birds, but instead Someone who has been called alongside of us. Paraclete.

But what does that mean? 

The 1984 NIV that we have in our pews and that I tend preach from has “Counselor.” Which is pretty good. Because that captures how close and intimate this Person is. And we also use that word in a legal setting. Like we call lawyers, “counselors.” And this Greek word is often used for someone who stands next to you in court and advocates on your behalf.

In fact, some of your Bibles may have “Advocate” there in verse 16 for “paraclaytos.” That’s what the 2011 updated NIV has in verse 16. 

So we shouldn’t get the idea that this Person is just a Psychologist or a Therapist kind of Counselor, but also a strong Advocate, even before a righteous judge.

That’s one of the reasons why “Comforter” is kind of lacking. Because we don’t call our Advocates, “Comforters.” It kind of sounds like a soft thing like a quilted bedsheet. This Person is not a quilted bedsheet.

Now if you use the old meaning of “comfort,” that is someone who gives you strength. Someone who not just consoles you and pats you the head but fortifies you, then Comforter is really good. “The Strengthener.”

Many other versions have the word “Helper” in verse 16 for “paraclaytos.” And that’s really good, too, because this Person is there to help! 

Sometimes we use the word “helper” to indicate someone who only helps a little. Like “Mommy’s little helper?” So that can be problem if we get that idea in our mind when read verse 16. This kind of Helper is Helper with a capital H. He is not an inferior or a subordinate. He doesn’t come and obey us. But He does bring help. Boy, does He. The help He gives us is indispensable.

And the key word that can really get missed when you’re trying to translate “paraclaytos” is the word right before it. What kind of Counselor is the Promised Paraclate? V.16

Another Counselor.”

That means that this Counselor is fundamentally similar to another Counselor that they already know.

They already have someone who is their Helper, their Comforter, their Advocate, their Strengthener, their Comealongsider. Someone who has been standing by them the whole time. Who do you think that is?

It’s Jesus, right? He's been comforting them in this way even this very room this very night!

In fact, the Greek word here for “another” is a bit of a stronger word that means “another the same kind.” There’s another word for “another of a different kind.” This one is another of a similar kind.

Jesus is going away, but He’s going ask the Father to send this Person to take His place in His people’s lives.

Who are we talking about? Jesus calls Him here, “The Spirit of Truth.” He goes by a lot of names in the Bible, but we all know Him as the Holy Spirit.  Jesus promises to ask the Father for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And don’t miss this one other word in verse 16. He isn’t just coming for the weekend. He isn’t just coming temporarily. He is coming forever!

“I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth."

#1. SPIRIT FOREVER.

This gift of the Spirit will be permanent.  He’s not just going to come for Family Bible Week, make a guest appearance, and then head off for the hills or for another appointment. No, He’s going to come and take up permanent residence in Jesus’ disciples. That’s the big reveal of verse 17.

“The world cannot accept him [the Spirit of Truth], because it neither sees him nor knows him [doesn’t wanna]. But you [disciples] know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

That’s huge! The world hates the Spirit. He’s the Spirit of Truth, and the world loves Lies. But Jesus’ disciples love the Truth. Because Jesus is the Truth. He’s the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

And they know the Spirit. It’s not like they’ve never heard about the Spirit before. The Spirit has been God from all eternity [the Third Person of the Trinity!], and He was present at creation, and He has guided God’s people throughout history, and He’s come upon God’s people to great things in the Old and New Testaments–anointing prophets, priests, and kings!

The Spirit has always been around blowing wherever He pleases. Like Jesus told “Nick at Nite.” They know Him. Better than they probably realize. They know Him.

But they don’t know Him like they’re going to know Him. 

Jesus is going to ask the Father, and the Father will give them another Alongsider to be with them forever–the Spirit of truth–and He’s not just going to be with them, but inside of them!

He’s going to stand so close alongside them that He will actually be inside of them.

And never leave.

And “The Comforter Has Come,” right? Jesus did ask the Father, and the Father said, “Yes,” and the Helper was poured out at Pentecost. And He’s come to dwell inside of each and every one of Jesus’ people!

You know what that means, Christian? It means that you are not alone.

You are not alone. 

You are never alone. Never. And you never will be. The Spirit is with you. He’s so with you that He’s in you. And He’s not going anywhere. You are not alone. And you never will be.

Help is here.

Do you see how this would be encouraging and (comforting!) and strengthening for the disciples, once this sunk in? Yes, Jesus is going away, but, in some ways, He’s giving them something even better by giving them the Spirit. And the Spirit will help them to obey Jesus which is what you do if you love Jesus!

Now, Jesus will have more to say about the Spirit of Truth in these chapters. He uses that title for Him three times. The Spirit is going to be a Teacher of Truth to the disciples. But here the emphasis is on His presence. His in-dwelling. And a new level of intimacy that we can enjoy with the Spirit and will forever.

#2. LIFE FOREVER.

But that’s not all that Jesus promises! [That would be enough, wouldn’t it?!] But Jesus promises not just the Spirit forever, but life forever. Look at verses 18 and 19.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” 

Now, what’s He talking about there? Some people think He’s still talking about the coming of the Spirit, and that’s possible. He’d be saying that He’ll come to them through the Spirit and be with them like, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20 NIVO). But I don’t think that’s the most natural way to read it.

Some people think He’s talking about His second coming like He did at the beginning of the chapter, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (Jn. 14:3 NIVO). That’s possible, too. And it’s the end result of the whole thing!

I think, however, He’s just talking again about what’s going to happen this weekend. He’s going away. “Before long, the world will not see me anymore...” Jesus is going to die on the Cross and be buried in the Tomb. But He’s not going to say dead. He’s coming back on Sunday morning from the dead. He’s walking out of the Tomb and walking back into their lives. 

“[The world may not see me,] but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” Jesus is coming back to life to give life to His disciples. And that new life is going to be like His new life–indestructible, immortal, permanent, and unending. Life forever!

“Because I live, you also will live.”

Remember when He said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (Jn. 11:25-26 NIVO).

Do you?

Christian, you are going to have life forever. Not because of anything good you have done, but because of what Jesus did for you. He died for our sins, for our forgiveness. And He came back to life to give us life forever. “Because I live, you also will live.” Do you believe this?

I invite you to believe right now. I invite you to trust Him for this right now. If you do, you get the Spirit forever, and you get life forever. And you get loved forever.

#3. LOVED FOREVER.

Look at what verse 20 says will happen next. After they see the resurrected Jesus, they will understand their relationship to Him in a whole new way. V.20

“On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” 

Wow! We just had our minds blown a couple of weeks ago thinking about how close the Father and the Son are. They are so close that they are in each other. "Their with-ness is so close because of their is-ness that we have to say that they have in-ness." And Jesus promises here that His disciples will grasp that in a new way after His resurrection.

And they will also understand that they are in Jesus, and Jesus is in them! Not in the exact same way, of course, as the Father and the Son (them both being God), but we will also have a kind of oneness, a kind of in-ness with Jesus, with the Son! Probably because of the Holy Spirit.

How’s that for mind-blowing?!

Christian, do you know that you are “in Jesus?”

The Apostle Paul’s favorite phrase to use in all of his letters is, “in Christ.” We call it the Doctrine of Union with Christ, and it’s so glorious. We’re going to learn a lot more about it when we get to chapter 15, but here it is right here in verse 20. “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

And catch this: He likes it that way.

He likes being in us and us being in Him. Because He loves us! He doesn’t just tolerate us being connected to Him in this way, He loves it.

He loved us first! And He loves us last. And He loves us best.

And we love Him back. And you know how we know if we love Him? What did we learn last week? We obey His commands. Look at verse 21.

“Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. [Sounds familiar. Now listen.] He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.’”

Wow! You see what I mean by there just aren’t enough words to capture how good this is?!

He loved us first.
We love Him back. We show that by our obedience.
We are loved by the Father.
And we are loved by the Son.
Guess Who else loves us? The Spirit! {See Romans 15:30, for example.}

And through the Spirit, the Son will show Himself to us.

He will reveal Himself to us.
He will disclose Himself to us.
And when you know the Son, guess who else you know?


We are loved by the Triune God!

And He’s revealing Himself to us out of love. And it’s not going to end.

So Judas (not that Judas, the other one) asks what is kind of reasonable question. He’s just heard this promise that Jesus is going to reveal Himself to them. And Judas (not that one) wants to know why Jesus isn’t going to reveal Himself to the whole world at this point. Look at verse 22.

“Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’”

And Jesus just doesn’t answer him. He just side-steps the question. It’s not a bad question. There will be a time for Jesus to be revealed to the whole world. He’s said that already in this gospel. But that’s not what He’s talking about right now.

He’s talking about loving His people and living with them, forever. V.23

“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. [You think that’s important to Jesus? He’s said it now 3 times in this chapter! We need to obey out of love. And look what we enjoy as we do!] My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. [The opposite is also true. V.24] He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me” (vv.23-24).

I can’t get over the words in verse 23, “My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

That’s a forever home. The Triune God plans to live with His people forever.


God the Father wants to live with you.
God the Son wants to live with you.
God the Spirit lives inside of you!

And they love it!

God doesn’t just tolerate you. He doesn’t just put up with you. God loves you.

Jesus just said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms [it’s a big home]; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (Jn. 14:1-3 NIVO).

He wants to live with you forever! Make His home with you.

You are loved. Christian, you are loved.

If you belong to Jesus, you are not alone and you never will be. 
And you are going to live forever.
And you’re going to live forever with the Triune God! Who loves you.

At the very end of the Bible, the Apostle John writes about the Day when all of this is fulfilled to the fullest.

And it says, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:3 NIVO).

That’s what Jesus asked the Father for.

And He’s going to do it.


***

Messages in this Series

01. "That You May Believe" - John 20:30-31
02. "In The Beginning Was the Word" - John 1:1-18
03. "John's Testimony" - John 1:19-34
04. "Come and See" - John 1:35-51
05. "The First of His Miraculous Signs" - John 2:1-11
06. "This Temple" - John 2:12-25
07. "You Must Be Born Again" - John 3:1-15
08. "God So Loved The World" - John 3:16-21
09. "Above All" - John 3:22-36
10. "Living Water" - John 4:1-26
11. "Ripe for the Harvest" - John 4:27-42
12. "Your Son Will Live" - John 4:43-54
13. "Pick Up Your Mat and Walk" - John 5:1-18
14. "To Your Amazement" - John 5:19-30
15. "Testimony About Me" - John 5:31-47
Christmas Eve Bonus: "The Astonishing Gift" - John 3:16 Again
Christmas Eve Bonus: "We Have Seen His Glory" - John 1:1-18 Again
16. "Enough Bread" - John 6:1-15
17. "You Are Looking for Me" - John 6:16-36
18. "I Am the Bread of Life" - John 6:35-71
Vision Meeting Bonus: "As I Have Loved You" - John 13:34-35
19. "At the Feast" - John 7:1-52
20. "I Am the Light of the World" - John 8:12-30
21. "Your Father" - John 8:31-59
22. "Now I See" - John 9:1-41
23. "I Am The Gate" - John 10:1-13
24. "I Am the Good Shepherd" - John 10:14-21
25. "I And The Father Are One" - John 10:22-42
26. "I Am the Resurrection and the Life" - John 11:1-53
27. "Expensive" - John 11:54-12:11
28. "The Hour Has Come" - John 12:12-26
29. "Father, Glorify Your Name!" - John 12:27-36
30. "Believe In Me" - John 12:37-50
31. "Do You Understand What I Have Done For You?" - John 13:1-17
32. "I Am Telling You Now Before It Happens” - John 13:18-38
2024 West Branch Baccalaureate: "The Way, The Truth, and The Life" - John 14:6
33. "I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life” - John 14:1-6
34. "Show Us the Father" - John 14:7-14
35. "If You Love Me" - John 14:15

Sunday, July 07, 2024

“If You Love Me” [Matt's Messages]

“If You Love Me”
Life in Jesus’ Name - The Gospel of John
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
July 7, 2024 :: John 14:15 

We’re only going to make it through one verse this morning. I wasn’t sure how long the Challenge Group would want to share, so I kept this message focused down to just one sentence from our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Here’s the sentence. It’s very simple, and the logic is clear. It’s an if/then sentence. If this, then this. John chapter 14:15. The words of Jesus to His disciples:

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

Jesus said to His disciples on the night before He went to the Cross, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”


Jesus draws a tight connection between our love for Him and our obedience to Him. 

This is going to be a theme we’re going to see again and again in the Farewell Teachings that we’re studying together this summer–chapters 14, 15, and 16 of the Gospel of John.

In fact, Jesus connects love and obedience five times in this chapter alone. Real love and true obedience are intimately connected. 

Which might be surprising until you think about it a little. We tend to connect obedience to duty or fear. We obey an authority just because they are an authority or because we are afraid of them. But that’s not the only reason why we might obey, is it?

Employees might obey the boss because they love the company. Citizens might obey the government because they love their country. Children don’t just obey their parents because they might get spanked. Children might obey because they love their parents.

Children might obey because they know that they are loved first. And the focus in the Gospel of John up to this point has been to demonstrate how much God loves us!

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16 NIVO).

This very night, the Lord Jesus has gotten up from the table where they are having their Passover meal (the forerunner to our communion table), and He’s shown them the full extent of His love (13:1).


Jesus has been comforting their troubled hearts even as He’s told them that He is going away. He’s told them about His Father’s spacious house and how to get there. He’s just promised to answer their prayers about “anything” and “whatever” when prayed in His own name. And He’s just about to promise them the gift of the Holy Spirit Himself to take up His place in their lives.

Jesus loved these disciples, and they will know that. And they will love Him back. And that love will look like obedience.

“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

As I thought about this one sentence this week, I thought how appropriate it would be for our Challenge Crew to hear as they came down from the mountain.

Because they have been learning all week about what Jesus commands for His followers. The Sermon on the Mount. And we heard a little bit from them this morning about what they learned. 

The Lord Jesus wants His followers (who love Him) to live differently from the world as citizens of His kingdom (obeying what He commands).

We studied the Sermon on the Mount together here the first half of 2018. 

Jesus invites you and me to live as citizens of His upside-down, inside-out, counter-cultural, counter-intuitive, Kingdom of Heaven. 

That’s what our group heard about this week at Challenge. That’s what Jesus commands of us.

The question is: Will we obey? Do we trust Him? Do we love Him? Will we actually do what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount? “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

If you don’t, you won’t.

And if you don’t, your life will ultimately crash.


I’m sure the last speaker on Friday night at Challenge talked about this story. It’s in Matthew chapter 7, verses 24 to 27.

Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice [“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”] is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

But everyone who hears these words of mine [the commands of Jesus in the the Sermon on the Mount] and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.'"

I love that story. I love singing it with kids. 

This story sounds a lot like what we’re fixing to learn about here at Family Bible Week with “Breaker Rock Beach.” It’s beginning to look a lot like FBW around here! I grabbed my seashell already to remember to pray for FBW the next two weeks.

The idea of Family Bible Week this year is that we live in world of sifting sands, but God’s truth is a solid rock that can be trusted for us to build our lives upon. We can and must obey what Jesus’ commands.

The trick question I always ask when teaching on the two builders is–which house gets hit by the storm? 

Both houses probably looked great. In fact, the house built on sand might have looked better because they didn’t have to waste time and resources with all that digging. 

But when the storm hit, you could see which builder was wise and which one was a fool.

Jesus forces us to choose.

“Are you going to obey my commands? Or not?”
“Are you going to build your life on my teachings? Or not?”
“Do you love me, or don’t you?”
“If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

That means change. And change can be really hard. When you’re on top of the mountain like being at Challenge or being at church, it kind of seems easy, but when you come down from the mountain, that’s when reality hits.

And that’s when you have ask yourself the question, “Do I love Jesus?” Do I really trust Him? Do I really know that He loves me? And if do, then I will obey what he commands.

The last few weeks, I’ve had some great conversations with different folks about following Jesus. Sadly, a couple people I talked with turned away from following Jesus when they heard what He was asking them to do. Some others turned towards Him.

How about you? What is King Jesus asking you to change right now so that you are obeying His commands? Living as citizen of His upside-down, inside-out, counter-cultural, counter-intuitive, Kingdom of Heaven.

We’ve heard from the Challenge Crew. What about the rest of u?

Jesus is saying to us today, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”


***

Messages in this Series

01. "That You May Believe" - John 20:30-31
02. "In The Beginning Was the Word" - John 1:1-18
03. "John's Testimony" - John 1:19-34
04. "Come and See" - John 1:35-51
05. "The First of His Miraculous Signs" - John 2:1-11
06. "This Temple" - John 2:12-25
07. "You Must Be Born Again" - John 3:1-15
08. "God So Loved The World" - John 3:16-21
09. "Above All" - John 3:22-36
10. "Living Water" - John 4:1-26
11. "Ripe for the Harvest" - John 4:27-42
12. "Your Son Will Live" - John 4:43-54
13. "Pick Up Your Mat and Walk" - John 5:1-18
14. "To Your Amazement" - John 5:19-30
15. "Testimony About Me" - John 5:31-47
Christmas Eve Bonus: "The Astonishing Gift" - John 3:16 Again
Christmas Eve Bonus: "We Have Seen His Glory" - John 1:1-18 Again
16. "Enough Bread" - John 6:1-15
17. "You Are Looking for Me" - John 6:16-36
18. "I Am the Bread of Life" - John 6:35-71
Vision Meeting Bonus: "As I Have Loved You" - John 13:34-35
19. "At the Feast" - John 7:1-52
20. "I Am the Light of the World" - John 8:12-30
21. "Your Father" - John 8:31-59
22. "Now I See" - John 9:1-41
23. "I Am The Gate" - John 10:1-13
24. "I Am the Good Shepherd" - John 10:14-21
25. "I And The Father Are One" - John 10:22-42
26. "I Am the Resurrection and the Life" - John 11:1-53
27. "Expensive" - John 11:54-12:11
28. "The Hour Has Come" - John 12:12-26
29. "Father, Glorify Your Name!" - John 12:27-36
30. "Believe In Me" - John 12:37-50
31. "Do You Understand What I Have Done For You?" - John 13:1-17
32. "I Am Telling You Now Before It Happens” - John 13:18-38
2024 West Branch Baccalaureate: "The Way, The Truth, and The Life" - John 14:6
33. "I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life” - John 14:1-6
34. "Show Us the Father" - John 14:7-14

Sunday, June 30, 2024

“Show Us The Father” [Matt's Messages]

“Show Us The Father”
Life in Jesus’ Name - The Gospel of John
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
June 30, 2024 :: John 14:7-14  

You probably noticed that we're starting right in the middle of a quote from Jesus. Last week, we ended with verse 6, and Jesus was talking, and we just left it hanging there in the middle of a two-part statement from Jesus! So that’s where we start up today.

It’s going to be like that for the next few months as we study the Farewell Teachings of Jesus together. We’re slowing down and taking each part of chapters 14, 15, and 16 bit by bit. Most of these 3 chapters are just Jesus teaching the deepest truths He wants His followers to know while He’s away. And we want to soak up every last bit of it. So, we’ll just take a little bit and chew on that and then take the next little bit and chew on that. And I’ll try to make connections from week to week so that we don’t lose sight of the forest as we look closely at each of the trees.
But the trees today are verses 7 through 14.


“Show us the Father.”

Let me ask you a question. Is that a good prayer request? Is that a good thing for us to pray today?
“Show us the Father.” Is that a good thing to pray?

Those four words come directly from verse 8. The disciple Philip requests that Jesus show the Father to him and the rest of the disciples. Look at verse 8.

“Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’”

That sounds like a pretty good prayer request to me. At least at first. It seems both big and humble to me. At least considered all by itself.

Philip asks to see the Father. And we know, in context, that’s God the Father!  Which is a pretty audacious thing to ask! It’s kind of like Moses praying to Yahweh in Exodus 33, “Show me your glory!” (Exodus 33:18).

That’s a big ask! It’s a good and glorious thing Philip is asking for, a revelation of God the Father.

And Philip is asking the right Person. Jesus has just said that He Himself is the way, the truth, and the life, and that nobody (but nobody) gets to the Father (and into His house, His Father’s spacious house) except through Jesus Himself.

So Philip is asking the right Person. He’s asking the Son to show them the Father.

And He seems kind of humble about it. He’s not saying that he deserves to be shown the Father. And He says that that’s all he asks. “And that will be enough for us.” That will be sufficient.

However, Jesus is not happy with Philip’s request. In fact, Jesus rebukes Philip for asking for this right here. He actually asks Philip in verse 9, “How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?”

“How could you pray that?! Why would you think that’s a good thing to ask right now?!”

Jesus does not think that this is a good prayer request.

How come?

Well, for one, because Philip was not grasping what Jesus had just said to them! Look with me at verse 7.  Actually, let’s start in verse 6 to put last week’s together with this week’s. 

Jesus met in private with His disciples on the night before the Cross, and He said He was going away and that His disciples knew the way to where He was going. Thomas said, “No. We don’t know the way.” Verse 6.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. [Verse 7.] If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.’”

Do you see why Jesus might be very disappointed in Philip’s request?

He just said, “You have seen Him. You have seen the Father.” And Philip says, “That sounds good! Show us the Father.” Verse 8.

“Philip said, ‘Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.’”

It’s like he’s looking around Jesus, and seeing if the Father is standing behind Him somehow or will appear behind Him. 

“That’s great, Jesus. Go ahead and do that. Conjure up the Father. Give us a vision of Him. Make the Father appear to us. If you do that, then  that’ll be plenty. Then we’ll be satisfied. We’re ready. We’re all set.”

But Philip wasn’t listening. Jesus just said, “If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.'”

“Don’t push me aside and ask to see the Father. I’m right here. I’m showing you the Father. That’s why I’m here.” Look at verse 9.

“Jesus answered: ‘Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?” (v.9).

“What do think I’ve been doing these last three years? 'Show us the Father?' I have! I am! Right now!”

This morning, I have four points of application that I want make, and I’ve boiled them down into 4 short words to make them, hopefully, easy to remember if not always easy to actually do.

#1. See.
#2. Believe.
#3. Do.
#4. Ask.

Let’s talk about the first one.

#1. SEE.

See the Father by looking at the Son. Know the Father by knowing His Son. That’s why Jesus came, is it not?

We learned this way back almost a year ago when we started in on the Gospel of John. It’s in chapter 1. Where Jesus is called “The Word.” Remember that?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1 NIVO).

And what did that eternal Word do? He became flesh. He became one of us. John 1:14.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14 NIVO).

And why? Why did He come. What did that accomplish? John 1:18. “No one has ever seen God [the Father], but God the One and Only [God the Son], who is at the Father's side, has made him known” (Jn. 1:18 NIVO).

John got it! By the time he wrote his gospel, John understood what Jesus was saying here in the Farewell Teachings.

“Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” The visible Son makes the invisible Father known and seen. 

And here’s how He can do that: They are IN one another. Look at what Jesus says to Philip in verse 10.

“Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (v.10).

Now these are mind-blowing ideas, but they are foundational to the whole Christian faith.

God the Son is so close to God the Father that they can be said to be IN one another. We call that the doctrine of “mutual indwelling” or “co-inherence” or sometimes it’s called “perichoresis” or “inter-penetration.”

It’s a vital part of the doctrine of the Trinity that the Father and the Son are  distinct in their Persons but are at the same time One Being, One essence, One substance. Perfectly together and undivided.

There is only One God! Even though eternally there are, subsisting in that One God, three Persons.

[And we’re going to get to the Third Person next week, Lord-willing! But here it’s the Son and the Father.]
Remember again what we learned in chapter 1, verse 1?

“In the beginning was the Word [another name for the Son, and the Word [the Son] was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn. 1:1 NIVO).

We said that God Son and God the Father had with-ness and was-ness. Remember that? “With God and was God.”

Well, here we learn that the Son and the Father also have in-ness.

Their with-ness is so close because of their is-ness that we have to say that they have in-ness.

I know that I’m making up words, but it’s to try to get across this point that Jesus wants His disciples to understand.

“Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me?” (v.10a).

“Why would you ask to be shown the Father, when you have me?”

“He’s IN me. I’m IN Him. You’re seeing the Father right now, Philip. You’re hearing from the Father right now, Philip.”

“The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work” (v.10b).

What do we call that the Persons of the Trinity are working so closely together that the work of One Person is also the work of the Others? “Inseparable Operations.” 

Why is this important? Why are we spending so much time on it this morning? Because the application is to see the Father by looking at the Son. If you want to know God, then you study Jesus. If you want to come to the Father, then you come to the Son. If you want to know what God is like, what He loves, what is important to Him, what God’s heart is all about, then stare at Jesus.

Don’t try to go around Jesus. Don’t try to look around Jesus!

Some people say they “believe in God,” but they “aren’t so sure about that Jesus guy.” They like the God of nature and the great outdoors, but they aren’t into all of that Jesus-stuff, like the Sermon on the Mount, and loving your enemies and all of that stuff.

If you don’t know Jesus, you don’t know God. Jesus is Who God is! There’s no other way to know Him.

This section is the densest section in the whole Gospel of John for teaching about Who the Father is. The words “The Father” are repeated 12 times in just 8 verses. The most in all of the book!

But the focus is never on the Father by Himself. Because the Father is never by Himself! He’s always the Father, which means there is always the Son! And the Son is the Father’s appointed means for us to know Him.

See the Son by looking at the Father.

This applies to our lives in lots of ways. Take Bible study for example. Don’t ever try to read your Bible and understand who God is by looking around or behind Jesus or away from Jesus. It’s okay to try to study the Father. But never try to understand the Father by Himself. Always make connections to the Son. Because He’s the fullest revelation to us of the Father. Does that make sense?

See the Father by looking at the Son.

#2. BELIEVE.

Believe in the Son because He is in the Father and the Father is in Him.

Jesus has already used the word “believe” in verse 10. He says it again in verse 11.

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.”

Jesus invites His disciples to put their faith in Him and believe in His inextricable co-inherence with the Father. And if the disciples are struggling to do that, Jesus reminds them to just believe on the evidence of what they have seen with their own eyes.

The NIV has “miracles” in verse 11, but it’s actually bigger than that. It’s “works.” It’s everything that Jesus has been doing, working all along. Everything they’ve seen Him do for the last three years. From turning over tables in the temple, to walking on water, to raising Lazarus from the dead, to washing their feet that very night.

Jesus says, “Think about everything you’ve seen me do, and then put your faith in me.”

Have you done that? Are you doing that?

That’s the whole point of this book we’re studying right now. John said that these things in his book have been written out for us “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (Jn. 20:31 NIVO).

Jesus Himself said that He “is the life,” and we get that His life through putting our faith in Him. Believe.

You and I have even more reason than these disciples did to believe in Jesus because we live on the other side of His greatest work--what He did on the Cross and at the Empty Tomb. That’s part of the point of verse 12.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

That’s application point number three.

#3. DO.

Do greater things for and with Jesus on this side of the Cross than Jesus did on that side of the Cross.

Now, there’s a lot I love about verse 12, but there’s some things in there I struggle with.

I love that we are active and not just passive. Jesus says that we get to DO things. In fact, we get to do GREAT things! We don’t just come to Christ and then sit around staring at each other. I love that our faith means action.

I’m super glad that we are not saved by our works. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ. But we are saved to do good works! Jesus says here that anyone who has faith in Him will do what He has been doing. In fact, He says (v.12 again), “He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

Now, that I sometimes struggle with that.

I like the sound of it, but I’m not sure what all’s involved. Does He mean that I’m supposed to feed five thousand people with just a happy meal? Does He mean that I’m supposed to put mudpacks on blind people’s eyes and heal them? That I’m supposed to call people out of their tombs?

I doubt it. 

My guess is that I’m supposed to do the things He’s specifically told us are His example for us–like washing other people’s feet. Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.

And sharing the good news of the kingdom of God.

But He says that what I do will be greater than what He has been doing so far. How is that?!

We just got done saying that Father is in Him and He is in the Father. How can our works be greater than His?

The key, I think, is in those last few words of verse 12. Why are they greater? “BECAUSE I am going to the Father.”

And we know how He’s getting there. He’s going to the Father through the Cross. And then His resurrection and the Empty Tomb. And then His ascension to the Right Hand.

That’s how He’s going to the Father.

And everything will be greater after that.

So these greater things are not greater in spectacle or power. They are greater in era. Everything that we do now in faith looks backwards to the Cross and the Empty Tomb and the glorification of our Savior.

So there’s a greater quality to our works on this side of the Cross. They are blood-bought works and done for the glory of the Resurrected Jesus.

And they are greater in quantity, too. Because, as we’re going to learn next time, the Spirit is going to come and ratchet everything up to eleven. So it’s not like we get superior miracles to perform than what Jesus was up to. We get to do our good works for Jesus in the era of the Spirit after the glorification of the Son.

And everything is better then!

So, for example, I don’t know how many people Jesus talked to during his earthly ministry, but after He went to Father, thousands came to trust to Him in the early days of the church. And then thousands more. And then thousands more. And then millions more. And then millions and millions more. Greater things!

Jesus never (to our knowledge) left Israel. But now we are talking about Him right here in central Pennsylvania today. All because He went to the Father.

And here’s the application of that. We need to do. We need to do great things! We need to attempt great things for the Lord.
Everything He’s asked us to do in following His example (like washing feet and loving our enemies) and all kinds of things we can come up with to serve Him in faith.

And those things we do will be “greater things” because He has gone to the Father. Does that make sense?

Does that make you want to try some things and to be bold?

I think that these three we heard from this morning who are going to Malawi in 41 days are living out verse 12.

I think the 15 who are in the van to Challenge are living out verse 12.

And everyone here who did something this week because you belong to Jesus and believe in Him, are living out verse 12, too.

The missionary William Carey was fond of saying, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”

And they might actually seem quite small. But if done in the name of the resurrected Son, in the power of the Spirit, and to the glory of the Father, then they will be greater in some way than everything we’ve read in chapters 1 through 13!!!

What might you do this week in faith?

And what might you pray for and ask Jesus to do this week?

That’s the last of our four applications.

#4. ASK.

Ask for big things in Jesus’ name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. Last two verses. Great big promise. Verse 13.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Wow. I love the sound of that, too. But I also have questions.

I believe that Jesus means every single word in these two verses. But it’s every single word together. And it’s all in the context of everything else He says. We don’t rip these out of the rest of the Bible, and try to figure out what they mean and don’t mean on their own.

Jesus means the words “whatever” in verse 13 and “anything” in verse 14. That means that we can pray about whatever and we can ask for anything.

And He also means “I will do” in verse 13, and “I will do it” in verse 14. That means that Jesus answers prayer! He personally is involved in answering His follower’s prayer requests. “I will do it.”

But He also means the words “in my name.” And those words are not just a tagline that we slip into each prayer to make sure that it’s kosher.  “In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

“Oh, you didn’t say, ‘In Jesus’ name, Amen.’ So that one’s no good!”

No, praying in Jesus’ name means praying in Jesus’ authorization.

It means praying in Jesus’ reputation. 
It means praying in Jesus’ character.
It means praying for the things that Jesus wants done.

So, we shouldn’t go praying for anything that we know that Jesus hates.

Don’t pray about who to commit adultery with.
Don’t pray about who to murder.
Don’t pray about how to get away with theft or slander.

That is not prayer in Jesus’ name.

Praying in Jesus’ name is not telling Jesus what to do. It’s not ordering Him around. Yes, He says, “I will do it.” But the key word here is “ask.”

If you want to know what to ask for, look at Jesus. Look at what He prayed for. And pray in line with what you see.  Just like looking at the heart of the Son will reveal the heart of the Father, it will also show you the heart of prayer. Jesus means that we ask in His name and only His name.

And He means for us to ask for things that will ultimately bring glory to His Father.

Don’t miss those words in verse 13.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”

That has to be the result of His answering our prayers with YES or it will be NO.

And, of course, that’s often mysterious.

We don’t always understand (in fact, we often don’t understand) what will bring the most glory to the Father in a given situation. We can keep from praying for things that we know won’t. But we don’t always know what will. 

We can pray, for example, for a new car. Probably shouldn’t pray for 12 new cars and, “Lord, it would be great if one of them was a Rolls-Royce.” But we might not even get that new car because in not getting the car, the Father will get even more glory from whatever He gives us instead.

We can pray for rain. Who was praying for rain yesterday? Thanks a lot! But someone else might be praying that it not rain at a given day or time for a particular reason. And which one will bring ultimate glory to the Father? We leave that up to Him.

But we can and should pray about whatever and ask for anything in Jesus’ name, and we can be sure that He will answer.

Isn’t that good news?!

Remember, these disciples are tempted to be troubled. They are distraught over His departure. But Jesus is assuring them that even if He goes away, they can still talk to Him! And they can still be sure that He is at work. He’s still doing stuff.

Do you need to hear that this morning?

I think these two verses were the biggest challenge to me personally this week, as I prepared this message. Because they confronted me with my relative prayerlessness. I am not asking enough.

I pray. And I pray with others. But am I asking Jesus to do big things? In line with His reputation, His character, His authorization, His will. And trusting in the Father’s wisdom to answer as He sees fit.

But am I asking?

There’s something right now that I’ve begun praying for, but I’ve been really timid about it. I’ve shot it into my prayers from time to time. But I haven’t really been asking. Jesus tells His disciples to ASK.

How about you? Are you taking Jesus up on this offer?

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Ask!

What I love about this invitation to pray about whatever and anything is that Jesus answers us, not because He loves us (even though He does) but because He loves His Father!

Jesus promises to answer our prayers so that the the Son may bring glory to the Father.

God gets glory when He gives us the things we ask for! And we know that the Father loves to glorify the Son, and we know that the Son loves to glorify the Father. Because they are IN one another!

The have is-ness and with-ness and in-ness.

And if we understand that, then I think we can even pray with great confidence, “Lord Jesus, through Your glorious Self, show us the Father.”


***

Messages in this Series

01. "That You May Believe" - John 20:30-31
02. "In The Beginning Was the Word" - John 1:1-18
03. "John's Testimony" - John 1:19-34
04. "Come and See" - John 1:35-51
05. "The First of His Miraculous Signs" - John 2:1-11
06. "This Temple" - John 2:12-25
07. "You Must Be Born Again" - John 3:1-15
08. "God So Loved The World" - John 3:16-21
09. "Above All" - John 3:22-36
10. "Living Water" - John 4:1-26
11. "Ripe for the Harvest" - John 4:27-42
12. "Your Son Will Live" - John 4:43-54
13. "Pick Up Your Mat and Walk" - John 5:1-18
14. "To Your Amazement" - John 5:19-30
15. "Testimony About Me" - John 5:31-47
Christmas Eve Bonus: "The Astonishing Gift" - John 3:16 Again
Christmas Eve Bonus: "We Have Seen His Glory" - John 1:1-18 Again
16. "Enough Bread" - John 6:1-15
17. "You Are Looking for Me" - John 6:16-36
18. "I Am the Bread of Life" - John 6:35-71
Vision Meeting Bonus: "As I Have Loved You" - John 13:34-35
19. "At the Feast" - John 7:1-52
20. "I Am the Light of the World" - John 8:12-30
21. "Your Father" - John 8:31-59
22. "Now I See" - John 9:1-41
23. "I Am The Gate" - John 10:1-13
24. "I Am the Good Shepherd" - John 10:14-21
25. "I And The Father Are One" - John 10:22-42
26. "I Am the Resurrection and the Life" - John 11:1-53
27. "Expensive" - John 11:54-12:11
28. "The Hour Has Come" - John 12:12-26
29. "Father, Glorify Your Name!" - John 12:27-36
30. "Believe In Me" - John 12:37-50
31. "Do You Understand What I Have Done For You?" - John 13:1-17
32. "I Am Telling You Now Before It Happens” - John 13:18-38
2024 West Branch Baccalaureate: "The Way, The Truth, and The Life" - John 14:6

Sunday, June 23, 2024

“I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life” [Matt's Messages]

“I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life”
Life in Jesus’ Name - The Gospel of John
Lanse Evangelical Free Church
June 23, 2024 :: John 14:1-6  

Are you troubled right now?

Are you in distress? Is your heart heavy, worried, burdened, scared?

I would imagine that many of us in this room are troubled right now or very tempted to be.

Some of us are happy and joyful and everything in our lives is running smoothly. But I know there is at least one heavy heart in every pew. Probably more.

There are a lot of reasons to be troubled in heart.

Financial troubles.
Family troubles.
Job troubles.
Health troubles.

There are a lot of crises facing our country right now.

We’re living in another American election year, and the stakes can feel really high. And what will happen if your guy doesn’t win and the other guy does?

And not our just country, but our world is in turmoil. Just read the headlines. There are a lot of reasons to be troubled in heart. 

Are you troubled right now? If you weren’t already, I probably just pushed you into it.

In this passage of Scripture, the disciples of Jesus were tempted to be troubled. They had just received four big shocks to their systems. You will remember that they are gathered closely together in secret with Jesus on the most important night in human history. The night before the Cross.

Jesus has gotten up from the table and washed their feet. That was a shocker! Their feet are still moist from His gentle hands wiping off the dirt of the street.

Then Jesus had predicted that He will be betrayed by one of them. We know which one it was (and he’s now left the circle with Satan). But they couldn’t believe it was going to happen at all.

And Jesus also predicted that Simon Peter himself was going to disown Jesus that very night. That also seemed unthinkable.

And maybe the biggest shock of all was that Jesus said that He was going away. And that where He was going, they could not follow (13:33).

He also gave them the new command to love one another (that we are memorizing right now), but they could hardly hear that because they were so shocked that Jesus was leaving them!

In fact, we often call these three chapters the “Farewell Teaching of Jesus.” Chapters 14, 15, and 16 are what our Lord taught His disciples to get them ready for His departure. We’re going to spend the whole summer studying them deeply. Because these chapters contain some of the deepest, most important things we need to know.

Including how to keep from being troubled in heart.

Jesus said, verse 1. “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

By the way, that is not a rebuke.  Jesus is not disappointed that they were troubled in their hearts. “Why are you so worried? Cut it out.” Some of you will read “Do not let your hearts be troubled,” and immediately feel shame. 

But it’s not shameful to have a troubled heart. You know how I know? Look up the page at verse 21 of the previous chapter. Look Who is troubled there in 13:21. Same Greek word. Jesus was troubled. It’s okay to be feel shaken. It’s okay to feel distressed. 

This is not a rebuke. It is a comfort!  Jesus is not taking them to task; He’s sharing the truth that will bring their hearts to rest.

Now, if you refuse to be comforted by this truth, that might be another story. If you embrace being troubled in heart and refuse this counsel that Jesus gives us here, then you might need rebuking.

But it was perfectly natural to be troubled by the thought that Jesus was leaving them. 

Imagine being with Jesus constantly for three whole years, and then, all of a sudden, hearing that He was taking off and leaving you behind! Kind of like how the Evans feel and how our church feels now that Jonalie has been taken from our midst.

Jesus was going away. Of course, we’re going to be distressed.”

But Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” “It’s going to be okay. Trust Me.”

In fact, that’s the short answer for how to keep from being troubled in heart:

Trust in Jesus.

It sounds so simple. Yet it’s incredibly profound. Look again at verse 1.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.”

Faith in Jesus makes fear run away. Trust in God settles the troubled heart.

Jesus says, “Trust in God.” Or that could be translated, “You believe in God.” Like that’s what they already do. They already believe in God. Now, Jesus says “Go deeper.” Believe also in Him, God’s Son.

And, of course, that would be highly controversial to the Jews. Putting faith in Jesus right alongside faith in God.

It’s statements like that that have gotten Jesus into so much trouble out there. It’s statements like that that have led to what is going to happen to Jesus later that very night. But it’s also statements like that that make all the difference for our lives now and forever!

Troubled in heart? Trust in Jesus.

Now, of course, that’s easier said than done. It is simple, but it’s not always easy to trust in Jesus. So Jesus gave His disciples multiple reasons to trust Him that night.

I’d like to summarize them in three points of how we should trust Him today, as well. Here’s number one.

#1. TRUST IN JESUS TO PREPARE A HOME FOR YOU.

Trust in Jesus to prepare an eternal home for you. That’s where Jesus starts. He assures His disciples that His departure is for a very good reason. Yes, He’s going away, but it’s going to be for their good. Look at verse 2.

“Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

If you don’t have that memorized yet, you really should. This is some of the deepest, most precious truth in the whole Bible.

Jesus says that His Father (that’s God!) has a house, and it has many rooms in it. Now in chapter 2, we learned that Jesus called the temple in Jerusalem, “My Father’s House.” But Jesus isn’t just going to the temple now. He’s going to what the earthly temple only symbolized. Heaven itself.  

Tomorrow, Jesus is going to die. (And He knows it.) And He’s going to go to heaven. And soon after that, He’s going to ascend to heaven (in His resurrected body). He’s going away to heaven in both ways. I think that’s the departure He’s talking about. His death and His ascension.

And there is a reason for His departure. He’s going to His Father’s House to get a place ready for His disciples.

“I am going there to prepare a place for you.”

Isn’t that good news?! I guess it’s okay if Jesus goes away, if He’s going away to get a place ready for me in heaven, right?

By the way, I’m glad the newer translations use the word “rooms” or “dwelling places” in verse 2 instead of “mansions” like the old King James. Because we don’t use the English word “mansion” the same way today that people did back in the time of King James. “Mansion” back then just meant rooms or dwelling places or apartments. (They still use the word that way in places in the UK.)

We use it now to refer to big personal castles and imposing palatial homes. But see what Jesus says in verse 2. These “rooms” the Greek word is “monay” (from “meno,” to “abide”), these abiding places are IN “my Father’s house.”

The emphasis here is not that we are off on our own in some personal gigantic building on a hilltop. But that we are dwelling close to the Father, in His own home. We have a personal space, a personal place in God’s own home! 

We will be near to God forever! If that doesn’t chase away a troubled heart, what will?!

What is troubling your heart right now? No matter how terrible it really is. Put it up beside this. Put it beside the fact (the fact!) that Jesus has prepared and is preparing(!) a place for you in God’s eternal home.

Jesus says that there is room for you there. He would tell you if it was already full. 

There is room. Don’t get the idea from “rooms” that it’s small. Just because it’s not “mansions,” doesn’t mean it isn’t big. It’s huge! There’s plenty of space for all of Jesus’ disciples. “It’s a big big house with lots and lots of room!” Right? Some of you remember that song?

There is room for you there to abide with God. 

And that is why Jesus is going away. Why He’s going away to the Cross in a just a few hours. And why He’s gone away from us right now. So it’s worth it.

But it’s even better than that. Because He’s not going to stay away! Look at verse 3.

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

#2. TRUST IN JESUS TO COME BACK TO TAKE YOU HOME WITH HIM.

Jesus doesn’t just promise to go away. He doesn’t just promise to get a place ready for His disciples. Jesus personally promises to personally return to His disciples and personally take them, bring them to be with Him personally in that place.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.” Doesn’t that beat anything that you’re worried about today?

Jesus has promised to return.


“We believe in the personal, bodily and glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ. The coming of Christ, at a time known only to God, demands constant expectancy and, as our blessed hope, motivates the believer to godly living, sacrificial service and energetic mission.”

And it gives rest to our troubled hearts.

“I will come back.” 

Do you believe that? I think He was talking about His resurrection. He will come back from the dead. And I think He was also talking about the “parousia,” His second coming.

And what’s great about that, is that He isn’t just coming back, but He’s coming back to take us to be with Him forever in His Father’s House.

“That you may also be where I am.”

He’s coming to get us!

I don’t know when. But I know it’s going to happen. And it makes everything okay.

And then Jesus says to His disciples (v.4), “You know the way to the place where I am going.” And his disciple Thomas says, “No, no, we really don’t.”  “We don’t get it. We don’t know what you’re talking about.” Verse 5.

“Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?’”

I love his honesty. Thomas always tells it like he sees it. Which gives Jesus the opportunity to say one of the most profound and important things anyone has ever heard. Verse 6.

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

That’s our sermon title for today. It’s the 6th of the 7 “I Am” statements in the Gospel of John.

Once again, Jesus makes everything about Himself.

He said, "I am the Bread of Life." 
He said, "I am the Light of the World."
He said, "I am the Gate for the Sheep."
He said, "I am the Good Shepherd."
He said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life."

And now He says, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

He makes everything about Himself.

Because, apparently, everything is about Him. Way, Truth, and Life!

Notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “I know the way to the Father.” He doesn’t say, “I know the secret truths.” He doesn’t say, “I know where to find life.” 

He says, “I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life.” You have to come to Him personally for those things.

The word “way” means “a path” or a “road.” It’s the “way” you get somewhere.

I drove over 1600 miles in the last three weeks, on our vacation.

We flew into Seattle and then borrowed a car from Heather’s aunt and then went visiting people.

We visited Tom and Stacey Fisch in Tacoma, and we visited our son Andrew in Sullivan Lake, Washington. We got to see where he works.

By the way, Andrew is working the Pioneer Fire right now so I’d appreciate prayer for him. There’s over 4,000 acres burning out there, and his crew is in the thick of it. He loves it, but it is dangerous. So thanks for praying for him.

Then we drove to Calgary and visited family there and then through the Canadian Rockies to visit family in Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

And my faithful navigator, to whom I’ve now been blessed to be married for 30 wonderful years, gave me great directions for all 1600 miles. Safely there and back again.

Heather Joy is a master of the map and great at deciphering the directions on the GPS.

Jesus is kind of like that GPS, right? He’s kind of like the map. He gives us the directions. He shows us the way.

But He’s more than that, isn’t He? He is the directions!

And He’s more than that. He’s the actual way. He’s the actual road. He’s the actual pathway that we travel to get to God the Father!

Just like He’s the gate. He’s the way.

And the only way. You only get to the Father if you come through Him. That’s exclusive. That’s narrow. There’s only one way. So, I’m glad He told us! There are not many paths. There is only one path, and the path is Jesus Himself.

He has gone away to make us a home. He will personally come back to personally take us home.

So we need to trust Him to do that.

#3. TRUST IN JESUS AS YOUR WAY, YOUR TRUTH, AND YOUR LIFE.

If Jesus is THE way, then He needs to be YOUR way.
If Jesus is THE truth, then He needs to be YOUR truth. 
If Jesus is THE life, then He needs to be YOUR life.

You’ve got to make this personal. Jesus has!

This is life and death. This isn’t just a great name for a radio station. This is life and death. Eternal life and death.

Have you trusted Jesus as your own way to the Father? Have you trusted Jesus as your ultimate reality? He is what is true for you? Have you trusted Jesus as your own life?

If you do not, then you are not getting to the Father and you will not live in His house. But if you do, then you will. 

You will have a place in God’s eternal home.
You will know what is real and true forever.
You will have life in Jesus’ name.

And He will hold you fast. Trust in Jesus.

I posted Jesus’ words on social media yesterday, and Bonnie commented, “I embrace this passage.” That’s exactly right. That’s exactly what we all need to do. Not just nod our heads. But to embrace what this passage says. And embrace the Jesus of whom it speaks.

Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to Father except through me.”

And that means that all who trust in Jesus come to the Father. And live with Him forever!

Brothers and sisters, “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”


***

Messages in this Series

01. "That You May Believe" - John 20:30-31
02. "In The Beginning Was the Word" - John 1:1-18
03. "John's Testimony" - John 1:19-34
04. "Come and See" - John 1:35-51
05. "The First of His Miraculous Signs" - John 2:1-11
06. "This Temple" - John 2:12-25
07. "You Must Be Born Again" - John 3:1-15
08. "God So Loved The World" - John 3:16-21
09. "Above All" - John 3:22-36
10. "Living Water" - John 4:1-26
11. "Ripe for the Harvest" - John 4:27-42
12. "Your Son Will Live" - John 4:43-54
13. "Pick Up Your Mat and Walk" - John 5:1-18
14. "To Your Amazement" - John 5:19-30
15. "Testimony About Me" - John 5:31-47
Christmas Eve Bonus: "The Astonishing Gift" - John 3:16 Again
Christmas Eve Bonus: "We Have Seen His Glory" - John 1:1-18 Again
16. "Enough Bread" - John 6:1-15
17. "You Are Looking for Me" - John 6:16-36
18. "I Am the Bread of Life" - John 6:35-71
Vision Meeting Bonus: "As I Have Loved You" - John 13:34-35
19. "At the Feast" - John 7:1-52
20. "I Am the Light of the World" - John 8:12-30
21. "Your Father" - John 8:31-59
22. "Now I See" - John 9:1-41
23. "I Am The Gate" - John 10:1-13
24. "I Am the Good Shepherd" - John 10:14-21
25. "I And The Father Are One" - John 10:22-42
26. "I Am the Resurrection and the Life" - John 11:1-53
27. "Expensive" - John 11:54-12:11
28. "The Hour Has Come" - John 12:12-26
29. "Father, Glorify Your Name!" - John 12:27-36
30. "Believe In Me" - John 12:37-50