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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
March 17, 2019
Comfort for Those Who Believe, Pt. 2
This morning we will continue our study from last week in John 14 and the comfort that Jesus was bringing to His disciples in preparation for the events that would occur later that night that would lead to His crucifixion the next day. The setting is Jesus’ last Passover meal which they have now finished. During this Passover Jesus has already done many things. Early in the meal He instructed them again that greatness in His kingdom was not about power and position as it was in the world. Greatness would be related to being a servant to others, and He gave them a practical example of this by washing their feet. He had revealed that Judas would be the traitor among them, though they did not understand that. Judas has already left to do his evil deed of betrayal. Jesus has taken elements of the Passover meal and instituted a new meal of remembrance which we refer to as “the Lord’s Supper” or “Communion.” Passover looked back at God freeing Israel from bondage in Egypt, and Communion looks back at Jesus’ death to free us from bondage to sin and looks forward to His return. Jesus had also warned them again that He was about to be glorified and go away where they could not follow. That had left disciples saddened and somewhat confused for it did not fit their expectations of the Messiah, and so they were having a hard time understanding it. It was in response to this sadness and confusion that Jesus comforted them with the statements in John 14:1-4.
“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to Myself; that where I am, [there] you may be also. 4 “And you know the way where I am going.” This provided comfort by assuring them they could trust Him; that He would be preparing a place for them in His Father’s house; and that He would return to for them.
But Thomas still did not understand, so he asked in verse 5, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus responded, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” This clarified that Jesus was going to His Father and that He was the way to the Father. They knew Him, so they also therefore knew the way to the Father. This is also an exclusive statement to which the world recoils for it excludes all other religions and philosophies. There is no other way. Anything contradictory to Jesus is not true. There is no other means to eternal life. We live in an age and society that rejects these facts in favor of their desires and imagination, but eventually you have to face reality, and apart from repentance to believe the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, that will mean eternity in Hell. (See: The Promise of Heaven)
Jesus gave additional comfort and encouragement concerning both the immediate and distant future as He revealed some wonderful things about the relationship the disciples, and we, can have with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Last week we looked at the first part of these. (See: Comfort for Those Who Believe, Part 1).
In brief, Jesus explained in verses 7-11 that knowing Jesus was knowing the Father. That claim could be believed because of both Jesus’ words and works. All that Jesus had taught them had come from the Father. To hear Jesus was to hear the communication of the Father. This was a claim Jesus had consistently made throughout His ministry. His claim was backed up by the fact that what He spoke was always consistent with what the Father had already revealed. Remember, people claim all sorts of things that are not true, and there are many false teachers today just as 2 Peter 2 warns. Because what they say is inconsistent with and often in contradiction to what God has already said, we know their claims are false and we are to oppose them.
Jesus’ claims are also proved by His works, and it is not just the fact that He did supernatural miracles, but it is the kind of miracles and what they accomplished. Jesus performed a vast variety of miracles proving He has authority over nature, demons, sickness, disease, death and could also forgive sins. All of His miracles were designed to bring glory to the Father through the Son. The apparent miracles that will be done by false teachers and the Antichrist will not be of the same scope and nature and will not glorify the Father.
In John 14:12-15 Jesus also explained how the Father worked through the Son and God’s people. This is an important section of Scripture that gives us an understanding of prayer. The Father works through the Son and His people (vs. 12), and Jesus’ ministry includes intercession on our behalf to answer our prayers so that “the Father may be glorified in the Son.” All prayer answered affirmatively must be in keeping with that purpose. In addition, all prayer is to be “in Jesus’ name,” that is, it is to be in keeping with the character and will of Jesus. The “Word-Faith” movement and “name it, claim it” theology are absolutely wrong in advocating that humans can somehow obligate God to grant them their desires. Again, James 4:3 is direct on this point. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend [it] on your pleasures.” Praying in “Jesus’ name” is not some sort of magical incantation so that you can get what you want.
Then in verses 16-17 Jesus explained briefly the coming of the Holy Spirit who would be another comforter of the same type that Jesus is. He is the Spirit of Truth that is only available to those that know Jesus, who is the Truth, and will follow Him. What a precious promise it was to them and to us now that the Holy Spirit would abide with them forever. His ministry would be different from what it was in the Old Testament where He would come upon a person for a time, but would also leave.
Jesus continues on in verse 18-31 to explain the believer’s relationship to Himself, and in doing so He brings additional comfort.
The Believer’s Relationship to the Son – John 14:18-31
Jesus’ Promises – John 14:18-21
Jesus makes additional promises to them in verses 18-20. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 “After a little while the world will behold Me no more; but you [will] behold Me; because I live, you shall live also. 20 “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.”
The first promise is that Jesus is not abandoning them. They will not be left as orphans. Jesus has just explained that another Helper will be with them, but here He restates things He has already said with an emphasis on their relationship with Him. Yes, very soon He would go away where the world would no longer be able to see Him, but they would see Him because He would live and so would they. This is a reference to the resurrection that will follow His death and a promise that they would see Him again after that, and that they would also live because He would live. After Jesus’ resurrection they did see Jesus on multiple occasions, but the world did not. That would be the proof needed they would not need to fear death either. They would live with Him. In 2 Corinthians 5:8 Paul expressed the comfort of this promise saying, “we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” Death is still an enemy, but Jesus would conquer it for Himself and for us. He will live, therefore we will also.
Jesus adds in verse 20 that in that day they would have a relationship with Jesus that would be similar to Jesus’ relationship to the Father. They would know Jesus and He would know them. But there is a condition to being able to know Jesus in this way.
John 14:21, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.”
This is a statement that specifies the conditions that must be met before Jesus will disclose Himself in this manner. You must love Jesus and that love is to be demonstrated by keeping Jesus’ commandments. The response will be being loved by Jesus and the Father. This is actually not a response of God because we love Him, but rather a confirmation of our response to Him. Romans 3:11 makes it clear that man does not seek God on his own, so it is God that initiates the relationship. 1 John 4:19 states directly, “We love, because He first loved us.” The love of God is demonstrated in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). When we respond to His love and turn to Christ and begin to love Him, then God’s love is poured out on us to an even greater measure. That greater love is seen here in Jesus’ promise of disclosing Himself to those who love Him.
Disclosure Explained – John 14:22-24
If this is confusing to you, take heart, for this was also confusing to the disciples. Verse 22 states that Judas (not Isacariot) questioned Jesus about it. This is “Judas of James” or “son of James” who is distinguished from Judas Isacariot in Luke 6:16. He is also known as Thaddeus. He asks Jesus, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us, and not to the world?” Keep in mind that the disciples were still thinking in terms of Jesus majestically manifesting Himself publically as the promised Messiah. This Judas could not understand how Jesus was going to display Himself in that manner to them and yet not to the world. Jesus had actually already done that in the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem only four days earlier. The people had even understood this to some degree as they shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” Messiah had come. But confusion quickly arose because Jesus did not seize the throne of power or even make political speeches. Could He then really be the Messiah? Thaddeus wanted to know what had happened and how Jesus would make such a disclosure to them and not to everyone else.
Jesus’ answer in verses 23-24 points out again the personal nature of the manifestation of God to the individual. Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.”
The condition is brought up again that this disclosure is given only to those who love Jesus. This would be private with the individual and not public to the masses. In essence, this is the same as verse 21 though stated in a slightly different manner. The premise and conclusion are just reversed. Those who have Jesus’ commandments and keep them show that they love Jesus, or stated in the reverse manner, those who love Jesus will show it by keeping His word. Either way it is stated, it is only to those that love Jesus in this manner that the Father and the Son will then abide or dwell with them.
Jesus also states the negative corollary here. A person that does not love Jesus will not keep His words. The person that refuses to do what Jesus says proves they do not love Him. They reject Him and His claims. And this is not just a matter of rejecting Jesus, but of God the Father as well since what Jesus has spoken is from His Father who sent Him.
It is tragic that even something as straightforward as Jesus’ statements here are twisted or denied by some because they refuse to acknowledge that there are consequences to belief. They insist that salvation is an intellectual belief that does not have to have any consequence in action. They accuse those, like myself, who insist that true salvation will bring about a changed life, of adding works to God’s grace in salvation. While there are those that wrongly claim that meritorious good works must be done to secure salvation, such error does not justify going to the opposite heresy which is equally as damning to the soul.
The Scriptures are clear that salvation from sin is all the work of God. Romans 3:10-18 is explicit that people do not do good nor seek God on their own. Ephesians 2:1 is just as explicit that people are dead in their trespasses and sin, and being dead even eliminates the possibility of responding. It is God, through the work of the Holy Spirit, that quickens or makes us alive so that we can respond to His convicting work that we might then turn from our sin to Jesus’ righteousness purchased for us on the cross of Calvary. Ephesians 2:5 is very clear on this point saying “even when we were dead in our transgressions, He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved).” Romans 5:10 states that it was “while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His son, much more having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Ephesians 2:8-9 adds to the clarity of the source of our salvation saying, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, [it is] the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
It is God who takes action and brings about salvation to those who will believe in Christ. Our good works have nothing to do with it. Titus 3:5-6 states, 5 “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
So your good works have nothing to do with gaining salvation, but they do have a lot to do with the evidence of that salvation. Good works are to be the result of our salvation. Why? First, Ephesians 2:10 states, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” In other words, they are a purpose of salvation for in doing them you glorify God (Matthew 5:16). Second, as the verses here in John 14 state, they are the evidence of your love for Christ. It is your love for Christ as a response to His love to you that is your motivation, and that should be your only motivation.
When we are little, we learn to obey our parents because there is a certain amount of fear. We want to avoid the negative consequences of being reprimanded, chastened or punished. As you get older, you learn to obey out of a desire to please your parents due to your love for them. At least that is the way it is supposed to be in a godly home. Tragically, too many parents do not really love their children nor do they train their children properly. The result is kids who just become more self-centered and disobedient because they do not love their parents. That is the negative example that Jesus uses in verse 24, “He who does not love Me does not keep My word.” Children who love their parents strive to obey them. Children who do not love their parents disobey them. God’s children will obey Christ because they love Him. Those who claim to be children of God but refuse to obey Jesus’ commands only prove they do not love Him. They are not therefore true children of God.
The truth about a person’s relationship with Jesus, and hence their salvation, is demonstrated in their willingness and effort to obey Him. Do not be like those in Matthew 7:23 who deceived themselves and thought they were serving Jesus only to hear Him say in the end, “I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.”
Do you want to know God in a personal intimate relationship? Then love His Son! Do you want God to dwell with you? Then love His Son! How do you love His Son? Keep Jesus’ word. Learn His commandments and obey them. Jesus’ love for you was proven on the cross of Calvary. How are you proving your love for Him?
The Spirit’s Assistance – John 14:25-26
In verses 25-26 Jesus reinforces what He said earlier about the Holy Spirit, “25 These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. 26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” Jesus had taught them while living with them. The Holy Spirit, the Helper, would take over that ministry when Jesus departed. He would bring to their minds what Jesus had said and teach them what it meant, its importance and how to live it out. 1 John 2:27 tells us that the Holy Spirit still has that ministry with believers. God uses me to present His word in preaching and teaching, but it is the Holy Spirit that actually teaches you by impressing on your minds and hearts the truth and its application in your own life. It is the Holy Spirit that brings to your minds just the right Biblical passages when you are talking to others – provided you have been in the Scriptures to know them enough for Him to bring it to mind.
Jesus’ Peace – John 14:27-31
Jesus was going away, but the disciples could be comforted in the midst of it and have peace. Jesus explained this in verses 27-29. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 “You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. 29 “And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe.”
Jesus told them all these things so that their faith would not be shaken when it all came to pass. Their belief in Jesus could continue because He, by this display of His omniscience, was proving that He was the Messiah, the Son of God.
The peace that Jesus was going to leave with them would keep them from falling away in the midst of the turmoil that was about to come. Jesus’ peace is very different from the peace of the world because its basis is so different. The peace of the world is based completely on circumstances. The world’s peace cannot exist unless the situation is one of safety and security. There would have to be an absence of any physical or emotional threat real or imagined. Any conflict or agitation will destroy peace that is based on circumstances. A person can be in a serene environment and have their sense of peace destroyed simply by the thought of an enemy.
The peace of Christ is based in a relationship with Him and therefore not dependent upon circumstances. That is why Paul can write in Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I do not need to worry or be anxious. I can leave all my burdens and trials in God’s hands knowing He will take care of them. I am safe and secure in His love. Because of my relationship with Jesus, I do not need to let my heart be troubled or fearful. In fact, Jesus states this in the command voice. I am not to let my heart be disturbed. I can calm it by actively putting my trust in God. As Isaiah 26:3 states, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because He trusts in You” (NKJV).
This was important to the disciples, because as Jesus pointed out again in verse 28, He was going away. The immediate future was tenuous at best. Yet, in the midst of that was the promise that He would return.
Jesus also points out that if they had thought about what going back to the Father would mean to Him, they would have rejoiced for Him. When we truly love someone, we want what is best for them even if it is not to our particular desires. Their love for Jesus should have caused them to rejoice that He would be with His Father again. Jesus would be returning to the glory that He had not only before becoming a man, but before the world was (John 17:5). Jesus’ promise of a return would be that comfort for their own situation.
Jesus’ statement that “the Father is greater than I,” is in no way a negation of Jesus’ own deity as some cults have claimed based on this verse. One verse of questioned interpretation does not negate the truth of the many, many verses that are clear statements of Jesus’ deity. In the gospel of John alone we find the following: Jesus is the Word that was in the beginning with God and was God and then became flesh to dwell among men (John 1:1, 14). Jesus is the Son of God who does the Father’s work and who has the authority to give life to whom He wishes and to whom all judgment has been given (John 5:17-23). The Jews understood Jesus’ claim that He was making Himself equal with God and were seeking to kill Him for it (John 5:18). They tried to stone Jesus again in John 8:59 because Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Jesus claimed to have existed before Abraham and calls Himself the name God used for Himself when He spoke to Moses (Exodus 3:14). They tried to stone Jesus again in John 10:31 because while explaining that He was the good shepherd, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” In John 20:28, when Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus he exclaimed, “My Lord and My God,” and Jesus accepted his worship.
Other apostolic writers make the same truth clear. In Colossians 1:15-17 Jesus is presented as the Creator of all things. In Titus 2:13 He is declared to be “our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” He is called the same in 2 Peter 1:1. In Hebrews 1:2-4 Jesus is the one through whom God “made the world” and who “is the radiance of His glory and exact representation of His nature, and who upholds all things by the word of His power.” In 1 John 5:20 Jesus is “the true God and eternal life.” In Revelation 1:8 Jesus is “Lord God,” “the Alpha and Omega,” and He “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Cf. Revelation 22:12-16).
The Father is greater than Jesus in the sense that Jesus became a man and fully submitted Himself to the Father’s headship. Jesus set aside aspects of His glory in becoming the mediator between man and the Father. Jesus’ return to His Father would also return Him to His glory. (See Philippians 2:6-11). The disciples should have rejoiced for Him for that reason.
Jesus still had some things to teach them, but the time was getting short. Jesus states in verses 30-31, “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here.” The “ruler of the world” is a reference to Satan and the activity that was about to occur, but none of this would deter Jesus from the course the Father had set for Him. He would prove to the world His love for the Father though His obedience to His commandment including death on the cross the next day.
Jesus does not say here that he would not speak further, but that He would not speak much more. He still had some things to say to them. At the end of verse 31, He calls them to rise and prepare to leave. They will not actually leave until after Jesus finishes His discourse in chapters 15 & 16 and prayer in 17.
Do you have the relationship with Jesus as explained in this chapter? You can. He has already proven His love for you. Will you respond to it? It is a matter of humbling yourself before God in order to acknowledge your need of the Savior, and then to turn away from your sin and pride to believe in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Talk with any of our church leaders – do not leave here today without getting right with God.
If you do have this type of relationship with Christ, then pray for opportunities to tell someone else about this week, and take advantage of that opportunity when it comes.
Sermon Notes – 3/17/2019
Comfort for Those Who Believe, Part 2 – John 14:18-31
Jesus is teaching His disciples during His last ____________with His disciples.
Judas has left and Jesus has instituted _______________ and told them He would soon go away
John 14:1-4 – Jesus comforts them with assurance they could ________Him, He would come back for them
Jesus clarified He is the way, the truth, the life and _______through Him could they reach the Father (14:6)
John 14:7-11 – To know Jesus is to know the __________for He spoke what the Father revealed
The scope and nature of Jesus many ___________backed up His claim to reveal the Father
John 14:12-15 – The Father works through the Son, and Jesus _____________for His followers
To pray “in Jesus name” is to pray according to His character and _________
John 14:16-17 – Jesus would send another of the ________kind as Himself , the Spirit of Truth, to help them
The Believer’s Relationship to the Son – John 14:18-31
Jesus’ Promises – John 14:18-21
Jesus was leaving, but He would ___________again – and they will live because He lives
Their _________________with Him would become like Jesus’ relationship with the Father
John 14:21 – Love for Jesus is demonstrated by __________His commandments – and they are blessed for it
Disclosure Explained – John 14:22-24
The disciples are still thinking that Jesus will soon set up His ____________, Messianic kingdom
Vs. 23-24 – Jesus and the Father disclose themselves to individuals who ___________ Jesus.
Whether you love Jesus or not is demonstrated by whether you __________ His word or not
Denying salvation will result in a ____________ life is as heretical as believing good works can justify
People do not and cannot _________ God on their own (Romans 3:10-18; Ephesians 2:1)
God ____________ while we are in our sins to bring about salvation (Ephesians 2:5, 8-10; Romans 5:10)
Good works do not __________ salvation – Titus 3:5-6
Good works are the ____________ of salvation (Ephesians 2:10) and your love for Christ (John 14:21-24)
The truth about a person’s relationship with Jesus is revealed by their willingness and effort to _______Him
The Spirit’s Assistance – John 14:25-26
The Holy Spirit would become their ____________ after Jesus’ departure
Jesus’ Peace – John 14:27-31
Jesus told them in ___________what would take place in the future so that their faith would not be shaken
The peace given by Jesus is based on your ____________with Him and not your circumstances – Phil 4:6-7
When you love someone, you ________in what is good for them even when it does match your own desires
Jesus’ statement that the Father was greater does not negate His ________or equality with the Father
Some of ___________ claims and actions of deity: John 12:1,14; 5:17-23; 8:59; 10:31; 20:28
________declarations of Jesus’ deity: Col. 1:15-17; Titus 2:13; 2 Pet. 1:1; Heb. 1:2-5; 1 John 5:20; Rev. 1:8
Jesus’ “emptied Himself” (Phil. 2:7) in becoming a man. His return to the Father would restore His _______
vs. 30-31. Jesus’ time was short before Satan’s activity would unfold – but Jesus was still in ___________
Jesus still has some things to _________them even as they prepared to leave
A relationship with Jesus begins with ______________to repent of sin and pride and seek the Savior
Those who love Jesus will ________________about Him – pray for opportunities this week.
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “comfort” is said. 2) Talk with your parents about what your relationship with Jesus is like.
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What the major purpose of Jesus’ discourse in John 14? How was this helpful to His disciples? What proof is there that seeing Jesus is seeing the Father? What does it mean to pray ‘”in Jesus’ name?” What does loving Jesus and obeying Him have to do with prayer? What promises does Jesus make to the disciples? Who will Jesus disclose Himself to? What conditions must be met for that to happen? What is the proper relationship between salvation and good works/obedience to Christ? What is the conclusion about someone who refuses to obey Jesus? What does your obedience or lack of it demonstrate about your own relationship with Christ? What needs to change? When will you do that? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in living the Christian life? How is the peace that Jesus gives different from that of the world? Have you experienced this peace in your own life? Give an example. Why should the disciples rejoice that Jesus is going to the Father? What are Jesus’ claims about His deity? What Biblical proof is there that Jesus is deity? What then does Jesus mean that the “Father is greater than I?”
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