Comfort for Those Who Believe, Pt. 1

(Greek words can be viewed using the Symbol font)

 Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

February 25, 2001

Comfort for Those Who Believe, Pt.1
John 14:7-20
Last week we began our study of John 14 and Jesus’ words of comfort to His disciples as He prepared them for the events that would take place that night and the next day. Jesus and the disciples are now finishing the Passover meal. Jesus has washed their feet and in doing so given them a practical example of the humble service that should mark all Christians. Judas has been revealed as the traitor, at lest to John, and has now left to do his evil deed. Jesus has warned them again that He was about to be glorified and go away where they could not follow. This warning left them saddened and confused.

Jesus had been warning His disciples for quite sometime that after they arrived in Jerusalem , the religious leaders would condemned Him. He would then be mocked, scourged and finally crucified. This would be followed by His resurrection on the third day (Matt. 20:18,19). But the disciples were having a hard time understanding this because it did not fit their expectations for the Messiah. Peter wanted to know where Jesus was going and why they could not follow. It is in response to this that Jesus brought the comforting words of 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.”

Thomas did not understand and 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.

The comfort that Jesus brought to the disciples as they faced their confusion and fear about His going away was based on the fact that they could trust Him; that He would be preparing a place for them; and that He would return to for them. The disciples would be able to come to the Father, because the way, and in fact the only means to come to God the Father, would be through Himself.

Jesus did not end the conversation there. He continued to give them words of comfort and encouragement concerning both the immediate and distant future. In the process, Jesus also reveals some wonderful things about the relationship the disciples, and we, can have with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

How to Know the Father (7-11)

Knowing Jesus is Knowing the Father (7-9)

Jesus goes on to say in John 14:7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” The statement flows out of Jesus being the way to the Father. The second statement is predicated on the first. The idea in the Greek here is that the one who has a continuing experiential knowledge (egnwkate – perfect) of Jesus will also have such a relationship (gnwsesqe – future) with the Father. The Greek word used here for knowledge refers to experiential knowledge as opposed to intellectual knowledge which is a different Greek word. This would be the knowledge of relationship rather than the knowledge of academic study. Since they have such a relationship with Jesus, then they have such a relationship with the Father and have seen Him.

This confuses Philip and he asks in verse 8, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” I think we should be careful about criticizing the disciples for not understanding. It is still confusing for people today, and unless you are very careful to pay attention to all that Jesus has said it is easy to end up in the same place as Philip. It should be pointed out too that Philip’s question also shows a strong desire to know God the Father and to be content. That was the goal of his life. That should be commended. Would it be enough for you to be shown the Father? Or do still think life is something other than that?

Jesus corrects Philip in verse 9. Jesus ^said to him, “Have I been so long with you (plural), and [yet] you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Jesus uses a mixture of singular and plural verbs and pronouns to respond to all of the disciples and give specific correction to Philip. In this verse Jesus points out that He had been with all of them for a long time. It has been around three years since Jesus first began His public ministry and called them to follow Him. However, the specific correction is for Philip for understanding what Jesus had taught and coming to know Him. In verses 10 and 11 Jesus gives the reasons for believing His statement that “he who has seen Me has seen the Father.”

Believe Because of His Words (10) 10“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you (plural) I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Jesus demonstrates that knowing Him is knowing the Father because all that Jesus has said to them has come at the Father’s initiative. Jesus’ words prove that He reveals the Father. Philip should have understood Jesus’ relationship with the Father because this truth had been pointed out to all of them before.

In John 3:32, John the Baptist said of Jesus, “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God.” In John 7:16 Jesus said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. In John 8:28 Jesus said to the Jews, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am [He,] and I do nothing on My own initiative, but I speak these things as the Father taught Me, and in verse 40 challenged these same Jews saying “But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. Only a day or two earlier Jesus had cried out in the Temple, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak.

To have heard Jesus speak was to hear what the Father had to say for the Father’s message came through Jesus. This does not imply that Jesus was a ventriloquist’s dummy for the Father. Jesus has distinct personhood apart from the Father. However, it does imply that everything Jesus said was in reality communication from God the Father. It is really no different for us today for what Jesus said has been written down. In addition, the Father continued to communicate to man after Jesus’ ascension through the Apostles (Eph. 2:20; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21; 3:2; Jude 1:17). When we read what Jesus and the Apostles have said in the Scriptures, then we are reading what the Father has communicated to man.

It is not just that Jesus claimed to be speaking the words of God, but that what He said always matched what was already known of God. Just because someone claims something does not make it true. There needs to be proof for the claim. If someone claims to be speaking the words of God, but what is said does not match what God has previously revealed, then that person is false. Moses had warned about false prophets who come saying perverse things about God or giving false prophecies (Deut. 13:1f; 18:19f). Peter and Paul both warn about false teachers in our own day (1 Tim. 4, 2 Tim. 4; 2 Pet. 2) We are not to fear them, but are to oppose them based on their contradictions to God’s word.

All that Jesus said was in keeping with God’s Word. His disciples recognized this. Peter, speaking for all of them, said in John 6:68 when Jesus questioned whether they would go away too like the unbelieving multitudes, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” Even Jesus’ enemies recognized this truth and were astonished at His teaching (Matt. 7:49; Mark 6:2f; Luke 4:22; John 7:46). The Pharisees even sent their disciples to say to Jesus, “Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.” Their purpose was to try to entrap Him, but yet they still recognized Jesus as a teacher of God’s truth.

Jesus’ words demonstrate that the Father spoke through Him and that is a basis for believing His claim to be in the Father and the Father in Him.

Believe Because of His Works (11) In verse 11 Jesus gives a second reason to believe. “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; otherwise believe on account of the works themselves. It was not just Jesus’ words, but His works as well that proved His relationship with the Father. This had also been pointed out previously.

Jesus proclaimed in John 5:19, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless [it is] something He sees the Father doing; for whatever [the Father] does, these things the Son also does in like manner. In verse 36 He added, the works which the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me. In Jesus’ confrontation with the Jews in John 10, Jesus said to them, “I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these bear witness of Me. He then defended His claim to be the Son of God in verses 37,38 saying, 37“If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; 38but if I do them, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.” Jesus’ claim is not that He does these on His own, but as the text here in John 14;10 says, it is the Father abiding in Him that does His work.

Again we find that it is not just the works, but the type and manner of work and miracles that is also important. Paul warned the Thessalonians that in the last days there would be “one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish. . .”. Jesus warned in Matt. 24:24, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”

Jesus’ miracles were of the type and nature that demonstrated that He was from God. Nicodemus said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God [as] a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” The multitudes recognized this too saying of Jesus, “When the Christ shall come, He will not perform more signs than those which this man has, will He?” (John 7:31). When questioned by the Pharisees, the man who had been born blind that Jesus had healed pointed directly to this miracle to prove Jesus’ character saying, “Well, here is an amazing thing, that you do not know where He is from, and [yet] He opened my eyes. 31 “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing, and does His will, He hears him. 32 “Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. 33 “If this man were not from God, He could do nothing” (John 9). In addition to these there was the range of miracles which included having authority over nature, demons, sickness, disease, and death. All these works demonstrate that the Father who was abiding in Jesus was doing them. Jesus was in the Father and the Father was in Him.

Jesus’ words and works prove His claim the revelation of God the Father so that he who has seen Him has seen the Father.

The Father Works Through the Son & His People (12-15)

In verses 12-15 Jesus explains further the work of the Father through Himself and through His people.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. 13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do [it.] 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

The ability of people to be used by God the Father is based the Father’s working through the Son and on the individual’s belief. These are important points. The individual must believe in Jesus. To believe in Jesus is to accept as true Jesus’ claims, including deity, and then live accordingly. A profess to believe in Jesus and then refuses to obey Him only proves that they are liars. More on this next week. The believer’s work is based on the fact that the Father works through the Son. Believers do not do the work on their own. They do not do it through any sort of incantations or magical spells. They are not tapping into some power source of the universe. Those are all ideas common in our day that come from our adversary. They are ideas that are flourishing in our society today because of the widespread influence Eastern thought, especially through the New Age movement. The believers work is based on God the Father doing His work through the real person of Jesus Christ.

Jesus uses His own works as the model of what those who believe in Him will be able to accomplish in even greater ways. The “greater” aspect of these works is in scope and breadth, not in how dramatic. The apostles did perform many miracles including casting out of demons (Acts 16:19), physical healings (Acts 5:16) and even raising at least one person from the dead (Acts 20:9-11). (Though there is no record of any specific miracle over the nature such as calming a storm, multiplying food, etc.). But it is not such miracles of the first order that are being referred to here.

Jesus’ work was to do the will of the Father in proclaiming Him and bringing about His glory (John 6:38f; 17:4f). Jesus’ ministry was restricted to the Jews living in Judea and the immediate surrounding areas with only a few notable exceptions (Matt. 15:24, cf. Samaritan woman, John 4 & Syrophonecian woman, Mark 7:26). The Apostles took the gospel throughout Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the then known world. Tradition has some of the apostles going to far away countries including Thomas going to India. Those that have believed on Jesus since then have obeyed His commandment (Matt. 28:19) to proclaim the gospel around the world. All major nations have had a gospel witness. It is only the smallest nations that remain.

But again it must be pointed out that the reason they will be able to accomplish these “greater” works is because Jesus will be with the Father. That is the basis for Jesus’ statements about prayer in verse 13-15. Hebrews 7:25 tells us that part of Jesus’ current ministry in heaven is making intercession for us with the Father. Jesus is the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5). That thought is presented here in the fact that Jesus is going to the Father (vs. 12) and that He will do whatever is asked in His name that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

There are many that take these verses, especially verse 14 about praying in Jesus’ name, and come up with the idea that a believer can ask anything they want in Jesus’ name with the expectation that God is then obligated to give it to them. This idea is often called the “word faith” movement and referred to by others as “name it, claim it” theology. Those espousing these ideas enter into a serious heresy because they failed to properly interpret the language used, study the Bible in context, and compare one passage with another.

The context here is that Jesus will do that in which the Father may be glorified in the Son. Jesus will not do anything that does not satisfy this purpose. So from the very start the context demands restrictions on what prayers will be answered affirmatively. It needs to be pointed out as well that it is Jesus who decides if what He does fits that purpose. We cannot decide that for Him. We have very limited knowledge about what will glorify the Father. Our understanding is too small and our field of vision too narrow. Just because we can think of a reason doesn’t mean it is a valid reason. People can come up with very convoluted reasoning which in the final analysis is utter nonsense. Just think of how many different ways you could try to justify why God should give you lots of money. Most of us could probably quickly name many good things we could do, yet the cold hard facts are that God knows we are better off trusting Him for our needs than relying on our own resources.

The context in this passage also includes verse 15. Those that will properly pray are those that love Jesus with a love that will be demonstrated by their keeping His commandments. It is those that love Jesus and obey Him that can pray in a manner in which the Father is going to be glorified. It is those that love Jesus and obey Him that are able to pray “in Jesus’ name.” Those that do not, cannot.

People often end their prayers with the phrase, “in Jesus’ name.” That is a fine practice as long as it is understood what is meant by this phrase. Those who follow the “word-faith” heresy or “name it, claim it” theology use it as an incantation that will somehow obligate God to do their bidding. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

To say “in Jesus’ name” is to invoke it to be done according to His will. A name represents the person, so to ask something in Jesus name is to for something that is in complete keeping with all that Jesus is and desires. Those that would use the phrase, “in Jesus’ name,” as an incantation are in fact guilty of practicing a form of sorcery. That may seem like strong language, but the practice of prayer should never resemble the casting of spells. The “Word Faith” movement erroneously believes that the words have power in themselves. Our ability to say words does not and cannot bind God. They can’t bind Satan or anything else for that matter. Words represent things whether tangible or intangible. They are not the thing itself. The only power in words is in the communication that is accomplished through them, and sometimes we find that words are inadequate.

Don’t you find that there are times that you cannot communicate your thoughts and emotions with words? Can you still pray then? Can you pray properly without words? Yes. Scripture acknowledges that there are times we are unable to express ourselves, yet prayer can still be accomplished according to God’s will. Romans 8:26,27 says, And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for [us] with groanings too deep for words; 27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to [the will of] God.

In the passage we are studying in John, it is Jesus’ role in prayer that is being emphasized. But the point is the same whether it is Jesus or the Holy Spirit doing the work of intercession on our behalf. Our prayers are to the Father through the ministry of Jesus on our behalf, and He will only do that in which the Father may be glorified in the Son.

The rest of Scripture bears out the fact that prayer is about God’s will and not man’s. The “Word Faith” theology errors because what could be more proud and arrogant than a human trying to tell God what to do? Even here it is “asking,” atew/ateo, meaning to “ask,” “request,” “beg.” It is not a demand.

Other Scriptures also make it clear about the nature of prayer. The apostle John comments in 1 John 5:14,15 stating, And this is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us [in] whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. Prayer must be according to God’s will. James 4:2,3 deals with the motivation in what we are to pray for stating “You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend [it] on your pleasures.” Selfish prayer may end with the words, “in Jesus name,” but such a prayer cannot be truly made in Jesus name.

The Coming of the Spirit (16-17)

Jesus brings out another source of comfort in verses 16,17 in the coming of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:16 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 [that is] the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, [but] you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.

The origin of the Holy Spirit is from the Father sent at the Son’s request. He comes as a gift to God’s people. In these verses He is also called the “Spirit of Truth” in much the same way that Jesus is called “the truth” (John 14:6). It is a name that reflects His nature and purpose of being true and leading people to the truth.

There are many cults that teach that the Spirit is something other than deity. They view Him as a force or an entity that lacks personhood. They error on both counts. The Holy Spirit is deity. He is the third person of the eternal triune Godhead. He has all the attributes of deity and is involved in all the work of deity. We will discuss this in more detail when we get to chapter 16. However, in this passage I want to point out that Jesus calls Him, “another helper,” and this title is an indicator of deity.

There are two Greek words for “another”: eteroV / heteros and alloV / allos. eteroV / heteros refers to another of a different type while alloV / allos refers to something of the same kind. If you have a dog and you get a cat, you getting another pet in the sense of eteroV / heteros. If you have Golden Retriever and you get another Golden Retriever, you are getting another pet in the sense of alloV / allos. In this passage Jesus says that the Father will give another, alloV / allos, helper. The Holy Spirit is of the same kind as Jesus.

“Helper” here is paraklatoV / (paraklatos) meaning “one called alongside.” The meaning of that is further explained at the end of verse 17 that the Holy Spirit will abide with them and be in them. They had been with Jesus for three years, but the Holy Spirit would be with them and in them forever.

But the Holy Spirit is not available to everyone for the world, referring to the system of evil rebellion against God, cannot receive Him. The world rejects the true God in favor of one of their own imagination. The world rejects the truth in favor of the lies that satisfy their own desires. Those that reject the truth cannot receive the Spirit of Truth. Those that follow Jesus, who is the truth, will also receive the Spirit of Truth who will abide with them and in them forever.

Jesus comforted His disciples about His soon departure by bringing precious truths and promises to light. Jesus was going away, but it was in order to prepare a place for them and He would return to receive them to Himself (1-4). There was also comfort in the start of a relationship with God the Father because they already knew Jesus who revealed Him to them. The truth of Jesus’ relationship with the Father was proven by both His words and works. The Father was doing His works through Jesus and Jesus was in the Father. There was comfort too because while Jesus was away, He would be their mediator with the Father. They could have confidence in their prayers because of this. And there was comfort in having the promise of the Holy Spirit who would come and abide with them forever.

Our comfort for the future is found in the same truths and promises. Except for the Holy Spirit’s ministry which is already come upon us, these promises are future for us as well. But what wonderful hope is in them. We can already come to know the Father by learning of the Son. We do look forward to Jesus’ return for us to take us to be with Him forever, but in the meantime what joy there is in having Jesus as our intercessory now. We can have confidence in prayer as we pray for God’s will in Jesus’ name. We can even rejoice that when we do not know how to pray, the ministry of Jesus and the Holy Spirit continues to make intercession for us.


Sermon Study Sheets


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 God is referred to as “Father.” 2) Talk with your parents about what your relationship with the Father is like.


Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What was Jesus’ major purpose in His discourse in John 14? How was He trying to help the disciples? What did Jesus mean that if they had known Him they would know the Father? Why did this confuse Philip? How do Jesus’ words show that He is in the Father and the Father in Him? How do Jesus works prove that? What “greater works” will those who believe in Jesus do? Why will they be able to do those greater works? What restrictions are there in prayer? What does it mean to pray ‘”in Jesus’ name?” What is the error of the “Word Faith” theology? What does loving Jesus and obeying Him have to do with prayer? Where does the Holy Spirit come from? What is His nature? What will He do? What does it mean that He is “another Helper?”

Sermon Notes – 2/25/2001 A.M.

Comfort For Those Who Believe, Pt. 1 John 14:7-17


How to Know the Father (7-11)

Knowing Jesus is Knowing the Father (7-9)

Believe Because of His Words (10)

John 3:3; John 7:16; 8:28, 40; 12:49

Deut. 13:1f; 18:19f; 1 Tim. 4, 2 Tim. 4; 2 Pet. 2

John 6:68; Matt. 7:49; Mark 6:2f; Luke 4:22; John 7:46

Believe Because of His Works (11)

John 5:19, 36; John 10:25,37,38

2 Thessalonians 2:9-1; Matt. 24:24

John 3:2; 7:31; 9:31-33;

The Father Works Through the Son & His People (12-15)

Greater Works

Prayer in Jesus’ Name (Heb.7:25)

1 John 5:14,15 James 4:2,3

The Coming of the Spirit (16-17)

eteroV / heteros vs. alloV / allos.


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