Sermon #96[1]John’s Gospel

 

            Title:               Relief for Troubled Hearts

 

            Text:                           John 14:1-3

            Subject:                     Christ’s Comfort for His People

            Reading:       Psalm 23:1-6

 

Psalm 23

A Psalm of David

 

1 The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

 

Introduction

 

I believe the Lord has given me a message for you. Turn with me to John 14. The title of my message is — Relief for Troubled Hearts. Our text will be John 14:1-3.

 

(John 14:1-3) “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. 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 unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.”

 

The three verses before us are rich in precious Gospel truth. For more than 2000 years they have been peculiarly precious to God’s elect throughout the world. Many are the hospital rooms which they have lightened! Many are the dying hearts which they have cheered! May God the Holy Spirit give us the comfort these precious words spoken by our dear Lord Jesus are intended to convey.

 

Heart Trouble

 

First, we have in this passage very precious relief for a very old problem. The problem is heart trouble. The relief is faith in Christ. — “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).

 

Heart trouble is the most common thing in the world. No rank, or class, or condition is exempt from it. No bars, or bolts, or locks can keep it out. — Heart trouble comes partly from inward things and partly from outward things, — partly from the body and partly from the mind, — partly from that which we love and partly from that which we fear.

 

The journey of life is full of trouble. Even the best of Christians have many bitter cups to drink between grace and glory. Even those who walk in the closest communion with the Savior find this world a vale of tears. All of Zion’s pilgrims must pass through waters of trouble, rivers of pain, and fires of adversity. — “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven.” There are Philistines without and Canaanites within who constantly wage war against our souls.

  • Sooner or later, we all must face the Giant Despair.
  • Sooner or later, we all must walk through Doubting Castle.
  • Sooner or later, we all must be bound in the Dungeon of Darkness.
  • Sooner or later, we all must be sifted as wheat.

 

No Break

 

When we read John 14, we should always consciously remember that there is no break between chapters 13 and 14. Our Lord Jesus is continuing the discourse he began after washing the disciples’ feet and the scene of Judas leaving him and the eleven faithful disciples to make his plans to betray the Master.

 

There may have been a slight pause after Judas left, as he turned again to the whole body of the Apostles; but there may have been no pause at all, as if to indicate that what Judas was about to do was in no way contrary to his purpose. In any event, the place, the time, and the audience are all the same.

 

Our Lord’s great object throughout this and the two following chapters seems clear and plain,His intent is to comfort, stablish, and build up his downcast, heart troubled disciples. Our blessed Savior saw that their hearts were troubled by many things.

  • They had seen him, their Master, whom they loved so dearly, “troubled in Spirit” (13:21).
  • Their carnal, Jewish expectations of a temporal kingdom under a temporal Messiah were now shattered.
  • The Lord Jesus had just told them that one of them would betray him.
  • They had all watched Judas get up and walk out of the room.
  • The Lord Jesus had just announced that he would only be with them a little while longer.
  • Then, at last, he told then that they could not go with him.
  • And the Lord Jesus had just told Peter that he would deny him three times before the rising of the morning sun. — “The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

 

For all these reasons this little band of weak believers was disquieted, troubled at heart, cast down, anxious, and fearful. The Master saw it, and proceeded to give them this sweet, blessed word of encouragement: — “Let not your heart be troubled.” Note this, too: — Our blessed Redeemer used the singular, “your heart,” not the plural, “your hearts.”

  • He was saying particularly to Peter, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
  • And he was saying to them all, collectively, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”
  • And he was saying to you and me, to all his own, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

 

Only One Relief

 

Faith in the Lord Jesus is the only sure medicine for troubled hearts. To believe more thoroughly, trust more entirely, rest more unreservedly, lay hold more firmly, lean back more completely, — this is the prescription which our Master urges on the attention of all his beloved disciples. No doubt the members of that little band which sat round the table at the last supper, had believed already. They had proved the reality of their faith by giving up everything for Christ’s sake. Yet, once more, he presses on them and on us the old, much needed, lesson, the lesson with which they first began: — “Believe! Believe more! Believe on Me!”

 

Our Savior’s words, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me,” have caused much confusion to some; but the confusion is needless. The Lord Jesus was not implying that faith in God and faith in him as the God-man Mediator were different. There is no faith in God apart from faith in Christ. Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Moses, and David, like all believers in the Old Testament, believed in the Savior, just as we do.

 

So why did our Master say to his disciples, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me? The words should be read as a double imperative. The Master was saying, “Believe! Believe! Believe God! Believe me!” They might even be read as a double indicative: — “You believe God and you believe me. So stop letting your heart be troubled.”

 

Still, we should never forget that between faith in Christ and strong faith in Christ there is a great gulf. There are degrees of faith. Some believers are weak in faith and some are strong in faith. Those who are strong in faith are very often very weak in faith. And those who are weak in faith are often strong in faith.

 

Illustration: Some of the martyrs who were burned at the stake, at first recanted; but later proved themselves strong, and sealed their testimonies with their blood.

 

We have all had to say, with the man who brought his demon possessed son to the Savior, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (Mark 9:24). But the weakest faith in Christ is saving faith. It should never be despised. Yet, weak faith is often the cause of great heart trouble. Vagueness and dimness of perception, fearfulness and fretfulness are the defects of weak faith. — The disciples on the storm tossed sea were, at the time, weak in faith, though they were truly strong believers. The Master said to them, “How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).

 

When we are doubtful and weak in faith, we do not see clearly whom we believe, what we believe, and why we believe. At such times more faith is the one thing needed. Like Peter on the water, we need to look more steadily and firmly, more confidently and fully to the Lord Jesus, and less at the waves and wind. It is written, — “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).

 

Faith in Christ is the only relief there is for heart trouble (1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalm 121:1-8).

 

(1 Peter 5:6-7) “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

 

(Psalms 121:1-8) “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2 My help [cometh] from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD [is] thy keeper: the LORD [is] thy shade upon thy right hand. 6 The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8 The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.”

 

Our Heavenly Home

 

We have, secondly, in this passage a very sweet and comfortable description of heaven and the blessed abode that awaits us on the other side of the grave. What a home our eternal home in heaven must be! We understand very little about heaven while we are here in the body. And the little that is revealed to us in the Scriptures is revealed more by negatives than by positive statements. We know much more about what will not be there than we do about what will be there. But here the Lord Jesus assures us of four distinct things about our heavenly home.

 

(John 14:2) “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

 

1.      Heaven is the “Father’s house.”

 

In my Father’s house!” — Heaven is the house of that God of whom the blessed Savior said, “I go to my Father, and your Father.” Heaven is our Father’s house. In other words, heaven is home: the home of Christ and his people. This is a sweet and touching expression.

  • Home is the place where we are loved for our own sakes, and not for our gifts or possessions.
  • Home the place where we are always loved and loved to the end.
  • Home is the place where we are never forgotten and always welcome.

We are in a strange land here. In heaven we will be home! In the life to come we will be at home forever!

 

2.      Heaven is a place of “mansions.”

 

It is a place of rich, lavish, lasting, permanent, and eternal dwellings. Here in the body we are in temporary lodgings, tents, and tabernacles. In these tabernacles of clay, we experiences many changes, both bad and good, both painful and pleasing. In heaven we shall be settled at last, and go out no more. — “Here we have no continuing city” (Hebrews 13:14). Our house not made with hands shall never be taken down. It shall never undergo change.

 

(2 Corinthians 4:17-5:9) “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding [and] eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen [are] temporal; but the things which are not seen [are] eternal.

 

5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in [this] tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore [we are] always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9 Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

 

3.      Heaven is a place of “many mansions,” not just mansions, but “many mansions!

 

There will be room for all believers and room for all sorts, for little saints as well as great ones, for the weakest believer as well as for the strongest. The feeblest child of God need not fear there will be no place for him. None will be shut out but impenitent sinners and obstinate unbelievers. In heaven there are many mansions because a great multitude shall dwell there with the Lord forever (Revelation 5:11-14; 7:1-17; 14:1-4; 19:1-9).

 

(Revelation 5:11-14) “And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. 14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”

 

(Revelation 7:1-17) “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, 3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. 4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. 5 Of the tribe of Juda [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses [were] sealed twelve thousand. 7 Of the tribe of Simeon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar [were] sealed twelve thousand. 8 Of the tribe of Zabulon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand. 9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

 

13 ¶ And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.”

 

(Revelation 14:1-4) “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: 3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. 4 These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.”

 

(Revelation 19:1-9) “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: 2 For true and righteous [are] his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. 3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. 5 ¶ And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

 

4.      Heaven is a place where Christ himself dwells forever.

 

And he is not be content to dwell there without us! — “Where I am, there ye shall be also” is his promise. We should never imagine that we are alone, or that we shall ever be alone or neglected. Christ is our ever present God and Savior; and he shall be with us and us with him forever (John 17:24).

 

(John 17:24) “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.”

 

Our Saviour, — our elder Brother, — our Redeemer, who loved us and gave himself for us, shall be in the midst of us forever. What we shall see, and whom we shall see in heaven, we cannot fully conceive yet, while we are in the body. But one thing is certain: — we shall see Christ. — And “when we see him, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is!

 

O blessed hope! O sweet consolation! To the worldly and careless and unbelieving these things may seem to be the empty dreams of deluded and ignorant men and women full of religious superstition; but to all who feel in themselves the workings of the Spirit of God, to all in whom the Son of God dwells they are full of unspeakable comfort and fill our souls with joyful anticipation, as we look “for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 21).

 

Good Things to Come

 

Thirdly, we have in verse 3 solid ground for expecting good things to come.

 

(John 14:3) “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

 

I go to prepare a place for you.” — Sweet, sweet promise! Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people: a place which the Lord Jesus Christ himself has made ready for us.

  • He has prepared it by procuring a right for every sinner who believes to enter in by the merit of his obedience and the merit of his blood! None can stop us, and say we have no business there.
  • Our Lord Jesus has prepared it by going before us as our Head and Representative, and taking possession of it as our Forerunner, the Head, Representative, and Forerunner of all the members of his mystical body, the Church. As our Forerunner He has marched in, leading captivity captive, and has planted his banner in the land of glory.
  • He has prepared it by carrying our names with him as our High Priest into the holy of holies, and making angels ready to receive us.

When we enter the gates of heaven, we will find that we are neither unknown nor unexpected.

 

Here is another sweet promise: — “I will come again and receive you unto myself.” Christ will not wait for us to come up to him. He will come down to us, to raise us from our graves and escort us to our heavenly home. As Joseph came to meet Jacob, so the Lord Jesus will come to call his people together and guide us to our eternal inheritance in heaven.

 

The second advent ought never to be forgotten. I have not preached about it as much as should; and we do not think of it as we should, with constant expectation, standing as it were upon the tiptoe of anticipation. Great is the blessedness of looking back to Christ coming the first time to suffer and die for us as our sin-atoning Substitute. But let us never forget the glory that must and shall follow his sufferings.

  • His Glory!
  • And our Glory!

 

(1 Corinthians 15:51-58) “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55 O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56 The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. 57 But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 ¶ Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

 

(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

 

(2 Thessalonians 1:7-10) “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.”

 

When I have breathed my final breath

And dropped this robe of flesh in death,

When my appointed work is done

And my allotted time is gone,

Don’t stand around my grave and cry. ―

I’ll not be there. I did not die.

 

My Savior came to call me home,

And I with Him to heav’n have gone!

Now I am free from sin and pain;

And with the glorified I reign!

Don’t stand around my grave and cry.

I’m glorified! I did not die!

 

Seated with Jesus on His throne,

Glorified by what He has done,

I am a trophy of His grace.

Rejoicing, I behold His face:

Don’t stand around my grave and cry. ―

I am with Christ! I did not die!

 

My body lies beneath the clay

Until the resurrection day.

In that day when Christ comes again,

Body and soul unite again!

Don’t stand around my grave and cry. ―

Rejoice with me! I did not die!

 

(John 14:1-3) “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. 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 unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.”

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com

 

 



[1]           Grace Baptist Church, Dingess, WV — (Saturday — September 25, 2010)

            Danville — Sunday Morning — September 26, 2010

            Tape:                          John #96