March 2, 2003
INTRODUCTION – The reality & danger of discouragement – our nation is deeply divided over the war; our economy is in the pits & some say will get much worse if we go to war; warnings from the state dept. and the prophets re: terrorist attacks or other kinds of disasters; then at the local level – – friends/brothers/sisters letting us down; God not showing up, seemingly not answering our prayers – allowing our difficult circumstances to continue; discouragement of not seeming to be making an impact for Christ
The disciples’ deep discouragement
Jesus had repeatedly said that He was going away (7:34; 8:21; 12:8, 35; 13:33) And that He would die (12:32,33) That one of the 12 was a traitor and would betray Him (13:21) That Peter would disown Him three times (13:38) That all the disciples would fall away (Matt. 26:31) The cumulative weight of these revelations must have been devastating to these men who had given up everything to be a part of Jesus’s growing movement to establish the kingdom of God
How can we beat discouragement?? John 14:1-3
I. Jesus expects us to guard over our heart and beat discouragement. Vs. 1a This is a command! Fret not, it leads to evil doing – Psa. 37 Prov 4:23 “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it – flow the Springs of life.”
Increasingly today Americans are watching what they eat, lowering their cholesterol, exercising regularly to protect their hearts.
As important as this is, taking care of our spiritual heart is even more important.
“Listen to your heart. For above all else, the Christian life is a love affair of the heart. The truth of the gospel is intended to free us to love God and others with our whole heart. When we ignore this heart aspect of our faith and try to live out our religion solely as correct doctrine or ethics, our passion is crippled , or perverted and the divorce of our soul from the heart purposes of God toward us is deepened.” John Eldridge & Brent Curtis in “The Sacred Romance”.
So how can we guard over our heart and beat this battle with discouragement??
II. Believe in or trust in the Lord – vs. 1 not your feelings, not your circumstances, not your doctrine or theology, not your church, not your heritage, but the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Specifically trust in His character/attributes & in His teaching/promises about life and the future, and His specific words, promises and prophecies to you
Ex. Of Wintston Churchill during the bombings
Interesting to me that Jesus commands them to trust in Him at a time when He has plainly told them He is going to be betrayed and killed.
Why this curious phrase, “believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus often speaks of the oneness He shares with the Father. He is also after specific intentional devotion to and faith in Him as the Son of God.
III. Place your hope in heaven, not in the things of earth. Vs. 2,3 Someone once said of some Christians that “they were so heavenly minded, they were of no earthly good.” I suppose what they were getting at is all some Christians think about is going to heaven and being with Jesus, and thus they have kind of a lame duck experience or impact on earth. They really don’t care about people around them. They really do not intend to help people come to faith in Christ and grow as His disciples. I suppose this could be a problem with some people.
But a greater problem could be put like this: “They were so earthly minded they were of no earthly good.” You see if increasingly my hope is being in heaven with Jesus, then I can obey the Lord on earth and do His bidding, and it really doesn’t matter how it goes, how people treat me, what people think of me, … My joy and happiness and security is not wrapped up in that. My joy and happiness and security and especially my hope are wrapped up in the reality that I will soon be home with my Savior face to face and I receive at that time an inheritance that has been waiting for me
One of the things I did in preparing for this message is try to get a feel for how heaven affected the apostles. Stephen – Acts 7:54,55 Paul – Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” II Cor. 5:1-10 Phil. 3:20, 21 “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself.” Col. 1:3-5 I Thess. 1:9,10 “ Peter – I Peter 1:3-5
A. One of the things Jesus is doing in heaven is preparing a specific place for you vs. 2,3 This phrase “dwelling place” has the idea of permanence. Actually the home Jesus is preparing for you is your real permanent home. This place is temporary. That’s why the Bible calls us believers aliens or pilgrims or exiles. This really is not our home. We are truly just a passing through as the old hymn states.
A missionary returning to his church after ten years on the mission field was dismayed to find that he received no attention on his homecoming, while a returning war hero received a royal reception. While he was complaining to the Lord, the Lord spoke to him and said, “Don’t you understand? You’re not home yet!”
B. Jesus desperately wants you to be with Him in heaven vs.2, 3 Heb. 9:24 “For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;”
C. Jesus will soon come back to receive His bride to be forever with Him. Vs. 3 He is not going to leave us here. He has not forgotten about us or given up on us. He is consumed with thoughts of us.
CONCLUSION – March 3rd uncertainty –
COMMUNION – meditate on what Jesus Christ has reserved for you in heaven – thank Him and praise Him for that; thank Him that because of His spilled blood for you – the sin barrier between you and the Living God has been forever broken.