- Sermon Notes
Hope for Troubled Hearts
Here in John chapter 14, Jesus is in the upper room with His disciples. They’ve just had the Passover Supper together and He is now giving them some of His last words. He is literally just hours from being arrested, so these final words have great significance.
The very first words of this chapter speak right to our hearts. “Let not your heart be troubled.” It’s interesting that He begins with, “let not…” In other words, don’t allow your heart to be troubled. It’s actually a direction, I command you might say, of the Lord.
He doesn’t want our hearts to be troubled and He’s giving us direction, “See to it that you don’t allow your heart to be troubled.” A troubled heart is anxious and in distress, there’s a lack of peace. These are the things that will defeat us and shipwreck our faith if we allow them to remain in our hearts.
We certainly understand what it means to have troubles in our lives, we live in a troubled world. For some it might mean legal troubles. Just the words deposition or court hearing runs chills up your spine. For others its financial troubles; bill collectors and overdue notices stacking up. It might be relational troubles, a close friend has let you down. Or could be physical troubles; you have symptoms and don’t know what it could mean and you’re afraid to go to the doctor. Or maybe you have been to the doctor but didn’t like what he said. For others it’s marital troubles. You can’t communicate and you’ve had the same argument for the last 16 years, or maybe it’s just become routine, but you were hoping for romance. For others it’s their job. They can’t find value in what they do, or there are troubles with their manager or workers around them.
Jesus certainly understands, but these are earthly troubles with earthly experiences. Look at the disciples at this very point, Jesus just told them some very troubling things and of course we understand that just a few hours later they would be thrown into a sea of troubles that would shake them to the very core of their being.
Jesus just told them that there was a betrayer in their midst and they didn’t know who it was. Judas Iscariot had just left them, but they thought it was to do an errand. Jesus also just said that He was leaving them and that they couldn’t follow.
Even the bold Peter was being shaken. Clearly he was in the trusted inner circle, but now Jesus said that Peter would betray Him. In fact, Jesus said that they would all fall away that very night. They had every reason to be troubled.
These words of Jesus are compelling, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” But then He gives them the strength and faith to go through the troubles. These are the words we need to hear for our lives as well.
I. Faith is the Answer to a Troubled Heart
- After telling them to not let their heart be troubled, Jesus then said, “Believe in God, believe also in Me.”
- In other words, faith is the answer to a troubled heart. Faith is the answer to fear.
- They believed in God, that’s good. Now they need to believe in Jesus, even though He will leave them.
- How should they believe? He said He was going to prepare a place for them and come again to receive them to Himself. He also said that He would send another Helper, the Spirit of truth.
- Jesus is strengthening their faith by speaking the truth that will transform their fear, their troubled hearts into faith and peace.
John 14:27-28, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
- People have troubled hearts when they don’t know what to do, they don’t know how bad things might get and so they react as if the worst possible thing will come true.
- Faith changes our perspective. “You believe in God, believe also in Me,” Jesus said, and then in another place, “I will never leave you nor forsake you, I will be with you even to the end of the age.”
- We need God’s perspective in times of trouble.
2 Corinthians 10:7, You are looking at things as they are outwardly.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5, For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
- Take every fearful thought captive, take every defeated thought captive. That’s a great word to strengthen faith. We have to speak to our own self-doubt and fear. We need to give fear an answer.
- There is a spiritual solution, the weapons we use, however, are not of this world.
Illus – Putting on a tool belt might be an excellent illustration of the point. If we understand how these tools work, we can begin to address the problems and difficulties we face.
- We feel helpless when we feel ill-equipped; there’s nothing we can do about it, we think, so we walk away or get angry, but getting angry is not God’s solution, it only makes it worse.
James 1:19-20, Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
B. Jesus is the way
- One of the most famous things Jesus taught is found in verse six, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.”
- He is the way to the Father. Because of the forgiveness of sin made possible by the blood of Jesus, we can now have relationship to God as our Father.
- But He also walks with us on the path of this life giving us what we need to not be troubled of heart and have the peace that comes from faith.
Illus - I could give you directions to go somewhere, or I could give you a map, but the best way of all is if I put you in my car and take you there myself. That’s the point Jesus is making also, I’ll take you there. Stay close to me.
- Now that I’ve lived a few years, I can look back at life and see the hand of God moving.
- Jesus said He is the way to the Father, and He walks with us until we get there.
Illus - I can see the hand of God moving through so many events, even in some of the hard things. He was preparing me to serve by growing up poor, working on a farm, being a janitor, working in the restaurant, etc. how God brought my wife into my life, getting to serve in ministry, paying for Bible school, and so much more.
Psalm 37:23, 31 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way… The word of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.
II. God Loves to Help You
- Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life; and that no one comes to the Father, but through Him, He then explains the significance of what it means to come to the Father.
- First, He explains that He is in the Father and the Father is in Him. That relationship explains all the marvelous things that Jesus demonstrated in His life and ministry, but then He includes us in that relationship as well.
- What a powerful answer for a troubled heart. Their world is about to be turned upside down, but if they would take hold of what Jesus is saying, and walk in faith, God will turn their world around.
- People often settle for far less than God’s best because they won’t take hold of what God asks them to do. Jesus said in verse 15, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.”
- He knows we live in a world filled with troubles, but God is equipping us so we can be victorious.
A. Pray to your Father
- In verses 13-14 Jesus taught about the significance of praying, of asking in His name.
- Although some misinterpret these verses and use them to suggest that you can use God’s power to do anything you want. That’s not what He means.
- Jesus said the Father abiding in Him does His works. That’s the point, it’s what God wants to do through you; and what does God want to do? Speak words of life and bring people into a living relationship to God.
James 4:2-3, You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Illus - I was on the phone with someone this week and I said, “I’m glad you’re there.” He responded, “I’ll be here unless I win the lottery, then I’ll spend the rest of my life playing golf.” What an opportunity that was.
- Some people get hung up on the phrase “greater works than these shall he do.” This is often used by those who focus on signs, miracles, and wonders to justify making these things the main point.
- But do you know anyone who walks on water, or calms raging storms immediately by giving a command, or raises people after they are dead four days, or resurrected themselves after three days? If not, perhaps Jesus meant something else.
- God’s heart is to take the gospel to the ends of the earth and to reconcile people to Himself. That’s what God is doing now. Do I believe that God heals people today? Absolutely. Pray, ask, seek, knock.
Luke 11:9-10, 13, “I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he was seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened.… If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
- Jesus said that the Father will give another Helper, that is, the Spirit of truth.
- You live in a world of troubles? God will send a Helper. There’s much to say about the Holy Spirit, but it’s interesting that Jesus said that He is the Spirit of truth.
- To be victorious in a world of troubles, we need more than a set of truths, we need to be true. There’s a great difference. Truths are something you can know and understand, but to become true is a condition of the heart.
Luke 6:45, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.”
- When your heart is true you speak truth.
Illus - I don’t often quote from Psychology Today, but they had an interesting article about how often people lie in their daily lives. There was a survey where people were asked how many lies they had told in the past 24 hours. The average number of lies told per day was 1.65. They concluded that many participants were lying about the extent of their lying.
Illus – Do Christians lie? Well, not deceitful, demonic, pit of hell kinds of lies, at least we should hope not, no, they tell kindhearted lies; “I’ll pray for you,” or “How’re you doing?”, “I’m fine,” or “You look great, that fits you perfectly,” or “that’s the best meal I’ve ever had.”
- The Spirit of truth is sent by God to help us, first, by moving us to live in the truth. Jesus said it’s the truth that will set you free. Secondly, the Spirit of truth teaches us what’s right and leads us where God wants us to go.
John 16:8, 13, “When He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment… When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”
- Sometimes people say, “I’m struggling with this or that.” Why are they struggling? Because it’s wrong, it’s poison to the soul, and the Spirit is wrestling.
- Jesus also spoke of love for Him. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” This is how to be victorious in a troubled world.
- The Father loves you, but when you move away from His love, instead of the conviction of the Holy Spirit, you experience the condemnation of the enemy. Apply these things and be victorious.
John 14:1-17 NASB