Do not let your hearts be troubled. Jesus comforts his people with:
- What he will do (2-3)- he prepares a place for those who trust in him! And the thing to get excited about is not whether they are rooms or mansions or if each gets their own; we should be excited that we get to be WITH HIM!
- What he has done (4-11)- Jesus has shown us the way to the Father (6); Philip thinks there is more he needs to do to show us the Father (8). But Jesus says his words and works are the very words and works of the Father Himself (10-11). The point of the miracles are not for us to duplicate them! It was to show us the Father!
- What he does through us (12-14)- Christians can do things with “greater” effectiveness because of what Jesus has accomplished. And Jesus assumes we will pray as we do these “things”. Prayer is the great comfort because we get to be involved with what Jesus is doing to bring His Father glory.
In order to illustrate what the disciples may have felt when Jesus told them he was going away, I told Kailua Baptist Church that I needed a sabbatical, then told them I was kidding. I would not recommend this to any pastor, but, o, did it illustrate it perfectly!
A couple more sermon outlines from John (our sermon recordings did not work). This passage comes on the heels of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, and then the betrayer leaving their midst.
There are at least four marks of Christian love:
- It is relatively new (31-34)- now that Judas has gone out, Jesus’ death is set in quick order. Jesus can command a new love now because the gospel is about to be fulfilled! Love has never been clearer than in the earthly life of Jesus; that is how this is a new command
- It must imitate Christ (34)- Jesus loved his disciples with a self-sacrificial, gospel-centered, commitment-filled love, a love that is a love for people who do not deserve it. He showed them this love from day one until the day he died on the cross, and then until he was taken up to heaven. That is how he loved; Christians must also love one another that way.
- It must be visible (35)- “by this all men will know you are my disciples” means people will see Christians loving each other. It is not just a warm feeling we have toward each other; it is expressed visibly.
- It proves your faith (35-38)- Peter wanted to keep following Jesus; he wanted to show he was a committed disciple. He said he would lay down his life for Jesus! But that profession of faith is not how Jesus said we are to show we are his disciples; it is by our love for each other that we show it.
One word on “all men will know” that we are Jesus’ disciples by our love: that is a direct call to world missions. “All men” will never know we love each other if we do not take that gospel love out there.
This is probably not that exciting for most, but I am pretty sure this week will be my 40th sermon in the gospel of John (John 14.1-12). This is so much fun! God has used the gospel of John to grow me so much in my faith, and I have seen God use it to grow many others in our church. This still remains a dream come true, to be able to expositionally work my way through books of the Bible with one church family. I love it! Praise the Lord! Two years ago I could not imagine that I would be doing what I am doing right now.
It has been a challenge. Many Thursdays, Fridays, and even Saturdays have come where I was so unsure if I had the text right, but God has ALWAYS been gracious. Once I had to completely change the portion of the text and the outline on a Saturday. It is always a struggle to remain in author’s intent, and not try to run off with too much of my own theological hobby horse with certain texts (many opportunities in John!). I have been amazed at how well the congregation has received things like: God’s wrath remains on those who reject the Son (John 3.36), only those the Father draws come to him (John 6.44), and He blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts (John 12.40). The sheep seem to recognize the Shepherd’s voice!
There are so many places in the Scriptures to go, but I will just start with this one: in Acts 2, Peter addresses the crowd in Jerusalem about the visible work of the Holy Spirit that they see. He tells them all about Jesus Christ, his good works, his death, his resurrection, and his ascension. Then in v36 he tells them “God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” Then v38 says “When they heard this they were cut to the heart” and asked Peter and the Apostles what they should do. Peter does NOT say “bow your head and repeat after me.” He says “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
- We could easily say Peter preached the gospel, and if you keep reading, about three thousand got saved that day.
- It seems regeneration happened when they heard and understood who exactly Jesus is (at least here, regeneration seems distinct from indwelling; not separated, but distinct). Would they have been able to explain the dual natures of Christ at that point? Maybe, maybe not. But could we say they knew the real Jesus now? YES!
- There is a great balance of explaining who Jesus is (both Lord and Christ), what he did (signs and wonders, death, resurrection, ascension), and what their specific sin was (killed by the hands of lawless men, you crucified), and the Holy Spirit seems to use all that to “cut them to the heart”.
- What was the moment of conversion? The simplest interpretation would be that when they ask “What shall we do” they are already at that moment converted by the Holy Spirit, born again, regenerated, got a new heart– which immediately leads to repentance and faith, which Peter could call them to and they would respond positively because they are now born again.
- There is no need to delay baptism because there is discernable conversion. These people nailed Jesus to the cross about a month or so before this. Now they are cut to the heart and are willing to be baptized into the name of the one they killed. That is discernable conversion. Look for discernable conversion. Discernable conversion. Once you have that, baptize them!
- Those 3000 souls immediately devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching, fellowship, Lord’s new covenant supper, and the prayers. Anyone not willing to devote themselves to that is not discernably converted. Look for the willingness to repent.
I hope that does not overcomplicate or oversimplify things. Do whatever it takes to introduce people to the real Jesus, not just introducing them to the good news about him. These people in Acts 2 are justified by faith in Jesus alone. I am not sure if they could have told you that based on what Peter explained to them, but by trusting in Christ, they do believe that the only way they could get right with God (justification) is if they trust and follow this Lord and Christ (faith in him alone).