“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:1–3, ESV)
How often do you think about heaven? When you think about Heaven I wonder how you understand Heaven? Finally, I wonder when you do think about Heaven what do you consider to be the centerpiece, the focal point of heaven?
I ask those questions this morning in light of how Jesus reminded the disciples about His Father’s house – which is synonymous with Heaven.
If I had to guess I would say that for many people, including many Christians the only time they think about Heaven is when someone they love has died or when the day of their own death approaches.
Thoughts of Heaven are meant to provide comfort to us but not just in death but also in our times of trouble. The promise and reward of Heaven is meant to be a comfort in both living and dying.
MAKE THIS PERSONAL
What I would like for you to do this morning is to put yourself into the shoes of the disciples so that you hear the words Jesus spoke that day to them as if He is speaking them to you this morning. Ask the Holy Spirit to make these words as real to you today as they were to the disciples to whom Jesus first spoke these words.
This passage is not hard to understand, it speaks directly to the reality of life.
LET NOT YOUR HEARTS BE TROUBLED
For us to properly understand these words we must as always keep them in context. Remember that when the Bible was originally written there were no chapter or verse divisions. They were added later to help us navigate through the Scriptures. Because we now have chapter and verse divisions it’s easy to lose sight of the context and miss the full impact of what the Bible says. That could easily be the case here. If we do not understand the context in which these words were spoken the weight and the comfort of them could very well be lost on us.
THE LORD’S HEART WAS TROUBLED
If we back up to John 12:27 we hear these words from Jesus. “Now is my soul troubled.” Why was the soul of our Lord troubled? Because He knew that the time had come for his betrayal and denial by those he loved. The time had come for His arrest, mock trial, cruel beating and tortuous crucifixion. As Jesus anticipated what He was about to endure His heart and rightly so became troubled.”
Then in John 13 we have the recording of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples – including the one who would betray him and the one who would deny him. After washing the feet of the disciples, they ate the Passover meal together. During the meal in verse 21 John records “After these things Jesus was troubled in spirit.” Jesus then went on to reveal that he was going to be betrayed, that he was going to be leaving them and that one of them was going to deny him. He would be betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter.
These three pieces of information coupled with the Lord’s own troubled spirit caused the hearts of the disciples to be troubled. We also must keep in mind the political and religious unrest rumbling through Jerusalem. Tension and trouble surrounded them. Part of the religious unrest was caused by the words, works and claims of Jesus himself.
Death, betrayal, denial, and uncertainty. The perfect storm for trouble. A troubled heart is a heart, a spirit that is disturbed, that is stirred up, that is agitated. To be troubled is to experience great mental distress. This is what both the Lord and the disciples were experiencing.
As the disciples were experiencing all these emotions they were understandably troubled, their spirits were agitated.
What did Jesus say to them? Did he say, “Come on fella’s keep your chins up! It’s going to be alright.” Isn’t that we are tempted to do some many times. People we know, are going through tough times and we offer pious platitudes and greeting card motivational poster advice. That is no help at all.
Please don’t do that! Follow the example of Jesus acknowledge their pain, acknowledge their trouble. Then continue to follow the example of Jesus. Speak words of comfort to them. Notice what Jesus does during their trouble.
CHANGE YOUR FOCUS
Jesus does not direct their attention to the circumstances rather he directs their attention away from their circumstances. The lesson for us is that regardless of the trouble we may find ourselves facing, regardless of the source of the trouble I should follow the counsel of the Lord Jesus and by thinking Biblically change what I am focused on.
The causes of their trouble were beyond their control. So, Jesus directs them to what they could control.
What could they control? What they believed and knew to be true. They could not control the religious leaders bent on destroying Jesus. They could not control the actions of Judas. They could not control God’s will for Jesus to leave them. All of that was out of their control and therefore to focus on those things at that moment would not help them it would only serve to feed their troubled hearts.
But that doesn’t mean they were hopeless or helpless. Often in our own periods of trouble we lose hope and feel helpless. If you are a believer remember that you are never without hope and you are never helpless.
There are three things that they believed and therefore could control and that is what Jesus helps them to focus on.
In our times of trouble Jesus says to us:
- Don’t forget your faith
- Don’t forget your future
- Don’t forget whose coming for you
DON’T FORGET YOUR FAITH
Jesus counsels us to combat the reality of trouble in this present world with TRUTH! Both present truth and future truth. The present Truth about God and Jesus and future truth about the world to come “Let not your heart be troubled. Believe in God and believe also in me.”
Our Lord’s counsel is to trust God. To trust our heavenly Father. After all your Father is holy and because He is holy He cannot, He will not do His children wrong.
The trouble I’m experiencing is the result of the fallen world that I live in, the trouble that I’m experiencing is the direct result of life in a fallen world groaning out for redemption. Before sin entered the world, there was no trouble. Eden was described as Paradise - what did Jesus say to the dying thief? Today you will be with me in Paradise. This world is no longer a Paradise, it is a world filled with trouble and turmoil.
TESTING BY TROUBLE
The trouble of this world will put my trust in the Father and the Son to the test. Who will I believe? Who will I trust? Will I continue to walk with the eyes of faith? Or will I turn from what I believed to be true before the trouble came?
The Lord’s counsel to His own is this: in your time of trouble continue to believe in God the Father and to believe in the Father’s Son. In your time of trouble there is the danger that my focus will be on the uncertainty that I’m facing and not on what I know to be true. Jesus encourages us to believe in God and to also believe in Himself.
The Father and Lord Jesus has provided you with every reason to believe in them, to have faith in them. What is the old saying? “Don’t abandon in the dark what you believed in the light.” That is certainly good advice. Don’t forget your faith!
Jesus told us in the Scriptures that in this world we will have trouble. Job who certainly knew his share of trouble said, “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.”
Peter wrote: “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
The Book of Proverbs states: “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”
The testing of my faith serves to strengthen and to prove my faith, to strengthen my trust in God the Father and God the Son.
Second Jesus counsels those with a troubled heart…
DON’T FORGET YOUR FUTURE
To the disciples with troubled hearts, who were emotionally agitated, he tells them don’t forget your future. He wanted them to know that the trouble would one day be over, and their future was already secured for them. He wanted them to know that their hope was not in this world but is in heaven.
Richard Phillips highlights for truths we can take away from what Jesus says here about heaven.
- Heaven is the beloved home for the family of God. That’s why Jesus referred to heaven as “my Father’s house.” J.C. Ryle commenting on this says; “(Home is) a place where we are generally loved for our own sakes, and not for our possessions; the place where we are loved to the end, never forgotten and always welcome.”
- Heaven is our permanent and eternal dwelling. This means that heaven is a real place. It’s a real solid place. It’s going to be a real house, with real streets, inhabited by real people. Rent free! Mortgage free! Can never be evicted!
What does the Bible say about Abraham? “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:10, ESV)
Abraham like so many others since him have longed for a real home, a permanent home, a forever home. And in Christ they find what they have been looking for!
Remember that the Bible describes a Christian as an alien and a stranger in this world. This is our temporary home. That’s why we should have a longing to be with Christ in our eternal home.
- Heaven is the spacious provision made for Christ’s people. Notice that Jesus said that in my Father’s house are MANY! Rooms. When I was a just a wee little lad, I had to share a bedroom with my brother. Many kids do that. But when we get to heaven no sharing needed! In my Father’s house are many rooms, plenty of room, plenty of space.
Again J. C. Ryle comments: “there will be room in heaven for all believer’s 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.”
- Heaven is a place where Jesus went to prepare a place for us.
How did Jesus prepare a place for us? By removing the greatest obstacle that kept us from God – our sin. Through his virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, glorious resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father. Jesus has made the way, He has removed the barrier, He has torn down the dividing wall of hostility that separated us from a Holy, Righteous God.
The preparation of Jesus is spiritual in nature. He has gone to prepare a place for us!
Notice how personal Jesus makes this.
“Let not YOUR heart be troubled. YOU believe in God believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms If it were not so would I have told YOU that I go to prepare a place for YOU? And if I go to prepare a place for YOU, I will come again and will take YOU to myself!!!! That where I am there YOU may be also.
If you are in Christ He has done this for you!
Oh, how kind and loving and gracious is our Lord. He is preparing a place for me in the Father’s house! You have done all the work you Lord Jesus have done all the preparation! What an expression of your love!
The Christmas season will soon be upon us and perhaps you will be having family come to visit. What normally happens when we’re expecting people? We prepare for them. Many times, we make extensive preparations for them. We want everything to be just right. So, we go the extra mile, we clean, we wash the linens maybe buy new towels for the guest bathroom. Why do we do these things? Because we love them, and we want the best for them. Don’t you think that Jesus wants the best for us? Of course, he does. In His Father’s house he has prepared a place for each believer!
Don’t forget your faith, don’t forget your future and thirdly…
- DON’T FOGET WHO IS COMING FOR YOU
Now let’s read verse 3 together again.
“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3, ESV)
What happens when a believer dies? Well Paul said “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8, ESV)
When the believer dies, their spirt goes to heaven. While their body awaits the coming resurrection and glorification. Therefore, when Jesus says, “I will come again” He is referring to His second coming and when He comes the second time notice carefully what He says “I will come again (that’s a promise, you have my word on it) and will take you to myself that where I am you may be also.”
Jesus is coming again not to take you to heaven but to take you to himself in Heaven! That’s what heaven is – eternally being in the presence of Christ!
This gives us some idea of how much Jesus loves us. He just doesn’t beam us to heaven He returns He comes back for us and takes us to himself. I love you, I want you to be with me forever!
The attractional power of Heaven is Jesus! Yes, finally I will no longer battle sin in my flesh. Yes, the trouble of this life will be over forever. All the junk we deal with in this life we will finally be rid of. No more lies, no more arguing, no more disappointments.
When you think about Heaven the first person you should have an overwhelming desire to see should be Jesus. Not your Mom or Dad, not your husband or wife. But the One who came back for you to take you to himself.
The lonely will be lonely no more because Jesus will forever be the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
Those afflicted with depression and mental illness will enter the eternal joy of the Lord.
The wandering children of God will wander no more as Jesus takes them to himself and shows them to the room in His Father’s house especially prepared for them.
Jesus is the attractional pull of heaven for the believer. I beg you to begin to think of heaven in these terms and it will change you. It will fuel your desire to know Christ because you are going to be with Christ forever. It will be a great aid to your sanctification. “And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.” (I Jn. 3:3)
The attraction of Heaven is not what’s there, you know the streets of God and the crystal clear river of life. The attraction of Heaven is not what’s there it’s whose there! Jesus Christ!