John 14:18-31

John 14:18-31

John 14:23Vintage message from January 13, 2002.

We as believers, just as they as disciples, oftentimes find ourselves in hard situations, and we become troubled and we worry and we fret, and regardless of how hard the situation might seem, Jesus is still in control. You know, Jesus didn’t die by accident. He wasn’t arrested and taken to a cross merely by bad circumstances. He chose this. He chose to be obedient to His Father for your sake and for my sake. And so He tells His disciples, even though He’s had to tell them all these hard things, “Do not let your heart be troubled.” I believe it’s a message that you and I need to take to heart because we face struggle every day in our life. Trouble comes our way. Hardships are there. We are born into a world of flesh and trouble. But yet, we have been given the promise of a Holy Spirit that would be our Counselor…

He not only tells us to not be troubled in our heart, but then He takes us to the place of telling us how we can accomplish that… He says, “A new command I give to you: that you love as I have loved you.” No longer is it: you love, you try to figure it out, you do it on your own… It’s not left up to us to know how to do that loving any more. Jesus now says, this is a command; a new command. That you love as I have loved. So now Jesus becomes the standard. We no longer have an excuse. “Well, I didn’t know. I don’t know how to do it.” We are given, right here, the book of instructions on how Jesus accomplished loving. How He went about sharing His life with those that He was involved with, those that He came in contact with. It’s written out in detail for us. All we need do is study it, and we’ll know how to love. We don’t have to try to figure it out any more, but He does make sure we understand that if we’re going to love Him, that we will obey it; that command…

You know, we don’t like the truth. The world hates the truth. The church struggles so much with the truth. But guess what? I don’t care how much the world the hates it or how much I struggle with it, the truth is still the truth, and the Holy Spirit will not deny that truth. And if you want to be right with God, if you want to know how to not be troubled in your heart, if you want to know how to obey the command of God, seek the power of that Spirit Who is your Counselor; was give specificially for the purpose of counseling; dealing with what’s inside here, and He will always, always, if you like it or not, give you the truth. The problem is, I don’t always like the truth because it exposes me. It tells on me. It makes me see things about myself that I never wanted to see, but if I’ll accept it, then I become right with God, and I no longer have to be troubled, and I can obey His command and be in love with Him…

For all of the knowledge we’ve been given, we find ourselves in turmoil and we find ourselves struggling. We find ourselves hurting and we look up to heaven and we imagine God sitting up there laughing at us, ignoring us, tormenting us even at times. And I’ve heard people say, “God, You did this to me!” Well, maybe He did because maybe He knows that we need some pressure in our life, but you know what? He didn’t do it vindictively. He does nothing in our lives but to love us and to draw us into closer relationship with Him. And He’s not sitting in an ivory tower on an ivory throne looking down His nose at us, because then it would have been pointless for Jesus to come to this world and live as He did and die as He did. It’s for a purpose: so that you and I could live in love relationship; [to] understand, the love relationship that we are meant to have with our Savior and with our God…

But you know what I find the problem is when we feel the loneliness, when we feel the struggle? That it is we who have turned our back on Him. We’ve walked away. We’ve ignored Him. We’ve trusted ourself, and we’ve trusted the world. And let me tell you, the world is a very lonely, harsh place… This world was never meant to be permanence for us. Walking in relationship with the God Who created us was always meant to be what God had in mind for us, and He’s calling us to that relationship, and Jesus is making it clear that we can, in fact, follow His example and be in that relationship… So, it’s about a love relationship. Wanting, desiring to be in this love relationship. But you know what? This love relationship will never work unless you are obeying the command that Jesus has left for us, and He didn’t make it difficult. You know what? He’s not asking any of us to walk a tightrope over the Empire State Building, but sometimes we believe that that’s what Christianity is; that’s what we believe this love relationship is. We call it impossible. “I can’t do it! It’s too hard.” He just simply has asked us to love others around us. That’s all, and really, it is a simple thing if we would take our eyes off of us. The most difficult part of loving others is we have to stop looking at who I am and look at who they are. If you spent time looking at the needs of the people around you, you wouldn’t be looking at your own needs and your own desires and your own selfishness. And that’s why He made it a command that we love the way He loved because He did not look selfishly into Himself, but He looked externally at everything else that God had created, and He looked at those that God loved rather than His own comforts and His own needs and His own desires. He just simply looked out. He loved His Father, and He knew His Father loved those that He was looking at, and guess what? They didn’t deserve to be loved. They didn’t deserve it. They were wicked, cruel, unkind, smelly, dirty, wicked in mind and heart. They didn’t deserve to have God’s love. They certainly didn’t deserve to have Jesus’s love. What would motivate Him to want to do that? He wanted to be in right relationship with His Father, and His Father’s command was that He come to this world and love those that the Father loved, that the Father created. And so now He’s telling us, [do] you want to be right with the Father? Do you want to be in that love relationship? Then obey His command. Do what He’s commanded us to do. Stop looking at yourself and start looking at those that are around you, and even if they don’t deserve it, guess what? It is not your standard by which you’re judging. We don’t deserve it. You don’t deserve it, I don’t deserve it, but God chose to do it. And then He’s asked us to do it, so therefore, we better be about doing it, and stop looking at me, and I should start looking at others, and then the love relationship happens. And then the love relationship we have or desire to have will be proven…

And this is where we fall short so often. We fall more in love with our flesh than we do the relationship that we have with Jesus. When He asks us to do things, He asks us to be part of a world that is brutal and hurtful and spiteful, and in order to avoid having that hurt in our life, we buy into the world rather than standing in obedience and saying, “Do to me what you will. I will be in love with my Father Who created me. I will be in love with His Son Who saved me…”

[Jesus] actively pursued the will of His Father, He actively pursued being in right relationship, and He’s made it clear that you and I, as well, can actively pursue being in that same right relationship. The actions that He as from us in pursuit is to obey the command that He left. A command to love; to love those around us as He loved them, and if you do that, then you are in right relationship with the Father and the love relationship is proven in how you love others. You don’t have to worry, then, when the trouble comes. And understand something: if you are loving God the way you should love Him, if you are in that love relationship, hard times will come because the enemy that He had is still the same enemy. The prince of this world still wants to destroy what [Jesus] did, but we don’t have to worry about that. We don’t have to be troubled by that. He has no hold on us because He had no hold on Jesus. We can live in right relationship. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to struggle. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to sin. I’m not telling you that you can become perfect just sitting here, but we overcome through the power of His Holy Spirit by allowing that Spirit to indwell us, by daily grasping the counsel that the Spirit brings to us…

Do you want the world to know that you love God? Then love those that are around you. They will know that you belong to Him by how you love others.

Pastor Dave Elkins

Previous
John 14:1-17