Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

5th Sunday of Easter

Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

Text:  John 14:1-12

Intro

Let me tell you what troubles me. I’m troubled by any problems that occur with our church or school. I want so much for our church and school to grow and succeed. I want so much for everyone in our church and school to get along, to grow in the Word of God, and to be a part of our mission. When those things don’t happen, I’m troubled.

I’m troubled by money problems. When the Christ the King budget is tight, I worry. When my budget is tight, I worry. This isn’t exactly the easiest economic time in American history. What if the bottom falls out on all of our plans, or all of my family plans, because of money?

I’m troubled by the world we live in today. I already struggle enough with it myself. What is it going to be like for my children as they grow older and more aware of what is around them? How much worse can things get? How much more sin can there be? How many more restrictions on Christianity will be implemented? How much more false doctrine and false preachers will enter this world? I’m sure Satan is having a grand old time these days.

These are just some of the things that trouble me. They cause me to worry. They make me lie awake and toss and turn at night (and thus I get elbows and kicks from my wife). They make my blood pressure rise and my temperature boil. They make me pace back and forth in the hallways which in turn makes the teachers in our school laugh and giggle at me. I’m often quite troubled.

What troubles you so much? Money? Your job? Your health? Our government? Your family? A guilty conscience? There are so many things in life that weigh heavily upon us. They rile us up and stir our emotions. They make us groan. They make us sweat. They make us cry. Oh yes, our lives are often more troubled and turbulent than ocean waves during a hurricane.

Just when it seems like nothing will ever change, just when it seems like nothing will ever get better, and just when it seems like there is no hope, Jesus tenderly and lovingly comforts us with these words today: Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled.

Body

The hearts of Jesus’ disciples were indeed very troubled. More and more Jesus had been teaching that something bad was about to happen. He prophesied that soon he would be arrested, that he would suffer, and that he would even die. It didn’t seem possible that this powerful teacher who could walk on water would be able to suffer and die. But he kept talking about it.

On this particular night he talked about it more than ever. It was a Thursday night. They all had gathered together to celebrate the Passover meal. Jesus told them that night over and over that he was going to suffer and die. He told them that he was going to go away for a while. But they just didn’t get it. They didn’t understand what Jesus was talking about. They didn’t know where Jesus was going, as you heard Thomas say in verse 5. They didn’t fully understand that Jesus is God’s Son and that together with the Father he is one true God, as you heard Philip say in verse 8. That’s when Jesus spoke the words you heard in the gospel today and said Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled.

We can relate to these disciples so well. Often our hearts are troubled when we don’t understand what is going on. We don’t know why God lets certain things happen in our lives. Why would God let us suffer like that? Why would God allow such sorrow and sadness? Why would God do that?

At the same time we have hearts that seek “me” first. If things don’t go exactly as planned we become upset. If anything difficult comes our way we become unsettled. And then if something does go wrong, we want to fix it ourselves. We want to solve our problems. We want to make it better. But before long, we find ourselves in the same place as the disciples. We are confused. We are frustrated. We are sad. We are lost. We are troubled.

Today the loving Teacher comforts with the same words that he did 2,000 years ago. Listen to what he says: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” Don’t be upset. Don’t be sad. Don’t be troubled. Trust Jesus.

Easier said than done, right? What good has trusting in Jesus done for me lately? I go to church. I read the Bible. I’m a believer. But my life still is filled with sorrows and suffering!

But listen to Jesus. This is why we trust in him: In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”


The disciples failed to understand why Jesus came. They wanted bread on their tables, Mercedes chariots in their garages, drachmas in their wallets, and the Romans off their backs. Don’t we do the same? We want Jesus to help us so much. “Be there for me Jesus.” We want him to put Porsches in our driveway, fill our fridges with tenderloins and fine cheeses, take zeros off our credit cards and add them to our bank accounts, and maybe he can shape up the government while he’s at it.

But Jesus did not come for worldly reasons. Jesus came for spiritual reasons. Jesus came to help us all with our biggest problem—sin. For all of the problems troubling the hearts of the disciples, and our hearts today, the biggest problem we have is the sinfulness our lives are filled with.

How shameful it is when we fail to put full faith and trust in Jesus. How deplorable when we think we have all the answers and always know what is best as we fail to realize that he is God and he is in control. How despicable when we serve ourselves and our own desires and our own cravings instead of serving the Lord. How detestable to admit all the wrongs we have pursued instead of pursuing the ways of the Lord.

But this is why Jesus came. He knows that while we may want a Savior from our problems in this world, what we truly need is a Savior from our sins. The disciples didn’t understand that. We don’t always understand that. But Jesus did.

So Jesus got up from that meal with his disciples and went out to pray late on that Thursday evening. As he was praying, his prophecy began to be fulfilled. Judas betrayed him. The Jews arrested him. They tried him. They beat him. They spit on him. They mocked him. They handed him over to Pontius Pilate and the Romans. They begged and screamed for his crucifixion. Then the soldiers beat him and spit on him and mocked him. Pilate caved in and sentenced him to die. He was led on a death march to the Place of the Skull, which they called Golgotha. There he was crucified with two common criminals. There our sins were nailed with him to a cross. There he bled and gasped and suffered as the weight of our guilt and the torture of hell pained him so much more than his traumatic bodily wounds. Then he died.

He was arrested. He suffered. He died. Just as he said. Those weren’t the only promises he fulfilled. He also burst forth from tomb with new life and with victory, just as he said. Then, as we’ll celebrate in two Sundays, he visibly left and ascended into heaven, just as he said.

Why did he do all of this? Why suffer? Why die? Why rise? Why ascend into heaven? Why? To save us from our sins! All this he did so that he could return to his Father’s house, which has many rooms, and prepare a place for you. Jesus lived, died, rose, and ascended so that you could have a place in heaven ready and waiting for you.

This is why Jesus can tell us to trust in him. This is why Jesus can tell us Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled. There is no good reason to worry in this life. Our greatest problem has been taken away. Our sins have been forgiven. Eternal life awaits. Sure we might get sick. Sure money might get tight. Sure life might get rough. There might be sadness, sorrow, and suffering. But what does any of that matter when we know with surety that we have a room reserved with our name on it in the house of the Lord?

But how do we get there? How do we make it through the troubled days left in this world? How do we survive in a sinful world? How can we be sure that we will find the way to heaven? Listen again to the loving Teacher and Savior in verse 4, “You know the way to the place where I am going . . . I am the way and the truth and the life.”

If you want to know how to make it, if you want to know how to get to your place in heaven, if you want to know the way to go in this life, then know Jesus. He is the only way to heaven. You can’t get there on your own. You can’t earn your way there. You can’t pay with a Visa. Only through trust in Jesus will you get to see the Father in heaven. He is the way.

You also don’t need self-help books. You don’t need ancient philosophies. You don’t need new age philosophies. There is only one truth. Jesus is the truth. He truly is your Savior from sin. He truly has opened up heaven for you. He is the truth.

You also don’t need anything in this world. You don’t need fancy cars. You don’t need motorcycles or boats. You don’t need a nice, big house. You don’t need piles of money. You don’t even need your health. You can’t take anything with you in this life. All that truly matters is eternal life. And Jesus died so that you might live. He is the life.

Conclusion

Jesus’ disciples today aren’t much different than Jesus’ disciples 2,000 years ago. Just like the original 12, you and I are often plagued by sorrows and sadness. So often we become confused and worried. Our hearts are troubled.

But Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled. Trust in God. Trust in Jesus. For Jesus is the only way. He is the only truth. He is the only life. There is a place where there are no troubles, no problems, no worries, no sorrows, no sadness. That place has been prepared in heaven for you by Jesus. Follow him. Believe him. Trust him. He alone will take you there.

AMEN

If you would like a copy of this sermon to print or to share, click here

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Posted on May 22, 2011, in Church, Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Marge Buelow

    Phil! Your sermon was great! Here’s a good idea: you can shorten your sermon writing time by 25% by just repreaching this sermon once a month! We all need to hear these words of comfort more often.
    Last night at 11pm I heard about the Joplin disaster and we immediately called son Tim who serves a church in Carthage about 10 miles east of Joplin. He was calling all his members to see if they were all right, and I am sure if I sent this sermon to him he would preach it without changing anything. Take my advice and print a copy of this for yourself so that if your computer dies you will have a copy somewhere!

    • Thanks Marge! I was honored to share such comforting words of gospel hope on such an important day for our congregation–the day a founding member passed and went to heaven!

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