Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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The Father

November 1st, 2009 by Vic

John 14

I’m not good at predicting winners, anticipating trends, pointing out band wagons, knowing what is popular, or understanding the people that make our laws.  The disciples thought they knew what was going on.  But their expectations are being scrambled.

The disciples had come into the upper room rejoicing.  Jesus was the most popular person in Jerusalem.  They felt honored to be invited to this special limited-invitation dinner.  They thought this might be the time that Jesus would fulfill their expectations of the Messiah.  Then Jesus washed their feet.  Jesus announced a disciple was going to betray Him.  He gave a special cupcake to Judas.  Jesus told them again that he was changing addresses.  In 13:33-36 Jesus had told them that He was going someplace where they could not follow.   A somber cloud seems to be hanging over the festivities.

Jesus is speaking to some confused disciples.  This chapter is often read at funerals, but Jesus spoke these words before His funeral.  These are words of comfort for troubled hearts.  The next 4 chapters are His last will and testament to His disciples.  They are the new testament of Jesus.

When your hopes are suddenly dashed, how do you feel?  When things are not going too well, where do you find comfort?  When you have to say goodbye to family and friends, how do you find comfort?  When the storms of life toss your boat all around and the waves seem to be threatening your life itself, who do you turn to?

The disciples felt like they were not in control any more.  How do you survive storms and troubled waters?

Jesus had just demonstrated His love by washing their feet.  Peter did not understand the foot washing.  Then Jesus announced he was going away and Peter didn’t understand that either.  Peter interrupted Jesus and asked, “Why can’t I follow you right now?”  Jesus reminded him that his spirit was willing, but his flesh was weak.  Then Jesus said Peter would deny him.  Peter was the Rock of the group.  If he would deny Christ, what would the rest do?  This was not a happy time in this upper room.

This chapter is the beginning of Jesus’ last will.  He had no house, lands, clothes, money, or collections to leave with His friends.  He had none of those worldly possessions which men usually bequeath to their children.  So what He gives in His will is not as the world gives.  He offers us peace, access to God, an opportunity, and His Spirit to those who persevere.

A.  Jesus offers us peace.

Jesus was leaving (14:3, 28).  He is offering peace (14:27).  When friends are going through troubled waters, when their boat is unstable, Jesus offers peace.  He can still the storms.  This chapter seems to revolve around the promise of peace and the Father.  Peace is related to our access to God.  Peace is related to the presence of Jesus Himself.  Peace is related to the Spirit Comforter.

In 14:1-7 Jesus presents some elements needed in our lives to find his peace.

  1. Peace can be a choice we can make.

The peace that Jesus gives is His peace.  It is more than the peace of external circumstances, but an inward integrity and contentment.  Outward things promise to give peace, just as beds promise to give rest.  Think about it.  If the bed gave you rest, then the more beds you collected, the more rested you would be.  But rest is produced within.  So peace is not in the abundance of outward things, but a harmony within.  You can have peace while being slandered.  You can have peace while being in prison.  You can have peace in the storm.  Trust the Father.

  1. (14:1)  The second aspect of peace is trust or believing.  “Keep on faithing in God and in Me keep on faithing”.  Father is used in this chapter more than any other in the NT.  In the storms of life trust God, your heavenly Father.  During those transition periods in your life, your Father cares.  When pain has distracted your spiritual focus, “Keep on believing in your Father.”  Look to the Father.  Believing in God is fairly safe.

Just as a child’s life is affected by the strength of his earthly father’s character, so our spiritual life is affected by the nature of our heavenly Father.  How big is your God?  How dependable is your God?  How righteous is your God?  How loving is your God?  Can you trust Him?

  1. (14:3)  Another aspect of peace is staying close to Jesus.  Keep on believing in Jesus.  Believing in Jesus is not safe.  It is risky.  He is going to leave, but He will still be present.  It feels like we are on shaky ground.

Peter had not understood where Jesus was going.  Jesus is giving Peter the answer to his question in 13:36.  Jesus explains that he is going to the Father.  Peter does not say anything.

(14:5) But Thomas interrupts.  Thomas is the loyal pessimist.  He asks, “How are we supposed to get to God?  I don’t remember you giving us any instructions.  What are the GPS coordinates?”

Jesus replied He is the Way which is Truth and Life.  His Way leads to oneness with the Father.

B.  Jesus promises access to the Father.  We are part of the family of God.  Jesus offers peace to troubled hearts and this peace is found in the Father’s lap.  The main focus of this chapter seems to be peace in the presence of God.

Thomas was asking a question that all children ask.  Daddy how much farther is it?  When do we get there?  Where are we going?  You can show them the map.  You can show them on your watch how long it will be.  But the bottom line is they have to trust you.  They do not understand.  Jesus reminded them that all they need is Him.  He tries to explain, but they don’t yet understand.  Access to God comes by trusting Jesus.

In the presence of God is peace.  Jesus tries to explain, but the bottom line is that we must trust Him.

(4:6)  Jesus is the way to God because He is the Truth about God and the source of Life from God.

He is the Way to the Father because He is the true revelation of God and because the fullness of life dwells in Him.  God’s truth and God’s life are incarnate in Jesus.  Truth and life became flesh in Jesus.  Jesus leads His followers into God’s presence.  He and the Father are one.

They did not understand the oneness (10:38).  The deeds of Jesus have been the works of the Father.  The words of Jesus are the words of the Father.

I have not been shown how to think too well.  Our educational system is designed to make us clones and squelch any creativity we might have.  Our teachers are teaching what they have been taught and their teachers taught them what they were taught.  We are no different from the disciples.

Philip interrupts (14:8).  “Show us God and then maybe we will know how to get there.”  Jesus says you do not need more information, complicated maps, only a trust in Jesus.  Just keep faithing.  Jesus said, “Just trust Me and believe my Word.  That will not be easy.  It is going to look like I’m defeated.  It is going to look like I have lost control.  It is going to look like I have left you.  Keep on believing.”

14:8 – Philip has a thirst to see God.  He believes Jesus can show him God.  He knows this would be the ultimate experience.  Philip believed that Jesus could take him behind the curtain of life’s drama and show him more than anyone had ever seen.

14:9 – Jesus says that no further revelation of God will be made because no further revelation of God is necessary.  Everything that can be seen with the physical eye has been revealed already in Jesus.

In general there are 3 ways that mankind throughout history has looked for God.  Many are not seeking for God, but for the pleasure and selfish things that they think God can give them.  But for those who seek God for whom he is, they usually go 1 of 3 ways.

Greek – wisdom – head, but the world by wisdom cannot know God.  Wisdom is part of it.

Jew – works – hand, by works is no one justified.  Obedience is part of it.

Child – love – heart, God said if you seek Me you will find Me when you seek with your whole heart.

14:10-12 – Philip had said, “Show Me God” and Jesus says there are 3 reasons you should have already seen God: belief in me, hearing my words, and seeing the works of God.  What you see with your eyes is the least important of all the evidence, but if you need to see with your eyes, look at the signs.  Jesus would rather we could believe Him and His words without the signs.  Believing is the way to see God.  And believing is the work of God.

C.  Jesus commands us to believe.  That’s our work.  He offers troubled hearts peace.  He offers access to God.  And He also offers an employment opportunity.  The Jews assumed their job was attendance and keeping the commandments.  But Jesus says our ‘work’ is to believe.

14:10  The work of God is to believe Jesus.  God will do His work through those that believe.  We are to do His work (6:29).

9:4  The miracles and signs were the work of God to build our belief in Jesus.

14:12  The greater works than the signs are not bigger signs and miracles, but belief in Jesus.  The continuation of his ministry of glorifying God and demonstrating God’s love to the world was not to be accomplished by signs and wonders, but by believing.

“He that believeth will be enabled to do the works of the Father.”  Jesus will be present in His absence to enable the disciples to do greater works.  The ongoing presence of the absent Jesus will be found in the worshiping community.

D.  Jesus offers His Holy Spirit.  For troubled hearts, Jesus offers peace, access to God, a command to believe, and His Holy Spirit.

14:16-17, 26   Jesus tells us more about the Spirit’s ministry to us in the chapters that follow.  But here, while talking to troubled hearts he promises another Comforter to those that love Jesus and keep His commandments.  But the new Comforter will not become flesh.  The fleshly Jesus is no longer present, the living Jesus is present to those who believe, love Him, and keep His commandments.  We experience the presence of the absent One.

There is a oneness understood in terms of love.  We experience the presence of the absent one in our routines and we worship united in Spirit as His body.

14:14 – The phrase “in My Name” is not a magic formula, but the expression of relationship.  Like my wife enrolling me at CCC or mom filling out Real Estate forms for my signature.

When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are reflecting His character and His will.  We are praying as He would pray.  We represent Him.

Prayer in the name of Jesus can only be prayed when there is no self-will or selfishness that distort the facts.  Our desires must be His desires.  We must be Christlike.

Philip had asked to see God.  Jesus summed up His answer to Philip in 14:21.  As you love God you will see God.

Judas interrupted.  14:22 – “How can you reveal yourself as the Messiah and only some will see?  When you came into town last week on the donkey everybody saw you.  How can there be a distinction?”

14:23-31 – Jesus replied, “You have forgotten that God is Spirit.  God will send His Spirit in My Name.  It will be a revelation to your heart not your eyes.”  If you believe you will see.  If you love, you will see with your heart and obey.  The Paraclete will recall and continue Jesus’ revelation of the Father.

Love is the key to knowing a person.  God comes to every heart that loves Jesus.  It’s a permanent coming; not a temporary coming.

If you don’t love, you can’t see.  Your lack of love or obedience can keep you from enjoying the peace of His presence, access to God, the joy of service, the Comfort of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus came and walked among men.  Those that believed saw God in His works.  Those that did not believe saw satan.  Those that believe received life.  Those that did not believe were condemned.

14:29  Jesus knew that satan was coming to tempt, but ‘He has nothing in Me.’  There was nothing in Jesus that satan could claim as his.  Do you have something in your life that satan can grab on to and say, ‘That’s mine’?

The departure of Jesus is unlike any other departure.  Despite all appearances to the contrary the prince of this world has no power over Jesus.  His departure will not bring the revelation of God to an end.  His departure did not create a utopia.

Now follow this carefully.  The Bible says, “The soul that sins, it shall die.”  The Bible also says, satan has the power of death.  If satan had found sin in the heart of Jesus, he could have said that is mine.  You must die.  But he found no sin in Jesus and satan had no claim on His life.  But he killed Jesus anyway and thereby lost the authority of death that Adam had given him.  Satan took more authority than he had been given and thereby defaulted on his contract.  He lost all authority at the cross.

14:30  Jesus did not die because of sin in His heart.  He gave His life and the world can now know that He loves the Father and obeys the Father.  Jesus died as an act of obedience to the Father.  He was not a passive sufferer, but chose to die.  He laid down His life knowing satan would self-destruct and cancel his power over death.

Satan is defeated.  He has no power over you unless you believe his lies.

Do you sense the majesty of this Truth?  Jesus obeyed the Father.  When you obey and allow the Holy Spirit to purify your heart by faith you have the peace and power of that relationship.

Jesus ends by asking all those who love Him to follow Him.  Are you committed to following Christ daily?  No matter what anyone else does, will you follow Jesus?  I would invite you to choose and seal your new commitment with a prayer.  Jesus offers the peace of his presence, access to God, spiritual employment, and His Comforter.

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