Because There Is Rest for Troubled Hearts

Aaron Birk July 25, 2021 John 14:1-31
Outline

6 reasons our hearts can rest when tempted to be troubled

I. Because Jesus Is Preparing Our Heavenly Home with Him (vv. 1-6)

A. Prepared and reserved for you (vv. 2-3)

B. Only accessed and assured through a saving relationship with Jesus (vv. 4-6)

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

II. Because He Uses Us to Accomplish His Plan (vv. 7-14)

A. By doing “greater works” (v. 7-12)

B. By answering prayer that glorifies the Father (vv. 13-14)

III. Because He Has Given Us the Holy Spirit (vv. 16-20)

A. A helper for the rest of our lives (vv. 16-17)

B. A promise of unity that strengthens us (vv. 18-20)

IV. Because He Gives Us a Meaningful Purpose (vv. 15, 21-24)

A. To love Him

B. To obey Him

V. Because We Can Be Confident in His Word (vv. 25-26)

John 14:25 - These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

VI. Because He Grants Us His Peace (vv. 27-31)

A. Peace that He secured with God

B. Peace that He secured between us who believe

C. Peace that comes from knowing what comes next

Proposition: The disciples can have hope because they have a savior concerned about and providing the necessary resources to face the upcoming cross and the role they would have after Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Has there ever been a time when your heart has been in turmoil…you were troubled? Maybe your heart is troubled right now…

For example:

  • You received life changing news and your heart becomes troubled…
  • A loved one’s death
  • There is family in another part of the world, and they are in danger and your heart is troubled because its beyond your control…
  • You are troubled to imagine what the future holds…
  • Maybe we experience the death of a dream that troubles us.
  • Maybe we learn that having children is not possible.
  • Maybe we want to be married only to look in the mirror at 38 and realize marriage may never happen.
  • What you are doing is comfortable because it is known, but not satisfying. You are troubled if you are somehow missing out on what God has for…is there more?…my heart can’t seem to be at peace with this…

In this context of a troubled heart Jesus speaks and makes it possible for us to enjoy life in his name because he provides rest for troubled hearts.

Please open your bibles to John 14. That is on page 84 of the back section of the Bible under the chair in front of you.

We are invited into the last meal that Jesus would share with his followers before his death. We are still in the upper room. John’s gospel has 21 chapters total and the final 8 are spent focusing on 10 days.

  • John 13 explained that Jesus washed his disciples’ feet and commanded them to love each other as he loved them.

We see Jesus continues to serve…he ministers words of comfort and encouragement to his disciples because they have troubled hearts. They are under emotional pressure because Jesus’ time for his suffering and death has arrived. Minute by minute the tension and pressure builds as the night goes on.

  • There is anxious confusion like the news of a traitor among them.
  • The disciples are troubled wondering what all this means for their life and future.

But it’s not just the disciples whose hearts are troubled…Jesus’ heart was troubled (12:27 and 13:21).

Jesus knows what is coming., which makes it all the more amazing to see how Jesus, the Prince of Peace, can give rest to troubled hearts.

Please follow along as I read. Read John 14:1-31. This is the Word of the Lord.

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”

Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”

Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”

Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?

The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.

Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”

Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?”

Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.

“These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

Our annual theme is Enjoying Life in His Name. The theme is connected to John’s purpose: he wrote so that we might believe that the long-awaited Messiah is Jesus and that by believing we might have life in his name.

The message title is Enjoying Life in His Name because there is rest for troubled hearts. I would like us to consider Six reasons our hearts can rest when tempted to be troubled.

The wording is very important. This passage does not change all the circumstances surrounding the troubled heart.

  • Problems and pain are still there. Jesus is still going to the cross. He will be buried in a tomb.
  • The disciples will experience grief, heartache, and confusion.
  • Peter will still deny Jesus and Judas will still betray him.
  • Circumstances that can lead our hearts to be troubled do not always disappear. Instead, the circumstances are reinterpreted and put within a larger context of God’s plan and purposes. It is so easy to shrink our world to the size of our trouble --- it becomes all that we see.

First, there is rest for troubled hearts when facing difficult circumstances …

I. Because Jesus is preparing our heavenly home with him (vv. 1-6)

A Christian view of trials and difficulties always includes one eye to eternity. Focusing on eternity does not remove the present trouble.

Health issues, relationship problems, dying dreams, the loss of loved ones and important questions and concerns are still there. But our perspective as Christians cannot allow those circumstances to be ALL there is. We have hope beyond the present because of Jesus’s plans for our future.

Jesus’ own troubled heart looks to future too. He knows that God the Father will glorify him most supremely in the cross. He sees with a larger vision. Even in the upper room, with a troubled heart, he ministers to and serves his disciples.

Now, he is comforting them and providing rest for their hearts because through trust in Jesus they can see their own future and it’s tied to Jesus and what he is doing.

Jesus will be restored to his heavenly home with the Father full of glory for accomplishing all that the Father gave him. Jesus wants his disciples to see there future and know they have a forever home they will be granted with Jesus.

Prepared and reserved for you (vv. 2-3)

In the old King James English, it says “mansions.” For dwelling places. Some interpret dwelling places as rooms in our Father’s house and not necessarily individual houses, either way Jesus is preparing it, and I am trusting Jesus to provide at least enough space for my big, glorified body.

Heaven’s beauty is worth considering.

Think about all the preparation and thought that goes in when you plan for family to stay with you.

  • You put their arrival date on the calendar.
  • You prepare all the sheets and space for their room.
  • You start thinking about the food and activities they enjoy and what you are going to do together.
  • You consider the stories and memories you are going to recall together.

Isn’t it amazing to think that the Lord, Our Savior, Jesus the King of the Universe is planning and preparing for each of his children coming home to be with him forever.

  • To think about our brothers and sisters who have returned home to be with the Lord and consider being received by Christ who has been waiting and looking forward to the day they would be with him and welcome them to the place that he has prepared.

Heaven is the place where all of God’s children have a home. No one gets left behind. There is no such thing as “sorry, we are full.”

My wife and I traveled to Rwanda for two international students who got married for their wedding, Yvon and Bella. So, we had called and booked a room at this small lodge for international guests. We took about an 8 hour bus drive with locals through the mountains and hills to get to this national park right before midnight.

Thanks to the help of the locals, they tell us where to get out and where the lodge is…so we are in the middle of nowhere, its dark, and the people point us up this hill to walk to this small place, so we walk with our bags up the hill. Only to find out they did not think we were coming, so they gave away our room. So they walked us back down the hill to the little town and thankfully found us a friend who had a few rooms, the first one he opened, no lights, so they took us to another room, but the room was so small the door could not open fully because it would hit the bed…Tirzah and I were just laughing trying to navigate in and out of this room they was not really prepared for us…well thankfully

Verses 2-3 remind us that Jesus is going to prepare a place for his children and your reservation is guaranteed, but this peaceful future rest for our troubled hearts is….

Only accessed and assured through a saving relationship with Jesus (vv. 4-6)

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John wrote to command people to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Chosen King, and that by believing you may have life in his name. That is why he said you must be born again, you must drink the living water, you must be spiritually raised to new life, you must eat the living bread, etc., etc.

  • It is not that Jesus is one way, he is the only way.

Every week we talk about the need everyone has to repent of their sin (to turn away from sin such as not loving or disobeying God, selfishness, pride) and Jesus says, return to God, trusting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior … to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, Your King, and that there is forgiveness and new life by his power.

John 14:6 is as clear a verse as any. But I want to say, just for a moment, that Judas’ betrayal in John 13 hangs like a shadow as we read chapter 14.

Denying Jesus for a while is one thing, betraying is another.

The Bible provides many warning passages for those who actively participate in the church. Faithful attendance to a church does not make one a Christian. It is personal trust and devotion to Jesus, the one who is the way, the truth, and the life. There is no other way to have a relationship with the One True Living God and live with him forever after you die than through personal faith in Jesus Christ.

Even if you have heard this 1,000 times, I am appealing to you, even commanding you to obey the gospel and place your faith in Jesus Christ. There is no decision that is more important than that one. Your pastors are always ready for a conversation at your convenience.

For those who know Christ, your assurance is that you have placed your trust in the one who is the way, the truth, and the life. He went to the Father, prepared a place for you, and will return to take you to him forever.

Why can your heart rest even in trouble? Because Jesus is preparing our heavenly home with him. A second reason is …

II. Because he uses us to accomplish his plan (vv. 7-14)

When our heart is troubled, we can be tempted to focus on the circumstances of the trouble. We see the inconvenience, the time, the effort, the cost, impact to our lives, and the potential result is we think and feel unproductive, or useless to God because of these challenges.

We convince ourselves that God cannot do anything with us because of how this trial or trouble has changed our life from what it was and how we expected life to God and what it is now. It’s not long before discouragement or discontentment settles in cervices of our hearts.

But this is not how it has to be. Jesus and the Father are one. We have seen that before in John 5. Jesus explained that he and the Father are one for reasons including (1) the son only does what the father gives him (2) the Father loves the son (3) the Father and Son give life and (4) all judgment belongs to the son.

The unity of the Father and son is not just theological head knowledge. It has practical application. …there is comfort and encouragement to our troubled hearts to know He still uses us to accomplish his plan even through this trouble….how?

By doing “greater works” (v. 7-12)

This is a shocking statement.

  • Does he mean that you and I will be able to do more amazing things than Jesus did?
  • Water into wine, walk on water, raise a person from the dead.
  • That is not true…

How can we honestly understand “greater”?

I believe that Jesus emphasizes God’s plan for salvation history. What was confusing about the mission of Christ has now become clear through the works of his disciples and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament looked forward to a Messiah. Jesus came as Messiah, but not as they expected. They wanted the national military conqueror. Instead, he was the suffering servant who fulfilled the entire law and sacrificed himself once and for all for the sins of his people.

Jesus calls their works great because after the cross, Jesus returns to the Father and the Holy Spirit empowers Christians with new hearts, understanding, to be witnesses of what now is clear about Jesus and his work. Everyone can look back rather than look forward.

  • Even the works of Jesus, which caused some confusion at the time, are now seen for what they really are.
  • In that sense that the disciples will minister in an age of clarity, they will do greater works, because their works will be clear as a testimony because of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit as promised.

Our works are greater, not because they are more flashy or amazing than Jesus’s works. They are greater because we minister in a time when the ministry of Jesus is clear and we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to testify clearly to this good news about Jesus by our lives.

A person with a troubled heart God can use to accomplish great things for the cause of Christ.

One way Jesus also ministers through us to accomplish all that the Father has given him to do is….

By answering prayer that glorifies the Father (vv. 13-14)

At first this sounds like God will be our genie. All we must do is ask. But we know better. We know that there is an implicit condition – that God would be glorified. Sometimes I pray for things for my glory.

Our God is too loving for that. He wants us to pray so that Jesus and the Father receive glory as he answers our prayer.

This passage has been a source of comfort for me through the years knowing that God plans to use me…knowing God plans to answer prayer so that Jesus and the Father get the glory,

- Jesus knows sometimes the way that he and the Father get glory is through trouble, as trouble brings me to my knees to pray.

Maybe this is the kind of prayer your troubled heart needs to pray. Lord, you know my heart and you know my trouble … give me wisdom, strength, and courage to follow you so that you get the glory.

How does a troubled heart get rest? How can we enjoy life in Jesus’ name when our circumstances bring trouble to our soul?

I have suggested that knowledge of our heavenly home and our continued usefulness form two reasons. The third one the gift of the Holy Spirit.

III. Because he has given us the Holy Spirit (vv. 16-20)

When Jesus went to the Father, he sent the Spirit to dwell in our hearts. He is …

A helper for the rest of our lives (vv. 16-17)

I think we all can admit sometimes you are so troubled that what you need most is another person, a helper, who is there with you to strengthen, encourage, and guide you through the challenge, because you can’t do it on your own. When I think about my wife and how awesome she is as a helper with the kids, an encourager, and comforter it helps me get my mind around how amazing the privilege of having the Holy Spirit in my life and imagine the horrors of going through trials without the Holy Spirit.

I read the prayer of David in Psalm 51 “please do not take the Holy Spirit from me” and remember that David watched it happen to his father in law, Saul, and saw his path without the Spirit of God with him.

Look at Verse 16, it says “forever.” I no longer have to pray like David “Don’t take your spirit from me” because God made new commitments through Jesus Christ and I have the Holy Spirit with me forever.

Yes, I may have trouble, but I also have the Spirit of God indwelling me and ministering to me and using me in the cause of Christ and he is always there, always helping, always interceding, always out for my good when he convicts me of sin, always encouraging with his words from Scripture, always comforting me with his presence.

With the Spirit also comes unity.

A promise of unity that strengthens us (vv. 18-20)

There is unity between the Son and Father. Now that I am united with Christ through the Spirit I join in the unity with the Son and Father.

In addition, v. 18 says, “I will not leave you as orphans.” This coming again would mean very little to the disciples unless he is talking about the post-resurrection appearances. Jesus is going to come to them again in about 3 days!

When our hearts are troubled, we tend to isolate. We convince ourselves that we are the only ones who suffer like this, no one understand us, and no one cares. Even in the time of Jesus’ own struggle, he ministers to his disciples to show them that these things are not true. He may not eliminate the circumstances of the trouble, but he will provide rest in it.

God fully intends to help you not only by reminding you of your future home in heaven … and I have heard many people say, “you know heaven is great and I am glad for it, but that does not take away the pain of today.”

That is true, but it is also true that heaven is not the only resource. You can rest because God is still using you, you can rest because he sent his Spirit so that you would never, ever, ever be alone.

Reason #4 you can find rest for your troubled heart…

IV. Because he gives us a meaningful purpose (vv. 15, 21-24)

When we go through trouble times…sometimes what we really want is something clear and simple for what do I need to do, what should I be focused in all the haze, and decisions, and complexities and purpose to do.

n John 14, we find two clear basic purposes. The two purposes here are closely tied together.

To Love Him

To Obey Him

Again, it is incredible how well this speaks to the troubled heart.

When our hearts are troubled we can be tempted to be mad at God - “God, we prayed to you and you didn’t heal like we hoped, you let us down!”

We can be tempted to believe our faithfulness has been rewarded with heartache. - “This is what I get for serving and providing and caring so much about others God…?”

We are tempted to believe that we deserve something far more and far better than what we have….

  • I have a right to healthy children
  • I have a right to high paying job
  • I have a right to children who follow the Lord

Our thoughts intensify when we see in our eyes a “less worthy” person receiving what we want.

It does not take long for discontentment to produce anger and anger to produce bitterness.

Thankfully, the Lord gives us clear direction and purpose for what to do as we are confused and troubled in our hearts.

Jesus says to faithfully follow him. We need to love him and obey him. The Bible consistently reminds us that God wants all of us.

  • He wants us to love him with all our hearts – that is the affective side of life … the things we love. He wants us to obey him – that is the action side of life … the things that we do.
  • But inherently bound up in these commands is the relational side of life … he wants to be near us and wants us to be near him.

Yes, there might be times when we obey solely out of duty, but that should not be our ending place. I will obey the Lord, but I also want to grow in obeying him out of a growing affection for him. These verses also warn those who refuse to obey, that obedience itself is a form of love. It is not appropriate for a person to say that they love the Lord without obeying him too.

Troubled hearts are often helped by focusing on very simple purposes. You do not have to solve everything. You do not have to fix every circumstance. The Lord was gracious to provide very simple instructions. Love him and obey him in your trouble.

I find that when you do that, your trouble is set in its larger context. Yes, it is there and it is real, but it is not the total of life. There is still a heavenly future, there is still meaningful ministry, there is still the indwelling Holy Spirit and there is still a simple clear purpose and mission I have in this trouble.

Reason #5 we can rest …

V. Because we can be confident in his Word (vv. 25-26)

John 14:25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

These verses have been confusing to some. Some suggest that the Holy Spirit will give us the words to speak when we need them. We need to be careful here. This was given to the 11 disciples remaining in the upper room. In the coming days they were under tremendous pressure. Without a book, how do you remember all that Jesus said? When John wrote his gospel some 50 years later, how would he remember everything?

This passage is not about you and I getting direct revelation from God. It is about the confidence we have that when we read the Bible, we are reading the words of God. Even more specifically, when we read the gospels and we see all the red letters (the stuff Jesus said) we can be confident that it is accurate.

In many ways John 14:25-26 serves as a foundation for a much more common verse.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

I might not be able to change all the circumstances causing the trouble, but I can open my Bible and fill my heart and mind with the truth of God’s Word.

Finally, … we can rest even during trouble …

VI. Because he grants us his peace (vv. 27-31)

We want peace. We want it in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, churches, and country. Yet, peace is hard to come by. It always has been. During the Roman occupation of Israel, Rome offered peace through brutality. A brutality that Jesus was about to experience personally. He was kind enough to offer us a different kind of peace – his peace.

I do not have time to unpack it all, but here are a couple simple aspects of that peace.

Peace that he secured with God

We can have peace with God because Jesus took the wrath of God for us. There is no other way to enjoy that peace.

Peace that he secured between us who believe

Those who know Christ have also been reconciled together. We struggle working it out, but it is there. As brothers and sisters in Christ we share the greatest bond – a relationship with Jesus.

Peace that comes from knowing what comes next

This passage ends (as does the entire Bible) by giving us a picture of what is still to come. The disciples were told in advance and so are we. It allows the chaos of the moment to have the right context by considering Christ and his plans, so that we can be comforted.

My heart and my wife’s heart have been troubled. We are concerned because we do not know all the details of what comes next for our son, Isaiah and what the outworking of this will be for our lives. But what is clear is there is trouble before us that is not going away unless God chooses to remove it.

John 14 is such a hopeful and comforting passage even amid one of the most intense scenes in the Bible. Despite his own trouble Jesus offers rest for the hearts of his people.

This passage does not promise the circumstantial trouble away, but it puts our trouble in the larger context.

To know what comes next from the perspective of relationship with Jesus and the future and the resources he promises is huge.

It has allowed my heart to rest, it has given me courage to embrace the next step each day by orienting my life toward Christ, and knowing with confidence that the Lord has it all under control so that he gets the glory.

Pray

  • Confess that we often have troubled hearts
  • Thank you for the future reminder that you are preparing a place for us so that we can be with you.
  • Thank you that you use us to accomplish your plan even when our heart struggles with our circumstances.
  • Thank you for the promised indwelling Spirit who is ours forever. Thank you for the ministry of the Spirit in our lives.
  • Thank you for that we can rest knowing that you gave us a simple yet meaningful purpose so that loving you and obeying you could cut the noise that our trouble creates.
  • Thank you for your Word that we can hide in our hearts that we might not sin against you.
  • Thank you for your peace. Peace that we have with you and with others because Jesus died on the cross and made that peace possible.

Authors

Aaron Birk

Roles

Pastor of International Ministries - Faith Church

Bio

B.S. – Accounting and Management, Purdue University
M.Div. – Faith Bible Seminary

Aaron is married to Tirzah and has four children: Zemirah, Boaz, Keziah, and Isaiah. Aaron is the Pastor of Global Missions for Faith Church. He serves as a service Pastor for the 11:00 a.m. worship service at Faith West. Aaron oversees international student and family ministries, missionaries, and short-term missions. He teaches in Faith’s Biblical Counseling Ministries and is certified as a biblical counselor through the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).