The Gift of Peace

Dr. Rob Green December 13, 2020 John 14:25-31
Outline

4 truths that provide peace in a chaotic world

I. God’s Word Can Be Trusted (vv. 25-26)

John 14:25-26 - 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.

A. The disciples did not fully understand what Jesus told them (v. 25)

B. The Spirit guaranteed that the disciples understood after the resurrection (v. 26)

“John’s purpose in including this theme and this verse is not to explain how readers at the end of the first century may be taught by the Spirit, but to explain to readers at the end of the first century how the first witnesses, the first disciples, came to an accurate and full understanding of the truth of Jesus Christ.” (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, PNTC, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991, 505)

II. God Offers a Quiet Soul (v. 27)

John 14:27 - 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.

A. The world has no genuine peace to offer (v. 27a)

Jeremiah 6:13-15 - For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for gain, and from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, “Peace, peace,” but there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; they did not even know how to blush.

B. “Let not your heart be troubled” (v. 27b)

C. Jesus offers inner peace rather than a life of fear (v. 27c)

Philippians 4:6-7 - Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

III. God’s Future Promises Give Hope (vv. 28-30)

John 14:28 - 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.

A. Jesus’ return to heaven promises His return for His children (v. 28)

John 14:1-6 - 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.”

B. Jesus explains the coming events to solidify their faith (v. 29)

C. Jesus’ death will bring about the devil’s defeat (v. 30)

IV. God’s Mission Gives Us Purpose (v. 31)

John 14:31 - ...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.

“And the world must learn this. The world may think, with the devil, that Jesus is defeated by his death. It must learn that Jesus is vindicated in his death, and that the cross, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus Christ ultimately turn on the commitment of the Son to love and obey his heavenly Father at all costs...The world itself will learn this – either when men and women discover the truth and cease to belong to the world, or at the time when ‘every knee [shall] bow … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Phil. 2:10-11). These truths, cherished by every Christian, constitute the most profound evangelistic appeal.” (D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, PNTC, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991, 509)

Good morning. I am very excited to share this passage of Scripture today. It ranks up there as one of my personal favorites for a very specific reason that you will hear about later in the message.

For many years, we have concluded our preaching calendar with a short Christmas series. This year we are talking about some of God’s gifts especially from the perspective of what they replace. In the first message we saw how various people in the Christmas story had a plan, but God directed them to his purpose.

  • I find purpose to be one of those life grounding issues. Things can be tough, but if I understand my purpose, then I know what to do.
  • Without purpose, without direction, you feel like you are floundering.

Last week we focused on the gift of joy. There are times that the Father brings loving discipline due to pride, self-sufficiency, or other heart issues.

  • Although sorrow exists with that discipline, God’s character ensures that his anger is momentary but his favor lasts a lifetime, and weeping lasts for the night but joy comes in the morning.

Today we move to our third gift. With that in mind, I invite you to turn to John 14:1. As you are turning there, let’s review the larger context.

John wrote his gospel in order to prove that the long-awaited Messiah was Jesus and that by believing in Jesus you might have eternal life.

  • He records 12 miracles/signs that Jesus did and 12 statements about who he is that each contribute to his overall argument.
  • Then, as all 4 gospel writers do, they slow down to tell us about the final week of Jesus’ earthly life. About 25% of all gospel material is about the final week in Jerusalem.

More specifically, John 13-17 is called the Upper Room Discourse because these 5 chapters tell us the story of what Jesus said and did with his disciples on the night he was betrayed.

It is not difficult to imagine the intensity of this scene.

  • They gather for a meal where Jesus washes the disciples’ feet. Judging by Peter’s response, this was not normal operating procedure.
  • Jesus talks about one of them betraying him … Judas leaves and Peter argues with Jesus how he would die for him …only to learn that he will deny him three times that night!
  • Jesus reiterates his upcoming death and reminds them to love one another as he loved them.

The longer this conversation goes the more concerning it becomes. Jesus is going to die soon.

  • What will happen to the disciples?

The more of this reality that sets in, the more troubled and noisy their hearts become.

  • Not surprisingly, Jesus takes an extended portion of time to minister to, care for, encourage, and equip his followers for what is to come. The first item on the list: Peace

Please follow along as I read John 14. This is the word of the Lord. We are studying this morning The Gift of Peace. My comments will focus on vv. 25-31 as they nicely summarize the whole chapter. Let’s consider 4 truths that provide peace in a chaotic world

I. God’s Word Can be Trusted (vv. 25-26)

John 14:25-26 “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.

When we are reading a gospel, we need to remember 3 different points in time.

  • The first time is the moment the events occurred. The disciples are in the room with Jesus. Everything is super intense as all the predictions about his death are coming true.
  • The second time is the time of the writer. John’s gospel was written roughly 60 years after the event. He is writing to a group of people who need to know exactly what happened.
  • The third time is for you and me. How does this passage apply to us?

I want to suggest God’s Word can be trusted is the application point for you and me. But how do we get there? That is not exactly what vv. 25-26 say, so how are these ideas connected?

The Disciples did not fully understand what Jesus told them (v. 25)

Verse 25 reminds us that this is not the first time Jesus had said these things. In fact, if we chose to look at Mark’s gospel, we have Jesus predicting his death roughly a year prior to these moments in the upper room.

  • Throughout Jesus’ life and ministry the disciples were growing in their understanding. Just because Jesus said something does not mean that disciples fully grasped it.
  • In fact, fuller understanding did not come until after the resurrection.

For example, John explains in 2:19-22 that when Jesus said “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” it was not until after the resurrection that they understood he was talking about the temple of his body.

  • In 12:16 we learn that even Jesus’ entry in Jerusalem with “Hosanna” and “riding on a donkey” were not grasped until Jesus rose from the dead. When they went to the grave on Sunday morning, they expected to find him.
  • According to 20:9 it was only when he was raised that the light bulb went off in their head.

I try not to be too critical of the disciples. I have the privilege of living after the resurrection and after the Bible was completed. I have the joy of being able to look back as opposed to being forced to look forward.

What is Jesus going to do about their lack of understanding? Write them off? Say it is hopeless? Look for some emergency replacements? Not even close…

The Spirit guaranteed that the Disciples understood after the resurrection (v. 26)

Notice v. 26. “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the father will send in my name.” The Holy Spirit is about to make a huge difference. When Jesus dies, what will happen to the disciples?

  • The Spirit will come and bring to remembrance “all that I have said to you.” That is great news. That brings a measure of peace to a very tense situation. Yes, Jesus is leaving but the Spirit is coming.
  • Their heart begins to quiet down after they realize that their ministry is not dependent on their memory.

That also explains the way the disciples understood after the resurrection. It is not just the resurrection itself, that made it all clear, but the Spirit of God who was teaching them all that Jesus said.

Don Carson wrote on this verse, “John’s purpose in including this theme and this verse is not to explain how readers at the end of the first century may be taught by the Spirit, but to explain to readers at the end of the first century how the first witnesses, the first disciples, came to an accurate and full understanding of the truth of Jesus Christ.” D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, PNTC, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 505.

Let me say two things about that:

  1. There are other passages of Scripture that teach how the Holy Spirit guides us today using the Bible. That is one reason why two people can hear one sermon and leave with two very different, but specific applications to their life.
    1. Praise the Lord for that. It is worthy of a sermon all on its own.
  2. Remember the second and third “times”? The time of the original readers and our time. How is this valuable for us? It gives us confidence that what is recorded in the Bible is exactly how it happened.

How in the world can you remember the specific words of a conversation that took place 30 years ago? I am old enough now to have been a young adult 30 years ago.

  • I certainly remember things that happened during my sophomore year of college, but very few exact conversations.

I believe that the Bible in my hand is the Word of God because the Spirit of God was given to the disciples to help them remember everything that Jesus taught. He helped them as they started the church. He helped them as they faced the intense opposition of the religious leaders.

This Bible has words I can trust.

Our world is distressed. We have been living through COVID since March.

  • There have been very real and meaningful consequences with illness, with stay at home orders, with business impacts, and with relationships.
  • Some surgeries have been postponed even here in Lafayette because no ICU bed was available for recovery.
  • The election cycle has been distressing regardless of a person’s desired outcome and it is still not over as run-offs in Georgia will determine which party has control of the senate.

Thankfully, in a very chaotic world we have God’s Word in our hands that we can read, pray over, think about, and receive advice and encouragement.

God’s trusted Word is the first way we can receive God’s peace. As we are coming near the end of the year, this is a good time to reset your devotional plan and your Bible reading. Peace comes as you are feasting on the right source. The second is…

II. God Offers a Quiet Soul (v. 27)

John 14:27 “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.

During one of our pastor meetings to discuss this passage, Pastor Aucoin described the lack of peace with the words, “a fearful, anxious, noisy heart.” I thought he gave a helpful and vivid picture of the opposite of peace.

  • It is a heart that cannot rest, cannot sit still, cannot keep from running to the next thing, cannot live without thinking of all the possibilities and continually questions what to do next.
  • Have you ever been there? I know I have.

What God offers to these disciples, and ultimately us, is a quiet soul. That is exactly what these disciples needed and that is exactly what you and I need right now. God put a Bible in our hand, gave us his Spirit, and then offered direct access to inner quietness.

Jesus provides three further descriptions to help us understand.

The World has no genuine peace to offer (v. 27a)

The prophet Jeremiah spoke about the world’s peace.

Jeremiah 6:13-15 “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 14 “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 15 “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush.

Everyone is talking about peace, but they were not offering proper healing. They were simply proclaiming peace. As if that was not bad enough, they did not even blush about it. They are not even embarrassed. God is talking about a superficial peace.

Many years later the Roman Empire promised peace. It was called the Pax Romana. It was a peace gained through extreme violence. That sounds like peace to me, you?

Governments over the course of human history have claimed to deliver peace, but it never happens.

  • Even if there is a long period of conflict-free prosperity, the government cannot deliver inner peace.
  • It does not come in policy because policy can never change the sinful condition of a person.

When Jesus talks about his peace, he specifically contrasts it to the false peace that the world offers.

“Let not your heart be troubled” (v. 27b)

That phrase also occurred in v. 1. It is a reminder that this portion of the upper room discourse was themed around peace. I mentioned to you that this was one of my favorite passages and now I will tell you why.

It was the late spring of 1992. Stephanie and I were what I would call “casually dating.” For all of you with sensitive bologna detectors that was code for “I was being a terrible boyfriend.”

  • While that was the external appearance, a worse situation was going on in my heart. I was in turmoil. I knew that we were getting to a point that one of two things had to happen. Either I needed to move full steam ahead taking very seriously whether or not we should marry or I needed to let her find someone who would.
  • Not only was I bordering on being unfair to her, I had another problem. It is not like I thought I was awesome, in fact, my thinking was actually the opposite, “If I let her go there will not be a girl on planet earth who will want to marry me and since there aren’t any girls anywhere else … I knew this was a big decision!”
  • That is a set up for John 14. We had arranged to spend a portion of Memorial day together. On Sunday evening (the day before), I was in church and the pastor spoke from John 14.

That phrase, “let not your heart be troubled” hit me like a ton of bricks. That message that day was to an audience of 1. My pastor, without knowing it, had prepared that message for just one person -- me. That evening I went to bed and thought… “tonight is the first night I can honestly pray to the Lord with a contentment either way. May the Lord’s will be done.” The Lord had taken all of fret, fear, anxiety, worry, all of it, and he infused my heart with peace.

That next day I woke up, got ready, and invested in my relationship with Stephanie without fear or fail. Back in September we celebrated 27 years of marriage. Who knew that the peace of God which quieted my troubled heart on that one Sunday night would make such a difference in my life?

I do not believe that God is done taking troubled, anxious, fearful hearts and giving quiet ones. Maybe you are struggling with a big decision of your own. Maybe you are worried about something happening in your life. Jesus’ words to his disciples were let not your heart be troubled. Those words are for you too. It may be that you need to ask the Lord today … to give you a quietness in your soul and offer a prayer for his will to be done in your life.

Who knows, maybe John 14 will become as significant to you as it is to me.

The third phrase is …

Jesus offers inner peace rather than a life of fear (v. 27c)

“nor let it be fearful.” That is what Jesus said. It reminds me of …

Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Don’t you just love the description “which surpasses all comprehension?” I know I do. It is not like I had never thought about my decision. But on that day in May 1992, I got a peace that surpassed my understanding. I could not explain it other than to say that God took my fearful, anxious heart, and gave me a peace that surpassed understanding.

In our pastor meeting, someone said, you know, the more that you properly fear God the less that you fear the world and the less that you fear God the more that you fear the world.

That’s brilliant! When my heart is inclined to the Lord, and I see myself as his servant then I am less afraid of what plans and purposes he might have for me.

  • But when my heart and mind are on the things of the world … and the world offers no inner peace … then I am back to my fearful, anxious, noisy heart.

Are you glad that the Lord offers a quiet soul?

Again Carson said, “This is the peace which garrisons our hearts and minds against the invasion of anxiety.” The imagery is powerful … anxiety seeks to invade us, looking for the weakness in our hearts. It becomes human like and active.

  • Struggle with school --- anxiety says you will never get a good job.
  • Struggle with sin --- anxiety says you will never be useful to the Lord
  • Struggle with relationships --- anxiety says you are a defective human

Our war against that kind of heart is a peace that quiets our noisy soul.

The third truth…

III. God’s Future Promises Give Hope (vv. 28-30)

John 14:28 “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. 29 “Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30 “I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me”

We are in an intense scene, but Jesus wants to provide peace to his disciples. For them, they will remember the words of Jesus because the Spirit will remind them. Jesus will give them an inner quietness that the world cannot offer. Then, Jesus explains that his departure serves as a guarantee of future hope. This is not a bad deal, but an amazingly good deal.

Jesus’ return to heaven promises his return for his children (v. 28)

Earlier, I read the larger context to remind us of

John 14:1-6 “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 “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. 3 “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. 4 “And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Jesus’ departure is not a loss for the disciples, but a net gain. His return to his heavenly home is the guarantee for his return for us.

I love how Jesus provides immediate hope. The disciples will receive the Spirit … here is your help right now. For us, here is your Bible with the Spirit … here is your help right now.

Then, I am going to heaven to prepare a place for you. Here is your hope for the future. If I go (v. 28) then I will come again.

[Give the Gospel here] That is why it is so important that you know that you know that you know you have a saving relationship with Jesus. This peace is only possible for those who repent of their sin and trust in the finished work of Christ.

  • Thank you for serving this weekend in LN. I realize that it has been really different. The off shift times have not been the same.
  • Thank you for caring for families in need during Christmas for Everyone.
  • Christmas Eve services [get tickets please so we know if we need to add a service]
  • But what is exciting is that people are hearing the gospel message so that they can have this exact same hope – Jesus is coming back for them to live in the home he prepared.

There is not a separate point in the outline, but notice that Jesus offers a small rebuke in the text. If the disciples had properly loved Jesus then they would have wanted him to return to his heavenly home. Not solely due to the blessings it would give them, but also to the blessing it would be to Jesus to return to the glory he shared with his Father from all eternity.

  • Part of growing in our love for Christ is being more concerned to bring about his joy that our own griefs and sorrows. It is much easier to maintain peace for the soul when one is not focused on it.

Nevertheless, we see Jesus promising his future return and in v. 29

Jesus explains the coming events to solidify their faith (v. 29)

The next few days are going to be very disturbing for the disciples. The trials, beatings, crucifixion, chaos, death, and burial would all be difficult to watch. Although the disciples have been told before, Jesus gives them one more review.

Hope comes as you see the events occur as expected. Living at this stage in salvation history is a great privilege because we see even more than the disciples did. They saw the beginning of the church. We have seen the growth of the church. Fulfilled prophecy encourages us.

Jesus’ death will bring about the Devil’s defeat (v. 30)

If the future events were not enough in and of themselves, we also see in v. 30 that Jesus explains his death conquers Satan. It is a little strange to see Jesus say, “he has nothing in me.” What does that mean?

It is confusing. That is why other English versions use language like “no power over me, no hold over me, or no claim over me.” His point is that the Devil has nothing on Christ. Christ’s death, in obedience to the Father, spells ultimate doom for the enemy.

There is something exceedingly helpful about knowing that you are on the winning team. There may be some bumps and bruises along the way … health will not always be easy, finances may get challenging, death of loved ones, the death of certain dreams may all be part of our lives.

  • But thankfully, we can have peace because we know how the story ends.

The words of an old song say, Because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future, my live is worth the living just because he lives.

That brings us to the 4th truth found in this section of Scripture.

IV. God’s Mission Gives Us Purpose (v. 31)

John 14:31 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.

Purpose goes a long way in providing peace even in the midst of chaos. The Lord makes the purpose clear. The world has to know this. It needs to know Jesus’ vindication and it needs to know his love for the Father shown in his obedience to the point of death.

Again, Carson helpfully explains, “And the world must learn this. The world may think, with the devil, that Jesus is defeated by his death. It must learn that Jesus is vindicated in his death, and that the cross, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus Christ ultimately turn on the commitment of the Son to love and obey his heavenly Father at all costs….The world itself will learn this – either when men and women discover the truth and cease to belong to the world, or at the time when ‘every knee [shall] bow … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ (Phil 2:10-11). These truths, cherished by every Christian, constitute the most profound evangelistic appeal.” D. A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, PNTC, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991), 509.

While Jesus will state the mission even more clearly to his disciples in the days following his death, the basic point is right here. One of the things that will provide peace is when we are living to proclaim the message of Christ.

We all know that this is true. When a person close to us dies, the first question we have to face is whether they knew Christ. The answer changes how we respond.

However you have the opportunity to influence people this Christmas, your peace will be partially based on you carrying out this evangelistic purpose.

I hope this passage is as encouraging to your soul as it is to mine. This is a passage I tell myself in hard moments. Why? Because when my heart is fearful, anxious, and noisy I know that God offers the gift of peace.

Authors

Dr. Rob Green

Roles

Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries - Faith Church

MABC Department Chair, Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Bio

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Dr. Rob Green joined the Faith Church staff in August, 2005. Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Pastor Green has authored, co-authored, and contributed to 9 books/booklets. Rob and his wife Stephanie have three children.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.