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A Gospel For Troubled Hearts: Part I
Jesus gives answers to the disciples’ questions,
which revealed their troubled hearts and ours:
Let not your heart be troubled.
A. Introduction and Setting
1. Four Questions By the Disciples
Beginning at John 13:36 and continuing into chapter fourteen are questions that
come out of the troubled hearts of the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ – four questions
to be exact, from four different men. All of these questions relate to something that
troubles them severely and reveal a troubled heart in each one of them.
2. Relevance of These Questions Today
These questions that were asked so long ago are still relevant to us in these days because
people are still wrestling with the same kinds of questions and problems that the disciples
raised in that period of private conference with the Lord when He drew them away
together alone and talked to them about His departure.
3. Scripture Text – John 13:33-38
Little children, yet a little while I am with you. Ye shall seek me: and as I said
unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you. Anew
commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you,
that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another.
Simon Peter said unto him, Lord, whither goest thou? Jesus answered him,
Whither I go, thou canst not follow me now; but thou shall follow me afterwards.
Peter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life
for thy sake. Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily,
verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice."
4. The New Commandment
In the hours that Jesus spent behind closed doors with His disciples He went
through that great ceremony and symbolic action of feet washing, demonstrating exactly
how we come to greatness and what God calls greatness. In that same hour He gave to
His disciples what is called a new commandment – that we love one another even as
Christ loved us.
5. Troubled Hearts
Then He began to say some things that caused the hearts of the disciples to be
troubled. There were reasons for troubled hearts that night. One was because a disciple
walked out into the night to betray the Son of God. Betrayal always leads to sorrow and
grief. Another disciple would deny Jesus three times that night. That was another reason
for troubled hearts. Then Jesus announced that He was going where they could not follow and
that meant He was soon to be separated from them, out of their sight, away from
them. That was certainly reason for troubled hearts.
6. The Disciples' Questions and the Lord's Answers
Following that announcement come one right after another questions that are just
boiling up in the hearts of these disciples – questions that Jesus gives an answer to. Those
answers are thrilling indeed and we want to look at them. We will just talk about the first
question in this lecture and then consider the other questions in the next lecture.
7. The Disciples Questions Are Based on Seeing
All the questions that these disciples ask are based on seeing. They want to be
able to understand clearly. They want to be able to see. They want to be able to know.
They don't want any questions. They don't want any worries or any fear left in their
That is just purely human. We would like it that way too. Wouldn't you like to
live in a situation where you never had any worries or doubts or fears or questions but
where you understood everything about your life? Oh, that would be wonderful. That
seems to be what they wanted. But in this case and in every case, that does not seem to be
the will of God because sometimes He wants to teach us how to walk by faith one step at
B. Peter’s Question and the Lord’s Prayer
1. "Lord, Where Are You Going? Why Can't I Come With You?"
Simon Peter said, "Where are you going and why can't we go with you now? Why
can't we follow you now?" His question has to do with being separated from the Lord,
having Him out of His sight because now he has been with Him with the Lord for three
and one half years. You know, you get accustomed to walking with Jesus and knowing
His presence is there and seeing Him and being able to lay your hand upon Him and
touch Him. Then suddenly He announces that He is going to be separated. He is going
where you can't follow.
That would arouse a troubled heart in you no doubt. Simon Peter wants to follow
with Jesus now. He wants to go with Him now. Wherever that path may lead, it's all right
if he can walk with Jesus. Whatever duty he has to perform, it's all right as long as he is
with Jesus and the Lord is in sight and is in earshot or can be close by, that seems to be
2. "You Cannot Follow Me Now But Shall Follow Me Later" (John 13:36)
Jesus said, "You can't follow me now where I'm going," meaning, "You can't
share the cross with me that I'm about to go to. You can't follow me really to Golgotha
and there die and go on and ascend with me now. But you will follow me later." What He
is saying here in prophetic warning in a way is that Simon Peter will walk the road of
suffering and sorrow and humility and service later on. He will learn what it means to
take up his cross and follow Jesus a little later on.
a. Suffering In I Peter
Simon Peter really learned that lesson well. He learned what it meant to follow
Jesus. He learned what it meant to lay your whole life on the altar of Christian service
and walk in the path of duty and righteousness and to follow Jesus Christ. All you have to
do is read his first letter – the Epistle of First Peter – and you will see there the beautiful,
organized, portrayal of the ministry of suffering.
Simon Peter uses that word 'suffering' fourteen times in the book of First Peter.
Seven times it has to do with the suffering of Jesus Christ. Seven times it has to do with
the suffering of Christians who would follow Him. Yes, he learned what it meant to
follow Jesus later. He learned what it meant to carry loads of grief and sorrow. He
learned what it meant to live under pressure in a day when there was trouble and sorrow
and having people turning their backs upon you. He learned what it meant to suffer for
b. Peter's Over Confidence in Self
But he was overcome with his own self-confidence in this case. I suppose he felt a
little bit too sure of himself because he argued back and said, "Lord, I'm ready to go with
you now. As a matter of fact I would lay down my life for you now."
Jesus looked at him and asked him a question. I think sometimes the Lord touches us the
deepest when He asks us questions that have to do with whether or not we will obey Him
and serve Him fully.
He said, "Oh, you want to lay down your life for me now do you? You're ready
now to lay down your life?" He said, "Simon, before this night is over you'll deny me
three times." This man that Jesus himself had nicknamed the rock 'Cephas' which means
by interpretation a stone – this man that they looked upon as the rock man – this stable,
staunch man would crumble like sand in grief and in the pressure of temptation before
that night was over.
It is a dangerous thing to be too sure of yourself because you see, our real
faithfulness and our ability to overcome is not based on our laying down our lives for
Jesus but it's based on the fact that He laid down His life for us. That's where our strength
comes. That's where our victory comes. That's where our power comes. That's where our
boasting comes. Not in what we can do for Him but for what He has done for us,
hallelujah, in tha t He laid down His life for us.
C. The Lord’s Answer to Our Question Today
The question still persists, "How does a person get along in this world when the
Lord is gone yonder somewhere?" John deals with that problem over and over again in
his Gospel. He teaches us how to live – how we're to live, how we're to work, how we're
to walk in faith, how we're to walk in obedience while we wait for the coming of the Lord
1. Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled
Here's the answer to both the question of Simon Peter and our own question
today. "Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in me." So you
substitute for your questions a genuine living faith of first of all believing in God. Oh, I
don't know what we would do tonight if we didn't have God that we could really rely on
and believe in – one that we know knows best and we know that He will do right by us.
That's the most marvelous thing that has ever touched my mind when one day I
walked up to the fact that God will treat me right. He will do right by me. I can trust Him
that regardless of what circumstances roll in against me, I can trust Him to know He's
working for my best interest. He will do right. It may not seem like it at the time. It may
seem like you're up against something where there are clouds and doubts and
disappointments and you may feel all kinds of emotions in your heart.
But friend I want you to know you can rest on this one fact – there is a God in
heaven on His throne who has not stepped down, He's still there. He's still in charge. He's
still on the throne. He knows you. He knows where you are. He will treat you right. He
will do right by you. Hallelujah! Praise His name.
2. Believe Also In Me
The second answer to the question is to believe in Christ. Jesus said, "Believe also
in me." Oh, what a beautiful, wonderful experience it is to have God touch your mind,
heart and whole being with divine illuminating, enlightening power. Suddenly you realize
who you are and your need and you cry out to Jesus Christ and you take Him as Saviour.
Then you go further and you take Him as your Lord and pretty soon, your whole life is
involved with Jesus Christ and you're wrapped up in Him and He's in you and your whole
life centers around Jesus Christ.
Oh, He is the center of everything. He is the center of the Holy Word. He's the
center of history. He's the center and heart of a church and He is the center of our lives. I
thank God tonight that Jesus stands at the heart of it all. If you study about Him and you
read this Bible and New Testament enough, you will see that one day He will be the
center and God will bring unto Him and gather into Jesus Christ all and all. He will be the
center of the entire universe.
Because already by Him "things consist" Colossians says. That means they hold
together like a great force of gravitation that is universal in its scope. Jesus stands at the
very heart of all time and all eternity in our whole universe and the whole systems we
know anything about. He is the center of it all. Thank God! It all revolves around the Son
of the living God who loved us and who gave Himself for us.
When I get to thinking of His greatness and the greatness of His love, I get beside
myself. Pardon me today if I seem to get beside myself. But I want to tell you, It thrills
my heart to know what Jesus Christ means to us. He said, "If you've got questions, if
you've got a troubled heart, just believe in me."
3. Believe in Heaven
In the next place He said, "Believe in a place – Heaven. I'm going to prepare a
place for you." We're being bombarded these days with all kinds of philosophies and
ideas that deny any kind of future existence. Eastern philosophies are running all across
our land and talk about an everlasting nothingness. I remember sitting in classes and
studying Eastern philosophies, Hinduism, Buddhism and others, and the absolute
emptiness and vagueness of any life to come. No wonder there is such hopelessness. No
wonder that on the foreign lands where Jesus Christ is not known well people live like
I believe tonight in heaven. I believe there is a place after this world. I believe
there's life after death. I believe that this is the only the beginning of our development.
When you're touched with eternal life from above that is only the beginning of your
potential for developing forever.
Jesus said, "I'm going to prepare a place for you." Oh, hallelujah! There is a place
of pure delight and the Lord is preparing it. Thank God I can believe in heaven. Thank
God for the hope that we have through Jesus Christ the Lord.
4. Believe in His Return
Finally, He said, "If I go to prepare a place for you I will come again and receive
you unto myself." Oh, the message of His return. Believe He is coming. I know we hear it
often and we sing about it often, but there are times when your heart really gets troubled
and you really feel like this world's not your home. You know, like those days when you
can even be among friends on Main Street downtown and yet you feel like a stranger in a
strange land in a strange world.
The hope of the return of the Lord comes alive in your heart then and it brings
comfort and it brings strength. This is the good news for troubled heart who's worrying
about the Lord going away. This is the good news even for our troubled hearts in these
times. Believing in God with an unwavering faith standing on His word and His
promises. Believing in Jesus Christ the Son of God our Saviour and our Lord. Believing
in a place that He has prepared, a heaven of righteousness and beauty that we cannot even
fathom and understand. It has to be revealed by the spirit before we begin to understand
what it's like and to believe that Jesus will come again. That will answer some of the
questions of any troubled heart. A living vibrant faith in God's word and in the coming of
the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus gives answers to the disciples' questions, which revealed their troubled hearts and ours: Let not your heart be troubled.
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