This message was part of the ‘How to Pray’ series, preached at Christ Church Manchester’s church in Fallowfield in early 2018. The full series included the following sermons:
This sermon was based on John 14:1-4.
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”
Jesus manages his disciples’ expectations of the future in John 14:1-3.
- He does so in the context of worry (or ‘troubled hearts’).
- What kind of things do we worry about?
- Everyday worries (money), and deep existential worries (purpose, future).
- I believe that Jesus wants to relieve you of every single one of these worries.
Do not Let Your Hearts be Troubled
- The disciples are troubled, because Jesus has promised them trouble! But wherever Jesus promises trouble, he always gives assurance.
- Being without food, drink or clothing is troubling—but God will provide for you. You are the most valuable of all His creatures. (Matt 6:25-26)
- Being hunted, flogged and hated is troubling—but God will honour your perseverance. (Matt 10:16-22)
- There are plenty of things to be troubled about (normal life/following Jesus), and Jesus doesn’t shy away from listing them!
- ‘In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).
Believe in God, Believe Also in me
- Jesus equates himself with God, but it’s not ‘I’m equal with God’. It’s ‘I am God’. ‘Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me’ (14:11a).
- To believe in Jesus is to believe in God.
- How often is our attitude ‘believe in yourself, then believe in God’? – ‘I’ll believe in myself and see how far it gets me… then when I get stuck, I’ll ask God for help’.
- Trusting in Jesus can relieve us of our troubled hearts. Both the everyday worries (eat, wear…) and the existential worries (what is my purpose, where will I go when I die…?)
- Remember this: It’s not how much faith you have which matters. Because it’s not about the size of your faith, it’s about the faithfulness of your God.
- If you trust Jesus today, whether your faith is small or huge, you believe in a God who can relieve you of your deepest worries.
I am Going to Prepare a Place for You
- Jesus says he is going to prepare a place for us. That’s not like us getting the spare room ready! God’s house is not a mess that needs preparing and tidying for us!
- There’s nothing wrong with God’s house. Rather, there’s something wrong with us. In order to prepare a place for us, Jesus has to prepare us. He does this through his death resurrection and ascension!
- Jesus does’t just prepare a place for us in God’s house, he prepares a place for us in God’s household. – ‘Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the
right to become children of God’ (John 1:12).
I Will Come Back and Take You to be With Me
- Notice the focus isn’t on the ‘place’ (God’s house). It’s on the person. Jesus isn’t returning to take us to a place, but to a person—God’s immediate, intimate presence, made accessible through faith in Jesus.
- Jesus has prepared a place for us. He is God, and he is the way to God. He asks us to trust him—to trust that he will take care of our everyday needs. To trust that his death and resurrection answer the question of our deepest existential need—access to a holy God, forgiveness of sins, adoption into God’s family.
- To trust that Jesus has prepared a place for us in God’s house, and prepared us for a place in God’s house. And he asks us to trust that he will deliver on his promise to come back and take us to be with him.