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Rejoice That We Are Christians Pastor Turriff 5-10-2020

Easter 5

John 14:1-12

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. 12 I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Dear Christian friends:

Do you remember back to a time when you were afraid, and you weren’t sure how to handle the situation? Do you remember the loving and comforting words of your parents or maybe someone else? Do you remember your doubts and uncertainty, even with those words of assurance? Then you can identify with the disciples when they heard Jesus speak to them in the upper room on Maundy Thursday. Jesus had just told them that one of their own would betray him, and that Peter would deny him, and that he wouldn’t be with them much longer. Several times, in their 3-year journey with Jesus, Jesus explained that the Son of man would have to suffer and die, but three days later he would rise from the grave. With all this on their minds and the difficulty they were having with all that Jesus said, Jesus opens our text with words of comfort: Do not let your hearts be troubled (v. 1). Like a reassuring parent, Jesus shared with them these loving and comforting words.

You and I need the same thing. We face all kinds of situations that might fill us with fear and doubt and uncertainty. Who of us would not want to receive assurance and encouragement that things will get better and that we have our Savior and friend Jesus looking after us and watching over us? Today, the Lord Jesus comforts us and assures us that we can REJOICE THAT WE ARE CHRISTIANS.

There is good reason for this. Our Savior Jesus assures us that one of the benefits of being a Christian is that we have heaven when he says: 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”

5-10-2020 REJOICE THAT WE ARE CHRISTIANS Rev. Michael Turriff

When Jesus makes a promise, you can count on it. He promised his disciples and us that he is going back to heaven to prepare a place for us to live with him forever. But before that happened, Jesus would fulfill His Father’s salvation plan. He obediently went to the cross . . . to crush Satan’s head . . . to pay the ultimate price for our sins . . . to wash them away in his blood . . . to destroy the power of death . . . and to open the gates of heaven to all believers. Jesus rose from the grave to prove that death and the grave have no power over him or his believers . . . to return to heaven in victory as the King of kings and Lord of lords . . . to prepare a place for us . . . and to return to lead all believers to our home with him in heaven. That is comforting.

So, how do we get there? That was Thomas’ question. This was the Savior’s answer: 6I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus is the Way. We trust his guidance; we follow his lead; we walk faithfully to heaven; and we approach the Father through Jesus. Jesus is the Truth. Everything that is real and true is found in Jesus. He never lies to us; he never gives us false hope. He is the Word, and he is salvation. Jesus is the Life. He is the true God; he created all life, along with the Father and the Holy Spirit; and he is the giver of eternal life in heaven. Whoever believes in Jesus has eternal life (John 3:16). That is comforting.

Another benefit we have because we are Christians is that we know the Heavenly Father. Jesus told them: 9Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. The Apostle Paul said it this way: For in Christ all the fulness of the Deity lives in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). Jesus and the Father are one in essence (cf. John 10:30). Therefore, faith sees the Father in Christ Jesus. We know the Father intimately because Jesus has revealed him to us and we believe what Jesus tells us. We know the Father well because Jesus is perfect and holy; everything he says is absolutely true; and all the works that Jesus did can only be done by the true God. That is comforting.

There is one more benefit we have because we are Christians. We will do greater works than Jesus. Jesus said so. It’s clear that Jesus did so many great works. He healed the sick and raised the dead – amazing works of God. The “greater works” that we will do in Jesus’ name have already been prepared by Jesus for us to do. We won’t heal the sick and raise the dead. Our “greater works” are not just for now; they have eternal blessings attached. By the power of the Gospel, we will lead people to believe in Jesus and be saved. We will tell the unbeliever the Good News that Jesus, our crucified and risen Savior, has forgiven them for all sin and has gone to heaven to prepare a place for them and for all who believe in him. That is comforting.

It looks like our lives are going to be filled with difficulties, struggles, uncertainty, and doubt for as long as the world exists. It looks like Satan will continue his attacks; it looks like this sinful world will continue to put up barriers to our faith and to our walk with Jesus; and it looks like we will continue to sin each day and push God away. Yet, it looks like the same Jesus - who suffered, died, and rose again for our salvation - is the same one who is looking after us and watching over us and protecting us; the same one who promises that by faith in him alone we will have heaven; the same one who promises that we will know the Father through him; and the same one who promises that we will do the greatest work a believer can do, and that is: tell every soul what Jesus has done to save them. Jesus is the way and the truth and the life. There is nothing more comforting and assuring than believing what Jesus says to be true. There is no greater reason to rejoice than that. So, my friends, REJOICE THAT WE ARE CHRISTIANS! Give Jesus all praise and glory! Amen.

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