Jesus, the gift of God’s Truth (John 1:14-18; 8:31-32; 14:1-6)

Jesus, the gift of God’s Truth (John 1:14-18; 8:31-32; 14:1-6)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6

Children are dismissed to junior church

We will be going to John 14 in just a minute.

We know the poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” but listen to this one.

’Twas the Night before Jesus Came

’Twas the night before Jesus came and all through the house

Not a creature was praying, not one in the house.

Their Bibles were lain on the shelf without care

In hopes that Jesus would not come in there.

The children were dressing to crawl into bed,

Not once ever kneeling or bowing a head,

And Mom in her rocker with baby on her lap

Was watching the Late Show while I took a nap.

When out of the East there arose such a clatter,

I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash!

When what to my wondering eyes should appear

But angels proclaiming that Jesus was here.

With a light like the sun sending forth a bright ray

I knew in a moment that this must be THE DAY!

The light of His face made me cover my head

It was Jesus! Returning just like He had said.

And though I possessed worldly wisdom and wealth,

I cried when I saw Him in spite of myself.

In the Book of Life which He held in His hand

Was written the name of every saved man.

He spoke not a word as He searched for my name;

When He said, “It’s not here,” my head hung in shame.

The people whose names had been written with love

He gathered to take to His Father above.

With those who were ready He rose without sound

While all of the rest were left standing around.

I fell to my knees, but it was too late;

I had waited too long and thus sealed my fate.

I stood and I cried as they rose out of sight.

Oh, if only I had been ready tonight.

In the words of this poem the meaning is clear;

The coming of Jesus is soon drawing near.

There’s only one life and when comes the last call—

We’ll find that the Bible was true after all!

—Anonymous[1]

Jesus is the way, the Truth and the Life. Do we believe that? How do we show that with our Christmas traditions?

How important is truth to us?

Mrs. Fisher was recovering from surgery and got a card from her fourth-grade class: “Dear Mrs. Fisher, Your fourth-grade class wishes you a speedy recovery by a vote of 15–14.”

—Howard G. Hendricks, Say It with Love[2]

Chuck Swindoll writes:

When Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, he concluded his speech by quoting a Russian proverb: “One word of truth outweighs the whole world.” If I could change a couple of words in that proverb, I would say, “One person of truth impacts the whole world.”[3]

Swindoll writes: In a world of incessant lies, Jesus embodied absolute, unvarnished truth. Jesus as the source of all truth. Jesus never lied or manipulated anyone. He never left a false impression or appeared to be someone He wasn’t. As we believe and follow His teachings, we will know what’s real and valuable in a world of falsehoods and fakes. Jesus—Truth in the flesh—will lead us to truth’s treasures: eternal life and freedom from sin. If you’re searching for truth, be assured that in Jesus your search has ended!”[1]

This year, over the next several weeks I wish to talk about Jesus the indescribable gift.

Last week, I talked about Jesus, the gift of God’s grace.

Today, we will talk about Jesus the gift of God’s Truth.

Then, we will talk about Jesus the gift of God’s Love

On Christmas Eve we will talk about: Jesus, the Indescribable Gift, God in the Manger (Luke 2:1-20; 2 Cor. 9:15)

On December 27th, we will talk about Jesus, the Gift of God’s Hope

Let’s turn to John 14:1-6.

My theme is Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.

My application: Trust Him.

John 14:1-6: (ESV)

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 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? 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. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

  • Jesus comforts the disciples encouraging them to trust Him.
    • John MacArthur shares: This whole chapter centers in the promise that Christ is the One who gives the believer comfort, not only in his future return but also in the present with the ministry of the Holy Spirit (v. 26). The scene continues to be the upper room where the disciples had gathered with Jesus before he was arrested. Judas had been dismissed (13:30) and Jesus had begun his valedictory address to the remaining 11. The world of the disciples was about to be shattered; they would be bewildered, confused, and ridden with anxiety because of the events that would soon transpire. Anticipating their devastation, Jesus spoke to comfort their hearts.[4]
    • This passage is known as the upper room discourse from John chapters 13- 17
    • Jesus has told them that He will die. The disciples must have been discouraged. Jesus had said that He would die in the previous verses.
    • The disciples had traveled with Jesus for some 3 years. Jesus was a close friend and teacher.
    • They shared a special relationship. In fact, students of Rabbis would even call the teacher/Rabbi father. Later on, in John 15:15 Jesus calls them friends.
    • Jesus told His students and friends that soon He would die. Within a day of this He will die.
    • John 13:1-17 included the foot washing.
    • In John 13:18-30 Jesus predicted His betrayal.
    • In John 13:38 Jesus predicted being denied by Peter.
    • Jesus told them all of this difficult news and now we come to John 14.
    • Jesus tries to encourage them.
    • Do not let your heart be troubled. This is a command.
    • Jesus says “Do Not let your heart be troubled,” or “distressed.”
    • NET Bible: The same verb is used to describe Jesus’ own state in John 11:33, 12:27, and 13:21. Jesus is looking ahead to the events of the evening and the next day, his arrest, trials, crucifixion, and death, which will cause his disciples extreme emotional distress.[5]
    • Jesus thinks empathetically of how they may feel.
    • Jesus says “you believe in God, believe also in Me…”
    • Belief means to trust.
    • Jesus is encouraging them to Trust in Him.
      • Do we trust Him?
      • Do we trust Him when we may face a difficult time?
      • Do we trust Him when we have the bad news?
      • Do we trust Him with the cancer diagnosis?
      • Do we trust Him when it seems like the world is crumbling?
      • For them, their discipler and friend said He was going to die, their world was falling apart. Jesus says to trust Him.
    • In verse 2 Jesus has apparently told them before that He is going to prepare a place for them. This could be from John 13:36. He says now, His Father’s house has many rooms. He would NOT have told them that if He did not know.
    • This is a reason to trust Him.
    • In John 14:1 Jesus told them to believe Him, to trust in Him, and now He expands on why they can trust Him.
    • Jesus is going to prepare a place for them.
    • The word often translated as “mansion” just means “dwelling places.” It likely has the idea of a big building with lots of rooms.
    • Jesus is preparing a place for us through His death and resurrection.
    • In verses 2-3 Jesus is going to prepare a place for us and He will come back.
    • John MacArthur and others believe Jesus’ return is the pre-tribulation rapture. He will come back in the rapture to take us to be with Him.
    • In verse 4 Jesus says they know the way. He is the way. They know Jesus so they know the way.
      • This is the same for us. If we know Jesus, we know the way to Heaven.
      • How do we get to Heaven? We must know Jesus. He is the way (verse 6).
      • The way He was going was the cross. The NET Bible note below: Where he was going was back to the Father, and they could not follow him there, but later he would return for them and they could join him then. The way he was going was via the cross. This he had also mentioned previously (e.g., 12:32) although his disciples did not understand at the time (cf. 12:33). As Jesus would explain in v. 6, although for him the way back to the Father was via the cross, for his disciples the “way” to where he was going was Jesus himself.[6]
  • Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Look at verses 5-6.
    • In verse 5 Thomas speaks up.
    • Thomas is bold in asking the question.
    • Thomas was bold, we think of him as “doubting Thomas” but look at John 11:16: So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” That was when they were going to go near Jerusalem for Lazarus but people wanted to kill Jesus.
    • Russell Moore writes: This is when, I expect, that murmuring commenced, and one can easily see why. Thomas is wrongly caricatured as “doubting” in our age, but Thomas, it seems to me, displays a need for certainty lacking in, say, Simon Peter, who often believes he can debate or sword fight his way out of difficulty. Thomas probably realized how often this band of disciples misunderstood Jesus’ sayings and parables, not to mention how often they fell asleep while he was praying. Thomas probably wondered if Jesus had given directions for them to meet somewhere on a mountain, to recite a particular incantation, in order to be received into this heavenly reality about which he was talking. If so, no one seemed to know what these directions were.[7]
    • In verse 6 Jesus clarifies.
    • He is the way.
    • He is the truth.
    • He is the life.
    • No one comes to the Father but through Him.
    • He is the only way.
    • This is an exclusive statement.
    • John 10:9: I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.[8]
    • Romans 5:2: Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God[9]
    • Ephesians 2:18: For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
    • Hebrews 10:20: by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh…
    • 1 John 5:20: And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
    • See also John 1:14
    • “Without the way there is no going, without the truth there is no knowing, without the life there is no living.”[10]
    • MacArthur shares: This is the sixth “I am” statement of Jesus in John (see 6:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9; 10:11, 14; 11:25; 15:1, 5). In response to Thomas’s query (14:4), Jesus declared that he is the way to God because he is the truth of God (1:14) and the life of God (1:4; 3:15; 11:25). In this verse, the exclusiveness of Jesus as the only approach to the Father is emphatic. Only one way, not many ways, exist to God, i.e., Jesus Christ (10:7–9; cf. Matt. 7:13–14; Luke 13:24; Acts 4:12).[11]
  • Let’s makes some applications:
    • Do we trust Jesus? In verse 1 Jesus says to believe in God, believe also in Me. “Believe” could be translated as “trust.” Do we trust Jesus?
    • Do we trust Jesus with our eternal life?
    • Do we trust Jesus with our life now?
    • What if we get a really bad diagnosis, can we still trust in Jesus?
    • What if we are persecuted for our faith? Can we trust Jesus?
    • Is Jesus enough for us?
    • The disciples were going to lose most everything for Him, Jesus tells them to trust Him.
    • Can we look forward to Heaven?
    • Can we trust Jesus’ words as truth?
    • Can we trust Jesus as the way?
    • Can we trust that Jesus’ death on the cross is the way to Heaven?
    • Can we trust that Jesus give us life?
    • Can we trust that Jesus is the only way to truly get life now (John 10:10)?
    • Are we trusting in Jesus?
    • Or, are we trusting in possessions?
    • What is our worldview about Christmas?
    • Is Christmas about materialism, or Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life?
    • Is Christmas about family gatherings, or Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life?
    • Is Christmas about gift giving, or Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life?
    • Is Christmas about a new age “Christmas spirit” which is nothing about Jesus or is Christmas about Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life?
    • Is Christmas about Santa Claus or Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life?
    • Is Christmas about Christmas lights and pretty decorations or Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life?
    • How are we holding to a Christian worldview about Christmas?
    • How are we teaching ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren of the Christian worldview about Christmas?

How important is truth to us?

When truth unmasks wrong, those who are exposed get very nervous, like the two brothers in a story I heard recently.

These brothers were rich. They were also wicked. Both lived a wild, unprofitable existence, using their wealth to cover up the dark side of their lives. On the surface, however, few would have guessed it, for these consummate cover-up artists attended the same church almost every Sunday and contributed large sums to various church-related projects.

Then the church called a new pastor, a young man who preached the truth with zeal and courage. Before long, attendance had grown so much that the church needed a larger worship center. Being a man of keen insight and strong integrity, this young pastor had also seen through the hypocritical lifestyles of the two brothers.

Suddenly one of the brothers died, and the young pastor was asked to preach his funeral. The day before the funeral, the surviving brother pulled the minister aside and handed him an envelope. “There’s a check in here that is large enough to pay the entire amount you need for the new sanctuary,” he whispered. “All I ask is one favor: Tell the people at the funeral that he was a saint.” The minister gave the brother his word; he would do precisely what was asked. That afternoon he deposited the check into the church’s account.

The next day the young pastor stood before the casket at the funeral service and said with firm conviction, “This man was an ungodly sinner, wicked to the core. He was unfaithful to his wife, hot-tempered with his children, ruthless in his business, and a hypocrite at church.… but compared to his brother, he was a saint.”

Leadership magazine, Fall 1995[12]

Pray


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 86–87.

[2] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 588.

[3] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 589.

[4] Excerpt From: Crossway. “The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-macarthur-study-bible-esv/id419199195

[5] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Jn 14:1.

[6] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Jn 14:4.

[7] https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/what-is-the-basis-for-christian-ethics/

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jn 10:9.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ro 5:2.

[10] The Gospel of Belief by a Wheaton College professor quoted by Swindoll on Insight for Living on April 17, 2019

[11] Excerpt From: Crossway. “The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/the-macarthur-study-bible-esv/id419199195

[12] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 587–588.

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