God’s Cure For Heart Trouble

Title: God's Cure For Heart Trouble

Bible Book: John 14 : 1-12

Author: Mark Adams

Subject: Troubles; Hardship; Care, God's



Which of the Bible’s commands would you say is the most difficult to obey? Some of us might choose Exodus 20:16 where God says, “Thou Shalt not give false testimony.” This command is hard because we feel that in all honesty there are so many times when we find ourselves in a tight spot and twisting the truth by “spinning” the facts seems necessary. Others would say the command not to covet in Exodus 20:17 is a hard one. We pick this one because we drive a clunker and to be honest, we can’t help but yearn for a BMW or Mercedes like the ones we see parked in our neighbors’ driveways. Some might confess that Paul’s commandment in Philippians 2 is the most difficult. Remember that one? In verse 14 Paul says, “Do not complain about anything.” This is a hard command for many of us to embrace because we think being able to find fault in anything and everything is our spiritual gift.

And—whereas I know from experience that each of these commands can indeed be difficult—I would have to say that for me the hardest is Jesus’ command in John 14:1 when He says: “Do not let your heart be troubled.” Now—you may think, “But that’s not really a command...” And, it may not SOUND like a command but in the original Greek this sentence carries the firmness, resolve, and conviction of one...even though in the context I’m sure Jesus would have issued this order tenderly.

I think it’s interesting to note that a literal translation would be, “Do not let your heart SHUDDER...” or “tremble.” Well, this is indeed a hard command to obey because these days we have so much to SHUDDER or TREMBLE about. Think about it. We are troubled by the economy and how it’s going to effect us. There are so many people out of a job these days...even in our own congregation. Rising costs make parents who do have employment wonder how they can make ends meet. People approaching retirement worry about social security and the dwindling value of their retirement accounts. We also worry about the war in Afghanistan. We wonder—when will it end? Is terrorism here to stay? And then there are all the other worrisome things in the news: the situation in Egypt...and the floods in Australia and Brazil.

Plus—if real events weren’t enough for us to worry about there are the “what ifs” of life. What if...I get cancer? What if...the cancer comes back? What if...my teenaged son or daughter gets in an auto accident? What if I lose my job? What if...I don’t get the sermon done?

This command not to be troubled is indeed a difficult one to obey—isn’t it? I would go so far as to say that one of the reasons this command is so challenging is the fact that we live in what some refer to as “the cardiac age...” because so many things compete to cause our hearts to be troubled. We endure a wide variety of worries that steal our sleep and keep our minds churning throughout the day—concerns that induce stress and squash joy. It’s easy for us to AMEN Jobs words in 5:7 where he says, “Man is born unto trouble” because our lives are indeed so full of troubling things.

Now—before I read the text where Jesus issues this difficult command, let me give you the setting. The disciples have just shared the Passover—the Last Supper—with Jesus. You should remember from our study that, at this meal our Lord dropped a number of verbal bombshells.

He told them He was going to be betrayed by one of the Twelve.
He said that Simon Peter, regarded as the leader of the disciples, would deny Him.
Then Jesus gave them the worst news of all: He said He was going to leave them.

With that in mind, turn to John 14 and follow along as I read verses 1-12

1 - “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.

Now I want you to try to put yourself in the disciples’ shoes. Try to fully understand why their hearts were shuddering at this point. For three years Jesus had been their closest Associate, their constant Companion...their Master...their Teacher. These people loved Jesus! For 36 blessed months these men and women had experienced what no human had experienced since the Garden of Eden...an intimate day by day fellowship with God. This helps explain why they had literally left all for Jesus—their occupations, families, friends. They had given up everything in order to follow Him. Their hopes and dreams for all the future rested on Jesus. Anyone who had experienced what these first disciples had experienced would naturally be troubled with this news that Jesus had shared. How were they to deal with the betrayal of a fellow disciple, the denial of Peter, and then the departure of their Master and Friend and NOT be troubled or distressed?

Well, in this text Jesus told His first followers how to heal their shuddering hearts—and we must pay close attention because what He said that night is the prescription for our heart trouble as well. Jesus’ words that night help us—His current disciples—to know what we need to do in order to calm our own worries and anxieties, so pay attention—here it is. Here’s the cure. When it looks like our world is crumbling in on us Jesus says: “Trust in God; trust also in Me.” To be more accurate, the tense here says that the way to have an untroubled heart is to “Keep on trusting in God...keep on TRUSTING in Jesus.”

Now—what exactly is TRUST? I mean, unfortunately “TRUST” is one of those over-used words that we don’t really understand. To get an accurate grasp of its meaning we need to compare the word TRUST with the word FAITH. They are similar words, almost synonyms in our vocabulary but they are actually miles apart in meaning. You see, FAITH is what moves a mountain or calms a storm. But TRUST is actually greater than that—it’s greater than faith. TRUST is what allowed Jesus to sleep in the back of the boat while that storm raged all around Him. Let me put it this way. FAITH is knowing that God CAN change things. Trust is knowing that God WILL do that. Trust is the conviction that God will indeed work in all things for our good. So to put it simply, TRUST is what enables you to hang on until the miracle comes and God calms the storm.

Well—HOW can we trust Jesus? Or to put it more clearly WHY should we trust in Him as we endure the heart-shuddering storms of life? Let me put it this way: what credentials does Jesus have that merits that kind of trust—the caliber of trust that strengthens and calms our troubled hearts? Author and pastor, Bob Russell, suggests a number of excellent ones.

(1) First, he reminds us that Jesus is trustworthy because of His SUPERNATURAL IDENTITY.

As Jesus said in verse 9, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father. I and the Father are one.” In other words Jesus is no ordinary man. He was God temporarily making a physical appearance on the Earth. Jesus was literally GOD with us. God is always faithful—He can always be trusted—so, as God, Jesus is as well.

(2) A second reason Jesus is trustworthy is because of His impeccable INTEGRITY.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are but He never yielded...not even once.

As a little boy, Jesus never sassed His mother.
He never lied to Joseph about where He’d been.
He never cheated on a test in Synagogue school.
As an adult, He kept the Law of God perfectly.

His record was spotless! He never sinned in thought, word, or deed. In fact, once He even asked His enemies, “Which of you accuses Me of sin?” and none of them could.

Now—if I went to my family and to my friends...YOU INCLUDED...and asked, “Which of you can accuse me—Mark Adams—of sin?” Well...let’s just say there would be a long line. But not Jesus. Even in the hostile courtroom of Pilate’s house, that Roman judge said this about Jesus...he said, “I find no fault in Him.” With His perfect integrity, you can trust Jesus to do what He says He will do every single time!

(3) And then Jesus merits our trust because of His keen INTELLECT.

Even when He was a child the Jewish scholars were amazed at His wisdom. No one could match His intellectual brilliance. The amazing thing is the common people were able to understand Him even though He was the smartest man Who ever lived. Two thousand years later His words still stimulate our thinking and alter our behavior. I mean, as omniscient God in the flesh, Jesus knows literally everything. So, He is infinitely qualified to say, “Trust Me...Don’t let your hearts be troubled. I know things you don’t know about what you are going through—so don’t worry.”

(4) Jesus also merits our trust because of His miraculous POWER.

Remember? In verse 11 he said, “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.” Friends, only Jesus could make the diseased well, the deaf hear, the demons flee, and the dead come back to life. One of the religious rulers of His day admitted, “Jesus we know that You’re a Man from God because nobody could do these miracles that You do, unless God be with Him.” In short, Jesus has the power to handle anything that troubles us.

(5) Here’s another credential. Jesus is worthy of our trust because of His sacrificial DEATH.

Like the other Gospel writers John tells of the day the religious leaders put Jesus to death on a Roman cross. Well, Jesus permitted this to happen. He said, “Nobody takes my life from Me. I give it up of My own accord. I lay down my life as a ransom for many.” So Jesus didn’t die the sad victim of injustice—He died a deliberate substitute for our sin. The Bible says, “God laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

Let’s say that you were three months behind on your house payment, and the banker called

you for an appointment. You sit there, with fear and trembling, knowing that you're about to be evicted. You’re about to be homeless and you’re helpless to stop the process. Your bank account is empty. But suddenly the banker says, “I’ve got great news. You have a wealthy relative who has not only paid those three back payments—he’s paid off the entire house loan. Here’s the deed. It now belongs to you.” You’d walk away so grateful and so elated at that gift. Well friends, we all have a huge debt of sin that we cannot pay. In a very real sense we were subject to being evicted from God’s house. But Jesus came and paid off the entire debt for us. The Bible says, “He who knew no sin became sin for us.” (2nd Corinthians 5:21) So, Jesus merits our complete trust because He sacrificed His life for you and me. Anyone who would die for you—can be trusted, wouldn’t you agree?

(6) And then, Jesus is worthy of our trust because of His predicted RESURRECTION.

Think of it. Jesus predicted the impossible. He said to His followers: “We’re going up to Jerusalem; I’m going to be crucified. But on the third day I’m going to come back from the grave.” At the time no one believed Him, but Jesus did exactly what He said He was going to do.

Listen. If a man knows the future...if He can predict His resurrection and then do it....if He has the power to come back from the dead...He’s certainly capable of handling any of my troubles. You can’t get more trustworthy than that!

By the way, the fact that Jesus rose from the dead is why He can say as He does in verse 6 that He is the only way to Heaven. I mean, Jesus died and three days later He walked out of His tomb saying, “I am the way to eternal life. You follow Me, and you can make it through.” No other religious founder can make that claim—not Mohammed, not Moses, not Buddha...because none of them did what Jesus did. None of them came back from the grave. So, only Jesus can say: I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. Follow me and you will get to Heaven. As the hymn text puts it, “I must needs go home by the way of the cross...there’s no other way but this.”

(7) Finally, Jesus is worthy of our trust because of his present POSITION.

Romans 8:34 says, “Christ Jesus Who died—more than that, Who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” The Bible teaches that Jesus ascended into Heaven, and now He’s with the Father praying for us, interceding for us, countering the Accuser for us. Wouldn’t you trust somebody who has big-time influence with the Judge of the universe and is pleading your case? I would! I DO!

So—the ONE Who has all these credentials says to you and me, “Don’t let your heart be troubled. You trust in God; trust in Me.” I think we can trust Him! Don’t you?! Of course we can—and we have to remember that—especially when we’re going through the worrisome, troubling times of life. I’m reminded of the saying you see on plaques and bumper stickers: “Lord, help me to remember that nothing is going to happen to me today that You and I can’t handle together.” So we can trust Jesus to help us deal with our worries. Our hearts can stop shuddering and rest in His Personhood.

With that in mind, let’s go back and look at what our perfectly trustworthy Lord says in this text that calms our troubled hearts. What exactly does He ask us to trust Him to do?

Jesus asks us to trust His promise that He may be leaving but He is preparing an eternal HOME for us and someday He’ll come back to take us there.

Now—I don’t know about you—but to me HOME is where I am the least worried. No matter how difficult my day has been—no matter what challenges I have had to face...whenever I pull into my driveway at 6508 Farmingdale Court, my heart rate slows and I begin to feel at ease. That’s the way HOME is supposed to be. It’s a place of safety and security and love. It’s sort of a fortress where you can go to find rest from the storms of life. Well, Jesus says that He has left this earth to prepare a special, eternal HOME for Christ-followers like you and me—and that promise does indeed CALM our shuddering hearts! It does because all people instinctively YEARN for the safety and security of this eternal home. C. S. Lewis calls this “the inconsolable longing.” He writes, “There have been times when I think we do not desire Heaven, but more often I find myself wondering whether in our heart of hearts, we have ever desired anything else....It is the secret signature of each soul, the incommunicable and unappeasable want, the thing we desired before we met our wives or made our friends or chose our work, and which we shall still desire on our deathbeds when the mind no longer knows wife or friend or work.”

Lewis right because all people have a longing for Heaven whether they recognize it or not. We all long for the safety and security of an eternal HOME, where there are no troubles...no fears...no sickness...no separations...no death. Well, the reality of this ETERNAL Home that Jesus is even now preparing for us helps us not worry about the troubles of this TEMPORARY world.

Not too long ago a man named Anthony Burger died at age of 44. His name may be familiar to you because many feel that he is the finest gospel pianist that ever lived. He spent the last ten years playing for the Gaither Vocal Band. In fact, just prior to his death he was accompanying the Gaithers on a Christian cruise in the Caribbean. Fifteen hundred people were on that cruise. They vacationed during the day, and they’d come to a gospel concert in the ship’s theater at night. Well, the fourth night out, Anthony Burger had just played a piano solo. About five minutes later, during the concert, he collapsed of a massive heart attack and died instantly at the piano. Everybody, especially his family, was totally distraught. Author and speaker Becky Pippert was a guest teacher on that cruise, and she was to address the people the next morning in a Bible study. Becky said that before she got up to teach, a woman came to her and said, “Becky, I want to tell you what happened to me last night—just before Anthony Burger died.” Becky confessed, “Sometimes people come up to you, and they want to give their testimony or they want to be on the stage; they want the spotlight. But this is not one of those ego-driven people. She was very humble and unassuming. The woman said, ‘In the concert last night, after Anthony Burger played his solo, the spotlight went to the other side of the stage, but for some reason I kept my eyes on Anthony Burger. I felt like God was saying: “I'm going to show you something from My realm that will be an encouragement to people.” So I watched and suddenly, I saw an angel standing behind Anthony Burger. He appeared to be seven feet tall, dressed in white and gold, and he just stood there for about 30 seconds. He put his hand on Anthony’s shoulder, and Anthony looked up and then slumped down and died—when just minutes before, he played the song “We Shall Behold Him.”’

You may question that woman’s vision of an angel. That’s okay. Her testimony is not Scripture so believing it is not a test of your faith. There are some false claims out there. But you know what I think? I think sometimes God gives us a glimpse of His glory to fuel our hope. Those revelations are rare; they’re not the foundation of our faith. But don’t they quicken our expectation and our anticipation? Don’t they increase your longing for our eternal home? I don’t know about you but they remind me of Paul’s words in 2nd Corinthians 4:17 where He says, “Our present troubles are quite small and won’t last very long, yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever.”

Now—what is it about this Heavenly Home that awaits us when this life ends—what is it about it that is so comforting? There is a lot I could say but I want to suggest three main things.

(1) First, JESUS will be there.

When Christians die, we can know that Jesus will be waiting to greet us when we get to the place He’s prepared for us—this Heavenly Home. This fact is what calmed Paul’s shuddering heart. To be with Christ with no more “through the glass darkly” stuff is something Paul yearned for. Do you remember his words in Philippians 1:23? He compared this world to the next and confessed, “I desire to depart and be with Christ which is better by far!” I mean, Jesus is what will make Heaven...HEAVEN! The story is told of a child whose mother became very sick and some close friends who lived nearby took the child away to stay with her until the mother got well again. But instead of getting well, the mother grew worse and died. The neighbors thought they would not take the child home until after the funeral was over, and that they would not tell her about her mother being dead. So after a while they simply brought the little girl home. At once she went to find her mother. First she went into the kitchen to find her mom. Then she went into her mom’s bedroom. She went from one end of the house to another but she could not find her. At last she asked, “Where is my mamma?” When they told her that her mother was gone, the child wanted to go back to the neighbor’s house again. Home had lost its attraction for her since her mother was not there any longer. Well, the fact that Jesus will be there is what makes Heaven attractive. D. L. Moody writes, “It’s not the jasper walls and the pearly gates that are going to make Heaven attractive. It is being with God.” And I would agree. Do you remember the words to Fanny Crosby’s old hymn? That BLIND hymn-writer wrote these timeless lyrics, “Some day the silver cord will break, and I no more as now shall sing; But O, the joy when I shall wake, within the palace of the King! And I shall see Him face-to-face, and tell the story saved by grace; And I shall see Him face-to-face, and tell the story saved by grace.” Ms. Crosby understood Paul’s words in Philippians 3:20 where he writes, “Our citizenship is in Heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

(2) Another thing that will make Heaven wonderful is the fact that our LOVED ONES will be there.

In 1st Thess. 4:13-18Paul writes, “Dear brothers I want you to know what happens to a Christian when he or she dies so that when it happens, you will not be full of sorrow as those are who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and then came back to life again, we can also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with Him all the Christians who have died....for the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a mighty shout and with the soul-stirring cry of the archangel...and the great trumpet-call of God and we will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with Him TOGETHER forever...so comfort and encourage each other with these words.”

This week I read the story of a man who testified that when he was a kid he thought of Heaven as just a great shining city, filled with vast walls, domes and towers, and populated by millions of angels...all of whom were strangers to him. But then his little brother died. After that he thought of Heaven as a great and shining city, filled with vast walls and towers and unknown angels, but now there was also one little fellow he knew. When his second brother died there were two he knew. Decades passed and friends died. In time one of his children when to be with Jesus; this one was followed by another and still another. By this time the man seldom thought of walls and towers and unknown angels. He thought of those residents of the Celestial City whom he knew, and his interest in Heaven intensified. Toward the end of his life, so many of his family members and friends had gone to Heaven that it sometimes seem to him that he knew more people in Heaven than he did on earth. And, of course his thought fixed increasingly on that distant place. Are any of you old enough to know how this man felt? As a pastor who deals with death so much—I can relate.

In fact, when I get to Heaven, after I see Jesus and my dad and father-in-law and other family members...I’m going to host what I will call and “Un-Funeral.” I’m going to invite every Christian I have buried over the years. Instead of my sharing a meditation like I did at each of their funeral services I’ll hear from them. I’ll ask them to describe what Heaven has been like—the home God has prepared for them. I’ll ask them to share reports of what God has had them doing since they died. And—instead of crying about the deceased, we will rejoice about the eternal life and Heavenly home God has provided. It will be a great service! Not to be morbid—but if I bury any of you—you can consider yourself invited to my un-funeral!

(3) One final thing that makes the promise of Heaven comforting is the fact that when we get there, we’ll finally be all we are MEANT to be.

I mean, Heaven will be the finish line in our race toward Christlikeness. 1st John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”

On that great day all the sin...all the ignorance and anger and jealousy and hate and selfishness and pride that mars our personhood and damages relationships will finally be gone. We’ll have a fresh view of each other because we will see each other not as we have come to know each other here below but as we were meant to be...as God intended us to be.

Have you ever wondered what that will be like? I have—and here’s the way I’ve come to think of it. Do you know how you feel after having a bacterial infection and the anti-biotic kicks in? You’ve been sick—and then you feel well? I think our glorification will be something like that.

I remember when we went to Kenya...I woke up in the middle of the night with a high fever and chills and nausea. I had gotten some bad water or something so I took the antibiotics my doctor had sent with me and less than 24 hours later I felt completely better. It was as if all the BAD of that illness had been washed out of me. It was like night and day. Well, I think that is a flawed example of how we’ll feel when we get to Heaven...and all the damage of sin will be perfectly healed. We’ll be as we have always wanted to be—as we’ve yearned to be. On that day we’ll finally be fully, completely well.

Okay—have all the hearts present stopped shuddering? Don’t you feel better about your current situation—no matter how bad it may be? Doesn’t this promise TRUMP any crisis you are facing?

If it does, raise your hand!

Now—I want to speak briefly to those whose hearts ARE still trembling—and I’m referring to anyone present who is not a Christ-follower. I’m so glad you are here...because I want to tell you how you can claim this promise of Jesus. To get Heaven—you have to become a Christian—and God made that all-important decision as simple as A, B, C.

A—ADMIT that you have sinned and separated yourself from God because you have. The Bible says, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)Tell God you understand that this verse applies to you. Admit to Him that You break His loving laws in thought, word, and deed. If you doubt this then compare your life to the ten commandments. If you are honest you’ll admit that like me, you’ve broken almost everyone of them. We have all fallen short. Romans 3:20 says, “No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” So humbly admit to God that you are a sinner; that you are in need of God’s forgiveness; that you are hopelessly lost on your own....and then...

B—BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is God’s only Son and that He died for you on the cross as your personal Savior. Would you all repeat John 3:16 with me? “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Listen. To believe is more than just a mental agreement that Jesus is the Son of God. It’s putting your faith in His death on the cross to save you—and not in your good works. This belief is humbly trusting Jesus, swallowing your pride, and not trusting in yourself. As Paul says in Ephesians 2, “It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not of yourselves … not of works, so that anybody should boast.”

Admit you're a sinner, believe in Jesus, and finally,

C—CONFESS Jesus as the Lord of your life. Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Make Jesus the BOSS of your entire life. Whenever we baptize a new believer we symbolize this commitment by IMMERSING them completely in water. Making Jesus LORD is the essence of becoming a Christ-follower. It’s acknowledging His Lordship in every decision, every relationship.

If you’re not a Christian—won’t you take these simple steps and decide to become one today? And if you are one—is our Lord commanding you to do something else? Perhaps He’s telling you to join this church family and get involved here. If you have any decision to make public, come forward and share it with me or one of the other pastors. You may be going through a storm and just want us to pray with you...so come.


Let the PEACE OF CHRIST rule in your hearts

since as members of one body you were called to peace.

Let the WORD OF CHRIST dwell in you richly

and whatever you do...in word or in deed

Do it all in the NAME OF CHRIST giving thanks to God the Father

through Him.

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