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Remedy for a Troubled Heart

March 26, 2017 Preacher: Lyndon Shook Series: Standalone

Scripture: John 14:1–3

John 14
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.

I have participated in several funeral and memorial services over the last 20 or so years, and one of my favorite passages to read during those services is this passage from John 14 because it comforts and gives hope to believers in times of grief. I am glad to read it to you this morning in this worship service!

This passage is designed to give hope to the grieving. It was spoken by Jesus to men who had troubled hearts. It was good for Jesus to look into the eyes of His disciples and, knowing their hearts for Him, say, “Let not your hearts be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me”. It is good to look over a congregation at a funeral service and, seeing tears of great loss, to say these words. And it is equally good for you and for me to hear these words this morning together and to consider what Jesus meant when He said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.” Jesus gives to us this morning the remedy for a troubled heart, which is faith in God.

Having a troubled heart is one of the most common things in the world. No rank or class or condition is exempt from it. A troubled heart may come from inward causes, from outward causes, maybe from our body conditions, or entirely from our minds. Our hearts can be troubled by what we love or by what we fear, the journey of life is filled with troubles. Even the best of Christians will have many troubles, many crosses to carry from the point of saving grace to the point of walking into glory. And the only sure cure for a troubled heart is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe more thoroughly, to trust more entirely, to rest more unreservedly, to hold to Christ more firmly, to let go more freely. Faith, belief, trust, these are the solutions given to us by Jesus for troubled hearts.

These men, to whom Jesus spoke these words, no doubt had already believed. They had even proved the reality of their faith by giving up everything to follow Christ. Yet even for them, what does Jesus say? Believe! Believe more! Let your faith go from a weak faith to a stronger faith. Like Peter on the water, look more steadily at Jesus and less at the wind and the crashing waves. In Isaiah 26:3 we read, “He will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”

Faith, or believing God for who He is and what He says, provides for us the key for a troubled heart. But let me make one distinction here just quickly, and we will return to it in a few minutes to consider it more. Jesus is speaking here of how to have a trouble-free heart, not a trouble-free life. There is a great difference. There is trouble all around us. The computer crashes and it wasn’t backed up. Dozens of hours will be needed to piece together what has been lost. A visit to the doctor where the word cancer is used. As a parent you recognize that your child is not learning the way he should. A sudden lay-off with no money in the bank. A spouse who does not respond to you the way you would like. Loneliness that seems to endure forever. None of us are promised a trouble-free life, but Jesus does give us hope and a cure for the troubled heart while living in a world of troubles.

When Jesus spoke these words to His followers, He was saying, “Let not your hearts any longer be troubled.” He was confronting them while they were troubled, He was going after their need right then, right at the moment when they were most troubled in their hearts.

The remedy for a troubled heart is faith in God. Embracing who He is and what He says. Here is what Jesus says:

Believe in heaven. To bring comfort to those whose hearts were troubled, Jesus begins by telling them of a place that belongs to God, His Father – a house. And it is a house with many mansions or many rooms or many dwelling places. Jesus said, “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?”

This place, the Father’s house, is heaven. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 33:13-14, “The Lord looks from heaven; he sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth.” And in Isaiah 63:15, “Look down from heaven, and see from Your habitation, holy and glorious.” It is a very roomy place, because in it there are entire dwelling places or permanent homes for all of God’s children. These words don’t speak of a home where each person or family only occupies one room, but of a house so big that each would have their own dwelling places or multiple rooms as in a mansion. We get the idea of spaciousness, no crowding of any kind. We can only imagine how glorious it must be, all those rooms built by God, built by one who has unlimited resources and built by the one who takes pleasure in giving abundantly to His children.

These rooms or mansions are built in a place called heaven where there is no corruption. Rust, deterioration, breakage, things just wearing out and falling apart, all these things are the result of corruption in the world. Jesus had said in Matthew 6:20, “but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.” All the things that cause your house to fall apart will not be in heaven! Are we not constantly repairing and replacing and mending and wrestling with all those things we own that are just falling apart? That will not be so in heaven. God’s house is a permanent dwelling place, prepared by God, built by Him, in an environment which knows no corruption. What a tremendous place! I don’t know if any of you struggle with perfectionist tendencies. You always want everything to be perfect around you. If so, are you going to love heaven! Moving from a fallen world of corruption to a perfect heaven.

And so Jesus says, “My Father has a house, it is a roomy house, in fact in it you will find many, many mansions. Permanent mansions built by Him.” Jesus is saying, “I know your hearts are troubled by the temporary, but let me help you. Let me take you for a moment to a place that is permanent. And that place is heaven. Go with me there in your mind, think on what I am telling you, what you see now is crumbling, I know, but this is not all there is, for My Father has a house and in it are many mansions. And you must believe that this is so, for the sake of your troubled heart.”

Jesus goes on, He builds on that thought, urging them on to believe, as we must believe, that heaven is our home. Jesus said, “I go to prepare a place for you.” It would be one thing to simply admire the house that God has built, it is quite another thing to know that it is our home too.

When I was a kid growing up in Houston, we would from time to time have out of town guests come and stay with us who had never been to Houston. My parents, my mom in particular loved giving these guests tours of the city and the Gulf Coast. We could go to the Battleship of Texas, the San Jacinto monument, the Astrodome (yes, for you younger kids that used to be quite an attraction!) We would usually visit downtown at night to see the lights and the people who hung out in the downtown area at night, and lastly we would visit an area of Houston called River Oaks. River Oaks at the time was an area of the most wealthy people in the region. Huge houses with sculpted lawns, fancy cars, and such. Many of our tourists were very impressed. But you know what? As quickly as we drove into River Oaks, we drove out. Those were not our homes. For us, they were only to be admired at a distance, and only then for just a short time.

When Jesus describes heaven He goes on to say that He is going there to do what? To prepare a place for you! “It is for you that I go there! I am going to get things ready for you! It is good that I go now so that I can prepare for your coming. Don’t be troubled in heart by what you see, because I am going for your sake, for your good, I am going to prepare a place for you. And this place is not just a temporary house like what you are used to, this will be your home.” The Greek word translated mansion or dwelling places is a word that speaks of permanence. Heaven will be our home. Here we are strangers and aliens, we are travelers. Is that how we view this world in which we live? This is not a place to become too attached to. This is not a place to love too much. We have a home, a home we can look forward to and long for, and that home is heaven.

Believing Jesus’ words, believing that heaven will be our home gives perspective to where we are today and to the things we do today.

John 14
3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself”

We can have relief from a troubled heart by believing that Jesus will come, that He will receive us, bring us to Himself. Heaven is more than a home. It is more than a place. What is most glorious about heaven is our Savior and Lord will receive us and take us there.

It is Jesus Christ who will receive us. “I will come again and receive you to Myself.” In Revelation 22:20 He says, “I come quickly.” What is greater than to think that when Christ comes, that He comes to receive us? And to know that to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord?

We receive Christ when we come to Him by faith in repentence. There will be a day when He will receive you and me as Christians and usher us into His heaven. The departing of a loved one is more bearable if it can be known that it is temporary. The disciples had become accustomed to being with Christ who loved them with a perfect love and who cared for them as only God could. The gut wrenching pain of His departure could be tempered by this thought and truth: “I will come again. And when I come again, I will receive you to Myself.”

We can live in the hope that Christ will receive us as we breathe our last breath. We can believe that the permanence of heaven and living with Christ there is transcendently greater than the temporary in this world. We can understand that to be received by Christ into heaven will be greater than any trial, suffering, or affliction on this earth.

The remedy for a troubled heart is faith in God. Embracing who He is and what He says. And here is what Jesus says: Believe in heaven. Believe that heaven is your home. Believe that Jesus will take you there. And lastly, believe that Jesus will remain with you there. Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

Jesus says, “Not only will I receive you into heaven, usher you into my Father’s house,” but that He will stay there with them. There will only be this separation when He leaves the earth, this necessary separation. A temporary separation so that the permanent dwelling together will be possible. The disciples got a taste, a three year taste of being with Christ, but that quick sample would soon become permanent, and that thought, that truth was to remedy their troubled hearts.

I think the simplest truth about heaven is that we will be there with Christ Jesus our Lord. Paul said in Philippians 1:23, “For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.” To Paul, departing life on earth to be with Christ was far superior to staying in the flesh.

1 Thessalonians 4
17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Two final thoughts: first, on the difference between having troubles, which we will, and having a troubled heart.

We will have troubles in this world, those troubles provide a great contrast for us as we consider where we are today and what is to shortly come. Our troubles today, our sufferings now provide reasons to long for what Christ is preparing for us. That is a perfect home, with a perfect friend, only blessing, no corruption, free of troubles that we are now so accustomed to.

Just before Paul was baptized by Ananias, the Lord spoke to Ananias and said this of Paul, “For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Paul suffered greatly as recorded in Scripture, and Paul repeatedly spoke of his longing to be in heaven in the presence of Christ. Paul could endure with joy knowing that heaven was his home and that Jesus was his savior. We can endure troubles, severe troubles, with a calmness of heart if we live in the reality of the temporal nature of this world and a longing for our true home.

Jesus Himself speaks of having a troubled heart. But praise God that we will never have to endure what troubled Him. What troubled Him was a separation from His Father, that He would have to face the full wrath of God for sin, our sin, and endure that alone. Our troubles as Christians cannot reach that level. The worst has been endured, and not by us, but by our Lord. And so now, nothing can separate us from His love, and nothing can prevent our eternal fellowship with Him, and our more complete fellowship with Him in heaven.

One final word, about our joy in the anticipation of heaven while knowing many whom we love are not in God’s family. One thing that may come to our minds when contemplating heaven and the gloriousness that will be ours in heaven with Christ is this: “How can I glory in my future with Christ when there are so many people around me, many of whom I love, who may have a much different future? What about my friend or my parent or spouse or child who does not know Christ? How can I live joyfully, believing Christ by faith, knowing what they may face?”

I think when Jesus tells us that our hearts are not to be troubled here, and elsewhere that we are to live in a state of joy in the Lord, and when Paul testifies that joy is his in the midst of suffering, that all of that is not just for our benefit. We are to be a testimony to the world. And perhaps the greatest testimony that the world can see is that of true believers living joyful lives while facing the same struggles, pains, and trials as those in the world. To see a Christian live joyfully in the hope of heaven, while on earth in a mile-high heap of trials and troubles, is a powerful witness of the worth of Christ. And God uses that to convert souls.

To live joyfully in the sure hope of heaven is to our delight, but it’s also, many times, for the good of the lost, for the converting of souls. For a Christian to live a gloomy life on earth is to tell the world that there is no difference in knowing Christ and not knowing Christ. God help us to live lives that reflect the joy of knowing Christ and the joy of knowing what lies ahead for us in heaven.

Many throughout history have testified of the worth of Christ even unto death, and in so doing have left behind a witness of lasting impact. One such person was Mary Ann Patton. In March of 1858 Mary Ann married John G. Patton. On April 16th of the same year the two set sail for the South Pacific cannibal island of Tanna. In less than a year they had built a home, and Mary Ann had given birth to a son. But on March 3, 1859, one year after marriage, Mary died of a fever and in three weeks their infant son died as well. John buried them alone and wrote, “But for Jesus…I’d have gone mad and died beside that lonely grave.”

One of the gifts that Jesus gave to John Patton to sustain him in those days was the words of his wife spoken shortly before her death. She never murmured against God in her final sickness, nor did she resent her husband for bringing her to that island. Rather she spoke these incredible words which reflected both her love for Christ and His gospel message and her enduring hope of heaven. She said, “I do not regret leaving home and friends. If I had it to do over, I would do it with more pleasure, yes, with all my heart.”

We do not know who may finally be saved, but it is our duty and should be our joy to live a Christ-loving, joyful life before them as a witness of our faith. And we can tell them of Christ and His gospel message. We can hope for God’s work in their hearts, share the truth with them, live in Christlikeness in their presence. Just because they are not saved today, that does not mean they won’t be tomorrow. This we must leave in God’s sovereign hand. If by our lives we say, “to live is Christ and to die is gain,” then we will be testifying to a watching world that there is a Savior of such worth that to forsake the things of the world becomes a small thing.

May we be such a people who long for heaven, who long to be received into glory by Christ, and who testify with our lives of His worth.

John 14
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.

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