Sun. a.m. AGCC 7/27/1997
(see also: 2/23/86)
TEXT: John 14:1-6; II Tim. 3:1-5;
INTRO: If I announced this
morning that I would be giving every Christian in this Church $1,000 at the
conclusion of the service if they were alert active worshippers during the
service the mood in this Church would dramatically shift...especially if you
really believed I could give each one $1,000! If true, the atmosphere would
suddenly become charged with alert active worshippers...no one would want to
miss out on the $1,000 by falling asleep and being disqualified! Anticipation
would build as the service came to a close for the reward each would
Thus, two dynamics would be noticeable in the service:
(1. the anticipated reward would create a desire to do the right things during the service in order to qualify,
(2. create an anticipation for the reward at the end of the service with
This is precisely what knowledge of Jesus' second coming is intended to do
Someone once made the following observation:
ILLUS: Man's life is made up of 20 years of his mother asking him
where he is going, 40 years of his wife asking him where he has been and one
hour at his funeral when everyone wonders where he is going. -- Sermon Builder
PROP. SENT: The Word of God
teaches us that Jesus WILL come again! This should stir in us a righteous
lifestyle in the present, and an excitement anticipating the future!
I. PEACE FOR TODAY 14:1 II Tim. 3:1-5
A. Tough Times! II Tim. 3:1-5
1. The Bible clearly indicates that the last days before Christ returns will be a difficult period of time.
a. There will be a marked sense of human arrogance and unhealthy pride
b. People will be lovers of pleasures and self much more than lovers of God and what is good.
2. The spirit of the age will be marked by self love.
ILLUS: A couple sat down in the moon light contemplating the
future. Half jovial and half seriously the woman exclaimed, "The man I marry
must be brave as a lion, but not forward; handsome as Apollo, but not conceited;
wise as Solomon, but meek as a lamb; a man who is kind to every woman, but loves
only me." ...whereupon he exclaimed, "How lucky we met!"
3. This turning to self instead of God will result in an abundance of sin and a lack of belief in things being "right" or "wrong". Each right and wrong will be based on what is "right" and "wrong" to each person.
a. It will be like it was in the days of Noah when everyone did that which was right in their own eyes! (Luke 17:26)
b. History is replete with time periods when people did whatever they personally thought was right. (Judges 19:1; 21:25)
4. It will not be an easy time to hold to Biblical standards...but we
B. Trusting or Troubled 14:1
1. Why does Jesus tell them to "not let their hearts be troubled?"
a. Jesus had just told them that one of them was a traitor! (13:21)
b. That He was leaving them (13:33)
c. And that Peter (their leader) was going to fail. (13:36-38).
2. In the light of these 3 depressing announcements Jesus sees the need to offer some encouragement to them.
a. Their hearts WERE troubled...what is the cure?
b. They would have to trust!...in God and thus also in Christ!
3. Jesus wishes to indicate to them that there is much more than they know
coming up...their understanding of boundaries were not the end, there is much
ILLUS: For centuries Portugal's motto was "Nothing More Beyond." Their world was limited to the familiar dimensions of the area around the Mediterranean Sea. They believed that to sail beyond the horizon, their border, would be to drop off the edge of the world. Eventually, voyagers discovered worlds beyond and brought back evidence to substantiate their claims. Decision makers were compelled to alter their motto to read, "More Beyond."
Easter assures us there is more beyond the
grave. We do not have a chart to guide us, save Jesus Christ; details are
sketchy, but our destination is certain. -- C. Curtis Jones, 1000 Illustrations for Preaching and
Teaching (Broadman, 1986), p. 108.
4. How do we handle a world we cannot understand, and where the news is often so bad as to leave us feeling hopeless and frustrated?
a. We continue to put our trust in Christ who has everything under control!
b. We continue to trust His Word which tells us we have hope though others
do not who reject Him!
II. PLANS FOR TOMORROW 14:2-3; II Tim. 4:1-5
A. Training Time II Tim. 4:1-5
1. Jesus tries to restore their perspective with all this bad news!
a. No wonder the "Gospel" means "Good News"...the world needs some!
b. Jesus attempts to help them see something wonderful beyond the pall of death that was coming.
2. Jesus explains to them the promise that He is preparing a place for all those who belong to Him, and that in doing so He will come again to us.
a. Death is not the end of life.
b. And the world will not destroy itself either, Christ will return before that happens!
3. The problem of course is whether they grasp this new perspective of Jesus, or if they simply hear what He is saying and still fail to see the truth!
a. this is too easily done even now among Christians!
b. So often we say we believe in the 2nd coming of Christ, but our lifestyle and priorities don't really reflect this perspective!
c. We fail to see correctly the truth before us!
ILLUS: A lady stepped up on a penny scale to check her weight
while her husband stood by. She no sooner got on it and put the penny in when
she quickly jumped off as soon as the weight showed! Her husband quickly asked
"well, what is the verdict, a little overweight right?" She answered however,
"No, No, not overweight at all, but according to the chart I should be 8 inches
taller for my weight!"
4. Jesus is not just making an empty promise here, it is meant to encourage them in the face of tough times!
a. So should the doctrine that Jesus is coming back!
b. This is not a cop-out, it is what gives us the encouragement to live
for today knowing our future is secure...it has very real positive dynamics for
the present and is not just a belief of escapism!
B. Timeless Tenement! 14:2-3
1. Jesus promises a permanent dwelling to all those who trust in Him!
a. The great "carpenter" on earth is also building dwelling places in Heaven for all those who belong to Him!
b. This knowledge is meant to offer hope to us in living now...and in the future!
2. Jesus shares this to build their level of expectancy when everything around them goes wrong....the future will right all wrongs!
a. anticipation of the future being good can have a very positive effect on the present! (see I John 3:3)
b. We can face tomorrow with great expectancy!
ILLUS: A young boy was having a birthday party and was inviting
one of his friends. In the attempt to give directions to his friends his
anticipation of what great things were coming his way showed itself. He told the
other boy, "come to the 7th floor, and where you see the letter 'D' on the door
just push the button with your elbow and when the door opens put your foot
against it." The other boy a bit confused asked, "why do I have to use my elbow
and my foot?" The birthday boy said, "well, I suppose you'd have to use your
elbow and foot with your hands full of a present since it is my birthday!" Now
this was expectancy!
3. This promise of Christ's is a sure one...you can bet your life on
III. PREPARATIONS FOR TRAVELERS 14:4-6
A. Traveling Together 14:4-5
1. To all those who have received Christ....He will receive them one day!
2. We will continue our fellowship together if we are believers in Christ...even past this life, only those who refuse Him will not be with us.
a. This truth alone should be enough to encourage our witnessing to
ILLUS: Phillips Brooks of Boston became quite ill and would see no
visitors. When Robert Ingersoll, the agnostic, heard that his friend was sick,
he called at his home and was admitted at once. "I appreciate this very much,"
said Mr. Ingersoll. "But why do you see me when you deny yourself to your other
friends." "It is this way," answered Bishop Brooks. "I feel confident of seeing
my other friends in the next world, but this may be my last chance to see you."
-- Emery Young, in Coronet from The Sermon
Builder, February 1982, p. 34.
b. Jesus assures the disciples that they know the way to join Him later...
(1. Thomas is the first to speak up however and say they don't get it!
(2. Thomas explains that they don't know where He is going much less how to get there!
c. But Jesus had clearly told them where He was going...and letting them know that just by trusting in Him they too would find the way there...they don't have to worry about getting lost if they have Christ in their hearts!
3. Eternal things are more long lasting than our material things...does
your life reflect this truth?
ILLUS: It is said that about 200 years ago, the tomb of the great
conqueror Charlemagne was opened. The sight the workmen saw was startling. There
was his body in a sitting position, clothed in the most elaborate of kingly
garments, with a scepter in his bony hand. On his knee lay the Holy Scriptures,
with a cold, lifeless finger pointing to Mark 8:36: "For what shall it profit a
man, if he shall gain the whole world, and loose his own soul?"
4. We can never get lost on the way to eternity if Christ lives in us and
walks with us!
B. Triumphant Trip! 14:6
1. Jesus makes it very clear to them the way to Heaven...it is through Him, and Him alone!
a. He is the WAY (the Path)
b. He is the TRUTH (the Map)
c. He is the LIFE (the Energy)
2. No other road goes to Heaven...Jesus said this, not me!
a. Jesus offers no other way into Heaven... not "all roads lead to God"!
b. One cannot think highly of Jesus and disregard the exclusive statements He makes about finding Heaven as a final destination point!
3. If you don't know Christ here and now you won't be welcomed by Him when you cross over in death, or when He returns to receive all who belong to Him.
a. But for those who know Him now....they will have no problem knowing Him in Heaven!
b. For the believer, the trip will be triumphant...hence even death has
lost its sting! (I Cor. 15:55)
ILLUS: Thomas Edison was a scientific genius and an exacting and
practical man who didn't casually say anything he didn't believe. Mrs. Edison
told about the night Edison was at death's door. Suddenly it was evident that he
wanted to say something, so she and the doctor bent down close. This great
scientist, with a smile on his face, said, "It is very beautiful over there!"
--James S. Hewett,
Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 177.
4. Heaven for the believer is a real destination point...and death is the terminal that opens the way...or should the trump of God blow one of these days while we are yet alive we shall be caught up to meet Christ in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord! (I Thess. 4:16-17)
5. We will be with Christ forever if we have received Him as our Lord and
Savior in this life!
ILLUS: A few hours before Dwight L. Moody died, he caught a glimpse of the glory awaiting him. Awakening from a sleep, he said, "Earth recedes, heaven opens before me. If this is death, it is sweet! There is no valley here. God is calling me, and I must go!" His son who was standing by his bedside said, "No, no father, you are dreaming."
"No," said Mr. Moody, "I am not dreaming; I
have been within the gates; I have seen the children's faces." A short time
elapsed and then, following what seemed to the family to be the death struggle,
he spoke again: "This is my triumph; this my coronation day! It is glorious!"
6. A triumphant trip awaits all those who know Christ...do you know
CONCLUSION: Jesus is coming again! If we follow Jesus we can't get lost because He is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE! The more we anticipate His coming, the more passion we will have to live godly today. Are you ready for His coming, and if so, is it impacting how you live now?