Take Heart in Christ
by Marlin Caddell
April 27, 2016, 5:10pm
John 16:25-33: 25 “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; 27 for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. 28 I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” 29 His disciples said, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech! 30 Now we know that you know all things and do not need anyone to question you; this is why we believe that you came from God.” 31 Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
As you read the verses above, let’s hone in on verses 27 and 33. First, don’t miss the overflowing compassion that Jesus shows here. He knows in a few hours He is going to be brutally tortured and crucified. He is about to endure the full wrath of God for our sins. He could have spent these last hours crying and lamenting what he was about to endure.
Instead, He is concerned about the disciples understanding that the Father loves them in the middle of what is about to happen. He is concerned about where they will find their peace and security. He’s telling THEM to take heart. Don’t gloss over that.
So, how do we “take heart” in the middle of what’s going on in our lives?
1. The Father Himself loves us (v. 27).
No matter what we’re going through, the life of Christ and the Cross stand as the ultimate rejection of the great lie — that God doesn’t love us.
“As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve. ‘Does God really love you?’ the serpent whispered. ‘If he does, why won’t he let you eat the nice, juicy delicious fruit? Poor you, perhaps God doesn’t want you to be happy.’ The snake’s words hissed into her ears and sunk down deep into her heart, like poison. ‘Does God love me?’ Eve wondered. Suddenly she didn’t know anymore. ‘Just trust me,’ the serpent whispered. ‘You don’t need God. One small taste, that’s all, and you’ll be happier than you could ever dream…’ Eve picked the fruit and ate some. And Adam ate some, too. And then a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God’s children: ‘God doesn’t love me.’ And it wasn’t a dream. It was a nightmare.”
— The Jesus Storybook Bible, Chapter 3: The Terrible Lie
Romans 5:8: but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 4:9-10: In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Romans 8:35-39: 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
2. Understand that trouble (“tribulation”) is coming (v. 33).
For some of you, that trouble is already here. You’re going through some pretty tough situations already. We have to understand that trouble is guaranteed for the believer. Jesus says, “you WILL have tribulation”.
Verse 33 calls us to reject the lie that by following and truly trusting in Christ, we’ll somehow escape trouble or live a life filled with roses, unicorns and rainbows.
Sometimes this trouble is a consequence of our own sin or stupid choices. And sometimes, as Michael Green pointed out in His blog last week and Jeremy preached about two weeks ago, God Himself will take us through these situations to refine us (like silver or gold) and bring us into full joy.
James 1:2-4: 2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12: 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So death is at work in us, but life in you.
3. “...in me [Jesus] you may have peace”
The world promises peace through “more, bigger and better”. If I have a bigger house, if I have better job, if I had more money, etc, then I would have peace. I would be content. It’s a lie, because those things can’t ultimately satisfy our hearts. They certainly don’t give us peace when trouble comes.
Jesus makes it clear — you’ll only find true, long-lasting peace by trusting in Him.
John 14:27: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
Philippians 4:4-7: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
4. …“I have overcome the world.”
We are able to take heart because Christ is our conquering king. We serve a living king and an unstoppable Kingdom. He’s an unmovable foundation that we can build our lives on. As the winds and floods come, we can stand on Him (Matthew 7:24-27, Ephesians 6:10-18).