Sunday Sermon: ‘Confident Christians in a Chaotic World’ part b

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John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

On the night before Jesus was crucified, He went to great extend to encourage His disciples to not be afraid, but instead to be confident. Though the storm that was about to happen would be severe, Jesus said – “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” (John 14:1) In other words, “Trust Me guys. I’ve got all of this.”

The word ‘trouble’ can mean several things. It can mean – “Let not your heart be fearful, worried or anxious.” Certainly the disciples had a lot to worry about. For one thing, Jesus had just told them that He was going away and they could not follow Him to wherever He was going. For approximately 3 1/2 years they had followed Jesus night and day. Many of them had left their homes and families in order to be with Jesus. All of them had left their means of making a living to be one of His disciples. What were they supposed to do if they did not follow Jesus?

In addition, Jesus also told them that when they arrived at Jerusalem, He was going to be arrested, beaten, and crucified. They knew that the tension was running high between Jesus and the religious leaders. Just a couple of days prior to this, Jesus had cleansed the Temple for a second time and preached a scorching message to the Pharisee. Therefore I’m sure they were on edge and a bit worried about what might happen next.

Another reason why they might have been worried was because they were concerned about their own personal safety. If Jesus was going to be arrested and crucified, what was going to happen to them? Were they going to be arrested and crucified as well?

The word ‘trouble’ can also mean – confused. The disciples were not only worried about what was going to happen; they were also confused. They were confused over why Jesus would leave them. They were confused over where He could be going that they could not follow. They were confused over the Lord’s repeated references to the Father. The Jews never addressed God as Father, therefore when Jesus referred to God as His Father and their Father, they must have wondered who He was talking about. Was He referring to God or to someone else? We know that they were confused about this for we read –

John 14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.

In other words, “Reveal to us who the Father is and then we’ll be OK.”

There was a lot going on in the lives of the disciples. They were worried and they were confused. Yet Jesus did not want them to be confused or worried.

John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled…

Jesus did not want them to be confused. He wanted them to be confident. “Trust Me” is what Jesus was saying to them. “All of this is in My hands and in My Father’s plan. Believe in Us. Trust Us.”

1) Confidence in Our Salvation

Last week we looked at how Jesus sought to build their confidence by reminding them of the security of their salvation.

John 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. 4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. 5 Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Christ wants us to be secure in our salvation. Hold you place in the gospel of John and go with me to the book of 1 John. A lot of what John wrote in 1 John is his interpretation of what Jesus taught them that night.

1 John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Can a person know for sure whether or not they are actually saved? According to John they can. John makes it as about as clear and plain as you can make it. “He who has the Son has life and he who does not have the Son, does not have life.” What does it mean to have the Son? John tells us.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

To have the Son is the same thing as believing in Him as your Savior.

Being secure in our salvation can give us great confidence. Often, when I go to the hospital and pray with people before their surgery, they will say to me – “Pastor, I’m at peace however this turns out.” How can someone face the possibility of death and still be at peace? They are peace because they know that as the believer, death is merely absence from the body and presence with the Lord. Death is not the end for the child of God. It is only the beginning.

2) Confidence in the Power of Prayer

Jesus wanted His disciples to be confident in the security of their salvation. But that’s not all the Lord said to them to help build their spiritual confidence. Jesus also sought to build their confidence by teaching them about the power of prayer.

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

John echoed these words in his epistle-

1 John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.

Note that John says that confidence in prayer is knowing that our requests are in the Father’s will and that they will bring Him glory.

I. The Power of Prayer

Jesus made a tremendous promise to His disciples that night. “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.” What did Jesus mean by this?

A. What Jesus Was Not Saying

Jesus was not saying, “Here’s heaven’s credit card. Go shopping and have fun.” He was not saying, “Your wish is My command.” Jesus was not giving them a signed blank check. He was not saying, “Name it and claim it.”

B. What Jesus Was Saying

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

According to Christ, we can pray confidently for those things that we know will bring the Father glory.

1. Prayers That Aren’t Answered

a. Prayers That Are Selfishly Motivated (James 4:3)

b. Prayers That Are Not According to God’s Perfect Will (1 John 5:14-15)

c. Prayers That Come From a Heart That is Harboring Sin (Psalm 66:18)

d. Prayers That Lacks Faith to Believe God Will Answer (Mark 11:24)

e. Prayers That Are Never Made (James 4:2)

2. Prayers That Are Answered

The Bible teaches us that God wants to pray and that He wants to answer our prayers. Jesus said that the Father is glorified in the Son when prayers are made in Jesus’ name. For what should we pray? Let me mention a few of the important areas:

a. Prayers For Our Daily Needs (Matthew 6:11) * Note that I said ‘needs’ and not ‘greeds.’

b. Prayers For the Forgiveness of Our Sins (Matthew 6:12)

c. Prayers For Deliverance From Sinful Temptations (Matthew 6:13)

d. Prayers For God’s Will to Be Done (Matthew 6:10)

e. Prayers For God’s Wisdom and Guidance (James 1:5)

e. Prayers For Spiritual Strength Power  (Acts 4:29-31)

II. The Purpose of Prayer

Although there are many things that you and I can pray for, I believe that Jesus was thinking that night was the need to pray for spiritual strength and power to do His will.

John 14:12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

What works had Jesus come to do? Though Jesus healed the sick and fed the hungry, the primary work Jesus came to accomplish was provide a way for men to be saved.

When Jesus referred to His disciples doing a ‘greater work’, He was not saying that they would do greater miracles. As a matter of fact, Jesus did not use the work ‘miracles’ here. He used the word ‘works.’ They are two entirely different words and mean two entirely different things.

How could His disciples do a greater work than He had done? We must remember that although Jesus was God, He was also a man and as a man He could only be at one place at one time. But through His disciples, His ministry could be multiplied many times over. As followers of Jesus Christ, we’re an extension of His ministry. Down through the centuries the followers of Jesus Christ have taken His gospel around the world. This is the will of God. This is the work God has given us to do. Therefore Jesus said –

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

Not, “I’ll do whatever you ask, even if it’s for some selfish reason or purpose”, but “I’ll do whatever you ask if it is for the Father’s glory.”

Will God answer the prayer for spiritual power? Consider what Paul prayed for.

Ephesians 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

What was Paul saying? First of all Paul was telling them to always be praying for everyone about everything. No wonder scripture says that God house should be a house of prayer. We are needy people!

Secondly, Paul was asking them to pray for him that he could have the ability, courage and strength to open his mouth and to preach the gospel. Paul was asking them to pray that he would have spiritual boldness. If you know anything about Paul, you know that he was naturally a strong and bold man. Paul was not shy or timid when it came to expressing his opinion. You always knew where Paul stood. Yet Paul asked the Ephesian believers to pray that he would continue to have the spiritual boldness he needed to preach the gospel. Why did Paul need this kind of prayer?

It’s important to note that these words follow right after Paul’s teaching on spiritual warfare. Many believe that Paul was trying to teach that prayer is also a part of our protective armor against Satan. Paul was a prisoner at the time he wrote these words. He had been arrested for preaching the gospel. Being thrown in jail can be intimidating. Satan can use something like that to tempt us to get quite and to back down. Yet Paul didn’t want to get quite about Jesus. He didn’t want to back down when it came to proclaiming that Christ died for our sins and that salvation can be found through faith in Him alone. He wanted to be bold and brave and courageous in the face of any danger – even death. Therefore Paul pleaded with his fellow believers to pray that God would give him this courage and strength. Will Jesus hear such a prayer? Will Jesus answer such a prayer? Will the Father be glorified in such a prayer? Consider what we read about the early church

Acts 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, 30 By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. 31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

III. The People of Prayer

Lastly, let me take a moment and talk about the people of prayer. Who should be praying? Jesus said that we all should be praying so that we will not faint during the heat of the battle. If we are fainting, it’s probably because we’re not really praying.

Jesus prayed; sometimes all night. Before He chose His twelve apostles, He spent an entire night in prayer.

The early church prayed. They prayed for unity, boldness and for wisdom, and it was during some of their prayer meetings that God moved in a mighty way.

Men like Dwight L. Moody and Charles Spurgeon believed in the power of prayer. It’s been said that Spurgeon believed that what determined the power and effectiveness of his ministry was not the one who stood behind the pulpit, but rather the ones who were faithfully gathered together in the furnace room and praying as he preached.

I once read that during one of Billy Graham’s trips across the ocean to hold evangelistic meetings in Europe, he had a prayer meeting going on twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week aboard the ship.

Conclusion

Jesus said –

John 14:13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

God wants us to pray and He wants to answer our prayers. He wants us to be dependent upon Him and through our prayers to see Him move. God wants to be glorified through our prayers.

God wants us to pray about our daily bread and forgiveness of sin. But He also wants us to pray that His kingdom will come and that His will will be done. What is God’s will? God’s will is that men would turn in repentance from their sins and trust in Christ as their Savior. God wants us to pray for their salvation. He also wants us to pray that He can use us to help bring many of them to salvation. We need to pray that God will open our mouths and make us bold and when He does, that He will fill our mouths with the things that need to be said to help lead people to Christ. Are you praying in that kind of way? If not, would you begin to do so today? Would you make today the first day that you begin to pray each day that God would use you in a powerful way to help bring friends, family members, co-workers, fellow-students, next door neighbors – whoever it might be that needs salvation. Would you begin praying today for their salvation and that perhaps God will be able to use you to bring them to Him? That’s a prayer that we know is in God’s will and therefore that’s a prayer that we know God will answer.

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