Jesus will keep his promise!
How does a follower of Jesus look at the world? The first question we consider is: What do we mean when we talk about the world? (* Picture of galaxies ) Do we picture for ourselves the galaxies? We can look at the world as everything God made including the earth. This is earth God created with everyone and everything in it. (* Picture of earth from space) We can also look at the world as a place with people in it. (*Picture of people) We can also look at a definition of the world as a place in which people are tempted to do things that hurt other people and actions against the will of God. (*Picture of two people angry at each other.) The Lord God reveals what we should know, think and do in the world and with the world.
Let us consider not only what we think of the world, but how God uses this term in his Word. *(Passage on screen) I John 2:15-16 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.” The Scriptures address the danger of the evil desires that draw us away from following the true God.
In contrast to what the world can cause us to do is how Jesus related to the world. *(Passage on Screen) John 18:36 “Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.’” *(Passage on screen) Jesus also revealed why he came into the world. John 8:12 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” Jesus came not to rule as a king in this world but bring light to the earth so all people might see and know who the true God is. The world that was covered in spiritual darkness was loved by the true God.
The Bible reveals the plan of our Heavenly Father and the work of His Son. *( Passage on screen) 2 Corinthians 5:19 “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against.” * John 3:16 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.” The Bible reveals how we are to relate to the Triune God and to the world. The answer if in our text John 14:15-21
Notice how Jesus deals with the relationship of the world to Jesus and the disciples to the world. “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” Jesus speaks these words the night before he would die on the cross just after he told that he was leaving them. Their thoughts most probably centered on the emotion of abandonment by Jesus in his leaving them.
Jesus taught his disciples then and teaches us now a great lesson. The entire Bible is a book about people given life by the true God. The perfect relationship and intimacy with God changed when Adam and Eve did not listen to God but followed their own path of listening to the enemy of God, the devil. The devil and his allies still daily want to lead us away from knowing God and following God. The devil came to destroy the intimacy that Adam and Eve had had with God. They had a complete understanding and desire to do the will of God. Not so after the fall as recorded in Genesis chapter three. Not so as seen in our personal lives. The world God created is filled with mountains, oceans and animals for us to enjoy, but by nature we bow down, worship, follow and serve what has been created and not the creator. But God the Father sent his Son, Jesus, on a mission to change all that.
The disciples had been called by Jesus to follow him. He called them to repent of their sins and turn to him. They had followed Jesus and had enjoyed not just the intimacy of a rabbi or teacher with his students but as a Savior with those he came to rescue and purchase by his blood on the cross. Jesus came into the world of people to become one of us, took on himself the punishment we deserved. The disciples feared that this relationship would change. Jesus made a promise to them that he would not leave them as orphans. Jesus uses a powerful word picture of a child with no father and perhaps no mother; that is a helpless child on his own to fend for himself. As a child when I was four years old I experienced that emotion of not having an earthly father when my father died. Other people in this congregation have experienced that emotion and that experience. But Jesus was talking about more than an absent parent. He was talking about an absent Lord God. They would not be left alone. He gave them a promise. He will keep his promise. “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
When Jesus makes a promise to give them another advocate he proclaims to them and to us a powerful truth. Now Jesus would not walk with them physically but he would give them an advocate, that is, one who would stand alongside of them to comfort and counsel them in the will of God. The same Advocate would bring clarity as to what Jesus had said and done so that they might be the hands and feet and voice of Jesus in bringing the message of the forgiveness of sins to the people of the world. Jesus was punished in the place of every human being in the world. He had made them friends with God by reconciling the world to God. Now Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
Jesus knew that the world would reject and persecute his disciples. (*Picture of World with cross shining on it.) He sent them with a message of his love that would change people’s hearts and lives through the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus would have us know what it means for us to carry out the mission that he gave us as depicted on the banners on the wall. We have been looking at that mission and personalizing that message as children of God redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. “Me a Misionary!” The reality is that that mission is impossible without the promise of Jesus to help us by giving us another Comforter, Counsellor, or Advocate. The Holy Spirit enables us to understand what the true God has done. He wants us share the good news about what Jesus Christ has done for the people of the world. In verses 18-20 Jesus reminded his disciples of the relationship Jesus would have with them after his resurrection and before Pentecost: 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. There are recorded appearances of Jesus to his disciples but none to those who had rejected him other than Saul who would become his apostle.
Jesus gave his disciples the joy and responsibility of being his hands, feet and voice to the people who did not know him and even rejected him. The good news of Jesus needs to be shared through the words and actions of his followers. Jesus declared “If you love me, keep my commands.” At the end of our text he mentions this truth as he expands: 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” The command or commands that Jesus refers to in this context is to be the hands and feet of Jesus in bringing the message of forgiveness that he won at the cross. I encourage you to read John 14 through John 17 this week. It is one of the most powerful sections of Scriptures in reminding the follower of Jesus of the intimacy we enjoy with the Triune God who will not abandon us or forsake us.
We have a heavenly Father who does not want to leave us alone but calls us to be his own dear children through the good news about Jesus. We live in a world that is a place of people who have been abandoned or feel abandoned and unloved. We are the hands of the true God. We have been called into an intimate relationship with the Father through the work of his Son who sent another comforter to bring us the knowledge of the Son. This message of God’s love for us changes people lives. We are the hands of God to bring this message to the people of this world. Jesus the Missionary is calling out to us to be Missionaries in our words and actions so that people of this world see the work of the one true God that is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.