The Keys of Promise

September 12, 2021 ()

Bible Text: John 14:12-31 |


The Keys of Promise | John 14:12-31
Brian Hedges | September 12, 2021

Let me invite you to turn in your Bibles to John 14. This is part of an ongoing study through John’s Gospel, and in particular right now through the upper room discourse, chapters 13-17. This is the night before Jesus was crucified, these are the final instructions that he gives to his disciples, and we’re several weeks into that.

While you’re turning there, let me recount one of my favorite stories from John Bunyan’s allegory The Pilgrim's Progress. If you don’t know that story, it’s written about a man named Christian who’s on a journey, a journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. It’s really an allegorical depiction of the Christian life, the Christian’s journey from this world to the world to come.

Along the way, Christian meets many different characters, he encounters all different kinds of challenges and difficulties, and at one point he finds himself locked up in this dungeon in a place called Doubting Castle. The owner of this dungeon is a man named Giant Despair, and he’s this cruel giant who comes and beats Christian his friend Hopeful with a cudgel. He’s beating the mercilessly, he’s taunting them, he’s telling them that there’s no hope for them, and they are just assailed with these doubts in this stinking, dark dungeon.

They languish there for three days; they’re there from Wednesday until Saturday, until suddenly Christian remembers that he has a key in his chest pocket, and the key is called Promise. He pulls out the key and he says to Hopeful, “I think this key will unlock the door,” and he takes it to the door of the dungeon, and he turns the key, and sure enough, the dungeon doors fly open. They unlock every key to every door, to every gate in the dungeon, and they escape from Doubting Castle using the key of Promise—of course meaning the promises of God.

What we’re reading this morning is set in a context where Jesus’ disciples could be said to be in Doubting Castle. They are deeply troubled. In fact, two times in John 14—at the beginning and at the end of the chapter—Jesus says, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” The way he counsels them out of their trouble is to give them promises. This morning I want us to see what those promises are.

We’re going to be reading John 14:12-31. So we’re reading about 20 verses here, so it’s a lengthy passage. You’ll want to follow along, either on the screen or in your copy of God’s word, and I’ll read the text, and then we’ll come back and look at these various promises. John 14, beginning in verse 12. Jesus is speaking.

“‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

“‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

“‘I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.’ Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, ‘Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?’ Jesus answered him, ‘If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.

“‘These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. 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. You heard me say to you, “I am going away, and I will come to you.” If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.’”

This is God’s word.

Now, there’s a lot here, and I’m not going to talk about every single verse, but what I want to do is point out five promises that Jesus makes in this passage; in fact, you might think of this passage as a key ring with five keys on the ring. These are five keys of promise that Jesus gives to his disciples in the time of their distress. They are distressed because Jesus has told them he’s leaving, he’s going away, he’s going to the Father. He’s told them that one of them is going to betray him, that all of them are going to deny him and forsake him, and they are deeply, deeply discouraged and troubled by this. Jesus says, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled, don’t let them be afraid,” and he gives them a number of promises to help them in their trouble.

Whatever your trouble may be this morning, these are promises that will help you as well. These are keys of promises that unlock the doors of Doubting Castle and help us when we are facing despair. There are five of them.

1. The Promise of His Coming

Jesus several times in this passage talks about going and coming. A great summary is in verse 28: “I am going away, and I will come to you.”

We’ve already seen in this series that his going away is going by the way of the cross. He’s going to the Father, but he’s going to the Father through death and then, of course, resurrection. So he’s going away, but even as he tells them he’s going away, he is assuring them, “I’m also going to come to you.”

This means a couple of different things. One thing that it means is the second coming. Jesus left this world in his ascension, but he has promised to come again. We saw this last week in verse 3. Jesus says that he’s going to his Father’s house, where there are many rooms, and he’s going to prepare a place for them, and in verse 3 he says, “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.”

This is one of the keys of hope and of promise in the Christian life: the second coming of Jesus Christ. Now, unfortunately I think all too often we are somewhat reticent about the second coming. We might say, “Oh, I want Jesus to come, but not yet.”

We may be like I was when I was about eleven years old; my family took a long trip West, from Texas all the way to California. My dad was a preacher and he was going on a preaching trip, and at the end of that trip we went to Disneyland. I will never forget laying awake late at night, probably about one in the morning, in Anaheim, California; the next morning we were going to Disneyland, and I was just hoping against hope that Jesus would not come back the next morning, before I’d make it into Disneyland!

I think a lot of times our lives are kind of like that. We’re just hoping—we want Jesus to come, but, “I want to get married first,” or, “I want to have kids first,” or, “I want to establish my career first.”

Listen, if we feel that way, there are two problems. One is we’re placing way too much hope in the things of this world, thinking that it will satisfy us. I was actually pretty disappointed in Disneyland. I remember being depressed after the trip; I’d put too much hope in it. That’s one problem, and we all do that. We put too much hope in the things of this world, not enough in the second coming.

The real problem with our reticence about the second coming is that we forget that it’s Jesus coming again, and Jesus is the source of joy and of peace and of life and of everything that we want, everything that we need! It’s found in him!

This was a great comfort to his disciples. They were discouraged because he was going away, and he’s assuring them, “I will come again, so that you will be with me where I am.”

As we saw last week if you were here, that’s what heaven is; it’s to be in the presence of God, the presence of Christ. So we hope for the second coming of Christ. That’s a key of promise.

There’s another sense in which Jesus says he will come to his disciples, and you see this in verses 18-19 when he says, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” That could be referring to them seeing him after his resurrection, but probably what he means here is that he’s going to come to them via sending his Spirit to them.

2. The Promise of the Spirit

That leads us to the second point, the promise of the Spirit. Jesus promises to come again in the future, his second coming, but he also promises to be with them in a very special way through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. You see this in verses 16-18. I just read verse 18, but now read verse 18 in light of verses 16-17.

Verse 16 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

What we see here is this is one of the most important parts of Jesus’ teaching on the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s reference earlier, of course, in the Gospel of John, but in chapter 7 we read that “the Spirit had not yet been given because Christ had not yet been glorified.” Jesus here is telling his disciples about what’s going to come. When he leaves, when he departs, when he goes, he’s going to ask the Father to send the Spirit to them.

He calls the Spirit here “another Helper,” and then “the Spirit of truth,” and then down in verses 25-26 he calls him “the Helper” again and refers to his teaching ministry. I want you to think about the Spirit in two ways: the Spirit as our helper and the Spirit as our teacher.

First of all, the Spirit as our helper. This word that Jesus uses when he says, “He will give you another Helper to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth,” that’s a very important word. It’s a word, unfortunately, that’s very hard to translate into English, the Greek word, and to really get the full meaning, because the Greek word, parakletos, carries the idea not only of a helper but also of a counselor or a comforter or an advocate, an advocate being someone who is a personal friend who pleads your case in court. That’s what an advocate was in the first century. It really carries all of those connotations. So depending on what translation you have, it may have one of those different words. The old King James says the Comforter, and here the English Standard Version that I’m reading says the Helper. But he’s all of those things. The word literally means “someone who comes alongside to help.”

Let me read you an illustration that I think will help. Hang with me for this one and I think you’ll see how this illustrates the point.

“A student from Steve Wenger from Lubbock, Texas was taking a challenging class in logic. The course and teacher were known for exacting and demanding exams. The final exam was looming, and the professor mercifully told the class that each student would be permitted to bring in a single 8 ½ by 11 inch sheet with as much information as they could put on that one sheet for help during the test.

“On exam day, each student came to class clutching their precious pieces of paper with as much information as possible. Some students had crammed lines and lines of font so tiny and so numerous onto that single sheet that you had to wonder how they could read it. But Steve walked in with a single blank sheet and a friend who was a senior student and had an A in logic. Steve bent down and placed that single blank sheet of paper on the floor next to his desk. His expert friend stood on the paper.

“The professor noticed the extra body in the room and asked what he was doing. Steve piped up, ‘You said we could bring in whatever we could fit on a single piece of paper for help on this test. Well, this is my help and he can fit on the paper.’ He had followed the instructions to the letter and he got an A on the test"— maybe for ingenuity if for nothing else!

Here he was, not just with information, he had a person next to him who was an expert in the subject matter, a person right alongside to help him. That’s what the Holy Spirit is like for us. Jesus says he is another Helper, and that word “another” means another of the same kind. So the idea is that just as Jesus had been present with his disciples throughout his ministry, counseling them, guiding them, encouraging them, helping, comforting them, he’s saying, “I’m not going to leave you alone. I’m not going to leave you as orphans. I’m going to give you another Helper; someone who’s going to come right alongside and be with you and help you every step of the way.” And that person is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth. Jesus says, “He is with you and he will be in you.” This Spirit is going to actually live inside the hearts of God’s people.

He’s a helper, and then he’s also the teacher. He’s the Spirit of truth. In verses 25-26 Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper [the Holy Spirit], whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

The Spirit is the teacher, and Jesus says, “He’s going to teach you all things.” Now, that doesn’t mean all things in the world—he doesn’t teach everybody biology or physiology or whatever. It means he’s going to teach us the things of Christ. This is spoken specifically to the disciples.

Remember the context. Here are these 12 men, they’ve been walking with Jesus for three and a half years, and you read the Gospels and you just scratch your head, don’t you? They seem so daft. They just seem to miss it again and again and again. Jesus tells them, “This is going to happen, this is going to happen, this is going to happen”; they completely don’t understand. They’re misunderstanding right and left.

What Jesus is telling them is that when the Spirit comes, the Spirit is going to remind them of everything Jesus said, of everything that Jesus did, and they’re going to understand. It’s going to make sense. It’s going to bring clarity. “He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

Listen, the actual fulfillment, the first and primary fulfillment of that word from Jesus happened when the Spirit of God indwelt the church on the Day of Pentecost, filling the apostles, and all of a sudden, these apostles, these disciples, who had completely misunderstood Jesus throughout his earthly ministry, now they get it, now they understand; and what are they doing? They are preaching with power, and not only that, but they left on paper for us the apostolic word. They wrote down what Jesus said! They wrote down what Jesus did so that we have the New Testament. That’s why Peter can say that “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit,” and it’s why the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2 says this: “What we have received is the not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit,” explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

The Spirit is our teacher through the Spirit-taught word of God.” He inspired this word, this book is given to us by the inspiration, the guidance, the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and the way the Spirit teaches us now is as we study the Scriptures.

That’s why J.I. Packer, a great scholar who wrote on the Holy Spirit, said, “The way to benefit fully from the Spirit’s ministry of illumination is by serious Bible study, serious prayer, and serious response and obedience to whatever truth one has been shown already.”

The Spirit is our helper, the Spirit is our teacher, and a question for each one of us is, are we relying upon the Holy Spirit to help us, to guide us, to lead us, and specifically, are we relying upon the Spirit’s word? Are we studying it? If you want to know what a Spirit-filled Christian looks like, it’s going to be someone who knows their Bible, loves their Bible, not just in an intellectual, academic sense, but someone who reads and studies and meditates and lives by the word taught by the Spirit. If you want to be a Spirit-filled Christian, be a Scripture-filled Christian. The promise of the Spirit.

3. The Promise of His Presence

Now, there’s another aspect of this, and I’m calling this the promise of his presence. This is the third key of promise. I think it does relate to the ministry of the Spirit, but the way this is worded I think is really instructive and encouraging. It’s in verses 18-23. We looked at this last week, so I’m not going to read the whole passage again, but I just want to call out three things from it.

In verse 20 Jesus says, “In that day [I think that day is the Day of Pentecost] you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.” In verse 21 he says, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me, and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Then in verse 23, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

Notice what Jesus is saying. He’s saying, “You’re going to know I am in the Father and you in me and I in you. You’re going to know that I’m in you.” Paul talks about “Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

He says, “If you love me, I’m going to manifest myself to you, I’m going to reveal myself to you. And if you love me and keep my commandments, my Father and I will make our home in you.”

This is just an amazing promise. This is the promise of Christ’s presence in our hearts through—in this context—through the indwelling ministry of the Holy Spirit. It is to say that the triune God takes residence within us as he puts his Spirit in our hearts.

This was the great promise of the new covenant, right? Ezekiel 36:27, “I will put my Spirit within them.” What Jesus is saying here is that something is about to happen in his death, in his resurrection, then his ascension, and the gift of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Something is going to happen where we’re going to be in a new era. His disciples are going to be in a new era where the Spirit is not only going to be with them, he’s going to be in them, and he’s going to be in them as the Spirit of the crucified, risen Christ—so much so that it will be Christ himself with them, in them. His presence, Christ’s presence!

That’s why Jesus could say in the Great Commission, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” How is he with us? He’s with us through the Spirit.

What this means is that there is available for the Christian a kind of deep, personal intimacy, a friendship and fellowship, a communion with God, if I can use that phrase—communion with God, friendship with God—that we experience through the Spirit living in our hearts, Christ himself through the Spirit indwelling us. This is an incredibly sweet thing for everyone who knows it.

I want you to think about this for a minute, just the sweetness of this experience, and then also the condition of it if you have not experienced this. It’s sweet in this way, that when you have this, everything else in life pales in comparison. When you have the conscious smile of God on your life, when you know that Christ is in you and with you, every good thing pales in significance to this, the best of all things; and every trial actually is more endurable, right, easier to bear, if Christ is in us and with us.

Nobody put this better than John Newton the hymn writer, and as you know I love to quote his hymns. They really minister to me. Here’s one of my favorites. If you’ve been around Redeemer you’ve heard me quote this probably once a year for the last ten years. Newton said:

“Content with beholding his face,
My all to his pleasure resigned,
No changes of season or place
Would make any change in my mind.
While blest with a sense of his love,
A palace a toy would appear,
And prisons would palaces prove
If Jesus would dwell with me there.”

Do you get what he’s saying? He’s saying, “If I’m blessed with a sense of his love, if I can sense the smiling face of Christ, if Jesus is with me, a palace—the most wonderful, lavish earthly blessings—it’s just a trifle. It’s not that big a deal, because I have Jesus! But even if I’m in a prison, if I have Jesus, it’s like a palace to me.”

That’s why Madame Jeanne Guyon, that French mystic of the 15th and 16th century who spent I think it was ten years languishing in a prison cell because she was considered a heretic by the Catholic church of the time, she was at complete peace and rest. You read the poetry she wrote during that time, and she just considered herself to be free like a bird, singing sweetly to Christ her Savior. Why? Because Jesus was with her.

This is the story of missionaries and martyrs who have encountered hard, hard trials in service to Jesus. Listen, it is also the experience of ordinary believers as we go through trials and tribulations and suffering and all kinds of difficulties in life. The burden is infinitely lessened if we are conscious that Christ is with us.

What’s the condition for that? It’s amazingly sweet, but how do you get it? Look at verse 23. “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”

In fact, four times—verses 15, 21, 23-24—Jesus emphasizes loving him, and how the expression of loving him is keeping his commandments. It’s loving and obeying Christ. When we don’t love and obey Christ, if that’s characteristic of our lives, it calls into question our faith. If it’s an occasional thing where we are not loving and obeying Christ, then it becomes the obstruction to friendship and fellowship. We’re not going to know the sweetness of his presence if we’re not loving him and obeying him. But when we love him, when we obey him, then Christ makes his home in our hearts through the Spirit, and the sweetness of fellowship is ours.

There was a man back in the 1960s named Robert Munger. He wrote a little tract called My Heart Christ’s Home, and it was an extended meditation on this wonderful truth of Christ living in the heart of the believer. He likened his heart to a house with all the different rooms in the house—the library, which was the room of information and data and thoughts and ways of looking at the world, and the dining room was the room of appetites and desires, and the bedroom the most secret, private part of our lives, our sexuality . . . . All the different parts of a person's heart, a person’s life, and he thought of Jesus walking through these different parts of the house and slowly getting access to every part. Munger would hand him the key.

He talks about how finally he came to this one closet that was locked up tight, and there were cupboards in the closet locked up tight, and those were the places where he had not given access to Christ, and he imagines Jesus saying, “I smell something rotten, something foul, an odor coming from those. Give me the keys and let me clean it out.”

Brothers and sisters, that’s a progressive journey for us. Every single one of us has to grow in giving Christ access to our hearts and to our lives. But that is the condition of this kind of sweet fellowship with him. So the question for you this morning is, do you know this fellowship? Do you know the sweetness of Christ’s presence in your life in blessing and in trial? Have you given him the keys so that he has access to everything in your life? Have you responded to his call?

Revelation 3:20 is a familiar verse. Usually we hear this in the context of evangelism, a call to unbelievers, but really this is written to a church. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me.” It’s an invitation to fellowship, to friendship, to enjoy the presence of Christ in our lives. That’s another key of promise: the promise of his promise.

4. The Promise of Power

There are two more, quickly. Number four, the promise of power. Look at verses 12-14. My guess is that as you read this, if you were paying attention, you probably wondered, “What does that mean?”

Verse 12: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that my Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” It’s a promise of power, power expressed through greater works, power expressed through answered prayer. I’m going to delay talking about answered prayer until next week in John 15, where Jesus says similar things. But what does he mean, “greater works than these will he do because I am going to the Father”?

I think it’s a mistake to read that and to think immediately about miracles. I think that’s what most people probably do; you read that and you think, Okay, Jesus did these works; he says we’re going to do greater works. But wait a minute! Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, and he fed thousands with just a few pieces of bread and a few fish, and he walked on water, and I’m not doing any of that. So how does this promise work?

I think that’s misunderstanding what Jesus is talking about here. You have to remember that Jesus’s earthly ministry was confined to a fairly small geographic region. Apart from Egypt, he was taken by his parents to Egypt as a child—apart from that, as far as we know, Jesus never left Judea or Galilee. All of his life was in this small little region of the Middle East.

He had a relatively small group of followers during his lifetime. There were the 12 disciples, there was the band of 70. Of course, there were crowds and multitudes who would sometimes gather to hear him teach or to see his miracles, but many of them forsook him even during his earthly ministry. They didn’t understand what he was saying, and they forsook him. You can see that in John 6.

Jesus here is saying, “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do, and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” This is what he means. He means that in going to the Father and then in sending the Spirit to the church, things are going to change, so that there is going to be a much more extensive reach of the gospel to the world through the ministry of the church as they are empowered by the Holy Spirit. I think that’s what he means.

This promise actually is fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. You remember what happens? Jesus has ascended to heaven; ten days later, the Spirit is sent, Pentecost. The Spirit comes down, fills the church. Peter preaches, 3,000 people are saved in one day. Nothing like that happened in Jesus’s earthly ministry, but it happened right then on the Day of Pentecost.

Then what is the book of Acts? It’s tracing the progress of the gospel, the progress of the word of Jesus Christ, through the church, from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria, to the ends of the earth. It’s the missionary task of the church to take the gospel to the world, so that thousands and millions over the centuries will be converted and become followers of Jesus Christ.

That’s why J.C. Ryle can say that “greater works” means more conversion. There is no greater work possible than the conversion of a soul.

This promise is being fulfilled in you and in me today when we share the gospel of Jesus Christ and people come to Christ, thousands of years later, people of another language, another culture, and so on. That’s what Jesus I think is promising here; it’s the promise of power in the church through the ministry of the Spirit as we share the gospel in the world.

5. The Promise of Peace

Finally, number five, very quickly. There is the promise of peace. Everybody wants peace. Anytime you talk about world peace, who’s going to disagree with that? But Jesus talks about a unique kind of peace, not the kind of peace the world gives. Look at what he says in verse 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,” echoing verse 1, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.”

Here’s the final key to promise, the promise of Christ’s peace. This is a peace utterly unlike the peace the world can offer, because this is a peace that transcends circumstances. This is peace, as Paul says in Philippians 4, that surpasses our understanding. This is peace that you can have, like Madame Guyon, even when you’re languishing in prison. This is peace that the disciples of Jesus had even when they went to the martyr’s stake or were thrown to the lions in the arena. This is peace you can have even when you get the diagnosis, “It’s cancer.” This is peace you can have even when you get the worst news of your life. It’s the peace that comes from Jesus.

At the end of the upper room discourse, in John 16:33, Jesus said, “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.”

How do we get that peace? Why is that peace available to us? I think there’s a clue right here at the end of John 14. In verses 30-31 Jesus says, “I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world [that’s a reference to Satan or the devil] is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.”

That recalls something Jesus had said a few days earlier. It’s recorded in John 12. I want to read this, and I want you to see the link between these two passages. Jesus is saying, “Let not your hearts be troubled. My peace I give to you, and I’m about to face the ruler of this world.” How do we get peace? We get peace because Jesus was troubled in going to the cross and facing the ruler of this world. Look at John 12:27. “‘Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.’ Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’ The crowds stood there and those who heard it said that it had thundered. Other said, ‘An angel has spoken to him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world. Now will the ruler of this world be cast out, and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.’ He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”

The reason you can have peace is because for a short period of time Jesus, in a sense, lost peace. Jesus went to war. He went to battle with the ruler of this world, the greatest spiritual conflict in the history of the world, right there, waged on the cross, as Jesus cast out the ruler of this world, as he defeated Satan once and for all. Why? Because Jesus took the judgment that we deserve, because Jesus was crucified, because Jesus faced evil and defeated it. His soul was troubled as he considered that prospect, but because his soul was troubled he says, “You don’t need to let your hearts be troubled. I’ve come to bring you peace.” He brings his peace through the blood of the cross.

The death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection, it really is the source of all the promises of God. All the promises of God are yes and amen through Jesus Christ, Paul tells us. We’ve considered five of those this morning: the promise of his coming, the promise of his Spirit, the promise of his presence, the promise of power, the promise of peace.

If you’re in Doubting Castle this morning, if you find yourself tempted by despair, here’s the key: the keys of promise that will unlock those doors. This will encourage you, if you lay hold of these promises. Take them to heart; know the presence of God in your life through the Spirit; you’ll have peace. Let’s pray.

Father God, we thank you for your word, we thank you for the words of Jesus, we thank you for these promises. Thank you for the presence of your indwelling Spirit, your Spirit in our hearts, helping us and teaching us, drawing us to Christ. I pray that every single one of us this morning would experience that, and that we would know what it is to walk in fellowship with you. I pray that we would experience your peace this morning and that your word, your promise would sustain us in whatever we’re facing today. May we live in hope of the return of our Savior, and may we live in his constant presence and fellowship while we continue our own pilgrimage in this world.

As we come to the Lord’s table, would you prepare our hearts? May we search our hearts for any sin, anything in our lives that’s displeasing to you. Help us to turn from it in true repentance and faith. As we come to the table, may it be a time of real and sweet fellowship with Christ. I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.