Serving God in a Hostile World

John 14

In John 14, Jesus continues to teach his disciples.  He has taught the about service by washing their feet.  Judas has left to betray Jesus.  Soon Jesus would begin to lead the disciples to Gethsemane where he would pray, call his disciples to pray only to watch them sleep, and then Judas would lead soldiers to Jesus to arrest him and turn him over to eventually be crucified.  The reality of the world's hostility toward Jesus was about to be unleashed.  In John 14, Jesus makes it clear that he was not going to leave his disciples of the first century nor us Christians of the 21st century empty handed.  He has provided us with sources of comfort and strength that empower us to serve God is world hostile to Jesus and those who embrace him.

1.  The Hope of Heaven (1-6)

Jesus makes crystal clear the reality of heaven.  This world shouldn't be too comfortable to us.  This world is not our home.  Heaven is.  And Jesus is the way to heaven.  If we are his, no amount of turmoil can rob us of this certain hope.

Hebrews 11:10, 16; 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

2.  The Certainty of Success

Though shocking, we should not immediately brush aside Jesus' statement that Christians would do greater things than he did.  He can, has and continues to do the miraculous through His people.  It's His power not ours.  Still, I think the ultimate meaning of Jesus' words resides in the scope of what his people would accomplish after His return to the Father.  In his life on earth, Jesus never traveled more than about 200 miles from his birthplace.  When He ascended, the gospel was still within the confines of Israel. After his ascension, the gospel began to penetrate the whole world and continues to this day.  People from every tribe, tongue, and race will expereince the life-transforming, sin-abolishing, heaven-granting grace of Jesus and Jesus is accomplishing this greater work through his people.

As the hostility of this world with all its pressure squeezing us, remember that as God's servants, the success of our work is certain.

Is 55:11; Revelation 7:9

Sadly, many Christians because distracted by both the troubles and comforts of this world to keep their focus on the goal God has called us to.  What about you?  Will there be an individual in heaven because of your life?  A Family?  A People?

3.  The Power of Prayer

What a simple but powerful weapon in our Christian life that we too often ignore.

Remember, In His Name: a. consistent with his will, confidence from his authority merit, for his glory.

Ephesians 6:18; James 4:3, 5:16

4.  The Help of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is not a thing but a person.  He is God, the third person of the Trinity.  When the Holy Spirit dwells in our life so does the Father and the Son.  We are never alone.  Power in Evangelism.  Giftedness for ministry.  Assurance of Salvation (Romans 8:15-17) Unity of Christians.  Sanctification of believers.  Teaches / Reveals the truth.

Acts 1:9; 1 Corinthians 12:11

5.  The Promise of Peace.

Notice the peace is not the world's artificial, temporary peace.  It is the peace of Jesus.  What he experienced (sleep during a storm) and what he offers.  Though it is promised it must be appropriated through faith.

Philippians 4:7; Is 26:2-4

I am not sure how the hositilty of the world is attacking you.  Maybe it's obvious such as the persecution of the early beleivers.  Maybe its subtle such as the weight of the pressure of making ends meant.  Maybe its doubts wondering if it is worth it to sacrifice for the cause of Christ.  However the world's hostility is coming against you, remember Jesus has not left us alone.  He has given us the sources of comfort and strength we need.

These are only ours if we belong to Jesus.

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