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Extraordinary Comfort



Extraordinary Comfort

Joshua J. Masters |

In a life filled with turmoil and troubled hearts, Christ offers extraordinary comfort and strength to move through this world with hope.






extraORDINARY
Message 6 • Extraordinary Comfort
Joshua J. Masters
July 31, 2022


A. INTRODUCTION

Good morning, Brookwood.

Today we continue our series called, extraORDINARY.

We’ve been exploring what the interactions between Jesus and the disciples teach us about ordinary people encountering an extraordinary God.

Last week, we walked through the concept of the Sabbath and how Christ offers extraordinary rest from our hurried lives.

We talked about an active rest that replenishes our souls so we can more deeply love God and love others.

But that’s easier said than done, isn’t it?

The world continually presses in on us.

So, how do we enter the rest of Christ when we’re surrounded by the chaos, lies, and troubles of a broken world?

How do we learn to trust Christ in such a way that we not only ENTER His rest, but live in it?

That’s what I want to more deeply explore today in a message I’ve entitled, Extraordinary Comfort.

In a life filled with turmoil and troubled hearts, Christ offers extraordinary comfort to move through this world with hope.

And leaning into the comfort He offers us is how we embrace the perfect rest we talked about last week.

Think about this:

When a child is upset, or sick, or hurting, what happens when his mom comes into the room, lays on the bed with him and rubs his back… or gently scratches his head?

The child begins to calm down.

He enters a more peaceful rest.

Why?

Because he’s being comforted by the one person he knows will protect him.

He no longer has to keep watch because the comforter is there.

That’s exactly the kind of comfort Christ offers us.

When we’re troubled, Jesus comforts us in His care and protection.

And that’s how Jesus encourages the disciples in the passage we’re looking at today.

We’ll be in John, Chapter 14.

So, you can go ahead and turn or swipe there in your Bibles (pg. 867).

And as you do that, let me set the scene.

This is a very difficult night for the disciples.

They are in the Upper Room with Jesus on His last night with them before being crucified.

This is the same room where Jesus washes their feet and where they’ll soon share the Last Supper together.

Jesus tells them He will be betrayed and that He will be leaving them soon.

Judas leaves to carry out that betrayal, and just before we enter the story in Chapter 14, Jesus tells Peter that even he will abandon Christ, denying he knows Him three times by the end of the night.

The disciples do not understand.

They are confused and frightened.

So, Jesus begins to comfort them.

Chapter 14, verse 1:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me.”
John 14:1 (NLT)

The word for “be troubled” here in Greek is tarassō.

It literally means to stir up or create “inward commotion.”

Anxiety affects us physically and our culture not only causes troubled hearts but actually cultivates them on purpose.

--The News is not designed to bring you peace.

--Social media algorithms are actually programmed to CAUSE anxiety.

--Political division is intentionally hostile.

--The state of the world breeds fear.

--Uncertainty is everywhere.

So, is it any wonder we’re filled with angst and anxiety?

…that when we’re told to rest in Christ we don’t know how to do it?

Yet Jesus says, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled… trust in God and trust also in Me.”

So, the antidote to a troubled heart is trusting in Christ.

How do we do that?

How do we learn to trust in Him despite the turmoil in our lives?

We lean into who Christ is, His identity and His provision.

But sometimes we need to remind ourselves of that.

So, today we’ll look at 4 things we can grab hold of when our troubled hearts start to gain ground in our lives…

…the same reminders Christ gave the disciples on their last night together.

Here’s the first one:

B. Christ offers extraordinary comfort through…

1. His PREPARATION for me.

You could also put the word “provision” here.

Christ not only provides for us here in this life, which we talked about last week, but He has prepared and secured a place for us in eternity.

After Jesus tells the disciples to trust Him and not to be troubled, He comforts them by telling them WHY He can be trusted.

Verse 2:

“There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am.”
John 14:2–3 (NLT)

There are two components to this comforting promise.

First, I’m going to prepare a place for you and the second, I will come back for you.

Don’t let your heart be troubled.

--I know where we’re going,

--I will do the work,

--and I will never abandon you.

Now, when Jesus says, I’m going to prepare a place for you, it can actually refer to two things…and I think it refers to both.

--First, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross prepares and secures our place in eternity.

--But it also refers to the preparation of eternity itself—a new Heaven and a new earth.

Why is that important?

Because to be comforted, we need to cling to both.

When you’re struggling with a troubled heart, when the darkness of the world starts to edge its way into your thoughts, it’s easy for us to look at this first comfort and dismiss it in our despair.

Because despair whispers, “Sure, He’s gone to prepare a place for me in Heaven, but how does that help me now?”

That’s why it’s so important we understand that the cross is the cornerstone of that preparation.

The work is already done.

The victory is already here.

It’s not some future state to look forward to, it’s a life-giving triumph we claim now.

Stop believing life is just going to be terrible and all you can do is hang on until Christ returns!

Look what Jesus says in John 10:10:

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
John 10:10 (ESV)

It’s the thief that gives you a troubled heart.

He comes to steal your peace, kill your spirit, and destroy your hope—but Christ came that you would have a full, abundant life—not just in eternity but today, right now.

--How would your life be different if you could live a fully satisfied life despite the chaos of everything around you?

--Despite whatever shame or hurt your holding on to from your past?

Christ makes a life of freedom possible through His preparation on the cross and His preparation in eternity.

Colossians 2:

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. [That’s what the thief tries to prey on] Then God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross.
Colossians 2:13–15 (NLT)

We enter Christ’s rest and comfort when we live in an understanding of what He’s done to protect and prepare for us—both now and in eternity.

That’s how we learn to trust the path He has for us today and His path into the future.

But the disciples were still struggling with trusting that path.

Verse 4:

[Jesus said,] “And you know the way to where I am going.” “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where You are going, so how can we know the way?”
John 14:4–5 (NLT)

Now, why do you think the disciples were having a hard time grasping what Jesus was promising them?

<They expected a conquering Messiah… other reasons>

Here’s the main reason:

It’s because they hadn’t completely grasped the fullness of His identity.

Christ offers extraordinary comfort through…

2. His PERSON revealed to me.

None of Christ’s promises will truly comfort us until we have a deep and personal understanding of who He is.

Because what decides whether you trust someone’s promise isn’t based on the promise itself, is it?

No, it’s based on the character, integrity, and identity of the person making the promise.

So, Jesus begins to reveal Himself more fully to them.

Verse 6:

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me. If you had really known Me, you would know who My Father is. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him!”
John 14:6–7 (NLT)

Jesus says, I am everything.

--You don’t know your path?

I’m the Way.

--You don’t know what to believe?

I’m the truth.

--You’re frightened about the future?

I am life.

Jesus says, “No one can come to the Father except through Me.”

But if Christ is the only way, and the only source of truth, and the only way to life—then where are you left without Him?

If Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, then to be without Christ is to be lost in the despair of lies and death.

Despair is a shackle that prevents us from moving forward in our lives.

A friend recently said to me, “You can’t change anything when you’re in despair.”

And that’s true. It’s a trap that binds us to the troubles of this world.

But things can change in the person and strength of Jesus Christ.

We are comforted by who Christ is because when His true identity is revealed, you understand there’s no person, no situation, and no spirit that can overcome the victory He’s already won on your behalf.

But He’s not just the only way TO God…

He is, HIMSELF, God.

Verse 8:

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father! So why are you asking Me to show Him to you? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words I speak are not My own, but My Father who lives in Me does His work through Me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen Me do.”
John 14:8–11 (NLT)

Again and again, Jesus affirmed His deity.

The Father and the Son are one.

One God, with one will.

So, as we are comforted by who Christ is.

We’re not only drawing our assurance from the man who sacrificed everything for us—our assurance is in the One who created us and created the Universe.

When Christ is revealed to you, God is revealed to you.

Look at Colossians:

For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
Colossians 2:9–10 (NLT)

When you belong to Christ, you are complete.

Most of our personal struggles:

--addictions,

--anger,

--food issues

--low self-esteem

…whatever it is, most of them stem from an identity issue.

We feel incomplete, so we try to compensate or fill that hole with something to make us feel better—even for a moment.

But it’s not until we understand who Christ is that we can be comfortable with who we are.

And once we do, then we live with His power in our lives.

Christ offers extraordinary comfort through…

3. His POWER in me.

We don’t need to walk through life with angst and distress.

Because by going to prepare a place for us, Christ left His followers with the same power to do God’s will that was revealed in His own life.

Verse 12:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in Me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, [How?] because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in My name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask Me for anything in My name, and I will do it!
John 14:12–14 (NLT)

--Now, does that mean you can ask to win the lottery and it shall be done?

--Does it mean you can ask for a piano to fall on your Ex and he shall be squished?

No.

Notice how it says we ask “in His name”

What does that mean?

The word “in” (or “en” in Greek) doesn’t mean adding His name at the end of a prayer.

En means “to put under (or bind with) an oath”

So, you’re asking for something bound by the oath of Christ’s name—who He is.

You are claiming His identity in the request.

Romans 8:11 says the same power that raised Christ from the dead is in us.

So, we allow Christ to act through us.

Look at Galatians 2:20:

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
Galatians 2:20 (NLT)

It is Christ’s power in us—not our own power, so just as Jesus only worked through the will of the Father, we can only work miracles in the will of the Son.

But isn’t that the exact kind of guidance we need in a troubled life?

Relying on our own will and wisdom always leads to uncertainty and second-guessing our lives.

But having the guardrails of God’s plan and purpose gives us comfort to navigate through circumstances when we don’t know the outcomes.

Do you see how that’s really a gift of comfort?

Remember last week when we learned how actively resting in Christ leads to acts of compassion?

Where do we get the power and strength to carry those out?

Right here.

We have His strength, His power, His compassion.

The disciples were terrified because Christ was leaving them, but He explained by going, He would be able to send them the ability to do everything they were afraid of losing.

And that’s highlighted in our last fill-in.

Christ offers extraordinary comfort through…

4. His PROMISE to me.

In a troubled world that cannot be trusted, we are comforted by the promise of Christ.

The word of Christ are irrevocable.

Look at 2 Corinthians 1:20:

For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.
2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT)

He’s offered His power to fulfill His will in our lives and continue His work in a broken, hurting world.

But how do we access that power?

How do we know His will?

Or receive comfort from Him?

That’s part of His promise as well.

Jesus continues in verse 15:

“If you love Me, obey My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.”
John 14:15–16 (NLT)

Who has a translation that says something other than Advocate?

<Helper, Counselor, Encourager, Comforter>

Comforter.

Christ tells the disciples He’ll have the Father send a Comforter who will never leave us.

And who is that?

--The Holy Spirit.

Verse 17:

“He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you.”
John 14:17 (NLT)

Now, it says the Holy Spirit is WITH them but later will be IN them because prior to Pentecost, which is when the Father permanently sent the Holy Spirit to all believers, the Holy Spirit did not live within someone.

He would work through someone, but they didn’t have the Spirit within them the same way we do now.

And that indwelling of the Spirit is how we have the power of Christ in us… because the Comforter, Encourager, Counselor, and Helper lives in us.

The promise of Christ is that He’s prepared everything for you to have victory in this life—through who He is and the power He gives you.

But maybe the most comforting promise in this world of isolation and devastation is that you’re not alone.

You will not be forgotten.

The Comforter is with you now, and Christ will not forget any of His promises to you.

Verse 18:

“No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.”
John 14:18 (NLT)

That’s an echo of what Jesus promised in verse 3:

“When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.”
John 14:3 (NLT)

--So, what impossible despair are you holding on to?

--What circumstance in your life tightens your chest?

--What trial makes you feel overlooked?

The thief will try to convince you these things are unsurmountable—that you will drown in the mines of despair.

But the Comforter is here, and Christ has already delivered victory.

Jesus said:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 (NLT)

So how do we remind ourselves of that?

Well, one way is to take the four points from this outline and post them where you’ll see them.

Or, better yet, copy them into a journal over and over… but personalize them.

Make them a prayer you write to God:

Lord Jesus,

Comfort me through Your preparations for me.

Comfort me by revealing Your person to me.

Comfort me through Your power in me.

Comfort me through Your promise to me.

Amen.

Then be still.

And let Him comfort you.

If you want someone to encourage or pray with you today, we’ll have pastors and care volunteers down front or in the Care Connection room after the service.

If you’re in our Online Campus, click the button in your chat window and someone connect with you.

You’re not alone. Christ will not abandon you and we will walk with you.

<PRAYER>

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