Sunday Morning Bible Study
July 14, 1996
We are on the Thursday evening before Jesus is crucified, at the event known as "the Last Supper".
Jesus is alone with His disciples in the upper room.
He gave them a new commandment, that they were to love each other with the same kind of love that He loved them with.
He also gave them some distressing information:
One of them would betray Him.
He would be going away to a place they could not follow.
Peter would even deny Jesus, not once, but three times.
:1-3 A reason to go
:1 Let not your heart be troubled
What does Jesus want them not to be troubled about?
Somebody is going to betray Him?
That He's going away?
That they're going to deny Him?
All three are on the minds of the disciples about now, all three are troubling them.
troubled - tarassesqw - tarasso - to agitate, trouble (a thing, by the movement of its parts to and fro); to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity
By the say, Jesus knows what this is all about, He's been "troubled" several times:
Joh 11:33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, (AV)
See also John 12:27; John 13:21
Jesus isn't trying to condemn them for their worry.
He's just going to show them the way out of it.
Has your heart been troubled recently?
Jesus wants to show you the way out of it.
:1 ye believe in God, believe also in me
There's a lot we could say about the Greek here, but ...
It's as if Jesus is saying, "Don't be worried guys, just trust me..."
Instead of worrying, just trust Him.
Isa 12:2 Behold, God [is] my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH [is] my strength and [my] song; he also is become my salvation. (AV)
He is God Almighty, He's able to handle it!
Gladys Aylward, missionary to China more than fifty years ago, was forced to flee when the Japanese invaded Yangcheng. But she could not leave her work behind. With only one assistant, she led more than a hundred orphans over the mountains toward Free China.
"During her harrowing journey out of war-torn Yangcheng … she grappled with despair as never before. After passing a sleepless night, she faced the morning with no hope of reaching safety. A 13-year-old girl in the group reminded her of their much-loved story of Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea.
"'But I am not Moses,' Gladys cried in desperation.,
" 'Of course you aren't,' the girl said, 'but Jehovah is still God!'"
When Gladys and the orphans made it through, they proved once again that no matter how inadequate we feel, God is still God, and we can trust in him.
(From the book "The Hidden Price of Greatness," Ray Besson and Ranelda Mack Hunsicker)
"Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
-- Corrie Ten Boom
What does it mean to trust God?
There are times when I'm leaving church on Sunday nights and Timmy wants to help me carry some of my stuff out to the car.
"Daddy, can I carry something?"
"No, Timmy, it's too heavy for you"
"Daddy, I want to carry your briefcase!"
"Timmy, it's too heavy"
Then I let him try to carry the briefcase.
He picks it up for a few seconds, and walks about two steps before he says, "Daddy, it's too heavy, can you carry it?"
We need to learn that there are some things that are just too heavy for us to carry, and we're better off if we just let Jesus do all the carrying for us!
A widow who had successfully raised a very large family was being interviewed by a reporter. In addition to six children of her own, she had adopted 12 other youngsters, and through it all she had maintained stability and an air of confidence. When asked the secret of her outstanding accomplishment, her answer to the newsman was quite surprising. She said "I managed so well because I'm in a partnership!" "What do you mean?" he inquired. The woman replied, "Many years ago I said, 'Lord, I'll do the work and You do the worrying.' And I haven't had an anxious care since."
How do I do this trust thing?
Php 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (AV)
Paul says that instead of worrying (being "careful"), we should learn to pray with thanksgiving.
I think the key is the "thanksgiving" part.
If we can learn to say "thank-you" when we pray, then we've learned to trust God with our need.
If I go out to lunch with a friend, and when the waitress brings the bill to the table, my friend says, "I'll pay for this one ..."
We argue for a little bit, and then I give in and say, "Thank-you".
Unless, that is, if I don't really trust my friend to pay for the bill, then I'll wait until he hands the cashier the money!
But if I really believe that my friend will take care of the bill, then I say "thank-you", even though the bill still hasn't been paid yet.
When we lift up our needs to the Lord, and we ask Him to take care of us, you can't really say "thank-you" unless you believe that God is going to work out the problem in the best way possible.
And it's when you say "thank-you", and really mean it, that the peace of God comes upon you.
:2 In my Father's house are many mansions
my Father's house
Jesus is talking about heaven here.
The Father's house is heaven.
David wrote of this place:
Psalm 23:4-6 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
monai- (from meno - to remain, abide) a staying, abiding, dwelling, abode
Joh 14:2 "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; ... (NAS)
There's a lot of the old writers who like to talk about the "mansions" in heaven, and they may be like we conjure up with the word "mansions", large, Victorian-type structures.
But it could also be more like the idea of condominiums, or apartments, perhaps bedrooms.
It might be more appropriate to say, "In my Father's house there are many bedrooms".
Not to diminish the grandeur of heaven, but the idea seems to be more like we're all under one roof, rather than the idea that we're all separate from one another.
I think it's possible that these "mansions" that Jesus talks about could be our new bodies we'll receive after the Rapture:
2Co 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of [this] tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (AV)(Note: "building" and "house" used here are not the same word as used in John 14:2 for "mansions", but are more closely related to "house" in John 14:2.)
Not in the sense of different levels of heaven, but the idea of enough places to accommodate all believers.
Also, there's more than just 144,000 spots in heaven, there's enough room for all believers.
Jesus has been talking about going away to a place where the disciples couldn't come.
And this was one of the sources of their anxiety.
He now clarifies that He's going to His Father's house.
And He's not just going to be by Himself, to get away from His disciples.
He's going to prepare places for all of them.
:2 if it were not so, I would have told you
or, "you all" - Jesus isn't just talking to Peter, He's using a plural "you", and talking to all the disciples.
If there was only going to be room in the Father's house for just Jesus, or just Jesus and Peter, and not all the disciples, Jesus would have told them earlier.
But the truth is, there's room for everybody.
:2 I go to prepare a place for you
etoimasai- (hetoimazo) - to make ready, to make the necessary preparations
Drawn from the oriental custom of sending on before kings on their journeys persons to level the roads and make them passable.
It's just what the disciples had done the day before for Jesus, getting a place prepared for the Passover:
Mt 26:17 Now the first [day] of the [feast of] unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? (AV)
Only this time it's not the disciples going ahead to make preparations, but Jesus is going ahead to make things ready.
How did Jesus prepare a place in heaven?
1. He unlocked the door to heaven by dying on the cross.
Before a single person could be allowed into heaven, something had to be done with the outstanding, overdue bills for mankind's sin.
Each person could pay for their own sins by going to hell.
Or someone else could come along and pay them for us, and that's what Jesus did.
When Jesus died on the cross, He was paying for the sins of the world.
2Co 5:21 For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (AV)
Now that our sins have been paid for, a way has been made for us to enter into heaven, into our "abode".
Now that the price has been paid, all a person has to do to go to heaven is receive the free gift of Jesus' death for your sins.
Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (AV)
Joh 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: (AV)
2. Heaven is currently under construction.
Jesus said that He would be going for the purpose of preparing that place, and since He hasn't come back yet, we can assume that heaven must still be under construction!
If God made this beautiful world in only six days, then think what heaven is like, since He's been working on it for almost 2000 years!
1Co 2:9 ... Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (AV)
We really can't even imagine how awesome it's going to be!
What is heaven going to be like?
Revelation 21:2-4And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
The place being prepared for us, New Jerusalem.
:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself
The way Jesus is speaking is like this:
If He goes to prepare a place for us (and He has!), then He will definitely come again to take us home with Him.
The whole point of His going was not to leave us, but to get things ready for us, so we could be with Him forever.
Jesus is coming ... soon!
For some of us, it will be in death.
When a believer dies, Jesus "receives" his spirit.
When the first martyr died:
Acts 7:54-60 When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
When a believer dies, his spirit immediately goes to be in the presence of the Lord (Phil.1:23)
In reality, we never know when we're going to die.
It could be at any moment.
For many of us, it will be in the very soon Rapture of the Church.
1Th 4:17 Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (AV)
This will be at the beginning of the time of the end, when God's judgment will come down upon the planet and wind things up.
Why do I think it will be soon?
Jesus said we'd know He'd be coming soon by the signs of the times.
All you have to do is read the newspapers.
Here's some recent developments:
1. The Bible says that in the end times Israel will be an offensive thing to the entire world.
Zec 12:2-3 ... I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about ... burdensome stone for all people ...
With Mr. Netanyahu ("given of Yahweh") in office, Israel is reneging on their previous treaties with the Arabs, and nobody likes it.
96-06-22 11:04:09 EDT By Paul Taylor
FLORENCE, Italy (Reuter) - European Union leaders sent new hardline Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a clear message Saturday that he must trade occupied Arab land if he wants to advance Middle East peace.
A 15-nation EU summit insisted the terms for a settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict had not changed just because Israel had elected a government last month which opposes handing back any more of the territory captured in the 1967 Middle East war.
Spelling out the basis for any agreement, they said: ``The key principles -- self-determination for the Palestinians, with all that it implies, and land for peace -- are essential to the achievement of a just, comprehensive and durable peace.'' ...
Date: 96-07-04 07:19:10 EDT
BEIRUT, July 4 (Reuter) - The United States stands by the principle of land-for-peace in the Middle East peace process, regardless of the views held by the new Israeli government, the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon was quoted on Thursday as saying.
``...The Madrid principles still stand as the principles of the peace process....I believe the position of the United States has not changed with regard to these issues,'' Jones said.
2. The Bible says (Eze.38-39) that in the end times there will be a war between Israel and a coalition made up of Russia, Iran, Ethiopia, Libya, and possibly Germany:
TEHRAN, Iran (Reuter) - Iran said Thursday 150,000 hand-picked Revolutionary Guards will hold war games code-named ``Road to Jerusalem.''
Guards Commander Gen. Mohsen Rezaei told the Iranian news agnecy IRNA the ``Tariq al-Quds'' (Road to Jerusalem) exercises would be held by 150,000 men who are being chosen from 500,000 guards and Basij volunteer forces.
Rezaei said training camps were being held across Iran to pick the troops for the war games scheduled to be held during the current Iranian year which ends March 20, 1997.
Iran insists that Jerusalem, home to one of the three most holy Muslim shrines, should be under Muslim rule.
:3 that where I am, there ye may be also
God has a place in heaven for you.
There's room for you.
Jesus wants you to be with Him.
It's kind of like getting ready to go on your vacation.
You'd better call ahead and make a reservation.
You don't want to get there and find a "No Vacancy" sign in the window.