Listen in on William Jessup University’s chapel series every Wednesday and Friday to hear speakers from across the globe, bringing messages from God’s word to our students, faculty, and staff.
Well, hello everyone. Am I on? You guys can hear me? Yeah. Cool. All right. Well, it’s such an honor to be before you tonight before we get started, because you and I are blessed with two wonderful people who put in a lot of time and planning and prayer. Just to make sure that Monday night chapel is the best it can be. Will you join me in thanking Jake and Deborah for all their hard work? You guys rock to do a lot for us. And we’re super grateful for you. So Well, again, it’s
an honor to be here to be up here and I have just been so excited for tonight. I couldn’t even sleep last night got like an hour. Just thinking and praying about what tonight could be. And so to tell you guys a little bit about myself. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a first semester sophomore and a Christian Leadership. Major. I hail from the nearby town of Lincoln, which is where I live now with my family. I have a brother here at Jessup as well. He’s cool. He’s, you know, his name’s Dale, he’s a lot smarter than me, and a lot better looking. But that’s not an issue. So I commute here, so you won’t see me in the dorms too often, but you will see me in the library, because that’s where I go to study. AKA socialize, because that’s what you do when you’re in the Jessup library. So, and if you see me like sprinting through the hallway with like two backpacks on my shoulder and water bottle, like falling out of my hand, that’s because not because I’m bad at scheduling, although I’m a huge procrastinator, but it’s rather because I have the privilege of playing soccer for school and I believe some of my teammates are in the house tonight. What’s up guys? Yeah. Okay. So we’ve been in the series on desire for this past year in Chapel ever since last fall, and we’ve been talking if you haven’t caught on, we’ve been in this month we’ve been talking about intimacy, intimacy with God and intimacy with people and so we’ve heard from so many amazing people, Ethan Lowry. We’ve heard from Mr. Daniel Gluck we’ve heard from Bronwyn Leah father Christopher footsore circuit writers came in and floored our campus brought a spark of spiritual revival, that I think we really need it. And so I, I’m so humbled to have this opportunity. You guys are going to have Queenie on Wednesday, and she’s going to be awesome. She is godly and fearless. But tonight, you’re stuck with me. So without further ado, here’s where we’re going tonight. Let’s do some interaction. So I want you to do this for me think in your mind brings to mind the person whom you are closest with. So for some of you, this may be a parent, a mom or a dad, this could be a best friend, a significant other could be a leader, a pastor, a mentor in your life. Maybe you met someone in the grocery store over the weekend, and you go close with them, I don’t know who it is for you. Whoever that is just bringing to mind You got that? Okay, here’s what I want to submit to you. In order for that relationship to get where it is. There had to be some testing. There had
some conflict, there had to be some, some maybe separation and then coming back together, maybe some arguments and some going back and forth. And it was only going through that conflict and through that struggle, that the relationship grew so deep, so close, and so intimate. And the same is true for our relationship with God. You see, we’re here on earth for a very short time. And during that time, our relationship with God should we have it will be tested. Our faith will be challenged by circumstances we face. And so I want to get into that idea tonight. What is it? What does it look like to live on this earth for such a short time to have our faith be so tested in such a way? How do we respond to that? How do we how do we push in to God in times of testing when it gets difficult? If you have your Bible I’d love for you to follow along. We’re going to be in john chapter 14 tonight. Anyone actually bring their Bible I think we got Oh, we have probably preach taking notes on me. That’s crazy. So john 14, just to give you some context for this passage, john 14 is part of what is called Jesus his farewell discourse. And so this was a farewell speech that was actually quite common throughout the Old Testament. And the idea was that a significant leader or elder of a nation, for example, King David gave one, he would get up before the people and he would give this speech right before he was about to die. And so Jesus is doing the same thing. In this passage, he is about to leave and go to the cross and then die and raise again and by forgiveness for his people. So there are two key elements to this farewell speech, comfort and exhortation comfort because I’m leaving, and I’ve been your leader, but and that’s going to be hard on you. So I’m going to comfort you, and then exhortation because I’m going away. But I’ve been leading you up and shepherding you. And so here’s how I want you to live from now on. Okay, so those are the two key pieces of a farewell speech,
also called a testament in scholarship. So comfort, next rotation and comfort. Next rotation is what I want to do for us. And I want to comfort you guys and want to exhort you guys. So without further ado, john, Chapter 14, verse one we should have up on the screen. It says this, this is Jesus speaking. Let not your hearts be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me. So now that phrase, be troubled, that’s talking about an inner turmoil and inner perplexity an inner sadness, a sort of depressive state of mind and heart that the disciples would have been in, and they actually have really good reason during this time to be in such a troubled state. Let me show you what I mean. They’ve been doing this, this ministry for the past three years with Jesus, a supernatural ministry, they’ve been healing people, they’ve been casting out demons, they’ve been raising the dead to life, they’ve been opening the ears of the death and opening the eyes of the blind. And then Jesus pulls them aside one day and says, Hey, guys, real quick.
I came here to die. I came here to die, and he flips the paradigm on what they expected the Messiah to be. And so it creates this fresh grief and anxiety in the disciples knowing that they’re going to lose their Lord. And then secondly, not only will Jesus die, but he will be betrayed by who? Judas Iscariot. Yeah, just saying his name makes it feel wrong. So, Judas Iscariot, Jesus tells him, one of you will betray me. I mean, that, that had to make it awkward, right? I mean, now looking around, like, who is step over here? Like, Is it him as me? Like, how is this gonna go down. And so it creates this, this fresh anxiety again, and they have this grief of someone in our close inner circle is going to betray us. But that’s not all. Not only is Jesus going to die, not only is one of the disciples going to betray Jesus. But when this happens, Jesus loves his disciples so much that he tells him in advance, when this goes down, your faith will fail. Your faith will fail, you will abandon me because it gets hard. Mark 1427 says this. And Jesus said to them, his disciples, you will all fall away, for it is written, I will strike the shepherd, that’s Jesus, and the sheep will be scattered. Your faith will fail, you will abandon me just because it got hard. Can you imagine how crushing this would be? For the disciples to be processing this, that they’re going to lose this man that they’ve grown so intimately close with their leader, their Lord, the master? that they’re going to be betrayed by someone in their close? circle? And not only that they are anticipating their own failure? They’re going to fail? Jesus, you imagine how crushing it would be? Can you imagine how worried how anxious how disheartened how confused? how frustrated? They would be? Maybe those words ring a bell. Maybe those words, describe your relationship with God. Right now. Maybe, maybe for you, those words are why you don’t call yourself a Christian. Worry, anxiety, fear, discouragement, confusion. disheartened meant all of us face times of tests, you know, I think we tend to do the free tend to idolize people, right. It’s like, Oh, he’s speaking at Chapel. Oh, wow. He must have all the answers. Oh, she’s on the leadership team. That’s Wow, I mean, you surely she’s got this Christianity thing nailed down. And it’s just not true. I could just be vulnerable with you guys for a second. It’s been a hard year chooses you You know, I spent a lot of time on the prayer chapel, you guys might see me in there a little bit. Truth is, I spend more time in that room anxious than I do at peace. Truth is, I have a lot of questions about faith. I have a lot of questions about theology and and sometimes they even doubt, maybe I can’t understand any of this. Maybe it’s just too much. I was talking with a friend this weekend, and just began to confess this sin that I’ve been struggling to shake, and I’m still struggling to shake. And it’s always that that freeing feeling whenever you confess a sin, there’s that healing, right? We confess to people you confess to God, and it kind of lifts this burden off your shoulders. And it did that. And then, even after that, I found myself discouraged. Because like the disciples, my faith more often than not, feels less like a raging fire and more like a pile of meager kindling, that smolders gasping for oxygen. I know we’re facing some hard things in this room, spring breaks right around the corner, midterms, their stress, and things happen. And then it’s that school stress on top of that, and it can get ugly.
But Jesus has some words to say to his disciples, Jesus is the one who says, No, no, in the hard times, let not your hearts be troubled. And so I want to encourage us in three ways that I believe this passage is going to teach us three ways to face these difficulties in the midst of them, not go around them. But to face them head on in what do we do in times of testing, number one, in times of testing, Christ comforts us with his presence. In times of testing Christ comforts us with his presence. Psalm 3418 says this, the Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. And so if you are a Christian, even in the moments when you do not feel God, he’s there with you. And his promises. No, no, I will never leave you nor forsake you. I have given you into the hands of my son and no one will snatch you from it. And whether you’re a believer or not, I know we have a mix in here. Anyone ever felt abandoned by God? I know my hands up. Anyone. Okay. So, did you know that Jesus experienced that? Jesus? Do you remember what he said on the cross? He said, in the low in the mass of a Tawny? My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? God, where are you do something? How could this ever be a part of your plan? Lord, I don’t see it. Jesus knows. It’s okay to cry out. It’s okay to cry out. So what do we do? In terms of testing? What can we do? Practically says, Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also, in me. Believe also, in me in terms of testing point number two, in times of testing, we press in to God we don’t step away. We press in remember, it’s only through the struggle. It’s, it’s when you’re when you’re on the ground. With nothing left to give. That’s that’s when that relationship is forged. We have a beautiful way before we get to that, there are two quick There are two main ways that I just want to highlight not the only ways but two main ways that we press in to God practically, is going to blow your mind guys, this is like brand new stuff like you’re gonna be like, Oh my gosh, ready? Check this out two main ways we press into God. Prayer, scripture, prayer, and scripture. So I asked you, how’s your prayer life? Has your prayer life do you? Do you soak in this book? Do you soak in it? Does it guide you does it? does it teach you does it is this is this your source of truth? Not not Can you type out an assignment on it? I know we can all do that. Now. Can you study it for academia? But does this guide you does this teach you about who God is? And then what I was gonna say, we have this beautiful prayer chapel in the center of our campus, that gives us the opportunity to do that. I have the privilege of going to Israel over the spring break. And so that’s going to be really exciting. Going to the Holy Land, we’re going to spend about 13 days there. And I wanted to read this quote from this book, in regards to the prayer chapel. This is a quote by NT, right. And he writes this book on pilgrimage, and he’s writing after this moment where he just spent time in Israel at the wall, not at the at the foot, because the cross isn’t there anymore, obviously. But he spent time in the spot like where the cross of Christ was. And this is what he says afterward, he says this, what I discovered that day, what I discovered that day, was that places and buildings can and do carry memory, power, and hope. I would submit to you that our campus prayer chapel is much, much more than just a building. And that may not be possible. But wherever you can do it press in the God when it gets hard. And then number three, as we start to close, number three, in times of testing, we set our hope, on eternity with God.
In times of testing, when it gets difficult when we have questions and our faith, and we don’t get in the relationship that we want to be in when we don’t, when we don’t get transferred to the school that we wanted to get transferred to when it gets hard. We set our hope on eternity with God, let’s close out this passage. Jesus says this, in my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not, So would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again. And we’ll take you where to myself. Why? So that where I am, you may be also and you know the way to where I am going? Can we all agree Heaven is kind of a tricky topic. It’s kind of it’s kind of tricky. No one’s really been there can have these, these YouTube testimonies was like I was there. And there’s a bright line and but we don’t really know and so. But what we can do is we can look to Scripture to give us hints and clues. And this is how Jesus defines eternal life. He says this in john 17, just the three chapters after the one we’re talking about today, he says this, and this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Eternal Life is a right relationship with the living God of the universe, it is being in his presence, it is communicating with Him in prayer, it is walking with Him in obedience to His statutes in ways that is worshiping Him. This is what we have to look forward to notice how all those things are actually things we can do right now. It’s pretty cool. Let’s finish this out. And you know the way to where I am going, Thomas said to him, Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way And Jesus answered him? I am the Way and the Truth. And the life no one comes to the Father except through me. Jesus is the path. He is the journey and the destination. He has Alpha and Omega beginning and the end. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the image of the invisible God. He is the great high priest. He is our advocate. He is our toner, our provider, our healer, our hope and our deliver I’m not done by dying on the cross and resurrecting from the grave. Jesus has bought our forgiveness with his blood, his defeated death and sin forever his reconciling all things unto himself his renewing creation, all authority has been given to Jesus and Jesus is coming again to save his followers to bring them to himself to bring them to himself. per team and worship team you can start to come on up as we close you guys we won’t be here forever. We won’t. Our time at Jessup is so short, it’s like a mess. The Bible describes her life on Earth as a missed gun. But in Jesus, the promises a life beyond all that. I know there’s some of us in here who you don’t have a relationship. With Jesus Christ yet, and my heart hurts for you, because when things get hard, I don’t know what you’re going to do. We’re not here forever, but through the comfort of his presence by pressing in the God by setting our hope on eternity, we can endure to the end and be saved.