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Sorrow Turned Into Joy

John 16:16-33 • November 18, 2020 • w1310

Pastor John Miller continues our study through the gospel of John with a message through John 16:16-33 titled, “Sorrow Turned Into Joy.”

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Pastor John Miller

November 18, 2020

Sermon Scripture Reference

The title of my message is: “Sorrow Turned Into Joy.” The key verse for this is in John 16:20. I want you to notice it. Jesus says, “Verily, verily,” or truly, truly, “I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” Jesus is speaking to His disheartened, discouraged, afraid, confused, sorrowing disciples in the upper room only hours before He was going to be arrested and taken to Calvary and crucified. He comes to the conclusion of His message tonight, actually the Upper Room Discourse is chapters 13-17 but ends at the end of chapter 16—we don’t often think about that—and chapter 17 is not His teaching or discourse, but it is His high priestly prayer. The greatest prayer that Jesus ever uttered is in John 17. When we talk about the Lord’s prayer, it’s not really the, Our Father, which art in heaven, that He gave us as a pattern, John 17 is the true Lord’s prayer. We’re going to take a lot of weeks going through that in depth on Wednesday night beginning next week, but we come now to the conclusion of Christ’s Upper Room Discourse, and in this conclusion, Jesus deals primarily with the emotions of His disciples because, as I said, they were sorrowing, confused, and afraid. The reason why? Because they were human, right? They are no different than we are. We know that we are many times sorrowful, confused, and afraid; so this message tonight is an encouragement to us as well.

The disciples were not experiencing much joy that night because Jesus actually made it very clear over and over and over again that He’s going away. He made it clear that one of them would betray Him and one of them would deny Him, so they were filled with sorrow because Jesus said that He was going to go away. Jesus seeks tenderly and patiently to explain to his troubled followers how they could have joy in spite of their sorrow and tribulation. To do that, He does three things. It’s very simple, and you can write down this outline. The first thing He does is in verses 16-22, He tells them that their sorrow shall be turned into joy. Let’s read that beginning in verse 16. Jesus says, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me.”

Some translations omit that latter phrase in verse 16, “because I go to the Father.” If you have a Bible that has omitted that, don’t freak out. That is probably a better way to render that passage though many times in this Upper Room Discourse, Jesus, time and time again, made it clear that He was going to go to the Father. Let me point out a few. Back up to John 16:5. He says, “But now I go my way to him that sent me,” so He said pretty much the same thing. Then, look at John 16:10. He said the Holy Spirit will convict the world, “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more,” so there again He said He was going to His Father and you would see Me no more. Turn back to John 14:12. It says there, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do,” and here again He says it, “because I go unto my Father.” He made it very clear over and over again that He was actually leaving them and where He was going was back to His Father, so we have God the Son referring to going back to God the Father.

Verse 17, “Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? 18 They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith.” Notice that the disciples again were like us in that they were fearful, afraid, and freaking out. Also like us, many times they didn’t understand what Jesus was saying. Now, if they didn’t understand what Jesus was saying and spent three years with Him and they were right there in the room, then it’s going to be a bit of a challenge, and I’m going to go back to this, to really understand what Jesus is saying.

Verse 19, “Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? 20 Verily, verily,” or truly, truly, “I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” The section here goes to verse 22, but I want to stop at this point and ask the question: What is Jesus referring to, "A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?” Even the disciples said, “What is He talking about?” The phrase, “A little while,” is just repeated over and over and over again. What is Jesus referring to?

There are three basic views as to what Jesus is referring to. You say, “Well, Pastor John, why would you say there’s three basic views?” There’s only one right view, but we cannot be dogmatic. I personally feel that I’m pretty confident in what He’s saying, but we honestly can’t be completely dogmatic or sure as to what Jesus is implying about, “…and again…ye shall see…but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” It’s one of these three, and some feel that it is actually a combination of all of them. One of them is the primary interpretation. Let me give you a principle of Bible interpretation. I hadn’t planned on doing this, but when you study the Bible, what you want to get to is what’s called the author’s intent—what the human author of Scripture, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, not only said but meant. When you read the Bible you look at what it says and then ask yourself, What does it mean? You can’t really impose your own thought, idea, or meaning onto a text—that’s imposing your idea, that’s reading into the Scriptures. On all of Scripture, whenever you’re reading a text, it has only one meaning. It doesn’t have multiple meanings. It may have one meaning and many applications, but it doesn’t have multiple meanings. You can’t pick and choose which meaning you want, the one that suits your fancy, God said what He meant and meant what He said. The goal of Bible study is get to the primary meaning.

We have to admit that sometimes we’re not really clear, so many times preachers, as I’m going to do right now, give you different possibilities; and I’ll tell you which one I think is the most likely. The first view of the three is the one that I think is most likely the view. You say, “Well, why didn’t you just stick to that one and cut all that other stuff out?” I don’t know. I just thought I would share that with you. It is important that we understand the meaning of a text. The first view, and I think this is probably the primary meaning, is that Christ is referring to His soon death, His soon burial, when their hearts would be overrun with sorrow, anguish, and pain that they had lost Jesus in whom they placed all of their hopes. It’s basically saying in context that He’s going to be crucified, be resurrected, and their sorrow would be turned to joy in just a little while; thus He uses the phrase, “a little while.” This is the most obvious meaning of what Jesus is saying.

Why were they having sorrow? Because of their personal loss. When we lose somebody we love, it’s right and only natural that we have sorrow. I’ve conducted a lot of funerals…and sometimes Christians get this super hyper-spiritual concept that if we really are spiritual, we don’t cry when a Christian dies. Paul says, “…that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope,” but he doesn’t say we don’t sorrow. Tears are part of the healing process, and we do feel the pain of separation and loss. They were sorrowing, but Jesus says, “…but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

Secondly, they were sorrowing because of the world’s attitude towards Christ’s death by crucifixion. Look at verse 20, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament,” but notice the world, “but the world shall rejoice.” They were going to be weeping and lamenting; but the world, because Jesus was away, gone, crucified, and they were done with Him, they put Him to death, would be rejoicing and glad. No doubt, it involved the scribes and the Pharisees. Thirdly, because of their disappointed hopes. They had hoped that He would be the Messiah; and their concept of Messiah was that He would overthrow the Romans, set up His Kingdom, and their hopes at the death of Jesus Christ were completely dashed. They talked about that on the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:21 where the two on the road said, “We had hoped that He had been the Messiah,” so their hopes were dashed. Thomas, who said, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails…I will not believe.” Thomas was actually skeptical because his hopes had been dashed, yet when Jesus rose from the dead, their sorrow (verse 20) was turned to joy. It’s not that their sorrow would be substituted with joy, their sorrow would be transformed into joy. That’s how God takes our sorrows and transforms them into joy.

Jesus gives an illustration of this in verse 21. He said, “A woman when she is in travail,” this word “travail” is the same word “sorrow” in verse 20. It’s the same word that we’re going to find at the end of the chapter when He says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” He uses it here for a woman in labor, so you ladies that have given birth are going to be able to identify with this illustration. “A woman when she is in travail,” or labor, “hath sorrow, because her hour is come,” she’s gone into labor, “but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.”

When a baby is born, you don’t say, “Get that thing away, it caused me so much pain.” The minute you see your child, all of it is kind of in perspective. Now, it doesn’t mean literally, and most Bible scholars believe Jesus is speaking in hyperbole here. It doesn’t mean that you forget about it. Some of you ladies are smiling at me right now like, “I’ve had several kids, and I still remember what it was like. I still remember the pain that I went through to give birth to my children,” but it pales in comparison to the joy that your children have brought to you. Amen, ladies? What a blessing that is. What He’s saying is that you’re going to be going through this time of sorrow, but like a woman giving birth to a child, your sorrow will actually be transformed—it’s going to morph into this great joy because you’re going to see Me again risen from the dead. In Romans 8:28 it says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

Let me give you the second thought and idea behind Jesus’ words, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?” I like this one as well, but that is the idea (all three of these views are biblical, they’re not unbiblical) that Jesus’ words refer to the day of Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit for the Church Age that when Jesus would send the Holy Spirit and they would all be filled with the Spirit, that they would actually see Jesus with spiritual eyes in a way that they did not see Him even when He was here in the flesh. Remember back in John 16:7-15, Jesus had so much to say about the Holy Spirit when He is come He will testify of Me, show you things to come, reveal the Father to you and all the things that He would do so that they would have spiritual eyes and they would be opened to see.

I want to point this out in verse 16, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” Whether or not you can make a lot about it, I don’t know, but there’s two different Greek words translated “see” in verse 16. The first word “see” has the idea of seeing physically and tangibly. The second word that’s translated “see” has the idea of seeing intuitively, so it could be conveying this very thought that you saw Me when I was here with you, but now you’re going to see Me in a new spiritual realm as the Holy Spirit comes, baptizes you into the body of Christ, fills you, and you see Me in a new way; and also that the Spirit of God would reveal the Son of God on the pages of the Word of God. Again, we keep coming back to the Scriptures that when we, by the Holy Spirit’s power and illumination, read the Bible, that He shows and teaches us the things of Christ.

Here’s the third view of what Jesus is talking about, “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me,” that is, some see Jesus’ words as referring to His Second Coming or second advent and that this would be during the Church Age that when He comes back, we will see Him and our sorrow, which is during this time on earth, will be turned to joy. Now, that’s true, but I’m not sure that that’s what Jesus had in mind. It’s interesting, write down Hebrews 10:37, it uses the same phrase, “For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” In reference to Jesus’ Second Coming, it could be that Jesus is projecting off that you’re going to go through this period of time of sorrow, but your sorrow shall be turned to joy. If that’s the case, He’s telling us something that we do know, and He ends the chapter that way, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

There’s a progression in these three concepts. The first is the joy of His resurrection, that it would turn their sorrow into joy. Doesn’t that do that for us as believers? I love Easter because it’s great that Jesus came into the world at Christmas, the incarnation; but if Jesus didn’t rise from the dead, it wouldn’t mean anything. Everything rests upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. What an awesome thought to realize that all of life has purpose, meaning, and I don’t need to be afraid because of one simple fact: Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Amen? Because the tomb is empty—He conquered sin, death, and the grave—we don’t need to live in fear, we can have His joy.

The second progression it moves into is the joy of seeing Him and seeking Him right now in the pages of Scripture. It’s an ongoing pursuit as we open God’s Word and we seek to know Him better, God speaks to us and teaches us of the things of Christ, and we’re changed into His image from glory to glory.

Thirdly, it progresses to the joy of His soon coming. What an awesome thing to think about—Jesus Christ is coming again! I was talking to someone in the church this morning. We were talking about the rapture, the coming of the Lord, and just kind of getting real excited thinking, Isn’t that going to be awesome?! Guess what? It’s going to happen. There is some good news coming down the road—Jesus Christ is coming back for His church—and it could be very soon. We’re going to come back with Him in the Second Coming with power and great glory as Christ returns.

Notice again, in verse 22, before we leave this section, that Jesus goes on and says, “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy,” and I love this, “no man taketh from you.” That’s a description of the Christian life, not only for the disciples but for us. We can have joy right now, but we’re going to have great joy when we see Jesus Christ and are with Him in His presence. Verse 22 is the application of the illustration in verse 21. In verse 21, He illustrates with the woman in labor giving birth to a child and the joy that it brings, and He applies it (verse 22) to us now, we have sorrow, but we will see him again and our hearts will rejoice and the joy that we have, “…no man taketh from you.” The world cannot give us that joy, and guess what? The world cannot take it away. We may let them, but we don’t need to give our joy away.

Jesus doesn’t say, “happiness” because happiness is based on happenings or circumstances and they change. You might have somebody give you some gift, and it’s awesome and you’re happy and glad. You lose it or it breaks or something happens and then you’re sad. Now, I’m not a football player but many times I’ve seen people catch a pass, run into the end zone, they’re jumping up and down all happy and excited. They look down the field and one of the referees has thrown the yellow flag. For some strange reason, they just lost all their joy in the end zone because it’s called all the way back, and they get to push back in the field and have to do the play all over again. That’s happiness, but we, as Christians, have joy. Joy is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It’s not based on our circumstances, it’s based on our relationship to God and the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts and in our lives. What a blessing that truly is—the joy that gives us that joy and peace from Christ.

The second thing that He does is not only that we can have joy and it’s going to be the fruit of sorrow, but the promise of answered prayer, that during this time when He is going to leave them, and this does include the whole Church Age that we’re living in right now, that they can actually have fullness of joy by praying and knowing that God will answer the prayer. Verses 23-28, “And in that day,” that day when I leave and go back to the Father, “ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. 24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 25 These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs,” in my King James translation, or in allegory or metaphors, “but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. 26 At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: 27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. 28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” Verse 28 is really kind of a summary of Christ about Christ’s whole life and ministry.

Notice in verse 23 Jesus says, “And in that day,” what day is He referring to? I think He’s referring to that day when He’s crucified, resurrected, forty-day period they saw Jesus appear and disappear, then He ascended back into heaven. At that time, now that they can actually have the privilege of prayer and go directly to the Father. Before that, they could ask Jesus a question, but now they can actually petition Jesus by asking Jesus or going straight to the Father in prayer. In verse 23 He says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.” The phrase “ask” is a present imperative. In other words, it’s a command that we ask the Father and it’s in the present tense. The word “ask” actually means of asking a favor, a humble petitioning asking God for favor. It’s talking about prayer. We can come directly to God the Father through God the Son in the power of God the Holy Spirit, and this passage is so trinitarian. Again, we talk directly to the Father, we come in the merits of the Son, and we pray in the energy and power of the Holy Spirit.

What does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name? First, it means to come to God as one who has identified with Jesus Christ by faith. He’s basically saying, “You must be a child of God. You must be born again.” People all the time talk about, “I pray.” We hear non-Christians all the time, “Well, I pray for this,” or “I pray for that,” or “I prayed.” If God is not your Father, you don’t have a relationship to God. You can pray, but God is not your Father, you’re not His child. He’s not obligated to answer your prayer, and you really have no access—if you reject the Son, you have not the Father. I know that may sound kind of harsh to some people, but you really don’t have access to God the Father if you are not a child of God. If you’re going to pray in Jesus’ name, you have to have trusted Jesus as your Savior and been born again and have a relationship with Jesus Christ. The prayer that God wants to hear from a non-Christian is, “God, forgive my sins. I trust Jesus as my Savior. Come into my heart and live in me. Be my Lord and Savior.” You can’t just ask God to do things for you, protect and watch over you. You can do that, and God may, in His grace and mercy, intervene in your life and watch over you, but you have no relationship. When Jesus gave us the pattern for prayer, He started it by saying, “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven,” so it’s a relationship. You have a relationship to God. It’s the word “Abba,” you’re a child talking to your Father in heaven.

Secondly, praying in Jesus’ name to the Father means that you’re praying on the basis of Christ’s merits and not on the basis of your own merits. This is super important to realize. When you’re praying in Jesus’ name, you’re not praying saying, “Well, You better answer me the way I petition you, God, because I go to church on Wednesday night,” or “I read 10 chapters of the Bible this week,” or “I put a lot of money in the offering this week,” or “I’ve been a really good person.” That’s praying on your own merits. When you pray, you’re coming to a throne of grace. That means you don’t deserve, you don’t merit. You don’t come to God and get answer to prayer, even though you’re His child, because of what you do or how you perform. Now, it is true that in the Christian’s life sin can hinder prayer, that sin can get in the way of God answering your prayers, but you first must be born again, then you pray in His name, which means in His merits based on His grace, and you don’t come in anything that you do.

Thirdly, it’s praying in line with Christ’s character and will. I think it’s important to understand what it means to pray in His name, asking in His name, petitioning in His name. It’s for Jesus’ sake. It’s in line with His will and with His Word. When we pray, it must be according to His character. It must glorify Him. I must be consistent with His Word. In Romans 8:26-27, Paul says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” To pray in His name, you’re praying in the power of the Holy Spirit; you’re praying in the nature and character of Christ—it will honor Him, glorify Him, and is consistent with His Word. We can ask in His name, and the Father will answer.

Notice, in verse 24, the result is “that your joy may be full,” fullness of joy coming through answered prayer. Why does that happen? Because as we pray, we have fellowship with God. It brings us into communion with God. The purpose of prayer is not just to get what you want done. It’s not like a checklist, rip it off, “I want this, I want this, I want this. I want this by Friday, 5 o’clock. Make sure You get it there on time,” but it’s time exposure to God. Prayer is not just getting what we want from God but from God changing us. Many times the more we pray, the more God changes our hearts and our attitudes; and then we find out that, “I don’t really need what I’m asking for anymore because I have Jesus to fill that need in my heart,” and that’s a glorious thing. It’s talking about time exposure to God and keeping us in fellowship with God, being changed into the image of Christ, and He revealing Himself to us. Look at verse 27 for just a moment. He says there, “For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” When you pray, it brings joy; and you experience God’s love as His child, His answering your prayers. By the way, the word “loveth” there, and “have loved me” is the Greek word phileo, and it seems that John sometimes actually uses the word agape or phileo interchangeably in his gospel. He’s actually saying, “For the Father himself,” phileo, “you, because ye have,” phileo, “me, and have believed that I came out from God.”

Verse 28, and we’ll move on, but I think it’s pretty cool. He says, “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.” This is pretty amazing. Jesus Himself is actually giving us a summary of His whole life and ministry. Let me break it down for you. First of all His mission, “I came forth from the Father.” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” so where did Jesus come from? He came from the Father on mission to save sinners. Then, His incarnation, verse 28, “…and am come into the world,” so how did He come into the world? He came into the world through the womb of the virgin Mary. He took on humanity. He was the God-man. Thirdly, we have His crucifixion, “again, I leave the world,” so He would be crucified, buried, resurrected, and then go back unto heaven. Then, we have His resurrection and ascension, where He says in verse 28, “and go to the Father.” You have the Bible in one verse. You have, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,” in one verse. He came from the Father, became a man, was crucified; then He went back to heaven to the Father, He’s preparing a place for us, will come again and take us to heaven that where He is we might be also. What a glorious truth that is!

I want to give you the third thing that Jesus did to encourage His troubled disciples and encourage us as well. This is beautiful. He leaves them a legacy. The legacy He leaves them is His peace. He says, “Your sorrow is going to be turned to joy. You’re going to be able to pray, come directly to the Father in My name, and the Father “…will give it you…that your joy may be full,” and you’ll know that “…the Father loveth you,” and then says, “I’m going to give you My peace. You’re going to be in a world of trouble and sorrow, but I’m going to give you a legacy of My peace.” Notice, beginning in verse 29, “His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. 30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any many should ask thee,” well, it took them long enough to figure that out. He’s going to be crucified in just a few hours. They’d been with Him for three years, and now they said, “Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God. 31 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?” notice the question mark, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

In verses 29-30 we have a reference to the disciples’ faith. They said, “Now we know that you’ve come from God, and we know who You are,” but in verse 31, Jesus isn’t quite so sure that their faith is really strong, and He’s sure that they’re going to be disappointed and have sorrow. Notice verse 31, “Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe?” Some Greek scholars say that it’s possible that Jesus is actually not questioning their faith but affirming that, “Now you do believe,” now you’ve come to this conclusion. I think it’s more consistent with the passage here that Jesus is pointing out that they make their affirmation of faith but, “You’re going to be devastated, you’re going to be wiped out, you’re going to be scattered, and you’re going to lose your faith,” but “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He’s going to give them that legacy of His peace that He’s going to leave with them.

Jesus also tells them that their faith will be tested. Look at verse 32. It says, “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be,” first of all, “scattered.” The Old Testament prophet said that you’ll, “…smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered,” and that’s exactly what happened, “every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” He says, “Two things are going to happen. I’m going to be crucified and you’re going to be scattered, so your faith isn’t all that strong; and you’re going to leave and forsake Me, yet I’m not alone. You’re going to leave Me alone, yet I’m not really alone,” and then explains why at the end of verse 32, “…because the Father is with me,” and that’s true. But it’s interesting when Jesus hung on the cross, remember He quoted Psalm 22:1. What did He say? He said, “My God,” He didn’t say, “Father,” He said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That moment when Jesus was hanging on the cross, His disciples had forsaken Him, and even here, when He says, “…and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me,” but when the sin of the world was placed upon the sinless Son of God, He cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me,” and I do believe that in the moment Christ took the sin of the world, the Father momentarily had to turn His back on God the Son.

I’ve argued with some people for years about, “No, you can’t divide the Trinity,” and “God the Father would never forsake God the Son,” but I believe that’s what the Bible teaches. I can’t explain it. I don’t understand it. It’s one of the deep mysteries of the Bible, but I believe that’s what took place. That’s why the earth grew dark, the earthquake, and the rocks rent, and it was just a radical moment as He cried, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He possibly actually quoted the entire Psalm 22, the Messianic Psalm of the cross of Christ. Here, He says, “…and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me,” but, yea, could take the sin of the world and He would be alone and would be forsaken of God the Father so that we would never have to be forsaken.

In verse 33, Jesus gives the reason. Now, remember I told you that this brings us to the conclusion of the Upper Room Discourse, and because this is the conclusion of the Upper Room Discourse, He summarizes it. He tells us why He uttered it. Look at verse 33, “These things,” what things? John 13-16, everything He taught in that upper room, “I have spoken unto you, that in me,” catch that phrase, you can underline, circle, highlight it, “ye might have peace.” Your peace is not going to be in your circumstances, your peace is not going to be in the world, it’s not going to be in people, it’s going to be in Christ. “…in me ye might have peace. In the world,” there’s the two places the Christian lives. We live in Christ, but we’re still in the world, “ye shall have tribulation,” now the tribulation there is not the tribulation, the seven-year period when God will be pouring out His wrath on a Christ-rejecting world that has as its source God Himself; but the tribulation that comes to the believer, the child of God, in this sinful, fallen world—from the world, the flesh, and from the devil—never stops. It’s never going to change.

Isn’t it interesting…I’ve seen these little promise boxes of Scriptures where every morning you pull out a little card and it has a passage that encourages your heart. I’ve never seen this promise on a promise card. Can you imagine pulling it out in the morning, “In this world ye shall have tribulation.” “Let’s try it again, Lord, I don’t think I want that one today.” Yet, we have so many people saying, “If you’re a King’s kid, you’re a child of God, you’re going to have perfect health, perfect wealth, lots of money, everything’s going to be great, everything’s going to be positive, everything’s going to be lovely because you’re a child of God. You’ve got God’s favor,” and all that stuff. That’s not what Jesus taught. He said, “…in me ye might have peace…I have overcome the world,” but “You’re in the world, and the world is going to hate you. It’s not going to love you. If it rejected Me, it’s going to reject you.” The Bible says, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall,” not maybe, not might, “suffer persecution.” You can’t be a child of God in a world of ungodly people and not encounter persecution and tribulation. He says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer,” literally that means, take heart. I love that! Don’t be discouraged, don’t be disheartened, take heart. He says, “I,” that personal pronoun ekeinos, is actually a reference to, it’s emphatic, Jesus—I and I alone. It’s emphatic for emphasis, “I have overcome the world.” When we are in Christ, we have overcome the world as well. It’s a promise that we will have His joy, that we have overcome the world.

This peace is not the absence of trouble, “that in me ye might have peace.” George Morrison said that it’s the possession of adequate resources, in Him. It’s an artesian well, and it’s not based on circumstances. But, “In the world ye shall have tribulation,” Christians will suffer. We will experience bereavement and loss, sickness and pain, but we have Christ who is the overcomer.

Note the conditions, before we wrap this up, that we must meet to experience Christ’s peace. First, you must be in Him. Secondly, His Word must be in you. “These things I have spoken unto you,” verse 33. We have peace in Him, and He has His words spoken unto us. The peace that He’s referring to here is probably not the peace with God that all Christians possess but the peace of God which Paul talked about in Philippians that when we set our minds on Him—we pray, we cast our cares upon Him—“…the peace of God…shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” You have peace with God. The moment you’re saved, you’re not at war with God any longer, and the result is then you can have the peace of God ruling and reigning in your heart and in your life and that His Word, verse 33, which is in you. If you cover all of what He said in this Olivet Discourse in John 13, that He loves us to the uttermost; John 14, He’s making a home for us in heaven; John 15, we can abide in Him and our lives will bear much fruit; John 16, that the Comforter, the parakletos is come and will comfort us in all our sorrows, peace through resting in the promises of His Word.

Notice the statement Jesus makes as well in verse 33, “…be of good cheer.” When Jesus healed the sick man of the palsy, He said, “Son, be of good cheer,” and pardoned his sin. When the woman touched Jesus and was healed of her issue of blood, she experienced the power of Christ, He said to her, “Be of good cheer.” When Jesus calmed the storm on the Sea of Galilee and His disciples experienced the power of His presence, He said, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” That’s what He says to our hearts tonight as we’re troubled. We need forgiveness, we need His cleansing, and we need His presence in our lives. Sorrow turned to joy, joy in the answers of prayer, and the peace of His Word in our hearts and in our lives in the midst of a world that is troubled. How? Because Jesus overcame the world (verse 33) by His life, by His death, and by His resurrection. This is why Paul said in Romans 8:37, “…we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” Amen? Let’s pray.

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About Pastor John Miller

Pastor John Miller is the Senior Pastor of Revival Christian Fellowship in Menifee, California. He began his pastoral ministry in 1973 by leading a Bible study of six people. God eventually grew that study into Calvary Chapel of San Bernardino, and after pastoring there for 39 years, Pastor John became the Senior Pastor of Revival in June of 2012. Learn more about Pastor John

Sermon Summary

Pastor John Miller continues our study through the gospel of John with a message through John 16:16-33 titled, “Sorrow Turned Into Joy.”

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Pastor John Miller

November 18, 2020