Summary: A discussion of Jesus’ direction to believers to "Cheer Up" during tribulations.
Sermon by Pastor Robert Earl Houston, Sr., Assistant Pastor
Westwood Baptist Church, University Center
Nashville, Tennessee - www.westwoodbcuc.org
Text: John 16:33
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.
Subject: "The Worst and the Best is Yet to Come"
It would be easy to be pessimistic about life. The economy is
down. Social services are being cut. Major corporations are
falling apart at the seams. Technology is obsoleting many goods
overnight. We are in the midst of war. Families are in disarray.
The stock market is on a downward spiral. The Pledge of Alliance is
under scrutiny to remove the words "Under God." Even Martha Stewart
who once seemed invincible financially may lose it all.
I have come to suggest that things may get bad. And they may even
go from bad to worst. Just ask a band of untested disciples who
would eventually become hated, pursued, persecuted falsely
condemned, tortured – have at this point in the text really not seen
bad times compared to what lies ahead.
But for the believer in Jesus Christ – we can experience something
in the midst of our pain and sorrow that the World cannot dare
experience. We are special – because the World cannot claim this –
but believers can.
We can experience joy in the midst of any crisis. This answers a
lot of questions that you may have:
How can someone whose terminal lay in a hospital and
sing "Everything Will Be All Right?"
How can someone who’s going through the pain of divorce jump up and
shout "I Still Have Joy?"
How can someone who’s lost a loved one or a best friend holler
out "This Joy that I have the World didn’t give it and the world
can’t take it away?"
How can someone who’s hampered by financial conditions, walking
around with money funny, change strange, friends flaky, home
hellish, character corrupted, body broken, spirit soured,
friendships folded, arthritis attacked, dare to stand up and
say "This is my story, this is my song, I’m praising my savior, all
the day the long."
It is simply because God has enabled us to experience separation in
suffering. In other words, you can be in the midst of pain, but you
can derive joy in the midst of your pain. You can be physically
hurting, but you can still have joy in your soul. You can be
mentally exhausted, but still have peace of mind.
This is the tension of the text as we find Jesus and His disciples
completing a pre-Calvary orientation. Jesus knows that it will be a
few short days and he will be crucified. And in a few days they
will entomb his body. And three days later He will rise and will
sojourn for forty days. And then He will catch the Cloud Shuttle
and be restored to His rightful place in Glory and reunited with the
Glory that He recused himself from to be born of a virgin.
These Disciples have come out from the world to become the followers
of Jesus. They are now strangers to the World, because Jesus says
His kingdom is not of this world. They have left all to follow
The Book of John gives us a clear photo of his life: Chapters 1
through 12 shows us His public ministry; Chapters 13 through 17
shows us His private ministry with His Disciples before the Cross;
Chapters 18 and 19 presents to us the Cross; Chapters 20 and 21
shows us the Resurrection and Post-Resurrection ministry.
In Chapter 16, Christ is preparing His disciples for the Cross. He
knows that when He leaves from the Earth, they will be surrounded by
Satan’s world system. They will be left "in the World." This is a
But the World that Jesus refers to in this interrogative is not the
World in the Physical Sense. He is not talking about the rocks and
the trees, the waters and the skies, the seasons and the sun. No,
He is talking about a mean, cruel world that is controlled
spiritually by Satan. Remember Jesus tells us "you are IN THE WORLD
but not OF the world."
Let me take a moment to tell you that this is a cruel and mean
world. The old blues singer once wrote a line that talks about the
attraction of the world and this world order: "Bright Lights and
Big City gone to my baby’s head." The world system turns strong men
into addicted adults. The world system turns family structure into
separate ways. The world system makes a young girl look old and an
old woman tries to wear spandex and look young. The world system