< Back

Because He Lives Sermon

John 14:12-19

12 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; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;

17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.


      A news article began, “America is thirsty for some good news.” It was referring to inflation, a coal strike, and trouble in the Middle East. But the good news that America really needs is the good news announced by the angel that day when the friends of Jesus came to the tomb where he was buried. The angel said, “He is not here. He is risen even as he said.” 

      The angels were the good news announcers of God. When Jesus was born the angels announced the good news to the shepherds who were in the fields watching their flocks by night. When the apostles were locked up in prison it was an angel who came to them with the good news, “You have been released by God and you are to go and preach.” When Cornelius was to receive the Gospel and the Gentiles were to be brought into the kingdom of God, it was an angel that announced the good news. And when Paul was caught in a storm on a ship headed for Rome and it looked as though the ship would sink and everyone’s life would be lost, it was an angel who came to him with the good news, “Be of good cheer. Everything will be all right.” 

      And then, the disciples who were going to the garden tomb where Jesus was buried heard the greatest news of all. That first Easter morn the angels said, “He is not here. He is risen, even as he said.” You know the background of this experience. It all started three and a half years before that when Jesus came preaching, “Behold, the kingdom of God is at hand.” A handful of people heard that first sermon, and they heard the voice of God in the words of Jesus. They knew that God was calling them to a special mission in life, so they forsook houses, land, occupations, and family to follow Jesus. They were convinced that Jesus was the Son of God. After all, he made the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk. He broke the bread and fed the multitudes with just a handful of food. He spoke and the sea and the wind obeyed him. He even raised the dead. They became convinced that Jesus was the Son of God.

      And then there came that awful, awful week. He was betrayed by one of his closest friends. He was arrested by the soldiers in the Garden of Gethsemane. He went through the mockery of a trial under Pilate and finally he was crucified on the cross. And when Jesus said, “It is finished,” the disciples felt that they were finished also. Their whole lives had been wrapped up in his. Their hopes and their dreams for the future rested in him, and then the one in whom they believed and trusted was gone. It was as if all the future was shattered. Darkness was in their hearts.

      Three days later they went to the place where Jesus was buried. They went for the same reason that you would have. They wanted to be near the earthly, physical, tangible part of the person they loved. They went to do the last thing they could do for him. They went to prepare his body for its final resting place. Lo and behold when they got there, rather than finding the body of their dead leader, they found this good news announcer from God, this angel of the Lord saying, “He is not here. He has risen, just like he said he would.”

      For the next 40 days Jesus stayed with those disciples, and Luke says that he showed himself to them with many infallible truths. You have to remember that this resurrection of Jesus is the most important event in human history. God could not allow it to remain a clouded experience in their mind. They could never ever look back upon it and wonder, “Was it just an illusion? Was it something we just thought happened?” 

      Jesus stayed on the earth for 40 days. You don’t have illusions for 40 days. You have illusions for just a moment and then they vanish away. But here he was with them for 40 days. During that period of time they not only talked to him and they not only saw him with their own eyes, but they touched him and they ate together. They came to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that Jesus was alive. It changed their whole life. It changed the course of human history.

      Something happened. They said it was Jesus raised from the dead. If you say it was something else, the burden of proof is upon you to prove or explain what happened to them and what has happened to history and what has happened to us if Jesus is not alive.

      Jesus met with them just before he ascended into heaven. He said, “I want you to stay right here until the promise from the Father is fulfilled. And when the Holy Spirit is here, then you are to be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria, and finally to the uttermost parts of the earth.” And so for the next ten days the disciples stayed in the Upper Room. They fellowshipped with one another and they prayed and they waited for the promise of the Father since Jesus had now ascended into heaven. There’s no doubt that during that period of time they reflected much on what Jesus had said to them, and they must have gone back in their minds to what he said in the 14th chapter of the gospel of John. Jesus had announced that he would die, and that distressed the disciples. Seeing their distressed condition, Jesus said to them in John 14:1-3, “Let not your hearts be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” And Thomas said unto him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (verse 6). 

      There was also some confusion in Philip’s mind concerning Jesus and God and their relationship, so Jesus said to him in so many words, “If you’ve seen me, you have seen the Father. For I am in the Father and he is in me. And surely after all of these years of being with you, you’ve got to recognize that the Father and I are one.” Having clearly established the relationship between himself and the Father, then Jesus gave to those disciples and to the disciples of all ages some marvelous promises. He said to them, “The works that I do you are going to do also.”

      In fact Jesus said, “Greater works than this you shall do. And it will all be possible because I go to the Father. Because I live and because I ascend, there is now going to be let loose in the world a power such as mankind has never seen before. You think you saw something when I was here. I want to tell you greater things than this you shall do. And if you shall ask anything in my name you shall receive it.” Then he said, “I will not leave you comfortless. I am going to pray to the Father and he is going to send another comforter and he will be in you and he will abide with you forever.” 

      And then he said, “Because I live, you’re going to live also.” All his marvelous promises were related to the fact that he would be resurrected and he would ascend to heaven. He was saying to us that because he lives we are now going to be empowered for victorious living. Because he lives, we are now going to have the personal companionship of God with us in every experience of life and because he lives, we will live also. 

      The promise Jesus gave to those disciples is just as valid today as it was then. And every promise he gave to them he gives to us. We can rely upon his promises and we can know that because Jesus lives, there are some things true in our lives today.

      1. There is a power to enable us. First of all, because Jesus lives, there is power for victorious living. Jesus expresses that so very well in verse 12 when he said to his disciples, “The works that I did you shall do also.” Without even catching his breath he said, “In fact, greater works than these you shall do.” He gave to those disciples the marvelous promise that they were going to be able to accomplish more in their lifetime and their ministry than he was ever able to accomplish in his lifetime and in his ministry.” You say, “I don’t believe that.” Well, when Jesus died and went back to heaven, there were at most a few hundred followers.

      Only 120 met in the Upper Room when they were waiting for the Holy Spirit, but because Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven, the Holy Spirit came. The first time Simon Peter preached after the Holy Spirit came, 3,000 people were saved in one day. And in one sermon he did greater works in bringing people into the kingdom of God than Jesus did in three and a half years of preaching. It was all possible as Jesus said, “Because I go to the Father.”

      When Jesus was here in the flesh he was limited to Palestine. But when he was resurrected those limitations were removed and Jesus was set free. The restrictions were taken off and Jesus could move and work throughout the whole world. 

      Do you remember that in the play by George Bernard Shaw, Pilate’s wife said to the Roman centurion, “Are you sure he is dead?” And the centurion said, “He was set loose in the world so that neither Roman nor Greek nor Jew can stop his truth.” The message of the resurrection is that Jesus has been let loose in the world, and he is no longer restricted and hampered by physical limitations. There is unlimited power available.

      Now he never intended that his work should be done in the flesh. He said to those disciples, “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name I will do it.” He was attaching their success and ministry to his power. Prayer is the vital link between what you do and the power of God that is available for the accomplishing of that. As we rely upon the living Savior through prayer, we find that power flowing in us and through us to accomplish the purposes of God.

      When I read this and see Jesus saying that greater things than he ever did, I shall do, I know that because he lives there is a new surge of power in this world to change and transform human lives. I see Jesus talking to and changing the life of Zacchaeus, who was up a tree in more ways than one. I see Jesus meeting Peter, James, Andrew, and John and transforming those men into dynamic witnesses for the kingdom of God. And I know that what he did then, he can do in a greater way now because he went to the Father. I see him meet the woman at the well or the woman taken in the act of adultery and giving to those ladies new hope, new purpose, and new dignity in life. I know that what Jesus did then, he can do in a greater way now because he lives.

      I see Jesus meet with Nicodemus under the shadow of night and telling him that he must have a birth from heaven, he must have his life transformed and made over again. I know that what Jesus did in the life of Nicodemus he can do more so today because he lives.

      If the Bible says anything, it says that the resurrection of Jesus unloosed his power in the world in a new, dynamic way so that nothing can stop it. If he did great things when he was here in the flesh, greater things he can do through us now, because he lives. 

      2. There is a person to help us. Because Jesus lives, not only is there power available to us, there is a person who will help us in life. Jesus said in verses 15-16, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” 

      That word comforter is a strange word to us. The Greek word is the word paraclete. And one of the problems that translators have in translating the Bible from the original language to our language is that it is oftentimes difficult to find the exact equivalent of one specific word. In the English language there is no exact equivalent to that word paraclete. In fact it takes many different English words to sum up all that is involved in that one word. It takes words such as comforter, companion, friend, helper, guide, and teacher, and you wrap all of those words up into one Greek word, paraclete. Jesus said to those disciples, “And I will pray to the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). 

      He said that the world could not receive him. That word actually means “to grab.” Jesus could well have had in mind what was going to happen in the Garden of Gethsemane just a little while after that, because he would be kneeling there in prayer, and the soldiers would come and they would reach out and grab him and take him by force. He was saying, “They can grab me and take me out of your presence and I won’t be with you anymore, but there is one coming after me and the world can’t grab him. He is the Holy Spirit, and he shall be with you and in you forever. I will not leave you comfortless. That word comfortless means “orphans.” He was saying, I will not leave you as orphans in the world.”

      Do you know Jesus was saying? He was saying, “I am going away, but I am not going to leave you by yourself. There will be with you now, forever, and always a helper, a friend, a companion, a teacher, and a guide to help you no matter where you go, and no matter what happens in your life.” Jesus was saying it to them, and he says the same to us today. 

      In the book of Job the writer says that the life of a man who is born to woman is a few days and full of troubles. He is talking to us about both the quantity and quality of life. “A few days” means life is short and death is certain. “Full of troubles” means that even the days we have here on this earth are days of suffering, heartache, difficulty, and strife. But I don’t need to tell you that life is tough. There are times when I would despair and give up if I did not know there was a helper for all of us.

      There are two kinds of trouble, problems, and difficulties: there are those that enslave us, and those that overwhelm us. Those that enslave us are problems like sin, habits, and temptation. They wrap their tentacles around us and they become the master of our life. They drag us down and destroy us, and we desire freedom and liberty from them. 

      But there is another kind of problem—the kind that overwhelms us. It is like losing someone you love. It is like having an incurable illness. It is like being caught in a family situation and you can’t seem to deal with the problem. It almost carries us under at times. 

      We need different help for those different kinds of problems. We need deliverance. We need someone to break the chains of habits and the chains of sin, and set us free so that we can be liberated and become new people. For those problems that overwhelm us that we can’t conquer, we need someone to strengthen us and to fortify us and enable us to stand up to life. The Holy Spirit is that someone. He can set you free. 

      You don’t have to stay the way you are. Don’t ever believe that. Friend, you can conquer that habit. You can be set free from that old nasty disposition, and you can be liberated from that ugly spirit. You can have freedom and deliverance and conquest over the thirst for alcohol or whatever it may be. Christ can deliver you through the Holy Spirit. I am convinced of that.

      If the problem cannot be solved—if it is something like a broken heart, the Holy Spirit can give you strength to stand up to life victoriously. He can keep you from going under when the floodtide is at its highest. It is all possible because the Holy Spirit has come and he lives within us and he abides by our side continually.

      This past summer we were in Israel walking down the streets of old Jerusalem. We stopped at a certain spot and the guide said, “Supposedly Jesus actually stood right here once.” As we paused for a moment to think about that, she told us the story of another guide’s experience that happened years before.

      This old guide had stopped his group there and had said that very same thing, “Supposedly Jesus actually stood right here.” One of the ladies in that group asked him, “Sir, how can we be absolutely sure that Jesus actually stood here?” And he said to her, “Madam, we cannot be absolutely sure that Jesus was here then. But I am absolutely sure that Jesus is here now.” That’s the assurance that is ours because he lives. 

      I want you to know that when they wheel you into that operating room, you don’t go by yourself. He is there. And when you stand on that windswept hill to bury your nearest and your dearest, you won’t be by yourself. Friends may forsake you and life may overwhelm you, but you can be confident that because he lives, someone has come to help you and strengthen you. That’s the whole message of the Gospel.

      3. [1]There is a promise to encourage us. But more than that, because he lives, there is a promise to encourage you. In verse 19, Jesus said, “Because I live, ye shall live also.” In his mind Jesus moved beyond that immediate moment and he saw his death and resurrection, and he saw the implications of that resurrection upon our lives. He said, “Look, I am going to die, but I shall be raised and because I am raised you are going to experience that newness of life also.”

      We don’t like to think much about death. We ought to. It’s appointed unto man once to die. George Bernard Shaw put it this way: “Life’s ultimate statistic is the same for all people. One out of one dies.” And the Bible keeps reminding us that that time may be much nearer than we ever imagined. It says that man’s life and days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle. If you have been in a textile mill and you’ve seen that shuttle fire like lighting through the yarn, you know how quickly life passes.

      A newborn baby has the prospect of living 70 years or so. That’s only 25,000 days. And if you are 35 years old, you only have about 1,300 days left. At my age of 44, I can look forward to maybe 9,500 more days. That’s not long. Two-thirds of it is over for me.

      You wonder sometimes why I am intense and why I am anxious to get things done. I don’t have but 9,500 more days and it is going to pass so quickly. The Bible says that our life is like a shadow—it is like grass that grows up and it vanishes away. We are persuaded when we look at life and when we visit the hospitals that man is not here long, but thank God life doesn’t end at the cemetery.

        [2]We are persuaded that because he lives we are going to live also. I received a letter from the Moffetts, who are missionaries from our church in Tokyo, Japan. They told me, “On Easter morning we are going to have a sunrise service in the largest cemetery in Tokyo.” We are going to do that next year. That’s the place to have a sunrise service—in the cemetery.

      One of these days the cemetery is going to be the liveliest place in Tyler, and it’s all because Jesus lives. One of these days those graves are going to open and those bodies long since placed in there are going to come out fresh and transformed—resurrected by the power of Christ—and we shall live eternally with him. That’s the message that comes from his resurrection.

      When I was just a boy I used to go back to the country in deep East Texas to visit with my grandparents in the summer. We would go to that little Missionary Baptist Church. I’d forgotten what it was like until I went back last summer for a revival meeting.

      I sat there listening to those old people sing the same songs they sang when I was a boy. I was reminded again of how much they were filled with thoughts about troubles and trials, and suffering and heaven. I remembered that those people were poor, that life was hard, and death was everywhere. They didn’t have any hope except in Jesus. And when they came to church they liked to sing about heaven and about their hope. We sang a song that they used to sing when I was a boy, “There’s a land that is fairer than day, and by faith we can see it afar; for the Father waits over the way, to prepare us a dwelling place there. In the sweet by and by we shall meet on that beautiful shore.” Listen, that is not some pipedream. It is reality.

        [3]Because he lives, we shall live also. All that he promised here—the new power, the presence of the Holy Spirit, eternal life—all of it is yours if you take him seriously and make a genuine commitment to him. He said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, he that believeth on me” (verse 12). That’s more than just giving assent to what he had to say. The thing that we need to do is to give him our lives and our hearts today, now, here in this service. There is a difference in knowing the facts and making a commitment.

      Our guide in Israel last summer was a lovely Jewish girl. She knew as much about the Bible, archeology, and the life of Jesus as anybody I’ve ever known in my life. We would sing some as we traveled around on that bus, and one day she led us in some songs. She led us in “How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace,” and “Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know.”

      But with all of that knowledge and even singing about him, she didn’t know the Savior. She had the facts and could sing the songs, but had never made a commitment to him.

      That may have happened to you. One of our ladies said to me the other day that she grew up in a Christian home, and she was at the church all of her life. She thought she was a Christian until one day she was talking with her father and her father said, “Shirley, you have to decide.” She then realized that she had never decided anything about Jesus, and that day she decided to follow him. 

      How about you? Have you made that decision? Have you clearly established which side you are on? If there is any doubt in your mind or somebody else’s mind as to which side you are on, there is something wrong. With a clear-cut decision, you need to say, “I take Christ as my Lord and Savior and God, and I will follow him and obey him and serve him as long as I live.” Because he lives, I can face the past, and the present and the future. I can face yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and so can you if you’ll come to him.





Broad categories to help your search
Even more refined tags to find what you need
Paul W. Powell - www.PaulPowellLibrary.com

Today's Devotional

Senseless Tragedies

Once we buried a young lady who was only 21 years old. She was killed in a head-on collision while on her way to church. The night before the funeral, my daughter asked why God allows things like this to happen.

I wish I knew. Things like this have puzzled saints, wise men, and philosophers since the world began.

There is simply no one easy answer as to why tragedies like this happen. The answer may lie in the fact that God made us free. He created us with the ability to make our own choices, and choices always involve consequences. If we are careless or foolish in our choices, or if others are, we may suffer because of them. If God did not allow us freedom, we’d be less than people. We’d be robots.

This may be the only explanation we will ever have for some suffering. However, we do not have to know why things happen in order to be victorious over them. On the cross Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) But the heavens were as brass. God was silent. He didn’t even answer his own Son. Jesus might have despaired and become bitter against God. But instead he said, “Father, into thy hands I commend [entrust, hand over] my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

This kind of faith is far more important than any answer we might receive. In our lives, as in the life of Jesus, it is faith that makes the difference between victory and defeat.

So keep believing in God no matter what. Commit your life to him and regardless of what happens, God will help you.

Missed yesterday's devotional?

Get it

Want to search all devotionals?


Want to receive the weekday devotional in your inbox?