ON THE UPPER PLANE By Rev. James A. Francis, D. D.
(Preliminary'Note.—Our sermon this month is one preached by Rev. James A. Francis, D. D., Pastor of the First Baptist Church, Los Angeles. It was preached Friday noon, February 26, 1915, at the First Methodist Episcopal Church, as one of a series of Friday-noon sermons in an evangelistic cam paign under the auspices of the Church Federation of Protestant ministers and churches of Los Angeles.)
Now almost everybody who reads that thinks the Lord is talking about trouble in general. He “is not talking about anything of the kind, He is talk ing about the trouble into which these men are just now plunged by the announcement that He is going to leave them. If you read the rest of the verse that will make that very plain, “Let not your heart be troubled: you be lieve in God without seeing Him, be lieve the same way in Me.” It is as if He said, “You have believed in God all your life, yet you have never seen Him. Well, now I am going away, and if I go away, you are go ing to believe in Me just the way you believe in God now, that is, you are going to follow Me by faith.” Then He went on to say: “In my Father’s house are many abiding places. If it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare one of them for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” “Now, you all know where I am going, and you all know the way.” Thomas couldn’t stand it another minute, and he broke out and said, “Master, we don’t know where you are going, and how can we know the way?” And then Jesus told them, He said, “I am going to the Father, and, Thomas, if you want to know the way, I am the Way, and there is no -other way. No one will come to
EXT : “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that be- S v - J ? lispveth 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.—John 14:12. Here is a promise so great that it makes the soul of the believer stag ger when he tries to take it in. The least that it can possibly mean is this: Jesus is saying-to us, “If you will believe in Me, I will enable you to live my kind of life, and not only that, but I will manifest greater grace and more wonderful results through you than were manifested in my own personal life.” The text reaches up so high that we will have to build a stairway to get up to it, and the verses that precede it are just the stairway we need. I am going to ask you to imagine an upper room; eleven men are re clining on couches around a table; the Master is talking with them, and presently He says something that fairly stuns these men: He says, "i am going to leave you, and where I am going, you cannot come at pres ent.” It was the last thing they ever expected Him to say and was the last thing they ever wanted Him to say. I would like to have a picture ot the faces of those eleven men about a minute after Jesus said that. And as He looks into their sorrowful, sur prised, dazed countenances, He says, “Let riot your heart be troubled.”
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