The trouble I find with psychology is that it is simply an attempt to give you quiet nerves instead of giving you a quiet heart. I want to be fair to psychology. It can give us, up to a point, quiet nerves, but that is not what we need—we need a quiet heart. Thank God for something that, as far as it goes, can give us quiet nerves, but do you want to be at rest on the surface or do you want to be at rest in the very depths and vitals of your being? It is at that point that the gospel claims that it, and it alone, can meet and satisfy our deepest need, and here in John 14 we are told exactly how it does that.

I am simply introducing this subject now; we shall go on to consider it in detail, but let me just give you an outline of it. Here is something authoritative, something from someone who has given us the truth from the dawn of history. Here is something that worked in these particular disciples to whom he was speaking. Here were men who, having listened to this gospel and having proved it in their lives, were able to face the whole might and tyranny of the Roman Empire, with all its cruel persecutions, who were more than conquerors, triumphing and rejoicing. Read the great story of the apostles and the martyrs and the first confessors. It has worked, and it continues to work.

We must make other certain general statements also. What seems to me to be so entirely different about the gospel, at the very beginning, is that it always faces facts, it is always realistic, it never conceals anything. Read these chapters of John’s Gospel, and you will find that our Lord brought these men face-to-face with the very worst, whereas all the other teachings and philosophies try to hide the worst from us. My heart will not be really quiet until I have been told the very worst and faced it, and then I can surmount it. I do not believe in a teaching that simply plays tricks with me. I have no use for a philosophy that tells me there is no such thing as matter, and because of that there can be no pain, and therefore I do not have pain—when I know there is pain. I know that may work psychologically; it may convince me for a time—I believe the lie and am relieved. But I do not merely want to be relieved of my pain. I want the disease to be faced and tackled.

The gospel commends itself to me because of its truth, because it does not just say, “Well now, let’s forget our troubles and think of something beautiful.” It says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). It says that in a world like this, dominated by Satan, there will be “wars and rumours of wars” (Matthew 24:6). It is psychology and not the gospel that just tries to make us forget our troubles for the time being. The gospel of Jesus Christ always, therefore, of necessity annoys certain people, people who think that a place of worship is just a place where you listen to beautiful things, and therefore while you are sitting there, you forget your problems and the problems of the world—these people are certain to be annoyed.

The gospel confronts us with facts. It is all based upon a person; it is based upon certain things that happened historically. It comes and tells me, “Let not your heart be troubled.” But it comes in the light of Gethsemane and Jesus’ trial and cruel death upon the cross, the broken body, the burial, the utter hopelessness and despair. Then, and only then, it goes on to tell me of the Resurrection and the glory of the Ascension and the sending of the Holy Spirit, and that puts me in an entirely different position. It has taken me through the facts, through the tunnel of darkness to the dawn that lights the other end.

Moreover, it commends itself to me because it gives me an explanation and satisfies my mind. The gospel has given this philosophy of history. It not only gives me the facts, it explains them; it puts them into a coherent whole. There is a great view of life in the Bible—we shall deal with that later. I am not finally helped by being told, for example, “It is all right, do not think about it, you will die and come back in some other form. You will go through a series of incarnations, and you will finally get lost in the vast universe.” I do not believe that the whole trouble is my physical flesh. I know that the trouble is in my spirit. So I must have something that satisfies my mind. I want to face life; I want an explanation of why it is in the position that it is, and I have the explanation here and only here.