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Lazarus 3-13-05

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3 Weeks to Easter

·        Rez Sunday

·        Center of Church year

·        Center of TIME

·        Great things planned – human video – specials – invite friends

This is the time of the year where we look at the road to the cross

·        Jesus’ life told a story

·        A story bigger than just what happened

·        It told the story of the Father’s love

We’re going to pick up today in John 11

Important story that led to the cross

Back story:  Lazarus/Mary/Martha Part of Jesus’ followers

·                    Jesus Loved this family

·                    They loved Jesus

·                    Obviously, they had followed his ministry

·                    I’m sure – seen Him do miracles

·                    Heard Him preach

·                    Were captivated by His teaching

·                    As we read their story, OBVIOUS that they had come to believe He was the Promised One – Messiah

·                    Not only had they found the VERY ONE all Israel had been waiting for – but He was their FRIEND

·                    Can you imagine the sense of fulfillment?  Hope?

·                    “I’m on the frong line – cutting edge

·                    I have a front row seat to the greatest party in the universe!

But Jesus was leading all his friends – and all His disciples

·                    On a “Journey to the Cross”

·                    His life message Pointed to the Father – to be restored to relationship with the Father

·                    They saw it in the miracles – it thrilled them – they couldn’t believe their eyes

·                    They saw the Father’s love expressed in miracles before them

·                    They heard it in the words – it was like beyond their imagination!

·                    They could hardly believe this holy God they heard about wanted to know them INTIMATELY – as Father – Abba – It was beyond comprehension!

·                    They were disarmed by His love – and captivated and challenged by the truth He spoke

But Jesus knew the ONLY way this Message of Meeting the Father could be completed

·                    Was to go to the cross

·                    And THAT part of the message is always a test for us.

Honeymoon period of relationship with Jesus

·                    Forgiveness/hope is a wonderful thing

·                    But this NEXT level of relationship would involve facing a test.

And Lazarus, Mary and Martha all were about to face the biggest test to date in their relationship with Jesus

John 11

1.       Test of Timing 1-7

          •       Mary was moving towards a deeper level of worship

          •       Mary/Martha story

          •       Lazarus sick

·        This is the one you love

·        Jesus WE HAVE A PLAN for YOUR life!

·        Hurry up!

·        Jesus isn’t our servant/wind up doll – slave

·        He is LORD

          •       Jesus stayed a couple days -- divine TIMING

·        Timing Key:

·        RIPENING

o       What happens premature?  SOUR

o       What happens too late?  Rotten!

o       Perfect time:  FULLNESS of time – Sweet/best

·                    Why wasn’t Jesus there?

o       Ever wonder that one yourself?

o       Where’s Jesus?  WHY is He doing this?

o       Didn’t you hear wha’ts going on?

o       Doubt his heart for you

o       Does He love me or has He forgotten me?

o       Though you slay me, yet I will trust You – God noticed THAT kind of heart for Him

o       “Lord, this feels uncomfortable, but I’m going to trust you.”

2. Test of Unanswered Prayers

·                    Verse 11

·                    v14  

•       Glad wasn’t there

          •       Inference: if Jesus WAS there – Lazarus would have died anyway

          •       Jesus was ‛glad for THEIR sake’ that He wasn’t there

          •       It would have been a greater test for them.


·                    yes/no/wait

·                    BEHIND the answers God is always doing something BIGGER

·                    In EVERYTHING God is at work for Good

·                    Will you believe for it – trust HIS motives for You?

Often – need to repent of unbelief

·                    God, I’m sorry that I didn’t believe YOU were truly working for my good

·                    I’m sorry I doubted that You love me even in the midst of the pain – the storm



Disciples didn’t know HOW to interprate unanswered prayers

·                    We’re in Good company!

·                    “Let’s Die with Jesus”

o       We totally misinterpret unanswered prayer

o       Core Lie of Enemy:  God is not REALLY Good

o       God doesn’t love me

o       From the Garden

o       So glad Jesus is still working

          •       Picture of how fragile their beginning faith was.  Us!

3.       Martha’s Encounter 17-22

·                    Martha’s Petition

·                    “Jesus, I had a plan for Your life – but you MISSED it!”

·                    But You can FIX it

·                    Declaration of Faith

4.       It’s ME, Martha – I am the Rez and the Life  24-25

          •       They are given eternal life for believing in me

          •       I am the resurrection and the life.

·                    ‘I’m painting a picture here, Martha’

·                    I am LIFE

·                    I want you to KNOW that

·                    I want EVERYONE to know that

·                    It’s me you’re looking for

·                    Believe in ME

Lot of people believe about Jesus

·                    Different to believe IN Him

·                    Don’t know if you believe In unless tested

·                    Testing Proves heart . . . . (Humble thee to prove thee – to know what is in thine heart)

          •       The test of death -- do you still believe in ME?

5.                 Mary’s Encounter

·                    We all need our OWN encounter in our pain

·                    Different encounter – different heart

·                    Couldn’t depend on Martha’s

·                    Had to meet Him herself

·                    Pour out heart

·                    Don’t let someone else pour out for you

·                    Run for your own encounter

V32 “Lord If you had been here my brother would have not died”

·                    Jesus not afraid of the pain in our heart

·                    The tough Q’s

·                    Never Backs Down

6.       Jesus’ Response 33-35

How Does Jesus Respond?

·                    DIDN’T defend!

·                    Not worried about defending Himself

·                    Jesus the most secure person in the world

·                    But He FELT the pain they were facing

How does He respond?

·                    Steps IN to the pain WITH them

·                    Love that about Jesus – steps Into our pain


          •       Jesus’ compassion -- heart for them.

          •       Jesus wept -- experienced/identified with the pain of death.  Empathy -- the Father heart of God.

V 36They saw His heart

·                    Felt Heart of the Father

·                    Everything Jesus did mirrored the Father

·                    What was God saying?

·                    Shortest VERSE Shows the DEEPEST LOVE

·                    God so loved the world . . .

V37 Not all impressed

·                    Honesty of Bible – Real people

·                    Cynics/critics

38a Deeply troubled

·                    Why?  Comment on v 37

·                    They didn’t get it/understand

·                    Bigger picture

·                    One thing – everyone wanted healing

·                    Jesus knew Healing temporary fix

·                    All healed eventually died

·                    Healing just a picture of bigger work that was coming

·                    Cross permanent

·                    His return

·                    All Healed/death no more

Imagine – God of Universe

·                    Never intended death

·                    Every day walked around

·                    The very children who had been robbed/kidnapped

·                    Held hostage for centuries

·                    Daily death/pain

·                    As He looked at death, I wouldn’t be surprised if the sad/harsh reality gripped him in His grief

·                    ‘They don’t know – they don’t know – Passion Movie

·                    Especially Sin/Separation

·                    I am life

·                    I am here to berak the power of death

·                    Something needed to be DONE

·                    Enough of this

·                    I am the Resurrection and the Life

38b   •       Roll away the stone

·                    Family/community

          •       Jesus had to go the place of death

·        But Lord He stinks

·                    “I don’t want to go there, Lord . . .”


Letting Him Walk into the ‘Smelly Places’ of our lives

7.     They had to answer the Question:  Will we let Jesus walk IN to the ‛smelly places’ of our lives?

          •       Will we ‛roll away the stone’

Takes courage/faith

          •       But that dream died

          •       But I blew

          •       Etc.

v 40:  Didn’t I tel you that you will SEE God’s glory if you believe?”

          •       Do you Believe in Me?

o       Remember Martha – I am the Resurrection – I am LIFE

·                    When we BELIEVE -- we will see God’s glory

          •       Think about the fear issues in my heart -- when I quit believing.

 Believe in ME

8.       He Comes to our Grave

          •       BELIEVING -- then I SEE God’s glory.

          •       Goodness of the Lord in the Land of the living.

9.       Come OUT 41-43

·                    Jesus comes to us in smelly places

·                    Father – HEAR us

·                    Fullness of time

·                    When Lazarus was RIPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

a.     Sometimes God waits until we smell!

·                    Calls us to come out

·                    Step out –

·                    Calls into the places of death

·                    Come away from it

·                    Step out of it

·                    Jesus is calling to some of you

·                    Place of wounding

·                    Disappointment

·                    Betrayal

·                    Unanswered prayer

a.     We’re capped in a tomb so long that we SMELL!

·                    Broken dream – I really had faith and took a risk before – but I was disappointed

Come OUT of this

10.         You have to walk out of grave

·                    Not a smooth affair

·                    Can’t look ‘cool’

·                    Imagine Lazarus – bound in grave clothes

·                    Hard to follow the voice

·                    You have to walk out of grave

Jesus calls to us

·                    Come out of that death cycle

·                    Maybe it’s a sin cycle

·                    Unforgiveness

·                    Been living in it – grave clothes binding you long enough

·                    Jesus outside this tomb

·                    Come out

Walking out of your grave

11.                  Unwrap him!

a.     Jesus didn’t unwrap him

b.    Lazarus didn’t

c.      Someone ELSE had to unbind him

          •       We need to be unwrapped by others

          •       WE can be Walking around with our grave clothes on still bound up

Need To live FREE

Need others – unbound

          •       Need to take OFF those grave clothes -- put ON the robes of righteousness -- the LIFE.

That’s why body/team/family

Last night praying with Nancy

·                    Ministered song

·                    Took off grave clothes

·                    Started to walk free

·                    Today – some of you – words in this sermon peeling grave clothes off

Need to walk free

Follow the Voice

Believe in Me

 I am rez – I am life

Jesus saying Believe in Me

Who are you going to be by the grave

Martha who still believed – or crowd who criticized?

Those who see the tender heart and drink it in

·                    They had a deep revelations of Jesus that day

·                    Those who criticized – didn’t choose faith/trust – didn’t

Jesus calling to your grave – come out – be unbound!

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