Faithlife Sermons

Building Resilience from the Rough, John 11:25–44

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Steve Ballesteros - I'd like to see the fairways more narrow. Then everyone would have to play from the rough, not just me.
How do we maintain or reestablish our resilience in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds or crushing loss?
Resilience is something we learn and develop. It is the vehicle that gets as to the other side of tough times. It may disappear for a little while when we are overwhelmed. This lesson is about how we get it back.

A. We tell our story,

John 11:25–36 ESV
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” 28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
1. “Jesus wept”, :35
2. Some apologize for tears
a. Some see tears as a lack of faith
b. Tears are God’s tension-relievers during grief
c. Wise Solomon wrote of a “time to weep” ()
Ecclesiastes 3:4 ESV
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
3. The strongest man who ever lived wept at a grave
4. We are not made of wood, or stone, or steel
5. Christians grieve hopefully … but still grieve ()
1 Thessalonians 4:13 ESV
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

B. We make our bed each morning,

John 11:37–42 ESV
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” 38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.”
But as Life Continues we keep repeating our story.
1. Telling our grief story helps us to realize the reality. It moves us past asking: Did this really happen?
2. Life goes on when loved ones die
a. Lazarus in the tomb while friends talk and grieve
b. Those who mourn must go on with life
c. God intends it so
3. But there is another dimension to this truth
a. Life continues for the departed believer ()
Philippians 1:21–23 ESV
21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22 If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. 23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.
b. Present with the Lord ()
2 Corinthians 5:8 ESV
8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
4. Life here is short at its longest ()
Psalm 90:10–12 ESV
10 The years of our life are seventy, or even by reason of strength eighty; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away. 11 Who considers the power of your anger, and your wrath according to the fear of you? 12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
a. Jesus gives everlasting life (; ; )
John 3:15 ESV
15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
John 5:24 ESV
24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
1 John 5:13 ESV
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.
b. Believers who die are in heaven ()
John 14:1–3 ESV
1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
5. Our loved one would want us also to go on with live
6. While here, Christ is with us
7. When there, we will be with Him ()
Romans 8:37–39 ESV
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

C. We live hope but wear grief like a badge of honor,

John 11:43–44 ESV
43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Resurrection Is Sure (v. 43, yet our grief is born from undying love.
1. Jesus called Lazarus from the grave
a. He will call us from our graves at His coming
b. His resurrection makes ours sure ()
1 Corinthians 15:20–23 ESV
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
c. Reunion time ahead ()
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 ESV
13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
2. The individuality of the resurrection
a. “Every man in his own order” ()
1 Corinthians 15:23 ESV
23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.
b. We will be like Jesus ()
1 John 3:2 ESV
2 Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
Closing thoughts
A. God Understands the Loss of Loved Ones
1. He gave His Son
2. He knows the pain
B. God’s Grace Is Sufficient Even for This ()
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
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