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I AM the Resurrection & the Life

I AM  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:08
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The Christ person/event changes both present obstacles adn eternal destinations.

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One of the most difficult statistics for us to hear in the news briefings is the daily death toll. Some of you are now thinking, “Wow, Pastor! Way to bring us down at the very beginning of your sermon!”
I know this subject is discouraging, but if you hang with me for a few minutes I believe you will see the mood of your heart swing as far toward the positive, as this subject takes it to the negative.
The numbers on the news are nearly impossible for us to comprehend, and while the hundreds that are reported stretches our minds to the limit. Something deep happens when it comes near to us.
Nearly a month ago I received a phone call from the local Funeral Director. At that time, we were still getting conflicting guidance of limiting groups to 50 or limiting to 10. Even though this passing was not related to the Corona Virus. Mrs. Runde and I were trying to figure out the best way to minister to this family. We were both listening to the press releases. We both belong to professional networks that offered advice, but Gwen astutely said, “I know what the guidelines are telling us, but it seems different when it is a service for your loved one.”
Death is tragic when it happens hundreds of miles away. But what about when it comes to your own house? That is the story we find today in John 11. Her brother had been in the ground 4 days when Jesus arrives. She was intimately involved in his death.
The physical death that was at the forefront of Martha’s mind, does not minimize the other types of death some of us have encountered in recent days and weeks. Some have experienced the death of a business; Some have experienced the death of a dream; Some have experienced the death of hope; and, yes, some have experienced the death of a loved one.
Does God’s Word offer anything for us in our sorrow? Yes!
Many of us have lamented the sadness of death of Good Friday. We have suffered the silence of mourning as we waited on Easter Saturday. Jesus said to Martha in Bethany 2000 years ago and He says to you at this moment in 2020, “I AM the Resurrection and the Life.” Right now Jesus offers Hope and remedy for the various forms of death in your experience.
A common trilogy appears in several places in Scripture of faith, hope and love. It is famously found in 1 Corinthians 13:13 in a passage read at many weddings. All 3 can be found in the setting for today’s text that begins in the first verse of John 11. Verses 3 and 5 mentions that the relationship between Jesus, Martha and Lazarus was marked by love. In verse 4 Jesus instills hope by stating that “this illness does not lead to death”. But the key to this passage is identified in verse 15 that Jesus is actively working to increase their belief or faith.
Yes, I started this message on a dark tone, but my goal is to use this text to increase your faith and provide you with hope in these dark days. If you find yourself in a death situation, our Lord’s words in verses 25-26 of John 11 are the answer.
John 11:17–27 ESV:2016
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 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.”
The Bible is full of examples of God reviving that which was dead. The first situation I want us to consider is found way back in Genesis.
Transition: This first revival is found in the Patriarchs that set up Passover that was celebrated this past Wednesday.

God Gave Life to a Nation

· Immediately after the story of God’s flood and how He brought Noah through it and used Noah’s descendants to repopulate the earth, we are introduced to a man who had experienced the death of a dream.

Abram & Sarai (Gen 12-25)

Their dream was to have a child, a dream that many of us have experienced, and yet some of us continue to grieve the pain of the death of this common dream.
Both Abram and Sarai were old and 2 places in the New Testament (Rom 4:19 & Heb 11:12) say his body was “as good as dead” when it came to fathering a child.
When Sarai was 89 years old, God revived her womb and a year later Isaac was born.
Motivated by hope in God’s promise, they acted upon their love and God rewarded their faith.
Genesis 22 depicts a test of Abraham that stretched his faith in this revived dream. God puts Abe in a position where he had to trust that God was able to resurrect Isaac. or
The story progresses as Isaac matures, then becomes the father of twins. One of these twins is named Jacob, who is later given the name Israel.

Joseph (Gen 37-50)

Israel has 12 sons (hence the name the Children of Israel) but his favorite was Joseph.
In perhaps the worst imaginable case of sibling rivalry that has ever existed, Joseph’s brothers stage his death and bring his bloody jacket to Israel.
A change of opportunity comes along and Joseph is drawn out of a pit a sold into slavery. He surely would have died in that pit so this is the first sort of resurrection. Resurrected from death to slavery.
Later he would be falsely accused of a crime and thrown into Prison. The word for prison (translated as pit) used in Genesis 40:15 and 41:14 is used 4 times in the Psalms as “the pit of death”
Through a God-given ability to interpret dreams Joseph is brought out of “the pit of death” and promoted to prominence. This can be seen as Joseph’s 2nd resurrection.
Years later God brings Israel to reunite with his son and he says in Gen 46:30Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.”

Latter Days (Romans 11:15)

Several years after Jesus returned to the Father Paul wrote to the church at Rome that the Children of Israel who rejected Christ would later accept Him and calls it “life from the dead.”
Transition: Hundreds of years before the conversation between Jesus and Martha, God had already demonstrated an ability to give life where there was death. But in today’s text

Jesus Gives Resurrection a New Meaning (John 11:25)

John 11:25 ESV:2016
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,
· He moved resurrection out of a statement of faith and into a person, and out of the future and into the present[i]

Apart from Christ (Eph 2:4-6)

1. People outside of Christ are not simply sick, wandering or blinded. The testimony of Scripture is that they are dead.
2. John 5:24 states that belief in Jesus involves a crossing over from death to life.
3. Paul (one who previously executed people simply for believing in Jesus, who later believed himself) put it this way:
Ephesians 2:4–6 ESV:2016
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
4. The Gospels record 3 people Jesus raised. He raised a twelve-year-old girl who had just died (Luke 8:40–56), a young man who had been dead probably a day (7:11–17), and Lazarus, an older man who had been dead four days (John 11:38–44). Which was most dead?
5. There are no degrees of death, only of physical decay.
6. Millions of morally upright people give no evidence of decay, but are still spiritually dead. Others, like Lazarus, are quite decayed and everybody knows it. But all of them are dead! [ii]

In Christ (2 Cor 5:17)

1. The move from dead to life was not caused by faith or hope. It was always dependent upon a person—Jesus
2. Martha had absolute confidence in a final resurrection, at some future time.
3. But Jesus did not say “I WILL BE the Resurrection and the Life.” Many people have hope that when they eventually die that Jesus will be gracious to them.
4. The reality that Jesus is proclaiming to Martha is that for those who find themselves in a death existence, He is victory over that death and life in the present.
We practice baptism by immersion because the coming out of the water is a picture of life after death.
5. The Apostle Paul writes eloquently,
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV:2016
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Appeal

1. My friend, if you are watching and have never placed your trust in Christ for you salvation, right now listen to the calling voice of God’s Spirit that is inviting you stop relying upon your own good works or religious activities and place your reliance upon the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as payment for your sin and offer of new life in Christ.
2. Simply admit to him, I know I am a sinner and I’m sorry.
3. I believe that Jesus died on that cross for my sin.
4. I turn away from my sin the best I know how. I turn my life over to you. I trust in you for the forgiveness of my sin.
5. Thank you for saving me from my sin and death
6. Based upon the promise of God’s Word if you just prayed that prayer and meant it, you are now a Child of God!
1 John 5:11–13 ESV:2016
11 And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 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.
Transition: I started this message by talking about the despair of various types of death that we face and I promised you we would swing to the opposite side of Hope! The Resurrection Power and Life of Jesus give us that hope.

Resurrection Gives Living Hope (1 Peter 1:3)

1 Peter 1:3 ESV:2016
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

A Living Hope

1. I enjoy the books of 1 & 2 Peter because they are written to Christians who are experiencing tough times. 1 Peter teaches us what to believe when things are tough and 2 Peter focuses on how to behave when things are tough.
2. I think the pandemic of 2020 puts many of us into a mindset where we can appreciate Peter’s words.
3. The events of John 11 happened just a few days before Jesus would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey that we remember as Palm Sunday. The activities of the next 8 days would change Peter for the rest of his life. The fact that Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life changed Peter from the coward by the fire to a leader in the Church of Acts and the author of 2 lasting epistles.
4. The living hope, a term coined by Peter, flows out of the promise Jesus makes in John 14

The Blessed Hope (Jn 14:3 & Titus 2:13)

1. Jesus had promised His people, “I will come again”
2. This promise Paul calls “the blessed hope”
3. Because Jesus is “the resurrection and the life,” believers have the expectation of seeing Him, being like Him, and living with Him forever. Because Jesus is alive, this promise is a “living hope” that grows stronger and stronger in the hearts of His people[iii]
Transition: Christians possessed by the “living hope” will experience “hopeful living,”

Conclusion:

This hope will give us the faith and strength we need to fight the battles, carry the burdens, and keep going when life is hard. Even more, hope motivates us to encourage others and help to carry their burdens. No matter how difficult life may be, we know that Jesus has conquered the last enemy, death (Heb. 2:9–15), and that death has no dominion over us (1 Cor. 15:50–58).[iv]
[i] Warren W. Wiersbe, Jesus in the Present Tense: The I Am Statements of Christ (Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook, 2011).
[ii] Ibid.
[iii] Ibid.
[iv] Ibid.
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