Faithlife Sermons

Trust and Obey Pt. 3 - Martha's Miracle

Principles of the Christian Life  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

We have been looking at the thought of “Trust and Obey” for the past couple weeks. There were three great examples from the Bible I wanted to share with you on this thought.
The first was the healing of Naaman, as we saw how we must trust and obey God when it comes to salvation. It’s not what we think, but it’s God’s design, and we must trust and obey it if we are going to come to God. We will not come to Him any other way. It’s His way or the highway.
The second was the disciples’ dilemma on the day Christ fed the multitudes. There is much to be learned from that account. The Lord wanted to feed the multitudes that day, but the disciples had no food, nor did they have any money to buy food. Interestingly, Jesus never told them to figure out the impossible, He just taught them to do what He said, and He would take care of the rest.
Tonight, we will be looking at the third example of trusting and obeying, and that will be from the perspective of Martha, as we look at the subject of “Martha’s Miracle.”
Three of Jesus’ dearest friends were three adult siblings who lived in Bethany—Mary, Martha and Lazarus.
John 11 records that Lazarus became sick, and Martha sent for Jesus. But rather than going immediately, Jesus waited four days. When He finally did go, He arrived after Lazarus had already died.
The timing is not an accident. After four days there’s no doubt Lazarus is dead. It’s too long for it to be a mistake. It also allows a crowd of mourners to gather and witness the power of Jesus.
However, before Jesus reaches their house, Martha comes out and meets him and expresses her disappointment (vv. 20–22).
She had a plan. She called Jesus, and he could have fixed Lazarus, but he didn’t come in time.
Her intense disappointment reveals her deep confidence in Jesus. She knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that Jesus could have healed Lazarus. Now here he is four days late!
Martha’s thinking was that Jesus should have gotten there sooner to heal Lazarus, but Jesus’ thinking was that He would do an even greater miracle.
Just as we have already studied,
Isaiah 55:8–9 KJV 1900
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.
This also would mean that God’s timing is not our timing.
Sometimes, we only see the wisdom of God’s timing much later on, and sometimes, we won’t see it until Heaven.
We just need to trust Him that He is doing all things well, and we will be ok.
Look in your Bibles:
John 11:21–27 KJV 1900
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? 27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

The Protest and Praise of Martha

When Martha meets the Lord, she offers praise and protest, faith and doubt.
Her praise is limited when you examine her statement. She told the Lord if He had been with them, her brother would not have died (vs. 21). The truth of the matter, however, is any miracle of Jesus Christ is not dependent upon His presence. He healed the nobleman’s son from a distance in John 4:50.
Mary in a way demotes the Lord with her statement concerning His presence. Beloved, if you ask God for help, He will do what is best according to His will. He will help you whether you understand what He is doing or not.
Martha also demotes the Lord with the word “asketh.” Whatever you ask of God, God will give it. Hey, she is talking to God!

The Promise of the Lord

The Lord responds to Martha, “Thy brother shall rise again.” Jesus announces the miracle in advance, but Martha missed the meaning of the promise.
We probably would have done the same thing. Martha believed He was referring to the resurrection of the last days.
Jesus clarifies the issue stating, “I am the resurrection and life.” The term “I am” is a reference to God.”

The Proclamation of Belief

Martha responds to the Lord’s promise by saying
John 11:27 (KJV 1900)
27 ...Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
Even so, Martha came close to missing the miracle.
Although Jesus specifically told her that He planned to raise Lazarus from the dead, she just couldn’t quite believe He meant it.

The Powerful Miracle

Let’s fast forward to the grave and notice the continued conversation between Jesus and Martha:
John 11:38–44 KJV 1900
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. 39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Jesus told the people gathered at Lazarus’ grave to do something you never hear someone say in a cemetery: “Take ye away the stone”—open up the grave.
This instruction was the opposite of what Martha had in mind, and she freely told Jesus so. It had been four days that Lazarus was buried, and the decomposing process of his body would have already begun.
“…by this time he stinketh...”
Thankfully, however, although Martha objected to Jesus’ instructions, she didn’t resist them.
As the sister of the deceased, I’m sure she could have stopped those who removed the stone. But instead she submitted to the command of Christ. And what a miracle Martha saw!
Jesus raised her brother from the dead.
What if Martha had not been willing to have the stone removed?
What if she had refused the instruction of the Lord and acted on her own thoughts?
She would have not seen the resurrection power of the Lord.
John 11:40 (KJV 1900)
40 ...if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
God is able to do anything. His power far exceeds our ability and even our imagination.
Ephesians 3:20–21 KJV 1900
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Luke 1:37 KJV 1900
37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
Jeremiah 32:7 KJV 1900
7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee, saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it.
The only thing that limits the Lord is when we refuse to believe. This is the very thing that happened in Jesus’ own hometown.
Matthew 13:53–58 KJV 1900
53 And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. 54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.
Imagine how different the people’s lives in Nazareth would have been had they believed in Jesus. They would have experienced His miracles and, best of all, they would have believed in Him as their Messiah.
When you are going through a loss, a time of grief, or a challenging situation, don’t miss what the Lord desires to do in your heart or in your life by unbelief.
He may or may not choose to work a miracle in your situation, but He certainly desires to work in your life in the exact ways that He knows you need.
You can trust Him.

Conclusion

Naaman’s need
The disciples’ dilemma
Martha’s Miracle
We see a repeated pattern in these three examples from God’s Word:
1. A person has a need.
2. God gives instruction.
3. The person struggles with those instructions.
4. The person chooses to trust and obey.
5. God works in ways he could not have imagined.
What about you?
Do you see yourself in that?
• Are you, like Naaman, in need of cleansing—but from sin? Jesus has already provided the payment for your sin. All that is needed is for you to trust His payment and obey—not by doing works, but by calling out to Him for salvation.
• Are you, like the disciples or Martha, up against an impossible situation? God does not tell you to do the impossible.
He tells you to trust Him and obey in the specifics. He will do the impossible. He will display His power on your behalf.
Always remember:
Isaiah 55:8–9 KJV 1900
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are my ways higher than your ways, And my thoughts than your thoughts.
You can trust Him!
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