Bless us with Jesus’ living voice.
John 11:25-26 – Memory Verse on the bulletin cover.
Previously, Jesus raised Lazarus after 4 days and smelling badly. Jesus called to him in a loud voice “COME OUT!” And he came out still bound by his grave clothes. “Take off those dead clothes, let him go – I give him new life, new chance, new opportunity.”
Today is the continuation.
What a BIG difference!
Chp 11 – Death, bad smell, funeral.
Chp 12 – Life, table, fellowship, reclining, excellent smell.
We have something to learn from every person. Mary, Martha, Judas. But, let us focus on the story of Lazarus. He is one of the key people in the book of John.
Raising Lazarus from death to life is the GREATEST of all of Jesus’ miracles on earth. Why is it so important? Today, Lazarus is not here, but with God in heaven.
At that time, Jesus raised Lazarus to proclaim a timeless truth for them and for coming generations. John 11:25-26.
Lazarus’ Story is the visible picture of the invisible story of children of God today. If we are saved, yours is Lazarus’ Story.
Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Jesus is UNchanging in changing something bad in your life.
9 common themes between Lazarus and you (things Jesus does in your life).
#1 – Lazarus was DEAD when he was away from Jesus, with a bad smell, making others sad. Nobody ever lived in the absence of Jesus Christ. At the same time nobody ever died in the presence of Jesus Christ.
When we were far from Christ, we were completely dead. Even Christians say, “At that time, I almost died! I should have died! But because of Jesus, I do not need to die!” NO NO NO. We WERE completely DEAD at that time! Not ALMOST dead! (Ephesians 2:1)
No dead person died more than another dead person. No difference in death. But one dead person can smell worse than other dead people. We WERE ALL dead! We were all stinky! We were all shameful.
#2 – Even though Lazarus was dead, making a bad smell, Jesus loved him so much – personally, individually.
Like this, even when we were totally dead, smelling badly, harming others, God loved each of us individually, personally (John 3:16).
(Eph 3:18-19) How wide, how long, how deep is the love of Christ. The width, height, depth, length of his love is far beyond our understanding – even if we study our whole lives.
Jesus knew us each by name, before birth, before Creation.
#3 – Lazarus was raised from death. He did NOTHING to rise from death. Only, he smelled badly, made others sad. He was totally hopeless, helpless, useless. He did not/could not go to Jesus and ask him to save him. But Jesus CAME to Bethany to save him.
Likewise, Jesus CAME to Earth to save us.
Jesus approached the entrance of the tomb and called “Lazarus!”
Likewise, Jesus approached our hearts and calls “Aaron!” (Rev 3:23).
Romans? It is by grace you have been saved…
How long have you been Christian?
If you say, “Oh yeah! I did it!” to be saved, it SHOWS you are still NOT saved by his grace.
At that time, we were totally, totally powerless, and helpless. We are saved by Jesus power ALONE! All things necessary to raise Lazarus, Jesus did.
#4 – After being raised, Lazarus had immediate, intimate fellowship with Jesus. (v. 2) even reclining with Jesus, fellowshipping at the table.
Likewise, we have immediate, intimate, personal fellowship with Jesus after he saves us.
Jesus does not say, “Oh, no problem, it’s my job” and walks away. No, they became more intimate, more close. We have an unbreakable spiritual union for eternity with Jesus. (Eph. 2:6)
If you are saved, do you know where you are NOW? You are IN heaven NOW, with Jesus! Our real identity is in heaven with Jesus NOW! Even if you don’t understand, believe!
Predestined – called – justified – glorified!
We can therefore believe that God is always working for the good of those that love him! (Romans 8:28).
When did God love you? Predestine you? Call you? Foreknew you? Justified you? Glorified you? Sometime before Creation, he predestined us. In our lifetimes, he has called us. In the future, he HAS glorified us. This is human understanding of the sequence of events.
But, in God’s time, ALL happened in the same time.
In our understanding, we WILL be glorified in the future with Christ. In God’s time, we already ARE.
#5 – After new life, it’s still life. It is impossible, unthinkable for Lazarus to return to the same tomb with the same bad smell. Totally impossible!
Our salvation does not guarantee always safe, easy ways, sinless ways. BUT, no matter what we face, narrow ways, difficulties, suffering, it is IMPOSSIBLE to be saved and then lost again and go back to being dead.
Jesus says, “I give you eternal life – you will NEVER perish – NEVER be condemned – you have already crossed over from death to life.” From this place, we can never again cross from eternal life back to death.
#6 – Among Jesus’ miracles, this miracle is the culmination of all miracles! To Lazarus personally, this experience was the greatest turning point in his whole life. This was the miracle of miracles to Lazarus. Before and after, Lazarus never experienced anything greater than this.
The world is divided – not by war, not religion, not politics, but by JESUS. (BC – AD).
The Bible is divided – not by Abram, not Moses, not David, but by JESUS. (OT – NT)
Our lives are divided – not by suffering, not by hardship, but by JESUS.
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation! The old has gone, the new has come!”
If somebody never meets Jesus in his whole life, no matter how much he works, there is no life.
If somebody meets Jesus ONLY ONCE, no matter how short his life, there is life.
#7 – Lazarus got new life by changing nothing – no payment.
Lazarus had nothing to lose, nothing to complain about.
Likewise, if we are saved really, we have NOTHING to lose, nothing to complain about!
Why do people worry, fear, be troubled and dismayed?
We do it to NOT lose something. Bible COMMANDS us to not fear (Joshua 1) and not worry (Luke 6?)
We actually have NOTHING to lose on this earth! Even if we lose everything on this earth, it means we get the best thing~
#8 – Be blessed in this. There is yet persecution. (v. 10)
Chief priests decided to try to kill Lazarus, even before Jesus.
Killing the body is the highest persecution on earth – there is none greater.
When Lazarus was dead, nobody tried to kill him, nobody persecuted him. The fact that somebody tried to kill him means, he was alive.
If somebody hates you, persecutes you, makes you suffer, it means you are alive! Hallelujah~
If there is trouble from Satan, it means, you are alive! Spiritually alive!
2 Timothy 2:3 – In fact, everyone who wants to be like Jesus, will have trouble.
Matthew 23:16? – In this world, you will have troubles of many kinds, but take heart, I have overcome this world!
“If this world hates you, this world hated me first. You do not belong to this world because I have chosen you out of this world.”
Persecution because of Jesus Christ is a wonderful blessing! In heaven.
#9 – Lazarus became automatically, willingly, a living witness of Jesus’ life-giving power. (v.9,11).
Many people, everyone! Knew what had happened to Lazarus, so everyone came to see!
Challenge: If you are saved, from that time up to now, how many are saved because of your life? Because of your life change? How many came to church, came to God, came to heaven, because of you?
For Lazarus, it was IMPOSSIBLE to go on living without testifying, talking about it.
Imagine: In April, 100 years ago, if you were in the Titanic, on that terrible night. You ALMOST died, but were SO lucky to survive. Would it be possible to live afterward without witnessing about it? Testifying about it? No way!
But all those who came before, Titanic survivors, Lazarus, are gone now. Ours is much greater because it is NOW!
September 11, if you were sleeping on the 100th story of the World Trade Tower in New York. The whole tower collapsed! You were SO lucky, blessed, to be alive – completely uninjured. After that, would it be possible to live the next life without talking about it? NO WAY!
Our salvation experience is so much MORE powerful than these! It is the miracle of miracles we can experience in this life!
Acts 1? – When the Spirit comes on you, you will receive power. You will be witnesses.