LESSONS FROM LAZARUS
March 28, 2021 / Pastor Greg Temke / John 11:1-16
“LESSONS FROM LAZARUS.”
I believe it is significant that we will honor and respect the dead.
-I firmly believe that if you cannot respect the dead, you cannot respect the living.
-There is a great amount of disrespect in our nation for the people who die. I am sure that you watched news rhetoric.
ILLUS.: We have a graveyard next door to the church.
Helen Rogers Crigger died at 14 years of age.
She died when she was young, and her father began the cemetery to remember his daughter. There is a statue of an angel erected in the cemetery.
-Clarity: When we die, we don’t become angels.
A lot of people will say this when a family member dies: “My angel is now watching over me.”
-I whole-heartedly believe in angels. I believe that God watches over us, but scripture is clear that those who know the Lord and die are in God’s presence as a redeemed believer and not an angel.
-To be quite honest: Angels are ranked lower in position than the redeemed believers of the Bible.
-Believers will rule and reign in the new heavens and earth, but angels will not. Death is a certainty.
Text: John 11:1-16
-There seems to be an absence of honesty in today’s world.
-Sadly, dishonesty forms many of the conversations between families and friends. Many people grapple to understand their emotions, and therefore conceal their feelings when the opportunity arises to share openly and honestly about how they feel.
-We are good about sharing opinions, but not so good about sharing about what is on the inside. “I’m good.” “I’m fine.” “
-Understanding your emotions and processing them in healthy ways becomes not only a stated goal but a necessity for LIFE AND LIFE MORE ABUNDANTLY.
-2020-2021 has almost sped time up. It has created a fulcrum of emotional disappointments, and a trunnion of changing feelings. A pivot point.
-I am sure that many who are here today or who are watching by live-stream have discovered moments when you became baffled in your Christian Walk.
-Have you ever been frustrated in your Christian experience?
-Have you ever wondered why God didn’t do what you thought God should do?
-There is a stark difference in asking God questions as opposed to questioning God.
-It is one thing to take the position of an inquirer as opposed to the position of an accuser.
-Consequently, when you question God it can create a sense of betrayal and even anger.
- WE NEED A FAITH THAT WILL TALK TO OUR EMOTIONS.
Q-WHAT DO WE DO WHEN OUR EMOTIONS INTERFERE WITH OUR FAITH?
-I am sure if I ask for a show of hands today, there would be some who would identify with the emotion and feeling that “I got angry at God.”
-There are very few people who would admit that they got mad at God for not “being” God in a particular situation. Most people don’t like to confess that they have gotten frustrated and annoyed at God.
ILLUS.: If I were to bring an “Honesty Meter” in here this morning. We would probably find that there are a number of people who have gotten irritated, indignant, and even resentful at God.
After all, “Is God not God?” “Can God not do anything?”
“Ask anything in my name.” “If 2 or 3 agree as touching anything..”
The miracle of Lazarus in John 11 is one of the greatest miracles Jesus did outside of Calvary.
Jesus had a strong human side, that in my humble opinion was “well developed.” When the Bible says that He was tempted in all points known to man, I interpret that to mean,
“Jesus understands what I feel, and He empathetically comes alongside, to help make sense of life.”
-Especially when LIFE doesn’t make sense.
We get a glimpse into the emotional side of Jesus in Vs. 32-25
A beggar died, and most of society didn’t care about him.
Most churches would struggle to involve Lazarus in ministry.
Where could we put him? He didn’t have a home, he stayed with his sisters, Mary and Martha.
-This beggar named Lazarus affected the master, our Savior was torn up over the senseless death of Lazarus.
John 11: 32-35
ILLUS.: As a pastor, I get a lot of different phone calls. I could actually preach a message on that subject. Very infrequently, do I receive phone calls about suffering humanity? Or the needs of the ministry.
Phone Calls that go like this: “Pastor, what are we going to do…there are people going to hell in our community. Pastor, we have children in our neighborhood that need to be in children’s church, how can we reach them? Pastor, I have noticed a lot of new people….How can I help reach out to them?
Pastor, this family is hurting, I want to help them….
RIVER OF LIFE CHURCH IS VERY INVOLVED IN HELPING PEOPLE WHO ARE HURTING, FEEDING PEOPLE, DOING OUR LEVEL BEST TO BE AN OUTSIDE CHURCH NOT JUST AN INSIDE CHURCH.
-Many people respond to the temporal needs of mankind. Jesus talked about feeding the hungry, Jesus talked about clothing the naked, THAT IS IMPORTANT, but Jesus didn’t die on the cross to feed people -Jesus didn’t die on the cross to clothe people …
Jesus died so people could be made born again.
-It really is a matter of priorities.
Q-I mean if Jesus loved Lazarus so much, why did He let him get sick?
-Q-Jesus if you are going to wait for 2 more days, why don’t you just send the word?
-Jesus, you can speak your word where you are, and Lazarus will be fine. Just speak your word.
POINT: When you sense that God isn’t doing what you think God should be doing…….a lot of us start helping God out.:)
-Let me tell you God how you could do this:
-We want to speak for God.:
“God you need to hurry up.”
“God we are trying to have faith.”
“God, hello …anyone home..?”
If that doesn’t work, then we usually try to guilt God into forced prayer answers:
“God don’t you see what I have gone through.”
“God, don’t you understand what is going on?”
“God, don’t you understand how much I am hurting?”
“God, is something wrong, after-all aren’t you God?”
In this instance, and only in this instance Jesus wanted death so there would be a resurrection:
Vs. 6-When Jesus found out, Jesus stayed 2 more days.
Vs.11-Our friend Lazarus sleeps, let us go and wake him.
**Jesus’s human nature did not want Lazarus to die.
**Jesus’ God nature knew that Lazarus would die so that he would rise again.
-If your whole goal in life is to live long, and be healthy, it is a narrow goal. It is one thing to stay healthy, eat right, exercise, get your vaccine shot, do everything you can for preventative maintenance.
-It is quite another thing to have faith to get out of the coffin.
–I truly believe to live is Christ to die is gain. I truly believe that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I truly believe in LIFE ETERNAL in Jesus.
ILLUS.: I don’t plan to stay in the box. I don’t care where you put me – Bonnie and I already have grave plots next door. In fact, there are 4 of us pastors that have grave plots right next to each other.
(Pastor Rose, Booth, Rose and Myself) 35 plots.
Munford Funeral Home calls that Row: “Pentecostal Avenue.”
-I don’t know how that happened, I bought mine first. It’s kind of weird. Actually, it really doesn’t matter.
-WHY? I’LL BE DEAD, I won’t care.
-I know people who have said, “I don’t want to be buried over there by so and so.” -That is carrying a grudge to the grave, let me tell you. I have seriously been tempted to see how I could get someone reburied by someone they didn’t like.
At some point, we have to move from salvation faith to resurrection faith. At some point, we have to move from healing faith to resurrection faith.
- WE NEED A FAITH FOR LIVING AND WE NEED A FAITH FOR DYING.
-The two should be inextricably linked.
I Peter 4:12
-When I read the Bible, there isn’t a timetable, just a promise.
-Wouldn’t it be great if the Bible said, “24 hours after 2 or 3 of you agree it will be answered.”
-If you pay your tithes 3 weeks in a row…on the 4th Thursday, I will give you all the money back with 38% interest.
-If you fast 7 days, you’ll get to see 3 angels and a Cherubim at Midnight.
-When you come to church 4 Sundays in a row, your car will not break down for 52 Sundays.
-Christianity doesn’t average out because of works.
-There has to be a greater faith than simply I’m doing this because I know it will benefit me.
WHAT IF IT DOESN’T? WHAT IF THE PAIN IN THIS LIFE DOESN’T MAKE SENSE?
-Martha had faith for a future resurrection:
Vs. 24-“ Martha said to Him, “I know that he(Lazarus) will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
-I know God will do eventually.
-Vs. 25-26, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. (I AM IS THE COVENANT NAME OF GOD)
–I AM IS EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING YOU HAVE EVER WANTED.
–There are moments when a Sunday School teacher, a life group leader, a pastor is preaching and there is a shift in the presentation. There is a shift in the atmosphere. The sermon notes have changed – now I AM IS SPEAKING.
He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.
DO YOU BELIEVE THIS?
She had faith for 4 days ago, but what about at this moment?
There are instances where we think we have missed my opportunity. Where we have missed my chance. DO WE BELIEVE?
-Do we believe in God’s power to save not only in the Life to Come but in this life now?
I Peter 5:7-THAT IS PRESENT LIFE. Psalm 147:3– (PRESENT LIFE)
We will also declare the promise of healing in the life to come.
As believers, we affirm that there is a life after this life.
ILLUS.:-When I pass away, I am going to be an organ donor.
I thought about giving my body to science, but there’s not a lot there, just an average guy.
-After they give my pieces away after they take away all the fluids out of my body……I don’t want to come back.
-Those who know Jesus believe in life after this life. That is called eternal life.
-I believe in the city that has been made by the hands of God.
ILLUS.: After I give all my organs away, and after they have buried me at sea, or spread my pieces all over the ground, when the trumpet of the Lord sounds, I am going to crawl back together, and there is going to be a resurrection.
-“For the dead in Christ will Rise First.”
-There is a spiritual deposit on the inside of my spirit that has the capability to awaken my body at the Trumpet of The Lord.
II Corinthians 5:1-3
-My Spiritual man is clothed with an earthly habitation.
-One day I will be clothed with a habitation from heaven.
– We need a saving faith, and we need a dying faith.
-We need faith in life and faith to die.
ILLUS.: Did you know you can die from a lot of other things than the Covid-19.
-In the last 12 months, I have been involved in 17 funerals. 1 was covid related.
-I have seen 4, 34, 38, 40, 43 year-olds passes away.
-We are not promised tomorrow. We need faith to live, and we need faith to die.
-In the midst of CANCEL CULTURE, WOKE CULTURE, COVID-19, GOD’S MANDATE TO REDEEM MANKIND HAS NOT CHANGED. IT HAS NOT STOPPED.
A PAUSE BUTTON HAS NOT BEEN PUSHED.
-God says, “Full speed ahead.” DO WE BELIEVE?
- WE NEED A FAITH THAT INTEGRATES INTO A LOCAL CHURCH.
-I love the doctrine of salvation, baptism of the Holy Spirit, divine healing, the second coming. I love the subject of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I LOVE THE MOVING OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD IN PRAISE AND WORSHIP.
-In light of all the things I mentioned, the most important watermark of God’s presence is people coming to Jesus.
-God’s mission is to reach people. God loves people.
-I am thankful for God’s blessings. I am thankful for people.
I believe in the blessing on the tithe. I believe in God’s divine healing. I believe that God is bigger than COVID-19.
-I don’t think you can spin it any other way. Biblically and theologically God is the I AM.
ILLUS.: Our mandate hasn’t changed. Nothing in me has changed since the day I met Jesus. I want to see people come to the cross.
-The only reason we know this story about Lazarus, is because he was connected to a group of Jesus-loving people.
I CANNOT OVERSTATE THE NEED FOR PEOPLE TO BE INVOLVED IN A LOCAL CHURCH.
-If you don’t integrate into a local church, your faith will never be completely fulfilled.
THIS MAY SEEM SELF-SERVING:
-If you don’t connect with the word of God through a pastor, your faith will not develop to its fullest potential. God will use words preached to set you free.
-At some point you have to voluntarily submit yourself to spiritual authority.
–People often think that pastors have an agenda. I have a 2-point agenda:
- I want to get closer to Jesus.
- I want people to get closer to Jesus. (Whatever it takes)
-Offer a donut and coffee. Take them out to eat.
Go to Drummonds park. -The reason we did this was so people at home could view the services with a stronger presentation.
WHY? IT’S ALL ABOUT PEOPLE! (1200 views during revival)
-My wife, the Board, the staff
-You ought to have Dale Berryman as a board member, he’s not afraid to ask anything.
-Neither is Snookims, I mean Snickers, I mean Tim Wheeler.
-When I was preaching on forgiveness:
Dale and Tim apologized for giving me so much sermon material.
Lazarus– Died, came back, and then he had to listen to Mary and Martha Squabble. A man living with 2 sisters is Hen-pecked.
IT’S ALL ABOUT SOULS – DO YOU BELIEVE?
ARE YOU FRUSTRATED OR FELLOWSHIPPING?
ARE YOU CONFIDENT OR CONFUSED
ARE YOU COMMITTED OR CALLOUSED?