Summary: Mary shows us the kind of relationship the Lord wants to have with us. 1. Jesus wants us to be confident in Him. 2. Jesus wants us to be committed to Him. 3. Jesus wants to care for us. 4. Jesus wants to commend us.
Getting Closer to Christ
(Sermon with Lord's Supper)
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Dec. 29, 2013
*Kevin Higgins asks: "Do you ever feel distant from God? Wish you were closer to Him?" Church, you are in good company. In Psalm 13:1, King David cried out these questions to God: "How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me?"
*And Kevin explained: "We all go through wilderness times in our lives, times when we feel deserted by God, times when our prayers don't seem to be heard. We feel distant from God, cool in our devotion to Him, wondering if we will ever get that closeness back." (1)
*You may be going through one of those dry spells right now. But even if you're not, let me give you some great news for 2014: This year you can get closer to Jesus Christ than you have ever been! And these verses from God's Word can help us get there. Lazarus' sister Mary shows us the kind of relationship the Lord wants to have with you and me.
1. First: Jesus wants us to be confident in Him.
*We are reminded of this truth in vs. 1&2:
1. Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.
2. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.
*Mary surely was confident in the Lord. In vs. 2, Mary's brother Lazarus was there at the table with the Lord. But just a few days or weeks before, Lazarus' body was lying in a grave. And Mary had been there when Jesus raised her brother from the dead.
*Please listen to part of the story in John 11, starting at vs. 38:
38. Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, 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 him who was dead, said to Him, "Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.''
40. Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?''
41. Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.
42. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.''
43. Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth!''
44. And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Loose him, and let him go.''
*Mary was there too. She saw and heard all of these things. And now Lazarus was sitting with them there at the table! There is no doubt that Mary had absolute confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. And so should we!
*We should have confidence in Jesus, because He loves us beyond measure! Because He died on the cross for our sins! Because He rose again from the dead! And because He will never fail us! We have God's Word on all of these things. So Jesus wants us to be confident in Him.
2. He also wants us to be committed to Him.
*The Lord wants us to be committed like Mary was in vs. 3: "Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil."
*Think about Mary's commitment to the Lord.
 First, she was committed with her presence.
*The situation had gotten very dangerous for Jesus and His followers. After Lazarus was raised from the dead, John 11:53-54 says this about Jesus:
53. Then from that day on they plotted to put Him to death.
54. Therefore Jesus no longer walked openly among the Jews, but went from there into the country near the wilderness, to a city called Ephraim, and there remained with His disciples.
*The situation was dangerous for Jesus and His followers, but Mary stood by Jesus. She was there when she could have walked away. And many already had walked away, because it was dangerous to be with Jesus.
*They also walked away, because they would not receive the Lord's teachings. In John 6, Jesus talked about being the Bread of Life. And the Lord said this: