Summary: This message focuses on how we as Christians should be having an impact on the lives of others - that our presence should be felt in this world.
If You Had Been Here!
Scripture: John 11:1-47
My subject this morning as we celebrate our eleventh anniversary as a Church is “If You Had Been Here!”
I have shared with you before that one of my favorite movies is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” It is the story about a man name George Bailey who having had experienced some disappointing times in his life came to the point of considering suicide after he was told that he was worth more dead than alive. At the moment before George would jump in the water to kill himself, an angel (Clarence) was sent to help him. The angel jumped in the water knowing that George would jump in to save him which he did. As they were drying off, George told the angel that it would have been better if he had never been born. The angel took his idea and made it so in order to show him the impact of his life. Through this, George was able to see how his life had affected many of the lives of those around him. In one example he saw that his little brother had died in an accident because he (George) had not been there to save him. In another example his employer when he was a teenager had spent time in prison and lost his business because George had not been there to catch and prevent the mistake he had made dispensing medication to a child. These are just two examples of things that he had done as a child that saved the lives of two individuals. In the end, while he had thought that his life had no meaning and not worth living, he had in fact had a wonderful life because the all of the people that he had affected throughout his life. I chose to share the two examples of things that George had done as a child so that all of our youth today understand that they can have an impact today on the lives of someone else.
As we celebrate our eleventh anniversary, we are celebrating our youth – a special group of “members” that worship in this place. At the beginning of this year we decided that we would focus on our youth and I am pleased with everything that we have been able to accomplish to date. We have some great young people and we must continue to ensure that they are able, willing and most important ready to step up and lead now and in the days to come. To do that, we must all understand that our live not only carry value for us, but also for those that we come into contact with. For consideration this morning I want you to think about his question: What if you had not been here? At the end of the movie the angel Clarence had given George a book. When George opened the book, Clarence had written that no man is a failure who has friends. Keep that in mind as I share with you what God has given for this morning. Turn with me to the eleventh chapter of the book of John.
I. Martha’s Acknowledgement
John the eleventh chapter tells the story of Jesus’ friend Lazarus who had been sick and ultimately died. Jesus had become friend with Lazarus and his two sisters Mary and Martha. It was Mary who had anointed Jesus with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair (John 12:3). When Lazarus became sick, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus. Let’s begin reading at verse three.
"So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick." But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was." (John 11:3-6)
When Lazarus sisters sent word to Jesus they reminded Jesus of His love for Lazarus. Because they knew that Jesus loved Lazarus, they knew that He would come and heal him. When the messengers reached Jesus He said that the sickness that Lazarus had would not end in death. Now understand, at no point did Jesus say that Lazarus would not die, He said that it would not “end” in death. After Jesus heard the news He remained where He was for an additional two days. After the two days Jesus told His disciples that it was time to return to Judea. When the disciples tried to dissuade Him because the Jews sought His life, Jesus taught them a short lesson. In verses nine and ten He explained that when someone walks in the light of day they do not stumble as they do when they walk at night in the darkness. He was stressing the point that those who walk with Him (in the light) will not stumble as those who walk without Him in darkness. Jesus knew the Jews were seeking His death but He had a job to do. He had a difference to make. In verses eleven through fourteen Jesus explained to His disciples that Lazarus was dead and He was going to raise Him up. Here is what it says: "This He said, and after that He said to them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep." The disciples then said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him." (John 11:11-15)