Summary: Much more than raising Lazarus from the dead, He taught the living a lesson in the values of the Christian life and how God expects us to live.
Lazarus’ Living Lessons
Prairie Baptist Church – 1/17/10
Text: John 11:1-44
Key verse: John 11:25 - Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
Premise: Much more than raising Lazarus from the dead, He taught the living a lesson in the values of the Christian life and how God expects us to live.
Zig Ziglar tells the story of boy that went with his mother to the old general store. He liked to sneak away from his mother and when no one was looking he would dip his finger into the large barrel of molasses.
The storekeeper caught him doing this and decided to teach the boy a lesson. He picked up the boy by his britches and dunked him head first into the barrel of molasses and then set him out on the front porch of the store. But instead of crying the boy was out there praying, “God, give me the tongue to equal this opportunity.”
The most prominent verse in this portion of Scripture 11:25 - “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
But there are other lessons that Jesus was teaching here through His friend Lazarus:
• He was teaching the disciples about deity and God’s glory
• He was teaching Mary and Martha about His compassion and capacity over death
• He was teaching the Jews about His authority and control over the forces of life and death
What can He teach us this morning?
There are three expectations of the Christian life that are revealed here in our text that bring us closer to understanding God and His work in us.
1. Patience Disciplines Us To Wait On God’s Timing – 11:1-16
A. Have you ever watched a spider? The spider will spend many hours, days, in great effort spinning a web. As the spider spins the web, the key factor will become patience. Many hours after the web is completed, the spider waits and waits. The spider must be very still and quiet. The spider has a plan, but the plan can never develop without patience.
As the spider waits, one day the spider will feel the web moving, the food has come suddenly.
But there was nothing sudden about it. It was patience released.
B. God’s timing is never rushed but purposeful – 4
i. Lazarus death was not a permanent death, and would accomplish God’s greater glory
ii. He is patient in His reaching out to man with the gospel - 2nd Pet. 3:9 - The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
iii. His plans are set and will take place in His way and time - Isaiah 55:11 - So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
C. God’s timing always teaches us about Himself – 9-10
i. He is the light giver
ii. He is the life giver
iii. He has taught many through Scripture about Himself:
a. He taught Abraham that He was the provider (the ram, the promised son)
b. He taught Paul that He was the grace giver
c. He taught Moses that He was the lawgiver and guide
d. He taught Job that He was absolutely sovereign
e. He was teaching the disciples that He had power over life and death
D. Patience in God’s timing produces greater faith – 15 – that you may believe
i. The disciples still had not reached a point of perfect vision in their faith
a. They thought Jesus spoke about Lazarus resting, instead of death (13)
b. They thought they would meet their death with Jesus in Bethany (16)
ii. James 1:3-4 - 3knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
iii. Patience is highly valued as a Christian character because:
a. It is a sign of maturity (Jms. 1:4)
b. It indicates a Spirit-filled life (Gal. 5:22)
c. It is the only way to successfully run the race we call the Christian life (Heb. 12:1)
2. Priorities Direct Us To Focus On God’s Program – 11:17-37
A. A group of friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under an eight-point buck.
"Where's Harry?" he was asked.
"Harry had a stroke of some kind. He's a couple of miles back up the trail."