Summary: There are some important lessons we can learn from Lazarus’ death and resurrection (resuscitation) – a. The Heart of the Church b. The Ministry of the Church and c. The Future of the Church
Theme: Lessons learned from a Graveyard
There are some important lessons we can learn from Lazarus’ death and resurrection (resuscitation) – a. The Heart of the Church b. The Ministry of the Church and c. The Future of the Church
Grace and peace from God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!
I think that cemeteries are rather interesting places. My home church was located next to our town’s cemetery so going to church and walking around the cemetery was something that quite normal.
If you were waiting for the service to start or for some meeting to be over, one of the things we did as children and as teens was walk around the cemetery. We would read the head stones and look at the flowers that had been left behind. I grew up never thinking that it was creepy to walk around that cemetery whether it was at high noon or on a moonless night.
For many of us, it was just the cemetery that was beside our church. Many of the names that were on the headstones were either former members of our church, our community or our family. I guess that was some of the reasons why it all didn’t seem scary.
You can learn a lot from a cemetery. And that is what I want us to look at this morning – lessons we can learn from a certain cemetery. A cemetery that was located in the ancient city of Bethany. It was a cemetery that had just recently added a new member; a man by the name of Lazarus.
We find the whole story in the 11th chapter of St. John. For expediency sake let me just say that I believe that this is an actual story. I do not believe that is merely a myth, a parable or a compilation of different stories that the Apostle John weaved together to one to promote a certain theological idea or position.
+I believe that Lazarus was a real man.
+I believe that Lazarus got sick.
+ I believe that Lazarus died from that sickness and his lifeless body was placed in a tomb.
+I believe that Jesus came and raised him from the dead.
+I believe that all of this was a sign for the Church and a warm up for what was about to happen.
Okay. Now that all of that is done, I what I want to talk to you this morning is about some of the lessons the Church can learn from John chapter 11. There are some lessons here that deal with:
I. The Heart of the Church
II. The Ministry of the Church
III. The Future of the Church.
I. The Heart of the Church – v. 25-27
“Jesus told her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?’
‘Yes, Lord,’ she told him. ‘I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God.’” ( John 11:25-27 NLT)
At times, Martha gets a lot of flak from that time she messed up. St. Luke writes about in Luke 10:38-42. If you remember, Martha was more worried about making the biscuits and the meal than sitting and learning at the feet of Jesus. At the time, she had her priorities miscued.
But here in these verses (John 11:25-27) Martha’s words are spot on. She reveals what is supposed to be the true heart of the Church. Her words are words of faith. Her words proclaim absolute truth. Her words need to adhered to today by those both inside and outside the Church.
We live in a day when a growing number of people no longer believe in any type of everlasting or absolute truth. Nothing is seen as absolute or concrete. Everything is personal, fluid and relative.
For example, today there are churches that doubt or out and out deny the existence of the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, Jesus Christ being the Only Son of God, Jesus’ Resurrection and miracles in general. There are churches that no longer believe in the validity of the Scriptures. There are churches that no longer believe in Sin, Satan or even the existence of Heaven or Hell.
All of this has caused massive confusion. Many of those outside the Church wonder what we inside the Church really believe.
+If the Bible is not real then why read it? Is the Word of God or just a collection of myths, poems and moral stories?
+If Jesus is not the Son of God then why follow Him?
+ If miracles are not real then why even pray for them?