Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Truley believe in the Deity of our Christ. 1) an answer to struggling with why God allows certain things 2) a rebuke to the “I believe” syndrome 3) A measuring rod of faith 4) Moving from faith to living the life 5) You will change for the better

Have you ever lost faith in something? Your car for instance. You have always been goofy enough to drive a ford and now every ford you buy is junk. (You should have listened to us Chevy people). Slowly you lose faith in that brand because it has consistently proven to be cheap and useless. This goes for many different products, fords just seem to be the ones I see on the side of the road the most. I think I’ve beat on the ford fans long enough. Continually believing in something that never meets or beats your expectations is foolish. Who wants to continually keep fixing their fords? (Okay maybe a little more). In the Bible we find a story that encounters this very question of continuing to believe even when it seems that the product has failed. Turn to John 11 and follow along in a story of heartbreak, discovery, and a very important question.

“A letter arrived in the hands of our leader, Jesus, which alerted Him to some unwanted news. Lazarus, who lived in Bethany, had become deathly ill. Mary and Martha were summoning Jesus to come and see their dearly beloved brother and more than likely to heal them. People asked for this all the time. I cannot blame them. Their earthly afflictions would torment anyone. One woman had internal bleeding problems. Another man had leprosy and then some were blind or could not walk. This was no surprise. After reading the letter, Jesus seemed quite calm for someone who had just heard about a friends impending death. Most people would have rushed to their friend’s side but Jesus 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.” He had just received a letter that said the man was deathly ill and yet Jesus says that Lazarus will not die.

He really did love them just as dearly beloved family. Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair. She showed total devotion to him. Martha on the other hand worked hard at feeding Christ and the disciples as well. You would suspect someone who loved these people so much would be in a hurry to see them. Yet Jesus stayed in the same place for two more days. What could he possibly be thinking? His friend is dying and yet he stays two more days. He finally departs for Bethany only to be stopped by the disciples. Just a short while before, Jesus had been run out of that area by the Jews who believed He had blasphemed by calling Himself God. They would not listen to Jesus nor recognize that he performed miracle after miracle. He had shown them face to face who he was but they would not listen. They even tried to stone Him although they had no hard evidence that they were right and He was wrong. They could no more prove that Jesus was wrong than that a rock was a soft pillow.

Again Jesus gives a peculiar reply to the questions, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” I think I understand what he means. We all only have a limited amount of time and we must use it to its fullest. We must use the light we have to do our work and then rest in the dark. Jesus himself was called the light of the world. He also had his work that he must do. He was sent to light our paths and the paths of everyone in the world so that we would not stumble and fall.

The conversation continued with Jesus saying, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” I watched the disciples and listened for their reply and what did I hear but a goofy answer. “Lord if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” No wonder Jesus gets frustrated with those guys. Would Jesus really be concerned if Lazarus had just taken a nap? Jesus’ patience astounds me sometimes. He calmly and quietly explained “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.” He didn’t get mad or upset. For that matter, how did he already know that Lazarus was dead? Did Jesus know that if he waited two days that Lazarus would die? He must have or he would not have waited. If he was there he would probably have healed Lazarus but what does he mean “so that you may believe…” Does he have something else up his sleeve? I guess we’ll have to follow and see.

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