John 11:38-44 (KJV)
38Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Today I want to teach you
John 14:12 (KJV)
12Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
This raising of Lazarus was a great thing… but Jesus said the believer would do greater works.
How many believe on Jesus?
If you believe that death is only a passing from this life to another, then raising the dead should be no problem. Like Jesus said concerning the daughter of Jairus… In Matthew Mark and Luke it is recorded that Jesus said
Mark 5:38And he cometh to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and seeth the tumult, and them that wept and wailed greatly. 39And when he was come in, he saith unto them, Why make ye this ado, and weep? the damsel is not dead, but sleepeth.
It’s not difficult to wake up somebody… OK, some are more difficult than others…
Those that die in the Lord are not dead… Those that are dead in sins… those are dead!
If I could raise someone from physical death, they would just die again. Lazarus, Widows son, Jarius daughter… all died again. Raise from spiritual death, that’s eternal.
If you are saved, you have been raised from the dead… a spiritual death that would have caused you to be dead eternally. Do you believe that? Let’s see what the Word says:
Ephesians 2:1-8 (KJV)
1And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Jesus raised Lazarus from a physical death… But I want to do greater works… I want to raise people from spiritual death… The death that kills the soul. The death that is eternal.
Listen. If we keep doing what we have always done, we will keep getting what we always got.
How do we go about bringing the spiritually dead back to life? From our text, I see several things
1. Obey Jesus
They almost didn’t get their miracle because they did not want to obey
Jesus told them what to do, and their response was to come up with excuses for not doing it
Do we have excuses for not doing the will of God?
OK what did he ask them to do?
2. Remove the stone
Ephesians 2:12 (KJV)
12 … strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Those that are dead Spiritually are “in the world.” They are sealed up as surely as Lazarus was sealed behind the stone. They have no hope, and they are without God
It is your responsibility to remove those things that would keep them from getting out of the tomb once they have had an encounter with Jesus.
What are the stones that seal them in the world?
Sin Ignorance Prejudice
Deception Hypocrisy Bitterness
False Religion Us – perhaps the thing that keeps them in the grave is
the fact that we don’t want that kind in here stinking up
These are things you must remove… It will not be easy… The stones that seal them in death sometimes are huge…
But Jesus has given you the responsibility… And you can do it!
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me
While I tell you that you can do this, it is a fact that you cannot do this or anything else outside the power of God.
Let God do what you cannot do…
When God calls, if them, they will respond if we have done our job. If the stone has not been rolled away, Even if God calls them, we will never know it.
So we must pray. Prayer is the key to heaven.
So we pray, and God does what we cannot do. In response to prayer, the dead in sin will rise
Then we will rejoice and be amazed. It bothers me when someone comes to Jesus and some don’t care. We need to rejoice!
But our work is not finished…
When Lazarus came out of the grave, was bound hand and foot and his face was covered…
a) If your hands are bound you can do no work;
b) if your feet are bound you cannot go anywhere,
c) if your face and mouth are covered you cannot speak or see or breathe
Many have lost the eternal because they were wrapped up in the temporary.
So we have a job to do…
4. Lose Him and let him go
When someone is raised by the power of God from the dead… especially if they have been dead a long time, they will still need some work…
1. First, even though they are restored completely, they may still have the stink of death on them
The devil is quite interested in hindering and limiting us - if he cannot have us.
He would like to keep our:
a) hands bound that we do little or no work for God.
b) feet bound - that we do not go where he wants us to go
c) heads covered - so we can never see or hear or speak or breath
It is our responsibility to loose them
Get their feet loose
How can they walk with the Lord with their feet bound?
How can they walk in the light with their feet bound?
Get their hands loose
There are those that have come into the church and we want to keep their hands bound. We don’t want them doing things… It could cause us embarrassment. What if they do something wrong.
Get their head uncovered
There face may be covered so they cannot see… They can not speak… the can not breathe…
Get their face uncovered… So they can read the word… So they can pray… so they can live…
The things that bound them while they were dead may still bind them.
It is our responsibility to remove the stinking things that bind them
It is our responsibility to wash them in the waters of baptism
While we can only look to the life-giving Lord to quicken a dead soul—we do not fold our arms in fatalistic inability—by the obedience of faith we must put every available means into use.
The principle taught herein is that there are things we can and must do before a sinner is quickened—"Take ye away the stone,"—and after "Loose him, and let him go."
I want to see the dead raised to newness of life… This is not an impossible thing…
How many are saved… You have already been through this…
Romans 6:1-4 (KJV)
1What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Someone rolled away the stones that kept you in death…
Jesus called your name…
Someone helped you get rid of the rags and stink of death
Now it’s your turn…