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Summary: Taking a challenge from the raising of Lazarus to obey the Lord and to do all He calls us to do in order for us to "come forth" spiritually.

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“The Lazarus Experience”

John 11:38-45

JN 11:38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 "Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days." 40 Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me." 43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go." 45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.

INTRODUCTION

• This is a story many of us are quite familiar with…yet, I would like to bring about a few commands that Jesus gave which we should heed to as well

• What instructions would Jesus have for us this morning?

I. REMOVE {vs 38, 39}

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. "Take away the stone," he said…

• The stone was the one thing that stood between Jesus and Lazarus and the Lord wanted it removed.

• Notice that Jesus didn’t say, “Destroy the stone.” You see, we’re not just dealing with sin issues here…we’ll get to that later

• Are there some things in your life that need to be moved from where they are right now to a place which will cause you to be closer to Jesus?

A relationship; your job; a hobby; your schedule; etc.

• Let me caution you…there may be people who are quite close to you who may have some objections or strong opinions

"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."

• Your relatives know how bad your situation stinks and how long you have been that way…don’t let it stop you!

• This morning, I want to challenge you to remove any stones that may be standing in the way of your getting as close to Jesus as possible.

II. RESPOND {vs 43, 44a}

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out…

• It wasn’t enough to hear from Jesus, obedience needed to take place

• Look closely at this verse…Lazarus was commanded to do something that no one had ever been asked to do before

• Lazarus was commanded by the Lord to do something that really didn’t make a whole lot of sense

• Do you find yourself being commanded to do something that really doesn’t make sense to you or to the people around you?

New direction; a ministry; your personal life; witnessing; spiritual disciplines

• Friend, whatever that command may be, obey the Lord and let HIM deal with the consequences that follow.

III. RELEASE {vs 44}

The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."

• A miracle took place but Lazarus was still quite limited. Many of us have had great experiences with the Lord but today we are limited by the things that we are all wrapped up with!

• Look at Lazarus…he was limited in four areas:

His Walk---feet

His Work---hands

His Watchfulness---face

His Witness---mouth

• What are you all wrapped up with today?

Sin

Intimidation

Others’ Opinions

Worry

• Allow the Lord to release you today from anything that is limiting you

IV. REVEAL {vs 45}

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him.

• Others saw what Jesus did in Lazarus’ life and they put their faith in God

St Francis of Assissi said, “At all times preach the Gospel and when necessary…use words.”

• May the people around us see that the Lord has done in our lives and out their faith in the Lord

ALTAR TIME

• What experience do you need this morning?

• Do you need to REMOVE something between you & Jesus?

• Do you need to RESPOND to a command of Jesus?

• Do you need to be RELEASED from something that is limiting you?

• Do you need to REVEAL to others what God had done for you?

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Talk about it...

Alfred Richardson

commented on Sep 5, 2006

Excellent illiterations.

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