Summary: The weakest word in the English lanquage is "if". If only.....If only keeps us living in the past. The strongest word in the English language is "If". If you believe you will see the glory of God.
THE WEAKEST WORD IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
INTRODUCTION: TEXT: John 11:17-35. What is the weakest word in the English language in the context of helping people? It is the word “if”. “If only......” (V.21 and 22). “If only....” is the weakest word in the English language because it hinders or prevents the need to accept responsibility. This message based on the book IF ONLY - Moving Beyond Blame To Belief by Dr. David A. Seamands
I. “IF ONLY” KEEPS US LIVING IN THE PAST - JOHN 11:21:
A. Explain context of events surrounding death of Lazarus.
1. While in Bethany, Jesus receives word that Lazarus is ill.
2. Jesus waits for four days before going to see Lazarus.
3. Reason for delay: Add up the days, Lazarus was already dead when Jesus got the news. (four days in the grave).
B. Why didn’t Jesus act immediately when told of Lazarus?
1. Jesus never promised special immunity from suffering. We are not cosmic pets! (Note bite to words in verse 3.)
2. Note verse 37. Family and friends asked the same question.
C. How do the “if only’s” affect us today?
1. Dr. Seamand’s said: “I didn’t sin one time before I was 30 years old, I felt I could honestly blame every fault upon my mother. I thought ‘If only I could have a different mother.”
2. How many times have you heard or even said an “If only...”
3. If only I had enough money. If only I hadn’t had that accident. If only I had a different husband. If only I were married. If only I weren’t married. If only things were different.......
4. BACKWARD LOOK CAN BE PERMANENT. (L WIFE)
5. If only’s become permanent when we allow what happens to us to become who we are. IT’S WHEN WE ALLOW PAIN TO BECOME THE BASIS OF OUR PERSONALITY.
6. Old woman in Great Expectations.
II. WHAT IS THE STRONGEST WORD? JOHN 11: 40:
A. The strongest word in the English language is “If” “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.”
1. READ VERSES 21-27.
2. We see Jesus moving Martha from the past into the present.
3. But she responds by moving into the future.
B. Many try to get away from the past by looking to the future.
1. They say “If only.......” Then respond well it might get better “someday.” “Some day my ship will come in.” (I’ll be at the airport!)
2. As Christians we are not to live in the past or the future, we are to live in the here and now.
III. HOW DO WE LET GO OF THE PAST AND GRASP THE PRESENT? JOHN 11:25:
A. Jesus said “I Am the resurrection and the life”
1. Not only in the future but now.
2. I am.... means now. God’s time is always now.
B. JESUS WEPT!!!: Jesus was tender to Martha, “Look how he loved him!”
1. God understands, cares, and feels our pain. (Hebrews 4-5).
2. CHRIST DIED FOR GUILTY SINNERS AND SUFFERED FOR THE INNOCENT VICTIMS AS WELL!!
3. CHRIST DIED FOR OUR INIQUITY AND OUR INEQUITY AS WELL.
4. THE HEALER OF OUR HURTS IS THE FEELER OF OUR HURTS.
C. Jesus took action - He had the stone rolled away.
1. This was a tough action. KJV said “He stinketh”.
2. Jesus revealed the corruption. YOU CANNOT CONFESS TO GOD WHAT YOU WILL NOT ACKNOWLEDGE TO YOURSELF.
3. Note Psalm 39:23 “See any wicked way in me...”
4. To move into the present, one must look at the past and see it for what it is. (ASK: WHAT NEED WITHIN YOU IS BEING FULFILLED BY THE PAIN YOU ARE HOLDING ONTO?)
D. Jesus prayed.
1. Did you know that Jesus prays for you?
2. He is seated at the right hand of God petitioning on our behalf
3. Receiving the promises of the Bible begins with “If” you believe.
E. Jesus had Lazarus untied and unbound.
1. L bound, people unbound him.
2. Damage done to us by the wrong people, Jesus heals us through his prayers and getting us in touch with the right people.
3. That is what the ministry of this church is all about.
4. We worship God, and minister to those who hurt.