Summary: Part 2 of a 2 part sermon on some of the beautiful lessons that we can learn from the events surrounding the resurrection of Lazarus.
INTRO. A great part of the grandeur of our Lord’s earthly ministry was His willingness to associate His disciples with Himself. Anything that they could do, He allowed them to do.
He sent Peter and John to prepare the upper room for the Last Supper.
On a later occasion, we know that while they could not go to Calvary and die for the sins of the world, He took them to Gethsemane and encouraged them to watch and pray with Him.
And while Peter could not still a storm with a single word, he was invited to walk on the water.
As a father smiles to see his children imitating him, and attempting to help him in his work, so it pleases Jesus to see our feeble efforts on His behalf. We can not melt sin-hardened hearts or humble proud spirits, we are commissioned to proclaim the Gospel message to a lost and dying world.
As we noticed in last week’s sermon, there are some things that only God can do. On the other hand, there are those things that He wants us to do. In fact, He invites our participation in more things than we actually partake of.
Only Christ has the authority to command the dead to "come forth". But once that miracle has been accomplished He turns to His disciples and encourages them to join in the blessing by instructing them to "Loose him, and let him go.
Such is the case in our text this morning. (II Cor. 6:1) -- "We then, AS WORKERS TOGETHER WITH HIM, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain." Christ invites us to walk with Him that we may behold His glory and enjoy the blessings that come from close relationship with Him.
I. NOTE THE CONDITION OF THE DELIVERED MAN.
(vs. 44a) A great miracle had occurred. There was no doubt about that, but it required a finishing touch. The man was raised but was not yet completely free. Look closely at the picture here.
A. He is a living man still clothed in the garments of death. He was still wrapped in his graveclothes.
1. It would be an awful thing to see a living man wearing his death shroud.
2. Yet there are many, even in this church, who have been made alive by the grace of Jesus Christ but they continue to wear their grave-clothes.
3. In fact, some are in such a state that, unless you asked them, you would think they were still dead. Such was the case with the church at Corinth.
a. They were saints (I Cor. 1:2)
b. But they were still wearing their old sinful graveclothes.
1. (1:10-13) - divisions
2. (3:1-4) - carnal
3. (5:1-2) - fornication and indifference to fornication
4. (11:17-22, 30) - heresies and abuse of the Lord’s Supper.
4. It makes little difference how you feel personally about the matter; the truth remains that people judge you by what they see in you. When Lazarus came forth perhaps someone said, "He must still be dead, he is wearing his grave-clothes." To this Jesus would reply, "Loose him and let him go."
B. He was a man moving yet bound hand and foot.
1. He may have been wrapped so that he could not freely walk yet he could shuffle along like a man in a sack.
2. I know Christians who are able to move in one direction yet they do not seem to be able budge an inch in any other direction.
3. There are those who have been born again so that they can weep, mourn, and groan over sin in the world around them; yet their belief seems to be so bound that they can not take one step forward in faith.
4. There are those who can give up sin or crush a bad habit yet they can not seem to grasp hold of the promises of Jesus.
C. He was a strong man, yet helpless.
1. He was strong enough to come out of the grave, and yet he could not remove his own bandages.
2. Just as there are those who are strong enough in one area of their Christian life yet there are other areas in which they are like mere babes.
3. Such as those who are firmly steeped in proper Bible doctrine yet they do not know how to worship God in the manner He prescribes...or maybe you don’t give as you should...or you don’t witness or pray.
Which brings us to our next point...
II. THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE NEED ASSISTANCE AND THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE ARE CALLED UPON TO GIVE ASSISTANCE.
A. What are some of the more common bonds which hold back Christians?