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March
20
2016

Lazarus Come Forth

JOHN 11:17-24…38-44

Lazarus come forth!  The call of Christ penetrated the air demanding all else be silent.  People were shocked at the command…and intrigued…maybe even frightened when they heard noise from inside the tomb…and then Lazarus appeared…walking stiffly because he was still shaking off grave cloths clinging to him.  What a moment. 

Scripture said he had been dead four days…that means he was dead…no mistake about it dead…smelly dead.  And now Lazarus has been called from the jaws of death into new life.

Imagine Lazarus…maybe squinting through gauze like cloth…seeing a distorted view of the Christ…maybe the sun was over Christ’s shoulder…he might not have seen the Lord clearly at first…but there is no mistaking the voice of Jesus.  And he had been called forth…and the disciples know His voice. 

Come forth Lazarus…and he breathed in air again…he walked again…and after getting those grave cloths off  he greeted his sisters again…

Come forth Lazarus.

-1  Some have wondered how this experience changed Lazarus.  Scripture tells us that he ate with Jesus not long afterwards...Jesus would go to Martha’s home and recline and eat…and be with friends…Scripture tells us that the simple presence of Lazarus was such a powerful witness that the Jewish authorities plotted to kill him as well as the Lord. 

Don’t you wonder how Lazarus viewed life after coming back from the tomb?

Eugene Wilder wrote a play on the subject:  Lazarus Laughed.  Wilder suggests that after Lazarus returned from the tomb he laughed more.  His laugh was more contagious…he had experienced the other side and he knew that in Christ there was nothing to fear.  No longer was he worried by the Roman government or the uptight religious establishment.  NO longer was he worried about his survival…No longer was he caught in the teeth of this world…Lazarus laughed…he laughed and told the people around him…there is no death…only God’s eternal laughter.  “I came not to judge the world but to save the world Jesus said”. 

Wilder:  when men make gods..there is no God.  Wilder wrote a great play.  I don’t know if Lazarus laughed after returning but I like to think so…

Laughter is important to me…it is a sign of being at peace…at peace with self…of not taking self to seriously…Laughter is a part of security.  After all, we say we are people of joy…tell your face. 

Christian people you can be freed…at least momentarily from the clutches of this world. 

Tried to be normal…it lasted about ten minutes…it was the worst ten minutes of my life. 

Some have wondered how Lazarus was changed.

2.  A bigger question:  how does faith change people…how will it change you?

The miracle stories:  how faith changes you…

Water to wine-joy….officials son-faith to move on…giver of life…paralyzed…get off your mat…multiplication of the bread….abundance…walking on water-overcome your fears…blind….new sight….Lazarus….confidence…laughter…new life. 

Today’s miracle story…longest

The story of faith in this story not limited to Lazarus…

Jesus…waited until after his death…returned to the area...going to his death…let us go and die with Him…

When Martha saw Him…went to Him…Master if you had been here my brother would not have died…But I know that even now…God will give you whatever you ask…love the way she says that…Lord even now you can change this situation:  FAITH.

Your brother will rise again.

I know he will rise again on that last day.

I am the resurrection and the life…He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die…do you believe this?

Yes, Lord…I believe that you are the Christ, the son of God…who has come into the world

What a beautiful declaration.

Martha responds in faith…giving Jesus title of God and eschatology.  She shows a genuine attitude of faith in that she drops the I AND SPEAKS ONLY OF THE THOU… she speaks of the power of God, and she placer her faith in Christ.

They head on to the house..Martha quietly speaks to Mary …Mary gets us and runs to the Master…people follow her thinking she is going to the grave to weep.

Master if you had only been here…and weeps…and people around her weep…

Jesus deeply moved…troubled…angered…where have you put him.

Lazarus…come forth…and Lazarus recognized his voice.

 

CHURCH-HEAR HIS VOICE!  Hear Him call you by name.

Jarott…come forth…Thane come forth…Lola, Katie, Roger, Gary, Marvin, Kelsie, Sarah…come forth.

What will it mean to hear Hisi voice and come forth

  1.  IT MEANS YOU HAVE PASSED FROM DEATH TO LIFE.  Jesus goes to His death so that we may have forgiveness…have new life.

    I am the resurrection and the life…he who believes in me will live even though HE DIES…and whoever believes in me will never die…do you believe this?

    Well yes…we all would like eternal life…through Christ gives salvation and eternal life. 

    I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE-FAITH IN ME, EVEN IF DIE, LIVE

    I AM LIFE…FAITH IN ME…HE WHO IS ALIVE IN ME…NEVER DIE.

Here is an important truth…I suspect that everyone here would say…if convinced Jesus is the giver of life…eternal life…would take it…we don’t want to die…we are glad to see the power of death nullified…

BUT LISTEN:  IN CHRIST…LET GO OF CLINGING TO THIS LIFE AS THE HIGHEST GOOD.  Faith will help you to let go of anxiously holding onto this life.

-example of Margaret…

-example of elderly woman and her grand daughter.

I am the resurrection and the life.  Death as the hedge we jump over into the presence of God…for people of faith into eternal laughter…don’t know a lot about heaven…know Jesus will be there-isn’t that enough?

What does it mean to hear His voice and come forth:

  1.  IT MEANS TO MAKE LIFE BECOME UNREAL.  Instead of holding onto life as the ultimate good, Jesus becomes our ultimate good…our perspective on living changes.

    -Appreciate life more.

    -it is no longer all about you!...Martha’s confession….you are the Christ…the Son of God…You are the one who takes away the sins of the world…it is about you Jesus…this is so freeing…confident in Christ…secure in Christ…laughing in the laughter of God.

    -no longer stuck in the worries of this age…

What does it mean to hear His voice and come forth:

  1. It means you will become a testimony to the Master.  You life can become a testimony to the Master…your laughter can become infectious…you can be confident and secure in Christ, not in yourself…

You learn to ask, how may my life be a blessing to the Lord…and in your daily life you will learn how to please Him…when you do so…enter into the abundant life. 

Next Sunday is Easter…some people will only come to Church on Easter and Christmas…Church take advantage of that…invite your friends who are un churched to join you this coming Sunday…invite them to come to the early service and to have breakfast with you…

Offer to come and pick them up…

Offer to be at a door so that when they come you will be there…

Invite…the other night I went to Vikings on Broadway…it was a great night…we had several of the kids from this Church involved…I love to go to things like that…hope to do more of that…anyway…200 kids or more involved…I couldn’t help but wonder…if we put all the youth groups in town together…would we have 200 kids…I went to support our kids…are not all the kids of Winfield…our kids? 

Thankful for the caring of this Church…we need to expand our caring…

The infectious presence of Lazarus…just his presence was a testimony.

Story of elderly woman walking at a health center…sat down…beside a 7 or 8 year old boy…she talked with him for a few moments…schools out…what have you done this week…will you go to Church on Easter Sunday?  Naw we will stay up late Saturday night watching videos and then eat a late breakfast on Sunday…This Sunday is Easter Sunday…do you know why it is called Easter Sunday…and she gently told the child of the story of Christ.

An infectious presence…how do you learn how to live that way…live that way.

CONCLUSION:

LAZARUS COME FORTH

DONNA, ROB, CHURCH…COME FORTH..ENTER INTO NEW LIFE.

 

 

 

 

 

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