- Sermon Notes
Living the Resurrection
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest event in all human history.Everything that came before looked toward it and everything since looks back to it.God’s entire plan of the ages rests on that one historic event.Not only that, God’s entire plan for your life rests on that one historic event as well.
The resurrection, therefore, should be celebrated, but not just celebrated, the resurrection is something to experience.God is still on the move, He is still bringing life out of death; He brings victory out of defeat; He brings beauty out of ashes.
How many of you would say, “God has changed my life, once I was blind, but now I see”?
The word ‘resurrection’ literally means ‘to rise up again,’ that which was dead can live again.We all have a physical body and these bodies of ours are all going to die.The statistics on death are pretty impressive.I think it’s something like one out of every one are going to die.At this point, you might be saying, “This is very encouraging, pastor, man, I’m really glad I brought my friends.”
Here’s the thing, these bodies of ours are made of dust and to dust they will return.But are we not more than just our physical bodies? Do we not have a soul and spirit?
If you’re older than 25 you’re already headed for the grave.The older you get the more you know that’s true. But what about your soul?Your body may be headed for the grave, but where’s your soul headed?
I’ve been a pastor a long time and have done many funerals.I’ve done funerals where the person in the casket was more alive than half the people in the room.Their body was dead, but their soul was very much alive.
Jesus conquered death so you can have life.He came that you might have life and have it to the full.He came to bring life to those who were dead by the shedding of His blood on the cross.The blood of Jesus changes everything.
The cross was a symbol of death and suffering.It struck fear in the hearts of those who lived in the days of the Roman Empire.Because of Jesus and what he did for us on the cross that day, even the cross itself has changed its meaning.Today, it’s a symbol of hope.
Without hope there is no life.I read an article the other day that the rate of suicides among young people has skyrocketed.Why is that?Because they lack hope.Deaths from drug overdose has also skyrocketed.Why?They have nothing to live for; life has lost its meaning.They are empty and have lost their way.
Do you have hope?What do you put your hope in?In the advancement and evolution of man that one day they can build Utopia?In the advancement of technology?The technology of destruction is advancing as fast as the advancement of those things which are good.Do you put your hope in politicians?You don’t even need to answer that.I’ve never seen things as messed up as they are today.
When Jesus rose from the grave, death was defeated.He made a way for you to have relationship to God as your Father.He promised that the presence of the living God would be with you, that He would be a rock on which you can build your life.
John 11 is the story of Jesus raising a man from the grave.This happens just days before Jesus Himself will be betrayed, arrested, and crucified… And raised from the grave on the third day, just as He said.
Why does Jesus raise Lazarus?To strengthen their faith; to convince them that He is the resurrection and the life. God wants to strengthen your faith as well. When it comes to relationship to God, faith is everything. If you believe, you will have hope.
I. Jesus Came to Make Dead People Alive
- Verses 14-15 - Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I’m glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe…”
- Jesus will strengthen their faith to show them that He came to make dead people alive.And before He’s through, He’s going to make it personal.
- Because Jesus didn’t come just to make bad people good; He came to make dead people alive.
- Many people have a wrong idea about God. They think that because they do things that are bad; He’s always mad.They think God is like that parent that’s always lecturing them to try harder.
- The problem is not that you’re not trying hard enough, the problem is that that there are things that are dead that need to be made alive.
- The resurrected life is not just something you experience when you breathe your last breath on earth and enter heaven…
- God wants you to experience the resurrected life right now. He came to make dead people alive. There are too many people that are dead even though they are living.
- That’s why suicide rates are up; that’s why people give themselves to drugs or alcohol; they need life. They’re empty and hurting inside.
John 10:10, “I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly.”
- That life comes from the Holy Spirit of God that comes into the life of the one who believes.
Romans 8:11, If the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you; He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
- Whatever you’re going through in this mortal life, God will be with you and bring life to it.
- Paul wrote about the afflictions and burdens they endured, saying…
2 Corinthians 1:8-9, … We were burdened excessively, beyond our strength… So that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.
- When Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, they said, “Lord, the one whom You love is sick.”
- Notice what they didn’t say.They didn’t say, “The one who loves You is sick,” or, “the one who reads his Bible a lot,” or “the one who gives a lot;” is sick.
- Here’s the point, God is not motivated to help you because of your love for Him, He is motivated because of His love for you.
- But notice in verses 5 and 6, “Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus, but stayed two days longer in the place where He was.”
- God was going to do something far beyond what they could even grasp; he let Lazarus die so that he could strengthen the faith of all of them when He raised him from the dead.
II. He Strengthens Little Faith
- When Jesus arrived near Bethany where Lazarus was buried, Martha was the first to meet Him, while Mary stayed in the house.
- She said, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
- Some suggest that Martha was correcting Jesus for not arriving in time to help her brother. But I’m convinced she was showing Jesus the faith she did have. She’s confirming her belief that Jesus was able to heal, if He had only been there.
- In other words, she’s not doubting His heart or His character, she knew Jesus could heal if He had been there. Martha had faith, if even a little. But Jesus wanted her to have more faith.
- Then in verse 22 -- Even though Martha had lost hope that her brother would live, she still trusted Him.
- It’s a very important aspect of faith to trust in the Lord’s heart and character, even if you do not understand what is happening or why.
Illus - I read the story of a mother whose son was dying. A friend was trying to comfort her and said something that many people say, “Perhaps God will be good and save your son.” The mother said in response, “God is good whether He heals my son or not.”
Illus - When our daughter was murdered almost 5 years ago, I didn’t understand why, I couldn’t understand why. But I wouldn’t doubt God, I needed my faith.Faith was an anchor for my soul.That’s the time to declare, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
- Martha didn’t ask for her brother to be raised, because she did not believe it was possible.
- People only seek what they believe is possible.
- But Jesus wants to increase her faith.
- Limited faith often keeps people from seeking after greater things.
Ephesians 3:20, Now unto Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.
- In Mark 9 there is a story many can relate to. A father brought his son to Jesus saying, “If You can do anything, take pity and help us!”
- Jesus responded, “If You can? All things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe; help my unbelief.”
A.God’s simple question, “Do you believe this?”
- Jesus said to Martha, “I am the resurrection…” The resurrection is personal because the resurrection is a person.His name is Jesus Christ.
- Then three times He says… 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?”
- That’s what God is asking.Will you believe?
- Life may have come crashing down on you, but will you believe in Me again? You need hope.
- Maybe you had more faith in the past and haven’t walked with God in a long time. I am the resurrection, He says to you, I bring life where there is death.Will you believe?
Ephesians 1:18-19, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be opened, so that you will know… the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe; in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.
- “I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus said. That’s what resurrection is – it’s life.
- The resurrection is about bringing life out of that which was dead.
- Some of you are one sunrise away from having your life turned around.He is the resurrected King who is resurrecting you.
- He takes the soul that is dead, discouraged, downhearted and defeated and brings newness of life.
- He knocks on the door of your heart and calls out your name because God loves you and wants you to have a relationship with Him as your Father.
C. Jesus loves you this I know
- “Jesus wept,” it says in verse 35. Why? He knew this would end with great rejoicing, but He wept because they were weeping, their hearts were broken, and it moved Him. God has a heart of compassion.
Psalm 103:13, As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
- God knows your hurts; He knows you’re broken within your heart.He Himself carries your griefs and your sorrows.
- But He also knows how this will end.“He who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die.Do you believe this?”
- He is the resurrection and the life…
Illus - In 2005, Death Valley came to life.They called it a ‘super bloom.’Death Valley is not dead; the seeds of life are there, under the surface of what appears dead, there are seeds, waiting to be brought to life.
Isaiah 35:1-2, The wilderness and the desert will be glad, it will rejoice and blossom like the crocus.It will blossom profusely and rejoice with rejoicing and shouts of joy.
- If you were to die tonight would you be ready to meet God?You can have the assurance that you are right with God when you receive Him as Lord and Savior and ask Him to forgive your sin.
- In Him there is life for eternity and life right now.Do you believe this?
John 11:14-26 NASB