May 19th, 2019 Title: The “Now” Nature of Eternal Life Sermon Series: Learning Jesus (The Gospel of John)
BIG IDEA Jesus is the resurrection and the life. Through a relationship with Him we can be raised up to eternal life. But even more, He promises that for the believer, death is no longer in play. Your new life has already started! Never-ending life, which is real and abundant life, is available at this moment. There is joy and power in the “now” nature of eternal life.
This is the second “I Am” saying of Jesus that proves that He is who He said He is.
The “I AM” Statements of Jesus:
- I Am the Bread of Life - I Am the Light of the World - I Am the Gate - I Am the Good Shepherd - I Am the Resurrection and the Life - I Am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life - I Am the True Vine
The issue at hand in John 11 involves a man who was sick and dying. Two sisters asked for help. Jesus came later than expected and then did an amazing miracle. He proved that He is the resurrection and the life.
The Death of Lazarus
1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. 3 So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” 4 But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” 11 After saying these things, he said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I go to awaken him.” 12 The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.” 13 Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he meant taking rest in sleep. 14 Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus has died, 15 and for your sake I am glad that I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” 16 So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
28 When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” 29 And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. 32 Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. 34 And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35 Jesus wept. 36 So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man also have kept this man from dying?” Jesus Raises Lazarus
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
DISCUSSION & APPLICATION 1. The Context Surrounds the Death of a Loved One
John 11:1 Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
John 11:5-6 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
John 11:17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days.
Mary and Martha were sisters and Lazarus their brother. They lived in Bethany, a village on the eastside of the Mount of Olives. This is the same Mary that wiped Jesus’ feet with perfume, drawing the ire of Judas for “wasting” expensive perfume.
Their brother Lazarus was dying, thus, the women were on a quest for healing. But Jesus waited for the right time. He didn’t come right away because He was about to do an amazing miracle.
Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead four days before He raised him. There was a Jewish belief system that the soul could re-enter the body within a three-day period. Jesus needed to leave no doubt that it was His power that brought Lazarus out of the grave.
The power of Jesus is the only way this man could have new life. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
a. Can you think of a time when Jesus didn’t answer a prayer right away? What was that like?
b. Jesus was the only one within this story that knew exactly what He was doing and when. His timeline turned out to be perfect, though those around Him doubted Him. Do you believe that Jesus is working in your life? Why or why not?
2. Life Emerges When We Wait On God
John 11:20-27 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Martha had part of this right. There certainly would be a resurrection on the last day. But there is much more to see here. She believed that Jesus could heal, and soon He would demonstrate it by a miracle that would leave no doubt as to His ability to give life now and in the future.
a. Martha was thinking only of the future. She believed that Jesus would raise all of the saints at the end of days. But Jesus offers new life now. Are you experiencing abundant life? What are some ways that you do—or don’t?
b. Are there certain areas of your life that you wish could be refreshed by Jesus? Have you prayed about these areas?
c. What part does faith and belief play in the process of experiencing miracles in your life?
3. One Moment of Belief Brings Eternal Life
John 11:26 “Do you believe this?” And the answer: “Yes, Lord: I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
Jesus claimed to be the resurrection and the life. He then confronted Martha on her belief. When we come to faith in Christ we immediately possess eternal life. It’s amazing to remember that eternal life has already begun. Jesus dwells within the believer and He is life.
a. Have you placed your faith in Jesus? He is the Son of God and the Author of life. When you trust in Him for your salvation and repent of your sins, eternal life is yours.
b. If you struggle with belief, what keeps you from believing?
c. Can you say a prayer right now and offer yourself to Him? Invite Him into your life as Lord and Savior and you will gain a whole new life.
4. Raising Lazarus Is An Object Lesson for the Ages
John 11:41-44 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Jesus would soon be raised from the dead. His power is immense. When the voice of the Creator speaks, even the dead hear His voice. Even the dead obey! Jesus Christ is full of power, glory, and majesty. He bows to no man. He bows to no entity. He alone is worthy of our praise. He alone is worthy of our very lives. And here He demonstrates His unimaginable power to give life now.
a. Jesus was not only showing His power but He was also previewing His resurrection. What would it have been like to be there that day?
b. Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave. What does this show us about the power of Christ?
5. What Does This Mean to Me?
What does it mean to me as I go to work, take care of my kids, negotiate school, or take care of my aging spouse?
a. Power is Available Now for the Follower of Christ (Jn. 5:21; Rev. 3:21).
Don’t underestimate the power of Jesus. He spoke. The dead was raised. He can raise you to new life.
b. Eternal Life Starts Now
This is a remarkable truth. It changes our perspective and moves us from a temporal to an eternal perspective, one through which we can view life apart from culture. Seeing life properly and through the lens of truth is a result of living with the One that said: I Am the Resurrection and the Life.
c. You Will Never Die
The Apostle Paul wrote about the Lord’s victory over death in 1 Corinthians 15:55: “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The truth, for the believer in Jesus Christ, is that you will never die. Your body will perish, only to be raised up on the last day, but your soul never will. You will immediately be with Christ!
d. Go Forth and Make This Truth Known!
This is a very public story. Jesus said, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life,” as He was about to call a dead man out of the grave. Our job is to make this kind of power known to those that are dead in their sin. Our culture is dying a slow but sure spiritual death. They need Christ. Make Jesus Known!
PRAY Dear Lord, I am amazed at your power. Help me to experience abundant life. Thank you for the gift of eternal life that comes by your grace. Amen.
DIG DEEPER For further study this week: - Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus – a book from D.A. Carson - It's Not Supposed to Be This Way: Finding Unexpected Strength When Disappointments Leave You Shattered – a book from Lysa TerKeurst
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