Sabbath 10/11/14 Daytona Beach SDB Pastor Wray sermon “Dead Man Walking”

Sabbath 10/11/14 Daytona Beach SDB Pastor Wray sermon “Dead Man Walking” John 11:1-46

Today we are obsessed with avoiding death. We see great advances in science and medicine to keep us living longer. They want to make us healthy, correct any diseases and keep us living longer. Scientists are learning to grow body organs to keep us living longer. People are living in their 100’s and have zestful lives. Life expectancies are increasing. In the 1st century world, the life expectancy was only into the late 20’s and early 30’s. Many people died from diseases and unclean water. In our scripture text, we are looking at Lazarus, a man who was dead four days. The apostle John wants us to know certain things about Jesus from this scripture.
  1. In Jesus’s day, the temple was the focal point of activity in the church community. Jesus fulfilled the role of the temple with his body. Because of what Jesus did, we are now the living temples of the Lord. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. God is not in a box somewhere. God is now in each one of us. Back then, people would come from all around the world to Jerusalem, to the temple where they had God in a box.
  2. Jesus taught that He is the Living Water. The Water of Life. We don’t need to get into the water to be healed because Jesus is the living water of life. Jesus also said He is the Light of the World! Not the four symbolic lights in the temple, but Jesus is the light of the world.
  3. In John chapter 9 and 10, Jesus heals a blind man. Jesus then tells the people that He is the Good Shepherd and He has come to let the false shepherds go. When Jesus says this, He is almost stoned and killed for saying this.
  4. Jesus says He is equal to God when He states that He has come to fulfill Abraham’s hope and expectation. Jesus said before Abraham was born, He was. This statement caused a riot among the people. Jesus’s life, death and resurrection stands as the turning point in time. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promises. He is not just a nice religious person who dispensed his fortune cookie wisdom and just wanted everybody to get along. Jesus is not just a prototype hippie. He is not just your little buddy. Jesus is the focal point, the promise of the ages.
  5. The world’s future hope has become a present reality with Jesus Christ. The Jew’s anticipation of the resurrection at the last day had suddenly come to their present in the person of Jesus. The story of Lazarus has him getting very ill. He gets ill so much that his sisters sent word to Jesus to come and heal him. Jesus sent back word to the sisters that Lazarus’s illness was not going to kill him. Then Jesus waits 2 days, staying where He was. Then when Jesus gets to Lazarus’s house, he is already dead and been placed in a tomb.
  6. God’s delays are not God’s denials. Don’t automatically assume that just because God has delayed his answer to you, that He is denying your request all together. The idea of delayed gratification just doesn’t enter into many of our minds. God wants us to know that because He doesn’t move when we ask him to move, it does not mean that He’s denying our request. The Jews in Jesus’s time had a superstitious belief that the soul hovered over the body for three days after a person died, before it departed. When you died, your soul was hanging around and it hung there for three days. Jesus knew their belief so He waited the extra days so all would say and believe that Lazarus was dead. After day three of the person’s death, the family’s real mourning began because there was no more hope for the person’s resuscitation. No hope of them being revived again because their soul and spirit were gone for good. Jesus deliberately delayed going to meet the family of Lazarus until the three day period had passed.
Sometimes an intentional delay is a chance for God’s glory to be revealed in a greater way. Can you trust God’s timing in your life? The answer is yes! He may not come when you want Him, but He is always right on time! We are like children who want what we want now. God says we will get what He has for us, when He wants to give it to us. So can you trust God’s timing in your own situation? Can you believe God until He answers you? We must understand his delays are not his denials. Sometimes God will not give you what you ask for but He will guide you thru the difficulties that you are in. He won’t provide what you ask but He will guide you.
What do we do when we don’t see an instant answer to our prayer? What do we do when a miracle has not happened yet or the healing or quick fix hasn’t happened yet? We must accept God’s all-knowing power and that He can guide us thru the situation even when He doesn’t solve the situation the way we think He ought to do it. In Hebrews chapter 11 there are stories of people who had great faith in God. When it looks to us like Heaven is silent with no answer coming, then we need to have our faith in God and Jesus Christ. Jesus is not just for the past or for the future. Jesus is for today! Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s past promises and He is the future judge of the earth. Jesus will call his people out of their graves and raise them back to life forever!

In our text, Jesus went to the grave and raised Lazarus up. Jesus said He is the resurrection and the life. He raised Lazarus up and He can still heal our bodies. Jesus raised Lazarus up, He can still heal our finances. He raised Lazarus up and He can still take care of our needs. We should walk by faith and not by sight! Jesus grieves with us and suffers with us. Jesus had compassion for our troubles and tears. He will always be with us and be on our side! Our life does not end at the grave!