FBCWest 579 | The Glory of God
Recorded On: 11/05/2023
Hymn # 461 “I Love to Tell the Story”
SCRIPTURE READING – Acts 1:6 - 8
Giving of Selves and Our Offerings
OFFERTORY MUSIC – Pru Hungate
Praise and Worship
Hymn #1 “Holy, Holy, Holy”
Hymn # 30 “O Worship the King”
Hymn #7 “Praise God, from Whom All Blessings Flow”
Proclamation of the Word
Message by Pastor Joe
“The Glory of God”
Hymn # 33 “To God Be the Glory”
Benediction “There Is Freedom”
John 11:1 – 3 Word is sent to Jesus that Lazarus, one He loves is sick
John 11:4 The sickness end is the glory of God
John 11:5 & 6 Even though Jesus loves the family He stays 2 more days
John 11:7 -10 Jesus tells His disciples that it is time to go to Lazarus, but they are concerned for Jesus because people want to stone Him
John 11:11 – 15 Jesus tells them Lazarus is dead
John 11:16 Thomas tells the other disciples that they should go with Jesus and die with Him
John 11:17 Lazarus has been dead 4 days
John 11:18 – 22 Martha meets Jesus before He arrives at her house and said to Him if He would have been there her brother would not have died
John 11:23 & 24 Martha has a theological discussion with Jesus
John 11:25 – 27 Jesus tells her He “Is the Resurrection and the life”
John 11:28 - 31 Mary responds and goes to meet Jesus, other morns think she is going to the tomb to mourn go with her
John 11:32 -38 Jesus is deeply moved and wept
John 11:39 – 41 Jesus tells them to remove the stone, but they are concerned because Lazarus has been dead 4 days and would stink
John 11:42 – 44 Jesus prays out load for the benefit of those present and L:zarus is raised from the dead
John 11:45 & 46 Some believe and some told on Jesus
Transcript of Service
Many Christians, when they're discussing with other Christians going through difficult times or circumstances, will tell them, to encourage them, that God will show up timely. It may be just the nick of time that God will show up in their circumstances. We're going to take a look at scriptures today, where God doesn't show up timely. As a matter of fact, He waits a few extra days. It's not because He didn't care about the situation of the people. As a matter of fact, the scriptures will tell us He loved them.
But He did so because there was a greater reason for Him to delay.
So let us take a look at sometimes when it seems like God is not showing up right when we expect Him to, that there might be a greater reason. But also, this will show us that even if God shows up late, He doesn't show up too late.
If you have your Bibles, and as I constantly say, "and you should," please turn to the Gospel of John, chapter 11, and we're going to start from there, starting with verse 1. Now, the context of this is that Jesus has left Jerusalem because there are those who are seeking to stone Him for blasphemy, for considering Himself to be the Son of God and to be the equal of God. There are also those who are seeking to kill Him and seize Him because He had healed on the Sabbath. So He left Jerusalem and went to where John administered and is going other places other than in Jerusalem to continue his ministry.
As He's doing this, we will see that there is a message that is sent to Him. And so in verse 1 it says, "Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus, of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Now Bethany was a small town about two miles away from Jerusalem. So going to Bethany might put Jesus in danger because of those who are seeking to seize and to kill Him. Find out that He's only two miles from Jerusalem that they might come to have Him arrested. And so there is, if you will, some danger for Jesus if He goes.
And it says, "And it was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick." Now, John is telling us this before this incident takes place so that we might identify which Mary is because there are a number of Marys in the Gospel of Mary, the mother of Jesus and other Marys. And so he's identifying which Mary it is. And so he says it's that particular Mary.
"So the sister sent word to Him, saying, "Lord, behold, Him who You love is sick."
And so it's identifying with the fact that Jesus loved Lazarus. And we're going to see that Jesus loved the family. He loved Lazarus and then the two sisters, Mary and Martha. And so what's going to happen is not because He doesn't care for them. Matter of fact, He loves them. And it's interesting, John, when he refers to himself, he will say, "The disciple whom Jesus loved." He didn't say John, he says, "The disciple whom Jesus loved." And so, in essence, this is kind of a distinction because we are told in this Gospel that Jesus loved that disciple, John. They also loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha. And so what's going to take place is not because He doesn't care.
But when Jesus heard this, He said, "This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it." So He's saying that the ultimate end to His sickness is not going to be the ending in death, but for the glory of God. And I find it interesting that so many times we are so concentrated on our problem and seeking the Lord to answer our prayers and our requests that He fixed something or healed something or do some miracle that we forget the greater aspect that perhaps God, by doing or not doing something, might be glorified by it. And so Jesus is saying the ultimate result is not to be the death of Lazarus, but the ultimate result is for the glory of God and the glory of the Son of God.
Now, Jesus loved Martha and her sister Anne Lazarus. Again, it emphasizes that Jesus loves them. He cares for them. He's concerned about them, but He is going to do what He's going to do because He's going to see that God be glorified.
It's not that He doesn't care. And a lot of times when we're praying and we're seeking God's direction or seeking God's intervention, we're thinking, "Well, when God doesn't answer me, then maybe He just doesn't care." And in this situation, we're going to see not only does Jesus care, He loves these three individuals. But the love is not discounted by the fact that He doesn't seem to take action right away.
But when He heard that He was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. So Jesus doesn't answer right away. He doesn't say, "Oh, I need to get there immediately." Jesus remains where He was for two additional days, again, showing that God is at work doing something. And so maybe when we're having circumstances and we're praying to God and sending messages to God, God, come do these things. Maybe He's delaying because there's a greater event to take place, His glorification.
Then after this, He said to the disciples, "Let us go to Judea again." So He said, "We need to head out to Judea because, in essence, He's going to go call on Lazarus, Martha, and Mary." The disciples said to Him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?" So they're concerned about their master. They don't want Him to be in jeopardy. So they would rather Him not go to Judea because that puts Him at risk. So we see that they are concerned for Him, that they have a certain love and concern, but they don't have knowledge of what's going on. So they're just going, "Really, Jesus, is this a good idea that you show back up in Judea?" And Jesus answered, "Are there not 12 hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble because he sees the light of this world.
But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles because the light is not in him." And so Jesus is saying, "I am the light of the world. I've come to minister. And so while I'm here, I need to be active in moving and doing because when the night comes, when I'm gone, it's when stumbling is going to happen in misdirection." He goes, "I need to be at work when it's daylight, when I'm present." So He says, "I need to be active."
"This," He said, "and after that," He said to them, "our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep. But I go so that I may wake him out of his sleep."
The disciples then said to Him, "Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover." So their limited knowledge of medical devices and services is that, well, if you have a sickness, and if you're now resting comfortably, perhaps the fever or whatever has broken, and he's going to recover. So if he's fallen asleep, his body is restoring itself, then there's no need for you, Jesus, to go. But they don't understand Jesus' terminology.
Paul uses the same term for death, sleep, because for the believer, there is no death, technically. We have eternal life. It is life continuously, as opposed to life, death, life. So he uses that term, "sleep," to mark that it's a difference than what we would call death.
Now, Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought he was speaking of literal sleep. So again, it's not surprising. Oftentimes, the disciples misunderstand what Jesus said. Even when He teaches him, terrible, they'll have to come to Him later and go, "We don't understand what you're saying. Who can you tell us?"
So they don't understand that Jesus is talking about literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, "Lazarus is dead." Not asleep. He's dead.
Then he goes, "And I am glad for your sake that I was not there, so that you may believe, but let us go to join him." So Jesus is saying, "I know what is happening with Lazarus. I know when he's sick. I know when he passed away. I know what else is going to happen, but I'm glad I was in there, so that when we get there, you may believe what I'm telling you." So He says, "Let us go to him." Now, if the disciples misunderstood death and sleep, wait for the next misunderstanding. Therefore, Thomas, who is called "Dinnimis," and "Dinnimis" usually means "squin," so there's probably a twin associated with Thomas, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go so that we may die with him." So they're thinking, "Well, what Jesus says is, "Lazarus is dead. So where to go join Lazarus with me means Jesus is going to die. So we're going to be good disciples, and we're going to die with him. We are there, and we're going to follow him, and we're going to follow him even to death."
And again, it is interesting because we will see in a few chapters to come that not only did they not follow him to death at that time, they all ran away.
So Jesus came, and he found that he had already been in the tomb for a day.
Jesus had delayed his trip two days. There was some time that it would have taken to get to Jesus, and then Jesus traveled there. So that Lazarus had died and had been in the tomb four days, which means that he was probably dead for four days because they tried to bury somebody immediately.
Now Bethany was near Jerusalem about two miles off, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. Now, their custom at that time, and we'll see it somewhat in the Middle East today, is that when you have mourners, and sometimes you'll even pay for mourners and other times, you know, but they make a racket. They cry out loudly, and whatever it is, it's to make it appear that the person who died is greatly going to be missed, and everybody is mourning. There doesn't seem to be any discussion about how they're mourning, but people have come, and it is usual even in today's, you know, you'll have people who will provide meals and come and see what they can do to console the person who has lost a loved one. And so there are those who've come to console Martha and Mary. Martha, therefore, when she heard that Jesus had what's coming, went to meet him, but Mary stayed at the house. So it's interesting because there's other Scriptures when Martha's upset with Mary because she's at the feet of Jesus learning from him, and Martha's upset because she's having to do all the work to serve him, and she's telling, she asked Jesus to reprimand Mary to get up and help her serve, and Jesus is desiring the greater thing. And I have my speculation to why Mary stayed there, and Martha left, and I'll let you know that speculation a little bit. But Martha is the one who takes off when she hears that Jesus is coming. And Martha then said to Jesus, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." The language is difficult to see if it's just a statement that, "Lord, if you would have been here, he wouldn't have died." Or it's one of, if you will, condemnation, "Lord, if you would have been here, my brother would not have died." Whichever way it is, it's one of the statements, which again shows a certain lack of faith, because Jesus, early on in his ministry, when a nobleman, a royal official, came to Jesus and said, "My son is sick and going to die," Jesus said, "Your son will be well." And he never went to visit that man's son. The man believed Jesus and went, and when they had told him that his son was healed, he asked when, and it was at the very time that Jesus had said it. Jesus doesn't have to go to where you are to deal with your circumstances or your health. And he's demonstrated that before. But Mary is saying, I'm sorry, Martha is saying, "Lord, you had to have been here to prevent his death. Even now, I know that whatever you ask, God will give you." So she doesn't know what Jesus is going to ask. She just knows that whatever Jesus does ask of God, God will answer him because of his relationship to the Lord. And so I think there's a certain amount of hope, but she's not sure what hope to express. And Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
And so he makes a very bold statement. He's going to rise. Notice her respond.
And Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." And Martha goes, "I know the theology. I agree with the Pharisees. The Pharisees believed that there would be a physical resurrection. The Sadducees, the other leaders of the Jewish sect, didn't believe in a resurrection, a bodily resurrection. And when people wonder, well, how do you distinguish between the two which one did and which one don't, you say, you say the Sadducees didn't believe in a resurrection, therefore they were sad, you see. So that's the way to remember who believed in the resurrection, who didn't. So Martha says, "I side with the Pharisees on this doctrine, that I believe that there will be a bodily resurrection." And so there's some day, yeah, "Thank you, Lord, for that comforting thought on doctrine." And Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even if he dies." Jesus doesn't say, "There is a resurrection, and yes, your brother will rise again." He says, "I am the one who will be the one who gives that resurrection, who gives that life. I am the mechanism where resurrection will happen." Which is far more than the doctrine of all we will all rise against someday. Jesus goes, "No, no, not just there's a resurrection. I am the resurrection and I am the life, and that your brother will live even if he dies for those who believe in him. And everyone who lives and believes in me will never die."
There is an aspect, because I am the resurrection and the life, there is more that will inure to you because you believe in me. Once you believe in me, that resurrection, that life will be imparted to you, and you will live eternally. You will never die. And then he
pointedly asked her a question, "Do you believe this?" It's one thing to have doctrinal thoughts, and to have discussions on the correct doctrines or whatever is happening. But he pointedly says, "Do you believe it?" Not a matter of what the testimony is. And she said to him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, even he who comes into the world." So she makes a profession of faith that she believes that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ. He is the Son of God, and that he has come into the world. And when she had said this, she went away and called Mary her sister, saying secretly, "The teacher is here and is calling for you." Now, my suspicion in the Scriptures don't tell us why. I think Mary is a little perturbed, mad, angry, disappointed, hurt, that Jesus didn't come to them before her brother died. Therefore, she decided she would just stay there with the mourner. But when Martha comes and tells her that Jesus wants to see her, and she does it privately, she doesn't make this big announcement, and when she heard it, she got up quickly and was coming to him. So she responds to the call that Martha says that Jesus wants to see you. Now, Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met them. Then the Jews were with her in the house and consoling her. When they saw that Mary got up quickly and went out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb of the weak. So they're going, "Okay, we're going to now change the location of where we're going to mourn. She's so distraught, she's going to go to the tomb and mourn there." And so they're going, "Well, our job to console her is to be with her, so we're going to follow her as well, because she didn't tell us why she's leaving, so we're going to assume that's the reason." Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw him and fell at his feet saying to him, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died." He basically says the very same thing that Martha did. And again, I don't know whether it was out of a sense of, "Lord, if you just would have been here, he wouldn't have died," or it's that sense of, "I'm mad at you, because if you would have been here, this wouldn't have happened." And so whatever it is, again, it shows that not complete faith, because again, Jesus is not bound by location in order to demonstrate his power.
"And when Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in the spirit and was troubled." Now, unfortunately, the English translation doesn't really give us kind of a true sense of what's happening, but it tries to explain what's happening. There are times when we will have certain idioms that other cultures or languages don't understand. And so in this, what the Greek is saying is, he kind of started like a horse. So he was perturbed, angry, just, it wasn't a matter of sorrow, it was a matter of, you just aren't getting it. And so he's deeply moved in that sense of, it's not a passing thing, it's, my expression is kind of the way he expresses in other times when he goes, "Have I been with you so long that you don't know?" And so there's, to me, that sense of he's moved by the fact that they're not responding to who he is.
"And he said, where have you laid him? And they said to him, Lord, come and see." So they're thinking he wants to go visit the tomb into morn there. And then the verse says, in verse 35, Jesus wept. Now I've been talking some serious things here, so I'm going to take a moment to be a little lighter. Some people will ask you, what is the shortest verse in the Bible? This is where now you'll be able to sound like you're really learning. You can say, well, in which language? The English or the Greek? And they'll go, huh? You go, well, in English, this verse, Jesus wept, is the shortest verse. But in the Greek, it is not the shortest verse because it constitutes three words. The shortest verse in the Greek is, I believe, 1st Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 17, where we translated "pray without ceasing" three words. But in essence, in the Greek, it's two words. It's "pray continually." So you can say, in the Greek, the shortest verse is 1st Thessalonians 5, 17. But in the English, the shortest verse is verse, this one, chapter 11, verse 35. So now you can win some contest on that. Now, we are told Jesus wept. We're not told why he wept. The language seems to be that tears fell from his eyes. And there are probably almost a dozen explanations of this verse. Kind of the most common is that Jesus is kind of emotionally distraught because of all the people who are weeping. I discount that, and I'll tell you why. Because Jesus
was looking at the glory of God and that the plan was to resurrect Lazarus. So the weeping would be temporary. So I don't think it's the other people's emotional outburst that's causing Jesus to have this reaction. I used to think that maybe the reason why Jesus cried wept was that he was going to call out Lazarus from the tomb when in essence, being in the tomb meant that he would be in the presence of God. And now he's calling him back to this world of trouble and difficulties and disappointments, and he's going to have to continue life. I don't necessarily think that anymore.
So what I think, in a few dollars, I'll buy you a cup of coffee. I think if you go back to Jesus being perturbed, I think what he's saying is, these are the people who have seen me the most.
These are the people who I love. These are the people that I have taught. These are the people that I've had a special connection with, and still they don't understand, even though they will confess that I am the Christ, that I am in fact the resurrection and the life. The words say it, but the actions don't follow it. And so I think Jesus is coming to the point where, Lord, how dense are these people? How much must I show them before they truly believe?
And I think, quite frankly, not until the resurrection. But whatever the reason, whether it's Jesus has overcome with emotion because of emotion, or he's overcome because of frustration, the Jews have a response. So the Jews were saying, "See how he loved him?" He loved him. He said, "Even Jesus is crying. Jesus really loved the guy. And so Jesus is mourning with us, like us, because he loved him and now he's gone. But some of them said, "Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man also from dying?" So again, there's this aspersion. Well, Jesus, he couldn't have been that great because if he was here, he could have stopped him from dying. And after all, we sent word to him and he didn't come right away. He could have stopped this all from happening because he did heal a blind man and nothing had ever happened like that before. And so there's this criticism of why Jesus wasn't there.
But then again, that's not unlike what a lot of people, they pray and they pray and they pray and nothing happens and they go, "All right, there is no God. I don't like him. He could have stopped it. So there must not be a God, etc., etc." Kind of the same thing. If you'd have been here, you could have stopped it as opposed to it didn't matter where you were, you could have stopped it unless there was a reason you didn't. And Jesus has told his disciples it was for the glory of God. He told Martha it was for the glory of God. So then let's see what happens.
Jesus again being deeply moved within came to the tomb. Now it was a cave and a stone was lying against it. I find this very interesting because this is very much a foreshadowing of Jesus because Jesus was placed in a cave and then a stone was placed on it to protect it and then there was a guard to prevent anybody from taking the stone away. And so he comes to a place very similar to where Jesus will one day be buried. And Jesus said, "Remove the stone." Remember I said that people will give you the correct theology, the correct doctrine, that they don't necessarily act upon it. So Martha said, "Yes, I believe in a resurrection and yes, I believe that you're the Son of God and in all these things." But notice what she then says. She says, "Remove the stone." Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be a stench for he has been dead for four days." And then Martha's going, "Lord, I don't think this is a good idea because the guy's been dead. He smells. There's a stench. You don't want to go in the tomb. There's no reason to remove the stone because he's dead." Jesus has just told her not only that there is a resurrection but that he is the resurrection and the life. And Jesus said to her, "Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" This is the third time now we have seen the comment about the glory of God. Maybe in our difficulties of circumstances, maybe in our sorrow, and maybe in these times that tries us, that there may be not just an answer but something that glorifies God. So Jesus said, "Did I tell you that you would see the glory of God?"
So they removed the stone, then Jesus raised his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. And I knew that you always hear me, but because of the people standing around, I said it that they may believe that you sent me." Jesus is saying, "I don't need to pray out loud. I can pray silently. We can have a conversation, God. But if I pray silently, these people around are not going to know what's going on. So I'm going to pray publicly so that they hear it. I'm not praying to them. I'm praying to you. But I want them to hear it so that they might believe.
So God, we're having a communication that I'm going to let them in on so that they might result in faith. And when Jesus had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice,
"Lazarus, come forth!" He yells it and screams it. He tells Lazarus to walk out of the tomb.
Unfortunately, Lazarus won't be able to walk out of the tomb. And I think this is a great scene that we should remember. "And the man who had died, Lazarus, came forth bound, hand and foot, with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth."
So what I want you to understand is he was like a mummy. But they didn't wrap him like a mummy in the sense of legs and whatever. They wrapped him. And so, in essence, rather than him walking out, he was jumping out. And he couldn't see because there was a burial cloth over him. So he's bouncing out of the tomb, obeying God, not by walking, but by bouncing.
And Jesus said to them, "Unbind him and let him go." But Jesus tells them that he's alive and he no longer needs to be bound by death.
Therefore, many of the Jews who came to Mary and saw what he had done, believe him. Isn't it interesting? Because Lazarus died, because Jesus delayed in coming,
because Jesus didn't heal him from his sickness, but allowed him to die and then be raised from the dead. People believe. Maybe when God delays answering your prayer,
there will come a day that others will believe because of the glory of God. But there's always the cantankerous one. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done. They went in tat of hell. They said, "You know what Jesus did? He raised somebody from the dead." They didn't tell them that, so that they said, "We believe and you ought to believe." They told them, "We got problems." Because Jesus now only is healing blind people, not only healing the sick and the lame and all these other people and casting out demons. Now he has raised publicly a man who had been dead, not just for a few moments, not on the way to burial, but after he had been dead four days. We have a problem.
You see, those of us who, as Jesus has said in previous verses, who hear his voice, say, "When you see such activity, when you see the power of God and the glory of God, how could you not believe? There are those yet who are so hard-hearted, who are not of his sheep, who don't hear his voice." Instead of saying, as Thomas did after the resurrection, "My Lord and my God," they say, "What can we do to stop
the glory of God?" When I was trying to decide what to title this sermon, at first I talked about, maybe entitlement, the resurrection
cry. Then I thought, you know, the typical Lazarus raised from the dead.
But because the Scriptures three times in this past talked about the glory of God, I decided that that's the appropriate title to this sermon.
Because what we should be concerned about, more than our problems.
So, Lord, I know when I have a problem, I'm concerned. Problems are kind of like people's surgery. When you're having surgery, it's a minor surgery. And when I'm having surgery, it's a major operation. And so when you're having a problem, it's a minor problem. And when I'm having a problem, it's a major problem. But the reality ought to be, what we should be saying is, "God, is there some way that you can be glorified in me? Can you be glorified by fixing the problem?
Can you be glorified by me living through and dying in the problem? Or can you be glorified after it seems that no one has showed up and it seems late? You showed up and it's never too late. What is it, God, that you might?
And hopefully our answer would always be, "Would God be the glory?" And all of God's good and steady.