If you are a pastor or lay person who wants to use this to preach in church – that is why I posted it. I don’t care about credit, I only care that God’s word is preached and Christ is glorified. I pray He uses this sermon in a mighty way through you. You have my permission to alter it and use it however God leads you. God bless you in your ministry. You can also bookmark this to check out the other free written sermons on my blog.
Week 7 Raising Lazarus. 1. – Water to Wine 2. – Nobleman’s son healed 3. – Paralyzed man at pool of Bethesda healed 4. – Feeding of the 5,000 5. – Jesus walks on water 6. – Healing of blind man 7. – Jesus raises Lazarus
Anyone been to all 7 weeks?
I know I had a theme a couple of weeks ago about white water rafting. Today the theme would have to be a dessert. I heard the phrase “Becoming an Oasis” in the last couple of weeks and I was struck how it applied to the miracles we’ve been talking about overall for the last seven weeks and how it applies to this weeks miracle. What’s an oasis?
Really, what’s an oasis?
I said in the beginning of this series that I read a book where the pastor said he’d never gone through the seven signs in John without someone accepting Christ, being saved. We might not know if anyone has accepted Christ during these 7 weeks. First, it’s not like when someone accepts Christ they’re pulled up to heaven immediately. Somebody might have been saved during these 7 weeks and maybe they’ve not yet told anyone, which they need to do. If the end all was simply a matter of just being saved, God would just take you when you’re saved. The lost would say, no Margaret, don’t get saved. I don’t want to lose you yet.
The day Tyler and Medina accepted Christ, they wouldn’t have been able to go home and tell Tim, because they’d have been immediately taken up to be with God.
It obviously doesn’t happen that way. Who would be left here to make new disciples? There would be nobody here to witness to them. When we accept Christ, God raises us, almost as literally as He raises Lazarus, from death to life, and he leaves us here but He doesn’t leave us the same. Can’t you imagine Lazarus is a different man now? How is it that he leaves us here but doesn’t leave us the same? We can’t become a true disciple without going through that Lazarus moment. Dying to self.
Paul says in Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
How are we changed?
1. – Water to Wine – We are better afterward.
2. – Nobleman’s son healed – we have true faith afterward
3. – Paralyzed man at pool of Bethesda healed – We no longer look for excuses
4. – Feeding of the 5,000 – We know that God will provide for our needs
5. – Jesus walks on water – We now have Christ with us, in our boat, within us, guiding us.
6. – Healing of blind man – We are able to witness and tell what Christ has done for us.
7. Today – Our direction is changed, recalculated, whereas before we were headed toward death, we now have true life and are headed for eternal life.
Any pool players? Billiards?
When you’re playing pool, you figure out what angle that cue ball has to hit the other balls to make them go in the direction to make them go in the hole. Or maybe the cue ball hits one ball at just the right angle to make that ball make another ball do something. You’ve got the 14 ball by the pocket, but the 6 ball is in between the cue ball and the 14. If the cue ball hits the 6 ball at just the right speed and just the right angle, it will send the 6 into the 14 to put the 14 right in the pocket. Mission accomplished. Jesus is like the cue ball in a game of pool.
(Tell story of the guy at the Tasty Crème, Even before I was a Christian, He was using me to do His work even before I was a Christian, changing that guy’s direction.)
Why does he leave us here? To become an oasis. A place in the dry and thirsty world that is a refreshing change from all the dryness. It’s what Jesus was when He walked the earth. He was an oasis. He even said so much.
He said to the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4, “If you knew who it was who was talking to you, you would ask me for a drink and I would give you living water. Whoever drinks of the water that I give will never thirst again. The water I give will become a fountain springing up in you into everlasting life.”
When we are saved, when we accept Christ, we are raised from death to life – that’s the deal with immersing in baptism – go down – die to self, raise up from the water – alive to Christ. The water doesn’t have the power to save, it’s just a better picture of our change in life, like Lazarus – you were dead, and Jesus calls you forth, in the case of immersion in baptism, he calls you up from the water.
We are called forth to be an oasis. Unlike an oasis in the dessert, where people have to get to it, when we become an oasis, we’re one that moves to the people. In the dessert, people get to the point they’re crawling and can’t make it to the oasis, that’s the lost and dying in the world. Our job is to be the oasis and go to them. There’s a fountain springing up in us.
There is another word I think of when I think of desserts & oasis – Anyone know? Sometimes people are fooled in the dessert. Mirage. What’s a mirage? You think you see something and then you get there, and it’s not really there. It was your imagination.
When we don’t have that Lazarus moment, when we don’t pass from death to life, when we don’t die to self, it’s only a mirage. For some, we see them appear to pop up from death to life, but they are just jumping out on their own and they never really died to self. They haven’t died to self so that they can be called forth, there is no “Lazarus come forth”, so they’re just jumping out on their own and they were never really dead. In the case of Lazarus, some of us have just been playing possum, just been playing dead, just hiding waiting to pop out. That’s the problem with an emotional moment at church. I wrestle with the emotional verses the listening and making a decision. Get caught up in coming to the altar and you haven’t been called forth. It’s a mirage. How do we know the difference? We are either an oasis or a mirage. When we go into the dry and thirsty dessert of this world, do we provide any refreshment?
Back to Jesus talking to the samaratin woman about the living water, he says,
The water I give will become a fountain springing up in you into everlasting life.
I believe in most of us it will start as a trickle. Like a breach in a dam or levy, you have a small crack that barely lets any water through, but as more and more water pours through, more and more water pours through.
And if it sounds like I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth. I’m not. On the one hand, Dying to self, and being alive to Christ – is a moment, the moment we confess Christ as our Savior.
Yet on the other hand, it’s a daily event as well. Paul says his goal is to consistently have more of Christ, and less of himself. If you only pray a dozen words a day, pray these-
Lord, let there be more of You and less of me today. Or you can cut it down to 6 words – more of you, less of me.
Some here are saved and you’re not afraid to let everyone know it, your direction has been changed and you’ve had your coming out of the grave party. Some here are saved, but for you it’s a challenge to confess Christ publicly. You’ve been called forth and you’ve taken a step, but you haven’t kept stepping. And others here have never accepted Christ as their Savior. You’re still in the grave. Jesus has called you forth, the stone has been rolled away, but you have insisted on staying in the grave. Will you accept him today? When He calls you forth – not because of what you have done, it’s because of what Christ has done. Lazarus is not called forth because of what he has done. No miracle in the last 7 weeks has been because of what the people did, it’s what Jesus did. It’s not what Lazarus did, it’s what Christ did. Will you accept what Jesus did today?
Don’t know how? Lord, I’m a sinner. I want you to set me free. I believe you died on the cross to pay for my sins. I ask you to enter my heart through your Holy Spirit today and make me a new creation. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Is there anyone who feels led to publicly confess Him today? Not saying that you’re just becoming a Christian today, but maybe you did become a Christian today. No words – no testimony – just by standing for a few seconds and then sitting. There should be people standing and sitting all over the congregation, not everyone at once.
Some people you see standing may have been Christians forever, some may be new Christians today, but all are standing as a way to publicly confess Jesus Christ as Savior.