Believing God Even When No One Else Does (Part 1)

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  23:59
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A couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. So during a check-up, the doctor tells them that they're physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember.
Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. 'Want anything while I'm in the kitchen ?' he asks.
'Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?'
'Don't you think you should write it down so you can remember it?' she asks.
'No, I can remember it.'
'Well, I'd like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so as not to forget it?'
He says, 'I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.'
'I'd also like whipped cream. I'm certain you'll forget that, write it down?', she asks.
Irritated, he says, 'I don't need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream - I got it, for goodness sake!'
Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes, the old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment.
'Where's my toast?'

Historical/Cultural Context -

The Gospel of John was written between 90 AD and 100 AD. Scholars also believe that John wrote the three Epistles and the book of Revelation around the same time-frame as he wrote this Gospel. The Gospel of John was written after Matthew, Mark, & Luke had been written and circulated. John has been dubbed by most scholars as “The Spiritual Gospel.”

Biblical Text -

John 11:1–27 NKJV
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” When Jesus heard that, He said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to Him, “Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone You, and are You going there again?” 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. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” These things He said, and after that He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.” Then His disciples said, “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.” So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away. And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now 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 of 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 at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever 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 to come into the world.”


Life Principle - God Has Not Written You Off. Keep On Following God’s Will & Ignore Naysayers.

Life Point- You Are Not Forgotten

Exegetical -

John 11:1–7 NLT
A man named Lazarus was sick. He lived in Bethany with his sisters, Mary and Martha. This is the Mary who later poured the expensive perfume on the Lord’s feet and wiped them with her hair. Her brother, Lazarus, was sick. So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.” But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days. Finally, he said to his disciples, “Let’s go back to Judea.”

Homiletical -

Here we come to the familiar story of Lazarus. Lazarus was sick and he lived in Bethany with His 2 sisters. One of which was the Mary that washed Jesus feat with expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair.
So they do what anyone would do, who believed in Jesus; they sent a message to Him letting him know Lazarus needs help.
I would imagine that Lazarus was close to death at this point and they are crying out to Jesus for help.
Have you ever been where you have cried out to Jesus for help? Does it seem like your prayers are hitting the ceiling? Because that is what this is like for them.
So they send this messenger expecting Jesus to come quickly since this is His friend.
Is this what happens? No. Jesus lingers where He is for the next two days before He decides to go back to Judea.
In the mean time Lazarus is getting sicker and sicker. He approaches the pain and sickness that is death. His problem is not going away.
However, Jesus gives the disciples and possibly the messenger a promise. He says Lazarus’ story will not end in death, but that God will get glory out of it.
Notice He didn’t say Lazarus wouldn’t die but that his story wouldn’t end in death. To the believer in the resurrection our story will not end in death. We will rise again.
1 Thessalonians 4:13–18 NLT
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like people who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and was raised to life again, we also believe that when Jesus returns, God will bring back with him the believers who have died. We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words.
That for the Christian is where we find our hope. Because to not believe in the resurrection leaves us with a faith that is in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:13–20 NLT
For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless. And we apostles would all be lying about God—for we have said that God raised Christ from the grave. But that can’t be true if there is no resurrection of the dead. And if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.
You know something like this happened to an Old Testament Saint as well. He prayed and it seemed like nothing happened. It seemed God had abandoned Him, but He didn’t. God was with him. This man was the prophet Daniel.
Daniel 10:10–13 NLT
Just then a hand touched me and lifted me, still trembling, to my hands and knees. And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling. Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer. But for twenty-one days the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia blocked my way. Then Michael, one of the archangels, came to help me, and I left him there with the spirit prince of the kingdom of Persia.
Let me tell you saint of God. God knows where you are at, He hasn’t forgot about your circumstance. He may pull you out of the fire or He may walk with you in furnace like He did with the three Hebrew Children, but you are not forgotten. Neither in this life or the next.

Illustration -

The Following is an excerpt from a Gospel Song that reminds me of this Biblical Truth
I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
God knows my name
He knows my name
Light over darkness
Strength over weakness
Joy over sadness
He knows my name
Father to the fatherless
Friend to the friendless
Hope for the hopeless
He knows my name
I will praise You, I will praise You
For I am fearfully and wonderfully made
I am not forgotten, never forsaken
I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
I am not forgotten
God knows my name

Life Point - Be In God’s Will & Ignore Naysayers

Exegetical -

John 11:8–16 NLT
But his disciples objected. “Rabbi,” they said, “only a few days ago the people in Judea were trying to stone you. Are you going there again?” Jesus replied, “There are twelve hours of daylight every day. During the day people can walk safely. They can see because they have the light of this world. But at night there is danger of stumbling because they have no light.” Then he said, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.” The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!” They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died. So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.” Thomas, nicknamed the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go, too—and die with Jesus.”

Homiletical -

Jesus announces that it is time to go back to Judea and visit Lazarus, but His disciples object.
Jesus then gives them what I call a parable statement, meaning that those these people wanted to kill Him, He is the light and He must share that light.
Then He tells them that Lazarus is asleep and he must go wake him up. Meaning he’s dead. But the disciples don’t get that. So He has to tell them plainly. Lazarus is dead.
Then He makes an odd statement that He is glad He wasn’t there, because now they will really believe. In other words their faith will be significantly strengthened.
Mine would be too if I saw a dead guy come out of a grave in his burial clothes by just Jesus telling him to come out.
Now good ole doubting Thomas has to show his doubts, which I just think he was the most vocal about the doubts. I think everyone else had doubts too, but the didn’t say anything.
He says “Let’s go, too-and die with Jesus.” That is a very cynical and snarky thing to say, but he says it.
I want you to take in this situation for a minute.
You have Jesus knowing what the will of the Father is in the situation
You have his disciples who really don’t want to follow him back, but they do because He is Jesus.
They are questioning His decision very plainly and pretty vehemently.
But does this stop Jesus from doing God’s will? Does He listen to the negativity? What does He do? He moves on with the Father’s will and goes anyway.
This is the way we should be too, but we better be really sure of one thing; that whatever we are doing is truly God’s will. Because if it ain’t then we do two things.
(1) We sin against God because we aren’t listening to Him
(2) We strengthen the naysayers in what they say and embolden them in their pride.
So what is a person to do?
(1) Make sure that what we are about to do is the will of God.
You do this through prayer and asking for confirmation from God.
(2) Push through with the will of God despite the negativity. If it is God’s will then fruit will be born of it.
That negativity may last for awhile. It may last as you journey to where God is taking you, but when God reveals the end of the matter you will see that He gets the glory through all things.

Illustration -

Job had friends and a wife who told him to give up on God. His wife even told him to curse God and die. He didn’t do that, He persevered. It was God’s will that he suffer, but on the other side God restored to him more than he could have thought possible.

Life Principle God Has Not Written You Off. Keep On Following God’s Will & Ignore Naysayers.

Call to Action – altar call….

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