Loose Him and Let Him Go

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There is nothing in the devil's arsenal that can defeat the powerful Word of God as we walk in the Spirit of the Lord.

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Hope in the Midst of Loss

In the Old Testament the term death is often “used as a metaphor for those things which hinder full life.” It is used in the book of Ezekiel to describe the exilic community, imprisoned and demoralized in Babylon. The Word of the Lord comes to the valley of dry bones and brings them back to life. The graves open up, and the people are brought home to the land of Israel (see Ezekiel 37). These images of bleached bones and open graves can speak volumes to persons whose suffering has left them imprisoned or decimated.

In the fourth Gospel, death becomes a metaphor for the type of existence that the followers of Jesus have transcended. Though they die biologically, Jesus’ followers do not participate in an existence that is oriented toward death. The presence of the suffering and risen Lord gives life to believers beginning in the present age. Those who hear the word of Jesus and believe have already passed from death to life (see John 5:24). And in raising Lazarus from death, Jesus proclaims that, for believers, he is the key to both resurrection from death and new life in the present (see John 11:1–27).

Times of Refreshing

The end of finds Jesus, the target of a murderous anger on the part of the Community/Religious leadership, moving out of their reach but remaining accessible to those who were seeking Him. says, “41 And many came to him. And they said, “John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true.” 42 And many believed in him there.”
It wasn’t the miracles that convinced them, but as it was by Jacob’s well in Sychar, or in the Temple in Jerusalem, the preached Word brought forth faith in those who heard it with a receptive heart. (ESV) “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;”
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
I am persuaded that Jesus’ heart was refreshed as He ministered among them. It is good to see the fruit of your labor before you, Amen? Doesn’t your faith become strengthened when you see someone come to faith in Christ, or experience the Joy of His salvation? When someone who fell down, gets back up again?
and in his word I hope;
One of the reasons that it is hard to leave the four walls of the Sanctuary and go out into the highways and byways is because we get a taste of death out there. We taste death each time that our message is despised and rejected of men. We taste death when the cares of life choke the Word of the Gospel and render it unfruitful. We know that there is no failure in God, but our efforts to enter into the harvest fields seem to meet with little in the way of success. When Jesus looked over Jerusalem later on He would say with weeping, “How often I wanted to gather you, like a hen does her chicks, but you were unwilling!” But the Mission of God calls us out of solitude, out of safety and comfort, as those whom we love for Christ’s sake send for us in their time of need.

There’s Something about Martha

Martha was a woman whom many give a bad rap, because of her concern with her sister Mary’s failure to provide assistance in being a hostess. As we preach , sometimes we preachers make Martha look callous and Mary spiritual, because Martha was concerned with serving the Lord, while Mary sat at His feet to hear Him. Don’t get me wrong, Mary did choose “that good part,” but as we see in today’s Gospel text, Martha confessed the good confession, Martha trusted in the goodness and the power of Christ, Martha brought a word of encouragement to Mary that Jesus wanted her.
I don’t mind being misunderstood, when I know where I am in God. Do you know where you are today, saints? Do you say with Martha, I know that You are the Christ! I know it as a settled fact, as a bedrock foundation, and my life is fixed on that unshakeable rock. Not even death itself can shake me. That was Martha’s testimony!
We look at our social, economic, political, and theological situation, and we are tempted to wonder, “why God is not healing us?” We know that we are sick, and we pray, “Lord, heal us. Lord, deliver us!” We want things to be the way we remember them, before we got sick. That’s what Mary and Martha wanted. That’s why they both said, “Lord, if You would have been here, my brother would not have died.”

Confessionally Speaking

It’s good to know that God is the source of every good gift. It’s good to know, as we read in SC Part II, Art I, paragraph 2, “I believe that God has created me together with all that exists. God has given me and still preserves my body and soul: eyes, ears, and all limbs and senses; reason and all mental faculties. In addition, God daily and abundantly provides shoes and clothing, food and drink, house and farm, spouse and children, fields, livestock, and all property—along with all the necessities and nourishment for this body and life. God protects me against all danger and shields and preserves me from all evil. And all this is done out of pure, fatherly, and divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness of mine at all! For all of this I owe it to God to thank and praise, serve and obey him. This is most certainly true.”
God is more than that, though, saints. As we read further, in Art II, “He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned human being. He has purchased and freed me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death. He has done all this in order that I may belong to him, live under him in his kingdom, and serve him in eternal righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as he is risen from the dead and lives and rules eternally. This is most certainly true.”
Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord: the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (p. 355). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.
God sent His Son into the world to save it, not simply to make it look better, to fluff up the pillows. We need a “New Creation.” We need, not to be fixed up, but to be transformed. It won’t be enough to have nicer neighborhoods if those neighborhoods are still in the grip of Satan, because the Gospel is not loved and treasured in every home, when children are not trained and nurtured in the admonition of the Lord by parents who embrace their calling to do so.
Kolb, R., Wengert, T. J., & Arand, C. P. (2000). The Book of Concord: the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (pp. 354–355). Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

What you gone do, Boo?

That won’t happen on auto-pilot. It takes people who are seeking the Lord, people who not only watch, but pray. We can do a lot of things, but unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build. Yes, Gary is low on funds, but having a lot of money didn’t keep us from having problems, just like it doesn’t keep Los Angeles from having a lot of problems, or Washington DC from having a lot of problems.
We forget that Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation.” We think that He was just playing. He didn’t really mean that. Has Jesus ever lied to you? About anything? Did He lie about His innocent, bitter suffering and death? Did He lie about His resurrection from the dead? did He lie when He said that we must also take up our cross and follow Him?
But did He lie when He said, You are my witnesses? You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you? Did He lie when He said “I am with you always, even to the end of the age?”
>>Turn to your neighbor and tell him, “It ain’t over!” Come on, say it like you mean it. “It ain’t over!” Say it like the devil’s worst didn’t even faze you: “It ain’t over!”<<
We have work to do. God has called us for such a time as this, to bear witness to a community that has not seen what Witness, Mercy, and Life Together can do. A community that has not tasted the sweetness of the Pure Gospel, which has not drunk deeply from the wells of salvation. We have work to do.
t over
We don’t work alone. We are members of the Body of Christ, and the Lord is our Husband. He loves us with an everlasting love. His truth endures to ALL GENERATIONS. His exceeding great and precious promises have given us EVERYTHING that pertains to life and godliness. With Job, we can say, “But He knows the way that I take; when He has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

Closing Time

Jesus spoke the Word of life to dead Lazarus - “Lazarus, COME FORTH!” Lazarus came out bound. We can sometimes be alive, but bound. We are alive in Christ, but bound in sin. We are alive in Christ, but bound by fear and doubt. We are alive in Christ, but bound by anything and everything that takes our minds off of Christ.
Today, Jesus calls you to be released. Released from the need for the praise of men. Released from the desire for temporal success and acclaim. Released from bitterness and shame over past stumblings. Released from the agony of defeat and death.
Four days dead is not dead enough to defeat the Word of Promise. The smell of decayed dreams is not enough to stop the Word of Promise. The lives that are waiting to be touched by the living Water of Jesus Christ are there for us. The harvest is ripe.
What you you going to do Church? You’ve come out of the grave; What are you going to do? Shake off those grave clothes - SHAKE IT OFF!
>>>Tell your neighbor - SHAKE IT OFF!<<<
It’s time for our neighbors to see, God’s church is alive. It’s time for the powers that be to see, God’s Church is alive. It’s time for the demonic forces in Gary to see, God’s Church is alive.
Will you pray with me?
Will you work with me?
Will you walk with me?
House to house, heart to heart, person to person?
Then “Let’s git it! Let’s Go!”
Let’s love our neighbors enough to tell them that Jesus lives!
Let’s love our neighbor enough to feed them,
Love then enough to clothe them, love them enough to educate them, love them enough to support them, encourage them, correct them, edify them - for Christ’s sake.
And let the peace of God, that passes all understanding, guard our hearts and minds, as we go in Jesus name, Amen!
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