The End of Death

The one who conquers death   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The Death of Death


FCF: What does it take for someone to be convinced in Christianity? I use to believe the problem was merely intellectual. More education, more historical, linguistic, more logical process and anyone can become a Christian. But the problem is not merely educational, it is deeper than that. Assenting to Christianity is not merely an activity of the mind, it is a journey of the heart. And it is not a journey that we just one day decide we are going to jump into, rather it is a journey that we are called to. And when we hear that call, we respond.
We have seen over the past few weeks Jesus’ greatest sign in bringing Lazarus back from the dead. And we have been saying this is necessary, because Jesus is the champion over our greatest foes especially death itself. And then we asked the most important question we could ask, If Jesus is the champion over death what does that mean for us today while we are living? So far we have seen it means two things, 1) Jesus is devoted to us when we encounter our greatest foe, and 2) in our times of loss, he identifies with us. He meets us where we are bringing hope.
The last aspect of this passage that we see is that Jesus manifest God’s glory among us.

What is God’s Glory?

While the resurrection of Lazarus seems to be the final conclusion of this chapter, the theme of God’s glory seems to take precedent. According to Jesus this display of God’s glory that he is about to showcase is the most important thing the people will witness.
John 11:38–40 ESV
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” 40 Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
Martha still has no idea what Jesus is planning on doing. You can see this by her objection to removing the stone away from the grave of her brother. John highlights why she had the objections her brother had been dead, super dead, 4 days dead and removing the stone would be a painful experience for everyones eyes and noses. But then Jesus begins the process of realigning her focus about the situation. He has a plan, and his plan does not revolve around bringing more pain to the family, rather to demonstrate the glory of God by releasing Lazarus from the grips of his worst enemy death itself.
As much as Martha wants to see her brother live again there is something she needs more. There is something every human being needs more, and that is to see the glory of God. This is why Jesus says to her, what he does.

God’s glory defined.

God’s glory is the infinite expression of all his perfections. It is not something that he possess separate than himself, it is the sum total of who he is. Or as one pastor puts it, “the outward radiance of the intrinsic worth and beauty and greatness of his manifold perfections. Every attribute of God is a facet in the diamond that is the glory of God. If God lost any of his attributes, he would be less glorious. Indeed, he would not be God.”
As we have said before, the Jewish understanding of God’s glory is very important here. For the Jew, God’s glory is thought of as “heavy.” The phrase, “The glory of the LORD appears frequently in the OT in reference to God’s unique divine presence, above, and even among his people. God’s glory is synonymous with is presence. We see this in verses like
Psalm 19:1 ESV
1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Isaiah 6:3 ESV
3 And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
Seeing and even more experiencing God’s glory is the highest good anyone or anything in this universe can obtain. Humans have been given a special privilege in the ordering of the universe in proximity to God’s glory. We have been made to not only see it, experience it, but to reflect it. We are conduits for his God’s splendor and presence. But something has gone terribly wrong. We have become blind to God’s glory.

How is God’s Glory so easy to miss?

Because our of sin and rebellion we all have forfeited our ability to freely access God’s glory. Which means we have forfeited our access to God’s presence, his goodness his hope. The payment of our sin as Paul says is death.
Romans 3:23 ESV
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Throughout the history of God’s people God has used mediators to remind his people of their 1) need for God’s glory, and 2) use mediators to point God’s people to his promise to return his people to their place among God’s glory. As these individuals are taken behind the curtain and shown God’s splendor they are never the same, and their plea for others to trust God is never the same.
Abraham experiences God’s presence in dream, and it leads him to trust him. Moses while leading the people through the wilderness, tells God I can go no further unless you show me your glory. Which for him becomes the sweeter than even entering the promise land. God comes to David while he is praying and promises he will always have a son on throne, his kingship will last forever. This becomes what he holds on to the rest of his life.
These men are able to lead others, because of the great glory they saw in God. And now the greatest mediator has arrived. And what is his deepest desire for his hurting friends? In their time of greatest need, there is only one thing on his mind, exposing the glory of God before his friends. Jesus is telling Martha and the onlookers, I know your hurting, I and I know what you think you need is just to see your brother live again, but you must see you have a deeper need. You have a need to see, experience, and savior the glory of God which you are cut off from because of your sin. But I have come, to make it known to you again.

Time out: Is this the time to talk about God’s glory?

Is right now a good time for a theological lesson…Jesus they are hurting, just raise him from the dead. But Jesus is not being cruel he is being extremely practical, and he is reorienting their ability to see what they needs most even in their situation of loss. He is reminding them of their need to see and trust in God’s glory. What good is there joy, their happiness if it is not rooted in, and sustained by something as infinite as God’s own glory.
Jesus is addressing a huge problem. God reveals his glory to us, and the appropriate response is to then verbally give him glory back. But here is the problem, we don’t. Instead we give glory to other things. We give our glory to things that are not worthy, or are they directly responsible for our good.
God’s glory, shown forth in the plan and work of grace whereby he saves sinners, is meant to call forth praise (, , ), that is, the giving of glory to God by spoken words (cf. ; ). All life activities, too, must be pursued with the aim of giving God homage, honor, and pleasure, which is glory-giving on the practical level ().
The doctrine of God’s glory, is not merely a theology pontification, it is truly practical for us. God is infinitely glorious, he shares that glory wit us, and in return we then give glory back to him in all things.
1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
No matter what you are doing the cor

Why God’s Glory?

Finally the moment has come. Jesus is making good on his promise that this illness his friend has suffered from will not lead to final death, but rather so that the splendor of God might be made known more fully to those who believe. Look at vv 41.
John 11:41–44 ESV
41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

God’s Glory Demonstrates His Power.

Sorcerers and wizards whisper there incantations. Doctors silently whisk around their tools on the operating table, but when the son of God raises Lazarus from the grave, he stands and shouts his name, and commands death to release him.
In the same way that a child
Jesus as the catalyst for God’s glory begins his work with the family by praying. Notice in his prayer, he shows his special connection with the father. He doesn't say our father, just father. He alludes to praying prior to this moment about the work he is about to do, but also thanks God for answering his prayer in the presence of everyone who can hear him. And he concludes his prayer stating the purpose of the miracle he is about to do. Again notice, the purpose is not merely to bring Lazarus back from the dead, but so that the people’s eyes would be opened, and that they would believe that Jesus is the Messiah who has come to reveal the glory of the father.
And then as to not awaken every dead person within ear range, he calls Lazarus by name.
John 11:43–44 ESV
43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
John 11:43 ESV
43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.”
Like a parent calling to the child walking into an intersection, Jesus calls Lazarus back from the grips of death, by merely speaking.
jn 11:
John is very clear, this is not an act of resuscitation. Lazarus was dead, and has been brought back from the dead. This is a resurrection. The son of God, the champion of haven, the one who holds all things together, looks upon the mess that our great foe death has brought to his people and he calls to his friend. And in doing so the impossible, becomes possible. Death loosens his grip and Lazarus, and he walks out of the grave.
And like the aftermath of all Jesus’ miracles. The crowd is divided. Everyone there saw Lazarus come out of the grave, but not everyone saw the glory of God, his power on full display.
John 11:45–46 ESV
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what he did, believed in him, 46 but some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done.
jn 11:45-

God’s Glory Demonstrates his Love.

Everyone present sees the Lazarus get up from the dead, but not everyone sees the glory of God. Why? How can this be? God’s glory reveals not only his power but also his love, and if where there is no love for God, there is no seeing his glory. Being exposed to God’s glory is a common experience shared by all humans, but only those whose love him, trust him, believe in him are able to identify his glory for what it is and the role it plays in our lives. This is why Jesus responds to Martha the way he does in vv 40. If yo u believe, you will see the glory of God.
Does this mean that Christians, those who trust in Christ, are somehow better or more equipped than those who don’t? No not at all. What it does mean is that those who have trusted in Christ, have been shown, and are convinced of their dependance on Christ. He is the supplier of all our goodness, our happiness, he is the treasure our hearts are looking for. And we are in a constant search for his glory in our lives.

Timeout: Some of you are thinking, or have thought before

Since they missed the glory being displayed here, they certainly will miss the greater glory this is point to in the coming weeks.
Since they missed the glory being displayed here, they certainly will miss the greater glory this is point to in the coming weeks.
That seems a bit backwards. Why do I have to believe in Jesus before I can see his glory? Why can’t I see his glory than believe in him? This seems like a sneaky Christian trap.
C.S. Lewis Addresses this head on in an Essay entitled, “The Weight of Glory.” He admits to the nonChristian it seems that this approach to God’s glory or any rewards from God, make the Christian life more like a Mercenary tactic than anything else. The man who marries a wealthy woman for her money is a mercenary. The end goal is the money. A General who desires prestige enters the battle field thinking of his future accolades. The school boy learning greek longs for the days of reading the great poets. These are mercenary attempts, but these are not the Christian way.
For the real lover the primary reward of marriage, is marriage to the one that brings his soul delight regardless of her trust fund. For the general who longs for victory, victory is his aim even if prestige never comes. For the boy learning greek, each character he memorizes brightens his world as his brain recognizes a different language.
For the Christian, God’s glory is only splendorous because through seeing and obtaining his glory, we obtain God himself. His presence, his goodness, his care, his comfort, his hope, his purpose for us. Bringing glory to God is out ultimate aim, because in that pursuit we get God himself.

But why this God? Why Christ’s glory?

Why should we devote ourselves to this. Because there is no other God like him. There is no God willing to put his glory on display like him. How so?
The final conclusion from the religious leaders is that Jesus has to go, he has to be put to death for the nation to survive. What humans call irony, God’s calls his sovereignty. In God’s plan this is exactly what must occur. The death of one individual will save the nation. and even more than the nation. Every person whom Jesus claims for his own all across the world.
Jesus displays the splendor our his father and gives this family such a wonderful gift. He gives Lazarus new life, and the family he gives them their loved one back. But the full implications of this are not yet uncovered. As John records this his mind had to be flooding with how this story turns out in the end. This is the greatest sign Jesus shows pointing to something even more glorious.
(Gospel) How is Jesus able to raise Lazarus from the grave? Jesus is able to save Lazarus from the grave, because he is going to go into the grave. Lazarus is able to walk out and remove his grave clothed because Jesus is going to put grave clothes on. Death is defeated for Lazarus, because Jesus is going to hand himself over to it.
The one who s called the radiance of God’s glory soon will allow evil men, men who are consumed with their own glory, to crucify him. On the cross the divine warrior Jesus will battle with out greatest foe, death, and three days later he will rise victorious. Demonstrating the greatest display of God’s glory ever recored or will be recored.

Where do we go from here?

God is the most glorious and valuable thing in the universe. Our highest good is to honor that glory. Even in the most difficult times of loss, including in the midst of death.
During the time when John is the writing this letter Christians were being persecuted by the masses. John’s words are written with them in mind. What is the one thing that can keep a women/man going during such chaos? Want can give them hope in their time of loss? As they suffer deeply from humanities greatest foe? How does John continue to encourage them? He reminds them, of the glory of Christ. His worth, his value. To have this, to be able to see this is the greatest source of comfort and strength a person can have in the most of a dark world.
And it is true for us today. God’s glory is the highest attainment we can have in this life, especially in the face of loss. Because it is here, in his glory that we get him. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. These two truths are not separate, but connected. As we seek God’s glory, we become more and more satisfied in him. And as we do, our greatest foe death itself, looses it grip over us.
In his death on our behalf he shows his devotion to us, he shows his willingness to identify with us, and he put his glory on absolute display.


What does it look like for you to enjoy God in your life? To be satisfied in him above all other things?
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