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The Raising of Lazarus, Játiva, Valencia (Spain), 1591 – Naples (Italy), 1652

NASB John 11:39 Jesus *said, “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 four days.” 40Jesus *said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus *said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

Jesus looks at Martha and says, Martha, move the stone. Martha’s response, she said to him, Lord, by this time, there will be a stench, for he has been dead for four days. Remember that delay, by this time, he stinks, Jesus said move the stone, she says, let me give you a lesson in mortuary, science, he’d been dead four days, rica mortis has set in, which means the cells have collapsed, when rick amortis sets in and the cells, collapse it releases a green substance, when this green substance is released, because rico mortis has set in because the cells has collapsed that produces a stench.

Faith must always precede sight and feeling.

He says to her, did not I say to you, if you believe you would see the glory of God, in other words, here it is, faith must always precede sight, once you put sight in front of faith, you’ve negated faith, faith is based on what you do not see, if you’ve got to see it first you won’t see it, how would she demonstrate faith, not by a feeling but by removing the stone because faith is not a feeling, it’s an action.

Faith is acting like God is telling the truth, it is acting like it is so even when, it’s not so in order that it might be so, simple because God said so, so you move in faith even when you don’t feel it sometimes, you’re going to feel, faith-ish, you’ve got faith all over you’re, just feeling it, sometimes you won’t ever feel faith-ish, but you can know you’re operating in faith because you’re moving the stone so, some of us have situations that have not, changed because we’re still having, conversations and have not touched the, stone, the thing that God told us to do that we refuse to do, which keeps the stone there, which means there’s no faith no matter, how much church you have.

God begins to work until faith has been demonstrated.

Then, Jesus raised his eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. There’s theology there, you’re praying through a crisis, you’re talking to God, but here’s what you want, you want Jesus talking to God for you, you got to talk to him first, but what you want is Jesus to ditto the request, then Jesus says to his father, I thank you, that you have heard me, he didn’t say I thank you that you hear me, I thank you that you heard me, which means we’ve already discussed this crisis that Lazarus is in.

When they prayed the first time at the beginning of chapter 11, you and our father had a conversation, Martha and Mary they have a sick brother, they want us to do something, daddy, Martha and Mary just came to me, and they had a conversation they wanted to do something about their brother Lazarus, so so let’s talk about how we gonna handle this well, son, you know what we can actually use this crisis as an opportunity for me to have greater glory, so son, here’s what we’re going to do as soon as they demonstrate faith, then we’re going to let this thing roll out, because they have did, you know, when you first talked to God a year ago about that problem, he and the son have already discussed that, but the son is not praying for the implementation, until faith has been demonstrated.

Sometimes the delay is tied to a bigger point that God wants to accomplish for His glory.

So now, Jesus prays I thank you’ve heard me, I know that you always hear me, but because of the people standing around, I said it, so that they might believe that you sent me. Now we got a clue, Jesus holds off on answering the prayer because he wants to use the crisis to bring a lot of people to salvation, so now there is a spiritual reason for a crisis delay in spite of a prayer being prayed, because there’s a bigger kingdom purpose at work than just the healing of Lazarus. If you’re in a crisis and God has not moved and you’re operating by faith. All that means is the delay is tied to a bigger point that God wants to accomplish for His glory, the amplification of the name of his son and the advancement of his kingdom, so you keep praying to a crisis if you’ve not heard no, then you keep praying so Jesus prays, it’s called intercession Hebrews 7: 24-25 where Jesus intercedes as our counselor he goes before us and he delivers us out of a stinky situation.

Every Christian has life, but not everyone has liberty.

He says verse 43, Lazarus, forth, so Lazarus walks out of the tomb. As he’s exiting the tomb, the man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, his face was wrapped around with a cloth, Jesus said to them, unbind him and let him go. Lazarus has life, but what he doesn’t have is freedom, because he’s bound, his hands were bound, his feet were bound, he’s wrapped like a mummy, he’s wrapped from head all the way to the toe, so he has life, but no liberty. Everybody here who’s a Christian, that means you have life, but not everybody who’s a Christian has liberty, you may be bound by an addiction bound, by an emotional struggle bound, by a health situation something may be holding you hostage, even though you have life.

The Church is a family relationship where folk are being loosed and set free.

Now watch this, Jesus gave him life, but Jesus did not directly give him liberty, he told them to unloose him and let him go. Jesus Christ wants to give every sinful person eternal life, he offers life through his blood, but he sets folk free through his people, he still does it, but he does it through his people, that’s why God wants every Christian to be an active part of a local church, so that you can be unwrapped if you’re trapped, or so you can unwrap somebody, else if you have been unwrapped yourself.

God never meant for you to come once a week to hear somebody preach the Bible alone, he wants you part of a family so you can be in the unwrapping untying and deliverance business, so that you can be helping somebody else as somebody helps you, that’s what the church is supposed to be, it’s not a weekly event, it is a family relationship where folk are being loosed and set free, I know there are many crises here, but I want you to pray through it, even if it’s gotten worse and not better, because I want to let you know right now, that God can turn things around for his own purpose.

Credit: Praying through a Crisis – Sermon by Tony Evans

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