JESUS, LORD AND SERVANT

[SW290] 07/28/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

“Jesus, Lord and Servant”

Text: John 13:1-17

Jesus Christ is Lord and Teacher, but He is also a Servant — first to God, His Father, and then to us. But as with every physical act He does, His serving has a life-changing spiritual meaning and effect!

Verse 1 — Jesus knows! He knows perfectly! What a great truth! He was not at all surprised by what was about to happen. Jesus had told His disciples over and over that He would be arrested, tried, and crucified AND arise on the third day.

And now the time was very near — the Passover at which our Passover Lamb would be sacrificed so you and I could receive forgiveness of past sins, reconciliation to God the Father, and eternal life!

HALLEUJAH!

Jesus Christ’s hour had come, when He would be Servant to His Father, by obeying Him and completing the work the Father sent Him to do. And He would serve you and me, by taking upon Himself the punishment we deserved for our sin.

Jesus knew! He knew perfectly! He knew was about to depart out of this world, and go to His Father. He had loved His own (His disciples), who were in the world.

And now that the completion of His assignment was about to be accomplished, He loved His disciples to the uttermost — completely. His love was not human love — it was agape, God’s actual love, the same love with which God loves His Son!

In what way did God the Son demonstrate His love? In a most unlikely and unexpected way!

Verse 2 — It happened at the Last Supper. Judas Iscariot was about to betray Jesus, the devil having already put it in his heart to do it.

Verse 3 — And Jesus knew! He knew perfectly! He knew who He was. God the Son. And He knew that the Father had given all things into His hand (that is, Jesus had all power and authority)! He knew He had come forth from God, and was about to go back to Him.

Verse 4 — So what was this unlikely and unexpected expression of God’s actual love by the One who has all power and authority? And what does it mean to you and me?

Let Paul tell you —

Philippians 2:5  Have this attitude  in yourselves which was also in  Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He  existed in the  form of God,  did not regard equality with God a thing to be  grasped (hang onto as if it was stolen treasure), 7 but   emptied Himself (made Himself of no reputation), taking the form of a  bond-servant [one who serves out of love], and  being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man,  He humbled Himself by becoming  obedient to the point of death, even  death  on a cross.

Emptied Himself. Humbled Himself. A bond-servant. So, He demonstrated God’s actual love to the uttermost by giving the disciples, and you and me, a clear lesson on what it is to “have this attitude in (Greek: be of the same mind) yourselves.”

Empty yourself. Humble yourself. Become a bond-servant of Jesus Christ. This is a picture of selflessness, the opposite of the self interest/ulterior motives which we saw in Judas, in some of the disciples, in the crowd, and in the Jewish leaders in John 12.

And the ulterior motives were evident in all of the Twelve as they argued over who was the greatest and vied for choice places at the Lord’s right and left hand in what they supposed would be His earthly kingdom (see Luke 9:46 and 22:24, and Matthew 20:21). Jesus’ rebuke —

Matthew 23:11 But the greatest among you shall be your servant.”

What selfless act of agape did Jesus show them, and you and me, to teach us?

He laid aside His garments, took a towel, and girded it tightly around his body. Only the very least, the very lowest of servants was assigned to wash the mire from the streets off the feet of dinner guests.

And I tell you, in the same way that He laid aside His clothing in this verse, to serve His disciples, He laid aside His glorious position at the right hand of God, and obediently did what His Father sent Him to do — He died on a cross! To serve who? You! Me!

Verse 5 — God the Son poured water into a basin. He washed the disciples feet. He dried them with the towel around His waist.

Only He can cleanse you. But why did He cleanse their feet? Keep reading!

Verses 6-7 — He came to Simon Peter, to wash his feet, but Peter objected. Why should His Lord and Teacher demean Himself in such a way?

But Jesus said Peter didn’t realize (Greek: fully understand right now) why Jesus was washing His disciples’ feet. But later, Peter would fully understand, in the upper room where he was staying with the 120, in Acts 2.

When Peter did the same, offering himself as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing (Romans 12:1), he would understand (know by experiencing).

When Peter died in that way, so Christ could live in him (Galatians 2:20), he would understand.

Verse 8 — But because he didn’t understand YET, Peter said, “Never!”

Jesus said he MUST allow Him to wash His feet, or Peter would have no part with Him. He could not be Jesus’ disciple, His follower, unless he allowed Jesus to wash his feet.

So, in order to be His disciple, even before you are able to fully understand why, you MUST ask Him to cleanse you from all of your past sins, by His precious blood —

1John 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Here’s why I say, “past sins” —

Romans 6:1    What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2  May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

Verse 9 — Peter reversed course at Jesus’ words. He wanted Jesus to wash him completely — head, hands, and feet.

Verses 10-11 — But Jesus said Peter had already bathed, so he was already clean, but not all of the disciples were clean (referring to Judas, His betrayer, who did not heed Jesus’ words).

Jesus said Peter’s body was clean, but his feet needed washing.

How had Peter been made clean in all areas but his feet? He had been cleansed by the words Jesus spoke (see John 15:3). He was cleansed by the washing of the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26).

So why did his feet need washing?

Peter could not walk (live) in the same manner as Jesus in this world (1John 2:6) until he was baptized in and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Only then would his feet be truly clean. Only then would his walk be pure.

Only then would Peter’s self interest be crucified. Only then would he become selfless, like Jesus.

Only then would he fully understand why Jesus needed to wash his feet. Only then will you fully understand, beloved.

Verse 12 — So after Jesus washed all His disciples’ feet, He took His garments and dressed. And He reclined at table, at the place He had been before He served them.

Then Jesus asked His disciples, “Do you know (know by experiencing, have absolute knowledge of) what I have done to you?”

He knew they did not YET fully understand. They could not YET see the spiritual significance of His selfless act of agape. They did not yet have His agape in them! But He also knew they would!

I tell you, after Jesus completed His work, dying naked on a cross — the most ignoble and demeaning form of execution of those days — for you and me, and after rising on the third day, He ascended into heaven and once again was clothed with the glory He had temporarily laid aside, just as He had prayed to His Father in John 17:5 —

John 17:5 “Now, Father,  glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

He sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He had been from before time began —

Hebrews 1:3  And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact  representation of His nature, and   upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made  purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the  Majesty on high . . .

Verses 13-14 — Jesus told them they rightly called Him Teacher and Lord. He is, for all who come to Him! He is greater, and we are lesser.

So, He continued, if He did it for them, then they ought to (they were required to) do it for each other.

You cannot humble yourself on a literal cross and die for someone else, like He did.

But you can deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him, to sacrifice your self-centeredness so He can live in you (Matthew 16:24, Galatians 2:20).

You can humble yourself by dying to your self interest, in order to serve Him as His witness in this world, and serve other believers, with a pure. selfless heart motive.

You cannot wash others. Each one must be washed by believing His words and believing into Him. Then they have bathed.

And no one can be purified in their walk unless they ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

But He requires you serve others in this way — to teach and exhort others, to teach His Word that will cleanse them, and exhort them to ask the Father to cleanse their walk by being filled with the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! This is what it is to be His servant!

Verse 15 — Jesus gave this as an example to His disciples, that they ought to do for each other as He did for them. “Ought” is not a suggestion, but a requirement!

It is the same for you. Humble yourself, die to your self interest, and then walk as He walked.

And by doing so, you will then demonstrate that you are filled with the actual love of God — His agape. He does not require it of just pastors and leaders. It is the requirement of every Christian. It is so much more than a literal washing of feet!

Verse 16 — Why does He speak of slaves not being greater than their master, and ones sent not being greater than the one who sent them?

Because if you object to His cleansing of you (as Peter did), do you see that you are correcting your Lord and Teacher? You, the slave (servant) are correcting your Master. You are saying you know better than He does! But you are not greater than He!

Verse 17 — If you know these things (completely, by experiencing them personally), you are blessed if you do them.

And you will gladly do them, because He has filled you with His love.

And you will be blessed by the doing, for He will be glad and you will feel His joy in you, because He is in you —

Zephaniah 3:17  “The Lord your God is  in your midst,

A victorious warrior.

He will  exult (Hebrew: laugh) over you with joy,

He will be quiet in His love (Hebrew: renew you in His love)

He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy (Hebrew: spin    around and sing).

When you humble yourself  so others may be cleansed by His words that you speak and purified by His Spirit in whom you walk, you will be blessed spiritually! You will rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory!

You have heard His words, the water by which you are washed. Now ask Him to wash your feet, and He will fill you with His Spirit so you do what He requires of you — to walk as He walked in this world!

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Session 12 — “Being the Church,” A Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

Review of the study thus far

— Jesus’ briefing on the Holy Spirit in John 14-17

— The promise for which they were to wait

— Fulfilled in Acts 2

— Peter’s sermon, boldly speaking their sin and Christ’s resurrection, and 3,000 come to Christ

— The beggar born lame is healed, Peter speaks again of Christ’s resurrection and their sin, and 5,000 come to Christ

— Peter, John and the beggar are brought before the Sanhedrin

— Do not speak this name or do anything in this name

— Should we obey God or you? You be the judge!

—We cannot stop speaking of what we have seen and heard

— The bond-servants of the Lord ask for greater boldness to speak,

and God answers their prayer!

— Contrast between Barnabas, who gives all, and Ananias and Sapphira, who lie about their offering, and the consequences.

— The apostles are arrested. The angel who frees them delivers this message: Go! Stand! Speak all the words of this Life! And they did, and were arrested again!

Now, Session 12 — Acts 5:33-42

I’m backing up to Peter and the apostles’ response to the Sanhedrin in Verses 29-32, so we can understand Verse 33 onward.

Verse 29 — They say, “We must obey God rather than men,” to this august group of scholars and rulers, the Sanhedrin! That means the Sanhedrin are not God’s representatives, or they would applaud Peter and the apostles’ actions and words! The Sanhedrin were not speaking from God, so the Twelve would not obey them, but they surely would obey God, whom the Sanhedrin was now opposing!

Verse 30 — The God of our fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, for the apostles are Jews)

— Raised up Jesus (Ah! An offense to the Sadducees AGAIN, for they do not believe in resurrection)

— Whom you put to death by hanging Him on a cross! Peter and the apostles declare the Sanhedrin guilty! How bold!

Verse 31  — He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand (you, Sanhedrin, have no idea who Jesus is!), as Prince (Leader, and also the prophesied Prince of Peace from Isaiah 9:6) and Savior (the angels announce to the shepherds in Luke 2:11, and Isaiah said in Isaiah 12:3 and many other places!!!).

Why? So God could GRANT (give as a gift) repentance (to people, including all Israel), and forgiveness of sins.

Verse 32 — And the apostles are EYEWITNESSES of these things, and the Holy Spirit, both in the Old Testament the Sanhedrin claims to know so well, and now, the Holy Spirit who has filled the apostles and the rest of the 120.

Who receives the Holy Spirit’s baptism? Those who obey Jesus, as I taught last time, from John 14:15-16.

And why do these Jewish leaders continue to persecute them? It is the state of the Jewish leaders’ hearts —

Jeremiah 9:26 Egypt and Judah, and Edom and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those inhabiting the desert who clip the hair on their temples; for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.”

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

John 8:42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 43 “Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. 44 “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

NOW, the response from the Sanhedrin  . . .

Verse 33 — When they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended (it was their will) to kill them. Cut to the quick, cut in their hearts, just as in Acts 2:37! Rather than repent, these hard-hearted men’s will was to kill the Apostles!

Why does this scripture say they were “cut?”

From Hebrews 4:12 — The Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword, able to divide soul and spirit, joint and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Its purpose is to pierce hearts so that people will repent!

And Hebrews 4:13 says there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do! There is no hiding from Him, no hiding sin. He alone searches the heart and examines the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve (see Jeremiah 17:10)!

Verse 34 — Gamaliel, a Pharisee who was the Apostle Paul’s teacher before Paul’s conversion (Acts 22:3), was a teacher of the Law and respected by all the people.

He gave orders for the apostles to be put outside.

Verses 35-37 — Take care what you propose to do with these men, he warns. Remember Theudas, who was killed, whose uprising came to nothing. Remember Judas of Galilee who also had some followers, but he, too, perished, and his followers were scattered.

Verses 38-39 — So stay away from these men, the Apostles. Let them alone. If their plans are of men, they will be overthrown, just like the others. BUT if it is of God, and you try to overthrow them, you may even find yourself fighting against God!

How has that worked out so far, in the world? I looked it up at worldatlas.com, and found there are more followers of Jesus today than any other religion —

Christianity (2.22 billion followers)

“Christianity began over two thousand years ago, and is a faith based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. From its humble beginnings as a tiny sub-group evolved from Judaism, Christianity has grown to become the most popular religion in the world, with followers to be found all across the globe. Christians believe in the existence of one God who sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to save humanity from their iniquity and Hell. Followers believe that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross (Crucifixion), his death, and his resurrection were all carried out in service towards granting eternal life and forgiveness to all of those who accept Christ as their personal savior. Even in our modern society, Christianity plays an important and powerful role, not only in terms of religious rituals, but also on a much wider scale. In some degree, it even does so in terms of shaping social and political policies of Christian-dominant nations.”

Nothing will stop Christianity from going forth, for true Christianity is not a religion, but God’s way of reconciling the whole world to Himself (John 3:16)! It is not a series of do’s and don’ts, but being connected with, and interacting with, the living God! Some say the Bible is a bunch of stories. But they are stories of God and His creation and how He has interacted with us from the beginning. These are stories of His work, from the sin of Adam onward, to bring people back to Him by way of His Son, Jesus Christ, whom He sent to make that reconciliation possible so you may live with Him eternally, starting here and now. No other “religion” teaches such a thing! All others are about what you can do to make yourself better or somehow bring yourself to a perfect nirvana, or appease millions of false gods. But you can’t make yourself better or achieve perfection. You CAN repent, and God will make you His, and that will be much better, and fill you with His Spirit so you are able to walk with Him and talk with Him and eat with Him, here and now, and love Him and no longer be slaves to sin! Glory to God!

Verse 40 — The Sanhedrin took his advice (the Greek is “were persuaded by him”). So what did they do? They called the Apostles back in, flogged (flayed, scourged) them, and warned them not to speak of Jesus, and then released them.

This was not the degree of scourging that Jesus endured, for His was done by the Romans, and was in preparation for His death on a cross, so it was more severe. But it was flaying, and involved peeling the skin off them with a whip.

Verse 41 — Did the Apostles go home and hide in fear of further punishment? Did they stop speaking of Jesus?

Of course not! They went away rejoicing, after being scourged! What? They were bleeding and flesh hung from them, back and front! But they considered it a great honor to be considered worthy of suffering like Jesus suffered, for His name’s sake.

Matthew 10:17 Jesus warns His disciples, “But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;

Matthew 20:19 Jesus describes what will happen to Him, saying the Jewish leaders  “will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.”

Matthew 23:34   Jesus tells the Jewish leaders, “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,

John 16:2 “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.”

That was the promise, if they proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ! And they had, and so they rejoiced!

Verse 42 — And what did they do? EVERY DAY, they were in the Temple and went house to house, continuing to teach and preach Jesus as the Christ! They obeyed God and not men!

If you say that was for then, and not for today, look at 1Peter 4:12-16! Peter warns the church that they all will be treated as the Apostles were treated by the Sanhedrin! James says, “Count it all joy!” in James 1:2!

Are you ready for that? Or does the world love you? Do you shrink back from telling the truth to sinners because you fear the backlash of a society that has hard hearts against the truth? I tell you that it is an expression of God’s love when we exhort homosexuals and all other sinners to repent, just as we see in the Book of Acts. Repentance is God’s gift to them, so they may be reconciled to Him and forgiven for their sins!

Do you know you should expect persecution? Do you know that Christians are murdered for their faith, in other lands? Yet they consider it an honor, and rejoice, and proclaim Jesus even with their last breath, just as the Coptic Christian men who were lined up on a beach by ISIS and one-by-one, were beheaded. They spoke His name to the very end!

Do you have boldness of speech? Or do you find yourself falling short, compared with the Christians in the Book of Acts?

Be filled with the Spirit, and you won’t be able to stop speaking of what you have seen and heard, and you will rejoice if because of it, you have to suffer at the hands of hard-hearted men! It’s how the church grows and multiplies, beloved!

JESUS, WORTHY TO BE WORSHIPED

[SW289] 07/21/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

“Jesus, Worthy To Be Worshiped”

Text: John 12:1-19

Jesus Christ is worthy to be worshiped in Spirit and in truth! Through the actions and motives of Mary, the disciples, the crowd, and the Jews, Jesus has asked me to show you why some worship Him as He deserves, and some do not.

I tell you, worshiping Jesus is the most important act of a follower of Him.  It is one thing needful.

All else flows from your true, selfless worship of Him!

Mary had done the one thing needful. She sat at His feet —

Luke 10:39 She (Martha) had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.

Luke 10:42 “but one thing is necessary (required), for Mary has chosen the good part (she has done well), which shall not be taken away from her.”

Mary didn’t care if it was proper in the eyes of others. She was hungry to hear His words, to understand them. Her motive was not self-serving. This is worship of Jesus Christ.

Then, in John 11, she sent a messenger to Him in her time of need. Lazarus was sick. And when He didn’t immediately come, and Lazarus died, she did not believe the promise He had sent to her by her messenger.

But when Jesus resurrected Lazarus, she saw Him, really SAW Him, for the first time! And who He really is — God!

So, in John 12, when Jesus reclined at table at a supper with Mary, Martha and Lazarus at their home in Bethany, Mary could not help but show you, once again, selfless worship.

She took the most costly thing she owned — PURE nard worth 300 days’ wages — and anointed His feet with it.

And again, she disregarded Jewish custom, at the expense of her reputation, and let down her hair in public. How unthinkable to everyone around her, but how beautiful to Jesus!

And even more, she used her hair to wipe Jesus’ feet! Hair was considered to be a woman’s glory, her most beautiful attribute. But Mary used her glory to wipe Jesus’ feet. How unthinkable to everyone around her, but how beautiful to Jesus!

I tell you, this is pure worship! She did not care about herself. She did not seek or expect a blessing for her act of worship.

She did it for no other reason than to honor the One she now knew was God the Son! Her heart motive was right!

And the fragrance of that worship filled the room. It was pleasing, an act done from a pure motive and not from self interest. Mary did not do it for her own benefit.

When she was rebuked by Judas and also the rest of the disciples, here was Jesus’ response (I use Mark’s account because of its detail) —

Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. 7 “For you always have  the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. 8 “She has done what she could;  she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. 9 “Truly I say to you,  wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

Now, I will show you the heart motive of Judas, the disciples, the crowd, and the Pharisees. What a contrast!

Judas’ motive was self-serving. He was stealing money from Jesus’ ministry. The sale of that nard would have put more money in the box, for him to steal.

So he objected to Mary’s worship, using the excuse that the nard could have been sold and the money given to the poor.

Some of the disciples objected, too —

Mark 14:4 But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? 5 “For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred  denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her.

Why did they object? They did not see who Jesus really is, because their motives were their own self interest, for their own benefit. They followed Jesus because they thought He would be an earthly King of Israel, and conquer the Romans so they would be free from Roman rule. Do you see it?

I tell you the truth, beloved, if your motive for worship is self interest, for your own benefit, you will blind yourself. You will be unable to see Jesus for who He really is. And when you pray and worship, with your motive being self interest, your prayers and worship will not be acceptable before God.

Jesus had told them, over and over that He was to be crucified and rise on the third day, just according to the prophecies regarding the Messiah, the Christ of God —

Matthew 20:18 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man  will be  delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, 19 and  will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on  the third day He will be raised up.”

But they had their eyes on their own earthly freedom. So they were blind to the very Christ sent to them by His Father.

The large crowd of Jews came for their own self interest, too. They came to see Jesus AND the alive and well Lazarus. They wanted to see the proof that it had happened. They did not come to worship Jesus.

And the chief priests? They wanted to kill Jesus (John 11:53), AND Lazarus (John 12:10). Perhaps that would be the end of the matter, and they would no longer have to be concerned about their place, their position of power —

John 11:48 “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our  place and our nation.”

Do you see that the motive of their hearts was self interest? With such hearts, pure worship of Jesus (and worship of the Father) was the farthest thing from their minds.

Do you see that because of their self interest, they blinded themselves to who He is?

They simply exalted themselves when they prayed (see Luke 18:11). And their worship was lip service —

Mark 7:6  And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors Me with their lips,

But their heart is far away from Me.”

Even the crowd’s motive was self interest, as they welcomed Him into Jerusalem. Like His disciples, they were looking for a natural king who would free them from Roman rule!These same crowds soon cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” (See Mark 15:13-14 and elsewhere.)

It is the same today. Some worship and pray with lips only, and thus, do not honor Jesus Christ and His Father.

Some pray for themselves. Their motive for worshiping and praying is their own self interest, for their own benefit.Thus, their prayers and worship are not acceptable to God.

Some place earthly good works above worship of Jesus.

So how does a follower of Jesus become a true worshiper, one who worships God in Spirit and in truth, one who worships God with the right heart motive, one who worships God selflessly?

True and pure worship of God is costly. Mary offered the nard with her whole heart, truly understanding who Jesus is.

True and pure worship will cost your position, your dignity, even your reputation.

And more than that, this is the requirement that makes it possible to worship God in Spirit and truth, worship that is pleasing to God —

Romans 12:1   Therefore  I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to  present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service (act) of worship.

When you present this most expensive offering to Jesus as an act of worship, it will reflect that you understand the mercies of God, just as Mary understood the mercies of God the Father and God the Son toward her brother.

It will reflect that you see Him as He truly is. It will reflect that you want to worship Him at all costs.

When you offer your very self as a living sacrifice, your self interest — wanting blessings from God for your own benefit — will die.

But you will live on, living entirely for Him, with no other motive but His pure love with which He will fill you —

Romans 5:5 and hope  does not disappoint, because the love of God has been  poured out (gushing, overflowing, spilling over) within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

This is what it is to worship Him, and He is pleased by the fragrance that your offering produces, and calls it holy, because your motive is no longer self interest.

And your worship will be remembered ALWAYS!

And the fragrance of your offering will fill the room, wherever you go. You will be His witness on the earth, one who walks about for God’s purposes and no other!

2Corinthians 2:15 For we are a  fragrance of Christ to God among  those who are being saved and among those who are perishing . . . and who is adequate for these things?

2Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but  our adequacy is from God . . .

Amen!

Session 11 — “Being the Church,” A Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

Review of the study thus far

— Jesus’ briefing on the Holy Spirit in John 14-17

— The promise for which they were to wait

— Fulfilled in Acts 2

— Peter’s sermon, boldly speaking their sin and Christ’s resurrection, and 3,000 come to Christ

— The beggar born lame is healed, Peter speaks again of Christ’s resurrection and their sin, and 5,000 come to Christ

— Peter, John and the beggar are brought before the Sanhedrin

— Do not speak this name or do anything in this name

— Should we obey God or you? You be the judge!

—We cannot stop speaking of what we have seen and heard

— The bond-servants of the Lord ask for greater boldness to speak,

and God answers their prayer!

— Contrast between Barnabas, who gives all, and Ananias and Sapphira, who lie about their offering, and the consequences.

Now, Session 11 — Acts 5:12-32

Verse 12 — The judgment of God toward Ananias and Sapphira does not slow the growth of the church, and signs and wonders continue to follow the proclamation of the gospel.

All are OF one accord (again, the divine nature), so all they do is OF one accord. They are on Solomon’s porch, to save their countrymen. Boldness! The prayer of 4:30 continues to be answered by the Lord. He stretches out His hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders!

Verse 13 — Those who were not OF them did not dare to associate WITH them, because of God’s judgment upon Ananias and Sapphira, though the apostles were highly esteemed.

NOTE: The people esteem them, but NOT the high priest and his associates — again, the Sadducees, who do not believe in resurrection which is being boldly taught.

Verses 14-15 — Multitudes continue to come to faith, both men and women. God’s striking down of Ananias and Sapphira does not keep others from coming to Christ.

The sick are even carried to the streets, laid on cots or pallets, in the hopes that Peter’s shadow would fall on them. Though this verse doesn’t expressly say it, they are healed (see Verse 16). It is not Peter’s shadow that heals, but the power of God in him.

Verse 16 — People from cities outside Jerusalem were coming with sick and demon-possessed people, and ALL were being healed! ALL!

Verses 17-18 — Of course, persecution results. The high priest and Saducees are filled with jealousy, because the people are seeking the apostles (and not them) in the same way they sought Jesus (and not them). So they throw them (all 12) in jail.

Verses 19-20 — But an angel comes, opens the gates of the prison and takes them out, with this instruction:  “Go, stand and speak to the people in the Temple the whole message (all the words, literal translation) of this Life.”

This message is for us:

GO: Do not stay in your pew. Go! Do not hide in your room. Receive power from on high, be filled, so you cannot help but speak about what you have seen and heard!
STAND: Continue, present the Gospel, be strong!

SPEAK ALL THE WORDS: Don’t leave anything out — sin, righteousness, the coming judgment, the truth that they have sinned, that Christ had to die for THEIR sin, and that there is no other name by which they MUST be saved from God’s wrath and reconciled to God! Repent and turn to Jesus, so your sins are wiped away! You will experience times — moments in time — of revival, and the Father will send Jesus to baptize you in the Holy Spirit!

OF THIS LIFE: Capital “L!” Zoe in the Greek, Life as God has it, God’s eternal Life in you! Eternal life starting here and now!

Verse 21 — The moment the apostles heard, they entered into the Temple at about daybreak, and taught. Obedience is a hallmark of the Spirit-filled believer.

Meanwhile, the high priest had sent to the prison house so the apostles could be brought before the Sanhedrin.

Verse 22-24 — But the Apostles are gone! That is the report from the officers sent to bring them to the Sanhedrin and captain of the Temple guard. The prison was securely locked, the guards were at their stations, but no one was inside!

The captain and the chief priests hear and are perplexed. What would this become (the original Greek)?

Verses 25-26 — Someone reports that they are standing in the Temple and teaching. They are fetched by the captain and the officers. They did not violently seize the apostles, because they were afraid the people might retaliate by stoning them for violently capturing the apostles.

Verses 27-28 — The Twelve are brought before the Sanhedrin. The high priest rebukes them.

— We told you to stop teaching in this name (they refused to speak Jesus’ name).

— Yet you have filled Jerusalem with YOUR teaching (not ours).

— And you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us (again, not speaking Jesus’ name, and to them, He’s just a man)

Verse 29 — Exactly! Peter and the apostles said, “We must obey God rather than men.” Again, see 4:19. The Sanhedrin members were not speaking from God. Thus, they can neither override the Lord’s command nor the angel’s message from Him.

Verse 30-31 — God, our God, raised Him up whom YOU put to death on a cross. This surely infuriates the Saducees once again, because they do not believe in resurrection.

And we do intend to continue to tell you that you have killed God’s Son. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as Prince (of Peace, see Isaiah 9:6) and Savior.

Why? So all Israel, even the Sanhedrin members (and us, though they didn’t see it yet!), would be granted the ability to repent, and the ability to be forgiven for their sins (and we would be able to be forgiven for ours).

“Granted!” Repentance and forgiveness are A GIFT! Do not refuse God the Father as these members of the Sanhedrin did!

Verse 32 — And the Twelve are EYEWITNESSES of  these things, and so is the Holy Spirit. This is all according to what the Holy Spirit gave prophets of the Old Testament, and the Holy Spirit Himself is the witness of the truth that Jesus is who He says He is!

To whom does God give His Holy Spirit? To those who obey God. IF you are disobedient, you cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit. He is given to those who obey God.

We will see the response of the Sanhedrin next time.

A HOLY HEART

NOTE: Just had cataract surgery, so I’m posting a couple of older sermons until my eye adjusts a bit.

[SW105]  08/31/2013 message notes by Rev. Susan J. Wynn ©2013

“A Holy Heart”

–A heart wholly (completely) His, one He has not only entered into but reigns within, so we are containers for His Holy Spirit, tents in which the presence of the Lord dwells (see John 14:23).

–His love fills our hearts and overflows to the world around us. (Romans 5:5)

–His power and presence shine from us, though we ourselves are not aware of it. (He sometimes lets us know through those who see it, to encourage us.) (Philippians 2:15)

–Our hearts are pure [2513, clean, clear], and we see [stare at, discern clearly, attend to, experience, behold] God. (Matthew 5:8)

–We become His witnesses (Acts 1:8

HOW A HOLY HEART HAPPENS:

It is not achieved by us, but by God.

Haggai 2:12 ‘If a man carries  holy meat in the  fold of his garment, and touches bread with  this fold, or cooked food, wine, oil, or any other food, will it become holy?’” And the priests answered, “No.” 

Being touched externally by holiness (see examples below) does not make you holy/pure in heart:

–sensing God’s holy presence, a holy hush

–receiving an encouraging touch from God, a stirring in your heart

–being healed by Jesus of disease, or delivered from a demon

Haggai 2:13 Then Haggai said, “ If one who is unclean from a  corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?” And the priests answered, “It will become unclean.” 

–And if you are only outwardly holy (following the rules with unchanged hearts), touching the unholy will defile you. The result?

–You try to externally avoid the sinful (do not taste, do not touch) but you are yet a slave to sin and you fail in your attempts to avoid it.

–Even the attempt to avoid sin in our own power is itself sinful, because you are trying to earn your way to heaven by avoiding sin. Your own works will not get us to heaven — only God’s work can do that!

–You become like the Pharisees, avoiding people you see as “impure” so their impurity won’t rub off on you. Thus you sin, again attempting to get to heaven by your own means, and blocking others from entering.

But here is the Lord’s promise to His wayward people who TURN back to Him, thus proving Himself holy:

Ezekiel 36:24  “For I will  take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.  25 “Then I will  sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your  filthiness and from all your  idols.  26 “Moreover, I will give you a  new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the  heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.  27 “I will  put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.  

–Obeying rules does not make you holy, but when God gives you a new heart and a new spirit, you become holy and you obey Him. Do you see the difference?

Obeying rules is outward and external; you are trying to work our own salvation. But when He has given you a new heart, your obedience happens “naturally” because the Lord’s Spirit now rules and reigns.

THE WATCHMAN’S WARNING

Jesus says this: What proceeds from your mouth reveals your heart — whether it is holy or not holy, His or not His (Matthew 15:10-20), whether you are following rules externally or whether He has given us a new heart, whether we give God lip service (Matthew 15:8) or have a new heart that enables us to live what we speak.

Jesus says that many in His church follow Him outwardly, but their hearts are far from Him. He sets the plumb line today (Amos 7:8).

Christian, if you will agree with Him about your heart, He will change your heart and fill you with His Spirit.

Oh, beloved! I pray the prayers Paul prayed did for the churches at Thessalonica and Ephesus:

1 Thessalonians 5:23   Now  may the God of peace  Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your  spirit and soul and body be preserved complete,  without blame at  the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  24  Faithful is He who  calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. 

Paul prays this for those who are presently living and who know Christ . . . it is possible to be filled with His Holy Spirit and live with a holy heart, here and now! He will do it, when you ask Him.

Listen to Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus:

Ephesians 3:14   For this reason I  bow my knees before the Father,  15 from whom  every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,  16 that He would grant you, according to  the riches of His glory, to be  strengthened with power through His Spirit in  the inner man,  17 so that  Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being  rooted and  grounded in love,  18 may be able to comprehend with  all the  saints what is  the breadth and length and height and depth,  19 and to know  the love of Christ which  surpasses knowledge, that you may be  filled up to all the  fullness of God. 

Then:

–You will have a holy heart that is wholly (completely) His, He will not only enter into you but reign in you, making you a container for His Holy Spirit, a tent in which the presence of the Lord dwells (see John 14:23).

–His love will fill your heart and overflow to the world around you. (Romans 5:5)

–His power and presence will shine from you, though you yourself will not be aware of it. (But He sometimes will let you know through those who see it, to encourage you.) (Philippians 2:15)

–Your hearts will be made pure [2513, clean, clear], and you will see [stare at, discern clearly, attend to, experience, behold] God. (Matthew 5:8)

–When you stand before Him one day, He will know you. You will not be a foolish virgin (Matthew 25:12).

Beloved, do not be like the man with one talent who hid it:

Matthew 25:26   “But his master answered and said to him, ‘You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed. 27 ‘Then you ought to have put my money  in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest. 28 ‘Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.’

Matthew 25:29    For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have [a new heart from God], even what he does have shall be taken away. 30 “Throw out the worthless slave into  the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

You do not have a hard Master,

but one who came down

(so you do not have to bring Christ down to hear His words)

and died and rose again

(so you don’t have to bring Him up from the dead to hear His words),

But His words are in your mouth, if you have eaten them today,

and in your heart (see Romans 10:6-8).

So  . . . believe His words and obey them!

You have received Christ as Savior . . . now receive Him as Lord by yielding to Him completely.

You will be filled with the Holy Spirit, you will have a holy heart, you will multiply what He has given you, and when you stand before Him, you will hear Him say,

Matthew 25:21 “. . . ‘Well done, good and  faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will  put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your  master.’”

Beloved, our salvation from our past sins is sure. But equally sure is the Lord’s command for a holy heart, and we must obey Him!

Session 10 — “Being the Church” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

Review of the study thus far

— Jesus’ briefing on the Holy Spirit in John 14-17

— The promise for which they were to wait

— Fulfilled in Acts 2

— Peter’s sermon, boldly speaking their sin and Christ’s resurrection, and 3,000 come to Christ

— The beggar born lame is healed, Peter speaks again of Christ’s resurrection and their sin, and 5,000 come to Christ

— Peter, John and the beggar are brought before the Sanhedrin

— Do not speak this name or do anything in this name

— Should we obey God or you? You be the judge!

—We cannot stop speaking of what we have seen and heard

— The bond-servants of the Lord ask for greater boldness to speak,

and God answers their prayer!

Now, Session 10 — Acts 4:32-5:16

Verse 32 —  The congregation is of one heart and soul. Again, Philippians 2:2 and 5, 1Cor 2:16, John 17:23. and 2Peter 1:4. They share what they have, and look at all property as being commonly owned.

Verse 33 — With great dunamis the apostles give testimony to Christ’s resurrection. Abundant (exceedingly great) grace was upon them — the divine influence on the heart and the reflection in the life.

Verses 34-35 — No needy ones AMONG them. If land owned, or more than one house, they sold them and laid the proceeds at the apostles’ feet, to be distributed as needed.

Now the contrast . . .

The obedient one —

Verses 36-37 — Joseph/Barnabas (Son of Encouragement), owned a tract of land, sold it, laid the proceeds at the apostles’ feet. Motive: God’s love in his purified heart — the source of all desire to obey God (Acts 15:9, Romans 5:5). This man is filled with the Holy Spirit!

The disobedient ones —

Verses 1-2 — Ananias, with Sapphira, sold a piece of property, and kept back some of the price for himself, with her full knowledge. He brought a portion, not the whole proceeds, though he claimed that was all of it (we will see it in Verse 8). Kept back some, swindled the church, was a thief. Motive: Greed.

These do not have pure hearts, they show they do not love God because they willfully disobey God by lying. They are not filled! Their own actions judge them.

Verse 3 — The Holy Spirit speaks from Peter! Satan has filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit (James 1:14ff). It is a heart issue. Peter knows, by the Holy Spirit, that Ananias has not given him the full amount.

Verse 4 — Ananias owned the land, and when he sold it, it was according to his desire and authority. Why has he conceived this deed in his heart. Again, the Holy Spirit points out Ananias’ heart problem. YOU HAVE NOT LIED TO MEN, BUT GOD!

Verse 5 — Ananias fell down dead. Did he go to heaven? 1Cor 6:9 says no! He sinned! The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), whether you are a church member or not.

And everyone is in fear — of God’s power and retribution toward those who lie to Him!

Verses 6-7 — Some of the young men carry Ananias out and bury him. Three hours go by. Sapphira comes in, not knowing what has happened.

Verse 8 — Peter asks her — was this the price? Oh, yes, she says. She swindles, she is a thief, she is full of greed, just as Ananias was.

Verse 9 — The Holy Spirit speaks from Peter again! You have agreed together to put the Spirit of God to the test! The young men are on the way back, and you are next!

Verse 10 — Immediately she died. The young men carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Did she go to heaven? No — she also sinned!

Verse 11 — Great fear comes over them ALL — again, fear of God’s power and retribution toward those who lie to Him.

JESUS, THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE!

[SW288] 07/07/2017 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2017

“Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life”

Text: John 11:1-46

Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and the Life, the Raised One and the One who raises, the Possessor of Life as God has it, and the Giver of that life, to all who believe into Him!

As with Ezra and the Levites in Nehemiah 8:8, the Lord has asked me to go through these verses, to show you what He has shown me. So, this will be more of a Bible study than a sermon.

Verses 1-3 — Martha and Mary hosted Jesus and His disciples when they came to Jerusalem. Bethany was about two miles from the city (see Verse 18).

This Mary was the one who anointed Jesus’ and wiped His feet with her hair (see Luke 7:38). Lazarus, who was Martha and Mary’s brother, was weak and diseased. And here are the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit — his name means “one whom God helps.” Hallelujah! God would indeed help him!

So the sisters sent word to Jesus. They knew He could heal Lazarus. The words of their message reveal their understanding. They said, “Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick.”

The “behold” speaks of the urgency of the situation. The “love” is phileo in the Greek, and means “brotherly love, friendship.” It was their only understanding of love. But we will see that Jesus loves in a way they do not yet know.

Verse 4 — When Jesus heard, He said that Lazarus’ illness would not end in death. He did not say, “Lazarus will not die,” but that the entire situation would not END in death. Instead, it will be for “the glory of God, so the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Verse 5-6 — Now we see how Jesus loved! It was with agape, God’s actual love, not a human form of love at all. It is the love God pours out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, when we are filled with Him!

Therefore, because He loved them with God’s actual love, He did what seems contrary to us. He purposely stayed two days longer before coming to Lazarus’ aid.  He would come to Lazarus, but not to heal him.

The scope of God the Father and God the Son’s love is much greater! And He wants you, beloved, to be filled with Him so you understand the height, depth, length and width of His love (Ephesians 3:18)!

What He was about to do would affect Lazarus, but it was for the salvation of many, because when God the Father and God the Son are glorified by miraculous works, many come to faith in Jesus Christ!

Remember Jesus’ promise —

John 11:4  . . . He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Verses 7-10 — After the two additional days, He said, “Let’s go!” The disciples were concerned for Jesus’ and their own safety, for the Jews sought to kill Him.

Then Jesus spoke of the Jewish leaders’ lack of light.  They walked by the world’s light (in the day), and could see only in the natural.

So when Jesus Christ came and shed His light for all to see, the truth that the Jewish leaders walked in spiritual darkness (in the night) was revealed. They had no spiritual light in them. So they stumbled (sinned) by seeking to kill God the Son, who stood in front of them, who was the Son of the God they worshiped, and who was the fulfillment of the scriptures they claimed to know!

Verses 11-15 — The disciples’ response to Jesus’ words highlights their lack of understanding. Jesus said Lazarus had fallen asleep, but Jesus was going to wake him up! They thought Jesus meant literal sleep, and not the sleep of death. They said, then, he will recover (be saved).

So Jesus plainly stated that Lazarus had died. How did He know? He had not seen Lazarus yet! But Jesus was God the Son, and knew. He was continuously, intimately linked to His Father. He knew the plan that was about to unfold, for God’s glory and His glory, too!

So He said He was glad, for the sakes of His disciples, that He didn’t immediately go to Lazarus and heal him. Why? So that by what He was about to do, they might believe INTO Him. Then He told them it was time to go.

What do I mean by “into” Him? Oh, beloved, it is not just a mental assent, but it is being brought out of your darkness and into His marvelous light (1Peter 2:9)! It is a “going out” from life as you know it, and entering into life in the Son (1John 5:11)! Oh, the excellence of Him! PRAISE BREAK!

Verse 16 — Thomas words reflected the thinking of them all. This trip to Bethany would result in the deaths of Jesus and them. They did not believe in and trust the words of Jesus:

John 11:4  . . . He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Verse 17-19 — Jewish understanding of death was that if someone died, their spirit remained in their body for three days, so it was possible for that person to be raised up from death (as with the Old Testament prophets, Elijah and Elisha). But on the fourth day, the spirit was no longer in the body, so it would be absolutely impossible to raise a person from the dead, if he had been dead for four days.

So Lazarus had been dead four days. It was impossible for him to be brought back. But remember Verse 4, when Jesus said this sickness would not END in death, but that God would be glorified by something that was about to happen!

I tell you, no situation is beyond Jesus’ ability, and He is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8)! Do you believe His words?

The Jewish leaders had come to comfort Martha and Mary, since Bethany was so close to Jerusalem. God set the stage for them to see His great works, through God the Son!

Verse 20-22 — Martha heard Jesus was coming, and went to meet Him. Mary stayed at their house.

Then Martha spoke words that reflected her lack of trust and belief in Jesus promise from Verse 4. If Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. That was true. But she did not trust the promise He had given her —

John 11:4  . . . He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Yet she also said, “Whatever You ask of God, He will give You.” There was a slight ray of hope in her heart, that perhaps God could do something, anything!

Verses 23-24 — Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again. He would be resurrected! But Martha did not believe Him. She did not believe in or trust Jesus’ promise in Verse 4.

John 11:4  . . . He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

She only believed that Lazarus would be resurrected on the last day, in the day of God’s judgment.

Verses 25-26 — But Jesus says these words now, just as He said it then —  I AM! I am God the Son, the voice from the burning bush (Exodus 3:14)!

And He says now, just as He said then, I AM the Resurrection and the Life, the Raised One and the One who raises, the Possessor of Life as God has it, and the Giver of that life, to all who believe into Him!

Do you believe that He was a philosopher or someone who did good deeds and whose prayers God answered? Then you will not believe His promise in impossible situations. You must believe He is GOD, enter life in Him, and then you will believe His words, knowing that all things are possible to those who believe (Mark 9:23)!

He says now, just as He said then, that the one who believes in Him will live even if he dies, just as He spoke in John 5  —

John 5:24   “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”

They will live now, with God’s eternal life in them, and their bodies will also be raised up at the end of things, when final judgment comes upon all mankind (see John 5:28-29)!

EVERYONE who believes into Him will NEVER die because they have His life within them! Their bodies will fall away and be resurrected on the last day, but spiritually, they will be alive and with the Lord (2Corinthians 5:8), from the moment their bodies die!

Then He asked Martha if she believed what He had just said.

Verse 27 — Martha still did not trust His promise in Verse 4, because she did not answer His question. She told Him she believed He is the Christ, the Son of God, He who came into the world, the Coming One of whom the prophets prophesied.

She did not say she believed what He had just spoken to her — that everyone who lives (who has His life in them) because they believe into Him will never die. And she did not believe His words that He had sent by messenger to her.

John 11:4  . . . He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Verses 28-31— Then she went away and lied to Mary, saying the Lord had asked for her. So Mary got up and came to Him. Jesus was still in the place where Martha had left Him.
The Jewish leaders, who had no light in them, thought she was going to Lazarus’ tomb to weep, so they followed her.

Verses 32-34  — When she saw Jesus, Mary fell at His feet, and repeated the same words of unbelief as Martha. If Jesus had been there, Lazarus would not have died. She, too, had forgotten Jesus’ promise —

John 11:4  . . . He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

She was weeping, as were the Jews who followed her there.

What was Jesus’ response? He was deeply ANGERED! “Deeply moved in spirit,” means to snort with anger, to be moved with anger! Why? Unbelief! They had not believed His promise to them.

He asked where Lazarus had been laid. Come and see, they said.

Verse 35 — Jesus wept. He shed tears. He was so deeply grieved by their unbelief that tears filled His eyes and rolled down His cheeks.

Oh, beloved, this is God’s heart! He is deeply grieved when we do not believe His words!

Verse 36-37 — So the Jews completely misread Jesus. It was because He loved Lazarus that He wept. Again, it is not agape that they speak of, but human love, the love between friends.

Then they judge Him. Jesus had opened the eyes of the man born blind. Why didn’t He come when He should have, so Lazarus would not have died!

Verse 38 — Jesus was again deeply grieved to the point of snorting with anger, moved with anger! He arrived at the tomb, which was in a cave, with a large stone lying against it.

Verse 39 — He commanded that the stone be removed. Again, Martha spoke words of unbelief. Lazarus had been dead four days, so there would be a terrible smell! She did not believe that God had already been at work in Lazarus’ body, and that it had not decayed! She did not believe Jesus’ words —

John 11:4  . . . He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”

Verse 40 — So Jesus rebuked her! Did I not say to you? What was My promise? If you believe, if you simply TRUST Me, you will see God’s glory! It is as true today as it was then!

Do you believe? Do you trust? Do you understand that Jesus is God the Son?

Do you believe that He is the Resurrection and the Life, the Risen One and the One who raises, the Possessor of life as God has it and the Giver of that Life?

Verses 41-42 — They removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes and prayed to His Father. He thanked God the Father that He had heard His Son. These words are in the past tense. Jesus had already prayed and asked. His Father had already heard.

His Father always heard Him, as He walked the earth. He had already prayed. But He spoke it out loud because of those who were gathered around Him, so they might believe into Him, that He is who He says He is, and that they would trust His words.

Verses 43-44 — Lazarus, come forth! If Jesus says it, then it must be done! So Lazarus came out, bound with the burial cloths. And Jesus said, remove the burial cloths and let Lazarus go!

Oh, beloved, that all mankind may have their deadness removed and their eyes opened to see Jesus! He would forgive their sins and then free them from the sin that binds them. A day of judgment is coming (John 5:28-29)! For those who follow Jesus, it will be a resurrection of life, and for those who disobey Him, a resurrection of judgment.

Verses 45-46 — So, God was glorified, wasn’t He? And the result? Many of the Jews saw what Jesus had done, and believed into Him!

How amazing it is that even after this miracle never before performed by anyone, some went to the Pharisees to report what Jesus had done! There are those with hard hearts, who will not believe even if they see impossible things made possible by the power of God. And it is the same today.

Will you believe into Jesus today?

Will you enter life as God has it?

Will you believe Jesus’ words?

If you do, you will be raised by the One who raises, and you will have in you, here and now, life as God has it, for Jesus is the Giver of that life!