Episode 1. Living Life to the Full - 1
Listen to the radio broadcast
Download audio file
You know it can sometimes be easier to believe in eternal life, than the fact that God wants to give us a rich, abundant life here and now. What do you think? Join Berni, as he takes a look at life …
You know, it can sometimes be easier to believe in eternal life, than the fact that God wants to give us a rich, abundant life here and now. What do you think?
It’s great to be with you again this week and we continue on with a series that I’ve called, “Discover Your Destiny”. Can I ask you something? Are you really living life to the full? I mean really. So many people are struggling to discover their destiny and okay, maybe life’s chugging along okay but we all have a sense that, well somehow I have a destiny, a life I’m supposed to live, a “me” I’m meant to be.
Now I don’t apologise for the fact that over the last couple of weeks we’ve been unpacking that from A Different Perspective, from God’s perspective. I just passionately believe that He so wants each one of us to discover when we have a relationship with Him, a real relationship you know, that all of a sudden we can be the “me” we were meant to be. To, in a sense, die to the old me and rise as a new one.
Now I love how Jesus tackled that when his good friend Lazarus upped and died on him. It’s a powerful story the story of Lazarus. It’s about a real man who died and whom Jesus bought back to life again. Now there’s something in that story, I always like to look at what Jesus did and say, “What does it tell me about Him? What does it tell me about God? What does it tell me about God’s attitude?” And it does tell us what he means for us here and now today.
For me the story of Lazarus has had a powerful impact on my life, day to day. Now there are two parts to the story, we’ll look at the first half today and the next one tomorrow on the program. So let’s have a bit of a read, if you have a Bible you can grab it. John, chapter 11 is where you’ll find this story:
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Now this Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who previously poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sister sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love, Lazarus, is sick.”
When he heard this Jesus said, “The sickness won’t end in death. No, it’s for Gods glory so that Gods Son might be glorified through it.” Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick he stayed where he was for two more days then he said to his disciples, “Well okay, let’s get up and go to Judea.”
“But Jesus,” they said, “A short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you and yet you’re going back.” And Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight in a day? A man who walks by day won’t stumble for he sees the worlds light; it’s when he walks by night that he stumbles for he has no light.”
After he said this he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep but I’m going there to wake him up again.” Now his disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps he’ll get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death but the disciples thought he meant that Lazarus was just asleep. So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead and for your sake I’m glad I wasn’t there so that you may believe but let us go to him.”
An interesting story, Lazarus a good mate of Jesus is dying. Jesus could have prevented it, he could have gone there and healed Lazarus, I mean that’s why they sent for him, everyone had seen Jesus do this healing stuff but he didn’t go because God was going to use this to make a point, a point I think at a couple of levels. The first level is purely to attest to who Jesus is, the power of Jesus because as we’ll see tomorrow, ultimately Jesus brings Lazarus back to life again but I think there’s a second point, a deeper point, a point that speaks to you and me, here and now. That God is in the business of bringing the dead back to life.
The last couple of weeks we’ve dealt with an issue that, well so many of us don’t really want to deal with head on – sin. I mean in our society sin is a four-letter word. The stuff in our lives we know is wrong that robs us of life itself. When I look back on my life as a wealthy, apparently successful businessman, on the outside people envied me, I seemed to have it all together, I seemed to have it all but on the inside I was dying, I was dead and empty and hollow just like a shell, truly. I described myself as a dead man walking.
You know something, doesn’t matter how much we deny it or try and put a respectable face to it or sell it as a feature of our freedom to do whatever we want. Sin does that to all of us, it makes us dead inside and that’s how God sees us, that’s how we are until we encounter this Jesus. At this point someone might be saying, ‘come on Berni, what an old-fashioned point of view.’ If you’re in that camp I encourage you to do something, take a look, a good hard look at the way that you’re living your life and ask yourself, am I being the me I was meant to be?
God lets us go through this death that sin is, God lets us be that ‘dead man walking’ for a reason. It’s the same as with Lazarus, Jesus waited for him to die before bringing him back to life again. God wanted to make a point that he is in the new life business and it’s a miracle and he needed to make the point because sometimes we just don’t get it, I didn’t and nor did Lazarus’ sisters. Let’s take a look:
On his arrival Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Bethany was only two miles from Jerusalem and many Jews came to Mary and Martha to comfort them. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming she went out to meet him and Mary stayed at home. “Lord”, Martha said to him, “If you’d been here, if you’d only been here earlier Lazarus wouldn’t have died”. And Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again”. And Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection on that last day”. Jesus said to her, “I’m the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even though he dies and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this? And she said, “Yes Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God who has come into the world.”
And after she had said this she went back and called her sister Mary. “The teacher Jesus is here”. She said, “He’s asking for you”. When Mary heard this she quickly got up and went out to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered their village but was still in the place out where Martha and he had met. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house comforting her noticed how quickly she got up and went out they followed her thinking that she was going to the tomb to mourn there for Lazarus.
When Mary reached Jesus and saw him she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here my brother wouldn’t have died.” And when Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come along, also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” “Come and see Lord.” And Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See Jesus loved Lazarus.” But some of them said, “Couldn’t he who opened the eyes of the blind have come and kept this man from dying.”
Nobody was expecting Jesus to come along and raise Lazarus from the dead, they were all regretting the fact that Jesus didn’t get there earlier to heal him. They’d seen Jesus do healing stuff; they’d never seen Jesus bring a man back to life. The sisters knew Jesus, they’d seen the miracles, they couldn’t imagine how here and now, Jesus could bring their brother back to life and isn’t that sometimes the way with us.
We look at our lives and we see how dead things are inside and we look at God and say, “God, why didn’t you show up earlier? Why did you let me marry this person? Why did you let this happen to my child? Why couldn’t you have been there and stopped it from happening? And we can’t imagine how God could breathe new life into that situation.
We can believe he could have done something back there, we can believe that one day we will rise again and have eternal life but it can be so hard to believe that Jesus could come and bring a new life today. Let me ask you, what do you believe?