News for the week of Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sunday School Lesson — Explore the Bible
Nov. 24: Dealing with Death
By Ricky Campbell

Focal Passage: John 11:1-57

We now come to a passage that is the pivotal point of our Lord’s work. The Lord turns from a public ministry to a private ministry because of Israel’s rejection. He has heard that his dear friend Lazarus is sick, but he waits two days before leaving for the town of Bethany where Lazarus’ family is grieving. Lazarus has been dead now for four days and his sisters Mary and Martha are puzzled at Jesus; they wonder why He had not come to Bethany in time to heal their brother. Martha says when she sees the Lord, “If you had been here my brother would not have died.” Martha believed with all her heart that Jesus could heal her brother while life was still in his body, but that was the limit to her faith. Martha had a lot of faith in Jesus, but once death had taken hold of Lazarus that’s where the power of Jesus stopped in her faith. The Lord begins where Martha’s faith ends and He reveals to her the truth; there are no limits to His power, not even death. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Death is the enemy that has haunted every soul since Adam yielded to the temptation in the garden.


Salvation is not as much a plan as it is a person. The Lord Jesus is life and He is the giver of life. The Bible says that we were dead in trespasses and sins when the Lord found us. We were just like Lazarus, dead and stinking and wrapped in the grave cloths of human effort. If the Lord has given you His life you are now a new creation in Christ and you are alive to the things of God. If you have a tendency to argue with the Bible and find that there are parts of the Scripture that you just will not agree with, it is evident that you are dead to the truth and you have never come to Jesus for true salvation. On the other hand, if you, like Lazarus, have heard the voice of the Lord calling you, and by faith have responded to His call, you are now alive to the truth of His precious word.  

The question might be asked if Jesus is resurrection, which He is, and if He can raise the dead, which He can, then why did He weep at the tomb of Lazarus? I believe it is because of the sad condition man has found himself in as the result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. All it took to separate man from life was one sin. As a preacher, I find myself preaching funeral after funeral. I might preach a funeral for the worst sinner in town one week, and the next week, preach a funeral for the very best Christian. Death is an equal opportunity enemy. Jesus is the victor over death; Christians need not fear. The Lord said, “He that liveth and believeth in me shall never die, believeth thou this?” Lazarus was given physical life and we have been given eternal life at our new birth. Even in our eternal life there is a promise of a glorified body, a body fit for an eternity in heaven. The Lord said that Lazarus is dead, and I am glad. The reason the Lord was glad was He is life, and through Lazarus many others believed unto eternal life. Have you ever heard the voice of life calling you by name?

 — Campbell is pastor of First Baptist Church, Mountain City


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