Art Moffat Sermons – April

Art Moffat Pastor
Art Moffat Pastor

 

Art Moffat- Pastor

 The Lord of The Impossible

John 11

Part 1

                One of the most precious things in the world, is to have a home into which one can go, where we find peace of mind, understanding and love or any one of those.  That was also true of Jesus. Jesus had no home of His own after he went into his ministry at age 30.  It was like he said to one fellow,

“Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:58

There was a home in town of Bethany like that. The house of Lazarus, Mary and Martha — 2 miles from Jerusalem — a home where they always left the light on for Jesus and His disciples.  Lazarus and Mary and Martha were  best of friends with Jesus. He and His disciples were at different times at their home.

They had the gift of hospitality. You can’t describe that gift. The whole focus and conversation is on their guests. You just know it when you see it.  And you feel it more than you observe it.  They had it.

Now Lazarus is sick. Very sick. 

John 11:3 – 6  So the two sisters sent a message to Jesus telling him, “Lord, your dear friend is very sick.”But when Jesus heard about it He said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, He stayed where he was for the next two days.

Jesus is about 60 miles away —one or two hours for us – 1 1/2 days for Him.

If a good friend of yours is really sick and dying and says please come and see her or him and pray with her or him, you’d drop everything.  Jesus waited 2 days. Doesn’t sound like Him does it?

In the bedroom of Lazarus, he’s dying.  The candle’s lit ,and Mary and Martha are with him, “Lazarus, we told the Master about how sick you are. We sent a messenger.  The Master told us you are going to be all right. Rest well brother Lazarus.  He is coming.  Jesus is coming.”

Then Mary tells Lazarus again the stories of Jesus. Mary is concerned about his spiritual health.  She sits by his side like a mother with a sick child and prays with him— giving him the words of Jesus for comfort and consolation.

Last week  I conducted a memorial service for one of my aunts.  She had four children and I asked each of them to give me a story about her for me to use in my message.  Her youngest son, Ken, told this story.

When he was four years old, he had to go to the hospital to have tests.  He was very sick, but the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  As the day went on, he and his mother were told that he would have to spend the night in the hospital.  As he lay there in that hospital bed, another bed was being rolled into his room.  It turns out that his mom asked to have that bed rolled in so that she could stay the night with him.  Not only did she stay with him that one night, it ended up that Ken was in the hospital for two nights, and his mom was right there with him the whole time.

And in Lazarus’s room, the candle is burning down.  Lazarus is getting weaker.  His breath is growing more shallow. “If only the LORD would get here.  Then you will be fine, Lazarus.”

Martha brings in some herbs cooked in a poultice.  Martha was always busy in the kitchen.  Martha is concerned with his physical health. The whole room suddenly smells pungent.  Lazarus coughs, then Martha puts another blanket on him and wipes his forehead.

The candle is burning down. The hour is growing later.

And there is so far no sign or any word that Jesus is coming. Mary would probably go outside and then walk up the road a way to see if Jesus is coming.  Then Martha  goes outside and up the road to see if she sees Jesus coming up the road.

Remembering that He said, “This is not a sickness unto death but for the glory of God.”

And Martha with her works of love, and Mary with her spiritual nature of love just weren’t seeing it.  We wouldn’t either.

The candle is burring down.

The hour is growing late.

“Where IS He?” “Jesus loves you Lazarus, you’ve helped Him many times, you’ve given Him and the 12 a place to lay their heads many times  for passover in Jerusalem.”

Then, Lazarus’ breathing stops.

Mary said, “LORD!”

And Martha runs to get another  poultice that might bring back life  back into Lazarus.

And the candle goes out.

They close Lazarus’ eyes.

And when the the morning comes they spread the word.  Their beloved brother Lazarus has died. 

The Master did not come.

Jesus had said He would come.  He didn’t . Lazarus died.  They kept saying it over and over.

“If He had been here, our brother would not have died.” But now the candle is cold and they prepare for Lazarus’ burial. 

By Jewish custom, burial had to happen with 24 hours  and before sundown.

John 11:11-15

New Living Translation (NLT)

 Then he said (to the disciples), “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up.”

 The disciples said, “Lord, if he is sleeping, he will soon get better!”  They thought Jesus meant Lazarus was simply sleeping, but Jesus meant Lazarus had died.

 So he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead.  And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go see him.”

The design of God is that every one of us should be living evidence of God’s power.  I am speaking of believers.  Especially of today’s disciples .

John Read said, : “I don’t like crises, but I like the opportunity they supply for Gods’ power.  For you and me, every crises can be like an opportunity – to see God’s extraordinary work.

There was a church I heard of where the church leaders were saying, “God never seems to do anything special thru us.”

A person answered back,”You always ask of God things that are simple to do and expected.  Things that you can do.  You never stretch out for the extraordinary.  God is the God of the extraordinary.  Reach—way out and let God show you the God of miracles so you get what you ask for.  You never give God a challenge.”

The best proof of Christian faith is showing proof of what Jesus has done for you, as a believer.

Words may fail to convince.  Reason won’t work. But there is no argument against God’s action in your life.

We have seen God make a frightened person a hero.

We have seen people who seem to have no hope become people who give hope.

We have seen a person with an incurable disease who gets healed and the doctors are baffled.

There is Bertha Mae Weaver.

One day she called me to say that the doctor had just diagnosed her with a rare form of stomach cancer. She asked me if I would come to her house to anoint her.  She was just too weak to make it to my office.  So I went to her house to anoint her.  They had scheduled her for surgery in two days. On that day, a Friday, she went into the hospital to have this cancer removed.  When she awoke from the anesthetic , the doctor was standing over her with two MRI images.

“How did I do?,” she asked the doctor.

“You did great,” was his reply.  Then he held up the two images.  The first one showed the cancer in her stomach.  The second one, the one that he took just before he was about to cut out the cancer, showed a perfect stomach lining.  The surgeon said, “I have no idea what happened since this 1st MRI that we took four days ago, but there is absolutely no cancer there now.”  Bertha Mae said to him, “You don’t know doctor, but I do.”

She had shown me the 1st photo of the cancer.  It looked like something from star wars.

Bertha Mae believed The God of the Impossible and she called on Him.

Or you see someone who looks defeated in life, and then they find Christ. Suddenly, they have that Christ sparkle in their eyes.

You can tell people and tell people and tell people of the goodness of Jesus, but until you show what He has done for you, you’re not going to convince people.

How has He changed you? How is He changing you NOW?

Is there some situation in your life that you MUST trust Jesus implicitly –because you can’t get it done—you can’t do it,

The Lawyer can’t do it,

The Banker won’t do it,

The Doctor doesn’t know how.

No one is smart enough to figure it out.

Jesus,,,,, is the LORD of the impossible.

Complete and abiding faith AND full patience is your key.

Mary and Martha want Jesus RIGHT NOW! Jesus waits – 2 days.  That’s an eternity when someone you love is dying.

Jesus waits.

verse 4 – But when Jesus heard about it He said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”

Jesus is the Lord of the impossible.

He is never the Lord of the impatient.

Every person gives God an opportunity to be the LORD of the Impossible.

Every church gives God an opportunity to be the LORD of the impossible.

verse 15 ”I’m glad I wasn’t there,” Jesus says after telling the disciples that Lazarus is dead.

I’m glad.  Jesus is glad Lazarus is dead !

That one might stretch your faith a little.

It doesn’t say God caused Lazarus’ death.  He just let it happen – whatever the cause.

If you’re scared of death, verse 15 might jar your faith.

There was a man named Wendell Francisco.  He was a 2nd scout in Italy during WWII.  The scouts went out in front of the regular army to spy where the enemy might be holding up, or a bunker, or a sniper.  Then they are to get coordinates of this. If they lived through it.The first scout went out first.  If he didn’t make it, the second scout who would follow some distance behind the 1st scout would try to get a read of what happened and get a coordinate of the attack.  On this particular day, the first scout was killed by an artillery shell.  Within seconds a second artillery shell landed about 20 feet from Wendell and exploded. The shell had landed on the other side of this boulder that Wendell happened to be standing beside.  The only boulder anywhere around. He told me that he immediately got as close to that rock as possible and on the ground beside it.  Suddenly, he discovered that an animal had dug a large hole under that rock and he could crawl under it.  The ground was shaking and rumbling and shells were flying all around that rock.  Wendell said that he had never been so scared in his life.  But then he said, “Art, God was under that rock.”  Before he took cover under that rock, Wendell said that  he went to church all his life, but he wasn’t much of a Christian. Then he said, “when I came out from under that rock, I was a believing one.”  When it became dark, Wendell came out from under that rock believing in The Lord of The Impossible.  And he went back to the 3rd army with the coordinates of that bunker.

God was glad Wendell was shot at!  He was glad. God could be the Lord of the Impossible for Wendell Francisco.

Meanwhile, Lazarus’ body is dead.  They had the funeral.  His body is buried. And now Jesus is ready to go to the home of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. 

And do you know what happens to him there?

We’re going to have to wait ‘til next week to find out.

Jesus Is LORD.

Amen.

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The Lord Of The Impossible

Part 2

John 11

Once when I was serving a church in another town, I looked down from the pulpit onto a pew that was full of what appeared to be one family.  When I met them they really didn’t know English, except for their one daughter named Julia who was in about 11th grade.  They were from Belarus, a country that was part of the former USSR.  There were ten in the family, and the father, named Mikhail, responded when I asked him what they needed, “We need English and I need a job.”

One day Mikhail took his family swimming to Raystown Lake.  They really didn’t know how to swim, but they just went to wade.  They didn’t know that where they were, there was a very fast and deep drop off about 5 feet from the shore line.  Julia went out too far and dropped off.  She didn’t come back up and her Dad went after her.  He dropped off into the deep water and he didn’t come back up either.  Their son Simon who was about 14 at the time,  went after both of them and he dropped off into the deep too.

On this lake, there were some people boating some distance away from this Belorussian family, and they saw something floating in the water that looked strange to them, so they went to investigate.  They found Simon floating face down in the water.  They had no idea how long he had been there, but they pulled him out of the water and began giving him artificial  respiration.  Pretty soon water just began gushing out of Simon’s mouth, and this boy, who only seconds earlier didn’t have a pulse, and wasn’t breathing jumped up on his feet and pointed to the water below and made these boaters understand that there were two more people under water.

At the funeral for Mikhail and Julia, a man came up to me.  He told me that he was on the  boat that found Simon.  He went on to tell me that before he had started out on his boat that day he had prayed to God, “ If there is anything you want me to do for YOU today, please let me know.”

This man was ready to hear from The Lord of The Impossible.

When Jesus learned that His good friend Lazarus was very sick, he waited 2 days before starting the journey to his house.  The journey was at least 1 day and a half and probably 2 days away. 

After the messenger that came from Lazarus’ home came to Jesus with the message to ask Jesus to come, Jesus said to the 12 disciples, “ Lazarus is dead; and for your sakes I am glad that I was not there to keep him alive.”

By the time Jesus arrives at the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, Lazarus has been dead 4 days.  He asks to be taken to that burial place of His friend Lazarus.  When they arrive, Lo and Behold, it is the same as the place He will be buried  in a few weeks.  A rock tomb — with a large round stone covering it.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

Why was Jesus troubled?  He saw Mary with tears, He saw her friends with tears. In the distance, He could see the stone tomb of Lazarus.

Until Adam and Eve sinned in The Beautiful Garden, there was to be no death, no disease.  Sin brought death, disease into the world.  The sin He will have to bear.  It was sin that brought Jesus down from Heaven.  He has to bear it on the cross to be able to forgive.  Praise God He came down here.

You know what it meant to Jesus to look at this tomb?

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Jesus created the world.  “All things were made through Him”.  He also created these people.  He knew what was going to happen to Him.

He was troubled.

If He directed the Holy Spirit to write the sayings in the prophecieswhich I believe He did, then He knew  about His coming death. He knew what His Father had told Him in heaven before He came down.  The cross was coming.  He was going to suffer — badly — terribly.

Jesus was troubled.

As he looked at that tomb from a distance, He could see Himself on the cross.  It was the most brutal and humiliating type of punishment the Romans had.  Hanging by your bones against iron spikes.  Hanging naked before a large crowd who came to watch you die.  Gasping for air as your lungs slowly fill up with water.  All the paintings are too calm.  They miss the brutality of it.

They would first beat Him— 3 times.

They would whip Him— scourging Him— through which many did not live.

They would mock Him.

They would make Him carry the cross up the hill to Gogaltha.

Jesus was troubled.

Some people have flash backs.  Jesus had a flash forward.  He knew.

If some of us had flash forwards and knew what’s about to happen, we wouldn’t want to get out of bed.

Jesus was troubled.

He also knew that He was going to have to bear the sins of the world.  This is understated.  This is beyond my understanding.  This is beyond my imagination.  This one defies probability.  To bear the sins of the world, Jesus is going to TAKE all of the sins of the world and ALL of them  — present and future sins of the world and have them absorbed into His spirit on the cross.  To see them, feel, them know them.

That means, that on the cross, Jesus knows your own sins, all of them.  He knows you. He knows me. Sees every phase of your life.  Sees our sins of every place of our lives.

He knew my sins and still called me to be a pastor?

He knew your sins and still called you to be a Sunday School teacher?He knows your sins and gave you children?

Jesus said, “All have sinned and have fallen short of the Glory of God.”

Jesus stands before the tomb, knowing that Lazarus sinned, we have all sinned.  No one has lived the clean life, the spotless life, like the Lamb of God.  He who is sinless— the One who managed to live sin free.

He stands before a grave that is similar to where He will lay in 2 or 3 weeks.

My gracious, should we  be so blessed?  He came to take away the sins of the world Even mine and yours.  Praise God! And He gets the punishment!

Then standing before the tomb He says, “take aways the stone.”

39 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

40 Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”

Jesus is the Lord of the impossible, God of the extraordinary.  If He tells you to do something— no matter how off the wall it sounds—

You do it.

He’s the lord.

You’re the vessel.

He says, Jump.”

You know what the answer to that is—

You say, “How far.”

So they take away the stone.

Have you ever thought about who took away the stone?  Frankly, I think the disciples did it.  No one else there would do something like that — “Do what?”

According to Jewish law, you would become un-clean if you touched the grave.

The 12 knew He’s the Lord of the impossible. Mary, the woman of faith, gave her approval— one of the family.

The stone is rolled away.

Jesus lifts up His eyes to Heaven. Prays to His Father a prayer of supplication. 

That is part of supplication.  Telling God  why you want something done.

41 So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. 42 You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so that they will believe you sent me.” 43 Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” 

Jesus says in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” Every eye moves from Jesus to the tomb.  Because the door is opened now. There’s MOVEMENT, in the deathly stench of the tomb. There is something alive in that tomb. Then, after a while—something is walking — or someone’s walking barely. And now it is coming out. The body of Lazarus is walking out of the tomb.  Walking inch by inch, bound head to foot in tightly wound strip of white cloth, stained with the spices and perfumes of the grave.

Jesus says, “Unbind him.”

He can’t breath.The cloth’s wrapped around his head,nose and mouth, feet and legs.

“Unbind him and let him go.”

Let him go back to living.

Ellsworth Kalas said,

“If Jesus had just said, “Come forth” rather than calling Lazarus’ name specifically, everyone in the cemetery would have come walking out of the tombs toward Jesus.”

Some time later — maybe years later, Lazarus dies again.  His spirit goes to Heaven.  He is a believer.

Meanwhile, Jesus was crucified and then raised up 3 days latter.  He never dies a 2nd time like Lazarus.  So Jesus is up there in Heaven Lord over Life and Death.  When Lazarus’ spirit arrives in Heaven, Jesus is there to receive His good and faithful friend Lazarus.  And Lazarus sees that Jesus retains the scars of the cross on His hands and feet.

Jesus, He’s the Lord of the Impossible.  The Lord of the extraordinary.  He raised me to life from death—spiritual  death to spiritual life.  But he went to death Himself that I could have real life today.  Our sins died at the cross.

45 Many of the people who were with Mary believed in Jesus when they saw this happen.

53 So from that time on, the Jewish leaders began to plot Jesus’ death.

Jesus Is Lord!

Amen.

 

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