CHRIST REVEALED AS THE RESURRECTION, #638
"And Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. (JOH 11:23).
Now the revelation of Christ as the resurrection and the life is the central theme of the chapter before us for consideration.
We need to remember how Jesus has revealed Himself as the Son of God unto a rebellious and stiff-necked generation. He has spoken to them and has affirmed that He was the Son of God. However, He was rejected. He was driven out. They tried to take Him, to bring Him to the Sanhedrin that He might be judged and put to death as a blasphemer. The central theme of Chapter 11 is that Jesus is not only the Son of God but also that He is the resurrection and the life.
What is there that can awaken the attention to the glory of God, and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, more than the contrast between the sorrows of sickness and the desolation of death and the joy of the resurrection that is about to be revealed?
As I pointed out before, in the art gallery of our Blessed Redeemer, striking contrasts are used to unquestionably reveal who Christ is. On the one hand, we see death reigning, we see corruption reigning; and on the other hand, we see the Word of Life proclaimed, and we see the resurrection revealed. This is such a striking contrast, and this is what Jesus is revealing unto us in the resurrection of Lazarus.
Jesus told the sorrowing sister of His dead friend, Lazarus, in our text, "Thy brother shall rise again" in JOH 11:23. We need to see what you and I will all do by nature. The heart and the mind and the eyes of the sisters of Lazarus were centered on the immediate circumstances. Their minds were not able to lift themselves up above the immediate circumstances, to look away from the fiery serpents and look onto that brazen serpent that was lifted up.
If they would look unto that blessed redeeming love of the Lord Jesus Christ, they would see that is how death and sorrow and corruption are removed. We see in this case scenario that Christ has come to bring Lazarus out of the grave. Even as He is standing at the grave to pronounce the words of life, Martha is rebuking him as she says, "By this time, he stinks. Hes been the grave four days." He told them to remove the stone. Their attention was so fixed on the immediate circumstances, that they were not able to comprehend the wonder that was about to be performed.
The glory of Christ's resurrection power can only be seen where death has come in. Until you and I are able to understand spiritual death, we will never understand resurrection power. Until we learn to understand the corruption of the human heart, we will never rightly understand what it is to be raised unto a newness of life. We will never understand resurrection until we see where death has come in. I want you to see the sense of helplessness that overcomes the heart in the presence of death.
I spoke with a man from California this past week who had come to visit with me. He said hed been born and raised a Roman Catholic and had been a religious man all his life. He said that the Lord had brought him to the end of himself and led him to see the emptiness and the corruption of his own heart. Then he learned to understand the need for a true resurrection. He learned to see and to understand that he needed something to fill the emptiness inside. There was a sense of helplessness that overcomes the heart in the presence of death.
This is first seen in the death of Lazarus where we see that sense of helplessness and depravity. We see corruption has set in. Then we see the same thing in the hearts of Jesus disciples. They were helpless in the presence of death. We first see it in Lazarus. Lazarus was dead. Lazarus had no ability. He had none of the senses. He had no sense of smell. He had no sense of taste. We see that sense of helplessness also take hold upon the disciples in the presence of death.
Look at JOH 11:16, "Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. [They had no conception of the power of the resurrection of Christ. Look at Verse 11] "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth but I go that I may wake him out of sleep." They had no concept of what He meant. They had no understanding of the helplessness of death in the light of the power of His resurrection. Again, we see such contrast in the art gallery of our blessed Savior. There is such helplessness in spiritual death and there is such liberty in the spiritual resurrection.
Now see how the helpless death made Martha feel. Even in the presence of Jesus Christ, she could not think of anything except death. Her heart was so fixed upon present circumstances, she could not lift her mind and her eyes above what was laid before her.
Look at JOH 11:39, "Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, said unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days." In the presence of Christ, while He is telling her to remove the stone, she was not able to believe. She was not able to understand the power of that resurrection.
So, even as the Lord of life and glory stood before the tomb, there was no thought that Jesus was going to release the victim of death. That never entered their mind. This is something that happens many times in Gods people. We can get so engulfed in present circumstances that we are not able to look above the circumstances and look unto Christ and see wherein He will deliver. The present circumstances can be so cumbersome that were not able to look beyond them.
Look at JOH 11:33-35, "When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept."
What was lacking? There was no understanding of the compassion of the heart of Christ. They were so engulfed in present circumstances that their eyes were not lifted unto Christ. They did not see how that He fully understands every trial and every temptation and everything so intimately because He has been there. When the eye of faith is not lifted unto Christ to see the compassionate heart; He groaned in spirit and was troubled. He had compassion upon them. He saw their weeping. He saw their sorrow. He groaned in the spirit and was troubled, and "Jesus wept."
In other words, His heart was moved with compassion, not only for the two sisters, but in a spiritual sense His heart is moved with compassion for His church, for His bride. He sees their trouble, the consternation of their mind, and how they are so taken up with present circumstances.
Now even though the Jews had seen the mighty works Jesus had done, they could believe that Jesus could have spared Lazarus from death. They had seen so many mighty works. They were able to believe that if He had been there He could have spared Lazarus from death, but now they seemed to fall utterly helpless in the face of death and the corruption that followed.
You see, now the circumstances had come to such a point that they were not able to believe that Jesus was yet able to deliver relief. Death had already occurred; it was final in their minds.
We read in JOH 11:36-37, "Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?" They believed that Jesus could have spoken the word. He had received the message that the man was sick but He remained there two days still. Why? The purpose was that God might be glorified, and that He would reveal that Jesus was not only the Son of God but that He was the resurrection and the life.
Now, see what a background this made for the revelation of the glory of God and His Son. They were able to believe that He could heal the sick. They were able to believe that He could even open the eyes of the blind. They had seen it happen. They believed it, but they could not comprehend what was meant when He said, "These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." JOH 11:11.
The circumstances came to the point that it was now beyond all human reasoning to see life in the body of Lazarus. Now it was impossible even with a Jesus who could heal and open the eyes of the blind. It never entered their minds that He was able to speak the Word and that by the Word of Life that Lazarus would be brought out of the grave.
Jesus had said in JOH 11:4, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Now we have to understand that sometimes the Lord allows our circumstances for the sake of His glory. He allows our circumstances to go beyond all human reasoning because He has a purpose.
Now, this detailed description of the death of Lazarus and its effect are figurative of spiritual death, which is infinitely more dreadful. We need to understand that spiritual death is infinitely more dreadful than natural death. The reason being that in spiritual death, the corruption of the heart keeps on compounding as we see in the world today. The corruption that has come upon the heart of man is beyond expression as a result of spiritual death.
Now in EPH 4:17-19 we read, "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind." This describes the spiritual corruption that comes as a result of spiritual death that is the source of all decay, spiritually. Verse 18 continues, "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart."
What does it mean to be alienated? If you are a citizen of the United States, you are a home-born citizen. To be alienated would be if you went to another country, such as Canada, became a citizen of Canada, and gave up your citizenship of the United States. Now, you have alienated yourself from the United States where you were a home-born citizen. This is what we have done with the Lord. We were citizens of heaven. We were citizens of God, home-born, created in His image, and we have alienated ourselves.
Verse 19 concludes, "Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." That is the decay and the corruption of spiritual death. The corruption of spiritual death requires much more to bring about a spiritual resurrection than a physical resurrection. When God created the world, but a Word was spoken and all things came into existence. When Lazarus was lying in the grave, by the speaking of a single word, Jesus was able to bring Lazarus back to life again.
However, to bring forth a spiritual resurrection, to bring forth that new creation, requires so much more. It required the very Son of God to come down from His throne in heaven, to take upon Himself our human nature, that He as our substitute could take away the penalty of sin. That He as our substitute could come and fulfill the law with perfection in our behalf. He came down from His throne. He paid the last farthing of our debt, and that was all required, bringing about a spiritual resurrection before there was room for reconciliation between fallen man and a holy and a righteous God. So we see now that it was a much greater thing to come into spiritual death than into physical death.
Man, by nature of the fall, is all too well and alive to the world. They are alive to sin, and they are alive to self, but they are dead to God. They are dead to the law of love.
If there was one spark of spiritual life in them, then you and I by careful cultivation and by fanning might revive it into a flame, but man by nature is completely void of divine life. Therefore, Jesus said in JOH 3:5, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." It takes and it requires a new creation. It requires the working of Gods grace in the soul to bring about that spiritual resurrection.
Now, the sinner's condition is far worse than most Doctors of Divinity realize. Of what use is a remedy to one who is dead? If a man is alive, doctors can administer a remedy and many times can restore health. But of what use is a remedy to one who is dead. Some Doctors of Divinity do not understand this. They do not rightly understand the nature of spiritual death; there is no remedy outside of the quickening grace of the Holy Spirit, outside of the resurrection there is in Christ, that spiritual resurrection of being raised unto a newness of life.
Now, one may ask, "Of what use is it to reason and argue with a corpse? If a man is spiritually dead, he is dead." The question may arise in some persons heart that man may reason, but what good would it do to reason with a man who is spiritually dead? So much as to say of what use is it to preach the gospel? What use is it to one who is dead if he is incapable of hearing it?
Why preach at all? The reason is because God commands it, and who are we to question His wisdom? The very words of Christ we are commanded to preach are life! It isnt in the preaching that we receive life, but it is in the words of Christ, which is life, that life is granted.
JOH 6:63 says, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." So, in other words, it is the Word that quickens. It is the Holy Spirit applying the Word that administers life.
The commission of the man sent to preach the gospel is to hold forth the Word of Life. The very Word we are to hold forth is life! Look at PHI 2:16, "Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." That is why we are commanded to preach, because it is the Word of Life that we are commanded to hold forth.
The new birth is not of natural descent, nor of our own choosing, nor of a preacher's persuasion. You and I can work with an individual and use the most persuasive language, but we can never affect a new birth. Only the Word of life can resurrect a person from spiritual death.
We read in JOH 1:13, "Which were born, not of blood [not of ancestry, not because we are Abrahams seed], nor of the will of the flesh [not because I desired it], nor of the will of man [not because a preacher persuaded me], but of God." That is how we are born. We are born of God.
The very seed that God sends His servants to sow to produce the new birth is that of the Word of Life. In JAM 1:18 we read, "Of his own will begat he us [not of man that will, but of His own will begat He us] with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." God says we must preach the gospel because it is the Word of truth that the Lord will use to persuade. Faith cometh by hearing, and that word faith means persuasion. ROM 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Persuasion comes by hearing the Word of truth.
It was manifestly evident that Lazarus was dead by the fact that corruption had taken possession of his body. When you see a corpse and you see that corruption has set in, there is no question that he is dead. This is equally true in spiritual death. If any person questions whether or not he is spiritually dead or if he was born dead in trespasses and sins, all he must recognize is of the corruption of the heart that reveals spiritual death. Look at a little child, and I mean weeks, or a very few months old, and you will see evidence of rebellion.
Corruption is spiritual death that reveals itself in the earliest childhood. You will see wrong attitudes in little children. Spiritual corruption, that utter helplessness, rendered by death, as is apparent in the chapter before us, reveals our helpless condition until we receive the grace of God. We are utterly helpless in the state of death to recover ourselves. It is the Word of truth that quickens.
In EPH 2:1-2 we read, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience."
Being quickened is that new desire which is by the grace of God. You and I cannot generate that new desire in our own hearts. We can cut off a lot of our outward sins. We can stop smoking. We can stop drinking. We can stop a number of things, but to change our desire for sin, to remove our love for sin takes grace. It takes grace to grant us a love for holiness and righteousness. It takes quickening grace because we are dead in trespasses and sins.
It is a spirit. It is a mental disposition. It is an attitude problem, and our attitude toward sin can only be altered by the grace of God.
Now, the more we come to realize that we have no might against this monster, death, the sooner we will understand what Jesus said in JOH 6:63. "It is the spirit that quickeneth [it is the Holy Spirit of God that quickens our new desires]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." It is the words of truth, the Word of Life that the Lord uses for quickening and bringing to a newness of life.
So, herein is where the glory of God appears. We are helpless before death, but not so with our Saviour! The Saviour was not helpless before death, and now He is going to reveal that blessed glory of God. That was why He tarried two days. He allowed the circumstances to come to the extremity of where we are that He might be glorified to show that not only is He the Son of God, to show the power of His word, but also to show and reveal that He is the resurrection and the life.
In JOH 11:43 we see the power of the Word, "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth." Those were words of life. "Lazarus, come forth," and by the power of the Word, life was administered.
So, what was the use of Jesus saying, "Lazarus, come forth"? Did Lazarus have the power in himself to come forth? If Martha, Mary, or any of Jesus disciples had said "Lazarus, come forth," would he have done so? No. It wasnt the selection of words; it was the power of the Word. It was the fact that it was the Word of Life. It was the Word of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was not only One who was more than Man, but as He said in JOH 6:63, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Spiritual life begins when the words He speaks unto you become personal. They must have a personal application where the Holy Spirit takes the Word of Life and speaks it into your soul. That is where spiritual life is born.
Herein lays the consolation for those whom our Lord has sent forth to preach the gospel. Sometimes we need a little encouragement, and there is the consolation that we have. If we preach the pure Word of God, then we will witness the truth of what Jesus said in JOH 6:63, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." We see then that the Holy Spirit takes and applies the Word of Life. He applies it in the hearts of those He will quicken, and then we see that we are but instruments in His hand to bring forth those Words of life.
Before we speak about the actual raising of Lazarus, let's consider the beautiful illustration Jesus gave of those who are fallen asleep in Christ, and how they shall be raised. Jesus said in JOH 11:11, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." Now in a spiritual sense and in a natural sense, death is likened to sleep. So how does He awaken a person in a spiritual sense, someone is spiritually dead? Our answer comes from EPH 5:14; "Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."
Now, in a literal sense, how does the Lord Jesus deal with physical death? I want you to see some of the most beautiful illustrations. He likens our death unto sleep. He likens our death to taking of rest. Our resurrection occurs by His voice. He said, "I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." There is such a beauty in this.
I want you to see that the death of the saints and their resurrection is often spoken of in the New Testament under this figure of speech. Look at 1CO 15:20, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." So He is referring to death as sleep. He refers to the death of the saints as coming into a place of rest, where they may rest and be awakened again after being refreshed in sleep.
Now, watch this, it is beautiful. In 1TH 4:14, "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him." It is speaking of those who have entered into death, physical death, as being asleep in a place of taking rest. Beloved friends, think of the blessed consolation Jesus illustration of death and the resurrection is for those who go to sleep in Christ.
Jesus said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep" in JOH 11:11. We need to take a completely different perspective of entering the grave. Sleep is not only harmless but we are to be thankful for this rest. We need to stop and think. If the Lord, when Adam fell, allowed him to eat of the tree of life in his fallen condition, he would have lived eternally in a world of sin and misery and grief and sorrow. What a privilege and what a blessing it is that we are not eternally in this state. There is comfort in death.
We are sorrowing and struggling with the powers of sin in the pollutions of life; the pollutions of our own heart and wickedness are around us. Death is something to be thankful for. To those who fall asleep in Christ it is a friend, not a foe. David said in PSA 23:4, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
Through Christ the sting is removed from death. We see this in 1CO 15:54-55, "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" When Christ rose from the dead, He gained the victory over death. He gained the victory over the grave, and He took the sting out of death.
I still remember the expression on my dear mothers face when I heard her last words. She was holding her hands up and she said, "Lord, dont leave me now. Take me along." There is no sting in death in such a case. Death becomes a victory, because we become tired. We become worn out. We come to the point where we need rest, and now death becomes a blessing.
Sleep comes as a welcome relief after the sorrows and toils of a laborious day. As we toil and as we labor against sin, as we toil and labor in the things of this world, we become weary. We become tired. And now sleep becomes welcome.
Look at ECC 5:12, "The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep." There is no rest for the wicked.
Another beautiful part of Jesus illustration is that when one lies down to sleep he is doing so to awaken again. He said, "But I go to awaken him." When you go to bed, go to sleep, you take rest from the toils of this life; you go to bed to rise again. That is a beautiful illustration of the resurrection that Christ is speaking of here. It is such a beautiful illustration that He gives when He said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, but I go that I may awaken him out of sleep." We are awakened and we rise up again unto a new day.
This is what we read of in DAN 12:2, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." They sleep in the dust of the earth, but they will arise. We go to sleep to arise again unto a new day.
The sleep of death is also beautifully illustrated as a time of rest in REV 14:13. "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." It is so precious to understand this.
We need to rightly understand that throughout our life we become weary. We become tired. We come to a point where we want to take rest, and then we will rightly understand the words of my dear mother, "Lord, dont leave me now. Take me along." She was weary of this life. She desired and longed to go home and be with her Lord. She no longer had any desire to stay in this world. What takes place before one reaches that point? There is a weaning, crucifying process that brings us to where we become weary of this life.
In REV 14:13 we read, "Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors." They no longer have to labor under the load of sin. They no longer have to labor in the things of this life, but as they labor in the law of love, we read also, and their works do follow them if they are asleep in the Lord.
I have spoken of this before out of MAT 25. In that great resurrection day, the Lord Jesus says, "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in." MAT 25:34-35.
Now when they come out of sleep on that blessed resurrection morning, their works will follow them. They have a reward. They have now to rise again and they are refreshed as we see in REV 21:4. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."
Sleep shuts out the sorrows of life. When you go into peaceful sleep you are mercifully unconscious of the things that you were exercised with during the day. During the day you may become tired, and the toil of the day causes weariness. If you are taking a peaceful rest, you are unconscious of all these toils and sorrows of the day. This is the blessed illustration of the grave and how we come. "And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." REV 14:13.
Those who are in the Paradise of God do not share in the sorrows and tears shed here below. You see, when we are resting in the grave and our souls are in the Paradise of God. Remember the thief on the cross, "And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." LUK 23:43.
While they are there, they do not sorrow and they do not have the tears and they do not have the pain. They do not share in what goes on here below, but they do share in the joy of our salvation. Quite a thought when you think about this. They do share in the joy of salvation. When one has been brought to repentance, the heavens ring with joy.
Watch this in LUK 15:10, "Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth." That is quite a thought. Ive often laid before the Lord that He would call to remembrance the prayers of our old fathers and our grandfathers. Scripture says there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. They dont share in our sorrows, but they can share in the joy.
The illustration Jesus gives of the resurrection reveals with what ease our Lord will raise the dead. I still remember as a child at home, hearing the voice of our father, "Boys, boys, time to get up." That is all it took to rouse us up out of our sleep and back into another day. When the Lord Jesus comes, it will be by His voice that He will awaken those who are asleep with such ease. He has already paid the price. He has already redeemed us from all iniquity. He has already kept the law with perfection and paid the penalty. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding in our behalf, and when He comes to raise us out of the sleep; it will only be by the call of His voice.
In JOH 11:11 we read, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep." It is with such simplicity and such ease that the Lord Jesus will awaken him.
Sleep is a time when the body is fitted for the duties of the morrow. The dead shall come forth at the very sound of Our Saviour's voice to receive their final reward-whether they have done good or evil.
In JOH 5:28-29 we read, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." It will be a call to appear before Him.
There is a resurrection of life. The resurrection of life is for those who have done good. Only those who have Christ formed in them can do that. We cannot think a good thought nor do a good deed of ourselves, but it is Christ formed in you, the hope of glory. "They that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation," but all that are in the grave shall hear His voice when He comes to call. He calls and the whole human race will hear His voice.
When our Saviour said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep," it was at the peril of His own life. We need to understand it was at the peril of His own life when Jesus told His disciples, "Let us go into Judea." MAT 11:78 says, "Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?"
We want to take notice of the events in JOH 12 and 13. See how He went there and He raised Lazarus. Now the Jews and scribes and the Pharisees conspired that they would not only kill Jesus, but that they would slay Lazarus also because as a result of that resurrection of Lazarus many believed on Jesus. It is only through His death that He will raise you and I. It is in His resurrection.
When Jesus told Martha in our text, "Thy brother shall rise again," we must remember it was through humbling Himself, and becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, that He became our resurrection and our life. That is how this was possible.
In ROM 6:4-6 we see, "Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin."
We are buried together with Him through baptism. As we go into the waters of baptism, we certify that we have become dead unto sin, that we have died with Him unto the things of sin and to the power of sin. Therefore, we are buried with Him by baptism into death. Our spiritual resurrection is in the death and resurrection of Christ.
Now, a beautiful lesson we learn from the case scenario in the chapter before us is that we grow a natural growth. The Lord Jesus Christ was born as an infant. He grew and became a man. He went into His ministry. We grow in a spiritual sense as well as physically. The hearts of the disciples were illuminated gradually.
As we read in ACTS of the ministry of the apostles, we have to understand that they were not in that state of illumination spiritually when they were first called to be disciples. They grew. They didnt understand the truths Jesus was teaching in the beginning. The illumination of the hearts and the minds of the disciples was gradual, precept upon precept and line upon line.
When the Lord Jesus said in JOH 11:11, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep," His disciples replied in Verse 12, "Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well." They did not understand that Jesus spoke of death.
This teaches us that we need to be gracious, and we need to be very patient with those who are learning gradually. Some people have possibly been quickened but they are not mature Christians. There is a growing process during which you and I must be patient. The hearts of the disciples were illuminated gradually; there was no sudden action that made them fathers in grace by one word.
1PE 2:1-3 tells us, "Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious."
There is spiritual growth, and we need to recognize this in the case scenario before us. We may receive a taste of the Word of Life. It doesnt mean that it makes us immediately into mature Christians. We must be very careful, if somebody matures very slowly, that we dont become impatient with him or her.
Scriptures also clearly teach that some mature faster than others do. Why is it that some mature faster than others do? Sometimes it is because they seem to be indifferent toward Gods will. Some whom the Holy Spirit has quickened mature so slowly because they have never rightly understood the authority of Gods Word.
Now, take notice of HEB 5:12-14. "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God [The very first principle is repentance.]; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [They are still unskillful in the word of righteousness and do not rightly understand the authority of Gods Word.] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age [Those who are mature spiritually have ability to use strong meat.], even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
Maturity takes place in knowledge of the will of God. As we mature in the knowledge and the practice of the will of God, we become capable of strong meat. So we see some that are seemingly immature. We need to visit with them about the authority of the Word of God, and how grievously sinful sin is. We need to visit with them about the need of a change of attitude.
God's purpose in our life is that we should not only come to where we can discern between good and evil, but that we die unto sin and live unto God. The work of sanctification comes by the Word of truth, the Word of Life. This is why it is necessary that if one be taken in a fault, you who are spiritual are to restore such a one as we see in GAL 6:1. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
That doesnt mean that you cast them out and justify why you expel and exclude them. No. What we do is we take such a one who is taken in a fault, and we restore them considering ourselves lest we should be tempted. What we are talking about is one who has been taken in a fault. We dont start passing judgment and condemnation upon such a one, but we need to work with them, and we need to help restore them with the Word. We must lift up the weak hand, and we must strengthen the feeble knees. How do we do that? We do it with the Word of God by helping to share the authority there is in the Word. We are not to act with a critical spirit, but with the Spirit of Christ.
Look at ROM 6:10-13, "For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. [We may not obey sin. We must share with one who is weak in the faith that they cannot obey sin in its lusts.] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."
This is spiritual resurrection. This is spiritual life. This is the spiritual life that is symbolized by our text, where the Lord Jesus said unto her, "Thy brother shall rise again." Amen.
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