Joyce Meyer - The Raising of Lazarus - Part 1
I wanna talk to you this morning about the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Amen. John 11:1-6: "Now, a man named Lazarus was sick. And he was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (and this Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, this was the same Mary who poured perfume on Jesus' feet and wiped 'em with her hair)", which that's another whole story in itself. I mean, that was just shocking. Do you know, back then, women never let their hair down in public? And when she walked into that room and let her hair down to wipe Jesus' feet. You know, that's what the religious people do when you get a little excited about Jesus. My goodness. We dare not get excited about Jesus. We can get crazy at a football game, but don't get excited about Jesus.
"So, the sisters", the two sisters, "Sent word to Jesus, 'Lord, the one you love is sick'". Now, on my notes here, I drew a circle around "The one you love," because that's what I want you to get. "The one you love is sick". You see, Jesus was friends with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, and he went to their house on different occasions. "And when he heard this, Jesus said, 'this sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's son may be glorified through it'". You might say, "Well, wait a minute, Lazarus did die". Well, to be honest with you, yes, our physical body can die. But we're eternal beings, we don't ever die. You know that? If you're born-again, you're never gonna be dead. I said, if you're born-again, you're never gonna be dead. Your body's gonna lay down, but your spirit's just gonna go right out and go right to be with the Lord. Isn't that awesome?
And, you know, really, when somebody that we love dies and we grieve, we're not really grieving for them, we're grieving for us. It's our loss. Because Paul said, "To live is Christ and to die is gain". We would not be afraid of death if we actually, really believed that. Amen? I can't tell if you believe me or not, but I'll pretend you do. So, Jesus said, "It's not gonna end in death". Now, verse five says, "Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus". So, twice here, verse three and verse five, he's made the point that he loves them. Everybody say, "Jesus loved Lazarus". The next verse says, "So when he heard that he was sick, he stayed where he was at two more days".
Now, what's wrong with this picture? Jesus loves Lazarus, made that point twice. So, when he was sick, he didn't go help him. Hmm. Wonder why sometimes, God doesn't come and help you when you think you need him to, or when you'd like him to? You know why? Because sometimes, we don't need to be helped, when we think we should be helped. Sometimes, it's better for us to wait, because God gotten something greater in mind. Come on. Come on! You say you wanna see miracles in your life, but you'll never see miracles in your life if God doesn't wait until a miracle is all that's gonna deliver you. Oh, we have to come to the point where we trust God more. Then, when he's making us wait longer than we think we should, then we say, "God, I know you've got a plan. I don't know what it is". But I'll tell you something that I believe. I don't just quote this anymore.
I believe this with all my heart, and it helps me so much when I'm having problems. I really, really believe that "All things work together for good". And if you can believe that, let me tell you something, it'll keep you happy while you're waiting. I really believe that all things work together for good, to those who just love God and want his will. And so, if I'm having to wait, it must be God's will. I may not wanna do it, but God's got a better plan than mine. He said, "My ways are above your ways, and my thoughts are above your thoughts". Now, some of you, well, probably almost everybody. How many of you are waiting on something right now, in your life? Wow, this message's for everybody in it? Praise the Lord.
Can I tell you something? If you can't learn how to be happy while you wait, you are gonna have one miserable life. You know why? We spend more time waiting than we do anything else. You know why? As soon as you get what you think, what you want, right now, as soon as whatever you're waiting for comes through, you'll enjoy that for a little while, and it won't be very long at all, and you're gonna ask for something, you're gonna be waiting for something else. Is that true? So, if you don't learn how to wait well, welcome to a miserable life. Because that's what you're gonna have. You know, I gotta park on this for a minute because this is so amazing. Jesus loved Lazarus, so he waited. And I want to get you to understand that when things hurt in your life, when you're suffering or you're going through something that you just don't understand, it's because God loves you.
And I know that, you know, that doesn't compute in our brains. But can I tell you something? And there's some people here that need to hear this today. Sometimes, you need to love somebody enough not to rescue them. And some of you have got some grown children, that you need to love enough not to go rescue them, again. And oh, it's so hard when you're a parent. And I'm not suggesting we don't help our kids. Do you know, if you've got a grown kid living with you, and you've rescued them over, and over, and over, and they're just sucking the life out of you, love 'em enough to let 'em hurt a little bit and find their own way. Hmm.
And I'll tell you the truth. That is a word for some people here, today. You needed to hear that. God sent you here to hear that. I had a brother. He's no longer with us. But I had a brother who had a drug problem. And, I mean, he was the sweetest guy. You couldn't help but loving him. Good looking. He coulda just had a great life. But he always just lived off other people. And just had his problem. Drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol. Not being responsible. Got married, had a kid, got divorced, never took care of the kid. And oh, he'd tell me, "I love you, sis. I love you". And I think he did. But, you know, love is more than just, "Hey, man, love you". And so, he just got his life in such a mess that he made the decision he wanted to get himself straightened out. So, he called, and he happened to get Dave on the phone, which was probably good, 'cause I might of said, "No". But he said, "I wanna come home". He was out in Arizona somewhere and, "Can you send me a airline ticket, so I can get home, or a bus ticket or something. I need help".
So, of course, we wanted to help him. And we brought him to live with us. And oh, he was a mess. His teeth were all bad from all the drugs. And any kind of problem you wanted to have: he could have it. And so, four years, he lived with us. And we counseled him and talk to him. He got born-again. He got baptized in the Holy Spirit. And we let him come to work for us. He traveled with us on the road. And bought him a new truck. Gave him a life. God gave him a life back. And he was doing good. But I didn't want him to live with us forever. He was a grown man. And so, we felt like it was time for him to get out, take care of himself. He had a job. We helped him get an apartment. We helped him get furniture. We couldn't have done anything else for him other than what we did. And he was wearing me out. I got enough to do, trying to live my life without trying to live somebody else's, too.
And so, he got out on his own. Had a girlfriend and I'll tell you what, it wasn't but a few months and he was just right back in the same mess all over again. And every time I turned around, I was getting a phone call, "David's this, David's that". And I finally said, "I'm not doing it anymore. I'm not doing it anymore". And it wasn't that I didn't love him. But see, when lovin' somebody means that they're stealing your life, and you have no life left, then you gotta make some kind of decision. He either had to learn to stand on his own and be responsible, which is really what it amounted to. I couldn't keep doing that forever. Well, long story short, he called again, several years later, "Oh, I'm in trouble. I wanna get my life straightened out". So, I said, "I'm not bringing you back to st. Louis. I can't do it again".
So, we got him into the Dream Center in Los Angeles, through Tommy Barnett. They got him straightened out again. He had worked as a plumber, so they were gonna put him to work, working as a plumber. And once again, he had every opportunity that he could have. But you know what? Sooner or later, people have to do something themselves. Are you with me? Come on. I don't know who needs us today, but somebody does 'cause I didn't intend to go here. So, I'm gonna park here for just a minute. Who needs us today? Alright, thank you. And, so, he told 'em out at the Dream Center in LA. One day, he said, "You know, love you guys. You've helped, you've really helped me, but this is just not for me. I want you to take me and drop me off at the V.A. Center". And the reason why he wanted to go there was because he knew that he could get some kind of pain pills or something that would help him. Well, long story short, and I'm sad to have to say this, but I got a phone call two or three years later, that he had hung himself in an abandoned building in Los Angeles.
Now, I was tempted to think, "Ah, man, I should've done something. I should have done something". But you know what? That's not true. Because it wasn't my job to raise him. He was a grown man, and that wasn't my job. And some of you need to stop feeling guilty because somebody else's life is all messed up. You know what? When my dad got finished with me, after sexually abusing me for years, and all the other stuff that went on, you couldn't have been a bigger mess than I was. But I'll tell you what. No matter how big of a mess your life is, you can get it straightened out if you will do your part. Come on. If you will do your part, there is nothing that God won't fix in your life. First thing you need to do: stop feeling sorry for yourself. "Yes, I was abused. Poor me". Well, that was why my life was in a mess. But God said, "I'm willing to heal you, if you'll let me".
Anyway, I'm getting off Lazarus. I need to go back. But I'm gonna believe that little trip was God, anyway. Amen? So, he loved him so much, he didn't rescue him. We often wonder why God waits to help us. But it's not always the best to be delivered from, sometimes we need to go through. You know why? Because it's in the going through that you grow up. I'm all about spiritual maturity. It's wonderful if you're born-again. I hope people receive Christ at the end of this service. But that's not all there is to it. That's just a beginning. Then you need to grow spiritually. You know, somebody came to see me. Well, ellie, the girl that's here, from England, doing music. She brought her little son back to meet me, a little baby. And he's just cute. You know, he's smiling. You know, when you got a little baby and their pacifier's cute, and their bottle's cute. But you know, when they're 40, that's not cute anymore. Amen?
Well, Paul said, in 1 Corinthians 3, "Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the spirit but as people who are still worldly, mere infants in Christ". Now, these are grown men and women, but he says, "You are a spiritual infant. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready". Well, what did Paul mean? He wasn't giving 'em a glass of milk. He was saying, "I have to teach you little baby messages. I can't really give you the meat of the word", which is what you're gonna get from me today. So, get ready. He said, "I can't give you the meat of the word because you can't take it".
You know, there's a lot of Christians that the only thing they could ever take is, "God loves you, and he's gonna bless you, and you're gonna prosper, and you're wonderful". And we need that. We all need that. But that's not all we need. You can't just live on dessert. You gotta have meat. I hope somebody knows what I'm talking about. Paul said, "You're still worldly, because there's jealousy, quarreling. Are you not worldly? And just acting like a mere human being"? And we are not just mere human beings. We are humans full of God. Amen? And we don't have to stay mad at people every time they hurt us or treat us bad. We have the power to forgive people. And there's only about a third of ya clappin' for that. You know how many people there are in here today that are mad at somebody? Way too many. Way too many.
You might say, "Well, they don't deserve forgiveness". Well, even if they don't, you deserve peace. You know that? And Jesus has provided peace. But he said, "Stop allowing yourselves to be upset and disturbed". You can be peaceful if you want to. But you have to stop being mad at people, and stop getting upset every time things don't go your way. Now, this is talking about Jesus. Hebrews 5:7-9: "During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death", but he didn't. "And he was heard because of his reverent submission". Now, please get this. "Son though he was", the very Son of God, "He learned obedience from what he suffered. And once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him".
Now, this is even better if I get into it deep. It actually says that Jesus gained the experience and the equipment that he needed to become the author of our salvation through the things that he suffered. And you know why I have the authority to have the privilege to do this today? Because I have gone through things that have been so hard that I would not even know how to tell you how hard they were and how bad they hurt. But it gave me equipment. And I can say to you, I know how you feel. But don't give up because God's gonna bring you through, and he's gonna bring you out, and you won't be the same person you were when you went in.