Jesus raising of Lazarus from the dead in John 11:17-44 illustrates how God accomplishessalvation. Humankind is dead in their sin and unable to save themselves from God’s righteous judgment and condemnation. God saves men by first making them alive to hear by the work of the Holy Spirit. Then they respond to the gospel communicated to them by another person.
Lazarus is dead four days. His body has begun to decay. It stinks! His body physically can’t come back to life by any natural process.All people are dead in their sin and unable to hear! Dead men cannot hear or be awakened. They are DEAD!!
Jesus comes to the grave and calls Lazarus by name. But his body can’t live! How can he respond? His body is rotting and stinking. He’s been dead four days! So, the power of God comes on his body and restores it to a condition of life. He can now hear Christ’s call. All the death and decay is removed by God’s power. His bodyis in a state of life with awareness. The Holy Spirit has brought life, consciousness and open ears. Jesus spoke about open ears to hear three times in the parable of the sower. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear …” God made Lazarus’ body alive. He is aware of his surroundings, and his ears are open to hearing the call of Jesus.
Thus the first action in salvation is God preparing a person, who is dead and making them alive so they can hear the gospel. God alone can do this. Dead men, in their sin, cannot respond to a gospel call without God acting first. That is why we must always pray for God to move before we witness to Christ’s transforming power. Dead men cannot, will not and do not hear us! God works first!
Lazarus is now alive and aware, lying on the cold gravestone, and hears Christ’s call. He knows he is lying in the grave, so the first thing he does in response is get up and walk out. It’s man’s responsibility to respond to the gospel, but God uses human agencyto complete this process. Men bring the gospel to other men!
Now he walks outof the grave still encumbered by grave wrappings, which represent his sin and past life. Although his sin debt, the penalty of death has been fully paidby Jesus, his lifestyle, habits, etc. are all still with him. Others must help him shed those things. Unwrapping him is a picture of discipleship. One of the best ways to disciple new believers is the “Operation Timothy” program available from members of CBMC (Christian Business Men’s Connection). Interested? firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a Christian then at a moment in time, after you were physically born, you were born again when God made you spiritually alive and gave you ears to hear. Then, you listened to the Gospel call and responded sealing your salvation in Christ.
This blog was adapted from pages 7-9 of Always Be Ready to Give an Answer! Go to http://www.sixdaycreation.comfor more info.
Three Books: 1) “Always Be Ready to Give an Answer! A Former Atheist’s Personal Christian Evangelism Plan.” 2) ANSWERS For “The Hope That Is in You. Direct, Simple Answers to the World’s “Hard” Questions”Both at http://yourchristiananswers.com 3) “Without 3 Miracles Darwin’s Dead! Science Proves Atheistic Evolution is IMPOSSIBLE.” Available at http://www.w3mdarwinsdead.com
Amazon/Kindle short stories written by Charlie Liebert: 1)The Memory Tree. A Gospel Christmas Story. 2) Helene at Mama Henney’s Boarding School for Girls. My Grandmother’s adventures in 1900 Northern Italy. 3) Lost in Yellowstone: Sarah Johanson disappears without a trace. 4) Yellowstone’s Child: “Who am I? Sarah Johanson, Sally Graham, Sally Johnson or Detective Elaine Scott.” NO! She’s Yellowstone’s Child. 5) One Android, 399 lives: 59th Street Terrorist Attack Kills 399. 6) Rosemarie, Kristallnacht Transformation. How my twice Jewish Aunt survived the Holocaust 7) The Curse of the Witch of Zahlendorf. Der Fluch der Hexe von Zahlendorf. A 17th-century German folk tale dramatically illustrated by events in 1921.
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