John 11:44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them,Loose him, and let him go.
Lazarus was a personal friend of Jesus. It is without question that Jesus stayed at the house in Bethany many times. Yet when Lazarus fell sick, and seeing the lack of medical resources available, Mary and Martha sent word for Jesus to come quickly and heal their brother. The Bible describes the Lord purposely waiting several extra days before making His way to the scene. By the time that Jesus arrived, Lazarus had been dead and buried for four days. They said, “by this time he stinketh.”
This was as pivotal juncture in the ministry of Jesus, but equally as important in the life of every believer.
The lessons here are literally layered in a fashion too grand for this small communique. Yet I point to the Voice of the Master Who called Lazarus from the grave and the things that Jesus did not do. Jesus told them to roll back the stone. After He called Lazarus forth, He told them to unloose him; unravel his grave clothes and set him free. Jesus, Who raised the dead, could have rolled back the stone all by Himself. He could have unraveled those grave clothes by the sound of His own Voice. He certainly had the power to set Lazarus free without anyone stepping forward, but herein lies the lesson for the church: He will transform them – resurrect them – but we must untangle them. He will give them a new spirit, but we must remove the obstacles from their path and untangle their remaining constraints. I urge us all to do the work that the Lord has left for us to do. He will bring them out, but we must usher them in. He will breathe new life into them, but we must work to provide them a place. This is the call to the church. It is our mission to seek and restore lost souls.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
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Repentance is a widely used term in most denominational settings. Christians far and wide begin and end with this concept. Most think that it means saying that we are sorry for what we have done wrong. While this is part of the process, repentance is really “an about face.” It is a turning away from our past life of sin. Repentance is akin to the first sacrifice made as they entered the Tabernacle or Temple. Paul reminded us that the Gospel included His death which we find in repentance. Peter preached Repentance, baptism of water in Jesus’ name, and baptism of the Holy Ghost in Acts 2. Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to see or enter Heaven a person must be born again of water and of the Spirit. The Lord also said that unless we repent we would all likewise perish.
When we repent, there is response from the throne of God. We remember our past life. We see the scars that sin has left behind. There may be unpaid debts or words that must be offered after our moment of repentance, but while we remember, God does not.
Jesus carried our shame, but He cleanses us through Repentance and the waters of Baptism. Then comes the word painting of David: Psalm 130:3 (NIV) If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
Psalm 130:3 (MSG) “If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings, who would stand a chance?
The difference between God and those without love, according to I Corinthians 13:5, is that God keeps no record of wrongs. If God would allow Himself to remember, then none of us would survive. The prophet said it right: Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. We call it God’s Sea of Forgetfulness. This is the beauty of our Savior. I give you Jesus!
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
While perusing through the plethora of Christian material, I discovered something glaringly absent. There were insights into family; marriage restoration; stewardship and finance material, but nothing about Prayer and Fasting. It provoked me to investigate books written about self-sacrifice and I found very few. Gethsemane where Jesus accepted the cup of sorrow was not found. Power over sin? check. Livin’ the Good life? check. Being an Overcomer? yes. I found the secrets to Giving and how we can expect grand blessings in return. What I did not find was Paul’s admonition that becoming a living sacrifice was called “reasonable.” I did not find the modern version of Abraham’s mountain trek to lay Isaac on an altar. It’s just too far from for our thinking.
where can i buy viagra online cheapAmerican Christianity has absorbed too many prosperity sermons to yearn for less-than living. Paul’s view of life and death is a foreign subject to our religious culture. He said,“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” We think that to die is sad and pitiful. Death is almost viewed as punishment against those that remain, except if our loved one is very sick and in pain. Then we say that it was better not to be in pain, but that is not Bible. The early church viewed death in Christ as the accomplishment of life. Hear the scripture. Ecclesiastes 7:1-4 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. I offer a counterculture. It is Christocentric which offers Eternal life through sacrifice. It offers a crown through a cross and life through death.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole