Sun am 4 February 2018- Kobus Swart

John. 11:1-44; (Gen. 2:17); (2 Pet.3:8); Rom. 5:18-21; John. 1:29; (Heb. 9:1-5); Eph. 2:8; John. 1:11-13; Heb.10:1-2 – AMP; Heb. 10:12-27; Heb. 9:26; Heb. 6:4-6; Rom. 8.1.

This is a well-known story – the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. I believe this is of extreme importance for the times we are living in. The Gospel of John calls all the miracles Jesus performed ‘signs’ (attesting miracles). Do not just look at the miracle, look at what it signifies. The word ‘significance’ comes from the word ‘sign’ it points somewhere. It will also help us to effectively touch the next generation; but this word applies to every person in every generation. This specific sign was the seventh sign that Jesus performed. So the sisters sent word to Him, saying, “Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.” … Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was. … “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I go, so that I may awaken him out of sleep.” The disciples then said to Him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will [a]recover.” Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that He was speaking of [b]literal sleep. So Jesus then said to them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe; but let us go to him.” (John 11:3-15).

Jesus was deeply moved in spirit and He was troubled. There was a groaning in Him, it was not a sympathetic sadness, but actually He was angry because of the misunderstanding and the unbelief (John 11:33-38).

In Genesis 2:17 God tells Adam and Eve if they eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would die. Did they eat of it? Yes. Did they die? Yes, spiritually. When I say ‘they’, we are talking about the Adamic race – humanity. They ate of the wrong tree and they died. Martha *said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (John. 11:24). People always postpone to the ‘last day’ what has already happened. The Bible says ‘a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day’ (2 Pet. 3:8). Lazarus was dead four days; the Adamic generation was dead for four thousand years when Jesus came. When Jesus stood at the grave where Lazarus was buried, He called with a loud voice: “Lazarus, come forth!” Lazarus responded to the Word! He could not walk because he was still all wrapped up. The word brought him out. Jesus could have just dissolved the wrappings but he wanted the people to participate in the miracle, and told those who were there: “Unbind (unwrap) him and let him go!” There is a deeper truth behind that.

I want us to look at what happened on the cross. This is a message that we cannot soft-soap for the next generation because this is fundamental truth. The death and resurrection of Jesus-Christ!  Get the typology: there’s a comparison between the death of the Adamic race, the death of Lazarus and Lazarus being raised 4 days later and Jesus coming 4 thousand years after the death of the Adamic race. It is a wonderful picture! “So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men”. (Rom. 5:18-21). Keep in your mind the picture of who Lazarus represents in this seventh sign Jesus performed.

With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the problem of sin was dealt with once for all! John the baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1:29). He shouts this out by revelation. ‘Sin’ in singular, is the root, the problem, as opposed to ‘sins’ as a long list. We have given extensive teaching in this family about the Tabernacle of Moses. The tabernacle of Moses had three courts: the outer court, the inner court and the Holy of Holies. It is a picture of the believer’s growth in Christ but also the progression of the Church. In Hebrews 9 it does not mention the outer court, it no longer exists, it is not ever mentioned again (Heb. 9:1-5). Why? Jesus came and on the cross He became sin and dissolved sin! (Gal 3:13,14 Msg).  The Church of Jesus Christ needs to fully understand it. We know it mentally, but have we experienced it in our inner being? Why is this still important in the Church of Jesus Christ? From the moment you receive Christ as your Lord and Saviour, the outer court has no longer any significance in your life. From now on it is all about spiritual growth, spiritual advancement; you have to grow in Christ. We were saved by His grace through faith, which means that we did not earn it; we did not have to do anything (Eph. 2:8). We still have to access it by faith but we do not have to labour and work for it; we cannot earn the grace of God. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. There is the born again experience! (John 1:11-13). There has to come a time in our lives when you receive Him by revelation, by an encounter and He gives us the right to become children of God and to grow into sonship.

For since the Law has only a shadow [just a pale representation] of the good things to come—not the very image of those things—it can never, by offering the same sacrifices continually year after year, make perfect those who approach [its altars].  For if it were otherwise, would not these sacrifices have stopped being offered? For the worshipers, having once [for all time] been cleansed, would no longer have a consciousness of sin (Heb. 10:1-2 – AMP). In too many churches preaching from the pulpit keeps sin consciousness alive. What does it mean? Lazarus is not unwrapped! By the death and resurrection of Jesus we were made alive through Christ but we now need to grow spiritually by eating the right food. His work was finished once for all (Heb. 10:12). We cannot become guilty of crucifying Him again. It is a process; He has perfected you for all time but you are still being sanctified. That is why we have to look at the courts – the inner court and the Holy of Holies, as the pattern for spiritual growth to maturity.

But now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:26). How many of you sometimes battle in your mind with sin? You think the wrong thoughts; you battle with the wrong desires? Where does that come from? It is because of the lack of feeding on the truth of the ‘once for all sacrifice’ that will make us conquerors! What Christ did was finished! You and I need to appropriate the finished works and manifest the finished works. Here is a warning. Jesus was crucified once for all, He is not going to be crucified again.  For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame (Heb. 6:4-6). That is a hard Scripture. If we have been enlightened, we have heard the truth, we know what is right, we have tasted of the power of the Holy Spirit and then fall way? God forbid! For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,  but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries (Heb. 10:26-27). It is terrifying to fall into the hands of the living God.

Those of you who heard the words: “Lazarus come out!” and have responded, may still be tied up. All you need then is to be surrounded by brothers and sisters in the family of God that will unwrap you and not tie you up again. Become unwrappers not condemners! Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8.1). We must not become channels and voices of condemnation, we must become unwrappers. This new generation that is addicted to the internet and social media need to find again the love for the Word of God. God help us to help them skip over the religious phase of self-condemnation and sin consciousness. We as the Church at large, have a history of bringing young people under a sort of condemnation if they do not react a certain way, instead of releasing the once for all sacrifice, the freedom in Christ and becoming living examples. Are the wrappings off us? You have to answer that question for yourself. For me, to be unwrapped means never to allow sin consciousness prevail in my mind because I have been set free by the once and all sacrifice.  In fact, I have been perfected by the one sacrifice and I am being sanctified.