We’re talking about miracles. One word from Jesus and nothing; nothing is impossible. Is that worth celebrating? Okay. One word. Jesus is saying to you today rise. That’s the best title of the message. Rise. Rise. What hinders you from fully trusting Jesus? I didn’t say believing in Jesus. Even the devil believes in Jesus. He knows He’s the Son of God. What keeps you from trusting Him fully with your life? We’re missing something when it comes to miracles. We’re missing something. What keeps miracle working power from happening in your life? That’s the question we’re going to answer this morning. Something is holding us back. Something’s holding you back; it’s holding me back. Something is missing.
And we’re going to explore that this morning because we’re going to talk about three attitudes around miracles. There are three attitudes around miracles. There’s a story in the bible where you’re going to see these attitudes all over the place. Let’s talk about what those three attitudes are.
The first attitude is Jesus I trust you no matter what. I trust You no matter what the circumstances, I trust You no matter what my bank account looks like, I trust You no matter what my relationships look like, I trust You. That’s attitude number one.
Attitude number two is Jesus where are You? If only You would have been here three hours ago, three days ago, a year ago, my house wouldn’t have been foreclosed upon, I wouldn’t be in bankruptcy. That’s an attitude. Jesus where are You? That’s attitude number two.
And attitude number three is I’m not sure I like this miracle. This miracle, God, is kind of flying in the face of my dreams and my hopes and my plans. That’s attitude number three.
Now you’re going to see all three of these attitudes in this bible story. What’s the story? The story starts we learn that certain man is sick. His name is Lazarus. We have no idea why he’s sick or what sickness he has, but we know the situation is grave because Mary and Martha, his sisters, send an urgent message to Jesus. If we were doing it today, it would be a text message and it would say 9-1-1. Right? Mary and Martha send their version of a text message to Jesus, saying, ‘Lord, the one whom You love is sick.’ Now notice they’re trying to get Jesus’ attention. They did not say, Lord, come quick, our brother is sick. No, no, no, no, they said, Jesus, the one You love is sick. In other words come heal him. They’re trying to get His attention. And what happens? What happens after they say that prayer send that message off? It’s very interesting. The same thing that happens in our lives: let’s see, I prayed five minutes ago. You see Jesus coming yet? Hey Mary, you see Jesus coming yet? No Martha. You see Jesus coming yet? No, I don’t see Him. Well, it’s been an hour past and I’ve cleaned this dish three times and Jesus still isn’t here.
A couple of days pass. Jesus still isn’t here. They’re anxious and they’re worried and they’re concerned. Just like we have anxiety and we’re concerned. Now what’s Jesus doing while they’re waiting? Jesus’ response is, now Jesus loved Mary, Martha and her sister and Lazarus so when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Doesn’t sound like Jesus is in a hurry. Mary and Martha and you and I are sitting over here saying Jesus hurry up. Doesn’t look good. And Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus so when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place that He was. Jesus is operating on a whole different plane. He’s operating on a whole different plane because just before that verse, Jesus, when Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He said this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God that the son of God may be glorified through it.
I love that bible verse. I love that bible verse because it tells me two things. One: Jesus loves me; Jesus loves you, that’s the first most important thing that I’ve learned. The second thing I’ve learned is Jesus will handle the situation in a way that glorifies Him and glorifies God. The question is do we trust Jesus to do His will for our lives or are we more concerned about ourselves. Are we concerned about our agenda or are we concerned about our Lord and saying Father, Your will be done. That’s a question we have to learn from this story.
Now Jesus shows up a couple of days later and it’s very interesting because Martha runs out to greet Him. Lord, if only You would have been here he wouldn’t have died. If only You would have been here he wouldn’t have died. She’s in attitude number two, if only. Remember attitude number two: if only You would have been here. But she catches herself almost immediately and she says something very interesting. But she says, but Lord, I know that whatever You ask of God it will happen. She’s over here lost in grief but at the same time she still recognized that Jesus is Jesus. In other words, even in my circumstance, even in the grief of my brother being in the grave, I still trust You, Jesus.
So she quickly moves from attitude number two to attitude number one and that’s what we need to learn to do. We need to do just what Martha does. If you catch yourself saying if only You would have been here, instantly you need to pray, Lord, not my will, Your will be done. I trust You. That’s the attitude of Martha because Mary, what’s going on with Mary? Mary, when she hears Jesus coming a little bit later, she runs out, Lord, if only You would have been my brother wouldn’t have died. And her statements end there. She stays lost in her grief. She stays completely lost in her grief. That’s the place we can’t stay is lost in our grief. And the leadership, the Jewish leadership followed her out, and as she’s weeping, they’re weeping because Lazarus has died.
And then we get to the shortest verse in the bible. What’s the shortest verse in the bible? Boy you all know it, say it louder. Jesus wept. Mary is crying, the leadership is crying, and it’s says that Jesus wept. And the leaders say see how much He loved Lazarus, even He’s weeping. The question is why was Jesus weeping? You ever thought about that? A few verses earlier, Jesus said to His disciples, let’s go get Lazarus. He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.
Ask you a question. When you’re getting ready to give your kids or a family member a present at Christmas, do you start weeping? Or are you excited? You’re about to give them a gift and you know they’re going to love it. You can’t wait for them to rip it open and see what’s inside. Jesus is about to give them the gift all gifts. He’s about to raise Lazarus from the dead and He knows He’s going to do it. Why is He weeping? You would think He’d be excited. He knows that Martha and Mary are going to get their brother back. He knows He’s going to hug His friend again. Why is He weeping? Very interesting question.
We’re going to come back to that in just a minute because the very next thing that Jesus does is He says Lazarus come forth. Lazarus come forth. Lazarus come forth. And the bible says that Lazarus came out wrapped in grave cloths and a cloth across his face. He’s been in that tomb for four days.
Now I don’t know about you; if I saw a dead man come back to life, I’d believe that Jesus was the Son of God. I’d be trusting Him with my life. I’d drop everything that I had to follow Him. How about you? If you saw a dead man come back to life in front of your eyes, wouldn’t you be rejoicing and saying that’s the son of God. I’m following Him no matter what. Don’t you think that’s what you’d say? Not necessarily. Really?
Lazarus comes out and Jesus, let’s go back to why Jesus wept. Let’s go back to why Jesus wept. He knew Lazarus was going to come out. He knew Mary and Martha were going to be excited as all get out to get that present.
Jesus wept because He knew; He knew what the chief priest was going to say. He knew what the chief priest was going to say. The chief priest says what shall we do? For this man Jesus works many signs. If we let Him alone like this, everyone will believe in Him. And the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. Translation of that verse: God’s miracle flies in the face of my agenda. I don’t like that miracle very much that Jesus just performed. That doesn’t suit my plans and my dreams. Attitude number three. I call that the attitude of the critics. That dream and that plan doesn’t fit my agenda.
Now I have to ask you a profound question. How many times have you prayed for a miracle, a miracle actually happened in your life. It just didn’t fit with your plans and your agenda. It didn’t look like the miracle you were asking for.
Case in point, one of the greatest lines I ever read in a book and heard in a sermon was probably twenty years ago by this man sitting right here. This youngster named Dr. Robert H. Schuller stood up and said, “You’ve just lost your job. Congratulations. Congratulations! You’re now free to do whatever God has dreamed and designed you to be. The greatest miracle you ever got was getting fired.” I heard that, I about came out of my chair. I thought he was crazy at first. And then I started thinking about it. I started thinking about on my life. I remember back when I was in college. I was working at this sporting goods store; only been there a couple of months. It was a terrible job with a terrible boss, therefore I did a terrible job. I got fired. Best thing that ever happened to me. I got a better job two weeks later. But I wouldn’t have quit on my own. There’s no way.
Now that applause is going to get stronger here in a few minutes because what we need to do is realize are we willing to embrace change that God brings into our life. Are we willing to embrace change that God brings into our life? When change happens in a positive thinking person, a positive thinking person says hallelujah, God is doing something new in my life. When change happens in a positive thinking person, a positive thinking person says hallelujah, God is doing something new with my life. When change happens in a negative person, a negative thinking person says bah-humbug. That flies in the face of my dreams and my plans.
I have a word for you today. The word is and it’s a good word. I guarantee you change is going to happen in your life. Guaranteed. You will not be the same person tomorrow that you are today. You’ll be a day older. Change is going to happen. I didn’t say positive change. Sometimes it won’t feel so good. The knees don’t work so good the next day. The ticker’s not working so good the next day. I didn’t say it’s always going to be positive change. I said change is going to happen. What’s your reaction? You’ve grown up under this great guy over here, Dr. Schuller, for years he said are you looking at your glass half full or half empty? Right? Are you looking at the glass half full or half empty? Change is going to happen. What’s your reaction to it?
Change is going to happen in your life. Okay? Change is going to happen in your life. Let’s think about that. Change is happening in my life. Hallelujah, God’s doing something new. Who’s ready to say that? Change is happening in my life. Well stand up and say it. Change is happening in my life, say hallelujah! Change is happening in my life, hallelujah! Negative change is happening in my life, hallelujah! And you know why you can say that? Is because God’s going to use that to stretch you. He’s going to use that to build you up. He’s going to use you.. use that negative change in your life to encourage somebody else. Come on. Hallelujah! Change is happening. All right.
Now here’s a quick story. Here’s a quick story. Think about it. Change isn’t always good. We don’t always perceive it as good. I guarantee you Moses did not want to wander in the desert for forty years with two million grumbling people. Think about it. He didn’t want to do that. I guarantee you Daniel did not want to go into the lions den like Sheila described a couple of weeks ago. I guarantee you he said okay, Lord, I’m excited. Let’s go to the lion’s den today. Let’s go! I guarantee you Paul, the apostle Paul, I guarantee you he did not want to sit and rot in a Roman prison. Oh Lord, I can’t wait to get those chains on and for the rats to run across my feet. Sometimes change isn’t always positive. The question is what’s your reaction? Hallelujah! Hallelujah! You’re doing something new with me, Lord. You’re doing something new with me, Lord. Change is happening in this church. Incredible change is happening in this church. The question is does it fit your agenda? Or does it fit God’s agenda? If change is happening in this church you should say hallelujah. Hallelujah. Come on!
I’ll give you a sobering one. Jesus did not want to go to the cross. What did He pray? Lord, take this cup from Me. He sweat blood in the garden of Gethsemane. He sweat blood in the garden of Gethsemane, saying, Lord, take this cup from Me. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to do that. But what was the next part of His prayer? Lord, not My will but Your will be done. Not My will but Your will be done.
Now when you go to your cross, Jesus said take up your cross and follow Me. Your cross are the negative circumstances in your life. Everybody’s got them. Nobody’s immune. Everybody has a negative circumstance. Take up your cross and trust Jesus. And when negative things happen in your life, say hallelujah, You’re stretching me Lord. Hallelujah! Come on! Remember that this week. Because I guarantee you’re going to walk out that door and maybe by the end of the day, maybe tomorrow you’re going to have a negative circumstance hit you and saying Lord, doesn’t matter. I trust You. You’re the Savior of my life. You’re the Lord of my life. One word from Jesus makes mountains move, and demons flee, right? One word. You’re going to walk out of here and you’re going to have a different week because when negative circumstances come, you’re going to say I trust Jesus. Give the Lord a hand and say I trust Jesus. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Oh Lord, oh Lord, You just gave us a message we didn’t plan. You just gave us a message I didn’t plan. Lord God, You are moving in the lives of these people. Lord, we are few sitting in this building but we are mighty. Lord God, we are Yours for eternity. No matter what comes our way, we trust You and You alone, in Jesus’ precious name, hallelujah. Amen. Amen. Amen.
So today, today I encourage us as a church, I encourage us as a nation to not give in to fear, terror or panic anymore. I encourage and I exhort all of us to live by faith, to live with peace of mind, to live with courage, the courage that God can give you no matter what. No matter what. No matter what. And so I want you to repeat after me right now, I want you to say “no matter what, I will trust in God!” “No matter what, I will trust in God!” One more time: “No matter what, I will trust in God.” “No matter what, I will trust in God.”