Sunday School Material 1-31-16: The Death of a Friend

(John 11:38-44; 1/31/16)

Introduction:: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God raised Lazarus from the dead. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to both trust God to do, and let God use us to do, great works today.

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Read John 11:38-41a

I. Tomb Opened. In the Sunday School material Jesus is deeply moved by what is going on. He calls for the moving of the stone that covers the entrance to the tomb where Lazarus’ body is located. There is an exchange between Jesus and Martha. The stone is moved.

Applications –

- Death. Notice in vs. 39 that Lazarus was dead. We all have a date with death (i.e., unless the Lord comes before we die). We should get our affairs in order. The most important matter is to make sure we have accepted Jesus as our savior by faith.

However, things such as wills, life insurance, and living wills are important. And living the life that we want to be remembered for is important. Making things right with people we love is important also. Let’s get our affairs in order, before our date with death.

- Obedient faith. Notice in vss. 39-40 of our Sunday School material that Martha had some faith, but needed a reminder. In like manner, think about how there are levels of faith. Some people only have lip service faith. They say the right things, but don’t live like they believe what they say.

God is calling us to living faith. He wants us to obey Him with confidence that He will do what He said He will do. Let’s work on having obedient faith in God.

It is one thing to say that we trust God. But it is another to obey His will in areas like paying our tithes, loving difficult people, and witnessing to people we meet with confidence that God will take care of His own.

Read John 11:41b-44

II. Lazarus Emerges. Jesus talks with God the Father about how some things are done for the benefit of those who are around Jesus. In out Sunday School material Jesus calls Lazarus from the dead. When Lazarus comes forward, Jesus calls for the grave clothes to be removed.

Applications –

- Our prayer lives. Notice in vs. 41 that Jesus was known for praying. As followers of Christ, we should work on having strong prayer lives. We should pray regularly and when the occasion calls for it.

We should include a healthy amount of adoration or praise, confession of our sins, thanksgiving, and supplication – asking God to supply for others (intercession) and ourselves. Let’s work on our prayer lives. Supporting the prayer movement in our church is a great start.

- Flexibility. Notice in vs. 42 that Jesus did some things for the sake of the people who were around Him. It is important for disciples of Christ to know that the greatest evidence of our discipleship is our loving one another.

Love will make you do some things for a person that you love that you would not do for others. Think about how this applies to wardrobe, worship style, and the ministry focus. It is one thing to say that we love people, but another to do some things for their benefit.

Let’s work on loving people enough to have a healthy amount of flexibility. Knowing what a “healthy amount of flexibility” is calls for seeking wisdom from God.

- God can turn it around. Notice in vss. 43-44 of our Sunday School material that God turned Lazarus’ death into life. In like manner, God can turn around those things that seem to be hopeless in our lives.

We should never give up on God. He is working things out for the good of His people. We all know that God doesn’t always do what we want, how we want, and when we want.

However, we should learn to trust that if God doesn’t do what we want, His way is best for us. Let’s work on trusting God to do what is best for His people.

Conclusion: Let’s work on trusting God to do, and letting God use us to do, great works today. God has much for those who obey His will.

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