Carter Conlon from the historic Times Square Church in New York City. God waits until the story is only about Him. So my message to everybody here, He's not late. He's right on time.
Welcome to this week's edition of A Call to the Nation with Carter Conlon. In John chapter 11, we find an amazing story that leads to a very important question Carter will pose in today's message. It involves a sick man named Lazarus who was dying. His sisters, Mary and Martha, had sent word for Jesus to come and heal Lazarus. But Jesus delayed His arrival until Lazarus was in the tomb for four days. When he arrived and saw the sisters in despair, Jesus was overwhelmed with compassion and wept and groaned over what had happened.
Let's join Carter now with more of this story. So I have a question on my heart. Is Jesus groaning over you? John chapter 11, if you'll go there with me, John 11, we're going to begin at verse 32 in a very, very familiar story in the Bible. The scripture says, Then when Mary came where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
So it must have been an audible groan that the people who were witness to this event actually heard. And He said, Where have you laid Him? They said to Him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, See how He loved Him. And some of them said, Could not this man who opened the eyes of the blind also have kept this man from dying? Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take away the stone. Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, Lord, by this time there's a stench, for he's been dead four days.
And Jesus said to her, Did I not say to you that if you would believe, you would see the glory of God? Now the scripture tells us that there was a particular man called Lazarus who became sick. And when he was sick, his family sent for Christ, for they knew at this point that Jesus Christ had the power to heal.
Just as we do. We know He has the power to heal. We know He can deliver. We know He can set the oppressed free. We know He can give sight to those who can't see a way forward.
We know that God can do all things. And we come to Him, and we come with an expectancy in a sense. He has told us that He loves us. When they sent to Jesus, they said, Jesus, the man that you love is sick. So there's no other way they could have known that Jesus loved him, other than perhaps at the table one night.
It's only my conjecture, but Jesus must have said, Lazarus, I just love you. I love the way you are. I love the kind of a heart you have.
I love that you're my friend. Somehow, that love was conveyed. So it was a natural thing in a sense. When Mary and Martha, the two sisters of this man, knew he was very, very gravely ill to send for Jesus, saying the man that you love is sick, supposing that he was going to come immediately. But he didn't come immediately. As a matter of fact, he tarried for a certain amount of time. Just enough time that this man, Lazarus, could die. And you know, when the scripture tells us, he said to his disciples in chapter 11, verse 11, Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him. Then the disciples said, Lord, if he sleeps, you will get well. However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought he was speaking about taking rest and sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I'm glad for your sakes that I was not there that you may believe. Nevertheless, let us go to him.
The first person he encounters when he gets there is one of the sisters of this man who had just died called Martha. And when she approached Jesus, he said to him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. How many people in our society today are feeling that way?
How many people online tonight are feeling that way? There was a time, Jesus, that we called out to you. And when we called out to you, we believed that you loved us. We were told in church that you loved us. We believe that we were the apple of your eye, as the scripture says, and that you went to a cross just for us, just to get us.
And you loved us. But when we called to you, you didn't come, because if you had come, our families would be intact. How many people online here, you're listening to these words and you're saying, if he had come when I called, my family could have been salvaged, my situation could have been a whole lot different than it is this day.
If you had come, Jesus, our futures would not be filled with sorrow. Here they are in a cemetery. They've just buried their brother.
He's been dead for four days. And that most likely meant even their security was gone, because in that culture, of course, the brother, if he was the eldest in the family, would in a sense be their security for the future. Our futures look like they're gone. Our futures are filled with sorrow. We had such hope, especially because we once had you with us in our home, dining at our table. And now you didn't come. Have you ever felt that way?
Anybody here ever felt that way? You prayed and he didn't come. He didn't come when you called to him. He didn't come seemingly when you needed him the most. He didn't come to you when you were sick and you knew you were dying and you knew there was no other way out. And you assumed he was going to come on your timetable, but he didn't show up when you called.
And then when he does, the thought is in our hearts. If only you would have come sooner. If only you would have come when we needed you. Our present would not be looking as hopeless as it now does.
And many, many people are sitting in church all over the, or maybe just sitting in your living room listening to this message. And your present looks hopeless to you because you say, I tried this before. It didn't work. I called out. Nobody came.
Things are just getting worse. I've called out to Jesus. You told me he loves me. You told me he died. You told me when he rose from the dead that he took my captivity captive. And yet here I am filled with sorrow and looking so hopeless. Now verses 20 to 27, she said, if you'd been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know whatever you ask of God, he will give it to you. In other words, Martha is saying, we neither trust you nor your ways of doing things, but we will continue with you in a relationship that doesn't require faith anymore.
Oh, come on now. There's so many people like that all over the church world now that in a relationship with God that requires no faith. I'll take my broom and I'll do my thing for the kingdom of God, but don't ask me to believe for miracles anymore. Don't ask me to believe for the impossible because when I did call out, you didn't come. You see, people are like that because they don't want to get disappointed again.
We don't want to get our hopes up one more time just to be disappointed once again. And then Martha, of course, goes on and she just he's trying to tell her, she says, but I know that even now, whatever you ask of God, God will give it to you. And then he responds, says your brother will rise again. And she says, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection and the last day.
In other words, you fooled me once before, but you're not going to get me this time. I do believe you, but I don't believe for now. I believe for the future. I believe that you are the son of God. I believe you're the Messiah. And I believe one day everyone will rise from the grave. Everyone will stand at your throne, but not now.
The victory is not now. So don't get my hopes up. I do believe that he will rise again in the resurrection and the last day. Jesus is speaking about now, but Martha is speaking about the future. And it can actually be a cover up for unbelief. I believe, but not for now.
I believe for some time way in the future. And Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. Not just I will bring resurrection and life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the son of God.
I have the power to bring death back to life again. It is my voice that will open the graves at the end of time. I will be the judge of the living and the dead. I was there in the beginning with God. Without me was nothing created that God created in the beginning. I am the word of God, who is with God. I am God. I am the resurrection and the life, and he who believes in me, though he die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.
Do you believe this? And Martha says, yes, I believe that you're the Christ, the son of God, who has come into the world. And she's not willing to deny him. She's not willing to say, no, you are the hope that we've always looked for, but not now.
You had your chance and you didn't come. That's essentially what she was saying. She's very, very angry with Jesus at this point in her life. She's covering it all up with religion. She's covering it up with scripture. But realistically, she says, when we called, you didn't come, so don't make any promises to me now. In other words, she's the type of a person that says, God, your promises may have worked for somebody else at some other time, but not for me, not now, not here, not ever, except maybe on the day of the resurrection.
And when she had said these things, she went and called her sister, and when Mary came, verse 32, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying, Lord, if you'd been here, my brother would not have died. You see, when even those who loved him the most were weeping. You know, we can get that way in society, can't we? We might be that way today. When people are looking around, they're looking around at drag shows for children in our schools, they're looking around at gender confusion, deliberate gender confusion in our grade schools, they're looking at a perversion that's taking over our society, destroying our marriages, our homes, our bodies, our minds, looking at the feeble people who are getting into leadership that don't even have a soundness of mind. They're saying, God, what's happening to us?
Where are you? How many people have been in prayer meetings calling out for the nation, calling out for the future, saying, God, you have to do something for us. Come to us. Our nation is sick. We're becoming reprehensible in our thinking. We're becoming reprobates in our practice. Oh, Jesus, our homes are under attack. We're sick as a society. We're dying in our streets.
Our children don't know the way forward. Come, Lord Jesus. And it's met with silence. And we get to the point where even those who loved him the most, you read your Bible in the morning. You cried hot tears when God started speaking to your heart. You loved to worship him in church, but now you're among the disappointed, the weeping. Where were you?
We thought you loved us. And when Jesus saw Mary weeping and the Jews who came with her weeping, the Jews, the promised people of God, the people who had a history of miraculous deliverances and power, the people that Jesus was now doing miracles among, the stories of him were everywhere. This man could walk on water.
This man could give sight to the blind. This man was fearless in his proclamation of truth, and yet even they are weeping. And when he saw them all weeping, the scripture says he groaned in the spirit and was trouble and said, where have you laid them?
Where did you put your hopes? Where did you lay down your future or your vision of what the future should be or how you once thought God would answer your prayers? And he was groaning. And then the scripture says in verse 35, Jesus wept. He wept because it was in his heart to do what only God can do.
It was in his heart to do it his way, his work, and in his time and among the people. You see, I think sometimes if Jesus shows up before everything is dead, before there's no hope of resurrecting it in the natural, we will touch the glory. We will take the glory. We will share the glory. We will talk about we called him and he came at our calling.
It will be about us and Jesus, about us and Jesus. But the situation has arisen now in this graveyard where it's not about us anymore because there's nobody there that believes he'd come on time and not a single person believed that he was capable of raising something which had died in their sight. And he wept. I think he saw you.
I think he saw people in their living rooms that just could not rouse themselves at certain stages in their life to believe that he is the son of God and that he can do things that only God can do and that his coming to you is not late. As a matter of fact, he's right on time. He's right on time when you can't raise yourself out of your situation. He's right on time when your situation is irreparable in the natural. He's right on time when it looks hopeless and there's no go forward strategy anymore. No, he's right on time.
I've learned that about God over the years. He's not on my time, he's on his time and his time is right on time. He's never late.
We think he's late but he's not late. He knew when he was coming to that graveyard. He knew the day he was going to show up and he groaned inside and I feel this groaning of God for people now. I feel this groaning of God for a nation. I feel this groaning of God for his people in God's house all over the country.
I feel this groaning. It's the same groaning that was in the garden because so many people have put their hopes way into the future. They've given up on the nation.
They've given up on families and marriage and children and government and all the rest of it. They've given up hope even for the future and there's a groan inside his heart and he says to those that were gathered around, did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God? The glory of God in the Greek is the doksha of God which means it's that which is of God that brings his own name to reputation. Not God in us, God alone.
Only him, nobody else. The glory. Did I not say that if you would believe you'd see the glory of God? I believe that we're going to see a spiritual awakening in our generation.
I believe it with all my heart. I believe God's going to do something in this time that only God can do because we've run out of gas. We've hit the wall. We don't know where to go.
We don't have a strategy for the future. We are losing the battle that's in front of us but God is still God and he shows up in his own time. Hallelujah. And when he speaks, death has to give way. When he speaks, circumstances must change. When he speaks, hopelessness turns to hope. When he speaks, captivity becomes freedom. When he speaks, addiction breaks. Marriages are healed.
Children's minds are set right. When he speaks, evil is put out of authority in the nation and righteousness begins to exalt the nation one more time. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God. Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God? And then he said, take away the stone. Take away that thought process where you took this area of your life and you rolled a gravestone in front of it and said it will never change. I will never be free. There was a chance a little while back that I could have been set free but you see I died. My hope died. My sense of well-being died.
My future died. And I just rolled a stone and I'm just going to be content to try to ride it out until the last day. Jesus said, no, take the stone away. Take the stone away. For you and me, that means be willing to be vulnerable one more time. Be willing to trust me one more time and roll that stone away, that whatever thought it is that you placed in front of that area of your life where you say it will never be. It's too late. It's been too long.
I called. Jesus, you didn't answer. Jesus says to you, roll the stone away. You're sitting there and you have a thought in your heart and you're saying, could it be? Can I trust one more time?
I trusted in the past but he never showed. But here I'm feeling this strange stirring in my heart to move the stone away. No matter what people say about me, you know, Martha said, no, we can't do that. He's been dead for four days and he stinks. Maybe that's your testimony.
Maybe that's what people have said about you. You've been so long paralyzed in this situation that there's no aroma of life left, only a smell of death all over you, spiritual death. But Jesus said, roll away the stone. May I encourage you to roll the stone away.
Even if you have to do it by faith, this thing you've placed in front of your life, this thought that nothing will ever change, push it away and open your heart one more time and be willing to be vulnerable one more time. He said, if you believe, you'll see the glory of God. You'll see God raise you as only God can. And they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying and Jesus lift up his eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you've heard me and I know you always hear me but because of the people who are standing by, I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.
And when he said these things, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. Come out of that place of darkness. Come out of that place of captivity. Come out of that place of death.
Admit you can't save yourself. That's where it all begins. I think if you're dead, you have more of an advantage than somebody that still has some strength left in them. I always found it ironic that in this whole scenario that only the dead man could hear his voice. Nobody alive could hear him, but the dead man heard him. And you see, sometimes he waits till you're dead because that's when you can hear him.
That's when it becomes him and him alone. It's his voice coming through the clamor, may I call it the cacophony or whatever you call that word, that of all the voices around you, all the voices in your head and all the voices that are saying there's no hope for you. And suddenly one voice comes and cuts right through the middle of them and calls your name and says, come forth. Come forth out of your addiction.
Come forth out of your confusion. Come forth out of your broken life, your broken home, your broken marriage, your broken body. Come forth out of whatever it is that's holding you captive and I'm gonna give you life. That's the promise that came to Lazarus. I am the resurrection and the life. I have the power to raise you. That's what God would say to you. If you would believe, you will see the glory of God. So that's your part.
Your part is no more than Lazarus's was. When he heard the voice of God, he had to get up and move towards that voice. You get up from where you are and move towards the voice of the son of God. Move out of your captivity. Move away from the smell of death. Move away from the practice of sin.
Move away from everything that holds you captive and move towards the one who loves you enough to come to where you are and call your name. He did love Lazarus. He loved him enough to go where he was and call him out of that place of death and call him into life. That's who Christ is.
And that's what he's speaking to you and he's calling to you. Believe that he's the son of God. Believe that he's the Messiah. He's everything you've ever needed to be free from the penalty of sin.
Believe that he came to you and died on a cross so that your sin might be forgiven. And when you get up, call him Lord and walk towards him and say, you are the Lord of my life from this day forward. I confess you as the God of my salvation. I confess you as my only hope. I confess you as the way, the truth, and the life.
There's no other way to eternal life but through you. It's so ironic because later on in the Bible, Lazarus was sitting at the table with Jesus and people were coming not just because of Jesus but because of Lazarus. And the interesting thing is when you have a miracle, people will come to God because of your testimony. They'll come to him because of you.
May I put it that way? They came to Christ because of Lazarus. God waits until the story is only about him. Oh, hallelujah. Oh, hallelujah. Oh, hallelujah. So my message to everybody here, he's not late.
He's right on time. He's calling your name. He's calling you.
Hallelujah. There's a song I wrote years and years and years ago. It's on a CD called Quiet Times. Don't try to play it because you don't know it, okay? But it's on a CD called Quiet Times and I called it Calling My Name. It goes like this. I went back to the last place I'd known him to be Every promise he'd once spoken seemed only for me I don't know just how it happened But in the midst of all my pain Softly, sweetly, I heard Jesus calling my name Calling my name, calling my name Never I'd heard it with such sweet refrain Through the tears all darkness vanished And I'll never be the same Since the morning I heard Jesus Calling my name Father, in Jesus' name God, you are calling a whole generation Out of death and into life. You're calling children Because you said let them come to me And don't forbid them For the kingdom of heaven belongs to these ones. You're calling teenagers and middle schoolers You're calling high schoolers and college kids Moms, dads, young people You're calling the depressed, the addicted, the afflicted The nobodies, the nothings of this world You're calling people who have given up on themselves And you would say to them You may have given up on yourself But I have never given up on you I have loved you with an everlasting love A nursing mother could forget her children But I cannot forget you Because I engraved you on the palms of my hands Jesus, pray this prayer with me Everybody here Lord Jesus Christ, I hear you I hear you calling me By your grace And with your strength I'm going to get up And I'm going to trust That in believing you I will see and know the glory of God Thank you for not forgetting me And for coming to get me where I am In this lonely, dark place From this day forward I call you the Lord of my life And I will follow you all of my days It will be such a privilege to sit at your table I love you, Jesus And thank you for loving me In your precious name Amen Praise God Father, I do pray that For those that have prayed that from a sincere heart God, you are a God of miracles We believe you raise the dead We believe that you call out of darkness We believe that you go to impossible places Where all the devices of man have failed We believe, Lord, because you've taken us And we're just so thankful that we're hearing your voice again We're thankful, Lord, that we're hearing you calling us God Almighty In the midst of all of the clamor And the confusion and the evil of this time We hear your voice cutting through all of it Calling us into life Father, we give you praise and we give you glory In Jesus' name
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-11 09:21:28 / 2022-12-11 09:31:56 / 10