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R262 The Absolute Certainty of Life After Life

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2021 8:00 am

R262 The Absolute Certainty of Life After Life

Encouraging Word / Don Wilton

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We all could use some encouragement, and we'll find it together today through the Bible-based preaching of Dr. Don Wilton on The Encouraging Word. In just a moment, we're headed to John chapter 11 about the message, the absolute certainty of life after life. While we do so, connect with us online at www.tewonline.org. We'd love to connect with you.

Now, Dr. Don Wilton. I want to invite you to take a copy of God's Word with you right now and turn with me to John's Gospel chapter 11 to follow along in God's Word with me. Now, I'm going to be reading a long passage, and I'm sure that I'll stop every now and again, as I'm prone to do. But you know, as I prepared for this message today, I came to understand that within the context of what God would teach each one of us, it's very difficult to take little bits and pieces out of God's Word. You have to understand God's Word in its contextual whole.

Let's read together. Our subject this morning is the absolute certainty of life after life. Now, I've preached a message. I'm not sure if I've preached it yet. I don't believe that I have, but I preach a message entitled the absolute certainty of life after death.

You see, that makes far more sense to most people. But the Bible teaches us and we're going to discover that one of the greatest joys about knowing Jesus Christ is that life follows life. Because in Christ Jesus, all people are made alive. In John chapter 10 and verse 10, Jesus put it like this. He said, I have come that you might have life and that you might have it more abundantly.

We're going to discover here in God's Word this morning, the absolute certainty of life after life. Now, a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, Lord, the one you love is sick. When he heard this and verse four is going to be the most critical verse in this entire context. In fact, I'm going to submit to you today, ladies and gentlemen, that we cannot understand exactly what it is that the Lord Jesus Christ teaches us at this juncture outside of verse four. Verse four is one of the most pivotal issues that Jesus Christ addresses as far as we are concerned in our human predicament called death. When he heard this, Jesus said, this sickness will not end in death.

No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it. Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days. Then he said to his disciples, let us go back to Judea. But Rabbi, they said, a short while ago, the Jews tried to stone you and yet you are going back there. Jesus answered, are there not 12 hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light. After he had said this, he went on to tell them, our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep.

I'm going there to wake him up. I'm going to say to you, my friends, this boggled their minds. Immediately, the disciples, just like you and me, became absolutely confused.

There was an apparent contradiction here and we're going to discover why. His disciples replied in verse 12, Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better. Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So he told them plainly, this is where Jesus lays it down, where the water hits the wheel. He says, okay, Lazarus is dead. And for your sake, I'm glad that I was not there so that you may believe.

But let us go to him. Verse 17, on his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Verse 21, Lord, Mary, Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, your brother will rise again. Martha answered. Now, this lady apparently had her theology in order, don't you think? I mean, this lady was an astute Bible student. She must have had some kind of seminary training. She must have been a member of First Baptist Church, Spartanburg in bygone days where they study and read the Bible and place a total complete emphasis upon the word of God. Listen to her answer.

She makes no apology for it. She says in verse 24, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live even though he dies. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die.

Do you believe this? Yes, Lord, she told him, I believe that you are the Christ, the son of God who has come into the world. Verse 33, when Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and trouble.

Where have you laid him? He asked. Come and see, Lord, they replied. And then we have the shortest and most unbelievable verse in all of scripture. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, See how Jesus loved him.

But some of them said, Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying? Jesus once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. Take away the stone, he said.

But, Lord, said Martha, the sister of the dead man, by this time there is a bad odor. For he has been there for four days. Then Jesus said, Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?

So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me.

But I said this. Here it is for the benefit of the people standing here in order that they may believe that you sent me. When he said this, Jesus called out in a loud voice, Lazarus, come out. The dead man came out, his hands and his feet wrapped with strips of linen and a cloth around his face.

Rather significant, don't you think? His eyes were closed, his ears were stopped up and his mouth was completely bandaged over. There was no way by which this man who was dead in his trespasses and sins could have seen anything, could have heard anything, could have spoken anything. And Jesus said to them, Jesus said, Take off the grave clothes and let him go.

Take off the grave clothes and let him go. The absolute certainty of life after life. I want you to notice here with me this morning, seven principles, seven facts that we learn about this extraordinary account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. Number one, it is absolutely certain that Lazarus lived a life. What a profound statement to make. And all the philosophers and all the educators say, goodness me, Dr. Wilton, you really have deepened in your understanding.

Number one, it's a very significant point. If we're ever going to understand the absolute certainty of life after life, we've got to understand in the first place, my friend, that it is absolutely certain that Lazarus lived a life. You see, life is the most significant fact as far as the life of Christ is concerned. The Bible says, my friends, that when God created man, he created man in his own image, and he breathed into his nostrils, the nefesh kaya, the breath of life itself. And when God breathed life into him, he breathed the very expression of his umbilical blood flow that flowed between himself and man whom he had created.

And sin came into the world in the life of Adam and it interrupted and it severed that life blood flow between man and his maker. And here the Lord Jesus Christ reminds us at the first instance that before we can talk about life after life, we've got to talk about life. Now that's good news this morning. You know why? Because all of us in here today, upstairs and downstairs, everyone watching by way of television is alive.

I like that, don't you? We're all alive. We don't all feel alive. Some people don't feel alive. The more I look around, some of you don't look alive, but I want you to know all of us in this place are alive. It is the most wonderful, it is the most invigorating, it is the most unbelievable dynamic of the life of Jesus Christ that Jesus died for those who are alive. Bible says it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment, the judgment of Christ, my friend, is completely eliminated only when we have life in Christ and it is absolutely significant that the Bible tells us that this man, it is absolutely certain, lived a life. Notice in the second place, it is absolutely certain that Lazarus was loved while he lived this life.

I like this, don't you? It's right there in verse 5. Bible tells us very clearly, look at it for yourself. Bible tells us Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.

You can go over to verse 36. Then the Jews said, see how Jesus loved him. This man was loved. My beloved friends this morning, I know that there are many, many tragic circumstances in life, but one of the greatest desires of men and women and boys and girls today is simply to be loved.

It is simply to be loved. That's what I love about this congregation. You say, well here he goes again. He's going to tell us, brother, what seems to be your problem? I want you to know that I will stand on a mountaintop and I will talk about the love in this congregation.

Jesus put it like this. He said, by this shall all men know that you are my disciples if you love one another. Here in Spartanburg County and all over these United States of America from sea to shining sea, there are teenagers who are crying out for someone to love them. There are entertainers crying out for somebody to love them.

There are husbands and wives crying out for someone to love them. We're not talking about a puppy kind of love. We're not talking about a smoochy smoochy kind of love. We're not talking about a fickle kind of love.

We're talking about a real life changing love that it is apparent from every dynamic that this man experienced. It is absolutely certain that Lazarus was loved while he lived this life. He was loved by his friends. Did you notice I didn't read all the verses but from 28 through 33 when they heard about what had happened to Lazarus, all these people around began to run together and congregate together around the tomb of the one who was deceased and who had passed on. They loved him.

He was surrounded by people. What about Mary and Martha, his sisters? What a tremendous thing to be loved like that. But the Bible says that the one who loved him more than anything else was the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said it himself. Jesus loved him, my friends. And I want you to know that according to Scripture, Jesus would never have said that he loved Lazarus had not Lazarus loved him in return. This is one of the theological predicaments. God is a God of love.

Of course he is. How can a God who's a God of love despise or send anybody to a devil's hell judgment seat of Christ, my friend? You see, God doesn't send anybody away from his presence. God doesn't send anybody to hell.

God doesn't judge anybody to outer darkness. If people die and they go to a Christless eternity, they go there not because God has sent them, but for the love because they have refused to respond to the love of God while they're still alive. That is particularly relevant this morning as we gather in God's house and we study God's word and the spirit of the living God flows through our hearts and souls and he speaks to us and he convicts us and he draws us unto himself.

It is the love of God. Jesus loves me. Yes, I know the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong.

They are weak, but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes!

Sometimes it's the simple things that drive home the biggest points. You're listening to Dr. Don Wilton, our teacher here on The Encouraging Word and we'll be back with a complete message in just a moment, but Dr. Wilton wants you to know that if you are needing someone to pray you through a situation or perhaps you are finding that you are weak and you need the strength of Jesus, we would love to pray you through. Our phone number is 866-899-WORD.

That's 866-899-9673. Now back to today's teaching with Dr. Don Wilton. Very significant if we are out to understand the certainty of life after life that it is absolutely certain that Lazarus lived a life. It is absolutely certain that Lazarus was loved while he was alive, but I want you to note in the third place that it was absolutely certain that he loved the Lord while he was alive. You see friends, the Bible tells us in verse 11 that he loved the Lord.

There was this reciprocal response, this relationship. The Bible teaches, my friend, that you cannot come into a relationship with God by virtue of osmosis. God doesn't seep into your system uninvited. God doesn't have a family plan of salvation. You cannot go to heaven, you cannot have your sin forgiven because you're born in a church or because you're born in the United States or because you've been baptized or because you read your Bible or because you're a good person. The Bible says, my friend, that Lazarus loved the Lord.

Why? Because he had responded to the love of God in Christ Jesus. How do we know this? Well, there are three suggestions here in this passage that he loved the Lord. First of all, as I said to you, because the Lord said so. The Lord spoke of his love for this man. But number two, because godly friends surrounded Lazarus. It seems remarkable how these people seem to gather. The Bible says in verse 19, many Jews had come to Martha and to Mary to comfort for them, comfort them in the loss of their brother. And later on in verse 33, when Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had also come along also weeping, there was a family gathering of sorts in which people from all walks of life, the neighbors and the people down the road came together. This man was obviously surrounded by like-minded people. Someone told me one time and I believe it's true. If you want to know if a man or a woman has a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, look at the people who gravitate towards them.

Now let me just run that by again in case your favorite playoff team lost yesterday. Someone told me one time, if you want to know whether or not a man or woman has a genuine relationship with God, look at the people who gravitate toward them. The Bible says my friend that a Christian is like a magnet. He will attract people to himself.

It is absolutely impossible for light to attract darkness. Love our young people. We've got some of the finest young people in Spartanburg right here in our church. Our teenagers love them to bits. Teenagers, I would say to you today, one of the greatest marks of your genuineness in terms of your relationship with Jesus Christ is in direct relationship to the kind of people who gravitate towards you.

What kind of company? Who are your friends? Who hangs around with you? Are they people who are godly? Are they people who talk about the Lord Jesus Christ? Are they people who are spiritual people? Or is there no semblance whatsoever of any kind of spirituality God, maybe just some pie in the sky that every now and again you pull out of a box or he's someone to mock or he's just this big old daddy up in heaven or he's just any way by which anybody, as long as they're sincere and who would bother to go to church anyway? You can always tell a person's relationship with God, my friend, by the gravitation of the company that they keep.

But there's a third key indicator here in the third place. We know that he loved the Lord because he had a happy home. I like this. He had a happy home. There's no question about it. Dr. Kirk Neely would probably concur with me this morning that amongst many, many other sad things in this world, one of the greatest desires of mankind today is to have a happy home. Have you got any idea what it's like to live in an unhappy home? Have you got any idea what it's like to live in a home where mother and father drink and carry on and cuss at each other and fight where children fight with each other, where there is separation and there is division, where there is unhappiness and hate and pride and jealousy and anger? I want you to know, friend, if we're ever going to understand the absolute certainty of life after life, we must understand, my friend, that this man who understood life after life and became the beneficiary of it had a happy home all because of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh, I love you today, my friends. As your pastor, I have seen on many occasions marriages that are on the rocks that have been reconciled because Jesus Christ came into the center of it. I've been in homes where sons haven't spoken to fathers in months and years and Jesus comes into the center of it and all of a sudden a reconciliation takes place. I've been amongst people, my friend, who have been searching from north to south and from east to west with an emptiness and agony in their soul trying to find out meaning in life and Jesus comes into the center of their life and there is a reconciliation.

There is a coming together. There is a filling in of the gap. There is a full and a meaningful life. The absolute certainty of life after life. It is absolutely certain that Lazarus lived a life, there's no doubt. It is absolutely certain that Lazarus was loved while he lived this life. Third, it is absolutely certain that Lazarus loved the Lord while he lived this life but I want you to notice in the fourth place that it is absolutely certain that Lazarus was sick while he lived this life. You know I really agonized over verse one.

It seems to me a pity rather because it's so different to me and to you. You know what you and I do? We tell everybody everything good. I mean we tell all the good things and then we drop the bomb. We get everybody pumped up first and then we drop the bomb, not Jesus. Jesus dropped the bomb right here in verse one.

He didn't start out with all the happy home and the good things and the love. Look at verse one, it's one of the most stark, salient, isolated verses. Now a man named Lazarus was sick.

Boom, kapoom, just boom, there it is right in front of you. Now a man named Lazarus was sick. Why did Jesus begin with that?

I'm convinced my friend because that is the reality of life. The Bible says this man was sick. All people are sick.

None are exempt. The Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. You know the irony that we find so hard to fathom out my friend is that all of us are born to die. Love little babies. My wife and I just love being around them. I'm telling you, I was around at Whitney Sanders' home the other night, could have eaten up his little boy just in chunks.

Precious like you cannot describe. But you know the moment we are born, as we begin to grow, we die. You go down to the store and see how we try and stop ourselves from dying.

We're doing it all the time. Do you know that one of the greatest thrills that I have as pastor of this church is what I call the thrill of my inheritance. You know these disciples, they were such skeptics, they couldn't understand it, they couldn't handle it. They couldn't understand the deep theological significance. Have you ever met anybody who always wants to debate theology with you? Have you ever met the modern day Pharisees and the skeptics always wanting to find out what kind of fish it was that swallowed Jonah?

Isn't it incredible to think that there is life after life? There are people who would say, Preach, I wish you'd calm down. I wish you wouldn't get so excited. I wish you would be cool, calm and collected. Friends, I have sat and watched football games and I've watched Clemson and USC playing basketball games.

I've seen fellow preachers sitting there shouting so loud and they're about to burst a blood vessel. I want to say to you today, my friend, if there's anything you and I need to get excited about, it's not a music concert, it's not a television program, it's not a business deal, it's not any status in life. It is the fact that it is absolutely certain that there is life after life. In the fifth place, it is absolutely certain that Lazarus did die.

There's no question about it. He died in the sixth place and this is so critical and so important. It is absolutely certain, my friends, that Lazarus' death brought glory to God and death and sickness always brings glory to God. Why? Because outside of Jesus Christ, you and I are nothing, but in Him we have life.

That's the seventh point. It is absolutely certain, my friend, according to God's word, that there is life after life. Powerful truth from Dr. Don Wilton as he's been preaching and teaching through the Word of God, but I pray that as he steps in the studio and just shares his heart, you'd be open to what he wants to share next. Are you ready to give your heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Why don't you pray this prayer with me right now? Dear God, I know that I'm a sinner and I know that Jesus died for me on the cross. Today I repent of my sin and by faith I receive you into my heart. In Jesus' name. My friend, I welcome you today into the family of God.

This is exciting news. If you just prayed to receive Jesus as Dr. Wilton was leading you, welcome to the family of God. Maybe you rededicated your life either way. Dr. Wilton has wonderful resources he wants you to have, but you'll need to call us and let us know how we can send them to you. Our number is 866-899-WORD.

That's 866-899-9673. Or meet us online at tewonline.org. And while you're there, discover who we are. Many of you are asking how you can prayerfully and financially support us. Well, we call it Becoming Encouragers. The promise of spring brings the promise of hope. Where do we find hope? We find hope in Jesus. We want to share this great hope with as many people as possible.

Will you join us? We need your help. Become an encourager today. Call us at 866-899-WORD.

That's 866-899-9673. To request information on how you can support the work of the Encouraging Word. The Encouraging Word is a viewer and listener supported ministry.

Thank you for listening today. We would be blessed if you are led to get involved in supporting the ministry, but know that we're here to encourage you. And tomorrow, the gathering is the message from John chapter 12 that we'll be diving into with Dr. Wilton.

I hope you'll come back and join us again between now and then. Online is the place to be, tewonline.org. Insight about the new book about Dr. Don Wilton and his relationship with Dr. Billy Graham. What a powerful book. Details at tewonline.org. I hope you'll visit us there. That's tewonline.org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-19 13:12:23 / 2023-12-19 13:22:39 / 10

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