Well hello everybody and welcome to Live with Lon. I hope you had a wonderful Easter weekend last weekend. He is risen.
Come on say it with me. He is risen indeed. Praise the Lord. And we celebrate the Lord's resurrection every day but Easter is always a special time to celebrate it. And he is risen today just like he's risen every day. Praise the Lord.
So good to be with you today. We're going to continue in our study of the Gospel of John. We're in John chapter 11, that great chapter about Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.
And we're going to pick up right there in just a moment. But let's pray. Dear Heavenly Father, we celebrate your resurrection. We celebrate your resurrection because it proves to us and confirms to us that everything you told us in the Bible about life, salvation, eternal life, heaven, the afterlife, everything is true and verified by your resurrection. And so Lord Jesus, thank you for this wonderful confidence that the resurrection brings us. And today may we celebrate that because you live, we who believe in you shall live also as you say here in the Gospel of John. So Lord we're going to talk about that today. Use our time in the Word to encourage our spirit and fortify our soul and strengthen us to press on until we meet you. And we pray this in Jesus name and everybody said, what did we say? Amen. And what? Amen.
You bet. Now let's get to our Bible passage, shall we? Now we're using the New King James Version of the Bible and we're studying what? Say it with me. The Bible.
Come on. The whole Bible. Nothing but the Bible. And then we're applying it to our lives. And that's what we're going to do today. And we left off in John chapter 11.
So let's pick up. We'll put the verses on the screen and let's let's review exactly where we are. Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the Lord with fragrant oil and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore, his sister sent to him saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love, Lazarus, is sick. And when Jesus heard that, he said, this sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God that the Son of God may be glorified through it by raising Lazarus from the dead. Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister Mary and Lazarus. So when he heard that he, Lazarus, was sick, he, Jesus, stayed two more days in the place where he was.
Listen to my message. Our oxymoronic God. Then after this, he said to his disciples, let us go to Judea again. And the disciples said to him, Rabbi, lately the Jews sought to stone you and you are going there again. And Jesus answered, are there not 12 hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he shall not stumble because he sees the light of this world.
But if one walks in the night, he stumbles because there is no light in him. These things he said, and after that he said to them, our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him out of sleep. Then his disciples said, Lord, if he sleeps, he will get well. However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that he was speaking about taking rest in sleep, about natural 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. Then Thomas, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, let us also go that we may die with him. Now, remember, I told you that Thomas reminds me of Eor.
Let us go with him that we may die with him. Where's my tie? I don't know where my tail is. My tail's lost.
Right. Anyway, just a little connection with Winnie the Pooh. Now, Jesus goes to see Lazarus, but I want us to focus today on verse 11. Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him out of sleep. And then verse 14, Jesus said, Lazarus is dead. This term, Lazarus is asleep when he was dead. This is a euphemistic term that the Bible uses for a believer in Jesus dying.
The Bible talks about that person falling asleep in the Lord. And let me show you some of these passages from the New Testament. First Corinthians chapter 11. Let's look.
Let's start there. Jesus is talking about profaning the Lord's Supper of Communion. And he says, for he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner, eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. That's why he said in verse 28, but let a man or a woman examine himself, herself. And so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
Make, you know, make sure there's no obvious or overt sin in your life or you insult the Lord's Supper. For this reason, because people were doing this, verse 30, many are weak and sick among you and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged, but when we are judged, we are disciplined. We are chastened by the Lord. So as part of this chastening, discipline by the Lord against people who were profaning and insulting the Lord's Supper by coming in with overt sin in their life and partaking of the Lord's Supper. Before they clean that up in their life, some were weak, some were sick in God's judgment, and some, Paul says, have fallen asleep.
What does he mean by that? He means they've died. This is what John is talking about in 1 John 5.
Let me show you. 1 John 5, look at verse 16, the end of the verse, there is a sin leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. Verse 17, all unrighteousness is sin and there's also a sin not leading to death. Say which sins are which.
I don't know for sure exactly. It's up to the Lord. But this is what Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. There were some Christians who as part of God's discipline for them insulting the Lord's Supper, they had fallen asleep. Many had done this.
And what's that mean? It means death. They had died. They had committed in God's judgment a sin unto death. Sleep here is used as a euphemism for a believer having died.
It doesn't matter whether they died under the discipline of the Lord or not, it means they have died. By the way, I've seen the fulfillment of someone sinning a sin unto death when I first came to the Washington area back in 1971. I fell in with a group of people, a wonderful group of people at the King's Inn led by Bob Porter, an ex-alcoholic who did street witnessing in Alexandria. And there was a group of young people there who in their late teens or even in their high school years and their 20s.
And one of the guys who was in this group, I remember him well, came to the group. We did Bible study and then all of a sudden he fell away and got involved in egregious sin. And Bob would see him every once in a while and Bob would share with him 1 John 5.
There's a sin unto death. And Bob would warn him, Bob Porter, hey, you keep doing this and the Lord's just liable to take you home. And the guy completely blew Bob off and completely ignored his admonition.
And this is true. This really happened. And one day when was down there in downtown Alexandria and he stepped off the curb without looking at a bus, literally hit him full on and killed him instantly right there, a block from Bob's office. Just like Bob had warned him. Baby, you talk about that bringing a severe message, a message of a warning to all of us who knew this guy, scared me to death. And I thought, Lord Jesus, you know what?
I got the point. I go back and smoke dope. I go back and drop LSD and insult you publicly after claiming you freed me from it.
I go back to whatever, whatever, or I go do whatever, whatever. You're not above taking me right out of the world, just like you did this this guy. Friends, be careful. You don't know where that line is and I don't either. So stay away from the line.
Don't even get close to it. There is a sin unto death. But you're still a believer and you're still a child of God. On a good day, I'm a child of God.
On a bad day, I'm a child of God. That's a Christian song on the radio right now. When I ride Jill around in the van, which she loves me to do, we listen to Christian music. She sits in the back and sings.
I mean, she can't. She's not verbal, but she she makes noise and sings. Isn't that sweet?
And one of the songs that we that I heard just last night riding around is the song on a good day. I'm a child of God on a bad day. I'm a child of God. Yes, you are. But that doesn't mean the Lord won't take you home.
Right out of this world, just like that. It's called sleeping. Now, let me show you another example. You say, Lon, it's only going to take a couple more of those examples and that's going to be over.
I'm not going to take that long on the other ones. OK, look at First Corinthians 15, verse 51. It says, Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment. In the twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet that the dead will be raised incorruptible.
That's talking about the people who are sleeping, who have died. And we who are still living when the Lord comes back will be changed. Which leads me to First Thessalonians Chapter four. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means proceed. Go before those who are asleep, meaning those believers who have died for the Lord himself. Look at verse 16. We'll descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of an archangel, with the trumpet of God.
Now watch. And the dead in Christ will rise first. These are the people who sleep, who are asleep, the dead in Christ. And then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord, therefore comfort one another with these words. It's clear here, those who are asleep means believers who, what does the Bible say, are dead in Christ.
And they shall rise first before the people, First Corinthians 15, who are alive will be changed in an instant and caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Okay, I think the point is clear that in the Bible, when talking about believers, this phrase, they are asleep in the Lord. This term to be asleep, meaning the death of a believer, is never used of anything but a believer. This is a euphemistic term for what happens when we die.
It's trying to teach us that death is not this horrible thing that we need to fear. If we're in the Lord, it's like falling asleep. What a sweet term, to sleep in the Lord. Are you ready for our question? Here we go.
Come on now. One, two, three, so what? Yes, and to be asleep in the Lord.
Wow, what a wonderful thing, but I want to talk to you more about that as soon as I remind you that to be alive and celebrating the Lord's resurrection and learning the Bible and representing Christ. What do we say? Come on, what do we say? Say it with me.
How sweet it is, or as Jackie would say, how sweet it is. Okay, praise the Lord. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for giving us life today and letting us represent you here on earth.
Amen. Now, this phrase, to be asleep in the Lord, has led to a great heresy that I want to point out to you before I close up today with a great word of encouragement. The heresy is called soul sleep, soul sleep. In theology, it's called conditional immortality, but soul sleep, and this is believed by the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Seventh-day Adventists, who are so solid on so many things. The witnesses are not, but theologically, the Adventists are solid on a number of things, but soul sleep that they believe in is a heresy. Now, let me tell you what soul sleep is. It's the doctrine that says when a believer dies, they fall asleep and they become unconscious in the grave, and they stay in this unconscious state until the resurrection of our bodies, the Lord's return, and then they come alive again.
They become conscious again, at least some of them, and are reunited with their bodies, and they go now to spend eternity with the Lord. This, friends, is not what the Bible means when it says we fall asleep. It does not mean that literally we become unconscious like we do in sleep, and we just remain unconscious until the Lord's return. No, listen, when we're interpreting Scripture, we must compare Scripture with Scripture. This is a basic principle of hermeneutics, a basic principle of how to interpret the Bible. We don't just take a verse, throw it up on the wall or a phrase, and say, like spaghetti, if it sticks. We go, oh, okay, what do you think it means?
I don't know, what do you think it means? Listen, it sounds like when we say they are asleep in the Lord, it sounds like it means people are unconscious like in sleep. But we have to compare Scripture with Scripture, and when we compare the rest of the Scripture to this phrase, they sleep in the Lord, we find out it does not mean what it might imply at first sight that people remain unconscious until the Lord comes back.
Okay, let me show you why. In Matthew chapter 22, when Jesus is arguing with the Sadducees about the reality of the afterlife, He says to them that God spoke to Moses from the burning bush and said, I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, using the present tense of the verb. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Well, when He said that to Moses, Abraham had been dead for 600 years, Isaac for 500, Jacob for 400, and yet he still uses the present tense of the verb, not I was their God. I am their God. Now watch the application that Jesus makes. Look with me in Matthew chapter 22, verse 32. I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. That's what God said. Then Jesus says, God is not the God of the dead, but of the living, meaning 600 years after He died, Abraham, 500 years after he died, Isaac, 400 years after he died, Jacob, they're still living. They're alive. Where? In heaven with the Lord.
That's why He uses the present tense. And this leads directly to 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 6. Therefore, the Bible says, we are always confident knowing that while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord, meaning we're not in heaven with the Lord, we're living in this body. Verse 8. We are confident, I say, and well pleased rather to be absent from the body. What does that mean? It means that we die here on earth and to be present with the Lord.
Would you notice? There's nothing in between. The moment we are absent from our body, we are what? Present with the Lord.
Alive, conscious, living like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were. And look, Paul repeats this in Philippians chapter 1, verse 23. For I am hard pressed between the two remaining here or going to heaven, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. Notice what he says. To depart from this life, from my body, is to be with Christ.
There's nothing in between. And how about Luke chapter 16, the story of the rich man in Lazarus. And it came to pass, verse 22, that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom, a term in Jesus's day for heaven. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom.
And then there's this amazing conversation between Abraham and the rich man. Hey, the Bible, Jesus, these may even have been real people, but the Bible clearly presents that they were both alive instantaneously in the afterlife. One in heaven with Abraham and the Lord, that is Lazarus. One in hell and in torment. Nothing in between. They're not they're not in soul sleep. Neither one.
Neither one of them. OK. And how about finally the thief on the cross? You remember, Jesus turns to him, Luke 23, and says to him, Today, today you will be with me in soul sleep. No, we don't say that today. You will be unconscious in the grave until I come back to get you.
No, he didn't say that to you. He says today you will be with me in paradise. Now, I say that to the man if he's going to be asleep and unconscious, not going to be in paradise if he's asleep and unconscious summary. When we compare scripture to scripture, we know that using the word sleep for the dead in Christ. Does not mean they are unconscious in the grave because the rest of the scripture doesn't agree with that. It means that their body lies dormant in the grave like it was asleep until the Lord Jesus comes back to resurrect it. But their spirits, our spirits go directly to be with the Lord Jesus Christ in paradise. Today, you will be with me in paradise. Lazarus died and immediately went to Abraham's bosom in heaven. Immediately, nothing in between, no purgatory and no soul sleep. Now, let me conclude by saying, is this wonderful news or not?
Wow, wonderful news. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. To depart Philippians 1 and be with Christ is exceedingly far better, Paul says. And remember 2 Corinthians 12, Paul had seen the third heaven. He knew what was there. He says he wasn't even allowed to come back and talk about it.
Why? Because if we really knew everything that was going on in heaven, every one of us would go jump off a bridge to get there. So Paul wasn't allowed to tell us much of anything about it. But he had seen it and he said to depart this life and go be with Christ is exceedingly far better. That's your destiny if you know the Lord Jesus like Jesus is about to say in John chapter 11 verse 25. Jesus says to Martha, I am the resurrection and the life.
The resurrection is not a happening. The resurrection is me. I am the resurrection and the life. He says to her, now watch here.
Look at this. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me, their spirit, look, shall never die. That's why to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Our spirit never dies. And when our body dies, we don't. We shall still live with the Lord.
Hey, wonderful, wonderful, incredible blessing because we're in Christ. You know, let me close with this. Many of you know that back in September of 2020, I had major open heart surgery. I had double bypass and I had an aorta, an ascending aorta repair. And, you know, I mean, I was in the shop for a major overhaul here. And the doctor, I knew it was bad. I knew I was swirling the drain. The doctor later told Brenda that as they were wheeling me down to surgery, my heart, as they were wheeling me down, began to fail.
That's how close it was. And I had to wait a week to have surgery. When they first did the cat and, you know, when they go in and squirt dye into your arteries and everything. It was so bad, the blockage on my left mane, which is called the Widowmaker, that the surgeon said to me after he saw these pictures. He said, you know, if I had the arteries you had, you have, I would be dead today. It's only because you've grown, your heart's grown some other little capillaries to supply blood that you're even alive.
But the gigs up. You see that blockage. And if I showed you a picture, there was no blood that you can imagine or very little squeaking through that blockage. The catheterization showed it. But I was on Plavix at the time, a blood thinner, a plate, you know, and doesn't allow your blood to coagulate.
And I had to wait seven days to come off Plavix because they didn't want to do the surgery when I had this drug in me that would have made, I would have bled profusely. And later the comment was made to Brenda that they weren't even sure I would make it seven days, that it was a miracle I made it seven days to the actual surgery. During those seven days, here's what I want to tell you. The verse I held on to was Philippians chapter 1 verse 23, for I am hard pressed between the two, staying here on earth, leaving for heaven, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, nothing in between, which is far better.
Some translations will say exceedingly far better. And that's the verse I held on to. Paul had seen heaven, in his mind it was exceedingly far better as a believer to go there. And that's the verse I held on to, that if the Lord took me, I was going to a place that was exceedingly far better, and I was going there immediately. I wasn't going to do soul sleep, and I wasn't going to do purgatory, and I wasn't going to do anything in between. That either he was going to come get me personally, or he was going to send an angel or a heavenly creature to come get me personally, and the last breath I took here on earth would be followed by my first breath on the shores of heaven.
Nothing in between. That was my destiny. That was my birthright as a child of God and a believer in the Lord Jesus. My friend, you have that same destiny if you know Christ.
You have that same birthright if you know Christ. Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?
They don't have a sting. They don't have a victory. The cross took the victory away from them and gave it to Christ. Gave it to me and every other believer. So if you're a believer in the Lord Jesus, praise God, brother. You have nothing to fear. I've stared death right in the eyeballs.
I've stared death right in the eyeballs, and there's nothing to fear. Praise the Lord. And if you don't know Christ, my friend, you need to fix that.
I just talked to a man today whose son, 27 years old, called him long distance and told him he wasn't sure that he was a believer, that he had salvation, that he was in Christ, and this father prayed with his son over the phone and prayed the salvation prayer that led him to Christ. Hey, it's never too late to come to Christ. May God help you.
Let's pray. Lord Jesus, we thank you for this wonderful truth, that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, which is exceedingly far better than being here on earth. And Lord Jesus, I just pray that you will use this to encourage the hearts of your saints like you did my heart prior to my surgery, that I had nothing to fear, that death had no victory and had no sting over me as a follower of Jesus. Lord, the only way we can live life to the fullest is if we don't fear death at all. And in Christ, there's no reason for us to fear death because we are coming straight to be with you, Lord. Use this in our life to help us live our life to the fullest for you and for your glory. In Jesus' name I pray and everybody said amen and amen. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord. Let me just say I told this man that I talked to to have his son listen to Spiritual Boot Camp, which you can listen to as well online under the sermons pull-down menu on lonsolomonministries.com. It'll ground a new believer and if you're a new believer, it'll ground you in the faith so you can live it by good, solid doctrine.
And I hope you'll pick that up and listen to it. If you don't know how to come to Christ, you go on our website and listen to the gospel presentation there and we'll lead you in a sinner's prayer so you can come to Christ right away. Hey, God bless you. Have a wonderful week. I'll see you, Lord willing, next week on Live with Lon. And if I don't see you next week, if I'm gone, hey baby, praise the Lord, I'm in a place where it's exceedingly far better. And if you know Christ, I'll look forward to seeing you there when God's timing for you is to be absent from the body and be present with the Lord. God bless.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-21 12:08:29 / 2023-04-21 12:19:25 / 11