Welcome to Worship in the Word with Pastor Robert Morris. We just started a new series called How Do I Know, where Pastor Robert shares answers to common questions about faith, the Bible, and how God feels about us. Well, today's message is about how we can know God loves us.
This message is powerful and encouraging, so let's join in now. The title of the message is, How Do I Know God Loves Me? Now I want to remind you, what I'm saying is, how do I know? So I'm telling you how I know through my study of scripture, through my personal experience, how I know God loves me. And what I want to do is take you back to a story in John chapter 11. It's the raising of Lazarus from the dead, John chapter 11.
And I want to show you some things maybe you've never seen, all right? John 11, verse 1. 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, the sister sent to him saying, I want you to watch what they said, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. I just want to stop for a moment, just notice, they didn't even say Lazarus. Now he knows it's Mary and Martha sending this word through messenger, but they said, he whom you love is sick.
So he knew it was Lazarus. But I also want you to notice that Jesus loved Lazarus, he whom you love. So look again, now verse 4.
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. Now the next two verses are extremely important. Verse 5. Now Jesus loved, Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. Now look at verse 6 carefully. So when he heard that he was sick, he rushed right over.
Is that what your Bible says? No, it says he stayed two more days in the place where he was. I want you to just notice that, that sentence makes no sense in the natural. It doesn't say, so he loved him, he loved, boy, he loved Lazarus, Mary and Martha. So when he heard we were sick, he just went immediately, immediately doesn't say that. It says he stayed two more days. It seems like it should say he loved them, but he had to stay two more days.
But it doesn't say that. It says he loved them, so he stayed two more days. Now that makes me wonder, why did he stay two more days? And why would it say he loved them, so he stayed two more days? See, I think so many times in Scripture, we read over things like this. So many times we're reading along in Scripture, and we see something like this, and we just kind of keep going, and we just think, and we don't even look at the wording.
But the Bible is God's Word. I'm going to talk to you about that next week. And so when we see something that says he loved them, so he stayed two more days, he didn't rush, we need to ask ourselves why.
So there's first a couple of things I want you to notice, all right? There's an earthly conversation and a heavenly conversation going on. There's always an earthly conversation and a heavenly conversation going on. The problem is, like in this virus right now, in this pandemic, we get caught up too many times in the earthly conversation. When do the businesses open back up?
When's the economy going to spring back? When are they going to find the cure or vaccine instead of the heavenly conversation? So I want to show you how clear it is in the next two verses I read, next few verses. John 11, verse 11. These things he said, and after that he said to them, our friend Lazarus sleeps. Okay, that's heavenly language for is dead.
That's what that is. But he's using heavenly language. Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up. Okay, that's heavenly language for raise the dude from the dead. That's what that means, raise the dude from the dead. That's straight out of the Greek by the way, if you want to know.
That I may wake him up. See the heavenly language? Then his disciples said, well Lord, if he sleeps, he will get well. Okay, that's earthly language. They're on an earthly plane right now, Jesus is on a heavenly plane. 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.
You know, I kind of wonder if he said idiots. You know what I mean? He's dead. He's dead. You're not listening. You're not following me right now.
Here's the reason I'm saying that. I think we have a tendency to have earthly discussions about heavenly issues. Now, I want you to think about what we just read. It says that Jesus loved Lazarus and Martha and Mary, but when he heard he was sick, he stayed two more days. Actually said so when he heard, he stayed two more days.
Okay. I'm wondering if years later when they got to heaven, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and they're talking to John who wrote the book of John, and they say so when Jesus heard, I guess he was busy because he didn't show up immediately. Took him a little while to get there. So we're wondering what was he doing? And John said, oh, we didn't do anything.
No, no, Jesus with the crusade was over. We just sat around for two days. We just sat around. And I'm wondering if Mary and Martha and Lazarus found Jesus one day and said, hey, you know, no hard feelings because I know you raised him from the dead and everything turned out okay. But, you know, we were talking to John and John said you didn't rush right over and you weren't busy and John said y'all just sat around for two days. And so we just wanted to ask you about that.
Why did you do that? So here is what Jesus would have said if they would have said, why did you wait two more days? Here's what Jesus would have said. Because I love you. That's what the Bible says.
We just read it. John chapter 11 verse 5 and 6. Jesus loved them so when he heard he was sick, he waited two days. Because I love you.
That's why. Here's why I'm saying all this and I'm taking a little time before I even get my points. Why don't you ask Jesus, what are you doing in my life right now? With all this stuff and the business, what are you doing in my heart? What do you do in my life? And let me tell you why he's doing it.
Because he loves you. Lazarus, by the way, Jesus did something for him that he didn't do for any person who's ever lived. Now, I know you think you got me, but you don't. You're thinking, well, he raised other people from the dead. Yes, he did. But not after four days. Lazarus is the only person he raised from the dead after four days. The son of the widow he raised on the day he died because it's just custom to bury on the day they die. Jesus was buried on the day he died. They didn't even have time to be involved in the body so they came back on Sunday to do that and of course he'd risen. So they're in the funeral procession. It's the son of a widow. Jesus raises him from the dead on the day he died. Jesus raised Jairus' daughter on the day she died. She's in the same room and they're on the way.
She's sick. A messenger comes, says, don't bother the teacher anymore. The little girl's dead. Jesus said, only believe.
They get there. He raises Jairus' daughter from the dead on the day she died. Listen, Jesus didn't even raise himself after four days. He raised himself after three. Now, here's the reason, by the way, if you don't know this, corruption sets in on the fourth day.
We would call it putrefaction. Let me tell you how Martha said it in the old King James. When Jesus said, roll away the stone, Martha said, behold, he stinketh.
That was her way to say it's too long to roll away the stone, Lord. Four days. The reason he waited two days, it was a day's journey from where Jesus was to where Lazarus was. Now, a lot of people have it confused because Jesus was in Bethany, but there are two Bethanies.
He was in Bethany on the other side of the Galilee, and this was Bethany where Lazarus was a mile and a half from Jerusalem. So it was a day's journey from where Jesus was. So when the messenger came to tell Jesus that Lazarus was sick, when he left the house and took the day's journey, Lazarus died. And when the messenger left, it took the messenger a day to get there. They waited two days, and then it took Jesus a day to get there.
That's how you get the four days. You know why Jesus waited two days? Because he wanted to do something for Lazarus that was incredible. By the way, Jesus raised other people from the dead.
He walked on the water. He fed multitudes. The raising of Lazarus is what sealed his fate. This is when the chief priests and scribes said, we have to kill him because too many people are believing. And it says very clearly, in John 12, many people believed because Lazarus was raised from the dead, because he was raised four days after death. So Jesus wanted to do something that was unprecedented.
And in the end, it was going to be great for Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. I'm just wondering if Jesus is doing something now that's unprecedented, but we're still having earthly conversations. All right. So I've got three questions that I want to ask God. And they're tough questions, but they're going to lead us to how we know God loves us.
All right. So here's question number one. Why did you create pain? I'm asking God, why did you create pain?
Here's his answer. Because I love you. Because I love you.
Now I know you're thinking, I don't understand that. Pain is to help us or keep us from hurting ourselves more. That's what pain is for. Today, we have these sliding glass doors, and I was holding something, and I was kind of closing it like this, and I felt a little bit of pressure on my little finger. And I realized, oh, my finger's in there. So I pulled it out.
It's just a little pressure, but I felt it, pulled it out, and then shut the sliding glass door. You know what that little pressure did? Kept me from hurting myself more. Because if I couldn't feel that, I'd just closed the door and probably broken the bone.
See what I'm saying? So pain keeps you from hurting yourself more. Let me tell you who really did the breakthrough discovery on this. Dr. Paul Brand. He's from India, and he worked for 20 years in a leprosarium. A hospital treats lepers or people who have Hansen's disease. For thousands of years, they believed that the bacteria that causes leprosy would eat away at the flesh.
Thousands of years. They had lepers in Jesus' day, and they found skeletal remains from 2,000 years BC of people they say had leprosy and died from leprosy. And so they believed that the bacteria would eat away the flesh, but that's not what happens. What happens is the bacteria eats away the nerves so that you can't feel pain. And then these people, because they couldn't feel pain, were doing things and injuring themselves because they couldn't feel pain. There was a man that was working with a hoe, and his flesh was just being torn completely up, and they realized that there was a nail sticking out of the handle of the hoe. And every time he would do it, it was just cutting his hand, but he couldn't feel the pain. So Dr. Brand's the one that discovered it's not bacteria eating away the flesh, it's them injuring themselves, and the flesh then getting infected, and the infection eating away the flesh.
But there's another part to this, and this is kind of tough to tell you, but let me tell you. Sometimes they would go, this is for years, lepers would lose their appendages, fingers and toes. And they thought it was the bacteria doing it, but it wasn't. It was the infection from them hurting themselves because they couldn't feel pain. But then there were times when they'd go to bed and they'd have that much of their finger missing, but they'd wake up and they'd have that much of their finger missing, more of their finger. And so this was in the 1970s, and they put cameras in the rooms, and I know this is going to be tough to hear, but they discovered that rats were coming into the rooms and eating the appendages at night as the lepers slept. And the lepers, though, couldn't feel it. So they would go to bed with a quarter of their finger missing and wake up half their finger missing. Dr. Branzel discovered that. By the way, he was a Christian, and so he prayed and said, God, what do we do?
What do we do? And God gave him the answer. And so every leper got a cat. God provided for rats with cats. Rats, cats. That's what cats are good for. Okay, never mind. But every leper got a cat.
That took care of the rats coming in the rooms at night. So let me give you some more examples, all right? One of an NBA player that he hurt his ankle before the championship game. This was several years ago, and he wanted to play, so he had the doctors put painkillers in his ankle, and he went out to play the championship game. He came down on his ankle the wrong way. It broke a bone in it, but because he couldn't feel the pain, he kept playing.
He ran up and down the court two more times and then broke his ankle so bad that the injury was permanent, and he could never walk straight again, and he couldn't play for the rest of his life basketball because he couldn't feel the pain. See, the pain was telling him something was wrong. By the way, Dr. Bran invented gloves for the lepers to try to give them feeling or somehow let them know when they were hurting themselves, holding something too tightly or cutting themselves, and at first it would make a noise, but they would just keep working through the noise. So then he had it hooked up where it would shock the back of their neck. That's the last place they would lose feeling. So it would send an ankle shock to the back of their neck, and then the lepers would just turn it off.
So he fixed it where they couldn't turn it off, and then they would just unplug it. And this was what Dr. Bran's conclusion was. He said, I fear that our society does the same thing, that something happens and we use medicine to turn the pain off instead of asking our bodies, why do I have this pain? I remember after reading this book and learning about this, I remember a few weeks later I got a headache, and I went to get some Tylenol, and I thought, wait, wait, wait, what's my body trying to tell me? And I thought, you know, I didn't sleep very well last night. So instead of taking Tylenol, I went and took a nap.
Middle of the day, woke up, no headache. It's just amazing when we start listening to our bodies. I just want to say one more thing about the lepers, because we're talking about why did God create pain.
Dr. Bran also discovered that the suicide rate was astronomically high among lepers compared to the rest of society. And here's the reason why as he began the interview psychologically to find out, because they couldn't feel pain, they couldn't feel pleasure. They couldn't feel if someone hugged them, and they couldn't feel if someone gave them a pat on the back.
The same nerves that allowed them to feel pain allowed them to feel pleasure. See, God designed our body, and he knew what he was doing. So my first question is, why did you create pain?
God's answer to me, because I love you. I don't want you to hurt yourself more. So my second question for God is this, why did you create suffering? Why did you create suffering? Okay, here's God's answer.
I didn't. I didn't create suffering. Suffering entered the world when sin entered the world. When sin entered the world, sickness, disease, poverty, war, injustice, COVID-19, everything came in the world that's evil when sin came in the world.
God did not create COVID-19. God's not sending that on us as judgment. God did not come to condemn the world.
It is so clear. John 3, read it. He sent his son not to condemn the world, but to forgive the world that the world through him might be saved. God is not trying to condemn you. He loves us. He wants to save us.
He loves us. So God did not create suffering. Here's what some, I talked about atheism and agnosticism last week. Here's what some people say who don't believe in God.
They look around at the injustices and all that's going on in the world. Here's what they say. Is this the best God can do? Because if it's the best God can do, then I don't want to know him. Well, I'll answer that question for you. You would say to me, is this the best he can do?
No, this is the best we can do. If God made a mistake when he created us, and he didn't, he didn't. But if he did, it would have been giving us a free will. That's what's caused the problems in this world. And I'm going to just, I'm going to say straight out, if your business partner did you wrong, it's because he has a free will.
Not because God did it. Your ex-spouse has a free will. Your children have free wills. Your parents have free wills.
Your friends have free wills. Suffering comes because mankind has a free will and chooses not to do it God's way. So all of these things, I'm just telling you, if you ask God, why did you do this to me?
Sometimes the answer is because I love you, but sometimes the answer is I didn't do that. Some of you know, in March, I had a fever for 23 days. It wasn't COVID-19, it was just another virus that was going around. 23 days I had a fever, and sometimes I'd wake up in just a pool of sweat. And I nearly always wake up with a song going through my mind. Nearly every day I wake up with a song going through my mind. So one day when I had this fever, I woke up with this song going through my mind.
Now, I'm going to shock you a little bit. It was an old song, but it was from He-Haul. I don't know how many of you remember the television show He-Haul, Picking and Grinning. Thomas, you remember that?
With Buck Owens and Roy Clark. Okay. And this is a song that was going through my mind when I woke up with fever. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.
If it weren't for bad luck, great grammar by the way, if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me. And I said to the Lord, Lord, I'm going to need a different song for today, please.
And just like that, here's a song carrying on my mind. Jesus loves me. This I know. For the Bible tells me so. See, Jesus wasn't giving me that fever, but He loved me anyway. And He helped me get through that time. So why did you create suffering? He didn't.
And here's my third point. Why did you suffer? This is one of the greatest truths in the Bible.
The Creator became the creation and He didn't exempt Himself from suffering. So here's His answer. God, why did you suffer?
Here's the answer. Because I love you. I want you to hear me. I've given you two answers today to three questions, but two answers. Because I love you and I didn't.
I want you to think about this. Those two answers will answer almost every why question that you have. Why did you do this, God? Here's His answer sometimes. I didn't do that.
I did not do that. And here's another one. God, why are you allowing this to happen? Because I love you. I'm telling you, I know some of you are out of work.
I know your businesses have closed. I know you're going through a tough time. I'm so sorry. I promise you, we're praying for you. Every day we're praying for you. But I want to remind you, God loves you.
God loves you. I had a pastor friend of mine call me years ago. I was going through a tough time, really tough.
I mean, just hard to describe how tough it was. And I had a pastor friend of mine call me and said, Robert, I just felt like I was supposed to call you and tell you this story that he said God just put on my heart. He said, years ago, I had a faction in the church coming against me. Now, that wasn't what was going on at Gateway, but I just had some trouble going on in my life and some hurt and all sorts of things. And I had an attack in the enemy coming against me.
But he said I had about 200 people in the church that were mad at me and coming against me. And he said, and at the same time that that was happening, my mother tried to commit suicide and she wasn't saved. And then he said, my wife got hit by an 18 wheeler. And he said, I'm in the hospital. I go to the hospital and they won't even let me stay in the room with my wife.
She's bloody bruised. I got in for about one minute and they told me to leave. And he said, I walked out.
I went to the waiting room and I was all by myself at that point. And I just walked over the corner and I said, God, are you trying to tell me something? And Lord said, I am. He said, what are you trying to tell me? He said, I'm trying to tell you I love you. He said, is this how you're trying to tell me? He said, no, no, son. I didn't do any of these problems in your life. I didn't do any of this. This all comes from living in a fallen world.
But I am trying to tell you, even in the midst of all this, I'm trying to tell you I love you. Well, his wife was okay. Only one broken toe through the whole thing.
She got out recovered. He led both of his parents to Christ. They would sit in the parking lot an hour and a half before church. So excited about church.
These 200 people that were mad at him left, went somewhere else. And he said, and I look back on that time and that's the time when pastoring changed for me from being a burden to being a blessing. I'm wondering if right now something in your life could change from being a burden to being a blessing.
And it might depend on how you look at it. God didn't do it, but he does love you. We want you to take a moment to think about what Pastor Robert shared today and listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. If you want to connect with us or check out some of Pastor Robert's other messages, visit pastorrobert.com. And if you haven't already, go follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so we can be a part of your community. We're so glad that you joined us today. Next time, Pastor Robert is going to discuss how we can know the Bible is true. We pray you have a peaceful and blessed week.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-31 17:45:58 / 2023-12-31 17:55:48 / 10