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We Are Living Testimonies

(John 12:9-11)

I. Introduction.
A. Orientation.
This morning,
We saw the love Jesus has for His own:
When His suffering and death
Was only a few days away,
Jesus focused on spending time with His people,
To strengthen them for what they would inevitably face
Especially as we see in our passage
The attitude of the Jews both towards Jesus and Lazarus.
As we think about what the Lord has called us to do
In bringing the Gospel to a world that is hostile to Him
We need to remember His promise
That He would be with us
He will draw near to us in blessing,
To strengthen and encourage us in this work,
Because He loves us.

We also saw the love that Jesus own have for Him.
Those who had received His love
Showed they had by ministering to Him.
Mary in particular

Showed her extraordinary affection for Jesus


By anointing Him for His burial with some very expensive ointment.
If we love the Lord,
We will be willing to give whatever we have
To minister to Him and to help His cause.
This love is what keep us moving forward
No matter how the world might respond
To the message the Lord has called us to bring them.

And we saw that the church


Has always been a mixed group of light and darkness.
This was obvious by the division
That existed among the Jews about Jesus:
Some loved and trusted Him,
And gave all they had to Him
Even their lives
While others wanted to kill Him:
Even one among His own disciples
There were eleven that would eventually be willing
To lay down their lives for Him,
But one who would betray Him
For thirty pieces of silver (Matt. 26:15).

B. Preview.

This evening,
Lets consider something of what Jesus calls us to face:
If our lives have been changed by Him,
We will be treated in the same way He was.

Here is another part of the picture


The Lord gives us of evangelism:
As we draw near to Him,
As we are filled with His Spirit,
As we see more clearly that what He says is true,
As we grow in our faith and love and devotion,
As we trust His promise to be with us,
And begin to step out more to share the Gospel,
We will face persecution.

II. Sermon.
A. Lets think first, about how Jesus changes us:
That having His life in our souls,
We become new creatures.

Lazarus was a believer before he died and was raised.


We know this because the Lord said He loved him (John 11:3).
We understand this to be the love Jesus has for His own,
And not the general love He has for the world (John 3:16).
This means that Lazarus was already a new creature

The Holy Spirit was already in his heart


Forming Christ in him;
This was enough by itself
To make Him a target for Christs enemies.

But when he was raised,


His life became an even more powerful testimony
Of the truth that Jesus is the Messiah.
Being a more powerful witness,
Put him even more on the enemies radar
Making him the object of even greater hatred.

What does this have to do with us?


Like Lazarus, we are also new creatures in Christ,
If we are trusting Him.
Paul writes, Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things
passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Cor. 5:17).

We may not have been raised physically


As Lazarus was
But we have been raised spiritually.
We came into this world dead on arrival.
Paul writes, And you were dead in your trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1).
While we were in this condition,
We lived like everyone else in this world:

Paul continues, In which you formerly walked according to the course of this
world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now
working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the
lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by
nature children of wrath, even as the rest (Eph. 2:1-3).
But thankfully, the Lord didnt leave us in that condition
He raised us to life:
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ
(by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him
in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (vv. 4-6).

This is something Jesus did, because the Father has given Him this honor:
Remember what He said earlier in Johns Gospel,
Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear
the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father
has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself (John
5:25-26).
He is the One who spoke to us through the Gospel and raised us up:
He says, Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who
sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of
death into life (v. 24).

Now this spiritual resurrection might not be


As much as a show-stopper as Lazarus physical resurrection
And in many ways, it isnt
But there are ways in which
The spiritual life we have now
Is an even greater testimony than what Lazarus possessed
Both before and after his physical resurrection.

We live on this side of Pentecost


The day the Lord poured His Spirit out
In an even greater way than He had done before.
Its likely Lazarus saw that day
And experienced that power as well;
But he hadnt in our passage,
And yet he was still a target.

The point is,


Having experienced this spiritual resurrection
Having been made new creatures in Jesus Christ,
And having this fullness of the Spirit,
Our lives should provide a powerful testimony
To the truth that Jesus is the Messiah.
We cant have the Spirit living in our souls
We cant have Jesus in our hearts,
We cant see by the Spirit see His glory
Without being changed into His image.
Paul writes to the Corinthians, Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of
the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror
the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to
glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:17-18).
As we saw this morning, that change will make us love others as He does
Jesus says, A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as
I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that
you are My disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:34-35).

Hes not talking about a love that is barely noticeable,


But one that is life transforming:
Peter writes, Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a
sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart (1 Pet.
1:22).
That we love Jesus Christ,
His people,
And those around us,
Is the witness Jesus has given us to show the world
That we are His people.

B. Now if we live like Jesus


If we live for Gods glory, rather than our own,
If we love others as He loved them
The world will see it
And will treat us as it treated Him.

Many of the Jews


Heard Jesus was in Bethany
And came to see Him
Not only Him,
But also Lazarus.
They heard what Jesus had done for Lazarus,
And wanted to see it for themselves.

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John writes, The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they
came, not for Jesus sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He
raised from the dead (v. 9).

When those who knew us when we were dead


See what Jesus has done in us
And it should be so plain
That they cant miss it
There will be mixed reactions:

Those who are the Lords


Maybe those who prayed for us
That the Lord might have mercy on our souls
Will be thankful when they see Christ in us.

Those who knew us


Who are open to the possibility that Christianity is true,
Will come to us
And want to know more about what happened.
When they do,
It will give us the opportunity to witness to them
As well as everyone else we meet from that time forward
Who see the difference Jesus makes in our lives.

But there will also be those


Who wont like what they see

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And will hate us because were like Jesus.

When our Lords enemies


Saw that Lazarus testimony
Was drawing people to Jesus,
They wanted to kill Lazarus.
John writes, But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; because on
account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus
(vv. 10-11).

If the life of Jesus shines from us,


We will draw the attention of His enemies.
Paul writes, Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be
persecuted (2 Tim. 3:12).

C. Finally, if this spiritual resurrection


If becoming a new creature
Is going to result in persecution,
What should we do?

First, we cant allow ourselves


To become afraid and deny Him,
By pretending we dont know Him,
Or by hiding our commitment to Him.
If we deny Him, He will deny us.
Jesus says, Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess
him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I
will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven (Matt. 10:32-33).

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And , For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful
generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the
glory of His Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38).

Mary, Martha and Lazarus knew that Jesus was a marked man.
They knew the Jews wanted to kill Him
And that showing hospitality to Him
Would only further single them out,
Especially when Lazarus was such a powerful testimony to the truth of Jesus
claims,
But they did it anyway.

We must not be afraid,


But be bold and courageous.
We need to live openly as believers,
And continue to tell others about Jesus.
Thats why the Lord gave us His Spirit:
Not only to give us the love of Christ,
But to give us courage to witnesses of His love.
Paul writes to Timothy, For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power
and love and discipline. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our
Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel
according to the power of God (2 Tim. 1:7-8).

After the crucifixion, when Jesus was taken from them,


The disciples were afraid for their lives and hid.
But when the Spirit came

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When they received power from above
They boldly stood their ground
And publicly proclaimed the Gospel
In the face of that same persecution.
In many ways, it made their enemies
Back down for a time.

The disciples were just ordinary people like us.


But they believed the Lords promise,
Looked to Him for His Spirit,
Stepped out believing He would help them,
And saw the Lord do great things through them.

As long as we hide His light,


No one will be affected by it
For better or for worse.
But if we will shine it,
Though we run the risk of being persecuted,
There will be some who are saved.
Spurgeon reminded us on Wednesday,
That the wounds of Christ,
His death and resurrection,
His ascension and glorification all mean
That the Father intends to save many

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To give to His Son as a reward.
There are many of these that need to be gathered in.
The question we need to ask ourselves is:
Do we want to be part of this work?
Do we want to be the Lords agents of salvation?
This is what He calls us to do.
If we would find the power to do it,
We must be filled with the Spirit,
And yield to the Spirit
As He empowers and leads us into this work.

May He grant to us
That fullness
And that willingness
To do His work
Regardless of the consequences,
Knowing He will be with us to bless us here
And to bless us forever in His presence in Heaven. Amen.

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