This morning, I preached a message that God put in me back in February. The title was “Wanted: Dead or Alive”. Naturally, everyone thought about the Bon Jovi song. I assured everyone that Bon Jovi did not inspire the message. The bottom line is that God wants us all whether we are dead or alive.
I preached through the story of Lazarus’ resurrection in John 11. Mary and Martha called for Jesus, but He waited. By the time Jesus arrived to the scene, Lazarus was dead. Naturally, Mary and Martha questioned Jesus and made the statement “If you would have been here, our brother would not have died.” We have all had our moments when we were angry with God and could not understand what He was doing. Jesus told them up front that this sickness would not be unto death but unto the glory of God. Before He fulfilled this, Jesus did something unique – He cried with those who mourned the death of Lazarus. Scripture said that Lazarus was a close friend of Jesus. Jesus did not raise Lazarus until he had been in the tomb for four days.
There are some special things to note here. First, Jesus does not act according to our timetable. If He did, we would not appreciate what He does and would not bring Him glory. Second, Jesus weeps with us when we are grieving (note Hebrews 4:14-16). Third, Jesus wants to bring Resurrection to us all – those who do not have a relationship with Christ (Ephesians 2:1-10) and those who have become emotionally dead through life circumstances.
I closed the message by sharing my story of brokenness in April 2014. I was sitting in a pastor’s office in Shelby, NC trying to figure out what I was going to do as a career since many said God would not use me as a divorced preacher. This man did not believe that lie. I told him that I felt like everyone else lived and I died. He said to me, “What will it take to resurrect you?” I had no answer. It takes salvation to make the spiritually dead alive. It also takes a process of healing to resurrect those who have been emotionally put to death. The process to my healing was slow, but God has brought me a long way.
The song below inspired this message. It is about the story of Lazarus and the implications it has for all of us. I pray that God will use it no matter your current stage in life.