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Rainbow Divider
MCM Broadcast

TV Broadcast #1350

Seeing the Lord’s Glory
Part One

August 19, 2018

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— Brother Phil Enlow: The other night at prayer meeting Brother Joel used a scripture in John 11, talking about Lazarus and the raising of Lazarus and some of the implications for – the application he made of it, and rightly so, is the battles that we face. And sometimes they seem like they’ve gone too long and they’re too difficult and all of that, and how we need to continue to believe God and to see Him in it.

But you know, as soon as he began in that, it kind of was quickened to me and brought back to my mind and I’ve continued to think about it so I’m just gonna trust the Lord to bring out of it what He wants to bring. There’s always something that’s fresh and something that meets the need where we’re at right now. That’s what I need.

And if I’m judging at all by the opposition I’ve sensed in my spirit this morning, not necessarily from anybody out here, but just the direct oppression of the enemy, he doesn’t want this. And it isn’t about, again, about me or about us, it’s about him. There’s a message that he doesn’t want us to know. He doesn’t want us to see things as they really are.

And, you know, this – the first thing that I’ve thought about, and I don’t know that I’ve really dealt with it in this way before, is that this account of the raising of Lazarus from the dead, doesn’t occur in a vacuum. There is a historical context, there is a context in the life of Jesus that I believe is relevant, because he was coming down toward the end of His ministry.

And many times, earlier in His ministry, He would perform some great miracle, He would heal somebody and He’d say, “Don’t tell anybody.” There was not – it wasn’t time for that direct confrontation. There were times where He didn’t go to a certain place because it wasn’t His time. And over and again you sense that God had a schedule, that God was doing things at a certain time for a certain purpose.

But, as you come toward this part of the Book of John, in particular, there is a progression of, confrontation perhaps is the word, where Jesus confronted the situation that there was in Jerusalem. And, what had basically happened was, the Devil and demons had taken over the religion that was practiced there and though there was a remnant that truly believed and really were God’s people, the system itself had been totally taken over.

And it was time to confront that, it was time for God to begin to come and it was all leading up to the cross, wasn’t it? This was leading up to the reason for which Jesus came. It wasn’t just to come perform miracles and everybody say, wow! It was to go to the cross for our sins. It was to strike the ultimate death blow where He was able, from the position of the cross, about to expire, He was able to say, it’s finished! It’s accomplished! Praise God! It was not a cry of resignation but a cry of victory!

( congregational amens ).

Thank God! It’s the only reason by which we can be here. But a good part of coming up to that was Him coming out and more openly confronting. And, one of the incidents goes back, and I’ll just refer to this in kind of an outline form, you go back into John chapter 9 and you find out Jesus is ministering to a man, I believe, who was born blind.

And the question came up as a theological question, I guess. You know, there’s got to be a reason why he’s blind. Did he sin or did his parents sin? Jesus said, neither. This is for the glory of God. This is so that God’s work might be seen in him.

And, that alone is an indication that many times there’s a larger purpose than just the particulars of our situation that we’re dealing with. And I think that’s a theme that you can see throughout this. God has a bigger purpose than just us.

But in any case, God uses this to give a tremendous testimony to the religious leaders. And they’re trying to account for how this guy – is this really the guy? Was he really born blind? What’s going on? And, there’s nothing they could say about it except to shut him up and say, don’t say anything about Jesus. You know, we don’t know how in the world He did it but, it couldn’t be God. And you see the working of God coming forth in a way that makes manifest people’s hearts.

You know, there are churches across this land that are filled with people singing some of the songs that we sang, perhaps. How many of them know the Lord? How many of them are really just like the Pharisees that worshipped in Jerusalem and outwardly they look like they had what it took? But all it took was the light of God, the presence of God, the Spirit of God coming in power and all of a sudden you see this rearing up of that other spirit that was really in control. I thank God He’s got a remnant.

( congregational amens ).

Praise God! He knows His people. He’s got a people. But there’s a whole lot that operates in the name of religion and I believe with all my heart, as time goes along, we are going to see the divide happen. God’s gonna make it happen and He was doing that here.

So anyway, you have that incident and then we come back to a feast that Jesus came to and the name that we know it by is Hanukkah. So basically, this was in the winter. This was the winter before the Crucifixion. It roughly corresponds to the time of our Christmas, in modern times. But anyway, Jesus goes to the temple area and the Pharisees come to Him and say, how long are you gonna make us doubt? Tell us plainly, are you the Christ?

Then He speaks in some pretty plain language. And, well, I’ll just go ahead and read that part. It’s in John 10. “Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.” (NIV).

There’s a truth in that. It doesn’t say you’re not My sheep because you don’t believe. He says, you don’t believe because you’re not My sheep. There’s something deeper going on there. It was something that was what they were. Jesus didn’t wait around to see. There was something that was in control of their lives.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” Well, that brought great rejoicing, didn’t it?

( laughter ).

You know, they went over and they began picking up stones. And Jesus is saying, for which of my works are you stoning me? And they’re saying, basically, it’s for blasphemy. According to their religious concept this was blasphemy. He couldn’t possibly be who He said He was. So anyway, now it says in verse 39, “Again they tried to seize him, but he escaped their grasp.”

And so, basically – even going back after the incident – I’m trying to remember all of the particulars here. Even after the incident of healing this man, Jesus couldn’t walk openly. I mean, there were orders to arrest Him. And so basically, He left Jerusalem and went some distance away, all the way back to where John had done his baptizing and where He Himself was baptized, and where He Himself had first met Peter and some of the others.

He’s off there in the wilderness, away from the center of things but He has come back to the Feast and now they’re ready to stone Him. And it says, “ – he escaped their grasp.” I don’t know whether Jesus was darting and what He was doing but anyway, somehow He got away. It wasn’t time yet.

And so, He goes and it says, “Then Jesus went back across the Jordan to the place where….” Okay, this is where He’s going to where John had been baptizing in the early days. “Here he stayed and many people came to him. They said, Though John never performed a miraculous sign, all that John said about this man was true. And in that place many believed in Jesus.”

Thank God! Things were coming to a head but God was reaching out. God knew that there were sheep. Even though these particular religious leaders were not His sheep, God knew that He had some people. And so, there was a concerted effort to reach out, wasn’t there?

And so now, He is over there quite a distance away, apparently. This wasn’t something where you could hop in a car and get there in an afternoon. This was several day’s journey away, out in the wilderness and then across the river. And so now, we come to another incident.

And I’ll just skip over this right now because we’ll go back through the details. But know He hears that Lazarus is sick and so He comes back and we have the account that we’re gonna go through in a minute. And, there’s a tremendous miracle that no one can deny and all of a sudden there are people who are believing in Him that never had, they’re just seeing the power of God in their midst and in the midst of that you’ve got some people whose reaction to that was to go tell the authorities. Boy, does that make manifest – does the presence of God make manifest or not?

( congregational response ).

It will absolutely confront people to the point where what they are will come out. I pray that God will do that in a greater way in our midst. Folks, I don’t want to be the kind of a place where religious people can come in here and feel comfortable! I want it to be a place where God works in hearts and changes lives! I need to be changed in a deeper way myself!

( congregational amens ).

But there’s a God who’s able and willing to work if we’re willing to give ourselves to Him and believe Him! I sense God’s heart in this! He wants us to have more than we’ve had. I thank God for what we’ve had! But there’s more! And there are needs that we need to be able to lay hold of God for and believe God for!

But anyway – so they’re running to the authorities and the authorities get together and they decide, we’ve got to kill this guy. So now, Jesus has to – now Jesus has to leave again and so He goes and He takes up residence – I forget the exact place. But anyway, He goes and stays in a place that’s out of the way, for a while. And so, they’re looking for Him and they were wondering what in the world’s going on. If you see Him, let us know. That’s the word they’re putting out. And everybody’s wondering where is He? What’s going on?

And about this time, Jesus comes and He goes, actually, to Bethany. Now Bethany, we’re told, is a pretty short distance from Jerusalem. If you – and basically, if you translate the distances – if you were to walk out of the gate of Jerusalem on the road to Bethany, it’s less than two miles. How many of you know the path around the Reservoir over here? Yeah. Many of you do. Some of you don’t walk that much.

( laughter ).

Praise God! That’s all right. I haven’t been out there for a few days, myself. But anyway, that’s around, give or take, just a little over two miles. So, it’s a little – if you stretched that out in one direction, it’s less than that that He actually – so He’s that close to Jerusalem. And they give a dinner in His honor.

And this is the time when Mary – Martha is serving. She’s still the server, isn’t she? And so – but Mary comes in and she takes an expensive bunch of perfume, pours it on His feet, washes His feet with the hairs of her head and immediately gets rebuked for it. You know, what are you wasting all this good perfume for? Sell it, give it to the poor.

And this is the point where Judas really makes up His mind. I’ve had it with all this. I’m going to the authorities. We’ve got to do something here. And so, all of this is leading up – and right now, you’re about a week away from His Crucifixion, roughly, give or take, ‘cause it’s right after this He goes from Bethany and He comes in. You have the triumphal procession where He comes in riding on a donkey and all the events of that week get precipitated.

But there is a – I sense in the general context that God is raising the stakes. He’s not just going around performing miracles and staying under the radar. Man, He’s gonna come right out in their face and say, I’m the Son of God, what are you gonna do about it? And He’s going to leave an unmistakable witness where not one of them will be able to stand in the Judgment and say, we didn’t know. They knew and they hardened their hearts to the point where they killed Him. And God used that to save us. Praise God!

You know, we need to see a God who can take every circumstance and use it for His purpose and His glory. So now, we come back to the beginning of chapter 11. “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 that’s referring ahead to what happened in chapter 12.

“So the sisters sent word to Jesus, Lord, the one you love is sick.” And of course, they reacted exactly like we would. God, we’re sick. We shouldn’t be this way. Fix it. I mean, that’s the attitude with which we approach every problem. We tend – every problem we have, God, fix it. It shouldn’t be this way.

Am I telling the truth? Yeah! That’s the way we look at it. Sometimes, oftentimes, God will allow something to happen in order that He can show Himself, in order that He can accomplish something that He could not accomplish any other way. And that’s what’s going on here. Okay?

“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.” Wow! Talk about a word of faith that should have trumped every other consideration from that point on. But Jesus had an understanding of something that was larger than simply, My friend is sick, I need to heal him. There was a larger purpose.

How many of you know that when something happens in your life there just might be a little bigger purpose than fixing your little problem? Or it might be a big problem! It might be something that you’re genuinely concerned about. It’s not just you, it’s somebody else and you’re really genuinely burdened to see God work. I’ll tell you, God is able to work! And we are sitting here in the middle of situations where God already knows what’s happening, why, and when – all of the circumstances are laid out in His heart. He already knows! And we’re sitting there –

( moaning ).

 – What’s gonna happen? And He’s – I know what’s gonna happen. I’ve got this. I’m in control. You don’t have to live in fear and anxiety. You need to be looking to Me! Because – as we’re gonna see as you go through this, that the perspective that we need to have is that it doesn’t matter how it turns out, or when, or what the deal is, the end we know! How we get there is God’s business and God is going to accomplish His purpose in how it turns out!

Are we okay with that? Is that a good plan or we gonna just take our life in our own hands and say, no, I want to do it my way? We need to realize there’s a reason why God does stuff the way He does.

And here was a case – you’ve got people who think sickness, that’s automatically from the Devil! It shouldn’t ever happen, end of story. We ought to be able to zap it away or else we just don’t have enough faith. Well, here was a case where there was sickness and it was God’s purpose! And even though it did not ultimately end in death, it did end in death, in the short term. And yet, does this mean God was – things were out of control or did God have a larger purpose in His mind? Praise God!

You know, if this had just happened like – okay, I’ll come by and I’ll quietly pray for him and then I’ll go back about my business, we wouldn’t hardly hear about this. It probably wouldn’t have even been in here, ‘cause there’s a lot of stuff He did. You know, John said, I suppose that if all the things that He did and said were put in books, the world couldn’t hold them. There’s a lot of stuff we don’t know about but God wanted us to know about this one. This one mattered. This one had a bigger significance than just what happened to Lazarus.

So anyway, “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.” So, there’s no question how He felt about them. This was never the issue, was it?

It’s never the issue with us, by the way. We’re real good at interpreting feelings and circumstances as a gauge somehow of how God feels about us, whether He loves us. Oh, God, get our understanding out of that kind of thinking. Praise God!

Is there anybody here who has a reason to doubt that God loves you? I mean, really, when you look at the Cross? Yeah, if I look in the mirror I can see all kinds of reasons. But if I look at the Cross and I look at His heart and His character revealed through the life of Jesus, I have no reason to say anything other than God, thank You! Thank You for Your love! Thank You that You’re merciful to sinners, because I qualify! Oh, God! Thank You!

So anyway – now here’s the part that I’m sure the people around Him did not understand. “Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.” You know, we’re very quick, even if we see God in something and we know God wants to do something – man, hurry up! Time’s a-wasting! Get on the road! Come on! Crank up the mule – however they got there, I don’t know. But anyway – our idea is we’ve got to fix it! We feel this sense of anxiety about the time element.

He wasn’t a bit worried. He had a sense that I need to move in God’s time. It’s not just God’s purpose, but it’s God’s schedule. And He was so in tune with God that He didn’t feel like He had to hurry and fix it.

How many of you had to learn that lesson, maybe over and over again, the hard way? Oh, you tried to fix it. Oh, you were so anxious about a situation and finally God got you to the place where you said, okay, I take my hands off and God fixed it. Isn’t that kind of how we need to be? We need to learn how to trust God. And He teaches us. And I thank God that He’s so patient with us.

But anyway – so now, two days go by, “Let us go back to Judea ….” And of course, again, this was not some little afternoon walk. This was a journey of several days. And ‘course you put the timeline together you see that even if He left when He was, He wouldn’t have gotten there in time, had He, would He? ‘Cause when He got there he’d been dead four days.

But I’ll tell you, God wanted to let a situation develop to the point where it was beyond all possible hope, beyond all possible solution. He wanted a testimony that was so out – I mean, nobody could say anything about it. Absolute – a clear indication of who He was and the power of the life that was in Him and who He was. So anyway, that’s where this is going. It’s a whole lot bigger than Lazarus.

So anyway, he says, “Let us go back – But Rabbi, they said, a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?” So this occasion is somewhere between Christmas and Easter, on our calendar. This is somewhere – it could have been February, it doesn’t say.

So this is somewhere in the interim he’s going back into the area – the very area where there’d been danger and, “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve 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; but I am going there to wake him up.”

And of course they understood that exactly, didn’t they? “His disciples replied, Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better. Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. So then he told them plainly, Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

You know, again, you’re seeing just a glimpse of the fact that in all of these circumstances of life God has a bigger plan than simply fixing the circumstance. God wanted to do something that was of eternal value for all of those who knew Him, particularly the apostles. He knew they needed lessons in faith, in trusting God in circumstances that looked totally impossible!

God wanted them to have the kind of confidence that they were going to need going forward. I mean, even so, you see how they struggled with this. But God is wanting, through this circumstance, to say, I want to build faith in you. I’m not just going here to fix a situation and just go on. I want this situation to be so incredibly difficult that you’re gonna learn something that will stick with you for Eternity.