Grave Clothes

Journey, New Year, Isaiah, Corner, New Chapter, Beginning, Dayton, Church of God, Pennsylvania, Sermon Series

Listen Here:

John 20:1-10, John 11:38-44

What the differences were and what does this mean for us…

Difference in place: tombs, who was and was not there…

Who opened the tomb? “They” who opposed it? Why?

How often do we write someone off  “as too far gone” Negative Nancy’s/Nate’s

Difference in time: 4 days verses 3 for Jesus… Lazarus was raised on the fourth day after his death, the Savior rose on the third day. There is significance in the numbers three and four: 4 signifies the things of earth and of men. There are said to be 4 corners to the earth,  4 seasons, 4 cardinal virtues, and the number 40 implies earthly perfection (think 40 days fasting). Three, on the other hand, points to the things of heaven and of God: There are 3 Persons in the Most Holy Trinity. 3 is the number of completeness.

Jesus rose on the 3rd day, since it was to a supernatural and heavenly existence that he was restored. His rising from the dead is a true Resurrection to glory. No human hand was involved in His resurrection, no man removed the stone, or unwrapped the grave clothes they were “lying in their folds” just like the body had disappeared while still in its wrapping…

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” – John 10:17-18

Jesus raised Lazarus on the 4th day, since it was a natural and earthly life to which the dead man was restored. This was not a resurrection, but a restoration of life: Since Lazarus would die again and did not receive a glorified resurrection body like he will on the last day.

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” – John 6:40 (see also 6:39, 44) Martha…see John 11:24.

Restoration: Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. – Psalm 51:12-13

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, – Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

When you disconnect the electrical supply to a light it is called a dead circuit. In order to “Restore” the light it must be connected to the source (think John 15).

Sin is separation, rebellion, it is choosing to miss the mark. We were dead in our sin, separated from the life giving power of God. Because of the resurrection we have New life in Christ! A restored connection…

Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb, Lazarus answered that call…Jesus called him who was dead in the flesh out of his tomb; He calls the world dead in their sin to new life in Him! Jesus opened the way for us to be raised. I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” Hosea 13:14 NIV

Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. – John 5:28-29

See Ezekiel 37 Dry bones… (Especially vs. 11-14)

Who unbinds Lazarus? Is the church not called to free people from the bondage of sin?

Dead in our sin, wrapped in our own self-righteousness,

The greatest failure of the church is that we have forgotten our purpose, we leave those Jesus called in their grave clothes…

Or is it that we choose to remain in as much of them as we can… and think ourselves saved.  2 Corinthians 5

Initial salvation does not depend on works (other than our repentance by faith). It is also true that our salvation is conditional upon our continuing to abide faithfully in Christ, being obedient, just as the New Testament plainly teaches.

Digging Deeper:

  • Do you believe or better stated “Are you believing?”                    
  • By your walk are you confessing Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God? Or are you still bound up in and by the world?
  • What Grave clothes need to come unbound, to be shaken off, so that you can take your Next Step On the Journey?
  • Are you an active part of His Church, fulfilling the Great commission?

Further reading: Romans 3:21-26, 6:23, Ephesians 2:1, 4-5, 8-10, John 11:5, 14, 25-27, with Matthew 16:13-18 (16), Psalm 16:10, 2 Corinthians 5:16-6:2, Matthew 28:16-20

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