Ripples on the Shore of Your Life: Part One
One Sunday morning, one of the elders in our service prayed, "Lord, we thank Thee that Thou art the God of the storm." That very weekend, a great thunderstorm had hit Philadelphia, and it had been followed by one of the most beautiful sunsets we had ever seen, with the lovely calm weather that often comes after a storm. So we understood what that elder meant when he said, "Lord, we thank Thee that Thou art the God of the storm in our lives, for it turns our thought to Thee."
This message has to do with how the storm affects our lives and the lives of those around us. In the eleventh chapter of John is the great story of Mary and Martha and the resurrection of Lazarus. I want you to note the effect of the death of Lazarus on different groups of people. Like a stone dropped in the water it began to ripple farther and farther and farther. Its effect went far beyond Lazarus, to his family, the household, and even into heaven itself.
First of all, let us remember the background. The sisters thought they had a right to expect help from the Lord. When Lazarus was sick, they sent a messenger who came to Jesus with the words, "Lord, he whom thou lovest is sick." They were claiming the help of Christ. A claim upon the power of Christ is the right of everyone of His children. Once we have been redeemed by Him, we belong to Him. An old man was once asked what he did when he was in trouble. He said, "I say, Lord, your property is in danger." It is a great thing to have just that simple faith: "Lord, your property is in danger." I belong to Him. I have been redeemed." "You are not your own, you are bought with a price," Paul said. Well then, do you think that the one who bought you does not have the responsibility for you? Of course, He has the responsibility. When the Lord Jesus died, He brought us out of the horrible pit. He set our feet upon the rock. He put a new song in our mouth. He established our goings. And if I may say it very reverently, it's up to Him to take us through. Certainly we cannot take ourselves through. I am as incapable of continuing my way to heaven as I was to start it in the first place. It is all of absolute sovereign grace.
When Lazarus was sick, there was first of all a tremendous effect upon himself. Naturally, when a man comes to the place where he is going to die, it has an effect on him. And afterwards, when he came out of the tomb, he was sitting at the dinner table, and though he didn't say a word, yet it says, "many people believed because of Lazarus." He just sat there and was the living witness to the power of God. And you may be absolutely sure that when you have passed through death and resurrection-I don't mean in the future, the death of the body and resurrection to heaven-when you have passed through the death that comes from the reality of, "I am crucified with Christ," and enter into the resurrection that is spoken of, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above," people will believe in Jesus because of you.
- How does our union with Christ help us understand the trials we might go through?
- What does it mean that we are raised with Christ? How does this change our lives?