The Benefit Of Having A Personal Relationship With Jesus
Jesus is coming back
Matthew 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
John 3:2, 3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
St John 11:1-45
John 11:5 The Lazarus family—this family may have been wealthy. 1) The family was capable of extending hospitality to thirteen men on numerous occasions by feeding and housing them. 2) A member of the family was able to pour out precious oil on the head and feet of Jesus and endure the snide comments about what was done without retaliation. 3) The family was able to afford a family mausoleum not far from their home. We know of the hospitality shown toward our Lord. We know of the notoriety of the family in the town of Bethany because the town was introduced as the town of Mary and her sister Martha. There is no husband and wife recorded in our text, only a brother and two sisters living together. A family is made up of individuals, so let me introduce this family to you individually.
Martha—Not much is recorded about her in the scripture. We know that she was at times distracted in her work, doing, but wanting others, mainly her sister, to be doing what she was doing. P. T. FORSYTH said, “it is possible to be so active in the service of Christ as to forget to love him.” Martha was a servant by choice; she chose to keep the house where she could have had one of the servants perform these functions but she chose to do them herself. And she chose to provide for her numerous guests, for she was very hospitable. However, sometimes she would let her work, her being busy; get in the way of listening to the words of the Lord. You may know somebody like that. Martha knew who was in town and what they were doing and what they were there for. Somehow Martha had a broad network of friends to keep her informed. Martha knew when Jesus was on his way into town and she ran and met him before he passed the graveyard.
The next family member I want to make your acquaintance with is Mary. Mary—Loved to surround herself with people. Harveyology says, “mainly men.” I say that because some of the commentary comments (Note: which are not supported by scripture) says she is known as the “chief prostitute”. Scripture does show she knew how to take care of a man. She crashed parties and was not put out because she knew how to mingle. She was scandalized, for when Simon, the Pharisee, which had bidden Jesus to a party saw her touching him, he spoke within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that touches him: for she is a sinner.
What people think or say about you many times can ruin your reputation. But what other say don’t really matter, it’s what the Master says that counts. And about Mary He said, Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. About 2000 years later, it is known that the tears she shed, was the fare she paid for her journey home. The tears she shed were for her sorrow of the sins she had committed. The precious oil that she poured out of the alabaster box was for the anointing and commemoration of the death and burial of our Lord Jesus’ body. Her hair, her glory, she used to dry his feet was for the glory of God.
Now let me present the last family member, Lazarus—The brother of Mary and Martha, a single man living with his two sisters. He is of the stock of Israel. He is a native of the area of Judea, and he is a citizen of the town of Bethany. But most of all he is a local and a friend of Jesus. Lazarus and his sisters had a personal relationship with Jesus.
A relationship is different than an encounter. There are those that only have an encounter with Jesus, but never establish a relationship. The Pharisees had many encounters with the Lord, but most of them never established a personal relationship with him. The Sadducees and the rich young ruler, they had encounters with the Master, but they never established a relationship with him. When you establish a relationship with Jesus you can’t help but to become his friend. You develop an association, and a connection with him. You invited him into your life and you shared what you have with him, you take him into your abode and you establish a good rapport with him. When, when, when, whennn you establish, a relationship with the Lord, you walked and talked with him, but most of all he walks and talks with you.
The devil will try to convince you that it don’t take all that to get into the kingdom of God. Let me give you a warning, Many will say to the Lord in that day, Lord, Lord, we prophesied in your name. In other words we spoke in tongues, or we preached using your name. And in that day they will say to the Lord, in your name we cast out devils and in your name we did many wonderful works? And then Jesus will say unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. You never had a personal relationship with me.
How do you know that you have established a personal relationship with the Lord? When you meet him on the street and he asks you for some bread and you give him some bread. You are establishing a relationship with the Lord. When you see him in need of clothing, and you clothe him, you are establishing a relationship with the Lord. When you see him in need of a place to stay and you provide lodging for him, you are establishing a relationship with the Lord. You will never be the same after you have personal contact with him. And I admonish you to establish a personal relationship with Jesus. That way when you stand before him on the Day of Judgment, he can’t say, “I never knew you, depart from me,” simply because you have had a personal relationship with him, you got to know him and became his friend.
Just because Jesus is your friend does not make you immune to sickness, it does not isolate you from the situations that occur in life. Your friendship with Jesus does not separate you from the changes that occur in your body. But what it does is, it gives you an immunization against the second death, it establishes an address for you in glory. Now back to our story:
The Situation—Lazarus is sick and is dying. Jesus is notified but he delays his coming. Mary and Martha are aggravated at Jesus’ delay, because during the delay the condition of Lazarus worsens and Lazarus dies.
There are sicknesses that insurance, money, influence, and medicine can’t fix. Many of our loved ones are in the cemetery because the doctor and their medicine could no longer do them any good. In May 2009 people got sick from the Swine flu and hundreds world wide died. There is a disease that has affected the entire world for thousands of years and there is only one cure and that’s by establishing a personal relationship with Jesus.
There are tribulations while waiting on the Lord. There are persecutions while waiting on the Lord. We don’t know what the sickness was that Lazarus died from, but I believe it had a sudden onset and death was almost immediate. The reason I say that is from what I extract from the message that the sisters sent to Jesus. It says: He whom thou lovest is sick.” It didn’t say: He whom thou lovest is getting worse. For had Lazarus been sick when Jesus was nearby, then the probability of Jesus healing him sooner exists. But I believe Lazarus took sick suddenly and died quickly. The way the story reads to me is that Lazarus became deathly ill. Mary and Martha immediately sent word to Jesus. Jesus got the message but he delays in the place where he was two more days. So what I extract is that Lazarus was already dead by two days when Jesus got the message, for when Jesus arrived outside of Bethany’s city limits, he was told that Lazarus had been dead four days.
When Martha, the busybody learned that Jesus was nearing town, she got up and went to meet him before he passed the Bethany’s graveyard. And I heard her say, Lord, if you had come when I called you my brother would still be alive. A little song comes to my mind that goes like this: ¯Now let us have a little talk with Jesus, tell him all about our troubles, He will hear our faintest cry and he will answer by and by. Then it says, just a little talk with Jesus will make it right.
Then Jesus began to share with Martha the benefits of her personal relationship with Him. I can hear him say Martha, O Martha, you are troubled over many things, but I am the Light of this world. O Martha, I am Life and the giver of Life, I am the resurrection and life. If you just maintain that personal relationship that you have with me, everything will be all right. Now where is Mary?
Jesus, still on the outskirts of town, Martha goes back home to a crowd of well-wishers and nosey folk. She goes over to Mary and whispers in her ear, “the Master is come and he asked for you.”
Through the tears and the grief that Mary is experiencing, she gets to her feet. These tears are not tears of repentance this time, but these are tears or great sorrow and disappointment. I don’t believe Mary just strolls to where Jesus is. I believe she got a pep in her step. And she more of less trots to the other side of town followed by a funeral procession that don’t know where they are going or what’s going on. I can hear her cry when she falls at the Lord’s feet, “Jesus, O Jesus, Lazarus is gone.” I can hear Jesus say Mary, Mary, Mary, O’ Mary. At one time you had the anointing, you could have used it for your own pleasure and glory, but O’ Mary you anointed me to the glory of God. You didn’t listen to the mockers nor did you care about the jealousy that was aimed at you. You didn’t let it affect you. You used your own glory to wipe my feet and to take care of me. Now Mary, O Mary, don’t you weep, and tell Martha not to moan, because I am going to show you one of the benefits of having a personal relation with me. Because all is well, you will see your brother again. Show me where you laid him.
They took Jesus over to the family plot, the mausoleum. A large rock covered the entrance to the cave. Sometimes-worldly obstacles stand between you and God obstructing your blessing. If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, he will say remove the stone. Problem, get out of the way. Obstruction be thou removed. Jesus will say to the winds, the waves and the storms in your life, he’ll say peace be still.
It seems like I’m talking to people that have never experienced any problems in their lives. But if you are one that have had to deal with sickness or somebody else being sick in your home, then I’m talking to you. You had to deal with the sugar diabetes on your self or some family member. You had to deal with trying to get the blood pressure regulated. You dealt with trying to get them from behind rock walls. Some problems seems like they just won’t go away. You may be dealing with the problem of suicide of someone close to you, or you may have considered committing suicide yourself. No problem is too large for my Lord. The thief comes to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: but Jesus comes that we might have life, and that we might have life more abundantly. In death there is decay. Decay carries a foul smell. Death and decay is what you are paid, for sinning. But the free gift of God is eternal life and that’s a benefit of having a personal relationship with Jesus.
Now Jesus has already talked with Mary and Martha. Now he prepares to speak with Lazarus. He begins his undertaking with the source of all Life. He says my help is already here. But just for those that don’t believe and to show those what they must do in order to do what I’m about to do he begins to pray. Father, I come to you in prayer. Knowing that you always hear me. So as it was in the beginning, when you spoke the word, and said let there be light, and you called light out of darkness, Father, I’m speaking the word now and I’m calling forth life out of death. I heard him speak to Lazarus, one that was dead, sleeping in the grave, The Lazarus in whom no breath or spirit existed, The Lazarus who was in total darkness.
I believe that Jesus wept, because he was disturbing the rest of his dear friend, his friend that had stepped from the finiteness of this old world into the infiniteness of eternity. I believe Jesus wept because he was calling Lazarus from Abraham’s bosom, back to the breast of this old sinful human race. I heard him say Lazarus, come forth. And just like in the beginning when he said let there be light and there is light. Without any hesitation death and the grave had to release their hold on Lazarus and because he was physically bound from head to foot, I can see him as he is coming up out of the grave, it’s in his mind to go toward the light, because Jesus is the light of the world that shines in darkness.
And Lazarus came forth out of the grave, all of death’s elements had to be removed. The smell of death and decay was eliminated. The frankincense and myrrh that were clinging to his grave clothes and flesh had to be removed and Jesus said, Loose the man and let him go.
Had Lazarus not had a personal relationship with Jesus, he would have continued to be dead in the grave. But in his lifetime he choose a friendship or a relationship with Jesus when he had a chance. Therefore death could not hold him. For before Jesus had spoken, that this is not going to end in death, but it’s going to end with God getting the glory. Lazarus didn’t hear Jesus call him with his natural ear, but he heard the call with his heart.
You may be sick right now, I encourage you to come and establish a personal relationship with Jesus. You may have what you think is insurmountable problems and trouble in your life, and I encourage you to come and establish a personal relationship with Jesus. Life may have dealt you a bad hand, but God loves you. Don’t be as the Pharisee and the Sadducees, make up your mind that you are going to come and establish a personal relationship with Jesus. Don’t be like the rich young ruler and leave from Jesus empty, even though you may have everything you want in this present world. What good is it, if you get the whole world and your soul is lost? If you don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus, then he is going to say depart from me. Don’t, let the devil trick you and cause you to believe you don’t have a problem.
Jesus is calling you. Jesus is calling you from the graveyard of sin. Listen for your name. Don’t listen with your natural ear; but listen for his call with your heart. If you respond to the call of Jesus the obstructions will be removed, you will benefit by not going through the second death. You will benefit by not experiencing the fire of hell.
1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
¯What a friend we have in Jesus