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I AM The Resurrection and The Life (Dale Offutt)

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By Dale Offutt

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

The one thing that all of us want is life.  But just what is life?  Is life merely a physical sensation or the routine of daily existence? Is life merely a function of the human body and an intellectual experience? My friends, we believe life is, indeed, all of these and more. But life is an awareness. Life has an excitement and enthusiasm or vitality.   Jesus defined life for us when he said, “I am the resurrection and the life.”

Our Lord made it very plain as to how to experience the life that he defined. The apostle John in his first epistle declared, “He that hath the Son hath the life. He that hath not the Son of God hath not the life.”

Our study includes an account of Jesus showing his power over death and life, the miracle of raising one who had died to life. Our Lord has been preaching in the villages beyond the Jordan when he received the news of Lazarus his friend being so ill. Jesus did not leave immediately, but waited two days before going to Bethany where Lazarus was very sick. He knew that Lazarus would be dead when he arrived, but he wanted to show his power of the resurrection from the dead. Our Lord’s delay was, of course, God’s timing.

Will you share with us from the gospel of John chapter 11 verses 17 through 27 as we read of this special account?

So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already.  Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off; and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother. Martha therefore, when she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary still sat in the house.   Martha therefore said unto Jesus, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  And even now I know that, whatsoever thou shalt ask of God, God will give thee.”

Jesus saith unto her, “Thy brother shall rise again.”  Martha saith unto him, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die. Believest thou this?”  She saith unto him, “Yea, Lord: I have believed that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, even he that cometh into the world.”

Martha was so moved in the presence of Christ that she responded with that statement of faith. Oh, she gained a new depth regarding death and life.  Of course, the  account continues to tell us as to how Mary was contacted by Martha and encouraged to come and meet with Jesus. She, along with Martha and friends of Lazarus saw the compassion and the power of the Lord Jesus.  Yes, Jesus has power over life and death as well as power to forgive sins. And the main point in this great miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead was to point people to the one who offers life, my friends, yes, the spiritual life.

Let us consider  what this life is and how one can realize it to the fullest. Number one, spiritual life can only be obtained and realized through the person Jesus Christ.  Two, this life replaces the barren existence people without Jesus call life. Living without Jesus is just a spiritual death in a walking body.  Three, spiritual life is a quality of living by which one knows true vitality. Oh, vigor abounds, energy abounds, my friends. Four, Jesus would have the whole world, every single human being to realize this kind of life.  It is so different from the worldly life which is common to most people. It is not the flippant and meaningless physical sensations of the day.  Five, in his own resurrection Jesus conquered death. He openly demonstrated power over death. Six, the apostle Paul stressed how the resurrection of Jesus is really a pledge of our resurrection.

Hear what the apostle Paul declared.  “But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep,” 1 Corinthians 15 verse 20.  Our risen Lord is the agent and quickening power over death. And Jesus offers us spiritual life for now with power to live to the fullest. Spiritual life is real, my friends, when it is personal.  Seven, indeed, spiritual life comes from the Lord because he is the giver of this life.  He made this truth known to his disciples when he stated, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one cometh unto the Father, but by me,” John 14 verse six.

When a person decides to really live, he or she comes to Jesus for real life. Why is this? Because Jesus holds out the invitation to the whole world.  Just as he announced to Martha in her time of sorrow and because of Lazarus’ death the wonderful truth, “I am the resurrection and the life.” And when Jesus made this announcement he declared the following. “He that believeth on me though he die, yet shall he live. And whosoever liveth and believeth on me shall never die.” And you recall he then asked Martha the question, “Believest thou this?” And she saith unto him, “Yea, Lord, I have believed that thou art the son of God, even he that cometh into the world.”

Yet today people all over the world are still making the confession of their faith. Of course, when this occurs one is turning from their old way of life, or what they call life and, indeed, they are repenting. They are changing their mind about that way of lifestyle and they are expressing an interest in the life Jesus offers. The wonderful promise of the life he offers is given to all who repent and are baptized for the forgiveness of their sins.

Yes, Jesus is the only one who has the power over death and life and power to forgive sins. He is the only one who can restore life when one has become wayward or has gone back into sin.  Oh, my friends, just think. When we have the spiritual life of Jesus not even death can conquer us and we ask these few questions. How can one keep from committing his or her life to Jesus when they stop and realize what he offers or when one considers the love of God. How can he or she walk away from the great love gift that God gave to the world? Oh, he gave his only begotten Son for the whole world. And how can the invitation of Jesus be ignored or rejected?

Again, hear these precious and familiar words to Bible students from John 3:16.  For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Our Lord taught the purpose of his coming was so we could have real spiritual life. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and may have it abundantly.” Jesus said, “These things have I spoken unto you that your joy might be full.” The apostle Peter declared when preaching a mighty sermon on the day of Pentecost, “Thou madest known unto me the ways of life. Thou shalt make me full of gladness with thy countenance.”

The apostle Peter was quoting from the psalmist and, my friends, this particular verse was prophetic of Jesus.  Oh, this great news sounded forth upon the whole world one night long ago.  “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to the people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”

This very one is the one who made this precious claim. “I am the resurrection and the life.” Yes, our Lord actually set into motion a faith which is joyous, happy and exciting, because it tells all who would be his followers how to have a great life, a spiritual life.

Now we must be reminded that life is too often taken for granted, as if it were something ordinary.  Oh, God forbid that we are guilty of doing such. But let us thank God for this Spiritual life and let us remember with much joy, we are alive in the truest sense if we are Christians.

I note a man from another century said these words and we quote, “Happiness comes from the health of the soul. It does not come from things. It does not come from sophisticated entertainment.  It comes from the health of the soul,” end of quote.  We would say very kindly but seriously, “If you want to get a lot of enjoyment out of life, get your soul healthy.” Yes, give you life to Jesus.

The story has been told about a minister who met a man at a coffee shop one morning.  And the man was so very pleasant and greeted the minister with a smile and he asked him a very simple question, “Isn’t life wonderful?” And the minister replied and said, “Yes, life is wonderful, but today it is raining outside and it is sort of a dull day for me.” And his new friend said, “Well, indeed, it is raining, but have you ever noticed those beautiful drops of rain? If you will, look over to the way and see that beautiful little tree standing alone, but it has some dark branches on it and note the raindrops falling between those branches. Why, preacher, those raindrops look like diamonds.”

And knowing that, perhaps, the minister was just a bit dissatisfied with his comments and his response, he very delicately changed the subject and he said, “Oh, my, this restaurant where we are sharing our breakfast is such a good place to come every day even when it is raining. Oh,” he says, “I love to smell those pancakes and I like to eat them even better.” And he said, “If you look over there they have a coffee pot on one of their burners and they leave it there just for the sake of people like myself being able to smell good coffee.” He said, “I love to smell their coffee.” And he said, “The food is always good.”

At this point the minister responded and he said, “You know, you have such a very joyful attitude and such a pleasant one. What is the secret to you being so happy?”And his new friend said, “Several years ago, preacher, I was in a very serious accident. As matter of fact, I believe God performed a miracle so I can be alive and talk to you today.” He said, “I overheard the doctor, a surgeon, talking to my family and he said these words, ‘This man is a very sick man. He may not make it.’” And he said, “I thought to myself, oh, if I can just live. I will be the happiest person on earth.” And then he told the minister, “God performed a miracle and gave me life again.” He said, “Since that time I have always been happy.”

My friends, there is always a temptation to take life for granted and there is a temptation to fail to rejoice. Fellow Christians, we have every reason to rejoice because we have Jesus as our great Lord, our Savior. Today we may be speaking to some who do not have Jesus and you cannot rejoice. You are unlike the man who found even the rainy day a time to rejoice. You don’t find life very rewarding because you don’t have Jesus. And here again these precious words, He that hath the Son hath the life. He that hath not the Son of God hath not the life.
We plead with you today. Receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. Believe in the one who really is who he claims to be, the resurrection and the life.

 




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If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Romans 14:8