SUNDAY JULY 19
UNDERSTANDING THE END WE ALL EXPERIENCE
A WARM WELCOME
We have come together to meet with God and to play our part in the building of his church. Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness. By his wounds we have been healed. Let us acknowledge our failure to serve him as he deserves, and return to the Lord with repentance and faith praying…
you have loved us with an everlasting love,
but we have gone our own way,
and rejected your will for our lives.
We are sorry for our sins and turn away from them.
For the sake of your Son who died for us,
forgive us, cleanse us and change us.
By your Holy Spirit, enable us to live for you,
and to please you in every way,
for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen
As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is God’s love towards those who fear him;
as far is the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us,
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Give praise to the Lord, call in his name.
Make known among the nations what he has done.
A prayer as we come to hear God’s Word
Heavenly Father, give us faith to receive your word, understanding to know what it means and the will to put it into practice, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 (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.) 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
4 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.” 5 Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
11 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.”
12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odour, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
How amazing is Jesus. Worthy of all our praise…
Jesus Christ in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
1. Are there any passages in the bible that have special significance for you?
2. How might you explain these spine tingling words of Jesus to someone else.
‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die. And whoever lives by believing in me will never die.’
3. What was Jesus' emotional response to his good friend Lazarus’ death? If we were more like Jesus in responding to death this way how might it change the way we live?
4. When faced with death, how and why as Christians can we grieve differently to others who have not yet believed in Jesus?
A prayer in response to our bible teaching
Lord Jesus Christ,
you are the resurrection and the life of all who believe in you.
You have taught us not to grieve
as people without hope.
Raise us, we pray,
from the death of sin to the life of righteousness,
that when we depart this life, we may rest in you,
as those before us have
who have died trusting in your saving name.
At the resurrection on the last day,
may we be found acceptable to you,
and receive the kingdom prepared for all who love and fear you.
we rejoice in your greatness and power,
your patience and love,
your mercy and justice.
Enable us by your Spirit
To honour you in our thoughts,
words and actions,
and to serve you in every aspect of our lives;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.