Jesus Raises His Friend Lazarus from the Dead, Part 18 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign, Day 171)

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TEXT: John 11:49-57

49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,

50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.

51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;

52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.

53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.

54 Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.

55 And the Jews’ passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.

56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?

57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.

———-

Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents, politicians, and people, but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey the Lord’s Great Commission which is to, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate to win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.

This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As another hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 171.

William Lane Craig said, “When a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God’s Spirit on his heart.”

Now that the Jewish religious establishment has decided that they want Jesus dead for sure, they begin looking for a prime opportunity to arrest Him and have Him handed over to the Romans. One such opportunity presented itself in the upcoming Passover. Jesus regularly attended the Jewish religious observances in Jerusalem, so people expected Him to be there.

Ahead of the Passover, certain purification rituals took place in the city. Many Jews traveled to the city ahead of time to partake in these rituals. John tells us that these people “sought for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, saying, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast?”

While this was going on, Jesus, in response to the “most wanted” designation that the Sanhedrin had put out on Him, left Bethany where He had raised Lazarus from the dead. The Bible says He “walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples.” Jesus did not go away because He was afraid, but simply because, as He had said before, His time had not yet come. However, His time was very near: we know that the Passover referred to in this passage is the one during which Jesus will be arrested and sacrificed on the cross.

Back in Jerusalem, the religious leaders were preparing for this very thing. In fact, two religious factions (you can think of them as the two parties of the U.S. Congress) had united in the effort to catch and kill Jesus. The Bible says, “Both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.” Scholars tell us that the ranks of the chief priests were mostly made up of Sadducees. Normally, the Sadducees and the Pharisees did not work together, but we see that they achieved what we would call bipartisanship in their joint goal of getting rid of Jesus.

Unfortunately, these religious leaders and the people who supported them were unwittingly enacting a parable which Jesus had told before. The parable was about a group of wicked vineyard-keepers. The owner of the vineyard (who represents God in the parable) sent His servants to collect the fruit and the proceeds from his crop. But the wicked vineyard-keepers beat the servants of the owner and sent them away empty-handed. After several instances like this, the owner sent his own son (who represents Jesus Christ in the parable) to handle things. The owner said to himself, “They will reverence my son.” But the Bible tells us that when the wicked vineyard-keepers “saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him… And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.”

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were exactly like the wicked vineyard-keepers. They saw the Son of God Jesus Christ. They knew who He was because He had proven to them who He was. Yet the rejected Him, seized Him, and eventually had Him killed. They committed the worst mistake a person can make — rejecting Jesus Christ. It is unlikely that many of them repented as the book of Acts shows us that the religious establishment was still opposing the Gospel message preached by Jesus’ disciples.

What became of the wicked vineyard-keepers? In His parable, Jesus said that the owner would “miserably destroy those wicked men.” Miserable destruction also awaits those who reject Jesus Christ today. But that destruction does not have to be your end. You can make the right decision — the decision to receive Christ as your Lord and Savior. Here is how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at dw3@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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