John 14:9-10 NLT – Jesus replied, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me.”
God is revealed through Jesus.
If we want to know God, then we need to get to know Jesus. And thankfully there are four entire books of the Bible dedicated to the life of Jesus. We call them the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Through this series, we are working through the book of John and observing the way of Jesus. What we’re finding out is that the way of Jesus is different.
So, when you follow Jesus, people are going to think that you are different. But hey, we’re all different together.
Wash with God’s Word
Last week, Jesus taught us that if you want to see clearly and not be deceived, you must wash with the water of God’s Word. As you get into God’s Word, it washes away all the muck of life.
There’s plenty of people these days trying to teach us about moral issues and how to love people. They all have good intentions, but they are trying to solve the world’s problems without the Word of God.
If the Bible is not your primary source of information, your understanding will be flawed. It may sound right and feel good, but if it doesn’t agree with the Word of God, it’s not accurate and will not produce good results.
Filtered Through God’s Word
Everything we learn, everything we take in, everything we hear should be filtered through the Word of God. And as soon as you find out that something you’ve learned clashes with the Word of God, you should quickly take the thought captive and submit it to God.
All the things that seem right, that feel right, but don’t fit with the Word of God, you need to take these things before God and ask Him to lead you into all truth. And then you get in His Word and say, “God show me. Not my way, but Your’s.”
Do you want to walk in truth? Do you want God to lead you in every decision you make?
God wants to do all that for you. But you have to fully submit yourself to Him in order to hear His voice. If you are looking to yourself, or to your pastor, or to your professor, or to the news for guidance, the voice of God will be buried in all the noise.
How to Hear God
God is always speaking to you. If you can’t hear Him, it’s because there’s too much noise in your life. So if you want to hear Him, you have to start turning things off.
Turn off your own frustrations. Turn off the news. Turn off your opinionated friends. Stop reading QAnon threads. Just turn it all off until it’s just you and God.
It’s amazing how clearly you hear God when you separate yourself from all the noise. You have to get to a place where you only look to God for direction.
Some like to argue, “Kade, shouldn’t we listen to the experts and to the government and to the people who have a huge following?” Um. Nope. I’m absolutely sure the creator of the universe is going to be a better leader than all of them combined.
There are seasons in life where we can get by without God. We know it’s not our best life, but we convince ourselves, it’s good enough.
Then there are seasons of life where everything falls apart and you realize how much you need God. Yet so many people are turning to everyone but God for direction in probably the most challenging season any of us have been through.
Fall in Love with God’s Word
My greatest desire as your pastor is to help you fall in love with the Word of God. To lead you to a place where you believe the Word of God above all else. To where the Bible becomes ultimate truth in your life.
If we all fall in love with the Word of God, we won’t get bogged down in the noise of politics and racism and vaccines. Instead, the power of God will be working in us as we accomplish infinitely more than we could ask or think.
We will follow the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus. And this will be the outcome:
John 10:9-10 NKJV – I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
Not only does Jesus save us, but He provides for us. When we believe in Jesus, we go in and out and find pasture. In other words, we find rest. We find provision. We find our home.
Jesus goes on to explain further:
John 10:9-10 NKJV – The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
When Jesus gives you eternal life, it includes this life. This isn’t just a ticket to heaven, it is an immediate transition into abundant life that will last forever.
If you are not walking in it, it’s because you allow the enemy to steal, kill and destroy by getting caught up in all the noise of this life.
Turn off the noise and get with Jesus. He will lead you in the path of abundant life. Is there anyone who wants to do more than just survive? Any takers for abundant life? Jesus wants you to have it. In other words:
To follow Jesus, I must walk in abundant life.
It’s such a bummer when Christians believe the lie that we are supposed to live a barely enough life. We think, “How could I ask God for anything in this life when I’ve already been given the gift of heaven.”
It sounds so sacrificial. But in reality it is selfish. On top of this, you are belittling the power of God. He wants to do these incredible things in your life and you just stick out your hands and say, “Nope. Don’t want it.”
Jesus came to give you abundant life. It starts the moment you say yes to Jesus and follows you all the way into eternity. Quit letting the enemy steal this from you and receive what Jesus gave you: abundant life.
God has given me the ability to look at you and see your potential. You feel like you are stuck, but when I look at you, I can already see who you are meant to become. It’s right there, right under the surface, ready to come out of you.
You are called by God. His assignment for you in this life is incredible. And to walk in it, you just have to decide, “I’m not living a pitiful life. I’m living the abundant life Jesus gave me.” And then you walk it out, step-by-step, by faith.
I know your potential. God knows your potential. And it’s up to you to boldly become who God called you to be. The world will be a better place if you choose to walk in abundant life instead of a just enough life.
Healing and Abundance
We are now at the point in the book of John where Jesus gets the news that His friend Lazarus is really sick. His sisters thought it was extremely urgent, as if Lazarus could die any moment, but here is how Jesus responds:
John 11:4 NKJV – This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.
People get messed up on this scripture. This is where the whole idea comes from that God will allow people to get sick so He can get glory for the healing.
Again, this is one of those things that sounds good, but it doesn’t agree with the Word of God. It doesn’t agree with the rest of scripture. Clearly, some things have gotten lost in translation.
But if this is the only scripture you read, you’ll believe a lie. And if you are lazy with your Bible instead of loving your Bible, that’s exactly what will happen.
I am going to give you a flurry of scriptures that prove how silly it is to believe that God would allow sickness for His glory.
- Psalms 103:3 NLT – He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
- Psalms 107:20 NKJV – He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
- Isaiah 53:5 NLT – But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
- Matthew 8:16 NLT – Jesus cast out the evil spirits with a simple command, and he healed all the sick.
Clearly, God is in the healing business. He doesn’t want you to be sick. He wants you to be well! So where does the sickness come from?
Acts 10:38 NLT – And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Healing all who were what? Oppressed by the devil. Sickness is oppression from the devil, not a lesson from God. God doesn’t put sickness on you to teach you.
Last week we read about when the disciples asked Jesus if the man who was blind was his fault or his parents fault. What did Jesus say?
John 9:3 NKJV – Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.”
Wait… so is this saying that God made him blind so that Jesus could heal him later? Y’all, that doesn’t even make sense when you understand the character of God.
If we, as imperfect people, know how to give good gifts to our own children, how much more will our Father in heaven give us good gifts?
How many parents in the room would put sickness on your kid to teach them something? None of you! That’s child abuse! Yet, we are going to believe the lie that God brings sickness in our life for His own glory or to teach us something?
No. We’re not going to believe that. God is a good father. He sent His word to heal us. He sent Jesus to heal us. And He only gives good gifts. For the record, sickness is not a good gift.
So, with God’s character in mind, we have to read this scripture again. Honestly, I think the translators just messed up the punctuation.
John 9:3-4 NKJV – Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent me…”
That’s how you’ll find it in the NKJV version. But look at what happens when you use different punctuation:
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But that the works of God should be revealed in him, I must work the works of Him who sent me.”
Now this is what agrees with the rest of God’s Word. God didn’t make this man sick. Neither did his parents. Sickness is oppression from the devil and Jesus is going to glorify God by knocking the devil out.
Let’s go back to Jesus’ response about Lazarus being sick:
John 11:4 NKJV – This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.
With the full counsel of God’s Word, we can now understand what Jesus is saying here. If He were an Okie in 2021, He would have said, “Hey y’all. I know Lazarus is sick, but he ain’t gonna die. Well, at least not permanently. Actually, God’s going to receive the glory for what’s about to happen. He’s gonna kick that sickness in the tail.”
God does NOT make you sick.
I have scoured the scriptures regarding this subject. I’ve personally looked up and handwritten every single scripture that mentions healing and wholeness and even the ones that mention sickness.
And I can tell you, with absolutely confidence, that God does not give you sickness. He doesn’t leave it with you to teach you something. That’s just a lie the enemy uses to keep you sick.
Sickness is oppression of the devil. It comes from the devil. It does not come from God.
But God provided healing through Jesus Christ. He does not want His children sick. He wants them to have faith in Jesus and receive the healing that has already been provided. We’re not waiting for it, it’s already ours.
God is actually waiting on you to get the religious nonsense, that He wants you to be sick, out of your head. Because only when you get rid of the lies are you able to believe and receive the healing that’s already been provided.
To follow Jesus, I must believe God wants me well.
So, what happened with ole Lazarus? Well, since Jesus was never in a hurry, He waited a few days before going to Lazarus. By the time He got there, Lazarus had been dead for four days.
This is not good for Jesus’ reputation. He basically lied to us, right? He said that the sickness would not end in death.
But wait a minute. He never said Lazarus wouldn’t die. He just said that it would not end in death. Hm.
But what did Jesus’ disciples have to say about all this? Well, it’s quite hilarious actually. Cue the disciples for some comedic relief:
John 11:16 NKJV – Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
From their perspective, all hope was lost. Jesus had really messed up this time so they might as well just call the whole thing quits. Forget about all the people Jesus already healed. He didn’t even heal His own friend. It’s over.
So, once again, Jesus finds Himself surrounded by people who are without faith. But thankfully, there is one person who still believes, at least for now:
John 11:21-25 NKJV – Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
Wow. We should take tips from Martha. She was fully aware of what they were up against. It looked like it was way too late. But even though it looks impossible, whatever Jesus asks God, God will do.
Here’s how Jesus responded to Martha:
John 11:21-25 NKJV – Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
This is great news. But just like we do with many other things the Bible promises us, Martha delays the promise:
John 11:21-25 NKJV – Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
“Oh, I know I’ll be healed… in Heaven.” “Oh, I know I’ll have abundance… in Heaven.” “Oh, I know I’ll be free from the bondage of sin… in Heaven.”
Anyone else have a tendency to delay the promises of God like Martha did? Here’s how Jesus responds:
John 11:21-25 NKJV – Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
This is really mind blowing. Jesus is saying that all you have to do is believe Him to receive eternal life. You may live this life completely dead to the promises of God, but you will still inherit eternal life.
But if you take it a step further to where you don’t just believe in Jesus, but you live in Jesus, you’ll experience Heaven here on earth. Your abundant life will start now and continue into eternity. And Jesus asks, “Do you believe this?”
Because you have a choice. You can believe in Jesus, leave it at that, and although your earthly life might be a struggle, we will see you in Heaven. Or you can believe and live in Jesus and start your abundant life right now.
God loves you either way. But I can tell you, embracing abundant life isn’t just going to benefit you, but all those around you. And really, the best part about abundance is what it enables you to do in the lives of others.
So, that’s why:
To follow Jesus, I must not delay the promises of God.
After this conversation with Martha, Jesus goes to talk with Mary and some of the others, and they were all crying and upset because they thought Jesus was too late.
The Bible says that Jesus wept as well. We don’t know exactly why Jesus cried, but in the context of what He’s been talking about, I think He was deeply troubled by everyone’s unbelief.
Any parents in the room ever cried because you were grieved by your kids making the wrong decisions? You tried to tell them the truth and they wouldn’t listen to you.
Even though Jesus was grieved, it didn’t stop Him from moving ahead with the miracle:
John 11:38-40 NKJV – Then Jesus, again groaning in Himself, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”
Remember how Martha was the most promising one of the bunch? She’s the one that said, “I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.” And now here she is trying to talk Jesus out of working a miracle.
We’re still pretty good at this today. We try to talk God out of working miracles all the time. “Oh God, if you want me to be sick to bring glory to you, then so be it. I’ll be healed one day in Heaven.”
These kinds of prayers don’t impress God. They are probably quite aggravating if I had to guess. He just wants to heal you and you keep talking yourself out of it!
Thankfully, they moved the stone like Jesus told them. And here’s what He said next:
John 11:41-44 NKJV – Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”
See! Jesus told you it wouldn’t end in death. We would have all rather Jesus healed Lazarus before he died, but you know, this will work too. Lazarus being raised from the dead isn’t so bad.
There are so many times that we give up on healing because it doesn’t happen in our timeline. We get prayed for at church, and if it doesn’t happen instantly, we lose all hope.
How often do you think people miss out on God’s healing because they give up on it if they don’t see the results within 10 seconds?
How often do you think people miss out on God’s healing because there was a step of obedience they needed to take after the word was spoken, like when Jesus told the blind many to go wash the mud off his eyes?
Can we move past the idea that all healing has to happen instantaneous and realize that there is no bad way to get healed? We need to believe that God wants us well and remain in faith no matter how long it takes.
At the same time, we shouldn’t delay the promises of God. Just because we understand that all healing is not instantaneous, we shouldn’t write off instantaneous healing altogether.
We should simply believe, “God, I know you healed me two thousand years ago when Jesus took the stripes on His back. I receive that healing now and know that it’s mine whether I see the results of it right now or a little bit later.”
“I’m not going to fear this sickness. I’m not going to fret or be worried. I’m not going to give any attention to this sickness. Because, as far as I’m concerned, I’m already healed and I will see the results of it.”
Mark 11:24 NKJV – Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
When you ask God for something in faith, it doesn’t matter if you see it immediately or not. You know it’s already yours and it’s on the way.
Best modern day example I can give you is an Amazon package. When you hit that buy now button in the digital world, you know that package is going to show up in your physical world tomorrow.
When you ask God for something in the spiritual realm, and you are in faith with no doubt in your heart, you better know that it will show up in the physical realm. You don’t know when, but it’s coming. So don’t give up!
Do you want to step out in faith today and receive healing? Do it now.
Do you want to step out in faith and receive abundant life? Do it now.