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Lazarus (DEVOTION)


As a group, read the following Scriptures and answer the questions below.

John 11:1-44 (entire chapter)

1.    Why do you think Jesus waited before going to Mary and Martha?

2.    Have you ever had a time in your life when you desperately prayed for God’s help but God chose not to give you what you asked for?

3.    What do you think God’s purposes are in these situations?

Now, think back through the story, and put yourself in the role of Lazarus.  Instead of focusing on Lazarus’ physical sickness and death, though, now focus on your spiritual sickness and death before you became a Christian.

4.    How is the story about Lazarus’ resurrection like your own story of spiritual rebirth?

5.    What insights does this give you about the story?

 

Facilitator Notes for Large Group Debrief

o  Like Lazarus, we were dead, but our sickness which led to death was spiritual rather than physical.

o  Jesus waited until we were aware of our deadness before He brought us into life everlasting.

o  Releasing Lazarus from the grave was a visual representation of what Jesus was about to do for all of us.

o  When Jesus rolled away the stone from His own grave in the garden, He rolled away the stone for all of humanity.  Death could no longer hold us!

o  The stone that blocked our way to new life has been rolled away.

o  Jesus calls our name and invites us to come out to enjoy new life with Him.

o  Unfortunately, many of us chose to stay in our tombs rather than respond to Jesus’ call for us to come out.

o  As long as we stayed in our graves, we were still dead in our sin.

o  But for those of us who responded when Jesus called our names, we have new life!

o  But that’s not the entire story of how we got free, because even though we had been freed from the power of death, we, like Lazarus, were still bound in our grave clothes.

o  Satan had wrapped us up pretty tightly.

o  Many of us emerged from the grave, but we weren’t truly free yet.  The sins and scars of our past still held us.  We wanted to be free to enjoy the life that Jesus promised, but we didn’t know how to separate ourselves from those grave clothes.

o  Some of us are still bound today.  We still don’t know how to get free of our past.  What we did or what was done to us prevents us from experiencing the full joy of our new freedom.

o  Like the burial custom practiced in Lazarus’ time, Satan tied our hands and our feet, wrapped us in grave clothes and veiled our faces.

o  He tied our hands, because it’s with our hands that we do God’s WORK.

o  He tied our feet, because it’s with our feet that we WALK with the Lord.

o  He veiled our faces, because it’s with our faces that we bear WITNESS to God’s glory.*

o  Many of us are alive in Christ but still tied up in sin, guilt, shame, pain, or ignorance that keeps us from our WORK, our WALK and our WITNESS with and for God.

o  It sometimes takes a long time to recognize our freedom, and we need the help of the Church to get free.  We need our brothers and sisters in Christ to do for us what those who witnessed Lazarus raised from the dead did for Lazarus.  We need our brothers and sisters to “Take off (our) grave clothes and let (us) go!”

o  We can’t get free ourselves.  This is part of the role of the Church.

o  So, as we see other brothers and sisters emerge from the grave, we need to step forward and help them in whatever way God gives us.  We need to get them free from their grave clothes.

o  And if you are still bound and don’t know how to get free, don’t try to do it alone.  Turn to your brothers and sisters in Christ and to Christian professionals who can help you to cut those bounds and walk free in Christ.

 

* There are at least three important veils in Scripture. Moses wore his veil to hide God’s glory when he came down from the mountain, because the sinful people couldn’t stand the bright holiness of God. But when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was ripped from top to bottom because all could now have access to a holy God through Christ. Satan wants to keep us veiled like Lazarus, but it’s no longer necessary to hide God’s glory.

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Filed under Daily walk, Devotion, God's Will, Healing, Jesus, Martha, Mary, Resurrection, Witness

Covered vs. Covered Up (Obj Lesson)


Time

10-15 minutes
Description

This object lesson teaches that we should not try to cover up our sin but instead recognize that it has been covered by the blood of Jesus.

Scriptures

  • Psalm 32:1-5; 103:12
  • 1 John 1:7

Materials

  • Foot air pump (like you use to pump up a bicycle tire)
  • Two large balloons (the same color)
  • Permanent marker with a wide tip
  • Piece of red felt or other fabric (at least 12”x12”)
  • Piece of dark blue felt or other fabric (at least 12”x12”)
  • Table
  • Tablecloth
  • Tape (duct tape is preferable)
  • Straight pin or push pin
  • Bible

Preparation

  • Set up the table at the front of the teaching area.  Try to elevate it so that it will be above the eye level of your participants.
  • Place the tablecloth over the table so that it hangs down to the floor and prevents participants from seeing what is happening behind it.
  • Write the word, “SIN,” on one of the balloons (while deflated) in bold letters so that participants will be able to read it when you hold it up.
  • Put the other balloon on the nozzle of the air pump.  You may want to tape it on to make sure that it doesn’t fly off when it gets some air in it.
  • Hide the air pump on the floor behind the table so that it cannot be seen.
  • Tuck the balloon that is attached to the nozzle underneath the tablecloth.  If you can get it to stay in the middle of the table, that’s great.  If not, you may need to tape the hose to the table.  Make sure that participants won’t be able to see the bulge caused by the air pump nozzle and balloon.
  • Lay the pieces of fabric and the 2nd balloon close by for use during the lesson.
  • Practice the lesson so that you are sure the participants won’t be able to see what you are doing behind the table.  (NOTE: if your air pump makes noise when you pump it, you might need to pump more slowly or oil the parts.)

Procedure

Use the following script (or modify to suit your needs):

  • “All of us sin sometimes, right?”  (Look for agreement.  If you don’t get agreement, you can have a volunteer read Romans 3:23.)
  • “God is not surprised when we sin.  He wants us to quickly admit it and start obeying Him again.”
  • “Unfortunately, what a lot of us do is we hide our sin from the people we love and even from God sometimes.”
  • “King David in the Old Testament was very close to God most of his life, but even he tried to hide his sin sometimes.”  (Ask volunteer to read Psalm 32:1-5.)
  • “David had done something very bad.  He had stolen something from a friend and then had his friend killed to hide what he had done.”
  • “For a long time after he did this terrible thing, he tried to hide it.”
  • “But then, a good friend of David’s – the prophet Nathan – came to David and told him that he knew AND GOD KNEW what David had done.”
  • “When David heard this from his good friend, He confessed his sin and asked for forgiveness.  Then he wrote this Psalm.”
  • “Notice that he says, ‘When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.  For day and night, your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.’”
  • “David was saying that he was miserable the entire time he tried to hide his sin.”
  • “He was being eaten up on the inside even though he tried to pretend that everything was okay on the outside.”
  • “You see, many times when we sin, we are so afraid of what will happen if people find out that we try to hide it.”
  • “Sometimes we say that we hide the bad things we do and that it is like trying to ‘sweep them under a rug.’”
  • “Have you heard this expression before?”  (Look for responses.  If they haven’t heard it, explain that sweeping sins under the rug means that we try to hide them where people can’t see them – like sweeping dirt under a rug instead of really cleaning it up.)
  • “Let’s say that this balloon (show the balloon that isn’t attached to the foot pump) represents our sin.”
  • “When we are afraid of the punishment or consequences of our sin, we might try to ‘sweep them under the rug’ so that no one will be able to see our dirt, our filth.”  (Lay the balloon on the table at about the same spot where the hidden balloon is.  Then cover it with your ‘rug,’ which will be your dark blue piece of fabric.)
  • “But you know what happens when we try to hide our sins, to sweep them under the rug?”  (Listen for responses.)
  • “They GROW!”  (As you say this, begin to secretly pump air into the hidden balloon, letting it get bigger and bigger.)
  • “Sins are like mushrooms.  They grow best in the dark.”
  • “When we hide our sins, Satan will tempt us to sin more.”
  • “He will try to get us to lie about our sins and to do even bigger sins to hide what we’ve already done – like when David killed his friend just so that he wouldn’t have to admit that he stole something from him.”  (Keep pumping until the balloon is an impressive size under the dark fabric.)
  • “In darkness, our sins get bigger and bigger until they are impossible to hide.”
  • “Then, they start to show even though we’ve done our best to cover them up.”  (Pump balloon a few more times, until it lifts the cover so high that the balloon is clearly visible to everyone in the room.)
  • “But you know what?  God doesn’t want us to hide our sins.  He wants us to confess them.”
  • “In our Bibles, God tells us that he doesn’t want our sins covered up – He wants them covered!”
  • “You see, Adam and Eve tried to cover up their sin by wearing fig leaves, and the ancient Hebrews tried to cover up their sin by sprinkling animal blood over the box (the Arc of the Covenant) that held God’s law.”
  • “But neither of these were good ways to cover sin.”
  • “Fig leaves are itchy, and animal blood only covered up the Hebrews’ sin for a short time.”
  • “So, God provided a better way to cover our sins.  He sent His son Jesus.”
  • “When Jesus died on the cross, His perfect blood (perfect because Jesus never sinned) covered our sins for ever!”  (Cover the dark blue fabric with the red fabric.)
  • “In fact, the blood of Jesus does more than just cover our sins; it cleans them.”  (Have volunteer read 1 John 1:7.)
  • “So, it’s much better than just covering our sins.” (Have volunteer read Psalm 103:12.)
  • “How far do you think the east is from the west?”  (Listen to responses.)
  • “It’s pretty far, since the east and the west will never meet.”
  • “The blood of Jesus first covers our sins, and then Jesus removes them completely.”  (Use the pin to pop the balloon through the fabric.)
  • “Now we can understand what David says in his psalm.”  (Have a volunteer read Psalm 32:1-2.)
  • “We are blessed when our sins are covered by the blood of Christ.”
  • “So don’t try to cover up your sins; if you believe that Jesus is your Savior, then He has already covered them with His blood, removed them as far as the east is from the west and forgiven them so that they won’t count against you.”

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Filed under Christianity, Confession, David, forgiveness, Jesus, Object Lesson