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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

The Dot and the Line


Time

10 minutes


Description

This object lesson teaches about the importance of living for eternity rather than just for today.

Materials

None

Preparation

Practice the script.

Procedure

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

  • “We’re going to do an activity to show the difference between our life on earth and our life in heaven.” (Have kids line up, single-file in a spiral. Put the last kid at door to the room. The kid in the center (beginning of the line) is “The Dot,” and the rest of the kids are “The Line.”)
  • “This person is the ‘The Dot.’ S/He represents our lifetime here on earth.”
  • “Everyone else is ‘The Line.’ You represent our life in heaven, in etermity.”
  • “Most of us think life on earth is more like The Line, but God says it isn’t.”
  • “Life on earth is short – maybe 80-90 years – maybe less.”
  • “Then it ends, and The Dot is over, and The Line starts.”
  • “The Line goes and goes and goes.”
  • “You see (child’s name) is at the door – that’s to show that the line never stops.”
  • “Imagine a line of kids out that door that goes on forever! That’s eternity!”
  • “Now, this doesn’t mean that The Dot isn’t important – it’s hugely important!”
  • “The Dot is a test and a tool.”
  • “Say it with me, ‘a test and a tool.’”
  • “What do I mean by that?”
  • “It’s a test, because your life will be full of tests, and these tests reveal the quality of your heart. Will you cheat on the test like your friend? Will you tell untrue stories about other kids? Will you lie to your mom and dad about where your friends are going? Will you take more than your fair share?”
  • “Test, test, test, test, test”
  • “Each time, your decision reveals the quality of your heart.”
  • “If you fail a test, God will give it to you again.”
  • “If you continue to fail it, God will let you follow the evil desires of your heart.”
  • “And trust me, that leads nowhere good.”
  • “If you follow the evil desires of your heart for too long, all you get is unhappiness and pain.”
  • “But if you pass the test, God will be pleased. He will keep testing you, but it might be in other areas for a while.”
  • “So, that’s why The Dot is a test. Why is The Dot a tool?”
  • “Because God uses our lives on earth to shape us to be more like him. He cuts away the bad stuff until we look more like him.”
  • “How silly would it be for us to focus all our attention on The Dot?”
  • “Compared to The Line, it’s nothing right?”
  • “So anything we do in The Dot should be focused on improving The Line.”
  • “You could have a really fancy Dot (dress up the kid who is “The Dot” with some fake jewelry or clothes) with lots of riches and fame and toys, but if the way you got those things was through dishonesty or greed or jealousy, you’re going to have a really crummy Line.” (Have kids in The Line fall to floor in domino pattern).
  • “But if you use your Dot to honor God (give child salt and light or a cross or picture of Jesus), your Line will ROCK!” (Have kids in The Line jump up!)
  • “So, do you want to live for The Dot (have kids in The Line crumple) or for The Line?” (Have kids in The Line jump up!)
  • “Me, too!”

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Filed under Christianity, Eternity, God's Will, Heaven, Hell, Object Lesson