Abundant Living Through Abundant Liberty

Bible Book: John  10 : 10
Subject: Abundant Living; Life in Christ; A Changed Life

John 10:10; John 11:14-44 and John 12:1-10

Take God’s Word, and turn to the Gospel of John. And, we’re going to continue our theme of this morning, “abundant living.” Now, this morning, we talked to you about abundant living through abundant giving; and tonight, abundant living through abundant liberty. John 10 and verse 10: Jesus said, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” - “I [have] come that they might have life, and…have [abundant life].” (John 10:10)

Now, as you study the Gospel of John, you’re going to find out that the Gospel of John tells the story of seven miracles. These miracles are called in the Gospel of John “signs,” semeion. That is, they’re not mere miracles; they are miracles with a message. They literally happened, but behind each of these miracles is a message to show that Jesus is God’s answer to man’s need.

a. Jesus Is God’s Answer to Man’s Disappointment

For example, the first of the miracles is where Jesus turned the water into wine in John chapter 2. Don’t turn to any of these, but let me just rehearse them with you. You see, there was a party, and the refreshment ran out. There was disappointment. And, Jesus became the life of the party, and Jesus is God’s answer to man’s disappointment.

b.Jesus Is God’s Answer to Man’s Doubt

Then, in the next miracle, there was a man who had a child who was very sick, and he asked Jesus to come and heal the child. And, Jesus said, “Except [you] see signs and [miracles you’ll] not believe,” (John 4:48) and Jesus said this man’s problem was his faith. So, not only is Jesus God’s answer to man’s disappointment; He’s God’s answer to man’s doubt. And, Jesus performed the miracle.

c.Jesus Is God’s Answer to Man’s Disability

Then, there was a man who had lain at the pool of Bethesda, and he’d been there totally paralyzed - nothing he could do to help himself. And, Jesus healed him. Jesus is God’s answer to man’s disability.

d. Jesus Is God’s Answer to Man’s Desire

And then, the Lord Jesus Christ is there meeting the hungers of man’s heart. He feeds the multitudes with a little lad’s lunch. Jesus is God’s answer to man’s hungers, man’s desires.

e. Jesus Is God’s Answer to Man’s Despair

And then, Jesus is walking on the water. They’re afraid they’re going to be drowned, and Jesus is showing what looks like is going to be over their head is already under His feet. Jesus is God’s answer to man’s despair.

f. Jesus Is God’s Answer to Man’s Darkness

Then, Jesus opens the eyes of a man born blind, and Jesus is God’s answer to man’s darkness.

g. Jesus Is God’s Answer to Man’s Death

Now, all of these miracles really happened, but they have a greater spiritual impact. When Jesus fed the multitudes, He said, “I am the bread of life.” (John 6:35) When He opened the blind man’s eyes, He said, “I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5) And so, Jesus, who is God’s answer to man’s discouragement, man’s doubt, man’s disability, man’s desires, man’s despair, man’s darkness, climaxes now all of these miracles with the seventh, the greatest, and that is the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead to show that Jesus is God’s answer to man’s death.

Now, we’re talking about life. Jesus did not come to bring death; Jesus came to bring life. And so, begin reading now in John chapter 11, and look with me in verse 14. Now remember, He said in chapter 10 that He has come that we might have life. (John 10:10) And now, He’s going to illustrate it with a miracle. John 11, verse 14: “Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad” - aren’t you glad it doesn’t end there? Lazarus is dead, and I’m glad. But, just keep on reading. That’s the reason you need to read all of a verse of Scripture - “[And] Jesus said unto them…Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent [that] ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us…go, that we may died with him” - friend, you don’t die with Jesus; you live with Jesus. That’s what He’s coming to teach - “[And] when Jesus came, he found that he” - that is, Lazarus - “had lain the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother” - now, they had a brother named Lazarus, and he had died - “Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus” - and I just think she wags her finger in His face, and she says - “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day” - now, here’s the key to this whole passage; look at it in verse 25 - “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.

Believest thou this?” (John 11:14–26)

Now, I want us to learn here the key to the abundant life that our Lord teaches right here in this particular passage. And, if you would have an abundant life, let me tell you what you must do.

I.  There Must Be Life from Jesus

First of all, you must receive life from Jesus. Do you have it? You must receive life from Jesus. Now, when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He’s only giving this as an illustration of the greater spiritual life that you and I must have, and you must receive that life from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now, Lazarus is dead. May I say, dear friend, there was really only one thing wrong

with Lazarus: he was dead. And so, since there was only one thing wrong with him, there was nothing right with him. May I say to you that how many things that you think may be right with you, if you’re not saved, there’s one thing wrong with you that makes everything else wrong with you that you may think is right with you? You are “dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1)

You see, I preached a funeral this past Friday for a dear friend and brother in Christ, a comrade, Bill Harrison. Bill’s body was right down there. Many people came to hear me who were dead, and Bill wasn’t. Bill wasn’t dead. Jesus said, “[He that lives] and [believes] in me shall never die.” (John 11:26) Bill Harrison - it was impossible for him to die. But, a lot of dead people were here at the funeral, but they didn’t think they were dead; they thought he was dead. But, he wasn’t dead. He’s kicking gold dust on the streets of glory. He wasn’t dead, but a lot of dead people were here at the funeral, saying, “Poor Bill. He is dead.”

Now look, if you will, in verse 26 of this chapter: “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” (John 11:26) My friend, it is possible to be physically alive and spiritually dead or to be spiritually alive and physically dead.

Now, perhaps you are a young lady here today - you’ve never given your heart to Jesus. You’re saying, “Don’t tell me I’m dead. I’m having a big time. This is life.” Let me tell you what the Bible says about you, dear young lady. First Timothy chapter 5, verse 6: “she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she [lives].” (1 Timothy 5:6) You, lady, are a zombie. “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she [lives].” (1 Timothy 5:6) Maybe I’m talking to a wheeler - dealer businessman here tonight. You say, “Well, man, I’m feeling good. All my corpuscles are operating just right. I’ve got vim, vigor, and vitality.” May I tell you, my dear friend, you are dead? Listen to what God’s Word says about you in Ephesians chapter 4, verse 18: “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart.” (Ephesians 4:18) You are alienated from the life of God.

When we were little boys, we had some chickens, and my brother and I had the duty of going out there and decapitating the chickens before mamma would cook them. Have you ever decapitated a chicken? Have you? It’s quite an experience. You know, the strange thing about a chicken - when you take its head off, he just keeps on flopping. My brother and I used to talk and say, “That chicken’s dead, but he doesn’t know it.” I mean, he would just keep on going. And, if you’ve never done that, one of these days, you ask for the privilege, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Takes a chicken that’s dead for quite a while for him to figure out what’s happened to him, and that’s what God is saying to a lot of people who are active but they are dead.

You know, in the Bible, Jesus raised three from the dead. If you remember your

Bible history, Lazarus wasn’t the only one. Jesus raised a little girl from the dead. Jesus raised a young man from the dead, and Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Now, the little girl who died still had the bloom of life on her cheeks. Jesus walked into her bedroom and said, “Sweetheart, wake up.” That’s what He really said: “Little darling, arise.” That’s what He said: “Get up, darling.” She yawned and woke up. She’s dead, but Jesus raised her. Now, she just recently died.

Then, there was a young man who died. They were going to his funeral, so he was dead. Rigor mortis had set in, but he wasn’t like Lazarus. Lazarus, who was dead four days - he had not been embalmed. Already, putrefaction had begun. There was the odor, the foul stench, of death upon Lazarus - but not on this young man recently dead. Jesus raised him from the dead. We see that picture sometime in Living Pictures, where they do those miracles. It’s always a thrill, Jim. Do it again some time; I like it. And, that boy is raised up from that funeral pallet as they’re taking him to the funeral. Jesus broke up every funeral He ever attended.

Then, He raised Lazarus - He raised Lazarus. Now, Lazarus was a man. The other was a youth. The other was a little girl. One had just recently died. The other had been dead, but the putrefaction had not set in. The other had the stench of death upon him. Question: Which one was the most dead? Friend, dead is dead. And, it took as much of the power of God to raise that little girl as it did Lazarus, and never forget it.

Sunday morning, when a little child walks down here and gives his or her heart to Jesus Christ and gets saved, it takes as much of the grace of God to save that little girl as it does some man with the stench of death upon him - some man living in vile, desperate immorality. Dead is dead, my dear friend, so it’s time that dead people stopped comparing themselves to one another, isn’t it? You say, “Well, you’re more dead than I am.” Oh, no. Friend, listen, dead is dead. There are degrees of corruption but not degrees of deadness. And, if you would have liberty, first of all, you must have life from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Well, look in verse 38; look at it here, and see what happens: “Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. Jesus [said] unto her, Said I not unto thee…if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? [And] they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. And when he [had] thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth.” (John 11:38–44) Hallelujah!

Now folks, how do you raise a dead man? How do you raise the dead? Well, let me tell you several things that won’t work.

A Good Example Won’t Raise a Dead Man

Number one: a good example. If you put a dead man in a room with a lot of live people and let all those live people walk around him, see if that will bring him to life. You know, there are a lot of people who think, “Well, people are saved by an example.” I hear people say, “Oh, you know, I just want to be an example so people will see my life and come to Jesus.” Friend, listen, they’re not saved by your life; they’re saved by His death. And, salvation is not following an example. Salvation is not even the example of Christ. Salvation is not learning lessons from the life of Christ, but it is receiving life from the death of Christ.

B. Encouragement Won’t Raise a Dead Man

Well, example won’t work. I’ll tell you another way that we might try to raise a dead man: we might just encourage him. We could just come, you know, to the casket and say, “Come on now, get up. We know you can do it. Come on. Try harder and get up.” Now, there are a lot of folks who are just trying to encourage the dead to have life. But, example is not the answer. Encouragement is not the answer.

C. Environment Won’t Raise a Dead Man

Perhaps environment is the answer. “Let’s put him in the healthiest environment possible. Take him to a health spa. Maybe a good environment - maybe that will give him life.” And, you say, “No, pastor, that won’t give him life, either.” And, by the way, there are a lot of people who think that environment is the answer to the world’s problems. I want to remind you that man first died in the Garden of Eden. You won’t have a better environment than that. So, example is not the answer. Encouragement is not the answer. Environment is not the answer.

D. Education Won’t Raise a Dead Man

Somebody says, “Well, you know the real answer. Here’s the way you raise a dead man: education. Give him twenty lessons on life.” You can’t educate a man into the kingdom of heaven. Education is not the answer.

It took a miracle. Verse 38 says that Jesus groaned. (John 11:38) He’s the compassionate Christ. Verses 39–42 said, “Jesus said, Father, I know that you hear me.” (John 11:39–42) He’s the confident Christ. And, verses 43–44, He calls Lazarus from the grave. (John 11:43–44) He is the conquering Christ.

E. Only the Word of God Will Raise a Dead Man

But now, how are the dead raised? Well, look again, if you will, in verse 43. It’s very, very important that you see this because, you see, all of this is an example to us as the Church, showing how to give life to those who are spiritually dead. The miracle has a message. So, look, if you will, in verse 43: “And when he had thus spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.” (John 11:43) What was it that brought Lazarus forth? The Word of Jesus Christ. Don’t miss that - the Word of Jesus Christ. He said, “Lazarus, come forth.” (John 11:43) And, he was resurrected by a word.

“Well,” you say, “what good does that do me? That was Jesus.” Friend, learn what John is teaching in all of this. Jesus has already taught them in John chapter 6 and verse 63 this lesson: He says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” - “they are life.” (John 6:63) You see, I can call forth the dead because I have the words of Jesus Christ. Jesus has given me words, and Jesus has given you words to say to those in the stench of death and corruption, “Come forth.” And, that’s the reason the Apostle Paul says in Philippians chapter 2 and verse 16 that you and I are “holding forth the word of” - what? - “life.” (Philippians 2:16) It’s the Word of life.

I’ve often wondered, did Lazarus have a choice? Boy, we could get in a big debate about that. And, if you know the answer, you tell me later, but don’t tell me now. I don’t think you know. But anyway, did Lazarus have a choice? “Lazarus, come forth.” (John 11:43) I don’t know, but I know that you have a choice: you can hear the voice of the Son of God and say “no” if you want. You can refuse. You can stay in the stench and the rottenness and the grave of death if you want.

But, how do you raise the dead? Not by example, not by encouragement, not by environment, not by education, but through the Word of Christ. “The words that I speak unto you, they are [truth], and they are life.” (John 6:63) Number one: You must have life through Christ or from Christ.

II. There Must Be Liberty Through Christ

Number two: You must have liberty through Christ. Look, if you will now, in verse 44 of this same chapter: “And he that was dead came forth” - but look - “bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:44) Now, he has life, but he doesn’t have liberty. You know, it’s good when you read the Bible to let your imagination work a little bit. Can you imagine: I mean, you’re there. Just imagine that you’re there in Bethany. I’ve been to Bethany many times. We’ve been to the place that’s purported to be the tomb of Lazarus. I’ve been down in this very tomb. As a matter of fact, I scared one of our members half to death in that grave one time. I was down there - and you go down a long way - and I just hid myself back in the shadows and said, “Boo.” I don’t know what she received - not life, but she almost went during that time.

But anyway, down in that place is this dark, labyrinthine place where Lazarus lay. And, they said, “Roll away the stone.” And, after protestations, they rolled away the stone. Jesus says, “All right, Lazarus. Come out of there. Come forth.” (John 11:43) I can tell you one thing: every eye was riveted on the mouth of that grave. And, after a while, a figure comes out, but he’s bound in grave clothes. He is an animated mummy. I mean, his face - there’s, the Bible says, a “napkin,” (John 11:44) but it’s a winding cloth. It’s all around him, all around his face. His hands are down by his side. His feet are bound together. He’s coming out like this. He can hardly walk. He can hardly talk. He can hardly move his hands. He has life, but he doesn’t have liberty. And, you see, my dear friend, what I want you to learn tonight is Jesus said, “[I’ve] come that [you] might have life, and…have it” - what? - “abundantly,” (John 10:10) see. Our Lord doesn’t want you just to have life; our Lord wants you to have abundant life. He doesn’t want you to be wrapped in the grave clothes of that old life. Now, the problem with many of our folks is they’ve been saved, but they don’t have liberty. I mean, they have come to Calvary for pardon, but they’ve never been to Pentecost for power. They’ve just kind of bogged down between Calvary and Pentecost.

Here’s old Laz. He can’t walk. He can’t talk. I’m sure he’s not very attractive. He wouldn’t have made a very good witness. I can see Lazarus in the grave clothes with a black Bible under his arm, witnessing. I don’t think I’d want to have anything to do with that guy, and I don’t think you would, either. He has the grave clothes. Has it been that he has not be saved? No, he’s been saved, but he has the grave clothes.

You know, James talks about “the superfluity of naughtiness.” (James 1:21) That sounds like something Sidlow Baxter would say - doesn’t it? - “the superfluity of naughtiness.” What is the superfluity of naughtiness? Well, the word superfluity means “that which remains,” “that which is left over” - what we would call “hangover sins” when you get saved. You can be saved; you can have life, but you still have the grave clothes - the grave clothes of that old language. You know, some people, when they get saved, they lose about half their vocabulary, don’t they? They’ve got another half they still need to lose. Old language, old lust, old laziness, old learning, old loves - they have to be taken away; they have to be stripped away. And friend, a lot of us are saved, but we have the grave clothes of the old life that keep us from having abundant life.

Now, here’s the news: number one, you must have life in Christ; number two, you must have liberty from Christ. And, Jesus says, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:44) By now, my dear friend, I want to tell you this: the same Jesus that gives us life, by a corresponding miracle, gives us liberty. There are three miracles: the miracle of the new birth, the miracle of the Christian life, and the miracle of our resurrection. Our salvation begins with a miracle, continues with a miracle, commences with a miracle. I mean, it’s a miracle all the way. He doesn’t just save us and then just turn us loose. My dear friend, He breaks the power of cancelled sin. He sets the prisoner free. Jesus Christ did not call you from the grave to leave you bound and gagged and defeated.

Look in John 8:32. All of this is bound together. Look, if you will. Jesus said, “[You] shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) The same word that gives life gives liberty. Look, if you will, in verse 36: “If the Son therefore shall make you free, [you] shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

Now, you say, “Adrian, do you have power to raise the dead?” I do - I do. His Word gives life. I hold forth the Word of life. I’m talking to those who are dead in trespasses and sin. “Do you have power to unwrap the saints?” I do. Jesus said to those who were standing by, “Loose him, and let him go.” (John 11:44) That’s the job of the Church - not only to get them baptized but to get them unwrapped.

Last Sunday night, I talked to a man in the visitor’s reception, and I said, “We’re glad to have you.” He said, “I was won to Jesus.” I said, “How?” He said, “The EE team came into my home and led me to the Jesus.” I said, “That’s wonderful.” I said, “What do you do?” He said, “I’m a bartender.” I thought, “Lord, unwrap him” - “Lord, unwrap him.” But, that thrilled me - that thrilled me. You say, “What’s he doing in there - a bartender?” He needs to be unwrapped. I said, “Well, you know, you’ve got to get another job, don’t you?” He said, “Yes, I do.” I said, “That’s wonderful” - “that’s wonderful.” See, it’s our job not to condemn them; it’s our job just to help unwrap them and to bring them to Christ. I mean, that’s his life. That’s what he knew. Thank God somebody cared enough to win a bartender to Jesus Christ - a fine young man.

And, by the way, some of you here tonight may have something worse in your heart than tending bar. Don’t look down your long nose, my dear friend. Maybe that young man is here tonight. And, God loves him, and we love him. You see, there’s liberty in Christ - there’s liberty in Christ. I thank God for those who helped unwrap me because I had a lot wrapped around me, friend. I still think I’ve got a few layers of gauze. Maybe you do, too.

III.  There Must Be Loyalty to Christ

So now, listen - listen. First of all, if you would have abundant life, there’s life in Christ; there’s liberty through Christ, and, my dear friend, there must be loyalty to Christ. Now, continue to read here. Look in chapter 12, if you will, and look in verses 9 and 10: the Bible says, “Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there” - who was there? Lazarus was there - “and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.” (John 12:9) Every now and then, somebody says, “Hey, I don’t believe you ought to have testimonies. You ought not to have folks stand up there giving testimonies about what they used to be and what they are now. Just focus on Jesus.” Well, friend, there are a lot of folks who will come to see a Lazarus who won’t come to hear about Jesus until there’s a Lazarus out there, you see. But, when they find out what’s happened to a Lazarus, they might want the Lord Jesus Christ, also.

Look at it again now - verses 9 and 10; chapter 12, verses 9 and 10. They came to see Lazarus. I mean, that’s the guy who was dead. Everybody knew it. “But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death.” (John 12:10) Now, isn’t that a hoot? I mean, Lazarus is dead. They say, “Kill him again! Kill him again! How are we going to get rid of this guy?” Listen, they had Lazarus on their hands. And, you talk about a man that was a problem - he was dangerous. Now, you see, listen, Satan doesn’t worry much about the average Christian. You know why? Well, he’s still messing around down there in the tomb even if he’s saved. He’s still got the relics of the old life, still got the stench of death on him, still got the old grave clothes on him. But, you let a man have liberty in the Lord Jesus Christ, and, my dear friend, all the power of hell is going to be loosed on you because you give hell headaches.

You see, the great thing about it was that the life that Lazarus had - are you listening? - was irrefutable evidence of the power of Jesus Christ - irrefutable evidence.

May I say to you that the best argument for Christianity and the best argument against Christianity is the life of a Christian? Wouldn’t you agree? It all depends on how he lives. The best argument for Christianity or the best argument against Christianity is the life of a Christian.

Years ago in Fort Pierce, Florida - I used to pastor down there just out of seminary. I pastored the Parkview Baptist Church there - and in Fort Pierce, there was a town drunk. His name was Al Cross. Al was the town drunk. Now, I mean, he was what you call not an “alcoholic” - a drunk! Al would manage to stay sober through the week until he would get his paycheck. And then, he would go put his paycheck on the counter and drink ’til he fell off the stool. And, they would shove him up in one of the fruit packing houses there, and he’d sleep with the lice and the vermin, and so forth, and wake up in his own vomit, and so forth, and finally clean up and get back to work. He lived this way for years. God gave me the privilege of leading Al Cross to Jesus Christ. And friend, I want to tell you that the Word of God brought him from the grave of that old life and the Word of God unwrapped him. He became one of the most beautiful Christian men I have ever seen - the sweetest, most godly testimony. I baptized Al Cross. And, Al Cross, from the time he got saved and got unwrapped, was a soul winner, bringing people to Jesus Christ. The change in him was so radical and so dramatic everybody knew that spiritually, he’d been raised from the dead.

Well, we would meet every morning. I had a radio program at 6:45 called “Daybreak.” And, many times I would do that radio program live, and then at 7:00 I’d go and meet with the fellows at the church and we’d have prayer. There’d be about a half a dozen - sometimes more, sometimes less. We’d meet each morning for prayer. Among those was Al Cross. We got to talking about how we might have revival in our city, and someone said, “Well, I have learned that the way to have a revival in the city is to get the meanest man in the city saved.” Well, that sounded like a good idea. So, we thought to ourselves, “Well, now, who is the meanest man in Fort Pierce, Florida?” So, we held a caucus, and a lot of people were discussed. But finally, the consensus was upon a particular man.

Now, this man was a gun fighter. This man was a street brawler. This man was a moonshiner. This man was a notorious gambler. This man was a wife abuser. This man was wild, wooly, and reckless. On one occasion, he stole a hog out of the back of the game warden’s truck. At this particular time, he had a bullet in his hip that the doctor was not yet ready to remove. That bullet had been put in his hip by a woman who was not his wife, but that woman was jealous that he was spending too much time with his own wife so she shot him. And, that’s, you know… You get the idea of the character of this guy. And so, he won. I mean, you know, he was the unanimous choice - the meanest man in town. And, everybody was a little bit afraid of him because he was the kind of a guy who’d knock you down if he didn’t like the way you parted your hair. And so, we prayed, and they said, “Well, we’ll soak him in prayer. We’ll soak him in prayer, and we’ll soak him in prayer. And then, the preacher will go see him.”

So, the time came for me to go see this guy. And so, I remembered going to the house, and boy, my heart was going bang, bang, bang. But, I walked up to the door of that house and knocked on the door, and his wife came out. And, I said, “Is Mr. So - and so there?” She said, “Well, he’s here.” He said, “They’re in the backroom fighting, drinking, and gambling.” I said, “Can I see him?” She said, “Mister, I wouldn’t go back there,” and I didn’t - chicken. She said - no, in all seriousness - she said, “You don’t need to go back there. Don’t go back there.” Well, I waited a while, and I figured I’d chicken out.

So, I went back to see him again. This time, he was in the hospital. God arranged that because we prayed and God arranged the circumstances. I’ll never forget it. I walked in there, and I said to this man - I figured I’d not beat around the bush - I said, “Mr. So - and - so, I am Adrian Rogers. I have come to talk to you about Jesus Christ and your eternal salvation. May I tell you about Jesus? May I share Christ with you?” Do you know what he said to me? He said to me, “If Jesus Christ could do for me what he’s done for Al Cross, I want Him to do it.” And, my friend, that man that I was so afraid of -  it was like leading an eight-year-old girl to Jesus Christ. He fell off in my hands like a ripe apple, prayed, and gave his heart to Jesus Christ, and was saved again - the meanest man in town. But, I’ll tell you what it was that convicted him: it was a Lazarus who had come out of the grave, a man named Al Cross. And friend, you see, there’s no way to explain Al Cross. There was no way to explain him apart from Jesus Christ. He was irrefutable proof of the power of Jesus Christ.

And so, that’s the reason that these Pharisees wanted to get rid of old Laz. I mean, they could not explain him away so they thought they’d try to blow him away. I mean, they wanted to get rid of Lazarus. Now, do you think Lazarus was frightened? Think about it. They said, “Hey, let’s kill him.” (John 12:10) Do you think Lazarus was afraid? Friend, how could he be afraid when Jesus has already raised him from the dead? I mean, you talk about a man who laughed at death! You talk about a man who smiled in the face of death! That just made him all the more dangerous. You see, nobody is ready to live until he’s no longer afraid to die. And, those people who truly, truly, truly know the Lord Jesus Christ cannot be intimidated by Satan.

So, how do you have abundant life? Life in Christ, liberty through Christ, loyalty to Jesus. I mean, people say, “There’s somebody who’s different. There’s somebody who has a life that has been touched and has been changed.” You see, my dear friend, we are to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. But, not only should we be witnesses; we ought to be part of the evidence - we ought to be part of the evidence.

IV. There Must Be Love for Christ

Last of all, let me say that there’s one other thing about Lazarus that I like. And, if you’ll go back now to chapter 12 and verse 1: “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. [And] there they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him.” (John 12:1–2) Can you imagine that? Here’s Lazarus, raised from the dead. They’re sitting there, and Martha is serving. Mary is there just looking in the face of Jesus, I imagine. Lazarus is sitting at the table dining with the Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t that wonderful? You see, listen, there are people who think that, when you come to Jesus, that people are inviting you to a funeral. They’re not inviting you to a funeral. From a funeral to a feast, from the tomb to the table, there is Lazarus sitting there at the table with Jesus.

You remember what Revelation chapter 3:20 says? “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man [will] hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and” -  do what? - “and…sup with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20) Salvation is a feast. Salvation is knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. Life in Christ, liberty through Christ, loyalty to Christ, and, my dear friend, love for Christ. That’s the abundant life - love for Christ, fellowship, feasting with Jesus Christ. And friend, I’m feasting day by day. I find myself in my car just saying, “Jesus, I love you. I praise you, Lord. I bless you. Thank you, Jesus. Praise your holy name.” Every day is a feast feeding on Jesus, feeding on manna, fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus Christ. And friend, that’s life, and that’s life abundant.


Maybe you’re here tonight and you wonder, “Could Jesus Christ really save me? I mean, could He really save me?”

Well, someone has imagined this: someone has imagined that man - remember that man that was brought on the stretcher to Jesus? The Bible says he was carried by four. (Mark 2:3) Remember the man they let down through the roof? You remember that story? Just nod your head. Go ahead. I’m asking questions; you’re sitting there like a cigar - store Indian. Now listen, he’s brought on a stretcher, and the man is paralyzed. And, they say, “Look, we’re going to take you to Jesus,” and he says, “No.” He said, “That’s no good.” He said, “He can’t help me. I’m too far gone.” And, one of those men may have said, “Look, once I was blind, and Jesus opened my blinded eyes.” And, that man, paralyzed, said, “Well, yes, I’ll admit that you were blind and He opened your blinded eyes. But, you see, I’m paralyzed all over. It’s more than my eyes.” And, another man says, “But look, let us take you to Jesus. I was deaf, and Jesus unstopped my deaf ear.” And, he said, “Oh yes, I know that. But, you see, that’s just your ears. I’m paralyzed all over.” Another says, “Look, let us take you to Jesus. Once I had a withered arm, and Jesus made it whole.” He said, “Yes, that’s good, but that’s just your arm. I’m paralyzed all over.” Then, another steps up and says, “Sir, may I give you my testimony? My name is Lazarus” - “Hello, my name is Lazarus.” Friend, why is this miracle the last of these miracles? To show that whatever you need, Jesus Christ is the answer. “I [have] come that they might have life, and…have it…abundantly.” (John 10:10) Abundant life, abundant liberty. Life from Christ, liberty in Christ, loyalty to Christ, love for Christ.

It’s so great to be saved, to know Jesus. Do you know Him? You can. He is saying to you, “Come forth. Come forth. I’ll give you life and liberty, and we’ll sit down and dine together.”

Father, I pray that many tonight will say “yes” to Christ and be saved. In His wonderful name. Amen.