Pastor John Talcott
Christ's Community Church
(4/20) The title of today’s message, "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?" is actually taken from an old Bee Gees song. Maybe you remember back to the 70’s… maybe you might find yourself singing it for the rest of the week… and if so, I apologize in advance. But this song title kept going through my mind this week while I was studying, because we’ve been
talking about relationships… those hurts, habits, and hang-ups… relationships in crisis… relationships desperately in need of restoration. So the title, "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?" was just so appropriate.
Today we are going to read from John chapter 11 if you want to find your place in the Bible. I am going to share with you about a time when it seemed as if God was late.
And maybe you can relate… maybe there was a time in your life when God didn't show up? Maybe it was yesterday? But it was a time when you needed him, when you waited for him... and nothing… he didn’t show up as you anticipated.
And honestly, there have been times in my life when things didn't go exactly the way I wanted them to go, when the answer didn't come when I expected it, but I’ve learned something... even when it seemed like it was over, it wasn't quite over. Even when God was "late" ...he still showed up. And I've learned that when God is late, what happens next is
better than anything I ever could have imagined.
So today we are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus and we are going to read of another resurrection, the story of his friend Lazarus.
This is a story in which God was late… he didn't show up on time. Let’s read about it in John 11:1-45:
"Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. 2 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. 3 So the sisters sent word to Jesus, "Lord, the one you love is sick."
4 When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." 5 Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 Yet when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days.
7 Then he said to his disciples, "Let us go back to Judea."
8 "But Rabbi," they said, "a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and yet you are going back there?"
9 Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. 10 It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up."
12 His disciples replied, "Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better." 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
14 So then he told them plainly, "Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him."
16 Then Thomas (called Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him."
17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21 "Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
24 Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
27 "Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
28 And after she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. "The Teacher is here," she said, "and is asking for you." 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house,
comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 "Where have you laid him?" he asked.
"Come and see, Lord," they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!"
37 But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?"
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 "Take away the stone," he said.
"But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."
40 Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?"
41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me."
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, "Take off the grave clothes and let him go."
45 Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in him." NIV
Today I'm guessing that there are many of you here who find yourselves in Martha's sandals. You find yourself wondering… asking… "Jesus, where were you? If only you had been here, you could’ve done something. I know you have the power to change this situation, but where were you?"
If this is a question you've wanted to ask, I know that Jesus' response would be the same as he spoke to Martha in verses 25-26. He said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."
So this morning we are going to focus on these two verses, because there are some powerful truths here to keep in mind during those times when you feel like you're left waiting for Jesus and he is late. The first thing I want to say is...
1. Embrace… the Savior
You see to experience a resurrection there has got to be a death… but somehow there’s this idea in the back of many of our minds that says, "If God is real and Christianity is true then my life should be one uninterrupted, unending picnic, and if it's not, then I guess that means I can't depend on God." But here is a powerful truth I want you to grasp…
the resurrection doesn't mean that you get to coast through life without any problems. There will be hurts, habits, and hang-ups to deal with. There will be relational issues, broken hearts, and even deaths. Because you can’t truly experience the power of the resurrection until you have first experienced the pain of death.
And I’m not just talking about this natural life. I'm talking about the many deaths we endure in the course of our lives. The death of a relationship. The death of a dream. The death of a job or a career. You and I are not immune to death. We can't avoid it, but through the power of Christ we can overcome it.
You see, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection" even before he went to the cross. He proclaimed that he was the resurrection and the life... when he still had a death to endure and a grave to conquer. Today I want you to know that the challenges that you’re facing and the challenges that are coming your way do not diminish God's power. But if you’re
willing to let them, they can be used to demonstrate God's power.
You see life doesn't always go the way we want it to, and sometimes we let bitterness and resentment build up. We shake our fist at heaven and ask, "God, why isn't life fair? Why am I not more successful? Why haven’t I been healed? Why do I always get the bad breaks?"
Martha was broken hearted and said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died." She was broken hearted, but she refused to let her hurt become bitterness. Martha blurted out her hurt and said, "If you had been here." She didn’t stuff it down or bottle it up, she didn’t try to put on this holy attitude, but she was transparent,
honest, and right or wrong she was even accusatory. And I think what God is saying to us here, is for us to mend a broken heart, to get over that hurt, habit, or hang-up… we’ve got to open up, we’ve got to get real, and restore the lines of communication.
Verse 20 tells us, "When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him." The first step to mending our broken heart is embracing the Savior! You and I, can’t make the mistake of thinking that just because Lazarus is dead, that Jesus missed the opportunity to do something about it. And so the first step to mending our broken heart is
embracing the Savior, because he is the one who overcame death once and for all.
And the second thing I want you to see is that we need to…
2. Receive… his power
The resurrection of Jesus means that even in the midst of death, God can create life.
Jesus said... verse 25, "He who believes in me will live, even though he dies..."
Lazarus had died a physical death, but Jesus was talking about much more than physical death here. He was speaking of eternal life… he was speaking of heaven… but if that was his only point Jesus could have left Lazarus where he was. But Jesus was communicating something deeper… something greater… he wanted to demonstrate that in this life, in the here
and now, even in the midst of death, a broken heart, we can experience new life. And he showed us his power when he stood outside the grave and shouted, "Lazarus, come out!" (John 11:43).
You see, it doesn't matter how dead something appears to be, God can still make life out of it. As we have been considering our hurts, habits, and hang-ups I want you to know that God can bring life out of it. As we evaluate our relationship with others, and express our deepest desire to mend our broken hearts, we discover that God has the power to
create life and bring life into our situation. We don't have to live under their control… we don’t have to live in that pain any longer. God promises his power and it's available to you.
Jesus Christ has the power over sin. Power over hurts, habits, and hang-ups. He has power over pride, doubt, and guilt. These are the things that beat us down. These are things that make our lives miserable. These are the things that need to die in our lives. And these are the things we need to stuff back in that tomb and roll the stone back over the
entrance! These are the things that need to die… so that Christ can breathe life back into our relationships, mending our broken hearts.
You see when Jesus arrived in Bethany, Lazarus had already been laid in the grave. He had been there four days. He was as dead as dead could be. His body had already started to decay. But Jesus told the people to roll away the stone that covered the entrance to the tomb. Martha objected, saying (as the King James puts it), "Lord, by this time he
stinketh…" (John 11:39, KJV).
You see everybody was focused on how dead Lazarus was, but not Jesus. He was thinking about how alive Lazarus would soon be. And he performed this miracle in Bethany so that today, two-thousand years later, we can see that same kind of power at work in our lives. It doesn't matter how long or how dead your situation seems to be. It doesn't matter how
much it stinks. Our God can still bring life into your situation.
Like Martha, you may not know or expect how God will get it done, but God is able to breathe new life into that broken relationship, he is able to remove the pain of the past, and just because your situation is dead today doesn't mean that it will be dead forever. Even though you die, you can still live. And it doesn't matter how dead you may be. You
can still experience new life in God.
This brings me to the third point.
3. Believe… in the resurrection power
Jesus said… verse 25-26 "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."
He is simply trying to teach us… that whoever lives and believes in his life, his death, and resurrection will never die. Now of course he wasn’t talking about physical death, because our bodies die, but when Jesus said, "He who lives and believes in me will never die," he was talking about this life and its connection to eternal life.
You see, just 32 verses earlier, before this story began, in chapter 10 Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10) He said that the thief (the one who is called the devil or Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy, but he came so his followers would have life, and have it more abundantly.
Jesus promised, that whoever lives and believes in him would have a victorious, overcoming life. We are "more than conquerors…" (Romans 8:37) not someday, but this day… today. Jesus doesn't suggest or ask you to wait until you cross the threshold of the Pearly Gates before you can experience the fullness of his power in your life. You can experience it
now, you can live today and every day in his resurrection power!
Jesus wants you to understand that eternal life doesn't begin only when you suck in that last breath. It begins right now for those who believe. His power begins right now and that gives us such hope, because you will face problems in this life, you will experience complications, you will get knocked down from time to time, and death will come at you
from every direction. But the promise of Jesus Christ is that you will overcome, because "he who lives and believes in me will never die."
You see Heaven is for real, but it's not all there is to the Christian life. The Christian life is meant to be lived in victory today. When Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life" he was talking about heaven, but not just heaven. After he said this to Martha he asked her a simple question in verse 26: "Do you believe this?"
At that moment something happened… Martha went from thinking that all was hopeless… to believing that Jesus was in control… that he knew what he was doing, and that everything was going to be fine. She didn't know what Jesus was about to do... but she knew Jesus… and she put her trust in him.
Martha never imagined anything so amazing… she never expected a resurrection… she had no idea of the glory of God about to be manifested in that place… but she said this in verse 22, "I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." And in that simple phrase she revealed the attitude of her heart. Even before Jesus asked her if she believed,
she was setting the stage for the miraculous, and she answered his question:
Verse 27, "Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
And at that very moment she not only put her faith in Jesus, but she put her trust in him too.
Today I want you to know, when you put your situation, your hurts, your habits or hang-ups fully in his hands, his solution to your problem will be better than anything you could have ever imagined. The Bible tells us, that God is able to do, "Immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine" (Ephesians 3:20).
This morning if you're waiting on God, and he’s late… he seems to have missed your deadline, I want to remind you that it's not over. He's on his way. Maybe your situation seems hopeless. Maybe it’s as dead as dead can be. Maybe even to the point that it stinks. But it's not over. He's on his way. Soon he will be calling your name: "Come out… Come out
of the grave of sin… Come out of the defeat, depression, and hopelessness and step into God's resurrection power.
Where do you begin? You begin where Martha began. You say, "Yes Lord, I believe... I believe that you are who you say you are… I trust you with my today and my tomorrow… and I ask you to fill my life with your resurrection power."
And then you respond to Jesus and take a step of faith. Your faith is revealed in your actions.
Read past sermons by Pastor John Talcott
Learn more about the Christ's Community Church