OVERCOMING DEATH, HELL AND THE BRETHREN
BY: TROY NICHOLS
I want to start out by dedicating this writing to my very good friends Pastor’s Dave and Judy McLeroy. After a conversation on the phone, I begin to seek the Lord on their behalf for a word that would bring comfort to them in the midst of some severe circumstances. And what follows is that word. However, though it is a word in season for them, I am convinced that the Father is going to use it to speak to His body wherever He sends me. With that said, let us begin by defining for you, “overcoming death, hell and the brethren.”
Over = on the other side
Coming = to advance towards a specified place
Overcoming = one English rendering of overcome is to bowl over
- Overcoming is a process, which is simply a series of actions, or changes that bring about desired (longing for) results.
- Take a moment now and think what your desired result is in your current circumstance. Now, ask yourself the following questions. One, what actions (steps) am I going to have to take in order to advance towards this result? Two, what are some things that I am going to have to change in order to bring about this result? Three, am I willing to make these steps and changes to bring about this result?
Death = One English rendering of death is to distress (worry, upset, vex, unsettle) or irritate (to rouse to anger) someone to an intolerable (unbearable, impossible to endure or tolerate) degree.
- Idiom: be the death of someone. Have you heard some one say, they are going to be the death of a certain person?
Hell = One English rendering of hell is a situation or place of misery (mental or emotional unhappiness), discord (to hold a different opinion) or destruction (a sudden drop to a lower condition or state of being).
- Jonah 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. (Jonah found himself in hell when he outright refused to do what God had told him to do) Many there are today in the land that are in their own personal hell because of disobedience!
Brethren = a fellow member of the Christian Church, a fellowman, one who shares common ancestry. This covers your natural and spiritual family!
You will remember that one English rendering of overcome is to BOWL OVER. With this insight, let us glean the following truths and principles from bowling that will help us to overcome death, hell and the brethren!
The sport of Bowling can be likened to life in many ways.
- The bowling ball speaks in principle of you as a person.
- There are different weight balls (6,8,10,12,14,16 lbs). Note the meanings of these numbers. (6 = man, 8 = new beginnings, 10 = law and responsibility, 12 = divine order, 14 = deliverance, 16 = love)
- What I found interesting after talking to an employee at a bowling alley was the fact that most of the balls are in even numbers in regards to pounds. However, he said there are some odd balls such as 9,11,13,15) but these are not called on as much. Note the meaning of these numbers (9 = divine completeness, 11 = disorder, 13 = rebellion, 15 = rest)
- The ball is in the hands or control of another. Looking at the different balls above, which one can you identify with? Hold that thought.
- The one throwing the ball speaks in principle of the Holy Spirit or the flesh. Whose hands are you in? If you are in the hands of the Holy Spirit, He will make sure you overcome, while if you are in your own hands, don’t be dismayed when you come up short!
- The lane speaks in principle of our course or simply the straight and narrow path.
- The gutters speak in principle of where we end up when we stray off the straight and narrow path.
- The markers speak in principle of where we need to walk precisely in order to overcome in a specific area.
- The pins speak in principle of those things that keep popping up in front of us that we must overcome.
- There are things that we aim to get rid of, but either we miss due to refusing to go in the direction of the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Spirit removes them and they seem to pop up again to challenge us.
- Each one that bowls has a goal of bowling 300, which is a perfect score, and 300 in scriptures refers to complete deliverance! The Father purposes to completely deliver us in order that we might be an overcomer in this earth, thereby manifesting to all the finished work of the cross! Simply put, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us (Ro 8:37).
- It is common for beginners to end up in the gutters and therefore their parents at times will request bumpers in order to keep them from getting off course and thus falling in the gutter. Even so, young converts can stay out of the gutter if they are taught to yield to the Holy Spirit, for He will be their bumper to keep them on track! We can see a picture of this bumper in Isaiah 30:21 where it reads, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (The gutter is on the left and right of the lane isn’t it?)
- You know you are maturing when though the pins (situations, circumstances) keep popping up, you find it becoming easier to overcome them as you have allowed the Holy Spirit to guide your steps.
Now that we have laid a foundation for this message, let us look into some scriptures now and build upon what we have laid in hopes of showing you how to overcome death, hell and the brethren!
Luke 2:25-35 “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things, which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
In the midst of all this excitement, Simeon quickly puts a damper on the moment with the words, “this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” (See other translations below for these verses)
- To set many in Israel on the downward (if they reject him) or the upward path (if they receive him) (Rieu) Italics added for emphasis
- A sign which men reject (NEB) (The Jews while seeking signs missed the sign!)
- A sign against which hard words will be said (BAS) (They try and find fault to bring Jesus down to their level)
- A sign, which men will refuse to acknowledge (Knox)
- And to set up a standard which many will attack (Phi)
And you to shall be pierced to the heart (NEB)
- And pain, like a sword, will go through your own soul too (Beck)
- And thus the secret thoughts of many will be laid bare (NEB)
- To show what they’re thinking in their hearts (Beck)
- And, the inmost thoughts of many shall be brought into the light of the day (Rieu)
Revelation: Your presence, your actions, your words, your mannerism, your response will always cause someone around you to respond and in doing, they will reveal what is in their heart.
Example: Get some of your friends together and tell them of an ordeal where somebody really done you dirty. Then sat back and listen as each one begins to tell you what they would have done if they were you. In doing this, they will reveal to all what is in their heart.
John 11:18-45 (Note truths and principles below and on following page for these verses)
18-21 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. 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, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
- Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem. Bethany when studied out simply means a house of misery (pain, heartbreak, loneliness, comfortless, sadness).
- Unger’s Bible Dictionary records that Bethany was called a house of misery on account of its lonely (lacking companions or friendships) situation and the invalids that gathered there.
- An invalid is an individual that is disabled due to a chronic illness or disability. Three English renderings of the word disability are complaints, disorder and trouble. If we take the insight from these meanings, we can say in principle that one becomes a spiritual invalid and thus no longer effective in the Kingdom of God, by complaining, having disorder in their lives and letting their troubles overtake them.
- Note that Bethany was about fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, which is equivalent to about two miles. Jerusalem is made up of two Hebrew words, the first part being “Yaw-rah” which means in one sense to point out (as if by aiming the finger) to teach. The second part being “Shaw-lam” and this word in one sense means to be at peace in ones mind. With this understanding, we could point out to those in Bethany (House of Misery) just how close they are to having peace of mind, if they would only make up their minds to get up from the place of misery that they are in and move forward!
- You will note in verse 19-20 that MANY of the Jews came to comfort (encourage) Martha and Mary, but when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she GOT UP and WENT OUT to meet Him. To encourage one is simply to stimulate (move to action, light a fire under, motivate) with hope and confidence.
- Martha speaks to us in one sense here of the many that have been let down by those that have come to minister to them. Simply being, they have heard words, but that which they heard failed to light a fire under them and motivate them to press on. These Martha’s sit week after week in assemblies while one preacher after another brings them a lifeless word!
- Note the words in verse 20, “she heard that Jesus (the answer to your problem) is coming.” There will always be someone around to direct you to the place where you can find peace of mind. For example, when Peter was backslidden, it was John the beloved in the boat that recognized Jesus on the shore and said to Peter, “It is the Lord” (John 21:7)
- I think it interesting also in verse 20 to point out that Martha upon hearing that Jesus was coming, got up to go and meet Him while Mary remained SEATED in the house. In fact, it is Martha in Luke 10:38-42 that is cumbered about with serving the Lord natural food, while Mary was sitting at the feet of the Lord being served spiritual food. So, my question in reading this would be, why would Mary who loves the word pass on having a personal encounter with the Lord?
- With the insight above, I submit this answer in principle. But first, let me say that one English rendering of SEATED is something, which is established. Martha therefore speaks to us in one sense of those that walk by sight and not by faith while Mary speaks to us of those that are established and therefore walk by faith and not by sight. While Martha sees and hears the word outwardly, Mary sees and hears the word within her heart. Many there are today that run to a man to hear a word because they have not yet come to the place where they can hear the Lord for themselves.
- Note Martha’s first words to Jesus in verse 21, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. Isn’t it something how we step into the role of God at times not realizing it? Here is Martha talking to God in the flesh and letting Him know that if He had been where she needed Him to be, when she needed Him, her brother would still be alive. Have you ever played the role of God? Perhaps like this, Lord, if you had made the way, I would have not had my car repossessed. Lord, if you had made the way, my phone would not have been turned off. Lord, if you had made the way, my lights would not have been turned off. Lord, if you had answered my prayer, I would not be in the mess that I am in today. Lord, if you had been there, I would not have done that. Regardless of what you think, I assure you that the Lord has already gone before us and knows the end from the beginning.
- Do you realize that many judge your character after meeting you for the first time? I think it interesting to note that the first time Martha is mentioned is in Luke 10:38 and in verse 40, she is seen complaining to the Lord about Mary not helping her. In John 11:21 she is complaining to the Lord about her brother being dead. And in John 11:39, the Lord is about to raise Lazarus from the dead and Martha is complaining about the smell.
- Martha is a beautiful example of those that always have something to complain (express dissatisfaction or resentment, to find fault constantly) about. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to hang around someone that lives to complain and thus remains unchanged in his or her heart. Why do we come to the Lord? Is it to complain to Him about our problems or to sit at His feet and worship Him in hopes of receiving a word from Him that will speak into our circumstances?
John 11:22-27 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. 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? She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
- Note that Martha says to Jesus, “Whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.” Jesus then responds to her in a subliminal message that He is going to raise Lazarus from the dead in the sweet now and now! However, Martha said, Lazarus shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day, which put what she needed way out in the future. Jesus however by saying that He was the resurrection was in essence saying to Martha that, you don’t have to wait! What you are looking for me to do in the future, I will to do it TODAY if thou would only believe! But, did Martha hear what He was really saying to her? No, she didn’t.
- How many times have you missed the word of the Lord that was brought to you through one of God’s messengers simply because you were not hearing what the Spirit of God was really saying? For example, after I speak, I hear some say that it was a good sermon, while others say, that was for me! This lets me see that some listened while others heard! In fact, I had someone come up to me after sharing this very message the first time and said, “I wonder how many really heard what was being said tonight.”
- I think it interesting that Jesus reveals Himself to Martha as the resurrection, and the life and then asks, “Believest thou this”? She responds by saying, “I believe thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” (Hold on to that thought for just a moment)
- And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
- There is something that took place here that we don’t see recorded. In between Martha’s answer and her departing, the Lord must have spoken to her to go and get Mary for she went her way and told Mary that the Lord wanted to see her. I am pressed here to wonder why the Lord would shift gears right in the middle of this conversation and send Martha after Mary.
- I submit the following for consideration. Perhaps Jesus saw that Martha wasn’t grasping what He was telling her and thereby limited Him (see: Mt 13:58) from doing what He wanted to do for her which was raise Lazarus from the dead THEN and not some time out in the future.
- Martha knew Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God but not as the resurrection and the life. She therefore speaks to us in principle of those whose knowledge of God is limited. For example, you may know him as Saviour and thereby experience salvation. However, if you don’t know Him as healer, you could be saved while walking in sickness and disease.
- Martha made the same mistake that many are making today. She was so narrow-minded that she only saw the resurrection as an event way out in the future while Jesus was trying to show her that the resurrection that he was referring to was a PERSON and was available right now to those that would only believe upon Him! I could say it another way. Jesus way saying what you see me doing in the future, I am here to do it for you NOW! Even so, what so many today are looking for Jesus to do in the future, He is IN US and wills to do TODAY if we would only BELIEVE!
- Note that Martha was looking for the resurrection in the future while looking at the resurrection in PERSON! Many are so caught up today with the future that they are missing Christ right before their eyes in His Body. Many are making the same mistake the Jews of old made. Simply being, they missed the appearing of the Lord while looking for His coming. There is a beautiful picture of this in John 4:25-26 where it reads, “The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.” Wow, the one she was LOOKING FOR, she was LOOKING AT! I could say it another way. The one she was expecting to COME had COME!
- Note that Martha comes to Mary and says, “the Master is come, and calleth for thee.” We then see Mary’s response. She arose quickly and went to Him. There is a wonderful principle here that I want to give you. Have you ever had someone go to a service or perhaps revival meeting and then come and tell you that you needed to come? Did it ever dawn on you that perhaps that person could have been your Martha (your messenger from the Lord) sent to tell you, “the Word is come, and it is just what you need”? How did you respond? Did you just shrug it off as just another service? Did you make excuses to keep from going? Or, did you have confidence in the one that invited you, and therefore quickly got up and went?
- I think it interesting also to note that Martha heard that Jesus was coming and went out and met him while Jesus called for Mary to come and meet Him. And, Martha came back from being with the Lord with her need not being met while Mary was being ushered into the presence of the Lord with the same need. I could bring this up to our day and say it like this. Have you seen someone go up for prayer for sickness in his or her body and not be healed and then another goes up for the same sickness and is healed? Hold that thought for we are going to get some understanding in this area as we continue.
30-31 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
- Jesus had not yet come into Bethany, which lets us see that He was in between Jerusalem and Bethany. Jesus is the only thing between you and Jerusalem and if you can hear it, He is the DOOR to Jerusalem, which is ABOVE (Gal 4:26) wherein there is righteousness, peace and joy!
- Note that the Jews that had come to the house to comfort Martha and Mary followed after Mary when she rose up and went out from the house. I am pressed to ask the question, “Why didn’t these Jews follow after Martha when she rose up and left the house?” Simply put, “Why is it that Mary had a following and Martha didn’t?” This is a good place for a heart check. Put yourself in this house with these Jews, would they follow you out or remain? What is your spiritual reputation among the brethren?
- Note that Mary was on her way to Jesus but those following her thought she was going to the grave of Lazarus. The principle being, there are times that those that follow you will have no idea where you are headed. Simply being, Mary was headed to see Jesus while they thought she was going to the grave.
- One rendering of grave is any visible object for preserving or recalling the memory of any person or anything. Have you ever looked at someone’s being used of the Lord and begin to reflect on how you once were used, but no longer are? Have you ever looked at someone that was full of joy and begin to reflect on the joy you once had, but no longer have. Have you ever looked at others children that were good and begin to reflect how good your children once were, but no longer are? Have you looked at a growing and thriving church and begin to reflect how your church used to be, but now isn’t? I got a word for you; you can go to the grave and camp out with your memories or go to Jesus and see what He does at your grave!
32-34 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
- Mary went where Jesus was! The principle here in one sense is that she was away from the Word. When you begin to put distance between you and the Word, it will not be long until you find yourself in a House of Misery. Selah!
- When Mary saw Jesus, she fell at His feet and said, “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” Note the parallel in verse 21 concerning Martha. Simply being, Mary is saying the exact words that Martha said only from a different position! Martha shows no sign of remorse, while Mary and those with her come weeping.
- When Jesus saw Mary and the others weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. One English rendering of groan is to voice a deep sound of pain or grief. We see a beautiful picture here of Jesus being touched with their pain. If you have a heart after God, the pains of others will touch you also.
- Note that He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. In studying this verse out, I found that the text literally reads, “He troubled Himself.” One English rendering of troubled is to concern oneself. Wow, He was letting Mary know that He was concerned with her problem. He was letting her know, you have gotten my attention!
- My question now is; how is it that Mary persuaded Jesus to get involved in her problem and Martha come up short? I think we can find that answer if we will read verses 20-21, “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, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” The key is hid in the word met in verse 20. I found in my studies that there are 7 different Greek words in the NT for the word met. And it is very interesting that the word met in verse 20 is used in the sense of a hostile (defiant) meeting. You may not want to accept the thought of Martha being hostile towards Jesus, but you must face the facts, she didn’t touch the heart of God and Mary did.
- If one wants to study this particular word met out in the Greek, you will find it is derived from two Greek words, “hupo” which means under and “anti” which means instead of. One English rendering of anti is a person who is opposed to something. Well, have you ever opposed something that the Lord was allowing to take place in your life? Have you ever MET the Lord with a problem and talked in a tone that you knew was not right? Perhaps you said something like this. Lord, I have paid my tithes, I have come to church week after week, I have made sacrifices to help others and therefore I think you should do something for me in this situation that I am in. Well, can you relate? Now the question, after your conversation with the Lord, did you leave just like you came, with the same problem?
- Note in verse 34 that Jesus said to Mary and others, where have ye laid him? They said, Lord, come and see. Can you hear the heart of the Lord? Where is your problem? Is it in your marriage? Is it in your church? Is it in your family? Is it on your job? Is it with your children? Now that you have His attention, invite Him into the midst of your problem!
35-37 Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
- This is one side of Jesus that very few people have been blessed to see. Simply put, they hear more of what He is going to do to them if they get out of line than they do of his mercy and compassion. Tears are an expression of ones emotion. One must however discern tears.
- Note the question, could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? We might hear it like this today. Could not this man that healed all those people in the revival last week healed my loved one in the hospital? The answer is, yes He could. But, is it the will of the Father or is it the right time? In our selfishness, we look so many times for only our need to be met while the Father at times is looking to meet our need as well as many others at the same time. Simply put, your deliverance is going to be a tool that is used to bring deliverance to others.
38-40 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 saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
- One English rendering of grave is simply the remains of a human. In this instance, the grave was a cave. That which was in this grave was dead! Some English renderings of the word dead are as follows, something which is no longer in operation, physically inactive, not productive, stagnant, lacking excitement, having grown cold, hardhearted, insensitive and unresponsive.
- Note that Jesus said to take away the stone. The stone in principle is that which has covered the remains. You will know when the stone has been removed for that which is dead in you will STINK and others around you will let you know it!
- Now that the stone has been removed, what is it that is dead or decaying in your life? Is it your life, your dreams, your ministry, your marriage, your church, a friendship or perhaps your relationship with the Lord?
- Note that Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.” I come to tell someone three important things. One, their will always be those around you that will think you are too far-gone to change! Two, it is never too late for change! Three, your situation or circumstance might be a stinking mess but the ROSE of Sharon has come to change your stinking mess into a BLOSSOMING MESSAGE!
41-44 Then 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 thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
- Note that Lazarus came forth but was yet bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound with a napkin and then Jesus said to them, LOOSE HIM, and let him go. The principle here is simple, the Lord is going to resurrect that thing in your life that has died, but there are some things now that you are going to have to have removed in order to walk in your resurrection.
- The Lord is going to use those around you in these times to remove those things that have you in bondage. These will remove the grave clothes that have your hands and feet bound. They will remove the napkin from your face.
- The hand speaks in the scriptures of ministry. The Lord will see to it that there are those around you that will make sure your ministry is not bound up. They will do whatever it takes to make sure you are able to minister resurrection life to others.
- The feet speak in the scriptures of your walk. The Lord will see to it that there are those around you that will do whatever it takes to get you walking in resurrection power.
- The word face in verse 44 literally means sight in the Greek. The principle being, your face must be free in order for you to have spiritual insight into the resurrection!
- One that has been resurrected and had the grave clothes removed will be easy to spot. First, they will have spiritual insight. Second, they will be walking in that which they see. Three, they will teach others to do the same.
- Many there are that have been resurrected (saved for years) but yet are abiding in BONDAGE! Simply put, they are in the same place today that they were years ago.
45 Then many of the Jews, which came to Mary, and had seen the things, which Jesus did, believed on him.
- I think it interesting to note that Martha went to the Word and left unchanged, Mary was invited to the Word and touched the heart of God and Lazarus was visited by the Word and was raised from the dead!
- I really don’t intend to make it so hard on Martha, but look what the word says. Then many of the Jews, which came to Mary. And as a result, they shared in her experience and ended up becoming a follower of Christ!
- Just think, all of this came about because of the death of one person. If you can hear it, there is a harvest of souls out there waiting on that, which is dead in your life to be resurrected. And, when this happens, they will see, believe and become a follower of Jesus Christ!
1-3 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead. There they made him a supper; and Martha served: but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him. Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.
- We started out this teaching with Martha and Mary in Bethany and Lazarus outside Bethany in a grave. We learned that Bethany is a place of misery. Now, we see Lazarus, Martha and Mary back in Bethany. I want to point out here that Bethany has not changed, but Lazarus, Martha and Mary have! You will learn as an overcomer to live in Bethany above the misery and pain.
- I think it interesting to note that Martha went to the Word outside of Bethany, Mary was invited to the Word outside of Bethany and the Word outside of Bethany visited Lazarus. And now, we see the Word coming to Martha, Mary and Lazarus in Bethany, where we see Martha serving the Lord (without complaining), Lazarus eating with the Lord and Mary anointing the feet of the Lord.
- I want to submit a signpost here in the life of Mary that may shed more light on why the Lord moved for her as He did. You will note that she took a pound of ointment and anointed His feet. In my studies I found that a pound of this ointment was equivalent to a years wages.
- Could you even imagine giving a years salary in one offering? Somebody said you have to be kidding! There are many in churches today that cringe at the thought of giving tithes or a simple love offering. Not Mary, she was a giver in heart and nothing was too much for the Lord as far as she was concerned.
- Mary was a worshipper in all she did and this no doubt played a big role in Jesus moving for her as He did.
4-6 Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.
- I think it interesting that when the Word comes on the scene, it causes all hearts to be made manifest. Simply being, while Martha, Mary and Lazarus are having a wonderful time around the table, Judas is pretending to have a heart for the poor.
- Judas is one of the brethren that you are going to have to overcome. Note he didn’t care for the poor, in fact the word says that he was a thief!
- Judas speaks to us in principle of those whose motives in the ministry are not pure. Simply being, they are in it for the money. They will speak swelling and flattering words to get your money and then go out and live a lavish lifestyle while those around them go without.
- Judas also speaks in principle of those that will walk with you, minister with you, support your ministry, say that they love you and then when the opportunity arises, they will BETRAY YOU!
- One English rendering of betray is to give aid or information to an enemy of a certain one. To those that do such, I submit the following revelation. Matthew 18:19 reads, “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” I want you to note that when two agree, it simply opens the door for the Lord to move in your life.
- I want to use Matthew 18:10 as a principle verse and look at it in another light. Simply being, when you betray a believer by going out and saying things that will hurt them (their ministry, their family, etc), you are entering into agreement with the devil (the accuser of the brethren) for he believes the same about them and upon this agreement; you open the door for the devil to move in your life.
7-8 Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this. For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
- Mary was anointing Jesus in preparation for His burial. This lets us see that Mary had spiritual insight into the purpose of Jesus, something that some of his disciples were in the dark about. Those that worship Him will have insight into what He is doing in the earth!
- Note the words of Jesus, “me ye have not always.” Though Mary was aware Jesus (her Pastor) was about to be taken from her, she still made great sacrifices for Him and supported Him. There are many today that look to a Pastor or leader as though they are permanent fixtures. And, as long as they remain a permanent fixture, the followers will support them. A true follower though will support their leader even knowing that they will soon be removed from them. That my friend is called DEDICATION!
9-11 Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.
- When the Word comes to an area and begins to have an impact in the lives of those that receive it, you need to be prepared for a visit from enquiring minds. Note they didn’t come for Jesus sake only, but that they might see Lazarus whom He raised from the dead. The principle is simple; there are those that will come to your assembly not to hear the Word only, but to see the change that the Word has brought in the lives of those in the midst.
- You would think that church would be one of the safest places to gather. However, if you look at this assembly that have gathered around the Word, one might reconsider. Simply being, there is those that serve the Lord, those that worship the Lord, those that eat with the Lord, those that betray the Lord, those that come to check things out, those that are plotting to kill the Lord and those that are plotting to kill those that have had an encounter with the Lord. Wow, how would you like to pastor this congregation?
- Note in verse 10 that the Chief Priests discussed among themselves how they might kill Lazarus also. This lets us see first of all that they had planned to kill Jesus.
- Jesus is the Word and whenever the Word comes and begins to have an impact on those that hear it, you will readily see the religious leaders (snakes if you will) come out of their holes to strike. These type leaders can’t stand the True Word for it reveals their hypocrisy.
- Lazarus speaks in principle of those that have received the Word into their lives and had it work in them to the degree that it is causing others to hunger after and come to the Lord. Lazarus today would be one that would cause those sitting under hypocritical leaders to leave and come where there is a True Pastor serving the True Bread from Heaven. When this happens, those hypocritical leaders will begin to accuse the Pastor and Lazarus of stealing sheep and set out in the community to discredit them both with their words, thus plotting to kill with their words. We can see a picture of this in Jeremiah 18:18 where it reads, “Then said they (the brethren), Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.”
- As we end this teaching, I want to point out that Lazarus tasted of death and misery and overcome them both. He now has been raised from the dead and is going to have to overcome the brethren. You to will overcome death and misery, but your hardest battle will be the brethren. History records that Lazarus lived some 30 more years after this time, which shows us that HE OVERCAME THE BRETHREN!
- There is a wonderful teaching here for the local assembly. First, the Pastor is the prime target. Second, if the Pastor is having an effect in imparting the Word into his followers, next in line will be those that are drawing people to that Pastor.
- You will note that when they killed Jesus, they left Lazarus alone. Simply because he now didn’t have a Pastor to lead others to. What they didn’t know is that the one they killed has been raised from the dead and is now IN LAZARUS!
- So, if you are sitting under a Pastor that is going through death, hell, opposition from the brethren and find yourself going through it with them, put your shouting shoes on, you are in the right place. For if they did it to Jesus, even so will they do to those that follow Him! You too can overcome death, hell and the brethren!
I trust you have been blessed by this 3-part teaching. We have each one of these messages available to order on cassette for any size love offering to God’s Healing Ministry. Your support enables us to send our tapes around the world.
OVERCOMING DEATH, HELL, and the BRETHEREN [Troy Nichols] 1