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The Fifth Sunday In Lent

Option #1: "The Hour of Need at Bethany!"
John 11:20-27
Rev. Wayne Dobratz

Introduction: It had been a wonderful weekend. It was just about over now and they were about to go their separate ways. They were talking about their son whose college was farther away, causing him to leave earlier than the others. Then the phone rang. Their son’s car had been hit broadside while he was on his way back to college. He was taken to the hospital and everything that could have been done was done. 

But it was too late. Their son was dead. Brothers and sisters could not believe their ears as their parents told them their brother wouldn’t be coming home again. "If only the accident had happened closer to the hospital. If only the roads hadn’t been so slippery." The "ifs" are endless at a time like this. And where was God in all this? 

If God really is love, why did He let this happen? If He really is all-powerful and if He really cares about us, why didn’t He keep this from happening? 

Some of these same questions were asked when two sisters from Bethany lost their brother to illness. If ever there was a home that might be exempt from death’s cold grasp, you’d think it would be this one, the home where Jesus had visited so often and had received such love.

I. The need at its greatest

       A. We ask many "why" questions when death comes–John 11:21, 32, 37

       B. Death was not in God’s original plan–Gen 1:27

       C. Death was caused by humankind’s rebellion–Gen 2:16-17

II. The help at its best

       A. Jesus conquered sin and death as the Second Adam–Rom 5:8-21

       B. Jesus is the Resurrection and the Life–text, v25, also John 5:24-29, 6:40; Acts 3:15, Col 3:3-4, 1 John 1:1-2, 5:11

       C. Jesus shares His victory with those who trust in Him–John 11:40

             1. His powerful Word healed at a distance–Lk 7:6ff

             2. His powerful Word called Lazarus from the grave–John 11:43, which is a picture of the Great Resurrection on the Last Day—text, v24, also Dan 12:2ff, Heb 11:35, 1 Cor 15:21-26, 2 Cor 4:13-14, Phil 3:20-21, 1 Thess 4:14

Martin Luther writes: "A Christian is a person who through faith begins to pass out of this life into heaven as soon as he leaves Baptism. For him Christ is already the Way, the Truth and the Life, and does not cease to be these things until his last hour. Indeed, a Christian always proceeds on this way, led by the truth, to the goal of eternal life. He has already caught the vision of the other shore and the haven of rest and is so prepared that whether he dies on the way, this morning or tomorrow morning, or in one, two, or ten years, in spirit he has already crossed over through Christ. For we are not safe from death for one moment, and in Baptism all Christians begin to die, and continue to die, until their reach their graves."

+  +  +

Option #2: "A Quicken Fix"
Romans 8:11-19
Rev. Kelly Bedard


A. Spiritual Stillbirth

       1. Living according to the sinful nature, as indentured servants

       2. Bondage to the flesh: doing something in order that we may get something, be somebody

B. The Spirit's Still Birthing!

       1. Living according to the Spiritual nature, as empowered servants

       2. Bonded to the Spirit: simply–though not easily!–being what God made us to be  


1. zoopoieo (v11): quicken, give life, make alive; to produce alive, begat or bear living young; to cause to live, make alive, give life; by spiritual power to arouse and invigorate; to restore to life; to give increase of life: thus of physical life; of the spirit, quickening as respects the spirit, endued with new and greater powers of life; metaphorically, of seeds quickened into life, i.e., germinating, springing up, growing.

2. enoikeo (v11): to dwell in; metaphorically, to dwell in one and influence her/him (for good).

3. opheiletes (v12): debtor, sinner, which owed; one who owes another, a debtor; one held by some obligation, bound by some duty; one who has not yet made amends to whom s/he has injured: one who owes God penalty or whom God can demand punishment as something due, i.e., a sinner.

4. huios (v14): literally, son; figuratively, those who revere God as their father, the pious worshippers of God, those who in character and life resemble God, those who are governed by the Spirit of God, repose the same calm and joyful trust in God which children do in their parents (Rom 8:14, Gal 3:26), and hereafter in the blessedness and glory of the life eternal will openly wear this dignity of the children of God. Term used preeminently of Jesus Christ, as enjoying the supreme love of God, united to him in affectionate intimacy, privy to his saving councils, obedient to the Father's will in all his acts.

5. huiothesia {(v14): adoption; that relationship which God was pleased to establish between himself and the Israelites in preference to all other nations; the nature and condition of the true disciples in Christ, who by receiving the Spirit of God into their souls become children of God; the blessed state looked for in the future life after the visible return of Christ from heaven.

6. teknon (v16): child, son, daughter; offspring; metaphorically, the name transferred to that intimate and reciprocal relationship formed between people by the bonds of love, friendship, trust, just as between parents and children; in affectionate address, such as patrons, helpers, teachers and the like employ: my child; in the NT, pupils or disciples are called children of their teachers because the latter by their instruction nourish the minds of their pupils and mold their characters; children of God: in the OT of "the people of Israel" as especially dear to God, in the NT, in Paul's writings, all who are led by the Spirit of God and thus closely related to God; of anything who depends upon it, is possessed by a desire or affection for it, is addicted to it.

7. kleronomos (v17): heir, one who receives by lot; in Messianic usage, one who receives his allotted possession by right of sonship; one who has acquired or obtained the portion allotted to him.

8. sugkleronomos (v17): fellow heir, joint heir, heir together, heir with; one who obtains something assigned to him/herself with others, a joint participant.

9. Living as a child of God means an intimate, joyful relationship with God (not as the bondage and fear demonstrated by the law); it is exemplified in the cry Abba, Father! (Daddy!) ... It also means inheritance; the rich young ruler asked Jesus, what must I do to inherit? (Luke 18:18); but misses the point–inheritance is not a matter of doing, it is a matter of being–of being in the right family. (David Guzik)

10. In the Roman world of the first century AD an adopted son was a son deliberately chosen by his adoptive father to perpetuate his name and inherit his estate; he was no whit inferior in status to a son born in the ordinary course of nature. (Bruce)

11. Under Roman adoption, several things happened to the one being adopted: the adopted son lost all rights in his old family and gained all new rights in his new family; the old life of the adopted son was completely wiped out, with all debts being cancelled, with nothing from his past counting against him any more. (Guzik)

11. [God] has not saved us from one kind of slavery just so that we would have to pay back what we owe Him. He has turned His enemies into His sons and gives us all the gifts of His kingdom now and forever. (David Adams)

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:31 PM