Looking For Higher Ground

This outline seeks to encourage a life of continued faith from a popular New Testament example. Jesus weeps as a result of the lack of faith on the part of those present. May each of us walk on by faith, trust God completely, and continue looking for higher ground!

Title: “Looking For Higher Ground!”

Text: John 11:35John 11:35
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

35 Jesus wept.  

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Introduction:

• The shortest verse in our English Bibles is here!
• Many throughout the ages have misunderstood, I believe, why Jesus wept here with Mary & Martha along with the public mourners.
• Jesus wept because of their lack of faith. It was not because they had no faith, but it was their lack of faith!
• They had faith that Jesus could have healed Lazarus of his sickness, or in the very least, have kept him from dying for a while.
• They did not, however, have faith that Jesus could raise him from the dead.
• Why?
• Well, they are no different than you or I. We take the notion sometimes that God can do anything, but only up until certain things take place. After that, things are hopeless.
• Practicality, reason, and previous experiences will rob you and of faith, if we are not careful.
• Each, as individuals, can be useful. Practicality, for example, is good and helpful, but when it is taken to an extreme, it can be our undoing. Likewise, reason, is helpful to a point. Common Sense cannot explain many things the Bible declares to be true! Finally, our previous experiences can be helpful, but if we interpret all our present circumstances in light of previous indicators, then we will not grow in our faith.
• Faith seeks higher ground! It seeks out new ground. Instead of a well worn path, Faith adventures into the land uncut. Into virgin ground, Faith plods on!

Proposition: There are three things that affected Mary & Martha’s faith, in these verses, that we often are affected by that we should look at this morning.

I. The Timetable Affected Their Faith!

A. They longed for Jesus to show up before Lazarus died!

B. I’m sure they prayed and depend upon God to show up in their time of need!

C. I’m sure Lazarus longed to be in the presence of God, but I am equally sure that he probably wanted to live on. He, most likely, desired the company of Jesus!

D. Days go by, hours go by, minutes go by, seconds go by, and Jesus has not shown up.

E. Death seizes Lazarus, time is up! Or is it?

F. With God all things are possible! God has His own timetable that is different from ours. Sometimes He is present before things get real bad, and sometimes it is in the ashes, like Job, that He shows up!

G. God’s timetable is not like the Railroad timetable!

H. When we put God in a timetable, we will, more than likely, see our faith weakened!


II. The Disappointment Of Death Affected Their Faith!

A. They now have unmet expectations, and they are very hurt!

B. When Jesus does show up, they do not have an expectant joy that now He is here to work, but they get somewhat cynical!

C. “If thou hadst been here, my brother had not died” was their remark. Notice it wasn’t, “Thank God, now you are here”, nor was it, “Now that you are here, will you please raise up Lazarus, if it be your will.”

D. Disappointment often erodes our faith to where we are not proactive, but reactionary.

E. When God does work, we are shocked! We are surprised because we were not expecting God to do what we desired!

F. When we have unmet desires in our lives, and they are not selfish, and sinful, we must not give up in our praying for them!

G. We must persevere and hold on, trusting God to have His will done in His own timetable!

H. Seeming disappointments can be: a Red Sea crossing, like getting water from the Rock, and like gaining a victory as in the walls of Jericho falling!

III. The Mourners Affected Their Faith!

A. It was enough that God’s timetable was not set to theirs, and that they were tremendously disappointed by the death of their brother to the extent that their hopes are dashed!

B. What is ten times worse is the mourners that wailed in the ears of Mary & Martha!

C. You can be sure that if you listen to the flesh, mourners will come to your aid!

D. I am not speaking in terms of people comforting us (Because we need to comfort one another!), but when we avail ourselves of those who will sympathize with us and not contend with us for the truth we are sure to sink in the quagmire of self-pity and defeat!

E. Be sure that there will always be mourners for your cause, and your agenda. This is not always bad, but we should not let our faith be weakened by the words of others!

F. We should honestly edify one another, no matter how hard it hurts, but we do it from the right spirit and attitude!

G. Jesus saw the mourners and heard them, and I think this group is probably what set Jesus off, if I could use that phrase!

H. This group attached to Mary & Martha, only served to illustrate the nursing of their lack of faith!

I. Jesus wept because he saw the extent of their defeat!

Conclusion:

• We should walk on by faith for “Higher Ground” no matter what the circumstance!
• Realize that faith is built and nurtured through situations just like what has been depicted today!
• I conclude with a poem:

Higher Ground!


Faith is not content to sit idle by while days roll on, while dawn burns off and sunset dries up in the night;
No…Faith is working for Higher Ground!


Faith is not content to rest beside the fading memory of past glories, beside the battlefields of yesteryear;
No…Faith is resting in the smoky meadow of a conquered Higher Ground!


Faith is not content to travel on the well worn path through the rough timberland and the harsh, rocky precipice;
No…Faith seeks a path untrod through the virgin land of Higher Ground!


Faith is not content for ease of task and mind nor for the lightness of burden or pain;
No…Faith lives on and is invigorated by the person of self-denial surging for Higher Ground!


Faith says, “Give me an axe, I’ll lay it at the root!” Faith says, “Give me a torch, I’ll light a path for others to follow!”;
Yes, Faith says, “I’m headed for Higher Ground!”

To The Sinner:

• If you can believe that God can do anything at all, then why don’t you trust Him with your sin and your soul today?

Originally posted 2010-09-22 14:00:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

About Andrew Schank

Andrew Schank is an Independent Baptist Missionary/Pastor who loves to blog about spiritual matters! His main ministry website is http://www.togetherinthegap.com. Andrew is also a contributing author to two other blogs/websites including http://linked2leadership.com and http://www.ifbkjv.com. Pastor Schank's Church website is http://www.greatcommissionbaptist.org
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