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The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
During April we are going to continue to work our way through the gospel of John our theme is Responding to the Living Word.
Today we are talking about When Grief Comes To Your House.
Lord God, we bring gifts of praise and love as well as the offerings of our material wealth You today.
You have blessed us richly with strength and skills, energy and expertise, and the opportunity to work.
There is nothing we bring that was not first given to us.
You ask for our praise but only after You have praised us.
In Your own image You made us, and of the creation You said, “It is good.”
You ask for our love, but first You loved us and gave us Your Son for our salvation.
You ask for our tithes and offerings, but first you gave us the bounty of life out of which we give our gift to You today.
Thank you, Lord, for enriching our lives out of the abundant riches we joyfully give.
In Jesus name we pray.
John 11:21 NKJV
21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
John 11:17-37 NKJV
I Am the Resurrection and the Life
17 So when Jesus came, He found that he had already been in the tomb four days.
18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles away.
19 And many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house.
21 Now Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.
22 But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You.”
23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24 Martha said to Him, “I know that 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, though he may die, he shall live.
26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
27 She said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
Jesus and Death, the Last Enemy
28 And when she had said these things, she went her way and secretly called Mary her sister, saying, “The Teacher has come and is calling for you.”
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly and came to Him.
30 Now Jesus had not yet come into the town, but was in the place where Martha met Him.
31 Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and comforting her, when they saw that Mary rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”
32 Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.
34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?”
Is there any home where grief has never come?
Or will never come?
To live is to face the certainty that a time will come when death or some other form of grief will knock on the door where you live.
For those who have never known grief, there is sometimes a fearful premonition that grief may come, and we wonder if we will be able to deal with to.
Those who have gone through grief know the pain and would not desire it again, but they know they have found in the grace of God courage to walk through it.
There is a certain strength in that knowledge that is one of the byproducts suffering brings to the believing heart.
Mary and Martha, even though they knew Jesus, were not spared the grief that comes when a brother dies.
Today’s text shows the kind of help you can expect when grief comes to your house.
- When grief comes to your house, so of your friends.
Many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother’s death.
If you live within a community of faith where people care of and love one another, when grief comes your way, so will the people who love you.
People unfamiliar with grief often think that grieving people must surely get weary of all those who come to them.
They think that surely the grief stricken ones would prefer for everybody to go away and leave them alone.
But experience shows us that one of the grandest gifts God gives His people is other people.
At times of heartache and sorrow, friends come bringing gifts of food and love and presence.
A minister told me this story, “When my brother’s child died, I found how important it is that people come when grief comes.
We arrived at my brother’s house as quickly as we could.
Our father is a preacher and I’m a preacher, but my brother did not need us to be preachers, he needed us to be father and brother.
And he needed his friends who came.”
He then went on to say, “he never will forget how much it meant to the family when their own Pastor came.”
The pastor was out of town, and he could not come until the day after the child’s death, and until he arrived, there was grief work that could not be done.
Pastors sometimes wonder if they are intruding on another’s grief.
We want to help, but we feel so inadequate.
It means a great deal to know the minister’s presence is a word from God and a word from the church.
But it’s not only the pastor who makes a difference, it’s the people of the church as they gather around and care.
Pain shared is pain divided.
And it is true of grief too.
Grief that is shared is grief that is divided among those who share it, and one is able to carry it more easily.
It is important when grief comes to your house that people come too.
2. When grief comes to your house, different people will handle their grief in different ways.
In verse 20, when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him, while Mary remained seated in the house.
Martha needed to talk to Jesus.
Mary waited quietly.
Notice another difference between them.
Mary openly wept, yet there is no mention that Martha wept.
Jesus wept and the Jews wept and Mary wept, but it is not recorded that Martha wept at all.
Did that mean that she loved her brother less?
Or did it mean stronger faith?
I think not.
One of the terrible myths that Christians often force upon one another is that if you love somebody, you will weep at their loss.
Or worse, if you are a strong Christian and have firm faith, you will not weep when death comes to your house.
There is another myth that strong men don’t cry.
Jesus dispelled all three of those inadequate attempts at the truth.
No stronger or more courages man was ever alive on our earth.
And He wept.
Men do cry, and that’s all right.
When grief comes to your house, some will cry.
That is how they can express their grief.
But people don’t need to cry simply for fear people will think they do not love the lost one of they don’t cry.
Whatever you feel, and however you seek to express it, what’s honest with you is all right.
Martha loved her brother, she did not weep, Mary loved her brother, she did weep.
There is no one way to handle grief.
Generally, you will find that when you hear the word of impending grief, you will go through stages of grief.
First, you will attempt to deny that it is so and perhaps seek isolation.
You will want to be by yourself with your grief.
There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you don’t stay alone.
To deny impending darkness may be the necessary reaction to keep from being overwhelmed by it.
It is reflected in the kind of statement, “Well, Doctor, I think I will get another opinion.”
And you ought to.
No doctor knows everything.
Or you might say when you first hear of a death, “No, it can’t be!”
The first stage of grief is often denial, then often we get angry.
We don’t like it.
We don’t think it’s fair.
We might say things like “I, haven’t been as bad as so and so, and he is making a million dollars a year and has been healthy all his life!
Why me instead of him?”
Be careful about your anger, that you don’t deny it and bottle it up.
Some people are not growing as Christians because they are angry at God and are afraid to admit it.
If you are angry with God, tell Him so, He is quite able to handle it.
Your not going to shock Him, He is not going to have a tantrum and wipe you out like a mosquito.
Out of the anger will come questions.
Its all right to ask God anything you want to ask Him as long as you don’t insist that He answer you by your timetable.
After our anger we begin to bargain.
“God, if You’ll deliver me, I’ll serve You for the rest of my life.
If You’ll let me get well, I’ll teach in kids church, I’ll go visit the elderly every Tuesday night, I’ll give a tenth of my income.”
Let me assure you, most people who try to bargain with God are actually lying to Him.
After the bargaining comes depression.
Feelings of dark helplessness roll over us.
But we understand that God has called us to life and we must live.
So we move into the final stage of grief, a simple acceptance of life as it is.
We begin to live with hope, not giving up, believing that God will bring us through it all.
3. When grief comes to your house, most people will ask God, “Why?”
In verses 21 and 32 this is the question that is being asked.
Earth and Mary said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
The implied question is “why weren’t you here?”
Its the same thing we say to God in our questioning.
“Lord, why didn’t You do something?”
“Why weren’t You here when I needed you?”
The truth is that there is no simple answer to suffering.
We have struggled with it in Christian theology from the beginning of the faith.
Some of the answers we have found are that God permits suffering for our good and His glory, that God teaches his children through suffering, and that God is able to transform life through His suffering on our behalf.
God may not always answer our questions of why, but He will give you Himself, His presence.
We think we want to know why we grieve, but knowing why would not change the reality the loss, nor would it restore the life.
What we need more than answers to why, is God’s presence with us, that is why Jesus came to Martha and Mary in their need.
And that is why God the Holy Spirit comes to us in our need.
Listen for His presence.
4. When grief comes to your house, you can remember the words of Jesus.
Jesus quietly but firmly insisted to Mary and Martha in John 11:25-26, Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
And if you believe that, when grief comes to your house, you will not only survive it, you will not only grow through it, but you will be able to look beyond the present pain and anticipate the victory Jesus has won over death and its sting.
Doo not wait for a great grief to bring you to God’s grace.
Suffering does not automatically make people better, it often makes them bitter.
But those who trust in Jesus are preparing in advance for life with all its strange twists and turns, its dark valleys and painful separations.
Those who in faith approach whatever grief life brings to them do so knowing they can feel their pain, own their anger, await the answers, and affirm the victory the word of Jesus promises to those who believe.
Until next time
Stay in the Blessings
I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.
When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.
Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!
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2022 IS A YEAR OF REPENTANCE AND BLESSINGS
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