Early in Dwight L. Moody's ministry he was called upon to conduct his first funeral. Mr. Moody, desiring to do things correctly, went to the Bible to consider how Jesus would have done it. He found an amazing truth, Jesus didn't hold funeral services! Whenever Jesus came into contact with those who were dead He gave them life! The Bible records that Jesus raised three people from the dead: Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, and the widow's son. I want us to consider this particular event this morning. In this account we find several great powers that are present. These same powers are present today!
I. The Power of Death.
A. It is a universal power.
1. Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
2. Death is no respector of persons.
3. High or low, rich or poor, young or old ... death comes to all.
B. It is a power against which we are helpless.
1. This young man lived in Nain, and that name means "pleasant or lovely".
2. But though he was young and lived in a lovely place, he had no power over death.
3. We pile up things on this earth to keep us young and happy, we invent things to prolong life, but when the hour of death comes these things are helpless to sustain life.
4. People flee to the best doctors, to the best hospitals, and seek the best treatments; but there comes a time when they say "there is no hope" and we must stand by helpless before the power of death.
C. It is a mysterious power.
1. It strikes when and where we least expect it.
2. I have sat in the waiting rooms with families when the doctors have told them that death was imminent, only to see that individual raised up and sent home.
3. While I have also comforted those whose loved ones have been taken suddenly in death leaving everyone amazed.
4. We must recognize the power of death and prepare for it!
II. The Power of Love.
A. Love is the greatest power on earth.
1. The widow wept because of her love for her son.
2. It was love that brought God's Son down to die for us.
3. We have the technology to destroy cities and perhaps even countries; but we cannot destroy love.
4. Love can transform the meanest and most vile of all sinners, a truth to which many of us can testify.
B. Love lightens the burdens of life.
1. The husband and father at work doesn't mind the drudgery of that work if he knows that those at home love and appreciate him for what he is doing.
2. The wife and mother doesn't feel that the burdens are too heavy when she knows she is loved and appreciated.
C. Love is an undying power.
III. The Power of Tears.
A. Tears move us to compassion.
1. They moved Jesus at the side of that dead boy as He gazed on the sorrow present.
2. He wept at the grave of Lazarus.
3. He wept over the city of Jerusalem.
4. He wept in the garden of Gethsamene.
B. Tears have power in soul-winning.
1. If we go to people in a cold, mechanical manner we'll never win them to Christ.
2. NOTE: Psalm 126:5-6
3. We must have compassion for the lost and dying world around us.
C. We must weep.
1. Tears are the relief valve of the soul as our hearts break with sorrow.
2. "Jesus wept." is not only the shortest verse in the Bible, it is also one of the most powerful verses.
3. Paul wept night and day for three years, Samuel spent an entire night in tears over Saul's disobedience, we must learn to weep again!
4. Robert Murray McCheyne, the great Scottish preacher, died at the age of thirty. When a man visited the church he had pastored to inquire as to the source of such great power in such a young man he was told, "When he came to the pulpit, the first thing he did was to put his head down on the and weep; then he stood to preach and won thousands to Christ through his tears!"
5. We must learn the power of tears!
IV. The Power of Christ.
A. He has power in His presence.
1. When He would appear demons would flee from before Him.
2. There was great power in His voice:
a. He spoke and this young man came back to life.
b. He calmed the raging storm and sea by the power in His voice.
c. When He spoke in the garden the very power of His voice caused the mob to fall to the ground.
d. There is still great power in His Word!
3. There was great power in His touch.
a. As He drew near to this funeral procession He touched the bier or coffin.
b. He touched broken bodies and restored them.
c. He touched the eyes of the blind and brought back their sight.
B. He has the power to save.
1. Perhaps the greatest power of Christ is in His blood atonement.
2. He was the satisfactory payment for the sin of mankind.
3. Through repentance and faith in His blood sacrifice the foulest of sinners can be cleansed.
4. "...Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shallbe as wool." Is. 1:18
Conclusion: What a powerful passage of Scripture. Do you kow the power of Christ in your life this morning? You can know it today! It can rescue you from the power of eternal death.
Christian, do you know the power of love today? Are you motivated by His love for you? Are you moved with compassion because of your love for those who are without Christ? Have we lost the power of tears? Do you weep?
Fanny Crosby wrote the great hymn "Rescue the Perishing" and in it she said, "Weep o'er the erring one, Lift up the fallen, Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save." God give us hearts of compassion. Jeremiah prayed over the sin of his people. "Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night..." Jer. 9:1