Lazarus is a type of the whole human family. No other man in the New Testament covers as much ground as the man Lazarus; he is a type of the sinner in every stage of life, and also a type of the Christian from the young convert to the old saint, as he passeth through the pearly gates into the beautiful city. The first mention that is made of Lazarus is in the eleventh chapter of St. John’s gospel and the first verse. We read: “Now a certain man was sick named Lazarus.”
The reader will notice that the first mention that is made of Lazarus is that he is a sick man. We read nothing of his parents; we suppose that he was an orphan boy. There is not one word about his mother or father in the New Testament. If he had a brother he is not referred to; we only hear of his two sisters, Mary and Martha. The first time that we hear of Lazarus he is sick. The Book says nothing of his boyhood days, and in fact, we hear but little of Lazarus himself. We read nothing of his standing in the community; not a word about his education or his political or religious views, but we suppose he was a very religious man from the fact that the Master loved to go to and abide in his little home in the village of Bethany. This was one of the homes of the Master, as He trod through the earth a homeless man in search of an opportunity to do something for the other fellow. Bless His dear name forever and ever. How I love Him and how good He has been to me!
Now, in the first place Lazarus, as a sick man, is the type of the newborn babe. When the child is born into this world it comes to see us with the carnal mind in its heart and is unwell morally. Lazarus was unwell physically and the child is unwell spiritually, so the first glimpse that we get of Lazarus and the newborn babe is that they are both unwell, and if we will look at them for a few minutes we will see that the disease proves fatal in each case. We know that Lazarus died and if we will look we will see that the child dies also. For a little while let’s take a look at the moral condition of the child and see if he isn’t born into this world with the disease of sin in him. We will notice first Isaiah 1:2-6: “Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord has spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider. Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel, unto anger, they are gone away backward. Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more: the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.”
Now, reader, I submit to your honest judgment the above description of the unregenerated human heart. Does it not look like the human family is in a depraved state? If that is not total depravity what would you call it? They are put down below the ox and the ass, two of the dullest dumb brutes in the field, and they are both ahead of the children of Israel. Oh, yes, my friend, the human family is born with the old man in the heart and he begins his work as soon as the child is born; he doesn’t wait until the child is grown to put him at the thing that he knows is contrary to the will of God; but as soon as the child is born the devil is ready to give him a job, and it is not long until he has him on the way to destruction.
I feel sure that King David wrote under the inspiration of the blessed Holy Ghost. See what he says about the child, Psalms 51:5: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother canceive me.” Again, before we pass from the Psalmist, we will notice the 58th Psalm and the third verse: “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” This doesn’t look like they waited to be grown to go into sin. I have said it a number of times, and you may have said it before I ever thought of it, that every child that was ever born in Texas lied before it could talk and stole before it could walk. The Psalmist said that he was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did his mother conceive him. Well, that is the way they are all born into this world.
I have known children to be born into the homes of good, religious parents and these children were never conquered in the lives. I have known some good Methodist mothers to name their baby boy for one of the bishops and consecrate him to the Lord to be made bishop, and he was elected before he was two years old. You could go to the home and the two-year-old boy was making all of the appointments; he commanded and his mother had to obey; he screamed and whooped and yelled, turned over chairs and slammed the doors, and would get up and throw the teacups, and the knives and forks off the table, and his mother and all of the other children had to obey him or have one of the biggest rackets that you have ever heard in all of your life. So you see, my friend, that Lazarus as a sick man is a pretty good representative of the child when it is born into the world with the old man in its heart. Lazarus was sick and the child is not well by any means.
Now for a little while we want to look at some Scriptures over in the New Testament. First, we want to look at the third verse of the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and just see for ourselves: “Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others.” The apostle says here that we are by nature the children of wrath even as others. Notice first that he doesn’t say we are the children of wrath by choice nor does he say that we are the children of wrath by practice; but notice what he does say; he says that we are the children of wrath by nature. Now reader, if you had a tree that was by nature a tree of wrath, what kind of fruit do you think would grow on it? Well, we can find out by going to Gallatians 5:19. Just see for yourself, and oh my, it almost takes your breath. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which the these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, varience, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like.” I submit to your intelligence as an honest man or woman, don’t you think that the above crowd is in a state of total, yes in a state of teetotal depravity. That crowd of people is qualified to commit any sin that is known to the human family, and yet I have heard much about our beautiful human nature; but just look children and see for yourself. I don’t suppose that a man could find a harder crowd this side of the pit than the above.
But before we leave Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we want to notice the 17th verse of the 5th chapter: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” The reader will notice here that the word flesh refers to the carnal mind, or the old man or inbred sin, whichever you would rather call it. Of course the word flesh there could not refer to your bones and blood, for the Spirit of God and your bones could not be contrary the one to the other; but there is something in man that is contrary to the Spirit of God, and of course it is the carnal mind, for St. Paul says in Romans 8:7 that, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” So you see at a glance that Romans 8:7 explains Gal. 5:17, where Paul says that the flesh lusteth against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. If the child doesn’t bring the carnal mind into this world with him when he is born of the flesh, then he must receive it when he is born of the Spirit, and you could not think of a thing of that kind. But at the same time we see a man here with two minds in him and each one wants to rule and each one wants to sit on the throne and hold the reins of your life and do the driving.
Now reader, the only way to make these Scriptures plain is to see them in their true light. The child is born into the world with the carnal mind in him and when he is born of the Spirit he receives the spiritual mind; he already had the carnal mind and now he becomes a double-minded man, both carnal and spiritual, and the war is between the carnal mind and the spiritual mind. When we are born of the Spirit we receive the spiritual mind and when we are baptized with the Holy Ghost and fire we get rid of the carnal mind and that leaves the mind of Christ in our heart to reign without a rival. If you will look, you will see that Lazarus as a sick man is a type of the child that is born into this world with the old man in its heart and if you are not satisfied with the above Scriptures, at your leisure you might read St. Mark 7:21, 22, and when you get through with that lesson you might read Romans 3:10-20. By that time you will be convinced that the human family is born out of gear and out of harmony with God, out of harmony with itself, and out of harmony with the world round about it.
Is it not a fact that two old sinners can’t hardly live in the same community, and get along with each other; sometimes they don’t do it, but fall out and fight and go to law with each other. Again I have seen boys not ten years old meet and fight every Sunday for nearly a year and almost kill each other, and nobody think anything of it at all. Again I have seen small children two or three years old fall out and fight just like beasts, and I have seen their mothers pull them apart and whip them and it seemed to do no good. Now the question naturally arises in the mind of a fellow if the child is not a depraved being, what is the matter with it? Don’t you see a sick Lazarus there, and don’t you see that the disease has proven fatal and that Lazarus is dangerously ill?