LAZARUS, THE BOUND MAN.
Now, reader, we have noticed Lazarus the sick man a type of the child born into the world with the carnal mind in it, and we have noticed Lazarus the dead man a type of the child when it comes to the years of accountability and chooses sin and dies and becomes dead in trespasses and in sins. Now we have before us Lazarus, the bound man. We see from the case of Lazarus that it was the custom in the Oriental world to bind a corpse when they got it ready for burial. Just why they would bind a dead man is a mystery to me. It doesn’t look reasonable, but we see that it was done. It may be possible that the Lord allowed them to do it in order to teach us some spiritual lessons that would be profitable to us in our day, for we know that sin will not only kill the man but we know that it will bind him after he is dead.
Just as truly as Lazarus was bound the sinners in our country are bound also. We read that Lazarus was bound hand and foot, and we see that the sinners of our day are bound hand and foot also. Lazarus was helpless and the sinners are helpless. Lazarus had no power to deliver himself from the cords that were around him, and the sinner has no power to deliver himself from the cords that the devil has put around him. We read in Psalms 107:10: “Such as sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron.” That, of course, is the picture of the sinner as King David saw him and he says that the fellow is bound in affliction and iron. In the next verse he tells us why the fellow was bound. He says it was “Because he had rebelled against the words of God, and contemned the counsel of the most High.” how much like the twentieth century sinners that is. You can see them if you will look.
Now reader, we want to read a verse in 2 Tim. 2:26: “And that they may recover themselves out of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” You will notice that somebody here is described as being in the snare of the devil, and not only in his snare but taken by him captive at his will, and don’t you see that if the devil has a fellow in his snare and is taking him captive at his will, that he has the fellow bound? How could he take him captive if the fellow was not bound by the devil? Of course you know that you meet sinners every day that are as completely bound by the devil as they would be if they had chains on them. I have seen sinners that were afraid to try to escape from the devil, they were so completely overpowered by him. I have heard people say, How does the devil bind a fellow? Well, he begins by first putting the carnal mind in the human heart, and the child is born with depravity in its heart. The carnal mind leads him astray and he chooses sin, and now he is dead in trespasses and in sins. After he is dead morally the devil begins to put the cords on him and bind him. One of the first cords that the devil puts on him is the cord of disobedience. Two or three years ago you had a sweet baby, but to-day you have a stubborn, hard-headed disobedient boy. You are surprised to see him as stubborn as he is and wonder who he takes it after. The next thing you know, your boy is a profane swearer and it almost breaks your heart but the devil has put another cord on him. Don’t you see Lazarus bound and don’t you see your own son bound also?
The next string that the devil puts on him will be tobacco; now he is a cigarette fiend and will smoke and lie about it, and tell his mother that he never smoked in his life. When she catches up with him and he has to own up he will get mad and swear right in the presence of his old mother, and she is afraid to say a word. He begins to threaten to leave home if he can’t have his way, and his mother thinks it is all because he has been keeping bad company. Well, of course, he has. The devil has been after him ever since he was born and is still on his trail; and the devil may take that nice boy of yours and put him in the chain gang, and finally in the state prison, and finally in an awful hell.
Don’t you see that the young man is bound by the devil and led by him captive at his will? When your boy was a babe and kicked and screamed and fought and bit and turned over chairs and threw things off the table, it was so funny that everybody thought it was cute in the little fellow. When he takes one of his spells now it is not as funny as it used to be. His mother sits down and weeps by the hour. What is the trouble now? Well, Lazarus is dead and they have bound him for the burial and his friends are weeping over him. Your babe is no longer a smiling babe; he is a great rough sinner and bound by the cords of disobedience, profanity, tobacco, strong drink, Sabbath desecration, lust and anger; and many of them are bound by the cords of theft and murder. Oh my, how different he looks now to what he did before the devil put the cords around him! You see, reader, that the devil laid his plans in the garden, and he is working out his plans in the field. Yes, in the fields of life. How busy he is; not a moment to lose. His victims are driven by him just like they were beasts.
Again the devil not only has power to bind the souls of men but he seems to have power to bind their bodies. In proof of that fact I offer you the following Scriptures: Look at Luke’s gospel, 13:16: “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” The Master Himself said that this woman was the daughter of Abraham, and He also said that Satan had her bound for eighteen years. How many have I seen that Satan had bound and put them on their beds of affliction. I have seen them all over the United States as completely bound by Satan physically as they were morally. He is an awful devil and he hates Christ and wants to defeat Him and he wants to rule this country. I have seen some people that I think the devil knew he never would get their souls and he seemed to afflict their bodies to hinder their life’s work. I as much believe the devil tried for years to kill me as I believe that I am alive to-day.
Now we will turn and read Acts 10:38: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Here the reader will notice that Jesus was to heal all that were oppressed of the devil, so we see that he (the devil), had power to bind a woman for eighteen years and here he has power to oppress or to afflict mankind. We also see that Jesus had power to heal all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him. You may take a man or a woman that has a fine mind and a fine, strong body, and a soul all on fire for God, and they can do much to the kingdom of the devil; he knows it as well as we do and he hates such people.
I will only speak of one other binding, and that is the case of the man in the tombs recorded in the eighth chapter of Matthew, the fifth chapter of Mark, and the eighth chapter of Luke. Saint Mark says of this man that, no man could bind him; Saint Luke says that he was driven of the devil. Mark you, he doesn’t say that he was led or tolled of the devil, but that he was driven of the devil. They also tell us that he wore no clothes, that he made his dwellings among the tombs and that he cut himself with the stones. There was a man that the devil had bound mentally, morally and physically, and if it had not been for the fact that Jesus of Nazareth went by that man would have stayed in that awful condition until the day of his death. What would we do without a Savior? Just think of a world with a devil in it and no Christ in it. If we did not have the Holy Spirit in the world to restrain and check and drive back the devil, what is it that he would not do? My, man, it almost makes your blood freeze in your veins to think of living in a world without a Savior in it. I believe that the sinners of the country are restrained by the grace of God, and while they may not know it, yet I believe it is true, and we cannot tell what they would do if it were not for the grace of God. Just look at the man in the tombs and you have the human family under the dominion of the devil instead of under the dominion of the Son of God. Now, reader, if you can see one ray of hope there I wish you would show it to me, for I am frank to say that the picture is as black as the midnight hour to me. When I see men and women going on in sin and rejecting the Savior I wonder if they want to go to the tombs.