Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
Sermon Notes: Vision Week 4
Just Keep Serving: Pastor Adam
1. God is willing to meet you where you are and how you are.
Nicodemus is a Pharisee and a member of the Jewish ruling council. He made a decision to set up a meeting with Jesus at night to inquire more about who he was and what he was doing. Jesus’ early ministry had peeked Nicodemus’ attention and he wanted to know more. Jesus was fine with meeting Nicodemus at night. Jesus was more concerned with the opportunity to talk with Nicodemus than debating whether meeting at night was proper.
God continues to meet people where they are in the conditions they are in. We should be willing to go and tell in whatever circumstances we find people.
2. Hearing it for the first time is a big deal.
This conversation would have been a brand new concept to Nicodemus. He would have believed in the Messiah coming but it would have been to deliver them from Roman oppression. Not to deliver them from their sins. He would have believed that his righteous living as a Pharisee would have accomplished that.
If you engage people where they are how they are with the grace of the Gospel chances are it may be just as earth-shattering as it would have been for Nicodemus. People today are wholly unfamiliar with the Gospel and the scripture that presents it to us. We must use patience and allow the Grace of God to do the work of Salvation.
3. Connect the old to the new.
14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,15that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
Nicodemus would have known the scripture Jesus was quoting. He was helping Nicodemus connect the dots with something that he already knew and believed in. You see Paul do this in his conversation Acts 17:22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.
God’s grace is already working in peoples lives and we can help them connect the dots.
4. The Gospel is a message of Hope in every situation.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned,
The Gospel is hope for everyone in every situation.