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Think of the best or most influential teacher you’ve every had.
It was probably someone who was extraordinary in their teaching ability and who instilled in you a passion for learning.
My 10th grade World History teacher was Mr Door.
He made history come alive for me and I’ve loved the subject ever since.
Now, take that teacher’s personality and their ability to teach and multiply it 10,000 times 10,000 and you’ll gain something of an appreciation of the kind of teacher Jesus was.
The Gospels repeatedly tell us that /He taught/ His disciples concerning the things of the Kingdom.
His teaching ability and the things He taught were so astounding that the people of His day were absolutely amazed.
No one had ever taught like Jesus had taught.
In the gospel of Matthew we read: /“When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.”/
(Matthew 7:28–29, NIV84)
No group of people were more surprised than the people of His home town: “When Jesus had finished these parables, he moved on from there.
Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed.
/“Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.
“Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?
Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
Aren’t all his sisters with us?
Where then did this man get all these things?”/
(Matthew 13:53–56, NIV84).
The word /amazed/ in both of these passages means to be /so amazed as to be practically overwhelmed/.
The teaching ability of Jesus simply amazed people considering he was supposedly and ‘unlearned’ carpenter’s son.
In this morning’s passage we see one of the greatest teachers of Israel learning from the Master Teacher.
It’s the story of Jesus’ encounter with a man named Nicodemus.
Even Nicodemus acknowledges Jesus’ teaching ability: /“ ... Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God.
For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”/
What did Nicodemus learn from Jesus? It’s a profound truth that everyone here this morning needs to understand and learn.
I. JESUS TAUGHT THAT GOD HAS A PURPOSE FOR YOUR LIFE
God has a two-fold purpose for your life today
!! A. 1st, HE WANTS TO REDEEM YOU AND GIVE YOU ETERNAL LIFE AS A FREE GIFT
#. the things Jesus said were often very simple, yet profoundly deep and rich in significance, and with eternal implications
Jesus' reply to Nicodemus is a case in point
* /“In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”/
(John 3:3, NIV84)
Nicodemus pays Jesus, what appears to be a sincere compliment
Jesus ignores it and makes a statement that seems totally irrelevant
#. he talks about a /Second Birth/
Nicodemus is thoroughly confused
* /“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked.
“Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”/ (John 3:4, NIV84)
Jesus goes on to explain himself in vv.
* /“Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is 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.”/
(John 3:5–8, NIV84)
God wants sinners to spend eternity with Him in heaven
#. this has been the heart of God’s plan since before the beginning of creation
#. according to 2 Peter 3:9 God is /"not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."/
#. there is nothing you can do to /merit/ the eternal life God wants to give you through the new birth
#. you can't /buy it/ by living a good and honest life
you can't /inherit it/ from your parents
#. you can't /bribe God out of it/ with exemplary moral living
#. you can’t /acquire it/ through religious ritual
#. all you have to do to have it is admit that God is right about your life!
* /“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.
He did this to demonstrate his justice, ... ”/ (Romans 3:23–25, NIV84)
#. you have to admit that you are a sinner—that you’ve sinned against a holy God and have fallen far short of His glory
#. you have to freely receive the justifying grace of God that comes through the redemptive work of Christ Jesus who was our atoning sacrifice
#. this justifying grace comes through repentance and faith
#. /repentance/ is the /agreeing part/—where you agree with God that you sin is sin and rightly condemns you to an eternal hell
#. /faith/ is the /receiving part/—where you commit you life to Christ and His Lordship over every aspect of your life
no matter how /evil you've been/, God’s redemption gives you a chance to start over by making you a /new creation/
* /“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”/ (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV84)
#. no matter how /good you think you are/, God's redemption says you have to start over again
#. in the world’s eyes, you may appear a saint worthy of canonization
#. in the Lord’s eyes, you are a no-account, unholy, unrighteous sinner and a stench in God’s nostrils who needs the washing that comes through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit
!! B. 2nd, HE WANTS TO GIVE YOUR LIFE PURPOSE AND MEANING
* /"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”/
(John 10:10, NIV84)
Satan is the great /thief/ and /adversary/ of God’s people
Satan will give you abundance, but it’s always an abundance that is counterfeit and ultimately steals and kills and destroys your spiritual life
#. he wants to steal your joy, kill your relationship with God and destroy your hope in Christ
#. and he’ll accomplish this destruction through material possessions, and misplaced feelings and inappropriate relationships
Television commercials claim that the abundant life comes with drinking beer, wearing certain kind of tennis shoes, or driving a certain type of car.
You can’t find abundant living in a can or in a bottle or a pair of tennis shoes or a car.
You can’t find abundant life in a capsule or a pill or in cocaine or marijuana or any kind of drug.
You can’t find abundant life in promiscuous sex and ungodly relationships.
Jesus, however, gives his followers /life/ and makes that /life abundant/
#. one of the important lessons Christians need to learn is that Jesus’ promise of /life abundant/ does not necessarily mean /an abundance of stuff/
#. it does, I think, mean an /abundance of Christ’s character in us/
#. abundant living does not exist until we have completely committed ourselves to Jesus Christ
#. life abundant means being infused with God’s life
this abundance comes by living your life according to God’s Word
* /“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.”/
(Psalm 1:2–3, NIV84)
#. immersing ourselves in the Word of God is like planting your fruit trees next to a constant supply of water
#. in due season, the abundance of fruit will be simply spectacular
#. this abundance comes by living in fellowship with Christ and with His people
#. it means longing deeply for God and the things of God and the people of God
#. now, please understand, abundant life in Christ doesn't necessarily mean the absence of tension or turmoil
#. it does mean the presence of spiritual peace in the midst of tension and turmoil
#. abundant life in Christ doesn't necessarily mean financial success and the accumulation of material wealth
#. it does mean the availability of spiritual wealth in spite of material poverty
#. it took me 18 years to understand that God really was interested in me and had a marvelous plan for my life
He has kept His promises to me
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