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Everybody Needs Jesus!

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Everybody needs Jesus... 1. Because we are lost without Him (vs. 1). 2. Because Jesus loves us (vs. 2-3). 3. Because Jesus gives us everlasting life (vs. 4-8).

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Everybody Needs Jesus!

The Gospel of John

John 3:1-8

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - May 18, 2016

(Revised July 6, 2019)

*About 15 years ago our daughter Katie was still in high school, and as we pulled into Wal-Mart, I saw the Jews for Jesus bus. You may know that they are a great group of Christian Jews who witness to other Jews all over the world. That day they had performed at the Senior Citizens Center in West Monroe, and they stopped at Wal-Mart on their way to Shreveport.

*I used to get their newsletter, so I pulled over to try to meet them. Katie was mortified when we went over to the bus, and I knocked on the door. But we had a tremendous visit with a beautiful young lady from Israel. Her name was Rivka Epstein.

*I asked Rivka how she got saved. She told me it was through the prayers and witness of other Jewish Christians. Rivka said she finally realized that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews, and she trusted in the Lord. Then she told me, "If you are praying for someone, don't give up! That man prayed for me for two years before I got saved."

*Rivka then told us about her plan to go back to Israel and start a Christian ministry with her fiancé. That was back during one of the times when bombs were going off in Israel almost every week. So I asked Rivka if she was nervous about going back and she said, "The safest place that we can ever be is right smack in the center of God's will."

*I have never forgotten Rivka's bold confidence in the Lord. But why did she want to go back to Israel? It's because almost all of the Jews in Israel are lost, and Rivka knew that the Jewish people need the Lord Jesus Christ!

*Everybody needs Jesus! And tonight's Scripture helps us see why.

1. FIRST: WE ALL NEED JESUS BECAUSE WE ARE LOST WITHOUT HIM.

*In vs. 1-2, God's Word says:

1. There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.

2. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.''

*By God's grace, Nicodemus had heard about Jesus. He had heard about the amazing miracles Jesus worked. He might have even seen Jesus work miracles. Nicodemus knew that there was something extra special about Jesus. But he still had questions and concerns, so he took them to Jesus. And that's what we should do!

*In vs. 2, Nicodemus said, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him." Nicodemus took a giant step there, because He was willing to listen to Jesus.

*And everybody desperately needs to listen to Jesus Christ. I say that because people are hopelessly lost without Jesus. Romans 3:23 tells us that all of us "have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." All of us are sinners, and without Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we will face God's eternal punishment for our sins.

*Think about it this way: If there was ever a person who didn't need Jesus, it would be Nicodemus, or someone like him. This man was on top of his world, but he still needed Jesus. And Nicodemus reminds us everybody needs Jesus!

[1] RICH PEOPLE NEED JESUS.

*Nicodemus must have been a wealthy man. John 19:39 tells us that after Jesus died, Nicodemus provided a hundred-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes for the Lord's burial. That much myrrh and aloe was exceedingly expensive. Just to compare: A hundred pounds of expensive perfume at the mall would cost you about $200,000!

*Only a rich man could have bought those spices for the Lord's burial. And money can buy a lot of wonderful things, but money can't buy the most important things like love, friendship and peace. Most of all, money certainly cannot buy salvation.

[2] RICH PEOPLE NEED JESUS, SO DO HIGH RANKING PEOPLE.

*Nicodemus was a high ruler in his land. He was one of the seventy members of the Sanhedrin or Supreme Court of the Jews. Nicodemus was part of the religious elite, but your position can't save you. Being the President, or a famous actor or a top athlete cannot save you.

[3] HIGH RANKING PEOPLE NEED JESUS, SO DO RESPECTABLE PEOPLE.

*The name Nicodemus means "victory of the people," so it's easy to see that he could have been well-liked and popular in the city. Nicodemus was well known and respected. He was recognized as a leader. But he still needed Jesus Christ!

[4] RESPECTABLE PEOPLE NEED JESUS, SO DO RELIGIOUS PEOPLE.

*Nicodemus was a most religious person. He possessed great religious knowledge. Nicodemus' first words to Jesus were, "We know," and he knew God's Law better than almost anyone else in the nation. He was a Pharisee, and there were never more than 6,000 of those religious devotees.

*As a Pharisee, Nicodemus didn't just know the law, he tried his best to live up to it. He was religious to the core. The Pharisees took drastic measures to make sure that they obeyed the letter of the law. They fasted and prayed and studied the Scriptures. They lived spiritually disciplined lives. But they were just as lost as they could be without Jesus Christ, and they were lost because no one can fully live up to God's law. (1)

2. EVERYBODY NEEDS JESUS CHRIST BECAUSE WE ARE LOST WITHOUT HIM, AND BECAUSE JESUS LOVES US!

*We begin to see the Lord's love starting in vs. 2. There Nicodemus:

2. . .came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.''

3. Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.''

4. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?''

5. Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

*In vs. 2, Nicodemus did the most important thing that anyone can ever do in life: He went to Jesus! And Jesus began to lead Nicodemus into eternal life. Why did the Lord do that? -- Because He loved Nicodemus! And here are some ways we can see the Lord's love.

[1] FIRST: JESUS TREATS EVERYBODY THE SAME WAY.

*The Lord wasn't impressed by Nicodemus' power and prestige. Today, Jesus cares just as much about us as He does the President, the Governor, the richest man in the world, the smartest man in the world, or the best athlete in the world.

*Jesus treats everybody the same, because He loves everybody the same. Praise the Lord!

[2] ANOTHER WAY TO SEE THE SAVIOR'S LOVE IS THAT HE KEEPS FIRST THINGS FIRST.

*In vs. 3, Jesus got right to the point: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.'' In other words: "Nicodemus, you must be born again!"

*We must be born again. As I explained before, the reason why we must be born again spiritually is because physical birth can only give us physical life. Horses produce horses. Dogs produce dogs. Cats produce cats. And mortal people produce mortal people. This is why in vs. 6, Jesus said, "That which is born of the flesh is flesh," but "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

*In other words: The people who have been given the second birth by God's Holy Spirit have eternal, spiritual life. The Holy Spirit of God produces a new kind of person by a new kind of birth. And it is this spiritual birth that gives us God's eternal life. When we are born again, we get a brand new nature, a new spiritual heart. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are "new creatures" in Christ. We also become children of God, part of the family of God, and there will be a family resemblance.

*Nothing is more important in life than being born again! There are a thousand other things the Lord could have discussed with Nicodemus, but Jesus moved the conversation straight to our greatest need. Why did Jesus do that? -- Because He loved Nicodemus. And the Lord loves us just as much!

[3] JESUS GOT RIGHT TO THE POINT, AND HE STAYED THERE UNTIL NICODEMUS SAW THE TRUTH.

*Jesus doesn't quit on people who are seeking the truth! He kept explaining the truth to Nicodemus, until that very religious man got saved! Jesus Christ wants everybody to know the truth about Him. He wants everybody to receive the salvation that only He can give. The Lord didn't hold back on Nicodemus, and He didn't hold back on the cross!

*Ravi Zacharias told the story of a missionary named Joseph Damien. Back in the 1800s, Joseph ministered to people with leprosy on the island of Molokai in Hawaii. Those suffering people grew to love Joseph, and respected the sacrificial life he lived before them.

*One morning before Joseph was to lead the daily worship service, he poured some hot water into a cup. Some of the hot water spilled out and fell on Joseph's bare foot. It took him a moment to realize that he hadn't felt any pain. Gripped by fear of what it could mean, Joseph poured a little more hot water on the same spot, and he felt no pain at all. Joseph immediately knew what had happened. He had been infected with the dreaded disease of leprosy.

*Later, when Joseph began to preach, at first no one noticed the difference in the opening words of his sermon. Joseph normally started every sermon by saying, "My fellow believers." But that morning he began by saying: "My fellow lepers."

*Joseph Damien knew the risk before he went to minister at the leper colony on Molokai, but he took the risk, because he loved those people. And Joseph's sacrifice points us to the Lord's sacrifice, because when Jesus came into our world He knew what it would cost Him. But Jesus came anyway.

*He was willing to pay the highest price, because of His great love for us. Jesus didn't hold back from all of the shame and suffering of the cross. And He will never hold back on the things we need, because He loves us! (2)

3. EVERYBODY NEEDS JESUS BECAUSE HE LOVES US, AND BECAUSE HE GIVES US EVERLASTING LIFE.

*Only Jesus Christ can give us eternal life He began to talk about in vs. 4-8. Please look starting in vs. 4:

4. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?''

5. Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

8. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.''

[1] FIRST HERE, NOTICE THE MYSTERY OF THE SPIRIT.

*Nicodemus was mystified in vs. 4: "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?'' Nicodemus was mystified about how anyone could be born again. And Jesus explained part of the mystery in vs. 8, when He said, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.''

*Nicodemus was mystified, but there is also some mystery for us in vs. 5. Here Jesus told Nicodemus, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

*We know that "born of the Spirit" means that we must be born again by the Holy Spirit of God. But "born of water," what does that mean? One website listed seven different possible explanations of being "born of water." (3)

1-ONE OF THE MAIN INTERPRETATIONS IS BEING BAPTIZED FOR SALVATION.

*Some denominations teach that water baptism is necessary for salvation. Many Bible-believing, Jesus-loving people believe you must be baptized in order to be saved. They get this incorrect doctrine mostly from a possible interpretation of Acts 2:38. In this verse of Scripture, "Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission (or forgiveness) of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'"

*Now that word translated "for" in this verse can mean "in order to." So, they think it means "be baptized in order to receive the forgiveness of sins." But that little word "for" can also mean "on account of." And that's how we take it. People are baptized on account of the fact that they have already received the forgiveness of sins.

*If I say I'm going to the store for some milk, then I'm going to come home with some milk. But if I say I'm going to the store for my wife, I'm not coming home with a wife! No, I already have a wife. And we are baptized because we have already been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ!

*Many Scriptures show that Christians are saved by grace through faith in the Lord, and what He did on the cross for us. Please listen to these examples:

*John 3:16-18 says:

16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

*John 3:36 says: "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.''

*Ephesians 2:8-9 tells Christians:

8. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

9. not of works, lest anyone should boast.

*And Romans 10:10-13 says:

10. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.

11. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.''

12. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him.

13. For "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.''

*On top of that, listen to what Paul said about baptism to the divided Christians in Corinth. In 1 Corinthians 1:14-17, Paul was pleading for unity in the church, and this is what he said about baptism:

14. I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

15. lest anyone should say that I had baptized in my own name.

16. Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas. Besides, I do not know whether I baptized any other.

17. For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.

*There has probably never been a Christian who loved lost people more than Paul. If baptism was required for salvation, do you think Paul ever would have been content to not baptize? I've got to say no.

*Also remember the wonderful story of the Philippian jailer who got saved in Acts 16. Paul and Silas had been beaten and thrown into the inner prison after Paul cast a demon out of a fortune-telling girl. There they were praising the Lord at midnight, when God sent a miraculous earthquake that opened all the doors and loosed the prisoners’ chains.

*When the jailer saw that scene, he was about to kill himself, because the penalty for losing his prisoners was death. Then in Acts 16:28-31:

28. Paul called with a loud voice, saying, "Do yourself no harm, for we are all here."

29. Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.

30. And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

31. So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household."

32. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.

33. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

34. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

*The newly saved jailer wanted to be obedient to Jesus, and that's why the jailer was baptized. Again in vs. 33, "He took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized."

*Those baptisms were acts of obedience from people who were already saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The jailer and his family did not get baptized in order to be saved. They got baptized, because they already were saved.

*My mentor, Pastor Herman Savoie, made a great point years ago when he said: "If the jailer needed to be baptized in order to be saved, then he surely would have been baptized before he washed their stripes."

*Christians: We are baptized because of what has already taken place. Baptism is a public witness of the salvation we have already received by grace through faith in Christ. We are also baptized because Jesus told us to be baptized, and we want to be obedient. But many Christians believe that Jesus was talking about water baptism here in John chapter 3.

2-OTHERS BELIEVE THAT JESUS WAS USING WATER AS A SYMBOL OF THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

*This theory is certainly possible, because Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to water in John 4. Remember that the Lord was talking to the woman He met at the well in Samaria. And in John 4:10, Jesus told her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.''

*Then in John 4:13-14, Jesus:

13. . . answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again,

14. but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.''

*And John 7:37-39 tells us:

37. On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.

38. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.''

39. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

*When Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, some believe the Lord was using water as a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

3-OTHERS BELIEVE JESUS WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW GOD'S WORD WORKS IN OUR HEARTS.

*This possibility also makes sense. In Ephesians 5, Paul compared the relationship between husbands and wives to the relationship between Christ and the Church.

*And in vs. 25-27, Paul said this to husbands:

25. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it,

26. that He might sanctify and cleanse it WITH THE WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD,

27. that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.

*When the Lord was talking to Nicodemus, some believe Jesus used water as a symbol of how God's Word works in our hearts.

4-ANOTHER POSSIBILITY IS THAT JESUS USED WATER TO REFER TO THE FIRST BIRTH: THE PHYSICAL BIRTH.

*That makes sense to me, because it fits Nicodemus's question in vs. 4. It also fits what Jesus said in vs. 6. Please listen to vs. 4-6 again:

4. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into HIS MOTHER'S WOMB and be born?''

5. Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

*In Psalm 139:13-14, King David said this to the LORD:

13. . . You have formed my inward parts; You have covered me in my mother's womb.

14. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

*We truly are fearfully (or "reverently") and wonderfully made! And part of the wonder is that while we are in our mother's womb, we are covered and protected by amniotic fluid. We all floated in this watery fluid, and it constantly circulated as we swallowed it and breathed it in too.

*The amniotic fluid helped in several crucial ways. It allowed us to move in the womb, which promoted proper bone growth. It also helped our lungs to develop properly. And it protected us from outside injuries by cushioning sudden blows or movements. It makes sense then that the water here in John 3 could be talking about the first birth. This way, each of those three verses would be comparing the first birth to the second birth. (4)

*To sum it up, the water could be talking about God's Spirit, the water could be talking about God's Word, and the water could be talking about the first birth. All three of those interpretations have some validity. And just like Nicodemus, we will face some mysteries when it comes to God.

*But this much is absolutely sure: "You must be born again!"

*In the Old Testament, people were saved by God's grace through faith in the promise of the coming Messiah. But 2,000 years ago, the promised Messiah did come, and His name is Jesus Christ. Now "you must be born again" by believing in Jesus, and no one can possibly be saved without being born again.

[2] THANK GOD WE DON'T JUST HAVE MYSTERIES OF THE SPIRIT, WE ALSO HAVE THE MOVING OF THE SPIRIT!

*Jesus talked about this moving in vs. 8, where He said, "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.''

*God's Holy Spirit blows like the wind in our hearts. He wants to move us to new places in life. And the Lord showed us how over in John 16:7-14. There Jesus called His Spirit a name that means "Helper," "Comforter" or "Counselor."

*And Jesus said this to His disciples:

7. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.

8. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

9. of sin, because they do not believe in Me;

10. of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;

11. of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

12. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

13. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.

14. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you."

CONCLUSION:

*The Holy Spirit is still moving in the world today, seeking to convict people of their sins and of God's coming judgment on sin. But the most important work of God's Spirit is to point people to God's Son, Jesus Christ.

*Jesus came into the world to die on the cross for all our sins, and three days later He rose again from the dead. Now our Risen Savior is able and willing to save anyone who will put their trust in Him. So, call on the Lord to save you. Then do everything you can to help more people believe, because everybody needs Jesus Christ!

(1) BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES - NEW TESTAMENT by William Barclay - Revised Edition - Copyright 1975 - First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - "The Man Who Came by Night" - John 3:1-6)

https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/john-1.html

(2) Ravi Zacharias in DELIVER US FROM EVIL - Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership - Source: The Bible Illustrator, Topic: Christ - Subtopic: Suffered and Died - Index: 3367 - Date: 6/1998.1419 - Title: "Knowing the Cost"

(3) Sources:

WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Archibald Thomas (A. T.) Robertson - Published in 1930-1933 - John 3:5

http://christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/6524/what-does-it-mean-to-be-born-of-water-in-john-35

http://www.gotquestions.org/baptism-John-3-5.html

(4) https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002220.htm

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