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We Can Always Trust in the Lord!

The Gospel of John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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1. Trust Jesus with elusive things (vs. 9-11). 2. Trust Jesus with earthly things (vs. 12). 3. Trust Jesus with eternal things (vs. 12-15).

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We Can Always Trust in the Lord!

The Gospel of John

John 3:9-15 (Reading vs. 1-15)

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - May 25, 2016

(Revised July 10, 2019)

BACKGROUND:

*Tonight, we continue our verse by verse study of John Chapter 3, and we will take a close look at vs. 9-15. But for context, let's begin by reading vs. 1-15. And as we read, please think about the great truth that we can trust God with everything in our lives.

MESSAGE:

*I like Elton Trueblood’s definition of faith. He said, "Faith is not belief without proof, -- but trust without reservation." (1)

*Trusting God: That’s a great thing to do, because He is always worthy of our trust! And the truth is that trusting God is the most important thing we can ever do in life.

1. TONIGHT'S SCRIPTURE REMINDS US THAT WE CAN TRUST GOD WITH ELUSIVE THINGS.

*We can and we should trust in the Lord Jesus even in times when we are confused by Christ. Last week in vs. 3-4, Nicodemus was puzzled by what the Lord said.

*In vs. 3, Jesus said this to Nicodemus: "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Then in vs. 4, Nicodemus asked, "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 did not understand, and Jesus began to explain how to be born again. But Nicodemus still didn't understand, so in vs. 9-11:

9. Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?''

10. Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

11. Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.

*Nicodemus did not understand at first, and sometimes we will be just as confused. We won't always understand what God is doing in our world or in our lives. When we think about all of the evil flourishing today, when we think about our family and friends going through troubles, and when we think about those babies in our community battling cancer, there is so much that we don't understand. But we can always trust in the Lord!

[1] WE CAN TRUST JESUS BECAUSE OF HIS WALK.

*Jesus knows what it's like to be in our shoes. He knows the pain of our grief and troubles. Isaiah 53:3 gives this prophetic description of our Savior: "He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him."

*Jesus also knows the pain of our confusion. One of the most memorable things the Lord said on the cross is in Matthew 27:46. There Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?''

*Of course, the Lord knew why He was suffering and dying on the cross. It was for our sins. That's why He was temporarily forsaken by the Father. But our wonderful Savior was so willing to identify with us that He subjected Himself to the same kind of confusion we go through.

*It's summed up in the question "Why?" Why is this terrible thing happening to me? Why did I lose my job? Why did I get sick? Why is my family member sick? Why did that wreck happen? Why did they die so soon? Why is my family messed up?

*It must be okay for us to ask why, because Jesus asked why on the cross, and He never did anything wrong. The problem with asking why is that many times we won't get an answer in this world. That's why a wise man once said a better question is, "What now?" "What should I do now, Lord?" And one of the best things we can do is keep trusting in the Lord! Keep trusting Jesus even when we don’t understand.

[2] WE CAN ALWAYS TRUST JESUS BECAUSE OF HIS WALK, AND BECAUSE OF HIS WISDOM.

*Nicodemus' confusion in these verses reminds us that our knowledge is always incomplete. In vs. 10, Jesus used a simple question to help Nicodemus see his limitations. Jesus asked, "Are you the teacher (or master) of Israel, and do not know these things?" Jesus wasn't trying to embarrass Nicodemus. Instead, He was trying to help Nicodemus trust in the Lord.

*We all need to learn our limitations, especially when we compare ourselves to God. That way we will begin to look to the Lord for the wisdom we need. And we can always trust God because He does know! His wisdom is infinite!

*The Lord affirmed this truth in vs. 11 where Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, 'We speak what We know and testify what We have seen. . .'" Our three-in-one God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit knows all and sees all.

*God's Word reminds us of this great truth in Scriptures like Isaiah 46:9-10, where the Lord said:

9. Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,

10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure."

*Another great example is Isaiah 55:6-9, where God's Word says:

6. Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.

7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

8. "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,'' says the Lord.

9. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."

*And in Romans 11, Paul quoted several Old Testament Scriptures, as he wrote down these great words of praise:

33. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

34. "For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?''

35. "Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?''

36. For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

[3] WE CAN ALWAYS TRUST JESUS BECAUSE OF HIS WALK, AND BECAUSE OF HIS WITNESS.

*Again in vs. 11 Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, 'We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.''

*Tragically, many people won't receive the Lord's witness, but Nicodemus eventually did. And we must receive the Lord's His witness too! So put your trust in the Lord. Then keep trusting in the Lord when things happen that you don't understand.

*And keep trusting in the Lord when you face problems that you can’t seem to solve. One way or another, most everybody will face nagging problems like that. No matter how hard we try, nothing seems to work.

*Some of us have been struggling with the same problem for months, or even years. But we must keep trusting in the Lord God Almighty. As Proverbs 3:5-6 says:

5. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;

6. in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

2. WE CAN TRUST THE LORD WITH ELUSIVE THINGS, AND TRUST HIM WITH EARTHLY THINGS.

*In vs. 12, Jesus said this to Nicodemus: "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" We should trust in the Lord when He tells us about earthly things, like the main thing Jesus told Nicodemus: "You must be born again."

*Here are some other "earthly things" Jesus said that deserve our total trust:

*In Matthew 6:6, Jesus said, "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly."

*In Matthew 6:33: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

*In Matthew 7:7-11, Jesus gave us these great promises:

7. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

8. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."

9. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

10. Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent?

11. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!"

*Earthly things: In John 14:18, Jesus promised: "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."

*In Matthew 18:18-20, Jesus said:

18. "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

19. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.

20. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.''

*1 John 1:8-9 says:

8. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

*And in Philippians 4:19, Paul said: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."

*We could go on and on about all the earthly things God has promised to us. We can trust Jesus with our finances, our families, our health, and more. We can trust Jesus Christ with all of our earthly things!

*He has promised this in His Word, and He has proved it in our lives. There are countless testimonies Christians can give that prove how God has watched over us, guided us, protected us and provided for us.

*One example I can give you starts with a silly question: Do you ever hold your breath when you are riding in the car? Years ago, the kids and I would do it as a game, to see who could hold their breath the longest. And even when they got older, we still tried to hold our breath when we crossed over the Mississippi River at Vicksburg.

*Back when we were at Emmanuel Baptist Church, a young lady came up to me after church one day. Her name was Kim. And she asked me that same question I just asked you: "Do you ever hold your breath when you're riding in the car?"

*Then Kim went on to tell me about the time she started holding her breath in the car. She used to drive a long way to work, and that's when she would practice holding her breath. This went on for months, and she didn't understand it, and she felt silly about it, but the more she played the game, the longer she could hold her breath.

*Then one day, Kim lost control of her car, and wound up upside down in a lake. But you know what? As the car began to fill with water, Kim did not panic. She thought, "Hey, I know how to hold my breath." And she did hold her breath until she got out of the car, and back to the surface.

*God wanted Kim to know, and He wants us to know that we can trust Him with all our earthly things.

3. WE CAN TRUST THE LORD WITH EARTHLY THINGS, AND TRUST HIM WITH ETERNAL THINGS.

*I'm talking about the heavenly things Jesus mentioned in vs. 12. Again, Jesus said this to Nicodemus, "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"

*Then in vs. 13, the Lord reminds us that He is the best person in the universe to tell us about eternal things. In vs. 13 Jesus said, "No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven."

*Nobody could possibly know more about Heaven than the God-man Jesus Christ, because that's where he came from. Heaven is His home. And while the Lord stood there with Nicodemus, Jesus was still so close to the Heavenly Father that the Lord could say that right then He was still in Heaven.

*It's the same truth Jesus pointed out in John 10:30 when He said, "I and My Father are one.'' This is also the same truth Jesus pointed out on the night before the cross. In John 14:6-11, Jesus said:

6. . . "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

7. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.''

8. Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.''

9. Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

10. Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

11. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves."

*While Jesus was on earth, He was one with God the Father by the Holy Spirit of God. That's why in John 14:16-17, Jesus could say:

16. . . "I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper (or Comforter), that He may abide with you forever,

17. even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

*And in John 14:23, Jesus said: "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."

*While Jesus was on earth, He was one with God the Father by the Holy Spirit of God. That was always so, except for one time, and that was when Jesus was dying on the cross for our sins. That's why in Matthew 27:46, "Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?' that is, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'''

*But nobody could ever possibly know more about Heaven than Jesus Christ, so He can certainly tell us about heavenly things. And of course, the most important heavenly thing from our point of view is how to get there!

*Jesus shows us how in vs. 14-15:

14. . . As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

15. that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

*Nicodemus was totally familiar with the Lord’s comparison in vs. 14, and this Old Testament story in found in Numbers 21:4-9. There the Word of God is talking about Moses and the Children of Israel.

*After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, it was almost time for the Children of Israel to go into the Promised Land. But the Children of Israel were still mumbling and grumbling against Moses and against God! Listen to what happened starting in Numbers 21:4:

4. Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by the Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.

5. And the people spoke against God and against Moses: "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.''

6. So the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.

7. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you; pray to the Lord that He take away the serpents from us.'' So Moses prayed for the people.

8. Then the Lord said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.''

9. So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.

*Look and live! That was the only hope for the Children of Israel who had been bitten by those fiery serpents. And it's the only hope for people today!

*Fourteen hundred years before Jesus was born, God gave an Old Testament picture of what Jesus Christ was going to do on the cross for us. The holy, holy, holy Son of God was going to become like a hated, dead snake on a pole for our sins. That why in vs. 14, Jesus said: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up."

*And we know that Jesus was talking about the cross. A. T. Robertson explained that John used this original word four times in his Gospel, and every time "lifted up" was talking about the cross.

*For example, in John 8:28, Jesus said to them, "When you LIFT UP the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things."

*And listen to what happened just a few days before the cross. Starting in John 12:26, Jesus said:

26. "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.

27. Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

28. Father, glorify Your name.'' Then a voice came from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.''

29. Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him.''

30. Jesus answered and said, "This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake.

31. Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

32. And I, if I am LIFTED UP from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.''

33. This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

*Now back to John 3:14-15. Jesus said:

14. . . As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,

15. that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

*Look and live! Getting to Heaven is all about believing in Jesus Christ! It's all about trusting in the Lord for salvation, trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ who was lifted up on the cross for us!

CONCLUSION:

*We can always trust in God! So, trust Jesus with the elusive things in your life, the things you don’t understand, the things you can’t fix. And trust Jesus with the earthly things in your life. God has promised to meet every need we will ever have, and He will keep His Word.

*Most of all, trust Jesus with the eternal things in your life. He is the only way to be saved, the only way to have your sins forgiven, and the only way to live in Heaven forever.

*As we go back to God in prayer, trust in the Lord with all your heart.

(1) D. Elton Trueblood, late Christian author - "Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2" - Source: The Bible Illustrator, Topic: Trust - Subtopic: In God - Index: 1214-1218 - Date: 7/1998.1155 - Title: "True Faith"

(2) WORD PICTURES IN THE NEW TESTAMENT by Archibald Thomas (A. T.) Robertson - Published in 1930-1933 - John 3:14

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