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Nic at night meets Jesus the light

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  Welcome – Turn to Jo 2 – bibles?

As the holidays are nearing please keep inviting friends, neighbors, co-workers to church

Join us on Thursday nights as we are wising up in Proverbs – Rob Cooper “Summons to obey” (7:1-5)

If you are visiting welcome – we are currently studying the Life of Jesus in Hi-Def – chronological study

We have seen thus far his birth, youth, baptism, temptation, first miracle and cleaning house in the temple

This morning we will look at Ch 2:23-3:21

KIM: The chapter divisions and verses are not inspired – added later to help people find passages easier

But this story I entitle “Nick at night meets Jesus the light”

It is the key passage in the bible that describes how Christians are born-again  “from above”

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Satan has been trying to devalue this term for a long time. We hear this term in songs likened to falling in love or getting a cheap thrill. Nice songs perhaps but it still cheapens the term – Because it defines the one thing that no other cult or false religion can offer. How you can “know” you are saved! Saved from what?

Well...I’m getting ahead of myself

Many grow up in a religious background and are not born-again – so it’s not joining a religion or sect

It’s not reading books that claim inner peace within thru breathing techniques or books on controversial beliefs on Jesus, secret handshakes, how many houses you go to, how much literature you hand out,  learning the Secret of none of this saves you, and none of this assures you of anything – Jesus gives us the sure way in our story

A highly educated leader in Jerusalem was hearing about the signs of Jesus - He was a wealthy & prominent man named Nicodemus. His name means “conqueror of the people.”  - He was a teacher, well trained in OT Scriptures & Jewish tradition; a Pharisee and member of the Jewish Sanhedrin; a council of 70 men who were granted limited power by the Roman government over religious, civil and criminal matters. The bible uses other terms to identify them like “Council, elders, scribes or rulers” – This group would be led by the standing HP.

Like many priests in Nicodemus’s day the Jewish government had become quite corrupt so perhaps when he heard about the Wedding in Cana, surely he witnessed Jesus cleansing the Temple;  he would have been there when it happened and something inside his soul agreed with these radical actions –

He knew his statement about destroying the temple was figurative but he still couldn’t figure it out –

While the other Jewish leaders put Jesus off as another rebellious zealot Nick set out on a covert mission to find out Who this Jesus was and settle some questions of his own mind. He comes at night not out of cowardice but out of having His sole attention

While the bible tells us that it’s God who draws us to the Son (Jo 6:44) he still gives us a will to choose. In Acts 17:26-27 Paul cried in reference to God “and He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth and has predetermined their pre-appointed times and their boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him though He is not far from each of us. I’m sure some of the disciples were there, maybe even John himself as Jesus takes on this curios priest who sneaks out at night to find Jesus the light.

Vs 1-4

Instead of defending His own credentials, Jesus offered Nicodemus an eternal lesson.

Jesus gives him a direct straightforward answer but it throws Nicodemus for a loop!

Nicodemus is left challenged, stroking his beard quite puzzled so Jesus patiently takes the next approach by defining his statement using illustrations

Vs 5-8

Jesus further defines being born-again using 3 -illustrations Water, Flesh & wind.

Many interpretations are given to this but it makes the most sense that Jesus is referring to two births.

Physical birth contrasting spiritual birth.  Yet the imagery He uses is an an attempt to answer Nicodemus’ question “how can this be”?  using water which comes from above signifying the HS as well as the word of God

And then the wind- Wind is an alternate translation of the term Spirit (v. 8).

These illustrations probably speak of natural birth vs. spiritual birth –

The water breaks before we come out of the womb – born-once

The Spirit wakes the soul before we can walk in the Spirit –born-again

IOW: We have to be born once in the flesh before we can be born-again by the Spirit

Jesus used the wind as an illustration of the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Greek word translated Spirit also means "wind." As the wind seemingly blows where it wills, so the Holy Spirit sovereignly works. Likewise, no one knows the origin or destination of the wind, but everyone knows it is there. The same is true of the Holy Spirit.  Flesh cannot be made into spirit. A person must experience a spiritual rebirth

Nicodemus’ isn’t grasping this so Jesus goes into in-depth detail

Vs 9-10

Jesus is surprised because Nicodemus should have known Ez 37– Valley of dry bones

Let me read it to you – Vs 1-10

Vs 11

Again you is plural (v. 7). Jesus had others in mind beyond Nicodemus. Here Jesus rebuked not only Nicodemus, but the other Pharisees as well Jesus confronts Nic with the fact that Israel is dead spiritually and is rejecting Messiah John the Baptist was proclaiming Messiah  - They were seeing the signs of Messiah  - What else were they looking for?

Vs 12-15

This is the first time eternal life is mentioned in John's Gospel. When a person trusts Christ, they born again and receives eternal and spiritual life, God's kind of life. Earthly things refers to things that occur on earth, like the new birth (vv. 3, 5), the wind (v. 8), and perhaps miracles. Heavenly things refers to events like Christ's ascension (6:61, 62) and the coming of the Holy Spirit (16:7). Nicodemus may have believed in Jesus' miracles (v. 2); the majority of the Jewish council did not (v. 11). In v. 9, Nicodemus, referring to the new birth, asks, "How can these things be?" Here Jesus answers the question. New birth is by the Son, by the Cross (v. 14), and by faith (v. 15). Every time the words lifted up occur in the Gospel of John there is a reference to Jesus' death (8:28; 12:32, 34). When Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness (see Num. 21:9), those who looked at it lived. So it is with the Son of Man (1:51).Jesus point to Number 21 –

Vs 16-17-

The Greek word for only begotten suggests a one and only son; it does not necessarily convey the idea of a birth. For example, Isaac is called Abraham's only begotten in Heb. 11:17 and in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament (see Gen. 22:2, 12, 16), when actually Abraham had two sons: Ishmael and Isaac. The Son of God is the Father's one and only, His unique Son. Although the Father has begotten many children through the new birth (1:12, 13), none of these are exactly like Jesus Christ, the unique Son of God. His Sonship is from eternity. As the unique Son of God, He has a special glory and an unrivaled place of honor. God's love is not restricted to any one nation or to any spiritual elite. World here may also include all of creation (see Rom. 8:19; Col. 1:20). Jo 3:16 is most quoted verse of all time – But how I wish people knew Vs 17 better (RD) At His first coming, Jesus came so that the world through Him might be saved. When Jesus comes again, He will come in judgment upon those who refused His offer of salvation

Vs 18

To believe is to receive life (vv. 15, 16) and avoid judgment. A person who does not believe not only misses life, but is condemned already. The idea of believing in Jesus' name is also found in 1:12.

This is where many people misunderstand - We are not condemned if we don’t believe We are condemned already – we need help - Looking to the cross is our only escape - What if we reject it?

Vs 19 -21

Condemnation refers to the reason for judgment. The light referred to here is Jesus, the light of the world

This is the commendation - Born-again believer are open books.

They walk in the light – Their deeds prove their belief– They are doer of the word –

Mk 4:22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.  Sin is forgiven and truth is revealed How do I know I’m not born-again? This is the condemnation

I don’t want to come to the light-  -I hate the light & practice darkness

I am secretive, I fear exposure.  -Truth is hidden from me – I’m lost

People offer many excuses for not accepting Christ. Some cite the presence of hypocrites in the church. Others claim inability to believe some of the truths about Christ or the gospel. These are merely attempts to conceal a heart in rebellion against God. The ultimate reason people do not come to Christ is that they do not want to. The one who does the truth (see 1 John 1:5) is obviously already a believer because his or her deeds are done in God. Therefore, "coming to the light" is more than exercising faith. A person who comes to the light not only believes, but also openly identifies with the light so that his or her works can be seen as things done in union with God.

Tradition tells us Nicodemus was finally saved. He spoke in favor of Jesus before the Sanhedrin

John 7:45-53 – And also Jo 19:38-39 – he assisted Joseph of Arimathea with the body of Jesus; and brought a hundred pounds myrrh and aloes. Sounds pretty supportive!!

The strong young man at the construction site was bragging that he could outdo anyone in a feat of strength.

He made a special case of making fun of one of the older workmen.

After several minutes, the older worker had had enough.

"Why don't you put your money where your mouth is? I will bet a week's wages that I can haul something in a wheelbarrow over to that building that you won't be able to wheel back."

"You're on, old man," the young guy replied.

The old man reached out & grabbed the wheelbarrow by the handles. Then he turned to the young man and said, "All right. Get in."

This week was not fun – down with a nasty cough and fever but every time I get sick, I like to remind myself how quickly my health can change and how wonderful being healthy is.

But many do not really that colds are a sign that your body is fighting for you

It will fight viruses until they are gone and go into fever just to sweat them out!

It’s amazing how quickly we notice when we’re feeling better

So too with sin, it can take anyone down and before you know it you are groaning over the repercussions of it

But thank God we found the cure for our ills. Jesus has dealt with the terminal illness of sin but the virus still looks for any willing takers to bite its bait. And when those willful sins put us on a sick bed of condemnation, shame and guilt. God’s love and righteousness goes on the attack causing us to long for spiritual health again. We begin to cough up the junk, to feel the heat of His love burning out the guilt, shame and condemnation. It’s difficult yes, there’s nothing we can do about the virus we accepted but after some time of thinking straight, longing for spiritual health we start feeling better

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