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Today on Fellowship in the Word pastor Bill Gebhardt challenges you to become a fully functioning follower of Jesus Christ to Jesus wants to make a point here and you want to be as clear as it can getting right with God is God's work. It's not yours. Is he getting right with God is only something God can do, not you for joining us today on this additional fellowship number pastor Bill Gebhardt Fellowship in the Words the radio ministry of Fellowship Bible church located in Metairie, Louisiana. Let's join Pastor Bill Gebhardt now is once again he shows us how God's word are world.
Nicodemus was an impressive man. He was one of the 6000 Pharisees guardians. The law he was one of the 70 that served on the high council that Sanhedrin of Israel, like the Supreme Court justices are to the law of our land Sanhedrin was the law of Moses his credentials trail his name like a robe behind the King, PhD, PhD and Dave. This guy had it all. Universities wanted to mourn is their board candidates wanted his endorsement conference is one of them on the platform and when it comes to religion is a superstar when it comes to the kingdom of God is on the outside looking in. He is told by Jesus Christ that God doesn't care that is one of 6000 Pharisees. God doesn't care that he's member of the 70 member Sanhedrin.
God doesn't care that he keeps the Sabbath the way Pharisees did they wrote 24 chapters of commandments on Sabbath keeping. For example, Nicodemus would have never bathed on the Sabbath because he would've been afraid that if water were splashed on the top that would be considered washing before. That's how meticulous he was and when he is told these things by Jesus Christ. He is shocked by the way religious people are always shocked by the grace of God. Open your Bibles to John chapter 3 John chapter 3, last time I began a series called conversations of Jesus and what were going to do is just look at different conversations that Jesus had with individuals and last week Jesus spent time talking to a skeptic's name was Nathaniel and the mood of that conversation was friendly. In fact, it was almost playful. This conversation is very very different begins in verse one. Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a roller of the Jews and this man came to Jesus by night. That's right, this is the first episode of Nick at night Jesus has Nicodemus come to him at night. The reason was probably clear he didn't want any of the other members of the Sanhedrin, the know he was there.
He may have represented a few others were not sure. By the way he speaks here, but he didn't want to get involved with that they had already formed an opinion about Jesus Christ and he says doing Rabbi Ramon, I we know. Notice he uses the we. He's not sure exactly how he wants to talk to Christ. We know that might mean, or other members of the Sanhedrin or other Pharisees, but he said we know that you have come from God as a teacher for no one can do the signs that you do unless God is with him. Nicodemus comes the Christ and notice his interest. At least the way he says it is simply this is what I want to know what know who you are. Who are you see he is a member Sanhedrin. He believes in the sense that Jesus answered him and so he says who are you and Jesus knows a lot more to it than that. In fact if you look at verse 24 chapter 2 it says but Jesus on his part was not entrusting himself to them, for he knew all men. Jesus always know what you are thinking Jesus note new why he came in. So Jesus isn't going to spend any time with that. You see, Nicodemus is trying to figure this out.
Jesus is teaching but he doesn't teach like they teach. He doesn't seem to be interested in what they're interested in. Nicodemus was typically religious. As I said earlier superstar religious people always feel the same way getting right with God.
As a matter of earning it.
You gotta figure out how to earn it. That's the way it works. You achieve it you do it through ceremony and ritual and morality in human goodness Nicodemus have all that more and so he makes us question and then it's stunning.
Jesus answered and said to him, truly, truly, he says that often in the book of John. A lot of times in this chapter. Amen, amen.
I don't know exactly how you translated in English it would sorta be listen up. This is really important. That's the only way I could think of it being said, he says, truly, truly, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. While so much for a nice easing into a conversation. Jesus just says it abruptly you see one of the main points of this conversation is this.
When it comes to religion, there can be no compromise. Jesus Christ will not compromise with religion and so he says truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again the word is unknown within it. Most of the time means again.
It also means from above Jesus likely means that in both ways. Here Nicodemus interpreted as again. Jesus doesn't correct that interpretation. But just imagine if you Nicodemus look at the words are used unless cannot she. Nicodemus didn't even know what born-again meant and so Nicodemus realizes Jesus just looked him in the eye, whose what you gonna find a moment, the lead teacher of the Sanhedrin. He looks him in the eye and says you're up. That's what he's doing.
Nicodemus understands that and so Nicodemus response and Nicodemus said to him, how can a man be born when he is old, he cannot enter a second time into his mother's woman be born. Kenny, please understand something. Nicodemus is brilliant is probably memorize the entire Old Testament is a brilliant man, he would not ask such a stupid question. He's not saying I was at how this works we get back in your mother's once we get to be born again is being sarcastic.
He sees fighting back. He's a man of religious power and influence.
Jesus is undaunted Jesus said to them, truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God that strike that way. It's amazing. You see, Jesus wants to make a point here and you want to be as clear as it can getting right with God is God's work.
It's not yours. Is he getting right with God is only something God can do, not you.
Remember the religious mindset is I will do enough I would jump through hoops I will go through ceremony. So do the rituals and gotta say wow that's impressive come in Jesus morning to talk about that and I guess that Nicodemus is life is exemplary not only to keep the lawn and very committed way, but I would think you would be viewed because he was elected to be with the teacher of Israel as one of the most astute man in the whole country and certainly I a morally a very very powerful individual. Jesus says here that we use is a little bit different analogies that unless one is born of water and the spirit and commentators of try to figure out what they mean by that some some imply that what Jesus meant was, unless you are baptized, and spiritually born again you will not see the kingdom of God. I don't believe that would even be remote chance. First of all, baptism in the sense of Christianity.
Dining occurred in acts chapter 2. Secondly, the baptism of John would not in any sense. Jesus would not want to add a religious ritual waste talking a religious man that's exactly the point is not making others of said enter some strength in this argument that what he is talking about here is natural birth and then spiritual birth. In other words, a lesser born of water naturally and then you born of the spirit supernaturally you can see the kingdom of God. It has some strength in light of what Nicodemus just said in verse four. And what Jesus is going to say in verse six that has a weakness, though, and the weakness to it is, why would Jesus argue for natural birth and leisure naturally want more.
Anyone you're talking to was naturally born there something else that might be going on here and I think it's going to be strengthened when Jesus confronts that Nicodemus should've known better replace her with go with me back to Ezekiel chapter 36 Ezekiel chapter 36 the remember I told you Nicodemus is likely memorize the entire Old Testament. There were probably not be a place where you could say to him, tell me what that says name saddle. I don't know he would know Jesus that is gonna hold them accountable for this. And Jesus is going to drop in and in the imageries going to use comes from the idea that even though Israel has been so unfaithful to God throughout the centuries that in the end, through the prophets, God says I will restore Israel and there will be amazing in a kingdom that is going to happen and you find all through the prophets.
This is just a very good one for the analogy in verse 24 of Ezekiel 36 God speaking. Ezekiel writing says, for I will take you from the nations, and I will gather you from the lands and I will bring you into your own land. Notice how prophetic that is in light of the current situation the world uses and then I will sprinkle you clean. He said I will sprinkle clean water on you, there's the water and you will be clean and I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, he says, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh, and I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and he says and you will be careful to observe my ordinances done. Verse 29.
Moreover, I will save you from your uncleanliness. In other words what you're saying therein. Ezekiel was this spiritual cleansing is the water and the spiritual empowerment is the spirit notice gotchas. I'm going to do that. Why because as an unconditional covenant made for God to do it. It not only shows up in Ezekiel 36. It shows up in Ezekiel 11 Jeremiah 24 Jeremiah 31 all over the Old Testament that God is going to do this now is go back to John three when Jesus Christ is trying to tell Nicodemus assembly.
This you cannot save yourself. No one can. No one can save himself. Salvation is a thing of God. Only God can save that this point. Notice the further I is argument and he says in verse six that which is born of this flesh is flesh, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. He is saying no matter what you doing your flesh, and that's what religion is, you'll never get to the spirit you might impress other people with your flesh will never make it to the spirit. That's what he is saying all the flesh can produce is flesh salvation is totally God's work. That's extremely hard for religious person, no different today than it was Nicodemus's day the idea that weight a minute, wait a minute. What will I do it's gotta be something I do. It's a shock to religious men.
Notice he says do not be amazed why Nicodemus is jaws wide open. What the remember Nicodemus is certain he's right with God is a Pharisee. He's the teacher of Israel is a member of the Sanhedrin member. The Pharisee prayer Lord I thank you that I'm not like all these people the ideas and what he meant by that was sincerely I'm righteous.
I'm a good man, a moral and religious. I don't miss any ceremonies, festivals or sacrifices.
I do what I have to do. Religion always talks the same way you do not be amazed that I said to you must be born again, and then uses another analogy, the wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from a word. It's going so was everyone was born of the spirit. So the analogy now is in birth.
The analogy now is the idea of using wind. The analogy it's all God think of the wind we can control it. You can't summon it. You can't dismiss it is invisible, uncontrollable, irresistible and unpredictable.
Don't we know that in southern Louisiana see nets Jesus point Nicodemus. This is nothing to do with you is the God thing, born of the spirit born from above, born again, Nicodemus befuddled now says the Jesus. How can this be. This is categorically against everything I was raised categorically against everything I devoted my life to I am a religious man you see when you want to look for somebody who's really really stout in her convictions of religion on the guy. How can this be your telling me I can't earn this, you're telling me it's not deserving on my part. Not much is ever really changed.
Bob Deffenbaugh says Nicodemus is so much part of the natural religious world they cannot fathom the possibility of the spiritual or supernatural.
Nothing is changed. Jesus had enough right now he's not going to give up on Nicodemus. Jesus said to Nicodemus, are you the teacher of Israel and you don't understand this while it is in a teacher. The articles there. You are the teacher whenever the Sanhedrin was trying to settle the dispute and they talked about all these Pharisees devoted to the law they say look who's gonna be the final word here.
Nicodemus Nicodemus is the one is the custodian of the word of God in the Old Testament. He is the custodian of the law and Jesus is are you the teacher of Israel and you don't get this. Nicodemus did you ever study the covenants.
The Abraham a covenant.
The Palestinian covenant, the Davidic covenant there unconditional. God is going to fulfill those covenants no matter what because it's God's business. Nicodemus don't understand the Passover lamb. Don't you understand the provision of manna in the wilderness. Don't you understand all the prophecies of restoration don't you get it Nicodemus. How could you devote yourself to the Old Testament and not see this one word religion religion blind you to the grace of God, religion is the anesthetic that makes you immune to the real disease.
Nothing is changed. Jesus is just so straightforward with this and now the chapter changes always talked about in these first 10 verses with the sovereignty of God in salvation, but he knows what's going on in Nicodemus is headed and how each thinking as he says when my to do with this. What is our responsibility to see what is what is our responsibility. Then, do we have any. What's our responsibility in Jesus now is going to devote the rest of this discussion to man's responsibility and it's real simple. Believe that's it. Believe faith you see the one main point of this discussion is when it comes to religion. You can be no compromise.
The second one is this that when it comes the salvation it is faith and faith alone in Christ and Christ alone. That's what he's going to say that's it. There's no more discussion about anything else that's responsibility God's sovereignty and man's responsibility God's sovereignty and man's free will, inevitably, by the way, when you study the Bible, especially when you're teaching Bible studies especially also for teaching men. Somehow this really gets the men that ends up becoming a discussion point a lot.
Now pastor and just like ask a question.
It is God sovereign or do we do we have free will became while my view is that I really deny the question you just use the word or and I don't think that's what Scripture teaches. I love a John MacArthur writes about this he said when it comes to God's sovereignty in our free will.
It always runs parallel, they always run parallel. They will never come together, they will never intersect there will never be diminished legitimately. They are what they are. The fact that you don't understand how they go together only proves that you're less then you want to be. It doesn't say anything about God. Your inability to harmonize those things is a reflection of your fallenness and my fallenness. People asked me all the time, John. How do you harmonize those.
My answer is I don't and I can't.
They can't be harmonized in the human mind. But realize this, you are a puny mind and so on. My and collectively we are puny compared to the infinite, vast, limitless mind of God. He says all I can tell you is that in the word of God. These truths run parallel and the answer is to believe them both with all your heart. He says in the one divine sovereignty. It will inform your worship and the other human responsibility. It will motivate your evangelism says it well received.
But Jesus now makes the shift and when he makes the shift. It's in verse 11, he says, truly, truly, once again, amen, amen, I say to you, and then there's a little play on here you said, we speak that which we know. I just love this because my view of it is, Nicodemus came and said we have some questions for you. So Jesus said okay. Then we have some answers for you if you want to send say I say we just like you did and he says here. He said we know and we testify what we have seen you do not accept our testimony and ease enough and now he switches back and I told you these things would not believe how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things I told you earthly things and you did not believe that this point Nicodemus is unbelieving writer Jesus just went through what he did know may find it strange, but I find those two verses extremely encouraging Jesus Christ is the most persuasive powerful, competent, convincing, convincing, brilliant, clear teacher was Evelyn and he spent a conversation with Nicodemus and that we Nicodemus looked at him and said I don't believe it was Jesus talking to believe it that encourages me. If people can reject religious people can reject the grace of God. When Jesus was telling them I don't mind them rejecting it when I tell earthly things, he means the concept of birth is in earthly things such a simple thing. Then Jesus is something amazing though he goes but that's a mistake. He said in verse 13 no one has ascended into heaven, but he would descended from heaven, the Son of Man why she say that when it comes to salvation and getting right with God. There's nobody on this earth that has the authority I have nobody. No member of the Sanhedrin not to mail the great trainer of rabbis you see nobody see none of them of ascended to heaven I descended from heaven when I come in talking about how to get into heaven you to listen to me.
He said I have the authority who could speak on salvation integrated in Jesus Christ. You see, that's his point. A guy like Nicodemus is really impressed with credentials, especially religious ones. Jesus just gave his I just came from heaven, so anything that and then what a great offer uses as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man pastor broke apart on the radio ministry of fellowship in the world. If you ever missed one of our broadcast or maybe you dislike of the sum of the method one more time. Remember that you can Google a great website called one place.com that's one place.com and you can listen the Fellowship in the Word online that website you will find on with today's broadcast but also many of her previous audio programs as well at Fellowship in the Word. We are thankful for those who financially support our ministry and make this broadcast possible. We ask all of our listeners to prayerfully consider how you might help with radio ministry continuous broadcast on this radio station by supporting a monthly with just a one-time gift support for ministry can be sent to Fellowship in the Word.
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