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September 12, 2020 3:00 pm
You pick up your Bible and wondered, is there more here than meets the eye. Is there something here for me. I mean it's just words printed on paper right well it may look like just print on the page but it's more than Inc. join us for the next half hour, as we explore God's word together as we learn how to explore it on our own. As we ask God to meet us there in its pages welcome to more than Inc. you know, I would say no. I would run screaming for babies and has no point in any way has no point. But today John three the guy that Jesus talked to asked that very question.
So let's find out why he must be born again today on more than Inc. come back to more than Dorothy excited that you're back with this is taking a walk to John and I were asked just doing exploration as we go.
John three this last week so you could compare your notes with our notes and our questions with your questions and means you will get to. I imagine that as you read it this week you might have recognized a few things. Yeah, this is this contains probably some of the most famous verses of the entire New Testament most quoted the one to the most referenced in the end zones in NFL football game is waiving those big black or dry. Note the context of this right you do now. If you read John three so we are going to read this beginning section of Nicodemus in John three, and then I went back and talk about it some and just see exactly what's there so so as we come into John three we come in with this guy.
Nicodemus is a very highly placed well guy you start reading it as we need to kind of remind people of the context because what Jesus had just done in Jerusalem was marching to the temple and cast out those the moneychangers and the people who were cheating people to make sure that they had their appropriate offering and him and he said you know destroy this temple, and I'll raise it up in three days they said to give you the authority to do what you're doing and that's what he said in John says you know you made my father's house which should be house of prayer.
You've made it a den of iniquity made it a place of cheating people and setting up obstacles for people, so he had just done that which is wet. Probably precipitated Nicodemus's visit and probably need to know that we don't know if Nicodemus actually saw that happen, but it's it's highly likely well if you had seen it.
He heard about it because he was a Pharisee so he they would've been talking about it. He's just probably curious who this guy is since Jesus did cause a ruckus. Nicodemus decides is probably wiser to do this under the cloak of dark and pink openly associated with this guy who just turned Irving upside down town before something so just occurred to me recently that when it says Nicodemus came to them by night. Very likely it was because they were camping outside Jerusalem. And so Jesus wasn't just that not there in the dark by campfire by himself. The guys were with him so John and the others probably witnessed this conversation even though John doesn't tell us exactly know they were there, but it's very likely because they would've made camp and Nicodemus would've come sneaking out of the dark so he wouldn't be seen by anybody who would suspect that II tend to speculate that it was private though you think you think that well because he takes them to task pretty in your face, which is a bit embarrassing and the apostles will go well liked it does to me that you this is not back from embarrassed so people by this is early in the meta-stress as his head down okay so we know that for sure.
But we are using our imaginations to consider what Mike and I just read. Let's read this to see what it is. So I'm reading out of the English standard version. Okay and we chapter 3 verse one. Now there's a Pharisee, a man and Nicodemus who was a member the Jewish ruling council and he came to Jesus at night and said Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who is come from God, for no one could perform the signs you're doing.
If God were not with him. Jesus replied will very truly, I'll tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. How can someone be born when they are old Nicodemus asked Shirley they cannot enter a second time into their mother's womb to be born. Jesus answered very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the spirit flesh gives birth to flesh, but the spirit gives birth to spirit should not be surprised at my saying you must be born again.
The wind blows wherever it pleases you here at sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it's going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit will how can this be Nicodemus asked like a very open and honest question figured out yet is okay for stencil what you are Israel's teacher said Jesus and do you not understand these things very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know when we testify to what we have seen, but you still but still you people do not accept our testimony. I've spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe, how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things no one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man, just as Moses lifted up the snake and the debt in the wilderness so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only son. This is the verdict light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be playing semi-seen plainly that what they've done has been done in the sight of God's doctor what did you hear in this clandestine time in secret meeting between this powerful man from the Jewish ruling council and Jesus himself. In fact, more my more my best questions. Why put myself Nicodemus's shoes. I asked myself what is he really asking her as his question seem to be kind of vague willing to even ask a question first.
As he says we really do know that nobody can do what you're doing unless he has the authority of God break. He doesn't really ask him a question he just opens the conversation right and only says you're from God. Frank says we really, really started to know that you're probably from God so so so I don't think you know that has to know it's me. My next question. If I was Nicodemus was so what's your plan and where you going to what's laid out for me but it doesn't do that, just as you from God. Take it right so then Jesus was Mawhinney well yes because where where on earth does this statement come from.
Truly I say to you, unless one's born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Well, the Jews were all about the kingdom and getting the kingdom back in bringing in the kingdom right. They were actually looking for a Messiah who would be a strong political leader and return them to their political glory that they knew under the kingship of David Wells and then the Jews. They themselves especially guy like Nicodemus presume that because of their lineage. There bloodline. They were in. That's right kingdom here. Just a says will know you gotta be born again right. You gotta do what you know what when we were born. We immediately of course, think of a baby being born.
But what is really happening when something is born. It being enters a new life right right separates from its mother and begins to do life differently then then it new life before some way in which you get a start over start over. A newborn baby has no resources has no ability to do anything for itself being born is helpless yeah and you know, for someone who's lived a relatively inconsequential life for like where I was when I was seven years old or something you know if you see him start over, shrug your shoulders and I woke I can start before someone's accomplished like Nicodemus. As you know, a member of the Jewish ruling council. This guy is worked his way up into a very high position.
He's got a lot to lose if you say go back to beginning and start over, so I'm sure when he hears this. He's thinking warm accomplished when you have to start over. What is it mean to be born again. What's that all about. So in one in just one sentence. Jesus has has hooked to this guy's presumption of the kingdom of heaven came of God and his participation and just got Rick as you do this born again thing. So what is that all about. So yes, a very obvious question. How can someone be born with a rope is a good question right and Jesus answer as well. Were not talking just about this this silly thought of going back in your mother's womb and coming out again were talking about a spiritual rebirths is that which is born of the water where the flesh is flesh, that which is born of the spirit is spirit. So he says this is that this is a spiritual rebirth right so in a way it's not starting over from where you read it starting over in a new place and perhaps in an invisible way is amazing to do with your body. It has to do with your spirit right so could he be saying Nicodemus is saying to him, so this gave you saying that what I've accomplished in my human life is irrelevant to what I need to accomplish in my spiritual and since I haven't gotten there. I need to start over virtual life. So it's like a apparel tracking away and you don't move many discussions with the Jews without Paul had as well and was also the Old Testament got tried to keep telling them okay we can talk about your physical accomplishments.
We talked about you not eating food and stuff like that we could talk about circumcision, but will we get down to we need to talk about the circumcision of the heart.
The inside part so there actually is a second track of where you need to be has nothing to do with the physical outside has to completely with your insides and I and I think that's what Jesus hinting back to Nicodemus right.
Here's a man there's a whole part of you that's completely then neglected and you have to start it started he's doing more than hinting to see the kingdom. You are not going to perceive it. You're not going to understand what the kingdom consists of right you don't yet have any sensory perception of the kingdom.
Being a spiritual kingdom not an earthly kingdom. Right to Henry resetting. He is resetting Nicodemus's thoughts completely and you know John places this conversation way close to the book because he had included this idea of becoming being born again back in his introduction, when he says back in chapter 1, as many as received him right those ones he gave the right to be around children of God to be essentially be born again. Those who believe in his name who were born, not of the blood, nor of the will of the flesh as well man born of God. So here is John giving us an actual conversation where Jesus says that very thing.
This is a direct follow-up with this. This rebirth kind of thing so it's so disorienting to Nicodemus. I mean, I get I feel for the guy I really really feel for the guy because I think what he's asking his head as a good Jew is will just tell me what I need to accomplish what I do not do. And Jesus is that he's he's he's giving them less than that in fact he gives in this sort of anyone put it, destabilizing, and about the wind.
So basically you know how how do you get born again voices the wind blows were once to yeah I know what that's about here at sound donor comes from. So is everyone born of the spirit and so is question himself.
Nicodemus is so what do I do it for the window well you know you can't see the wind you just see the effects of it is that perhaps the picture that Jesus is pencil is trying to fake but think about the think about how put Nicodemus in this totally powerless position right some this was to wait until this on on in this hello hello hello is that is that what you're talking about how my supposed to be born of the spirit and Jesus is willing to blow you go blow lately with Vince as well. How can that be. I time I drift easily lost this diversity in conversation and I think we can learn a lot from just watching how Jesus engages in conversation with people who come to him.
He asks them questions he listens to their answer and then he very often gives them a question back or response was something that it's not an answer that they can just say okay I'm good that's good but way they pulls them on into a deeper understanding. Yeah, even when he just says hey just in the kingdom of God to be born again, what does that by the way, at this point in the gospel. That's a completely new terms of the ideas I mean is like did this. It has been not been introduced to you know all the one chapter 1 he started into the fact that you know your were coming from a different origin. Talk about spiritual but still, although there had been John the Baptist had been baptizing and at that point a significant to being baptized was going to being washed away and saying I'm ready to begin life a different way.
I'm ready to live a life of repentance start.
So starting over so that idea was out there, but suddenly Jesus frames it in this very, very human way, exactly what now and and you know it, as we admire how Jesus engages with admin. Nicodemus is comes up with the will.
How can this be lost here, man, this is a very compassionate thing Jesus does next. He knows that this guy knows the Old Testament right. He knows the will to write and and to be frank, and he should know more about what Jesus is talking about but he doesn't.
So Jesus leads them back to the Old Testament gives him an examples want to tell us when he takes it back to NY well. Jesus said now you want to know this. Just like Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up well for us were like will why but here's where the steady skill that we want to talk about today comes in and that is checking out your cross-references because if you have a Bible with cross-references or references in the column or down the center is parallel be at this point somewhere close to John Fortner first 14 referenced in Numbers 21, nine, and were just an attorney or not a street for you quickly, because it takes place on the Israelites were in the wilderness, but it's in numbers, so it's a lesser red book. But the Jews are familiar with. This is centuries and centuries yeah couple thousand years so that the people were once again as always grumbling and unhappy and Moses and the people spoke again to God and Moses, why have you brought us out of Egypt to die in the wilderness for there's no food, no water, and we loathe this miserable okay the miserable food. They were talking about was the man that God was providing okay it's like this else you. Here's the part that Jesus is referring to. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people so that many of the people of Israel died to the people came to Moses and said we send because we've spoken against the Lord and you intercede with the Lord that he may remove the serpents from us. And Moses interceded for the people and the Lord said to Moses, make a fiery serpent, and set it on standard and it shall come about that everyone who is bitten when he looks at it, shall live. And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard and it came about that if a serpent bit any man when he looked to the bronze serpent. He lived. That's the story that Jesus is talking about when he says to Dimas. Just like Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up right. You gotta think Nicodemus was his brain was spinning tight little facile wheels away. Wait, what happened there for P what happened to the way that part that the service didn't stop biting when the people looked to that bronze serpent on the pole. They were healed of the poisonous effect of the death that would have ensued from the serpent by oh is very theology here. Yeah, that was a real story that happened to the Israelites in the wilderness. Jesus asked it all pointed to me just like that. I will be lifted up, and anyone who looks to me believing that my death represents. There's will not die from the effect of their sin. That's what he's saying he's expecting Nicodemus to understand that because ending is on Sessa and whoever believes in him may have eternal life. This is our 16 now for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life, and this is all an answer to the end of her say so is everyone is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus does know so how are you born in the spirit he's telling one long extended thing here with how did they get saved in the desert from the snakes and serpents to know how the pelican stuff happened. You had to lift up the bronze serpent so I don't really think Nicodemus even caught this to me this is a ton of connections back we will test Jesus is assuming that he will yeah I know but he's he's pinning the entire the bigger picture about how you get born of this has to do with looking on the source of your salvation, which is believing, and believe. Believing in course we did mention about when we say the Son of Man must be lifted up of caulk he's talking up in the flip on the cross.
He is and and then metaphorically for us to look on him and believe that in looking on him we find salvation, just like they did in the desert right yeah and we we know that Jesus was looking at the resurrection or the crucifixion.
When you said lifted up because he says that John will develop this for us. Later in his gospel, and it will come back a number of times Jesus will say when the sun is manna skews me when the Son of Man is lifted up certain things will happen. You'll understand certain things will see certain things so will see John developing this idea Jesus said in later chapters and end at the end of this section, we read Jesus introduces also very troubling statement about condemnation because up to now talk about salvation. We get all that. That's all highly beneficial but but he says you note for those who don't believe condemnation is coming their way. In 18 whoever believes is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned because they have believed in the name of God when only son so it's not only is not just an option of saying why you know, do I believe Jesus is there's consequences to not believing yes and so he introduces Ike is the first time.
This is come up in the narrative that you know there's there's two paths in front of us.
One of them will lead to condemnation and it has entirely to do with who we think Jesus is if we don't believe who is saying he is were condemned and that's that's really sober and cut a statement right here in the middle of such good news of writing say that those in the words of Jesus.
He says if you don't believe who I am.
You are condemned already. Yeah exactly so so were you know this isn't just a nice benefit. This is this is a two-edged sword.
In many respects and and Jesus says it has nothing to do with how you're accomplishing the law where the reading. You know, pork or not has nothing right. It has everything to do with who do you say that I am in this the first time this will be emphasized. All through the whole book. But remember John's purpose in writing the book is to convince us of who Jesus is and that's going to become and become more and more unfolded. The chapters go on. By the time we get to chapter 5 and six. The conversations Jesus is having with people are very confrontational, very pointed and it's about who you it's about who he is. It's all about his identity and so this is very early in the biography of Jesus that John's trying to tell us look this is my purpose that you will know who this guy is and this is important because if you get this wrong use you stand condemned right if you get it right, then you are a child of God in your in the kingdom of God. So he completely re-paints a picture from from Nicodemus's perspective about what it takes to be a partaker in the kingdom of God is just totally different than he was ever everything effect if you get to the end of this chapter coming outside the Nicodemus passage. That's all. John even closes the whole chapter right right and it's after a John the Baptist discussion and so John many people think that John himself added versus 31 to 36 is the narrative, but his own his own commentary take on what you're reading right now. Right.
Those together so that just from picking up about verse 33, he was received his witness.
That's John the Baptist witness. He was received. This witness has sent us into this, that God is true. So John the Baptist is saying one who sent me is true, this time on the forerunner for he, God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the spirit without measure. I would let freely and generously. The father loves the son and is given all things into his hand. He who believes in the son has eternal life, but he who does not obey the son believe the son shall not see life even perceive life, but the wrath of God abides on him. The wrath of God abides on depending only on who you say Jesus is and you believe his own claims about himself that has everything to do with this living word of God becoming flesh to fully reveal the grace and truth of who God is, to make that known to us. And if you say no to that. Then there is no other option for life. That's the message of the gospel. That's right. So when John opened it, we know that in the beginning was the word and you know the word becomes flesh molecular stock then you sibling K a IL believe it's a good idea, but he saying is not just a good idea. It's it's everything because your you stand condemned. If you reject Jesus as is the word made flesh or your in the kingdom.
If you accept who he is and and and the only issue is belief. Isn't that amazing believing in who he is not just believing that he was born when you're talking you met him and talk to him just a historical God, but that he actually knowing that he is God in the flesh right fully revealing the word made flesh fully revealing God, making him understandable to us. Let's let's just look quickly at what Peter says because Jesus is not the only one who said you must began to get up, Peter uses this phrase twice in in his first letter, and I just read it the first time was in chapter 1 he says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. She has caused us from death to life. God has caused us to be born again and then he he uses this this phrase again that toward the close. It was first chapter and verse 23 says, for you have been born again, not of seed which is perishable, but is perishable, that is the living and abiding word of God.
We are born again through the living and abiding word of God and the living word of God with Jesus God in the flesh became flesh and dwelt among us might be begin to put those things together is the living word of God in the person of the son of God causes us to be born again right so grandma time again. I know it. At this point, we know that we need to be born again. We know that something God accomplishes something that was written first Peter 123 that he does through Christ. So come back next week. Chapter 4.
See you next week