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God Loves YOU!

Reasons to Believe: God Loves You!

John 3:1-21

October 3, 2021

An after dark VIP visit!

A.  Nicodemus, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews seeks out Jesus.

      1.  Since the wedding feast, Jesus was revealing Himself in ever

           widening circles. Ch. 2:23-24.

      2.  Cleansing of the Temple attracted people and the religious leaders

      3.  Nicodemus - a Greek name “victor over the people”. Jewish.

           a.  Pharisee (separatist) - a reaction to the secularistic ideas of the

                Hellenistic Greeks and the liberalism of the Sadducees.

           b.  Correct in many points of doctrine: man’s moral accountability

                Immortality and resurrection, angels, rewards, punishment.

           c.  Legalists - “they made one basic and tragic error; they

                externalized religion.” “Outward conformity to the law was far

                too often considered by them to be the goal of one’s existence”

                It was salvation by works! Righteousness obtained by works.

           d.  Ruler of the Jews - indicates that he was a member of the

                Sanhedrin and a scribe (interpreter, teacher of the law).

B. Jesus answers the real question of Nicodemus’ heart.

      1.  The signs you do point to God!   

           a.  Why come at night? 

                i.    Afraid of what others would think?  Criticized by Pharisee.

                ii.   Afraid of not understanding what Jesus was teaching.

                iii.  Jesus was too busy during the day...private audience.

                iv.  Night = the darkness of his own spiritual condition! 

           b.  Rabbi, a teacher come from God.

                i.    Rabbi - a respectful term. (although not a prophet/Messiah)

                ii.   From God because of the signs! On the right track...

      2.  Jesus answers!

           a.  There wasn't a verbalized question!  Implied...are you more?

           b.  BOOM - “unless one is born again, he cannot see the     

                kingdom of God”.  “again” = from above, from heaven. 

                Very close parallel to Matt 19:16 - Rich young ruler asked

                 “What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

           c.  Nicodemus response (v.4) “How can a man experience

                another birth in any sense whatever?” Be in the womb again?

      3.  Jesus clarifies that one must be born of the water and the Spirit!

           a.  Water and Spirit - (v.5)(see John 1:33), a purification.

                Baptized with water was an outward cleansing and a sign that

                you were changing your inward intentions, but it is not

                sufficient as it takes the “cleansing work of the Holy Spirit”!

           b.  Born of the flesh (sinful human nature) vs. Holy Spirit nature.

                Born of the flesh is spiritual death vs. Eternal life in Christ!

            c.  Don’t be amazed (v.7-8) Nicodemus was “used to the idea of

                 salvation by law-works(an action of man). Jesus is teaching

                 “that salvation is a gift of God...it is brought about by an event

                 in which man is necessarily passive.” Childbirth. Eph. 2:8-9

                 An example: the wind! (v.8) “The relation of the wind to

                 your body resembles that of the Spirit to your soul. The wind

                 does as it pleases. So does the Spirit. Its operation is sover

                 -eign, incomprehensible, and mysterious. What a lesson this

                 was for a man who had been brought up in the belief that a

                 person could and should save himself by perfect obedience to

                 the law of Moses and to a host of man-made, thoroughly

                 analyzable, human regulations.” (600+ laws, oral & written)

C. Nicodemus was struggling to understand what Jesus meant! (v.9-13)

      1.  As a teacher of Israel, Nicodemus should have grasped this.

      2.  The witness of Jesus was based on what He had known and seen.

           v. 13 - only the One who has come down from heaven can speak.

      3.  You do not accept our testimony!  (You and the Pharisees)

D.  God loves you and is willing to demonstrate His love! (v.14-21)

      1.  An Old Testament type or example: Numbers 21:4-9

           a.  Israel had sinned (again). Complained against God, Moses.

           b.  In Numbers 21 and John 3 death is the punishment for sin.

           c.  In both, God in His sovereign grace provides a remedy!

           d.  In both, remedy is something (or Some One) lifted, publically.

           e.  In both cases those who, with a believing heart, look unto that

                which is lifted up are healed. Numbers 21 physical, in John 3

                is spiritual “everlasting” life!  It is the ONLY remedy for sin.

                (2 Kings 18:4 snake destroyed because people worshipped it)

      2.  So must the Son of Man be lifted up!  “John makes it clear that

           Jesus’ return to the glory he had with the Father before the world

           began (17:5) is accomplished by being ‘lifted up’ on the cross. It

           is this exaltation that draws people to him (8:28; 12:32)

       3.  WHY lifted up? (v.15) That whomever “believes” in shall have

           eternal life. Believes “IN HIM” - confidence and trust (stretch

           out and rest). Eternal life - John 3:36 (life with God forever)

      4.  Why would God do this? LOVE for you and me! (v.16)

           God gave His only Son on the cross (the only means provided) so

           that you (and the world) would have a way (after our rebellious

           sin) to come to Him (eternally with God vs. eternally in wrath).

      5.  The choice is YOURS! It is very clear! (v.17-18)

           a.  Condemnation and judgment was not Jesus’ purpose. In the

                Jewish mind, “the day of Jehovah” was Messiah’s wrath on all

                except the Jews.  Jesus came to provide a way of salvation!

           b.  Yet, there are consequences for not coming in faith to Jesus!

      6.  Why would people reject salvation? (v.19-21) Men love their evil

           ways and are unwilling to give them up!  You choose!



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