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Summary: Questions Jesus asked - Jesus and Nicodemus. PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: gcurley@gcurley.info

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SERMON OUTLINE:

A Man Named Nicodemus:

• His Career.

• His Faith.

• His Make-up (Character).

A Discourse With Jesus.

• Authority.

• Content.

• Explanation.

• Illustration.

SERMON BODY:

Ill:

• The Greek philosopher Socrates was said to be wise,

• Not because he knew all the answers,

• But because he knew how to ask the right questions.

• TRANSITION: Jesus knew how to ask the right questions.

• As you read through the gospel accounts again and again;

• Jesus asked insightful, perceptive, discerning questions.

• These questions caused his listeners to focus on the important issues of life.

In this new series of studies:

• We are looking at some of the questions Jesus asked in the gospels:

• Tonight’s question is found in John chapter 3 verse 10:

• “‘You are Israel’s teacher,’ said Jesus, ‘and do you not understand these things?”

• Jesus confronts a religious/political leader called Nicodemus;

• Out of the four gospel writers;

• Only John records this conversation;

• And from what is discussed we get what many call the greatest verse in the Bible,

• John chapter 3 verse 16.

A Profile of the Man:

(1). His Career:

• Nicodemus was a Pharisee (vs 1).

• In the days of Nicodemus there were about 6,000 of them.

• The name 'Pharisee' meant 'separated one '.

• They were ordinary Jews and NOT Priests.

• They were more like politicians – they held the power!

• The movement started out good in about 135 BC,

• The idea was that people could be dedicated, separate to God,

• But very quickly the movement degenerated into an exclusive movement,

• That actually separated Pharisees from ordinary people.

• At the time of Jesus, most Pharisees were very impressive to look at:

• In that they were great at keeping rules and regulations and being pious.

• In fact they were experts at being religious.

• i.e. Pharisees fasted twice a week

• i.e. Pharisees tithed ten percent of their income.

• i.e. Pharisees prayed three times a day.

• i.e. Pharisees were regular attenders at the synagogue/temple.

• i.e. Pharisees had very high moral standards,

• i.e. Pharisees were strict Sabbatarian’s.

• i.e. Pharisees wore distinctive robes, which marked them out from the average person.

• i.e. Pharisees would not eat with non-Pharisees.

• i.e. Pharisees diligently studied the scriptures.

• They would not just reverence every word of the sacred text, but every letter of it!

• At the time of Jesus:

• The Pharisees had deteriorated into an exclusive religious sect;

• And sadly one of the key verses about the Pharisees in the New Testament is:

Quote: Matthew chapter 25 verses 5-6:

“Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels

on their garments long; they love the place of honour at banquets and the most important seats

in the synagogues.”

• For those of us who are Bible-believing Christians it is a healthy reminder:

• Not to fall to the temptation of outward show of religion,

• At the expense of inner reality and holiness of life.

• Having the truth, loving the truth, believing the truth;

• Is never a substitute for not practicing the ‘spirit’ of the truth!

Note: Two things:

(a). Verse 1 calls him: “A member of the Jewish ruling council”

• Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin,

• Which was the Parliament of the Jewish people:

• The Sanhedrin was a court of seventy men,

• Who had jurisdiction over every Jew in the world.

• And so they would be the equivalent of a top, powerful member of parliament.

(b). Verse 10: "You are Israel's teacher"

• That statement indicates that Nicodemus had a special status in religious circles,

• Not only was he a Pharisee, but a Pharisee at the top of his profession,

• He was ‘The Teacher’

• Therefore he commanded respect and had a special authority.

(2). His Faith.

• Pharisees believed and taught that;

• Quote: "All Israel has a share in the age to come".

• They made much of the fact that they were;

• The children of Abraham in the physical sense,

• They and they alone were Abraham's true descendants.

• And they believed that:

• Those who were born physically from Abraham's line (Jews)

• Had automatic rights into the kingdom of God.

• For a Gentile (Non-Jew) to know God:

• He had to be converted to J Judaism,

• Go through a process of becoming a Jew.

• But for Jews that was not a problem,

• Because; ''All Israel has a share in the age to come".

Quote from Pharisaical writings:

• ''Abraham sits at the gates of Gehenna (Hell),

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