Summary: Nicodemus was religious, moral, and active in his "church" ... yet LOST. This message focuses on those in the church who might be lost.
“A Church Member Gets Saved”
INTRODUCTION: I’m not known as a “Hell-Fire & Brimstone” preacher. If that’s what you want, I can recommend several churches in the area. In some churches, that’s what you’ll get … every Sunday. It gets old after awhile.
Every now & then, someone will write me a note on my “Vote Of Confidence”, and say that they want more sermons on salvation. I don’t have a problem with that. I know one church where the Pastor preaches salvation every Sunday. I suppose that when everybody gets saved, he’ll move on to something else. In the meantime, all the Christians in the church are suffering because they aren’t being fed (or so they have told me). ALTHOUGH, I do agree with this preacher … that a lot of Church members need to get saved. That’s what our Bible study is on this morning.
THIS MORNING, we continue in our series on great events in the life of Jesus. LAST SUNDAY MORNING we saw Jesus perform His first miracle at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee. LAST SUNDAY NIGHT we saw Jesus in Jerusalem, as He drove the merchants and money changers out of the Temple. THIS MORNING, Jesus is still in Jerusalem, where He meets up with a man named Nicodemus.
3:1 – Nicodemus was a religious Jew … a Pharisee. There wasn’t anybody more religious than the Pharisees. AND … Nicodemus was a “ruler” of the Jews, which means that he was one of their chief teachers of religion.
The Pharisees believed in all the right things. They were moral men … who obeyed the Old Testament Law to the nth degree. They believed in the inspiration of the Scriptures … in the coming of the Messiah … in miracles … in the resurrection of the dead.
3:2 – “we know” – they even believed in Jesus … mentally. See 2:23-25. They couldn’t deny the miracles.
NOTICE 2 things that Nicodemus says that they believed about Jesus:
o “come from God” – that God must have sent Him to teach the Jews.
o “God be with him” – that God was working through Him.
A lot of people believe this about Jesus … but it doesn’t mean that they are saved. Listen to how Luke describes what the demons said when Jesus was about to cast them out of a demon-possessed man – Luke 4:34 – ribbon.
They were IMPRESSED with Jesus … BUT … Jesus wasn’t impressed with them. Jesus knew their hearts – 2:24.
LESSON: You can BELIEVE all the right things … DO all the right things … SAY all the right things … and still spend eternity in the Lake of fire … BECAUSE … your heart isn’t right toward Jesus.
You can attend Church every time the doors are open … been baptized 10 times … joined every church in the county … teach a Sunday School class … sing in the choir … read your Bible and pray every day … AND STILL … have never trusted Jesus to save you from your sins. Nicodemus was convinced in his mind that Jesus was a “man of God” … BUT … it never got into his heart. He wasn’t convinced that he WAS God.
Nicodemus comes to Jesus “by night”. There’s been a lot of speculation about this. Maybe he came at night because he was scared to be seen talking to him in the daytime. I don’t think so. I think he came to Jesus at night because he wanted time alone with Jesus to talk theology … about the “Kingdom of God”.
3:3 – The Pharisees believed that God was going to establish His kingdom on this earth … and that THEY were going to rule in His kingdom. Jesus is going to set Nicodemus straight – 3:3b.
Jesus says: “Nicodemus, you’re never even going to SEE the kingdom of God … until you are born-again.”
You see, Nicodemus is interested in an EARTHLY kingdom. Jesus is interested in a HEAVENLY kingdom. If you want to enter into an EARTHLY kingdom, you have to be born PHYSICALLY. If you want to enter into a HEAVENLY kingdom, you have to be born SPIRITUALLY. You have to be “born again”.
This “born again” stuff has Nicodemus stumped.
3:4 – Ouch! Childbirth is bad enough … ONCE. AMEN, ladies? Nicodemus asks a reasonable question … if you look at birth solely from a physical perception. Jesus isn’t talking about PHYSICAL birth.
3:5 – Jesus tells Nicodemus that there are TWO births required to get into the Kingdom of God:
o “water” = physical birth … temporary.
o “spirit” = spiritual birth … eternal.
Jesus explains this in 3:6.
3:6 – There are 2 types of “births” … physical and spiritual. When you are born PHYSICALLY, you are born in sin … as a sinner. If that is the only “birth” you have, you will die … a sinner.