Summary: This sermon is on being "born again" and starting your life over.
Born Again - YOU CAN WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN
As the prisoner is led to a solitary cell and the iron door is slammed shut, she thinks "This is it -- and she sinks down on the dirty, hard little cot and leans her head into her hands and weeps. She thinks about what got her here and wishes she could start all over again, but she knows it’s too late. Her last meal is already coming down the hallway.
** Have you ever wished you could start all over again? To start new with a clean slate -- no marks or blemishes or past mistakes weighing you down?
Of course, you’re certainly not as bad off as this prisoner but none-the-less, we’ve all done things we’re not too proud of and have had to suffer the consequences -- maybe,
divorce, aids, some other health problem, loss of respect, humiliation, etc. And the guilt that slowly eats away and gnaws at us. Or like the lady in the story – jail or even death row in prison. At times like these, we often we could turn back the clock and start all over again.
IS THERE REALLY A WAY TO START NEW? TO WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN?
The Bible tells us there is a way for us to do just that -- Col. 3:10 talks about the "New"
self which is being renewed in the image of its Creator. (scripture on screen to read)
Definition of renewed -
What this means for us is to be renewed in our thinking so that we start thinking on good things; to be renewed in our mindset so that when our minds become so used to doing what our new thinking is -- we do it automatically! And most importantly to be renewed in our spirit, so that we can look forward to a satisfying, fulfilling, painless life in God’s kingdom. Let’s look at Rev. 21:1-4 sometime for just a glimpse of what life in God’s kingdom means. --- This is one of my favorite Bible passages because it say there in vs.3 , please read that with me, "That death will be no more, neither will mourning, nor outcry or pain.") There’s some wonderful news in that passage of the Holy Scriptures!
----- I’m going to be reading a lot from John, chapter 3, verses 1-12. Jesus tells us in this passage just what we need to do to "renew" or “start over” again with our lives. He was talking to one of the religious leaders of his day, Nicodemus, who a Jew and a Pharisee. If you’ll turn your Bibles there, it reads (starting with vs. 1) “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
Do you know what an honor it was for a religious leader of the Jews to address a person as Rabbi back in Jesus day! It was a great honor! It was a title reserved only for the highly esteemed, and the religious leaders mostly only highly esteemed themselves.!
-----Jesus had been teaching and performing miracles for some time now and this Pharisee named Nicodemus recognized that there was something special about Jesus. The verse there says he approached Jesus at night. Why was that? Well, he may have approached Jesus by night to keep from being seen by his pals (most of the Pharisees and leaders opposed Jesus teaching, mostly because it was undeniably superior to theirs) or possibly because he was a businessman and nighttime would provide him with some free time (though he may have not had to work at all as he was wealthy) or possibly because that may have been the only time he could get close enough to talk with Jesus as the crowds swarmed about him so much by day.
Anyway, Nicodemus approached Jesus and said "We know you are a teacher from God, because no one could do the signs you are doing if God’s will were not with him."
Now remember, Jesus was well into his earthly ministry and had already performed oodles of miracles. Just to name a few:
--Jesus had changed water into wine at a wedding
--expelled demons from the possessed
--healed the blind, deaf, lame, paralyzed
--fed 5 thousand people with just 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread -- among other
miraculous works—we could go on and on and on and on….
** So Jesus had many times shown his power and godly spirit by means of these miracles or signs.
So, Nicodemus, not being a stupid man, (he was a scholar like all religious leaders of the day) probably said to himself, ’Hey, I ought to talk to this Jesus personally. If he is the Messiah as people have been proclaiming him to be, maybe I can walk in his light and gain an easy route into God’s kingdom.’