Summary: We need to build spiritual relationships with the lost around us.
Building Spiritual Relationships
This is the story of a man who was looking for a deeper, more significant, spiritual relationship.
The Bible tells that it is not good for a person to be alone.
Then the LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is like him."
(Genesis 2:18 HCSB)
But more than the need for physical relationships, we need to develop spiritual relationships. By that, I mean that we need to develop friendships with people whom we want to know for eternity. God wants this. He wants every person to become part of His family. But He wants to use us to help build His family.
Now, our problem is that we have a problem building relationships with other people. The fact that the divorce rate between Christians is just as high as non-Christians proves that we have a problem building healthy relationships.
So we need to develop relationships. God wants us to develop spiritual relationships – friendships with people who God wants to bring into Heaven.
SLIDE 3 – Nic – a spiritual man in need of a spiritual relationship
So here we find Nicodemus, a spiritual man, without the right spiritual relationship. There are many people around like him. There are many people who are religious, or spiritual. However, they have the wrong spiritual relationship.
Their relationships are false and John shows this by the fact that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night.
Night represents darkness and sin and evil in the Gospel of John. You will see one of Jesus’ followers plan to betray him and John follows it by saying “and it was night.”
So here is Nicodemus coming to Jesus, secretly at night. Nicodemus knows that Jesus is the right person – Jesus comes from God. But Jesus gets to the point with Nicodemus.
Jesus replied, "I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
(John 3:3 HCSB)
Jesus says: it doesn’t matter how spiritual you may seem. If you don’t get born into the right spiritual family, you will never see God.
Then comes this dialogue about birth and re-birth. Now Nicodemus and Jesus are not talking about the same thing. Nicodemus thinks it is all physical – the right works. Jesus says “No”, it is spiritual. Jesus talks about being born again. Jesus talks about being born of water and the Spirit.
We are all born of water at our birth – the mother’s womb. We also need to be born of the Spirit.
SLIDE 4 – Born and Re-Born
We are all born of the flesh, something physical. We also need to be born of the Spirit.
Jesus answered, "I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(John 3:5-6 HCSB)
Jesus then compares the Holy Spirit to the wind. Actually, He uses the same word (pneuma) for wind and spirit. The point is this: The Holy Spirit is like the wind that you don’t see, but you know exists. This is the closest illustration that Jesus uses to show spiritual relationships.
He says that if you know that there is wind and you can’t see, but you observe it, the same is true of the Holy Spirit. He can’t be seen. But He sure does exist.
Now in the next set of verses, Jesus begins to explain that with Nicodemus’s knowledge, he should understand. But that if Nicodemus has a hard time with the wind (a physical thing that obvious to notice), how can Jesus talk to Nicodemus about spiritual things that he should know about.
The point here is that with every person, understanding spiritual things takes time. But Jesus is also saying: You can’t understand this stuff without Me.
If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don't believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven? No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven--the Son of Man.
(John 3:12-13 HCSB)
SLIDE 5 – The Bronze Serpent
Then Jesus explains the crucifixion. Jesus uses the Old Testament example of Moses and the bronze snake. The fact of this was that when the snake was “crucified” or sacrificed to a pole, and everybody looked to it, they were physically healed. In the same way, if you look to Jesus on the cross, when He is crucified, then you will be healed spiritually.
So, no one can really go to Heaven without coming to the cross.
SLIDE 6 – Jesus’ Plan of Salvation
Then Jesus gives the solution first and the problem second.