Summary: Nicodemus, a Pharisee, has come to Jesus at night. He is on a mission—a personal one it seems. He has come to Jesus in an attempt to figure Him out. He has come to the conclusion that Jesus cannot do what He does unless He has come from God.
29 September 2005
Don’t Be Late!
We will find in John 3:14-21 three reasons for why we believe in Jesus.
And these three reasons are the three points for today’s Bible lesson.
When we believe in Jesus, He becomes our:
I. SIN (14-15)
II. SALVATION (16-17)
III. SEPARATION (18-21)
Have you ever found something hard to believe?
There were two gentlemen who were traveling on a plane and were seated next to each other.
One turned to the other and asked, “What do you do?”
The gentleman replied: "I am a minister."
"Oh," said the first man, “I don’t believe in that religious stuff. It’s for kids, you know, ‘Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so...’”
The minister politely laughed and asked the other man what he did for a living.
"I am an astronomer," said the first man.
"Oh, that stuff," said the minister. “I thought it was just for kids, you know, ‘Twinkle, twinkle little star...’”
Well, we have all met skeptics at one time or another.
I remember one time talking to a neighbor who was coming to grips with the fact that Easter was all about Jesus coming back from the dead.
He was realizing that this Christian holiday was asking him to believe in something more than a celebration of life.
He was being asked to believe in the impossible.
It was hard to believe.
And then he wanted to know if I really believed it.
When I said, “yes” he discovered that there was more to this Christianity thing than he originally thought.
Sometimes, we find more substance than what we initially thought.
I am willing to wager that there are some former skeptics here today that are now true believers.
As you explored for the truth, you discovered that there was more to Christianity than you initially thought.
The setting of today’s text revolves around a skeptic of sorts.
The story of Nicodemus is our setting.
Nicodemus, a Pharisee, has come to Jesus at night.
He is on a mission—a personal one it seems.
He has come to Jesus in an attempt to figure Him out.
He has come to the conclusion that Jesus cannot do what He does unless He has come from God.
It is a good conclusion, yet in the conversation with Jesus, Nicodemus found that…
Believing in Jesus can be very difficult.
Ironically, it is difficult only because Jesus made it simple.
He said, “You must be born again.”
“You need to be born of the Spirit.”
For Nicodemus, who thought because He was Jewish and was publicly dedicated to following the Ten Commandments, he was in.
His whole worldview was being turned upside down.
This was difficult to believe.
As we gather today, we are here to proclaim that…
WE BELIEVE IN JESUS.
And I want you to know why.
I want you to know why we believe in Jesus.
We will find in John 3:14-21 three conclusions to why we believe in Jesus.
The first reason for why we believe in Jesus is that Jesus becomes our SIN (14-15).
Listen to verses 14 and 15:
(14) Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, (15) that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
The incident referred to in these verses is found in Numbers 21.
Let me give you the background for the story.
The Israelites had been complaining against God, grumbling about the journey and their apparent lack of food and water.
They did not like the manna God gave them day after day.
And so God had enough, and He sent fiery serpents among them, and many of those who were bitten died.
But God provided a salvation for this disobedient people, so that they might survive the divine judgment.
He instructed Moses to make a serpent of bronze and to set it on a pole, so that anyone who was bitten by one of the serpents could merely look up at the serpent and be healed.
And this is precisely what happened.
All who were bitten and looked up were healed.
The interesting aspect of this story is that…
Serpents are symbolic of sin.
After all, it was the serpent that lied to Eve in the garden.
The serpent is the perfect symbol of sin.
You know, when God looks at our world, he sees what we often try to ignore.
He sees the hurt, shame, misery and the meaninglessness of life.
He watches the murder, violence, hatred, bitterness, anger, and greed.
He observes child abuse, famine, death, tears, and fear of every kind.
And as He watches, He notes that the anguish we have in life is self-caused.
We have ruined the gift He has given.