Summary: We can have new life.
Th: My Life as God’s Light
Pr: WE CAN HAVE NEW LIFE.
TS: By observing the example of Nicodemus, we will see in John 3:1-15 five stages that help us understand how we can have new life.
The ____ stage that demonstrates a growing understanding for Nicodemus is he was…
I. CONCERNED (1-2)
II. CONFRONTED (3)
III. CONFUSED (4-10)
IV. CHALLENGED (11-13)
V. COMFORTED (14-15)
RMBC 4/22/01 AM
1. Have you ever felt clueless?
ILL Notebook: Understanding (c-section)
Victor, a man in Jeanette Hoessel’s English-as-a-second language course, came from El Salvador. He asked her one day, "What does C-section mean?" Since Jeanette’s three children had been delivered by Caesarian section, she felt confident with her explanation, but Victor’s face reflected total puzzlement. "Do you understand what I’m say-ing?" she asked. "Yes," he replied, "but I am still confused." She asked him the context in which the word had been used, and he responded: "Yesterday, on my break, I was reading the newspaper. A co-worker asked me for the C-section, but I didn’t know what he meant."
You know, we sometimes get into situations that we just don’t understand what is meant.
Does that happen to you?
This morning, we return to our study on the gospel of John.
We start today in chapter three with a man that doesn’t seem to understand Jesus.
What is ironic about this is that he is very religious.
He really knows his stuff.
But His reaction makes us ask this question…
2. Can it be that there a lot of religious people that do not understand the truth?
The answer is, “Certainly.”
There are an awful lot of people going through religious motions.
They seem to sign on the dotted line.
They are involved and perhaps even serious, but something is missing.
You know, if we asked the typical person on the street, we would receive a variety of answers on this question of what does it mean to be a Christian.
We might hear answers like these…
“I’m a church member.”
“I’ve been baptized.”
“I go to Sunday School.”
“I go to mass every week.”
All of these would be answers we might hear.
3. What does it mean to be a Christian?
We probably have all been puzzled by those that confess to be Christians, but don’t act like true Christians ought to act.
Their belief seems to be a Sunday only type.
The truth is, though, man, by nature is religious, and incurably so.
Science has been unable to eradicate religion, because science can’t meet the deepest needs of the heart.
This is why people check their horoscopes every day and call the psychic friends network.
They long for the spiritual.
In our story today, Nicodemus comes looking for spiritual truth.
And he found a great source—Jesus—who would help him grow in his understanding of what he needed to be.
I. The first stage that demonstrates a growing understanding for Nicodemus is he was CONCERNED (1-2).
(1) NOW THERE WAS A MAN OF THE PHARISEES NAMED NICODEMUS, A MEMBER OF THE JEWISH RULING COUNCIL. (2) 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.”
These opening verses provide for us…
1. The setting: A meeting of the powerful.
We know by the testimony of the New Testament that the Pharisees had taken quick note of Jesus, but early on, they are hard-pressed to speak critically of Jesus because of His popular teaching and His miracles.
Specifically, there is one Pharisee that is greatly impressed.
He was a man at the top of his field, a member of the ruling council and he hears from Jesus the answers to questions that have bothered him for years.
He finds that Jesus speaks in simple terms, but His message has great power.
So, this Pharisee, Nicodemus, recognizes that Jesus is on a divine mission.
He has divine authority.
God had put upon Him His seal of approval.
But as he comes to Jesus, he interestingly does not claim to come for himself, but for his fellow Pharisees and colleagues.
“We know that you are a teacher who has come from God.”
What makes this interesting is that the Pharisees appointed themselves as the proper accrediting agency for any and all religious movements related to Judaism.
These Pharisees were a select group.
There were never more than 6,000 of them at a time.
They took a public solemn vow to devote every moment of life obeying the Ten Commandments.
Because of this life-commitment to obey the Ten Commandments, the Pharisees considered themselves as the spiritually elite.