Summary: The new birth is an invisible reality with visible outworkings.
Title: Get A Life!
Text: John 3:1-17
Thesis: The new birth is an invisible reality with visible out workings.
Let me begin by defining a couple of terms I am about to use.
1. “First Life” refers to your real life or the life you are living.
2. “Second Life” refers to an imaginary life you wish you were living.
3. “Outworld” refers to the real world in which you live your First Life.
4. “Inworld” refers to an online world where you live your imaginary Second Life.
I had never heard of Second Life until I read about it in Homiletics Magazine. “Second Life is the internet equivalent of ‘playing make believe.’” When you join Second Life you create the person you wish to be in this new “inworld.” You are really living in the “outworld” we call reality but you create a make believe person and a make believe life in the “inworld.”
In this Second Life you live in a $3.5 million dollar, 9,000 square feet, rural Mediterranean style home in Niwot (featured in The 2009 Parade of Homes: Denver Luxury Home Tour), work your dream job or be a rock star, play golf at Pebble Beach, shop in the trendiest boutiques, be debt free, do business, vacation in exotic places, get plastic surgery, have interesting friends, drive an expensive GM automobile with a warranty complements of the American taxpayers, attend a great church, etc. In this online “inworld” life, you create the life you wish you could live. And all the while you are creating this imaginary Second Life; you are living your real first life in the “outworld.”
The need to create a second life suggests there is something lacking in one’s real life. The need for a second life suggests that a person would really like to be living a different life.
Change begins with a vision of a new and different life.
A. Nicodemus was discontented with his old life.
After dark one evening, a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to speak with Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are proof enough that God is with you.” John 3:1-2
Nicodemus had a life… an old life, so to speak. He was Jewish by race and religion. He was a religious leader and a Pharisee. In verse 10 Jesus acknowledges that Nicodemus was a respected Jewish teacher. That was his identity. That was his reality. Nicodemus was living the life of a Jewish religious leader. This was his public life. This was his outworld life, so to speak.
But Nicodemus was also beginning to live a second life under the cover of darkness.
Living two lives is a popular theme in fiction.
Wealthy nobleman and master swordsman, Don Diego de la Vega spirits out of his hacienda under the cloak of darkness dressed in black and wearing a mask, rides his black horse and wields his rapier as Zorro, defender of the downtrodden.
Mind-mannered reporter Clark Kent slips into a phone booth to transform himself into Superman… faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive and capable of leaping tall buildings.
The X-Men have evolved from Marvel comic book characters to big screen X-Men with X-tra Powers who live in X-Mansion and morph from normality into mutant characters to fight the powers of evil.
However, most people do not live a dual life of super heroism… but that is not to say that we would not like to be transformed into new and better people.
The man in our story was not unlike many of us. He was curious about another way of life. Nicodemus had a public life but privately, he was curious about another way of life.
B. Nicodemus desired a new life.
After dark one evening, a Jewish religious leader named Nicodemus, a Pharisee, came to speak with Jesus. “Teacher,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are proof enough that God is with you.” John 3:1-2 “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” John 3:4
Nicodemus had heard Jesus teach and he had seen sufficient signs of a miraculous nature to convince him that God’s presence, blessing and power were with Jesus. He admired Jesus and was drawn to him and wanted to be like him.
Certainly Nicodemus’ life and/or circumstances do may not mirror any of our lives. But his experience may likely be transferable in the sense that our current reality may not jibe with the reality we wish our lives could be.
Some of us seem to be living good lives. Publically we may seem to have a satisfying job, a great marriage, fulfilling hobbies and interests, and sufficient affluence. But privately we would love to have a career that is meaningful, a marriage characterized by loving consideration and communication, something to do that would spark our interest and lift us out of boredom, and to be debt free. Others of us are hiding shameful and embarrassing lives. Some of us are living private lives we are not proud of and would like to God to do a work of transformation in our lives so that what others see is who we really and truly can be in Christ.