Summary: This message focuses on the only change that really lasts.
Keep the Change!
“How to Change for Good”
David Henderson, Pastor/teacher
There are just certain things we ALL KNOW in life.
* you don’t tug on superman’s cape
* you don’t spit into the wind
* you don’t pull the mask off the old lone ranger
* AND YOU DON’T MESS AROUND WITH JIM
I want to suggest to you this morning that all of us, including myself, don’t always know as much as we think we do. And sometimes we miss the obvious. Here in John 3 Jesus shows us something that is not only true, it is essential for all of us. In fact it is so essential that if you miss it you will miss everything. If you don’t get this one thing right you will never go anywhere spiritually in life.
This is something Jesus said we must do, not a maybe, not if we feel like it, not a possibility...we must do it especially if we want to change for good. I want us to look this morning at the record of a conversation between 2 people (1) a man who was very powerful, very wealthy and very influential....his name was Nicodemus. The other was a carpenters’s son from Nazareth. His name was Jesus.
Nicodemus was a man who was well known by people; he had a strong reputation in the community, he was deeply religious but on the inside he was incredibly empty. He had heard ABOUT the truth but he had not experienced the truth. So on this dark night he comes to Jesus. Now if you are asking what does this conversation have to do with me today let me tell you it has absolutely everything to do with all of us. You see this is not merely a conversation between 2 men...it is a conversation between man and God.
Now Nicodemus was intelligent, he was cultured and he was a very moral individual. He was as close to being a good person as anyone could be. But still there was something missing in his life. You see despite the fact that he was famous, despite the fact that he was wealthy, despite the fact that he was a leader, he was unhappy...he was not satisfied with his life. If we are honest we have all been there. But here is a conversation that can change all of that. Right here we see 3 encounters that chan change us forever.
The first one is FACE TO FACE. John 3:1-10. Jesus says you must be born again. This is the ultimate change. This is starting over...this is a fresh start. All of us love the idea of a new beginning. So let me ask you this morning..have yo ever been born again? Look at Nicodemus. Jesus saw in Nicodemus a man who was hungry for the truth. Hungry because something was missing.
We read in v. 1 that Nicodemus was a PHARISEE. The Pharisees always majored on minors. They were much more concerned with the outside than with the inside. In history the Pharisees were a select group, never numbering more than 6000. Each of then had taken a vow in the presence of 3 witnesses that he would devote every moment of his life to obeying the 10 commandments. They took the law very seriously. Not only was Nicodemus associated with this group, he was actually part of the Sanhedrin. He was one of their leaders. They wrote laws. They conducted trials. The Sanhedrin would be the equivalent to the Supreme court today. We could say thet Nicodemus was the man. Jesus said to him you are the teacher. You are Israel’s teacher which means he may have been the most well known teacher in that area. But it was not the fact that he was wealthy, well known, educated or moral that brought him to Jesus...it was the fact that he was empty.
V. 2. This man came to Jesus BY NIGHT. Perhaps because he was afraid to be seen, perhaps because he was afraid to be seen, perhaps we was afraid of the criticism of others or of what they might think-after all he was the guy who had it all together. Listen it is no mistake that the Bible compare us to SHEEP. Because they are not very bright. I read this week..true story that happened in Turkey. That’s Instanbul. :) A large herd of sheep were grazing-they had been left alone while the shepherds were getting some breakfast. One of them went to the edge of a cliff and jumped to his death. The shepherds were stunned at this and they watched as 1500 sheep, the entire herd...each one jumped off the cliff. In the end 450 died....the ones who survived, lived because they landed on the others and their fall was cushioned. They estimated the loss at $100,000. Isaiah said all of us have strayed away like sheep..we have left God’s path to follow our own. You see we will line up for the latest fad, the latest trend and we do what everyone else does. And why? Because we are like sheep!