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Summary: SOMETIMES WE ONLY HAVE ONE SHOT TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL. WHAT DO WE SAY?

IF I ONLY HAD ONE SHOT

JOHN 3:1-19

INTRODUCTION:

A PASTOR ONCE RECEIVED A CALL TO VISIT A DYING WOMAN IN A HOSPITAL ICU ROOM. ON ARRIVING AT THE HOSPITAL HE WAS TOLD BY THE DOCTOR THAT HE ONLY HAD TWO MINUTES TO SPEAK WITH THE WOMAN. IT WAS SUCH A SHORT TIME, CERTAINLY NOT ENOUGH TIME TO HAVE MUCH OF A CONVERSATION WITH THE WOMAN. THE ONLY THING HE KNEW ABOUT HER FROM HER FAMILY WAS THAT SHE WAS LOST IN SIN.

HE KNEW HE WOULD ONLY HAVE ONE SHOT AT THIS VISIT SO AS THE PASTOR ASKED GOD WHAT TO SAY, THE LORD SPOKE TO HIS HEART AND SAID “GIVE HER JOHN 3:16, AND PRAY THE SINNERS PRAYER WITH HER.” THAT WAS WHAT SHE NEEDED. SHE DIED IN PEACE AND AT PEACE WITH HER SAVIOR.”

THAT PASTOR WAS PLACED IN A SITUATION THAT YOU AND I COULD SEE OURSELVES IN. IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE SHOT AT SOMETHING MEANS THERE’S NO TOMORROW, NO SECOND CHANCES, THIS IS IT, IT’S ALL OR NOTHING. WE CAN SEE THIS TYPE OF SITUATION IN MANY AREAS OF LIFE. PERHAPS THERE IS A GOOD DEAL ON A HOUSE, OR ON A CAR THAT YOU REALLY DESIRE. YOU MAY BE ABLE TO GET OTHER HOUSES OR CARS, BUT FOR THIS ONE THAT YOU DESIRE YOU ONLY HAVE ONE SHOT.

SPIRITUALLY, YOU AND I MAY BE IN THE SAME POSITION AS THAT OF THE MINISTER. YOUNG OR OLD, RICH OR POOR, BLACK OR WHITE, ENGLISH OR FRENCH, IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE. SINCE WE DON’T KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN HALF AN HOUR FROM NOW, LET ALONE TOMORROW, ALLOW ME TO PRESENT THIS MESSAGE AS IF IT WERE MY ONLY SHOT TO PRESENT THE GOSPEL TO YOU.

PRESSURE LIKE THIS HAS A WAY OF TAKING ISSUES THAT WE FEEL ARE COMPLICATED, AND MAKING THEM QUITE SIMPLE. IN FACT THE ENTIRE GOSPEL IS SUMMED UP IN ONE VERSE.

JOHN 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

THERE ARE ONLY 25 WORDS IN THIS VERSE YET NO OTHER SINGLE VERSE IN ALL THE SCRIPTURES HAS BEEN SO BLESSED IN THE SALVATION OF SO MANY SOULS. MARTIN LUTHER CALLED JOHN 3:16 THE MINIATURE GOSPEL. IT HAS BEEN CALLED THE GOSPEL IN A NUTSHELL. IT HAS BEEN CALLED A LOVE LETTER FROM GOD WRITTEN IN BLOOD AND ADDRESSED TO ALL. IF EVER THERE WAS A VERSE THAT HAS LIGHTENED THE PATH TO HEAVEN FOR MULTITUDES IT’S JOHN 3:16. IF THERE WAS EVER A VERSE THAT SATAN WOULD LIKE TO BLOT OUT OF THE BIBLE, IT WOULD BE JOHN 3:16. IT IS A VERSE THAN MAKES HELL TREMBLE.

IF I ONLY HAD ONE SHOT, ONE OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH YOU, THEN, I TOO WOULD TAKE YOU TO THIS VERSE, AND I WANT TO TAKE MY REMAINING TIME TO TELL YOU WHY.

BIBLICAL BACKGROUND:

THIS PASSAGE CENTERS AROUND A CONVERSATION THAT JESUS HAS WITH A MAN NAMED NICODEMUS. NICODEMUS WAS A LEADER OF THE PEOPLE. HE WAS A PHARISEE AND A MEMBER OF THE JEWISH RULING CLASS. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT, BECAUSE AT THIS TIME, THIS GROUP THAT NICODEMUS BELONGED TO, WAS ONE OF THE VERY GROUPS THAT OPPOSED JESUS AND WOULD LATER LEAD TO HIS EXECUTION.

NICODEMUS WISHES TO HAVE AN AUTHENTIC CONVERSATION WITH JESUS, AND WE CAN RECOGNIZE THIS BECAUSE HE COMES TO JESUS BY NIGHT, PROBABLY ON A SECLUDED STREET IN TOWN BY HIMSELF FOR THIS CONVERSATION. IF HE WANTED TO TRY TO TRAP JESUS HE WOULD HAVE HAD THE CONVERSATION DURING THE DAY WITH PLENTY OF WITNESSES.

JESUS TAKES CONTROL OF THE CONVERSATION RIGHT FROM THE START. NICODEMUS TREATS JESUS WITH RESPECT AND IN RETURN JESUS RESPECTS NICODEMUS’ HONESTY BY IMMEDIATELY GETTING TO THE MEAT OF THE CONVERSATION IN VERSE 3.

JOHN 3:3: In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

NOW THAT TERM “BORN AGAIN” PRODUCED THE SAME QUESTION FOR NICODEMUS AS IT DOES FOR SOME OF YOU TODAY, “HOW CAN A PERSON BE BORN AGAIN?” “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BORN AGAIN.” IN FACT JESUS USES THE REST OF THIS PASSAGE THROUGH TO VERSE 21 TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION FOR NICODEMUS, AND US.

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED WHAT IT MEANS TO BE “BORN AGAIN”? IT HAS BEEN A CONTROVERSIAL TOPIC IN CHRISTIANITY FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS. THERE ARE THOSE WHO CLAIM TO BE UNDER THE UMBRELLA OF CHRISTIANITY THAT WILL HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH “BORN AGAIN” THEOLOGY. SOME USE THE TERM “BORN AGAIN” AS A MEANS TO IDENTIFY MORE CONSERVATIVE FUNDAMENTAL DENOMINATIONS OR PARTS OF DENOMINATIONS, SOME IDENTIFY CHARISMATIC MOVEMENTS UNDER THE “BORN AGAIN” UMBRELLA.

ESSENTIALLY THOUGH I BELIEVE THAT TO BE “BORN AGAIN” IS RELATIONAL IN NATURE. THE CORE OF THIS RELATIONSHIP IS FOUND IN JOHN 3:16. NOW LET ME PRESENT TO YOU THE GODD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST, AND WHAT I BELIEVE THE BIBLE TEACHES WHEN JESUS SAYS, “YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

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