Summary: Jesus came to save the whole world.
A Opening illustration
B John 3.1-2
1 Nicodemus Profile: He was from Jerusalem, Pharisee (Sadd, Herodians)
a Largest of three, believed the O.T., angels/demons, bodily ress., evangelistic, moved Judaism from sacrifices to law, progressive.
b Jesus didn’t trust him Jn. 2.24
c Theological insider from Jerusalem, steeped in tradition, learning, religion.
aa Asked questions about Jesus but doesn’t become a disciple. Listens but doesn’t believe.
bb IL. Sometimes paintballs hit but don’t break.
2 John 3.3-9, Nicodemus’ theological skills may have stood as an impediment to him becoming a disciple.
a Theology? Check. Affiliated w/ local church? Check.
Been dunked in water? Check.
b Jesus starts talking about an experience; born again, born of the Spirit.
aa Encounter/experience w/ the Holy Spirit.
bb Mystical experience & encounter with power.
3 It is possible to have your theology right but get your relationship w/ God all wrong!
a 3.8, You can’t predict the Holy Spirit!
b I believe when we stop being surprised, amazed by the Holy Spirit we’re in danger of being complacent.
c “I’ve got it all figured it out. I know what God does & doesn’t do.” You probably don’t have a clue.
C I’m going to teach this morning the message “iMite be saved.”
1 John 3.14-17
2 Let’s pray
I I Don’t Like Spiders & Snakes
A The story in Number 21.4-9 was certainly one our fine, young Pharisee was familiar with.
1 The nation had fallen into sin/rebellion against God and they had to be punished.
a God sent fiery serpents among the people and if they got bit, they got dead.
b Sounds like a story of sin, but it’s really one of grace!
2 Moses prayed to God for grace against these poisonous snakes.
a God told Moses to make a brass snake and lift it up a pole for everyone to see.
aa If you were sick from the poison, dying was to look up at the snake.
bb Any one who looked at the serpent would be immediately be healed.
b “lifted up” is one of those cool bible words with a deeper meaning.
aa Lifted up can mean crucifixion (lifted him up)
bb Also mean exalted, glorified.
c Jesus was glorified/lifted up by way of the cross. (Acts 2.33)
B Some may think Jesus died on a cross to calm God down, placate an angry God.
1 They see the cross as an expression of Christ for us & it appeases the wrath of God.
a This thinking makes God out as our enemy, adversary.
b Jesus loves us, He’s our friend.
c This view is out of whack with the view of the trinity.
2 John 3.16 says, “God so loved the world . . .”
a He loved the evil, sinful world of fallen humanity.
aa There was nothing in us that attracted us to Him.
bb He sovereignty decided to love us.
b The cross is God at work, saving the world, extending Himself into the sinfulness of mankind & bring us back to him.
c The cross is God’s work!
d 2 Cor. 5.18-19; Col. 1.19-20
aa Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.2 Cor 5:18-19 (NASB)
bb For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Col 1:19-20 (NASB)
3 Christ wasn’t created, made by God. (He always has been)
a Jesus has an eternal existence exactly like the Father.
b He shares the very being of God/essence of God.
C Why is it a big deal? Matter? Important?
1 Jesus didn’t carry out God’s dirty work.
a Jesus didn’t come to earth to change God’s mind about us, but rather to express His mind about us.
b Jesus humbles Himself to the point of crucifixion because He is not God, not despite the fact.
2 You don’t have someone who barely likes you, could easily turn on you, your adversary, or who harbors bad feelings toward you.
a God is on your side! Working on your behalf!
b The cross shows us how much God loves us!
3 Missing illustration here.
B Just as the serpent was lifted up on that pole, so was the Son of God lifted up on a cross.
1 Why? To save us from sin & death.
a In the camp of Israel, the answer wasn’t to pass anti-serpent laws, pretending the snakes we’re there, killing the snakes, climbing to the top of the pole . . . look up in faith at the uplifted servant.