Summary: Jesus tells his disciples what will happen and it it is crazy stuff.

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It’s crazy talk

John 3: 1-17

Some time back there was an email going around that has the subject: “How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb,” It is a turn of an old joke, I thought about that this week as I was preparing the message…

I want to share some of it with you this morning… So,

How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?

• Pentecostal: Ten – One to change the bulb & nine to pray against the spirit of darkness

• Presbyterians: None – The lights will go off & on at predestined times

• Roman Catholics: None – Candles only

• Baptists: At least 15 – One to change the bulb and three committees to approve the change & decide who brings the potato salad & fried chicken (I thought that should be the Methodists.)

• Episcopalians: Three – One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was

• Methodists: Undetermined – Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish

• Lutherans: None – Lutherans don’t believe in change

• Amish: What’s a light bulb

I’m not sure who wrote that and what denomination they might be, if any, but this analogy pretty much sums up the different beliefs of various denominations? Someone poking a little fun at people of the Christian faith.

When I first read this, I enjoyed it until I came to the Methodist part – and at that point, I became a little offended. I wrote it off as just a joke and decided to trash it – But later, I went back & read it again, and after second thought, I like how it depicts the Methodist…

It said, “Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved – you can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb – Church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday, bring the bulb of your choice.”

I take that to mean, “No matter who you are or what condition you’re in, you’re welcome to worship with the Methodist – come as you are, we accept you in the love of Christ…

That’s not a bad message to preach, is it? Come as you are!

When you boil it down, isn’t that the gospel – Isn’t that the message that Jesus Christ preached? Come as you are! I think it is…

The only problem is that so many people don’t understand the message… they don’t understand what it means to “Come as you are…” And because they don’t understand the message, many will miss the message…

In our gospel lesson this morning, we have the story of Nicodemus who comes to Jesus in the dark of night to discuss a few things…

We’re not sure why he chose to come at night, we can only speculate – perhaps the night symbolizes the darkness that surrounded Nicodemus’ heart & soul…

The Bible says that Nicodemus was no ordinary citizen… He was a religious Pharisee, a leader of the Jews, a Sanhedrin – A man who committed his life to studying & obeying the law… but somehow in all of his teachings & religion, he had missed the message…

Nicodemus had head knowledge, but he was lacking heart knowledge… He had a lot of religion – but no relationship…

Does that sound familiar? There are millions of religious people sitting in churches this morning who are as lost as Nicodemus because they have head knowledge, but no heart knowledge…

Many people get involved with church, but not with Christ… People need to understand that the church can’t save you – only a relationship with Christ can save you…

There is no doubt that religion (the church) will clean you up… it’ll make you look real good – but that’s only head knowledge… You can so easily learn what to say, how to act and dress so that you can fit in. Showing up in your Christian disguise is only head knowledge and there is no salvation for thoes that only learn the rules and customs to survive in the culture. There is no salvation for thoes that learned this just to make others happy, Momma made me go to church, it isn’t so bad. Too many people are very good chameleons fitting in to the environment.

If a person is to be saved, his heart has to be changed – and that comes only from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ…

That’s the message Jesus was preaching to Nicodemus… Nicodemus, the seeker, came seeking answers about religion & Jesus told him, “It’s not about religion – it’s all about a relationship…”

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