Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Things around us change, business come and go, places from our childhood make way for the progress of tomorrow, it seems the only constant in life is change. It is good to know that while everything around us may change there is a constant that remains

In John 3:1-3 we find:

- Nicodemus coming to Jesus in the dark of night.

- He is a Pharisee

- Is this a covert visit? Or is he using the secrecy of the night to provide him opportunity to be alone with the master?

- Notice his question in vs. 2 “Rabbi, we know…”

- Nicodemus lesson begins in vs. 3 (read)

Nicodemus resembles us and the plight of human thinking:

- We are unsure of what we can’t see

- Unsure of what we can’t touch

- Things we don’t readily know make us uneasy

- That is way faith for the most part is so foreign.

In vs. 7 of this passage Jesus tells Nicodemus, “don’t marvel” at the concept of a “rebirth”, you see this is not what we need to focus on.

Let’s take a look at vs. 13-17:

You see after all this time has passed up until now, all the changes we ourselves have seen…one thing remains.

“Just as Moses lifted the serpent…” A poignant story in the history of God’s people (elab.)

“So to must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

It is in the cross that we find hope…we find peace…we can find forgiveness.

This is the point Jesus didn’t want Nicodemus and the fact he doesn’t want us to miss either.

For just a few moments tonight I want to look at the distractions that change our focus away from the cross:

1st is doubt: this is not a new tool in the devils arsenal.

We doubt our salvation, we doubt our ability and the world uses the doubts and fears of the saved and unsaved alike…

Let’s look at Thomas in John 20:25, Thomas wasn’t present with the others and has this to say, doubting Christ’s reappearing,

“Unless I see, unless I touch…”

Notice Jesus’ response in vs. 27.

John goes on to provide this commentary in vs’ 30, 31.

2nd is Fear: This is perhaps the most debilitating of all distractions.

With fear the devil can hold back the most zealous of Christians and with it he can prevent the heart that is seeking from making that all important first step.

It can hold us back from the JOY found in Christ.

In John 18, Peter’s denial is recorded. Taking into consideration the events prior:

Drawing his sword, cutting off a man’s ear does that sound like a man fearful? He was going to take on the whole army.

Yet a young girls words, made him fearful…and so he denied Christ three times.

Fear can be good…for it can be what brings us into the peace found only in Christ.

Read Acts 10:34-35

Though the list could go on I will conclude these thoughts with on more tool of distraction.

3rd is our past. This is often the biggest obstacle to keep us outside of Christ and to keep us from enjoying the JOY of forgiveness once we are in Christ.

Jeremiah records in Jer. 31:34:

“I will forgive their wickedness

and will remember their sins no more.”

Paul had this to say in I Cor. 15: 9 & 10 (read).

Least among the apostles, but by God’s grace, I am, what I am.

We can find peace and not fear when our world around us falls apart, because there is still the cross.

When doubt tosses us about on the tempestuous sea of life – the cross remains a beacon of hope.

When our past comes back to taunt us we can be assured of the forgiveness found at the cross.

Have you been to the cross?

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