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Summary: What kind of attitude do I need, what kind of attitude do you need if God is to operate freely within our lives?

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Nicodemus and the New Birth

(John 3:1-21)

Question: What kind of attitude do I need, what kind of attitude do you need if God is to operate freely within our lives?

TS------„³Let¡¦s make some observations about this issue as we look at the life of Nicodemus.

I. The Story of Nicodemus

1. Came to Jesus in a lost condition¡K

2. Yet, a couple or three years later, he defended Jesus before the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin, or which he was a member (John 7:50-52).

-- After Jesus died on the cross, when the Apostles had deserted him and were in hiding, he and Joseph of Arimathea procured the body of Jesus and buried Him (John 19:38-40)

3. Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin (3:1)

(1) Sadduccean aristocrats and scholarly Pharisees¡K.financial/academic

---PHARISEES, had to be married, a family man, J-2

---Don¡¦t be too critical: Not as strange as some Christian ascetics (cloistered, celibacy, monasteries)

---They did live in the real world

(2) 70 Elders and teachers---HIGH priest was PRESIDENT

(3) had own small army, could enforce, judge, determine laws w/in limits

4. Nicodemus was DRAWN to Jesus, but did not want to stir up his peers¡K.

(1) Why create trouble when not necessary?

(2) This draw is an indication of the H.S. working¡K.

5. He came to Jesus to learn, not to object, refute, or trick Him

¡§We know that you are from God¡K.¡¨ Who is the ¡§we?¡¨ Joseph of Ar.? Wife?

6. Jesus responds with verse 3, let¡¦s read it¡K.

7. Nicodemus takes Him literally, which is not a bad way to start¡KChrist clarifies¡K.

(1) That which is born of flesh is flesh¡K that which is born of the Spirit

(2) Water and spirit (wind/breath)

8. He help Nicodemus responsible to understand this¡K (Ezk. Paper handout)

9. New Birth is not controlled by organized religion, but a sovereign God Whose actions are as unpredictable and unsearchable as the WIND¡K.

(1) Jesus was PRO-organized religion¡Ksynagogue, Temple, church

---You can¡¦t truly follow Jesus and be against organized religion¡K

---But He taught that TRUTH matters more than TRADITION

(2) He was a DEVOUT JEW (sinless)¡Kobeyed the LAW¡K

(3) But when it comes to salvation, God covenants (strikes a deal) w/the individual¡Kthe National Covenant w/Israel was not an individual salvation matter¡K

(4) Even in OT, it was necessary to be born again¡K.Rom. 2:28-29

10. Regeneration is like the Wind¡K¡KUpon Whom will the Spirit, the Breath of

God breathe?

11. Nicodemus, you cannot make it happen, God must!

(1) The truth that sets you free: No one has descended¡K.(Deity)

(2) As Moses lifted up the serpent (faith alone)

(3) God so loved ¡K..(sacrifice)

(4) Repentance (coming into the light)

12. This encounter with Jesus transformed Nicodemus¡¦ life, because He was open to the truth.

Question: What kind of attitude do I need, what kind of attitude do you need if God is to operate freely within our lives?

II. It Is An Open, Teachable, Listening Attitude That We Need If God is To Operate Freely Within Our Lives¡K

1. Nicodemus was actively seeking, inquiring---He sought Jesus out¡K.

---So we too must take INITIATIVE, launch out if we are to grow¡K

---We must also follow through¡K intentions do not cut it

---People want to grow, but they do not want to expend time and energy, exert themselves, endeavor, trouble themselves ¡K you cannot have your cake and eat it too¡K

2. Nicodemus had a humble attitude, he came to learn, not to teach¡K

---This man was a teacher; he settled disputes, passed laws, debated passages¡K.one of only 70, and probably one of only 40 Pharisees¡Kone of the top teachers of the land¡K. A man of such HONOR seeks a carpenter who is rumored to be the Messiah¡K

---Christians who think they know it all have the hardest time growing¡K

---Some believers actually seek dumbed-down churches out of pride¡Kin comparison, they are pretty sharp¡K.in a good church, average or below¡K

3. Nicodemus was an active listener¡K

---He asked questions when confused, because he wanted to understand¡K

---He could pay attention, contemplate, listen, ponder¡K.

4. He was willing to accept God as He is, not recast Him

---There is the popular view of God, and then there is the Biblical view¡K

---LEAP 2000 was so important because reading through all the Scripture

confronted us with a God Who is not always to our liking¡K

---Nicodemus, like many of the Pharisees, was bent on CONTROL, DISCIPLINE, ORGANIZATION, everything decided and categorized¡K.JESUS SAID THAT THE NEW BIRTH WAS LIKE THE WIND¡K.uncontrollable, unpredictable, surprising----AND NICODEMUS accepted the reality of a Sovereign God Who does as He wishes¡K

Application

What About Us?

1. Do we have a submissive spirit?

2. Do we forget Him tooth and nail, or are we ¡§broken in¡¨ like a well-trained horse. Or do we show our bucking bronco side?

3. Are we teachable? Do we sense a need to learn (or are we smug)?

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