Summary: The basics of the Christian Faith describing God's plan of Salvation
CCCAG March 18th, 2018
Scripture- John 3:11-21 (say whole reference)
Today we are going to be covering the most well-known and famous verses in the bible. It’s the sign people hold up at football games, parades, and it appears on most Gospel tracts as the central verse in all of scripture.
I would say that I and most conservative pastors and theologians view the entirety of the bible through the lens of John 3:16-18. These verses put the entirety of biblical history in context in completely describing the salvation mission of God, and His love for all of humanity.
Let me make one key point about the scriptures we will be reading today- Jesus is continuing a conversation started at the beginning of this chapter, and how we understand these verses has to be within that context.
If you were not here last week, I’d encourage you to listen to the podcast, but for now let me set the stage-
In the beginning of John Chapter 3, Jesus is talking to one of the top religious leaders in Israel. Nicodemus would be like a Bishop or Cardinal in a mainline church- a big guy with a huge educational background. Jesus tells Nicodemus that all he thinks he knows about his religion and scripture is wrong, particularly about trusting in the wrong things to make himself pleasing to God. Jesus emphasizes the point that Nicodemus, as well as all of humanity are dead men walking, and need a new birth- one of the spirit that will regenerate their earthly outlook to a heavenly one, and not one of the flesh that will be focused on this earth.
That’s the backdrop of what Jesus is talking about to Nicodemus. Last week we read that Jesus tells him you must be born again, this week we will continue Jesus’ explanation as the WHY and HOW a person is to be saved. The following message MUST be taken as an explanation of the fact that you must be born again to escape the curse that the fall of man left on humanity in Genesis chapter 3.
The “why” is what we will be focused on this morning as Jesus peels back the mystery of salvation- breaking it down to its most basic principles, so that we can understand the heart and mind of our Father God.
Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
I mentioned few moments ago that we have to look at the framework of these verses according to the way Jesus meant them to be understood.
WE have a tendency as modern believers to cling hard to a single verse of scripture without understanding it’s broader context and application to us or most tragically how it fits within God’s revelation of Himself and His plan of salvation for all people.
We are going to break it down this morning, and I encourage you to take notes as these are the essentials you need to know to effectively share the Gospel
One note before we begin. The way we are going to approach these scriptures might seem backwards. That is intentional.
A slight teaching moment about how to read, interpret, and understand your bible-