Summary: Next in series on John. Examines steps to salvation
What Must I do to have Eternal Life? John 3 (1)
- Read John 3:1-15
I believe the first president I heard much about growing up was President Nixon. I was in elementary school when he was president. It was a big deal the day he resigned. I remember when Ford, the Vice President took his place and then pardoned him. I remember those discussions.
I believe the first president I really knew much about though was President Carter. I remember in my 8th grade civics class, discussing whether we were supposed to be giving away the Panama Canal or not. I remember interest rates so high, that my dad put some of my bother and my savings into CDs where we were earning 14% interest.
I remember president Carter volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, building houses, which he still does to this day. I remember the Iran hostage issue, and the helicopters in the desert, and when each day the news would update us on how long our folks had been hostages. I remember him teaching his Sunday School class, and know folks who attended it. I remember our family being on vacation in the area of his home and our folks deciding to drive by the place. We got to see and he and Rosylnn, and a number of secret service guys on bicycles riding down the road.
I have a number of memories about that particular president, but like him or not, you must admit, there is one thing he brought into the public discussion and that is what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be born again.
A born-again Christian. What does that even mean, and is there any other kind?
In the passage before us, we find Nicodemus, a Pharisee, a religious leader among the people, coming to Jesus at night, to ask Jesus some questions, and right off, I believe there are several items we can learn from Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus.
1. We must learn the importance of taking time to think.
First, we learn the importance of taking time to think. Man, if there is something the Devil has gotten good at, it’s getting us so busy that we seldom take time to think.
We have families to take care of and jobs to work at, and bills to pay, and chores to address. This time of year we have presents to buy and wrap, and cards to send, parades to watch, parties to attend, and church programs to help with. Filling up all of the minutes between those items, there is TV to watch, and things to read, and radios to listen to and videos to watch, and folks to call, and e-mails to answer, and phones to play with. The Devil will do everything in the world he can do to keep you so busy that you seldom have time to sit down and think.
But Nicodemus took the time to think about what was important in life. He was wondering if there was eternal life and if so, how did one find it?
He took time to think.
Let me ask you, when was the last time you took time to think? When was the last time you thought about what was really important in life and what things were worth investing you life in? When was the last time you sat down and wondered if you would be pleased when you got to the end of your life, with the way you chose to spend it?
The Roman soldier on the hayride this year, ends up living with regrets at the end of his life, for the way he chose to spend his life.
I hope you’ll take some time this holiday season to think about what’s really important and decide to invest your life in a way you’ll be please with when you reach the end.
Nicodemus teaches us a bit about the importance of taking time to think.
Second, he teaches us a bit about being careful in the way we judge people.
2. We must be careful in the way we judge people.
Most of what we hear, and most of what we think about the Pharisees is usually negative. Jesus had a great deal of negative stuff to say about them. He called many of the “white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones.”
The Pharisees were a strict religious sect. Many of them lived their lives very strictly, trying to make sure they didn’t break any of God’s laws or commandments. They were very legalistic. Many of them were teachers.
Jesus called them whitewashed tombs, because many of them were only concerned about fixing up the outside, and had no concern for their hearts and for what was going on on the inside. They wanted to fix up the outside and their actions so people would think well of them, and so perhaps even God would be pleased, but many of them didn’t care anything about the inside and for the reasons why they did the things they did.