Last week we had a Nicodemus moment.
Chapter 3. Nicodemus, a man whose entire life has been devoted to and consumed by the study of God’s Word, (First 5 books of the Old Test.), devoted/ dedicated to the Religious political system that ruled the Nation of Israel… He was considered THE Teacher of Israel…
And for all the knowledge of God’s Word… all the Religion He possessed… all the status he had as a Pharisee, a Ruler of Israel and THE Teacher of Israel… SOMETHING wasn’t right… something was missing. He was empty inside!
Nicodemus is searching for the Truth. Jesus didn’t beat around the bush with Nicodemus because He’s the Teacher of Israel.
John 3:5-8 – 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
It doesn’t matter how good, religious, devoted, dedicated, passionate, and knowledgeable you are about God, Jesus, the Bible and how much you serve and lay down your life… unless God draws you to Jesus Christ and you are born from above there is NO Salvation. (John 6:44)
The Natural man has no desire to come to God. We’re spiritually blind, deaf and our hearts are hard to the Truth of Jesus Christ. Like bugs under a rock we run from the light!!
Jesus said John 3:19-21 NIV – 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.
Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?
Romans 3:10-11 – As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 1:21 – 21 They knew God, but they did not give glory to God or thank him. Their thinking became useless. Their foolish minds were filled with darkness.
It’s only by the Mercy and Grace of God and His passionate love for us that He draws us to Himself. He wants us… He pursues us… He loves us! AND He proved that in Jesus Christ!
Ephesians 1:4-5 NLT – 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us (predestined us to be adopted) into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Ephesians 2:4-8 NLT – But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much ,5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. (For by grace you have been saved through Faith.) And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
John 3:16-17 CSB – 16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will 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.
What does it mean that God draws us to Himself:
- God draw us to Himself through the Holy Spirit. He brings us to an awareness of our sin and sinful nature through Conviction!
- There’s a desire for Truth. God reveals Truth. As that conviction is taking place… The Holy Spirit give us a desire to want to know the Truth. All of a sudden our ears, eyes, mind and heart is open to hear the Truth, receive the Truth and Believe the Truth of the Gospel.
- #1 & 2 are all God. There is NOTHING we do. The only thing we do… the only responsibility and duty we have is to make a choice!
I simply choose to Believe the Truth or NOT!
Last week in John 3:11-18 “Believe” is mentioned 7 time in 7 verses! So, what does it really mean to ‘Believe.’
Illustration: Let’s say you’re riding your motorcycle all day through the mountains on switchbacks… It’s been a long day, you’re exhausted, completely worn out, the gas light just came on, and, you think you’re lost. You’ve been going in a way that seems right, you thought it was the right way…
All of a sudden the paved road ends and now you’re on gravel. Finally, you come to this deep, deep canyon and on the other side there’s a Hotel, Rest. and Gas Station! Only one problem! You don’t see any way to get there!
You start searching and searching trying to find a way across and finally up over this little ridge you see it… a very small narrow wooden bridge to the other side!
You look at this bridge and you “believe” it’s going to hold you as you ride across you know it will, you agree it will… but you’re still sitting there. Do You Believe?
Then, you see some hikers walking across… some mountain bikers, riding across, and some dirt bike rider’s riding across on their Enduro’s. So, now you KNOW it will hold up. You can Trust it because you see it happening, but, you’re still sitting there. Do You Believe?
All of a sudden, you pat your ole’ lady on the leg, slam that Bike in gear, let out the Clutch and you start riding across to the other side. THAT’S BELIEF!
There’s Knowledge* and Agreement. (My Head) The mind is involved… I’ve looked at the facts, the Truth and there’s no other way. (God’s Way, Word and Will is right!)
*Correct Knowledge. Where did we get this idea that we can believe things that don’t line up with God, His Word, Jesus Christ or that are in opposition to Him, His Word, His Nature and Character and then say we Know and are in Agreement?!
There’s Faith… (My Heart) There’s a Trust and Confidence in the Truth God has revealed… Jesus Christ! James MacDonald said “Faith is believing the word of God and acting on it no matter how I feel because God promises a good result.”
There’s Action… (My Hands) Putting It In Gear… and letting the Clutch out based on my knowledge and Trust in Christ… to be obedient and become as He is!
James 2:14-20 NLT – 14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?
15 Suppose you see a brother or sister who has no food or clothing, 16 and you say, “Good-bye and have a good day; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? 17 So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. 20 How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
Belief that is “Born from above” that honors and glorifies God is Knowing Him, Trusting Him, and Action based on my knowledge and Trust in Him. (The Head, Heart and Hands are involved and engaged in my Belief.)
It’s NOT a once and your done thing! It’s an ongoing process of BELIEVING! Remember the first Scripture we read in John. The Purpose for John writing the Gospel… John 20:31 NLT – But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing (ongoing) in him you will have life by the power of his name.
Again, it’s nothing that we do… nothing we CAN do… its all God who does that in us as we simply CHOOSE to believe. Ephesians 2:8 . 8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. (For by grace you have been saved through Faith.) And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, That whoever believes in Him will 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.
I hope we have better understanding of what it means to “Believe.” And I hope and pray our Belief is one that honors and glorifies God. One that is born from above…
IF you don’t have that kind of Belief this morning. Slam it in gear, let the Clutch out and on the Bridge of Jesus Christ ride on over to the other side!