The message was brought by Rev. Stuart Orr.
John 3 is an eventful moment we can’t get away from. Most everyone here is saved. My pastor told me one time he had the urge to preach a salvation message one time and he thought everyone was saved. He decided to change his topic and it did not go well. He stopped during the message and started over using the original thought and five people came forward to get saved. We have to follow the Spirit. Maybe someone here needs to be saved or just needs some encouragement. If our trust is in our job, or a doctor or lawyer, it will fail. Our trust must be in Jesus Christ.
John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher com e from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The Pharisees were not ignorant men. They had closed door meetings to talk about this man called Jesus. Some said that nothing good could come from Nazareth where he was raised. It was sort of the armpit of the nation. Jesus was a common man. He’d go from house to house sometimes eating with the people he visited. He had no real place to stay. Many nights were probably spent under the stars. But what a crowd that followed him! The Pharisees were offended by what Jesus taught. This group controlled the Jews. Pilate would go to them to keep them in order. They taught one thing and Jesus taught something different. Jesus was not afraid to preach the truth of God even to them.
Let’s look at Nicodemus. Verse 2 says he came to Jesus by night, probably so the other Pharisees wouldn’t know. He told Jesus “Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” Behind closed doors the Pharisees would say this. They had no way to combat it but were very worried about their power. Nicodemus had to know the truth, so he went to Jesus. He was only one of maybe 3 of them who became believers. Another was Saul (Paul) and another is Gamaliel. They all knew the Messiah would come. When Caiphas said it was better that one die than many, he was telling the truth even though he hated Jesus. He spoke in greed and love of power. Because Jesus was rejected, salvation was opened to us, the Gentiles.
I had nothing to offer God. I was not yet 18 years old and my now father-in-law read some scripture to me and asked me if I was saved. That was my age of accountability because that’s when I realized I needed to be saved. I knew I was lost. My options were to accept Jesus as Savior or refuse and walk away. I have seen people walk away saying “no, not today.” Have you noticed that these days everyone is going to heaven? They’re not. Each and every person needs Jesus. Nicodemus knew this regardless of what the others said. First Corinthians 10 tells us about the love of God; it has not changed. Ruth, a Moabitess, accepted the God of the Jews as her own and is in the lineage of Christ.
I Corinthians 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7 Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
As many as 1 to 1 ½ million Jews were part of the exodus from Egypt. Don’t focus on them. It’s about Jesus Christ. God spoke to Moses from a burning bush that was not consumed. He called himself I AM THAT I AM. Jesus Christ was in the bush. I AM was the cloud. I AM was the rock. I AM was the manna. I AM was the water. He had power in a barren wilderness. He has not changed. We live in a land of plenty for tangible things but there is a spiritual drought. I can’t stop the sinner from living like a sinner. I hear and see things on my job that I don’t want to hear and see. I ask people if they are saved and they’ll say sure. I’ll say so you believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, that he died on the cross and rose again. They’ll say I’m not sure about that. What god do they believe? It’s not the true One. If you say Jesus died a good man but you don’t raise him from the dead, you are lost. But praise God! He did rise on the third day. He said he “I AM the resurrection and the life.”
Unless we go through the rapture we’re all going to go by the grave. Death is an enemy but out of it came the promise of God. God told Adam not to eat of a certain tree or he would die. He did. Adam chose to sin and the death sentence came. Jesus promised to make the way. He was born, lived a sinless life and chose to die for us. He didn’t have to. The penalty of death was not on him yet he gave his life freely. When he came forth on that third morning we know the guards were there to watch the tomb. The Pharisees didn’t want the disciples to steal the body of Jesus and say that he arose. What would you do if you’d seen what the guards saw? Probably the same thing they did. They told the Pharisees what they saw. Who but God could bring life back to a body? The Pharisees immediately paid them off to lie and say the disciples came and stole the body. They lied to the bitter end.
Jesus is our Rock, our Cloud in the darkness, our fire, our hope. Even men of God wrestle against the same things you do. We’re not exempt. Brother Bob feels now what many of you have felt. Life brings trouble and confusion but we can depend on Jesus. We need him every day. He didn’t save us and leave us on our own. We can do a little extra for him, give kindness to others. Jesus loved me sacrificially, to the death and grave. We are to love sacrificially. We can’t let our love stop inside these four walls. That’s falling short. We have to love those God sends our way. One day I was pumping gas and a man walked up to me. He had been drinking and told me so. I could already tell. He wanted to know about God. He was confused about things he’d heard from his wife’s church. I told him he had to go through Jesus. What else could I tell him? He’s the way and will help us all throughout this life if we trust him.