September 13, 2020

From Trying to Trusting

Pastor: Shannon Ford Series: That You May Believe Topic: trust, Believe, Belief Scripture: John 3:1–15

Series: That You May Believe
Message: Trying to Trusting
Scripture: John 3:1-15 

Many people have just enough religion to make them immune to the real thing, a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. (Billy Graham)

1. Power of Conversation (John 3:1-3)

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

  • People of the conversation 

- Traits of Nicodemus - Religious and Lost

Frankly, one of the most difficult individuals to lead to a knowledge of God through faith in Jesus Christ is a religious person. (Chuck Swindoll) 

- Truth about Jesus –Available and Approachable

The Son of God came to seek us where we are in order that He might bring us to be with Him where He is. (J. I. Packer)

  • Purpose of the conversation

 - Nicodemus - To Observe Jesus the teacher

“Nicodemus has a major flaw in his theology. To him, Jesus was a ‘teacher come from God,’ not God come to teach.” (David Jeremiah) 

- Jesus - To Offer salvation to Nicodemus the sinner

“What Jesus was saying to Nicodemus was something that he never dreamed was possible but needed to hear. You don't need a new start. You need a new life.” (James Merritt)

2. Pictures of Conversion (John 3:4-8)

  • Picture of the miraculous new birth

Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again."'

If you think you can go to Heaven without being born again, you are grossly ignorant of two things: 1) how sinful you are, and 2) how holy God is. (Adrian Rogers)

Understanding John 3:5 - Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."

Born of "the Spirit" - Holy Spirit
Born of "water" - Four main interpretations

  1. Water baptism is required for salvation - not Biblical (Ephesians 2:8; Old Testament saints)
  2. Water refers to our physical birth that illustrates our spiritual birth. (Physical birth provides life; only happens once; takes place because of the suffering of another; at birth there is no past just new life ...)
  3. Water stands for the Word of God that washes and cleanses (John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Peter 1:23)
  4. Water speaks of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (Ezekial 36:25-27; Titus 3:5)

“No amount of education, religion, or discipline can change the old nature; we must receive a new nature from God.” (Warren Wiersbe)

  • Picture of the mysterious normal breeze

The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.

“The new birth is not only a mystery that no person can understand; it is a miracle that no person can undertake. Being born-again is not making a new start in life. It is receiving a new life to start with.” (James Merritt)

3. Provisions of Christ (John 3:9-15)

  • Spirit led understanding

Nicodemus said to him, "How can these things be?" Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony.

“The Holy Spirit opens and unveils our minds and attunes our hearts so that we understand the divine things of God.” (J. I. Packer)

  • Sacrifice on the cross

I have told you earthly things and you do not  believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except  he  who  descended  from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.

“Christ had to die before men could be born again; His death brings life. When spiritually dead sinners trust Jesus Christ, they move from death to life. What a paradox!” (Warren Wiersbe)

  • Salvation for believers

That whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

The word "believes" is the hinge upon which the door of heaven turns. Whether or not we believe will determine where our eternal soul will live forever. (David Jeremiah)

Religion says try harder. Jesus says trust me.

Personal Application Steps

  1. Seek to know Jesus better by daily reading one chapter for two weeks about the life and teachings of
  • Day 1. Luke 1: Preparing for Jesus'
  • Day 2. Luke 2: The story of Jesus'
  • Day 3. Mark 1: The beginning of Jesus'
  • Day 4. Mark 9: A day in the life of
  • Day 5. Matthew 5: The Sermon on the
  • Day 6. Matthew 6: The Sermon on the
  • Day 7. Luke 15: Parables of
  • Day 8. John 3: A conversation with
  • Day 9. John 14: Jesus' final
  • Day 10. John 17: Jesus' prayer for his
  • Day Matthew 26: Betrayal and arrest.
  • Day 12. Matthew 27: Jesus' execution on a
  • Day 13. John 20: Resurrection.
  • Day Luke 24: Jesus' appearance after resurrection. 

2. Pray daily for God to give the opportunity to have a spiritual conversation with one person this. Write out and share your personal testimony. 

  • My life before receiving Jesus
  • How I received Jesus
  • How Jesus has changed my life