Ever since Adam and Eve's sinned in the garden there disobedience has plunged the entire human race into sin and bondage…..even before you were born! This puts us into a considerable amount of trouble with a holy and just God. What’s worse is that the lord of lies [Satan] hasn't ceased to promote that lie by saying “don’t worry be happy…..you can come to God on our own terms, in your own way.” This is lie that has not ceased since the beginning with first created humans…..Adam and Eve. People today are still failing and embracing this lie which comes from the depths of Hell. All who follow on this broad road only leads to one place! DESTRUCTION. In 2 Cor 4:3-4 Paul said “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.”
MANKIND HAS A SERIOUS PROBLEM……What do I mean by that?Nicodemus has just been confronted with the biggest problem in humanity. There is nothing that you can do in order to enter the Kingdom of God apart from the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. THAT’S A HUGE PROBLEM IN OUR CULTURE AND SOCIETY! Why? People don’t believe they need saving or that there is a Kingdom of God …they only believe in a kingdom of self as Eve did when she bit into the fruit.
SEE WE NEED TO PUT OURSELVES IN THE SHOES OF NICODEMUS! Nicodemus was no ordinary man who was unlearned when it came to the sacred scrolls. Nicodemus was an elite leader among the Sandhedrin. Nicodemus was a man who was left stunned or speechless after his question “how can these things be?”. But one thing we can say about Nicodemus is that he was a changed man that night! What he was about to hear that night changed the way he looked at his ministry and Jesus of Nazareth. For example we will see in John chapter 7 Nicodemus saying something foreign to his peers. In John 7:50-51 it says “Nicodemus, who had gone to him before, and who was one of them, said to them, "Does our law judge a man without first giving him a hearing and learning what he does?" The law required justice to be done, and gave every man the right to claim a fair and impartial trial, according to Lev 19:15-16; Exo 23:1-2; Deut 19:15-18. Their condemnation of Jesus was a violation of every rule of right. Nicodemus knew this and he went to bat for Jesus’s rights. We also see later after Jesus gave up His last breath……a man [Nicodemus] who feared by night, wasn’t ashamed to show his love and affection by day. In John 19:38-40 “After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.” Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
Nicodemus was no ordinary Pharisee! Who knew what was at stake, that’s why he was there seeking Jesus for answers. Look what Jesus says after Nicodemus’s question (v10) “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? Jesus using the word “the” indicated that Nicodemus was someone of importance. Nicodemus was a renowned master-teacher in the Nation of Israel [the top dog] “the teacher” Nicodemus was an established religious authority. What we also see here in Jesus’s question is that it demonstrates the spiritual bankruptcy of the nation and Nicodemus [an educated religious man] who should have known better.
See! The problem of spiritual bankruptcy results in ignorance and religious blindness. Augustine said "Involuntary ignorance is not charged against you as a fault; but your fault is this---you neglect to inquire into the things you are ignorant of." Nicodemus you are spiritually bankrupt, so abandon everything you have learned when it comes to eternal things or value and listen to this one important truth “You must be born again!”. This is the heart problem which spreads globally! Nicodemus and the world at large are ignorant to the witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? Because the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit 1 Cor 2:14 “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Spiritually ignorant to the truth of the Gospel. Jesus knew his spiritual bankruptcy and he knows yours and mine…..that’s why Jesus didn’t stop there! (v11-v12)
Jesus says! We speak ..... We know.... We have seen.... You did not receive Our witness. This is speaking of Jesus and His Prophets and John the Baptist who was the forerunner for this new birth. Men who understood and testified to the truth of salvation. Nicodemus you are blinded by you ignorance, your religious speech-making has blinded you to what you thought was true and it only resulted in unbelief.
The same thing could be said to us!
- All your church attendance
- All your bible reading
- All your legalism
- All your tradition
- All your busyness
These things have left you empty because you have done this all in your own strength Nicodemus, church goer. The God you truly love is yourself and you’re ok with that……THIS WHY JESUS CAME!
- All your church attendance is good if your motivated by the love of Christ.
- All your bible reading is good if it’s motivated by knowing Him more intimately.
- All your legalism is bondage and rituals which means Jesus isn’t enough.
- All your tradition….doing for the sake of doing and keeping busy.
- All your busyness leads to a life that misses out on the blessing of Christ.
ALL THOSE THINGS WE DO ARE A DUTY, IF IT’S NOT ROOTED IN A PASSION TO KNOW HIM MORE INTIMATELY. I must do this, this and that in order to please and be accepted by God! That’s not the Gospel according to Jesus, that’s the gospel according to man. In Phil 3:1-11 Paul pens these words…….“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you. Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
LOOK WHAT JESUS SAYS TO NICODEMUS! Here we see the precious gospel being proclaimed by the One who made the gospel possible for bankrupt sinners like Nicodemus and us. Jesus gives us the only solution or remedy to our spiritual sickness and He even uses the illustration of the time with Moses (13-v15) Nicodemus remember back when:
- Your people were complaining about their freedom
- Your people were bitter towards Moses
- Your people were blinded by unbelief
- Your people were speaking out against God
- Your people forgot all the promises of God
- Your people only saw the present and not future things
- Your people stop looking to God and His sovereign provision
The ones that He said
“I will make you a great nation, I will bless you” (Gen 12:2)
“I have heard their cries, I have heard their sorrows, their pains” (Exo 3:7)
“If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry;” (Exo 22:23)
“for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
IF WE LOOK CLOSELY AT THESE VERSE THIS DESCRIBES US TODAY IN SOME WAY…..
- Lack of faith
- Spiritually Blindness because of Pride
WHAT DID THE LORD DO BECAUSE OF THEIR LACK OF FAITH AND BLINDNESS? He sent in venomous snakes to infest the camp……..And the bible says “many died”. It says in Numbers “Then the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died.” Number 21:6
- The spiritual blinded
- The proud
- The religious
- The self-righteous
But something amazing happens in (v7) of Numbers 21 “And the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD and against you. Pray to the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us." So Moses prayed for the people. They saw [there true hearts where revealed to them and they began to repent and then look what happens next. But there is a cure, a solution to your problem. In order to live you must first look at the snake that is on the pole and some did(v8) Num 21:8 “And the LORD said to Moses, "Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live."
NICODEMUS, HUMANITY, THE SINS OF THE WORLD HAS CURSED THIS GROUND, EVERY LIVING CREATURE IS TAINTED WITH SIN
- Mankind is fallen
- Mankind is dying due to sin
- Mankind has been bitten by the snake of this world
WHAT IS JESUS SAYING? You’re sick and you are going to die unless you look to the Cross of Calvary. Jesus is referring to the future death of himself. Jesus died for our wretchedness and our spiritual bankrupt state…….that’s the Gospel truth. Someone had to take your place, my place in order for us to see the Kingdom of God. WE NEED TO REMEMBER YOU MUST LOOK TO CHRIST “Lifted up” this is the first of three times we read this phrase in John’s gospel. This phrase has a double meaning which is referring to Jesus’s death and His resurrection and exaltation to glory in Heaven. This is why He came to show the Father’s love toward sinners like you and me. See it doesn't matter how much religion you have or know. What matters is that you have looked to the only begotten Son…….Jesus Christ! And that you pleaded with Him to save you from your spiritual bankruptcy.
Closing Story! ……Back in the days of the Great Depression, a Missouri man named John Griffith was the controller of a great railroad drawbridge across the Mississippi River. One day in the summer of 1937, he decided to take his eight-year-old son, Greg, with him to work. At noon, John Griffith put the bridge up to allow ships to pass and sat on the observation deck with his son to eat lunch. Time passed quickly. Suddenly he was startled by the shrieking of a train whistle in the distance. He quickly looked at his watch and noticed it was 1:07--the Memphis Express, with four hundred passengers on board, was roaring toward the raised bridge! He leaped from the observation deck and ran back to the control tower. Just before throwing the master lever he glanced down for any ships below. There a sight caught his eye that caused his heart to leap into his throat. Greg, his son, had slipped from the observation deck and had fallen into the massive gears that operate the bridge. His left leg was caught in the cogs of the two main gears! Desperately John's mind whirled to devise a rescue plan. But as soon as he thought of a possibility, he knew there was no way it could be done in time. Again, with alarming closeness, the train whistle shrieked in the air. He could hear the clicking of the locomotive wheels over the tracks. That was his son down there--yet there were four hundred passengers on the train. John knew what he had to do, so he buried his head in his left arm and pushed the master switch forward. The great massive bridge lowered into place just as the Memphis Express began to roar across the river. John Griffith sacrificed his son to save four hundred passengers on that train. Likewise, God sacrificed His son to save you and me.
Just as this father made a hard chose…..the same was required of the Godhead when Jesus came to this earth in humiliation to die for us because like those people on the train they need saving. And Jesus is the only one who can deliver us from the precipice of Hell. Jesus is the only one way you’ll ever see the Kingdom of God. We have a Saviour and His name is Jesus Christ who takes away the sins of the world but remember it only benefits those who put their faith and trust in Him.....otherwise the Judgement is at the door and Hell is open to those who feel they are not spiritually bankrupt. We have a problem and Jesus is the only solution…..look to Christ, and be saved by His sovereign grace. Your eternal life depends on it.