Sermon Preparation -
February 28, 1999
There was a man named Nicodemus who was a Pharisee and a Jewish leader. One night he went to Jesus and said, "Sir, we know that God has sent you to teach us. You could not work these miracles, unless God were with you."
Jesus replied, "I tell you for certain that you must be born from above before you can see God's kingdom!"
Nicodemus asked, "How can a grown man ever be born a second time?"
I tell you for certain that before you can get into God's kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. Humans give life to their children. Yet only God's Spirit can change you into a child of God. Don't be surprised when I say that you must be born from above. Only God's Spirit gives new life. The Spirit is like the wind that blows wherever it wants to.You can hear the wind, but you don't know where it comes from or where it is going.
"How can this be?" Nicodemus asked.
How can you be a teacher of Israel and not know these things? I tell you for certain that we know what we are talking about because we have seen it ourselves. But none of you will accept what we say. If you don't believe when I talk to you about things on earth, how can you possibly believe if I talk to you about things in heaven.?
No one has gone up to heaven except the Son of Man, who came down from there. And the Son of Man must be lifted up, just as that metal snake was lifted up by Moses in the desert. Then everyone who has faith in the Son of Man will have eternal life.
God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. God did not sent his Son into the world to condemn its people. He sent him to save them! [CEV]
1. Salvation alert! GOD desires to save people. Do you feel so loved?
2. How do we get this basic piece of information into people's heads and hearts and hands and health? Even when eyes are open to see the miracles/signs we are still trying to get it to fit into our previous thinking patterns. Scripture doesn't seem to do it. Experience doesn't seem to do it. Tradition doesn't seem to do it. Reason doesn't seem to do it. How do we get this basic piece of information into people's heads and hearts and hands and health?
3. Perhaps we can only speak and act out of our certainties, our assurances. Do you know that God loves you?
What led to your certainty? Are you sharing that?
What keeps you from that assurance? Are you still actively looking for that assurance?
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