Tuesday, October 27, 2015

EmmDev 2015-10-27 [Month of Mission 2015] It remains a decision that everyone must make

It remains a decision that everyone must make

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again. "
4 "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is 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."      (John3:3-8)
John paints Nicodemus as a seeker... Nicodemus has been to see Jesus at night in ch.3, he protests that the Pharisees want to condemn Him without a hearing in ch.7 and then comes with an armload of spices (enough spices for a king) to bury Jesus in ch.19.

Jesus gets straight to the point with Nicodemus: "You must be born again!"

We've heard many sermons on being born again...
A couple of years ago Rich Mullins asked a very penetrating question: "Did Jesus, the apostles or Paul ever ask anyone else to be born again???"

The answer is no.

Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell all he had.
He asked the woman at the well to tell the truth about herself.
He asked the man born blind to take a courageous walk across town.
He asked Zacchaeus to host a meal.
He asked Peter to throw out a net.

It would seem that Jesus approaches everyone uniquely.

Let's think about Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee and a member of the ruling council. His world was law, rules, regulations, stipulations, legalism, self-(earned)-righteousness. In his world there was no such thing as a free lunch. Grace (God's Riches At Christ's Expense) didn't fit into his world. Jesus tells him to be born again: "There's a whole new world for you Nicodemus! A new way of seeing things and doing things. A whole new way of thinking and living. A world that is not self-(earned)-righteousness, but grace. You're going to have to be like a new-born baby - seeing new things and learning new ways..."

Very often the things that have the deepest roots in us are the things that can get in the way of knowing Jesus: The young ruler's money, the well-woman's painful past, the blind man's safety, Zacchaeus' fear of people, Peter's pride in his fishing-competence and Nicodemus' comfortable world of behaviour-and-reward.

Jesus wanted them to let go of these things that they could find Him.

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