SanLo Community, an update for the week of February 3, 2019…
Thank you Pastor Eric for the message from John 3:1-18, “Teacher, How can I be saved?” We’ve all had a teacher that has made a major impact on our lives, and somewhere along the line you’ve been shaped by a good teacher. This is true for Nicodemus. He comes to Jesus in the middle of the night intrigued by Jesus as a great teacher. He wonders has Jesus brought something new to his faith? Or is it the same? Is He the long-awaited Messiah or some fly-by-night teacher?
Jesus expresses to Nicodemus that he must be born again. This causes some bewilderment for Nicodemus and maybe for many of you. What does it mean to born again? How can we even be born again? It really boils down to how can a person be saved? Jesus firmly and gently instructs Nicodemus and us to several truths about salvation.
The first truth is we are saved by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit, never any work of man. We are saved only by the grace of God. We are never saved by any good work, deed, or charitable act of the human mind, will, or spirit. (John 3:1-8)
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and part of the Sanhedrin. He was a well-educated man, a student of the Law as well as a very powerful man. Nicodemus believed that works and deeds are part of salvation, yet Jesus flips the switch. He tells Nicodemus salvation only comes from God. You can’t get to heaven without a new birth from the Spirit of God. Jesus is proclaiming that salvation is not an external transformation but an internal transformation, a new birth.
Many times we are like Nicodemus, and we believe that we must do something to earn favor with God. We believe that our salvation depends on us. We believe our life depends on our efforts. But Jesus proclaims salvation is always a miracle of God, never a work of man.
That same work of the Spirit to save us is the same Spirit to empower us to walk every day with our God. We are saved by the Spirit, and we live by the Spirit.
The second truth is we are saved by faith in Christ alone. It is only through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior that a person can be rescued from the depths of Hell and brought into the hands of Jesus. (John 3:9-15
Nicodemus is confused. Jesus, like a good teacher, challenges his thinking. He explains it is by believing in the Son of Man one can be saved. It is a simple faith in God to gaze upon the Son of Man that saves.
Faith is believing in your own insufficiency, but believing in the sufficiency of Christ. It’s believing in your inability to save yourself and clinging to the ability of Christ. He is the only one who can and will save us.
And if we are saved by faith, then as Christians we also live by faith. Our faith is not just a static choice or a one-time decision. Our faith is dynamic. Our faith is active, ongoing from the point of salvation to eternity with Christ. The Christian life is lived out by faith in the power of the gospel.
The final salvation truth is we are saved by the marvelous love of Jesus Christ. It is the love of God that defines His salvation. It is the love of Christ that demonstrates the heart of our gracious and glorious God. (John 3:16-18). From this comes the most well-known verse in history, John 3:16:
For God - God took the initiative, He took the first step. God is the Triune community of the Godhead - Father, Son, and Spirit - choose willingly to surrender His Son. God predestined it before the beginning of time.
so loved the world - This is enormous love of God. It is so BIG that is stretches from the east to the west as far as the sun will shine. His love is sufficient to save people of every walk of life, every nation, every tribe, every tongue, and even every sin.
That He gave His only Son, God gave up His One and Only begotten Son to be crucified and to take the wrath of God for us. He became sin on our behalf. He paid our sin debt in full.
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life - for this reason - if you belief, then you will not live in the depths of hell and the eternal prison of torment, but in the glories of heaven. You can and will be with God forever with unending delight and joy. This is the good and glorious gospel. This is what Christ came to do so that we might know what true love is.
Nicodemus heard the good news, and his response is not recorded. One can only imagine he went home silent and dumbfounded by what he heard. So, what is your response to God’s marvelous love for you?
Do you feel unworthy? Do you think it’s too good to be true? Do you respond in disbelief? Or do you respond in faith? Is your response one of belief and love and surrender to Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Jesus is the greatest teacher of all time, He not only preached it, He lived it but then He died for it. He died for you, because He loves you beyond imagination so that you might come and live with Him now and forever.