Two weeks ago we asked the question… What is your passion in life that moves you to tears? There are lots of different things to be passionate about but Jesus’ passion is to see people Reborn into relationship with God. We saw Nicodemus a Pharisee and member of the most elite religious club in Israel come to Jesus because He knew He was from God. Jesus cut through all the Baloney and right to the heart of Nicodemus’ heart. He said, “Nicodemus, your primary problem is Spiritual Deadness. “You want to know how to have spiritual life to see the Kingdom of God? You must be Reborn! Nicodemus’s passion was religion and morality and he thought that if he just practiced them well enough that He would be tight with God. What He learned from Christ was that God actually despises our works if they do not flow from heart Reborn by His Spirit. Maybe your passion is to do good works because you think God will love you more and accept you on the basis of your good behavior
You go to church religiously, sing songs religiously, give money religiously
And maybe you don’t normally go to church but you try to be good and you think that because you do more good than bad God will accept you.
Maybe you fight against poverty, homelessness, or some other social injustice. You’re a good little activist for your cause. You fighting for the environment.
Its all futility and filthy rags to God apart from Jesus- Its all about Jesus
Thebeginning motive of any good work and the end goal of any good work is ultimately is the glory of Jesus Christ manifest through Gods people who have been spiritual Reborn.
And today as we look a bit more at John 3 starting in verse 13, Jesus tells us how to experience the Rebirth, what real authentic relationship with the Living God looks like
#1- Jesus Initiates for Relationship
13 “No one has ascended into heaven, 13b but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
He says, “No one ascended into Heaven”
I.e All finite human attempts to ascend to heaven- to get to the infinite God who is transcendent and holy…any and all attempts for man to rise up out of his natural box to the supernatural by his own efforts is impossible
Every single religion, religious effort, ritual, ceremony, philosophy, or idea- any attempt to get to God… to break out of the finite box of human experience into the infinite realm where God resides is futility
“No one has ascended into heaven… BUT who?>…
BUT He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man
Jesus says- In order for us to know God He must descend form heaven. He must initiate relationship. He must reveal Himself to the finite.
Think of it this way:
If you want to get to know a plant, it won’t typically reject you. You can study it.
If you want to get to know an animal- you can usually get to know it, you can approach it to learn about it- you can get to know it until it runs away from you
If you want to know another human being- you can not unless they let you get to know them.
If you want to get to know God- you can’t even approach him- He’s an infinity away
It is harder to know God through our efforts than it would be to try to get to know the US President. Even if you jump the fence all of the white house trying to get closer to the president, you wouldn’t even get close unless he wanted you to.
And God is King of the Universe and so He must initiate the relationship. We can’t know God apart from His movement to reveal himself.
When Jesus says Son of Man he’s referring to the Old Testament book of Daniel in chapter 7 which Nicodemus would have easily recognized as an obvious and blatant claim to deity.
For any monotheistic Jew this was pure blasphemy. Unless of course it was true.
Jesus said, It ell you the truth “my home is heaven and that is where I came from. I’m from heaven.” “I’m God’s revelation or initiation of relationship” I’ve broken into the box of your human experience to walk and talk and live among my beloved creation.”
Theologians call this action of God the incarnation- carne meaning meat (chili con carne, carne asada). It is God becoming meat, becoming flesh and bones and blood, becoming man.
John the apostle a few passages earlier in this gospel writes about Jesus:
John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.
John calls Jesus God the one and only
Jesus is basically saying, “I tell you the truth…In fact I am the truth, I’m God, I’m the exact representation of God, I’m God the One and only, if you’ve seen me you’ve seen the Father.” “It is right for you to call me Yahweh, for I am who I Am, the existent One speaking to you in the flesh.
I know you think you know something, but if you want to really know God then listen to me because I descend from heaven.”
Are you listening to Jesus? Listen up
God initiates relationship and in verse 14 Jesus teaches us that God Sacrifices Himself for Relationship
#2 Jesus Sacrifices Himself for Relationship
14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
Here Jesus is referring to an historical account in the OT book of Numbers in chapter 21
Where the Israelites sinned against God
And He sent venomous snakes to bite them
The people Repented of their sin
And God’s solution for the healing of these dying Israelites bitten by poisonous snakes was for Moses to make a bronze snake and put it up on a pole; and anyone who was bitten by the snake could look at the snake on the pole- and live.
Imagine the scene- the Israelite camp extended for a couples miles and people were wrenching in pain from snake bites and crawling and being carried to the center of the camp where Moses had erected a pole with a the Brazen Serpent hanging from it.
Bronze is often symbolic of judgment and if you haven’t connected the dots…the Brazen Serpent on the pole is a picture of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of himself for us on the Cross.
We have all sinned against God
We have all been bitten by the snake- the serpent of old, the Devil.
And just like the Brazen serpent was lifted up for all Israel to look upon for healing- God in Jesus came to earth and was lifted up to die on the cross- to hang on the tree as a curse- to sacrifice himself in our place- to take the judgment required for our sin upon himself – so that anyone who looks upon Jesus through the eyes of faith will be healed and redeemed from the bite of the evil one- sin and death.
Jesus paid it all- all to Him I owe- Sin had left a crimson stain- He washed it white as snow
That whoever believes will in Him will have eternal life
Do you believe? Are you looking to the cross of Jesus for healing , salvation, hope, Redemption, REbirth?
Look to Jesus let him be your Savior
Transition: God initiated relationship, He sacrifices himself for relationship, and He offers Eternal Relationship
#3 Jesus Offers Eternal Relationship
16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Jesus Offers Eternal relationship- God our Father made known His love for us through the gift of His Son and His love has made a way to have eternal relationship with us
Do you realize that God’s Love is the motive for initiating relationship with us and it is the motive for sacrificing Himself for relationship with us and the reason He offers eternal relationship with us- It is his Love for us.
This love is really profound- because it’s a love for those who were His enemies.
Romans 5:8 says “Perchance for a good man one might dare to die. But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners- still unreconciled enemies of God, Christ died for us.
He was lifted up before the world of serpent bitten, perishing, rebellious sinners of all kinds and degrees because He Loves
He was lifted up because He did not come to judge but to save:
God says, “ Why do you think I sent the Son into the world?
I do not delight in the death of the wicked (Ezek 18:23,32
I desire everyone to be saved (1 Tim 2:4)
But not everyone will look to the Son for life which is where it is to be found
1 John 5:11-12 God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life
To have the life, you must be Reborn.
The first birth is a birth from out of the dark womb of our natural mother when we are born into the natural light of the natural sun in the sky biologically alive but Spiritually dead.
But in our second birth- when we are born again, we come transfer from the dark womb of this natural world in to the supernatural light of thee Son of God, thee Light of the world, spiritually alive no longer dead in our sins.
In 1 John 3:1 we read “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
Do you get that God is King of King and He is our dad
Son of a King
God loves you
you have an eternal relationship with God
All your sins are forgiven
God delights in you
Look to Christ and be healed
God enjoys you because you are His son
God is your dad
Christ has spoken the truth
God does love you
You have eternal life
God will never leave you
God says look at the Son on the cross and be healed
Your dad adores you
Do you believe this to be true?
Today you can give your sins, fears, hopes, dreams, hurts, your past and present and future- give itall to him
I tell you the truth- God loves you, He forgives, he heals, he restores, he reconciles, he justifies, He sanctifies, He renews, He makes whole, He resurrected the dead, He gives you His very own life.
Do you believe this? Do you believe? Do you believe Jesus?
Conclusion- Before we close, aAs we prepare to go out from this place back to our homes, and jobs, and families, and our schools, and our day to day life, lets consider for a moment what it might look like for us to live the gospel and love like Jesus loves .
Who in your life can you reach out to?
Maybe it starts in your family. Go home and initiate relationship with you wife and kids, your grandkids,
Incarnate into their world- Go wrestle with your boys, take your daughters on walks and play with them, be present with themand pursue them
Maybe it means initiate relationships with your neighbors. How can we reach out to our neighbors? How can we incarnate into their world?
Sacrifice Yourself for relationship
How can I decrease so that Jesus can increase? How can I put others before myself? How can I sacrifice my own life for the life of another?
Offer an eternal relationship
As parents- Never make good behavior or obedience a requirement or condition for your acceptance of your kids
We don’t obey God to get Him to love us, We obey God because He loves us.
When we’re disobedient and rebellious God’s discipline towards us as his children is only out of love continually- never condemnation.
How many parents who are Christians punish their kids out of anger and fail to show love.
When your kids are defiant, use your discipline to remind them of God’s love for them.
When my sons Brendan and Wyatt are disobedient or defiant, or rebellious as I expect them to be in their sinful nature, the first thing I try to do and I’m not perfect at it is to kneel down at their level and remind them of my unconditional love for them even in their sin.
Guys, your daddy loves you.
Do you remember how much daddy loves you? And they’ll stretch their arms out and say this much and I’ll tickle them. And I have found that when my sons are reminded and have it in their mind how much I love them, they are much more motivated to obey my words because of my love. I want them to respond in obedience because of my love not in order to receive my love.
And Husbands and wives – Love each other like Jesus loves- offering eternal relationship.
i.e Don’t put conditions on your love. Don’t say
If you do my laundry
If you clean the house as a wife
If you can pay the bills as husband should
If your beautiful and attractive physically like so and so
If you are respectable and strong like so and so’s husband
If you treat me kindly
If you obey me
If you meet my needs
If, IF, If you follow my rules! Then I will love you
That is the opposite of grace
Do you want your marriage and your home to be a gospel centered place of freedom, and grace, and life, joy-
Then love like Jesus and love your family in such a way that they know they are accepted and that you already adore them and you delight in them not because they make you dinner, or clean their rooms, but because they are your precious family.
And whe you fail, remember God loves you
I heard a story about a man whose wife stole money from Him and His family, had multiple affairs with other men, He would come home and catch her cheating on Him, she would go to activities, and ball games, and other places with other men, and on occasion she would come home and make amends for a time but then would go back to her life not thinking of him much. His friends would say to “Man, you ought to dump this unfaithful bride”
But He would say “no … because she is my wife. I made a promise. I gave her my word to her to love her without an unconditional love not based on her performance as wife- in a covenant relationship.
Is this reckless?
This man is a picture of Jesus …who is thee Bridegroom and loves those of us who are now His bride with an incomprehensible love- a love that is not based on our faithfulness but on His.
Will you love your family like God loves his?
The love of God is a love that initiates and pursues relationship,
It’s a love that takes a radical sacrifice for relationship and reconciliation,
it’s a love that is relentless and offers eternal life in covenantal relationship that cannot and will not be broken, He will never leave you or forsake you, ever
Do you believe this? Look to Jesus and Believe in Him and you will not perish but will be Reborn into his family and have eternal life.
Let’s bow our heads for a moment before the King. As we listen to this next song, I encourage you to repent of your sins and look to Jesus.
Let’s take a few moments to talk with the King of the Universe, our Dad as his Sons and Daughters
Take this time to allow all else to fade away- the people, the worries, the disctraction of life, even the chair you sit on. You are alone with God, it is you and Him, you are naked before Him, He sees all your deeds, all your thoughts, He’s heard all your words, you are naked before your Maker. Tell Him Dad, I have sinned against you, I am sinner, I need your mercy, I am lost with out
And in this moment receive his Love- Let him forgive, Let him hold you, Let him remind youhow much He loves you and when you here His voice listen to Him and Believe.