Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, November 28
  • Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)
  • Forever Reign
  • Great Are You Lord
  • Turn to John 3. We’re probably going to camp out in John 3 for Advent season, so we’ll hit it from various angles.
    Today is the First Sunday of Advent. Advent means to “come to” or “to arrive.” The four Sundays of Advent are to remember that Jesus, the Son of God came once, and He will come again. A little disclaimer here - I believe Jesus was born in September, and a couple of years later the Magi arrived on December 25. But I don’t have enough clout to change the Church calendar - so I’ll just go with it. Advent - it’s a looking back to the first Advent, but it’s also a time of expectation, a time of waiting and of anticipating the Second Advent - when Christ returns to establish His Kingdom forever. The first Advent was as Savior. The second will be as King.
    One of the key concepts of Advent is that Jesus was born in the flesh - became a man in order to save those who are flesh. The Spiritual took on flesh. Interestingly, those who are flesh must take on the spiritual to be saved. Scripture calls this being born-again. Why was Jesus born? Why did He die? Why did He rise from the dead? So that all who believe in Jesus Christ could be born-again. Charles Wesley got it right in 1739 when he wrote,
    “Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings Ris'n with healing in His wings Mild He lays His glory by Born that man no more may die Born to raise the sons of earth Born to give them second birth
    This is what Christmas is all about - Jesus came to give humanity new birth - spiritual birth. We’ll talk more about “born-again” next week, but that’s the real celebration.
    I just learned something - Christmas is actually a Spanish word. Most think of the Christ Mass. In reality (ahem), mas in Spanish is more. Cristo = Christ. Christmas means more Christ. Stick to the Christ Mass.
    So let’s look at John 3. In John 3 we meet Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee. Pharisees were the conservatives of Judaism. They imposed strict adherence to the Law of Moses. They knew the OT inside and out. Sadducees were the liberals of Judaism. Very wealthy, very political. Both Pharisees and Sadducees served on the Sanhedrin - a 70 member ruling council of the Jews.
    John 3:1–3 ESV
    Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    Let’s think about Nicodemus for a moment. A prominent powerful Jewish leader - dedicated his life to the study of Scripture and other Jewish writings. A very educated man who has earned his position and status. This man knew all about God, knew all about the Law, knew all about praying, fasting, prophecy, etc. He interprets the Law and imposes the Law. He up there and has very few peers. Yet, Jesus catches his attention. Wants to meet Jesus. Why?
    Nicodemus knows that no one could do what Jesus was doing unless he was sent by God. Jesus was doing some crazy stuff, powerful stuff - stuff that hasn’t happened since OT prophets. He’s performing miracles. His teachings attracted crowds. So Nicodemus says, “There’s something about you that’s different. I can't quite put my finger on it, so what’s going on?”
    What was it that caught the attention of Nicodemus? Scripture says signs - but let’s broaden that a little and summarize at the same time. I think everything that Jesus did can be summed up in three words. Originally it was two words - Kingdom Work. I think we would all agree that Jesus did Kingdom Work. Everything that Jesus did was centered on the Kingdom of God, God’s principles, and His truths etc.
    As I prepared the sermon, Kingdom Work didn’t seem entirely accurate because
    We can do Kingdom Work, but it may not be the Kingdom Work God called us to do.
    For example, serving as a missionary is definitely Kingdom work, but not everyone should serve as a missionary. And if you try to serve as a missionary without the call of God, it’s not going to work very well. Some good things may happen, but overall it’s not the best place or right place for you to serve. And it probably won’t gain much attention from others, or at least the right attention.
    1 Samuel 15:22 NIV
    But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
    What’s the point? Obedience is what counts.
    You can do all these things for God …, but if it’s not done in obedience …!
    Jesus caught the attention of Nicodemus - why? Kingdom Work? Absolutely, but more than that, and this is critical -
    It was Obedient Kingdom Work.
    John 4:34 ESV
    Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.
    John 5:19–20 ESV
    So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.
    Jesus was obedient in all things. For what purpose? So that humanity can experience new birth, so that even the worst of sinners can believe in Jesus Christ and be born-again.
    Philippians 2:8–11 ESV
    And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
    It was the obedient Kingdom work of Jesus that caught the attention of Nicodemus.
    If we want to catch the attention of people who are not born-again, then we too must be engaged in obedient Kingdom work.
    What does all this have to do with Advent? Why do we have Advent? Because
    John 3:3 ESV
    Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
    Jesus says it again in verse
    John 3:5 ESV
    Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
    Q - Does it bother us; does it break our hearts that others cannot enter the Kingdom without Jesus Christ? Does it bother us; does it break our hearts that others will not enter the Kingdom unless we do something about it?
    Jesus said we should become fishers of men (all people). We become fishers of men through obedient Kingdom work. What obedient work are you doing or willing to do that would gain another's attention?
    What does Obedient Kingdom Work look like?
    Eph. 2:10. Let’s be honest - talents, skills, training ….
    Today, and during this Advent season, let’s to recommit to obedience, to the purposes and will of God, to surrendering our lives, desires, wants ....
    If you are not sure if you are born-again, or if you have never confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior …
      • John 3:1–3ESV

      • 1 Samuel 15:22ESV

      • John 4:34ESV

      • John 5:19–20ESV

      • Philippians 2:8–11ESV

      • John 3:3ESV

      • John 3:5ESV

  • Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
  • Lord I Need You

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