Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, December 5
- The Lion And The Lamb
- Come Lord Jesus (Even So Come)
- Jesus Loves Me
- Turn to John 3. Beginning in Genesis 3 and throughout the OT Scriptures, God promised that a Savior would come. A Savior who would crush Satan, restore the nations, heal, forgive, and rescue humanity. That Savior, of course was and is the Lord Jesus Christ, and Advent is the time we celebrate His birth - that the Son of God took on flesh and was born as the Son of Man. Why? Because the sons and daughters of flesh must be born of the Spirit if we are to have eternal life.Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.Without the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, we are eternally guilty before GodWhoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.So we see that the Advent season is of the utmost importance. The arrival of the Messiah is truly a matter of life and death - spiritually and eternally.Why is this so difficult for humanity to comprehend (broad / narrow)? Why is it so difficult for people to accept that Jesus Christ, who loves each of us is the only way, truth, life, and only Savior? There are many reasons, but one of the biggest hurdles to believing that Jesus Christ is the Lord is to accept that you are not your own savior. Too many people believe, “if I try a little harder, if I could be a little bit nicer, if I could be a little bit ‘gooder’ - I’ll be alright in the end.” No, you won’t be alright in the end without Jesus Christ.The sole purpose of Advent is that God sent His Son to rescue a people who deserve hell, to forgive their sins, and give them new life and the right to be called sons of God - so that they could experience His unconditional love and fellowship for ever and ever.God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay Remember, Christ, our Saviour was born on Christmas day To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astrayWho has gone astray? Scripture makes it clear that all have sinned, rebelled, and rejected God at some point. So what hope do we have? None!We have zero hope in and of ourselves, but in Jesus Christ we have all the hope we need.He has supplied everything we need for salvation.Let’s look at John 3 and discover the hope we have in Christ.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.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.Jesus presents two truths, two issues that plague humanity.1) Unless a person is born again, he or she cannot see, comprehend, or grasp God’s Kingdom.Jesus said that which is flesh is flesh. If you’re just flesh, no Spirit of God living inside, then the flesh is all you got, and you will have difficulty seeing and understanding God’s Kingdom - His principles, His commands, His providence, etc. For example - tithing or forgiving and loving your enemy. Can’t get it unless you’re born again. So, if you’ve ever wondered why some people don’t understand Godly principles - it’s because they can’t. There are some things in this world that are spiritually discerned. That’s why we pray for eyes to be opened ….Second issues is2) Unless a person is born again, he or she cannot enter God’s Kingdom.We should not make a big deal about the difference between seeing and entering - interchangeable - basically synonymous. Nonetheless, these are two serious issues that plague our world. These are the two most critical issues of our time. It’s not Covid, masks, vaccines, socialism, racism, …. The main issue that should always be at the forefront of all other issues is that people can’t see or enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born-again.What is the Kingdom of God? It’s everything that God is.- love, truth, holy, healing, restoration …. Can’t see or enter that Kingdom now or later unless one is born-again.So what does it mean to be born again?Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”First, Jesus said don’t think about it too much, can’t fully explain what happens when a person is born again. If you try to figure it all out and understand all the nuances that take place - forget it. It will never happen. Sure, we can talk about regeneration, adoption, justification, sanctification and all these big words - ultimately those don’t matter. What matters is that you are born-again, whether you understand it or not. I like whatF.F. Bruce, “ … the hidden work of the Spirit in the human heart cannot be controlled or seen, but its effects are unmistakably evident.”You can’t fully explain what happened, but you know something happened. For some it’s instant, for others it’s like the Grinch - slow, but there’s a change.Secondly, Jesus used the phrase being born-again and being born of the Spirit interchangeably - the same thing. Which leads us to the translation of born-again. The Greek adverb used here, anōthen can mean “from above” (i.e. heaven) or literally again. The idea is that a person experiences a new birth, a new awakening, a new life that emerges on this inside through the Spirit of God. Of course, all kinds of things happen simultaneously at this new birth - adopted, regenerated, forgiveness of sin, justified (not guilty), eternal life, new perspective on life ….But for all that to happen, three things need to take place. Jesus said that one must be born of water and Spirit. What’s the idea here?I believe this is a reference toI will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.We also find this inBut when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.To be born-again, to enter the Kingdom of God, we need to be cleansed from our sins and the Spirit of God must take up residence in our hearts. That’s two things - what’s the third?Someone needs to make all of this possible - someone needs to be the solution to humanities’ sinful condition. We can’t have new birth unless we’re cleansed and forgiven of our sins, and we can’t have forgiveness without the shedding of innocent blood. Who’s innocent? None of us. We can’t have new birth without justification - without someone paying our sin debt. Who can pay our sin debt? We can’t. I could go on, but the point is that we can’t do anything to save ourselves, to cleanse ourselves, to justify ourselves - we can’t enter the Kingdom of God unless someone makes it possible for us. And who made it possible?And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.Jesus was referencing Numbers 21. Israel was in the desert - they had rebelled against God, and consequently poisonous snakes were biting and killing people. God said, “Here’s how we’ll solve the problem of death - make a bronze serpent and set it on a pole.”So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.What saved the Israelites? The serpent on a pole? No. God healed them through their faith and obedience.What does the pole look [Pic]like?This was a foreshadow of what Christ would do on the cross - that anyone who looks to Jesus in faith and believes will be saved, have eternal life, and enter the Kingdom of God.This is not just about going to Heaven; this is about experiencing God’s Kingdom now.One more thing before we close. Who does the saving? Who does the cleansing? Who does the forgiving? Who does the adopting? Who does the justifying? Who does the redeeming? Who makes the payment? He does everything! Look at how much God has done for us! What does He require of us? Believe, confess, obey.So, what is Advent all about? It’s more than lights, trees, presents. It’s about a Savior who came to this world, born in the flesh to give sinners new birth.So, as we continue to celebrate Advent, I ask you, have you believed and confessed Jesus Christ as Lord.Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
1 John 5:12NLT
- O Come O Come Emmanuel (Veni Emmanuel)
- He Has Come For Us (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
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