Friday, September 7, 2018

2018.09.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ John 2:23-3:21

Questions for Littles: Whom did many at the feast believe in (v23)? But what didn’t Jesus do (v24)? Why—what did He know? What Pharisee came to see him (v1)? At what time of day (v2)? How does Jesus answer Nicodemus’s opening compliment (v3)? What question does Nicodemus ask in v4? By what does Jesus say we must be born in v5-6? Where does the wind blow, and in whom therefore does the Spirit work (v8)? What does Nicodemus ask in v9? By what is Jesus amazed in vv10-12? Where was the Son of Man, and where did He go (v13)? What must happen to the Son of Man, and how can someone have eternal life (v15-16)? Why did God send His Son into the world (v17)? Why is the one who does not believe condemned already (v18)? Why do men love darkness rather than light (v19-20)? When someone who does the truth comes to the light, what can be seen about his deeds (v21)?
In the Gospel reading this week, we hear about a most important subject concerning our happiness: how a man can avoid being destroyed, but instead have eternal life with Jesus Christ.

The problem is actually originally found in the people at the feast: we are rotten from the inside out. This was why Jesus did not entrust Himself to them: He knew what was in man. The people believed in Him; Nicodemus acknowledges Him to be a good teacher from God, but none of them are saved, yet. Why not?

Because only the Holy Spirit can save, and He cannot be manipulated any more than we can change which way the wind will blow. He will work in whomever He will. Of course, Nicodemus knew that Jesus meant spiritual rebirth—but that’s offense to think about. Is there really nothing salvageable in me? Nothing good at all? Must I be completely remade? Don’t I just need a touch-up here and there?

Until the Spirit convicts us, we avoid having the light of God’s truth shine on us, because we enjoy the false narrative that our deeds aren’t so bad. Everyone practicing evil hates the light. The idea that we need an entirely new spiritual life to be saved was as ridiculous to the honored Pharisee as the idea of climbing back into his mother to be reborn.

But that is the case: there is nothing good in us at all. That is why salvation is only by trusting in the crucified Christ. That is why the only good works are only those works that have been done in God, after one has come to faith in Christ.

The great news in this passage is not so much that one must be born again as it is that the Holy Spirit does in fact give this new birth! Have you had this birth? Is Christ all your hope? Are your good deeds only done by His life in you?
Why did you need to be completely remade by God the Holy Spirit? Have you?
Suggested songs: ARP51B “From My Sins, O Hide Your Face” or TPH391 “Come, Thou Quick’ning Spirit”

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