Nic At Night

John 3:1-21
Jack White
January, 09 2022

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Description

Nicodemus, Born Again


Nic At Night

Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.

Songs:

O Church Arise

O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

Facing a Task Unfinished

Be Thou My Vision

Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me

Sermon:

thank you worship team for leading us to the throne of grace my desire now is to lead us to the word of god's grace

it is a love that is so simple that a child can understand john 3 16.

for 42 years i've been teaching children and they can respond to this love that we see in john 3 16. one of my students probably fourth grade third grade wrote god loved the world so much that he gave his one and only son and anyone who believes in him will not die but have eternal life and then down here

it's like a commentary it wasn't the nails that held him to the cross it was his love it was his love john 3 16

so simple that a child can understand it and so profound that it baffles theologians through the ages what's the context sunday school was great this morning who said john 3 16 to whom was it said do i need to cut anything on up there i see you waving at me just click it right here okay

this always happens i'll wait on you and do your magic

while we're waiting let me assuage you of your fears i've written a book it's called sermon notes you have them if you do not have them you need to have them so would you raise your hand and just please ask for the sermon notes because this gentleman will bring it to you now i see those looks in your eyes thank you just like at my church when i give up my sermon notes it's like deer in the headlights because deep down you're saying he'll never get through this he will never get through this so i asked i think two or three three different people should i give out my sermon notes we okay you pray and uh i did i gave them out you've got them now in my kairos classes at teaching bible the rule is three per page you've got to fill in something on two of them you don't have to do that here it's okay it's all right but i'm just there for you if you have a question that you want to go back and search the scriptures on or something that's been said jot down a note and you can go back to that but there they are those are the sermon notes i my wife is not here she chose our seven grandkids over me to hear me preach but she did say as i asked her i said should i give out sermon notes and she didn't answer that so i said i always get through them and as i was leaving the door that day she said yeah in three hours it's okay i've got the clicker and i can click fast if we get toward the end but i would like those in the worship booth back there i want you to be my bouncers okay because if you feel like you if you see heads nodding would you just do this okay let me know okay and then when i've got five minutes left just hold up five minutes and i'll be done if i'm in the middle of a sentence i'll stop because i don't want to uh take too much of your time this sermon is called nick at night who's nick talk to me who is nick there's nicodemus that's exactly right we find the story in john chapter 3 verses 1 through 21 but really the chapter divisions as you know if you study your bible are not inspired they were added later the chapter divisions and the numbers and and that's good that helps us doesn't it but they're not inspired and so when you read in context the word of god sometimes those chapter divisions can be detrimental to the flow of what the writer is saying

his lamp am i by annie johnson flint what i propose to show you today

is where god comes into the world in a world of great darkness with great light but the light of god is the love of god exposing our sin and our need of the lord jesus christ and once we come into the light

through repentance and faith we must we must go out with god's love because there's the world to reach and annie johnson flint wrote this poem his lamp of my to shine where he shall say and lamps are not for sunny rooms nor for the light of day but for the dark places on the earth where wrong and crime have birth or where wandering sheep have gone astray or where the lamp of faith grows dim and souls are groping after him and as sometimes we find clear shining through the night so dark we cannot see the lamp but only see the light so may i shine his love the flame that men may glorify his name

when greg graciously spoke at my celebration of leaving the charleston christian school well not celebration like yeah yay wow go but you know whatever that was greg made this statement he said it is not enough to love your students it is not enough to love to teach you must love the students that you teach if you're a teacher here you know that it is not enough to love to teach you must love the students that you teach because students can read you they understand if you're there because you you really love them

nicodemus came to jesus at night why did he do that we don't know the bible doesn't tell us i think it's a beautiful picture of nicodemus being in darkness but not knowing it but we have matthew chapter 4 telling us that the people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light those who were sitting in the land in the shadow of death upon them a light has dawned the ministry of the lord jesus christ for god so loved the world that he gave and john the baptist is the herald and he he prepares the way and john the baptist's sermons were quite short and he would say repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand when john the baptist was put in prison the lord jesus christ has the same message repent repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand if you have a pen and you have the notes i would want you to circle the word repent i would like you to highlight that because we have nicodemus who was rich and respected and righteous and he was a ruler of the jews we do believe that he was one of the three richest men in jerusalem when nicodemus came to jesus christ at night something was missing in his life

rich respected righteous according to the law of god and a ruler to whom everyone looked up to the pharisees something just wasn't right in his life

and nicodemus takes the journey by the spirit of god drawing him to jesus christ that night

has god done that in your life do you remember the day when you knew deep in your heart something was wrong and you sought someone out

it's official i'm old i'm going to a doctor now that is called a old person doctor but he has an official name help me out yeah that's the word i won't say he's a geriatric doctor and i was talking to him the other day and he liked to talk his name is alan jackson so i when i walked in i said i don't hear any country music i thought that was funny but anyway i talked to him and i said i got saved at the age of 19 at the baptist college of charleston there was a man there by the name of dr carpenter he said i i went to baptist college i knew dr carpenter i said i was 19 i was strung out on drugs i know i know i was dying i was like in a prison and dr carpenter loved me in a way that no one else other than my mother had ever loved me

it was like light into my life and dr carpenter loved me and i was not a good person i want you to know that most people ran the other way when they saw me he loved me with the love of christ and i remember going over to his house driving to his house one day and knocking on the door in this large stately southern baptist minister much like w.a criswell was at the door and i said dr carpenter i need help he said son i can't help you

but i know who can but i know who can he led me through the romans road and i left a new creation i left at 19 cleansed by the blood of christ it was the holy spirit who draw drew me to dr carpenter it is the holy spirit in work who is drawing nicodemus to the lord jesus christ and we find in this journey from night to light the world's greatest tragedy and the world's greatest truths and the world's greatest text and the world's greatest test but this this is what must happen the lord is not slow about his promises as some count slowness but is patient toward us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to what what is that word repentance would you circle that would you circle the word repentance please because you understand that nicodemus was a rich and self-righteous respected ruler of the jews

chapter 2 of john

ends like this

this beginning of his signs jesus did in cana of galilee that's when he turned the water into wine don't you love the phrase where jesus said fill the containers to the brim god doesn't do anything halfway fill them to the brim because this is going to be a miracle and he manifested his glory because when they took out the water that had been turned to wine his glory was manifested and it says his disciples believed in him

but you will notice what it says jesus on his part was not entrusting himself to them why because faith based on signs is not saving faith faith born of repentance is saving faith and when dr carpenter opened romans road and read romans 3 23 for all of sin and fall short of the glory of god i said what's next i'm there i have sinned i know it and you don't need to spend much time on romans 3 23.

romans 5 8 is where he went but god demonstrated his love toward us and that while we were yet sinners christ died for us for the wages of sin is death but the gift of god is eternal life through jesus christ our lord but he doesn't manifest his his glory he doesn't manifest the secret things of the kingdom of god because he could read every heart he could read every heart because he was divine and he read nicodemus's heart he could read nicodemus's heart and to nicodemus he entrusts himself let me read these 10 verses if you have your bibles

the sunday school teacher this morning said if you want to hear god speak read the word out loud

john 3 1. now there was a pharisee a man named nicodemus who was a member of the jewish ruling council he came to jesus at night and said rabbi we know that you are a teacher come from god for no one can do the miracles that you're doing except god be with him

we like compliments but this was far too shallow a compliment

let me read on

for no one could perform these signs that you're doing if god were not with him

he was speaking to god himself and didn't know it jesus replied verily verily i tell you no one can see the kingdom of god unless they're born again but how can someone be born when they are old nicodemus asks can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born jesus answered verily verily i tell you no one can enter the kingdom of god unless they are born of water and the spirit flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit marvel not that i say unto you you must you must be born again

my pastor my church charleston bible church pastored the church for 25 years he was an acolyte early on of an episcopal church he was a good person

ed stelling

one day someone asked him when were you born again he said i'm an acolyte of an episcopal church and i've done this this this this this this i've done all this but when were you born again and in his testimony

my first pastor would say that haunted him that haunted him because at night he would hear this phrase when were you born again

he didn't know what that meant so he began to search the scriptures isn't that a good thing god opened his eyes that being born again means that you enter this world once physically but there's another realm where you enter spiritually because that which is born of the flesh is flesh but that which is born of the spirit is spirit how can this be nicodemus asked verse 10 you're israel's teacher said jesus

and you don't understand these things

what are you teaching the people we understand later that jesus said it's the blind leading the blind nicodemus saw himself as a rich respected righteous ruler of the jews very wealthy and how did he see jesus this is important a god-sent miracle-working doctor of the scriptures here's the tragedy he neither saw himself nor jesus as god saw both of them he saw himself in darkness he saw jesus christ in darkness and jesus wasn't going to let him stay there somewhere in the depths of nicodemus heart all that he had done did not satisfy that for which he was created

man is restless until he rests in god

and so he has a longing and he wants to know what's wrong with him he wants to understand when i went to the baptist college of charleston i took philosophy i took psychology i took all these courses and people asked me why here was my thought i want to find out why i am the way i am because i'm bad

and i tell my students stories and they're like no they like the stories

we keep them rated g

they said that's not you yes that was

how can a man be born when he is old how can these things be the spirit of god is working in in nicodemus's heart but but he doesn't have a clear understanding

verse 5 jesus christ said this he said except a man be born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of god now you've studied your bibles you've looked at the commentaries and another differing opinions on what the water stands for bear with me if you would some say the water refers to the first birth okay some say the water refers to the word of god

but let me read something to you john phillips

whatever else these words mean they had a meaning that nicodemus would appreciate apprehend and appropriate the lord was not trying to be mystical or obtuse

he was trying to lead nicodemus to the experience of the new birth the lord was answering the question how he had asked it he was not concealing truth but revealing truth in seeking to ascertain the lord's meaning we must observe what nicodemus what nicodemus understood by these words

it's called the guess the theologians call it the law of historical propriety the first mention of a certain text of a word

what would nicodemus understand by these words isn't it easy for us to read into it what we believe obviously he would not read christian baptism into them because the lord had not instituted the ordinance yet nor would he do so for several years water and the spirit who had been hammering at the conscience of israel seeking to prepare the people for the coming king and the kingdom using those two words it was john the baptist over and over and over again what does he say he says i indeed baptize with water but there comes one after me who will baptize you with the spirit water and the spirit water in the spirit and you can read it over in matthew and mark and luke and john

nicodemus when he hears the word water would understand that there was this man down by the river proclaiming a baptism of repentance

and thousands were coming and they were being baptized in preparation for the messiah

who didn't go to john's baptism who thought it was folly it was the religious leaders it was nicodemus's ilk it was the pharisees who said we have no need of repentance the religious leaders of which nicodemus was a representative they rejected john's ministry of baptism why they didn't need to repent what would a pharisee need to repent of if they walk through the city streets and they happen to touch a common person they would go home and bathe and wash off having touched someone

don't you love it when jesus christ finds the leper the leper who had not been touched by his family probably for years and what's the first thing it says about jesus and the leper says he reached forth his hand and he the first time that man felt the touch of god was the moment that he was cleansed of his leprosy

the challenge to nicodemus by jesus christ is you don't bypass john

you don't bypass john and all that he stood for no john nicodemus no jesus no repentance no rebirth no conviction of sin no conversion no water no wind the holy spirit

how many people do you know as you think back over your lives who prayed a prayer

said that they accepted jesus christ

and nothing ever changed would you hold up your hand if you know someone that did that yeah there's a lot of people they said a prayer they said i accepted jesus

but if a person does not see his sin

he does not see his need for a savior and nicodemus saw no need for a savior so jesus christ needs to lead him to repentance

watch this the world's greatest truths verses 11 through 15 if you have your bibles very truly i tell you we speak of what we know we who we john the baptist and jesus or maybe we god the father in me and john the baptist but we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen but still you people pharisees self-righteous do not accept our testimony if i have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe how then will you believe if i tell you of heavenly things listen carefully no one has ever gone up into heaven except the one who came from heaven the son of man the messiah

and just as moses okay nicodemus now i know he's thinking he knows the scriptures he knows numbers chapter 22. though it probably wasn't chapter 22. just as moses nicodemus just as moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness so the son of man

that's jesus must be lifted up that whoever believes in him may have eternal life yeah the time is fulfilled the kingdom of god is at hand repent and believe the gospel but the greatest tragedy was that nicodemus taught no doubt on that numbers chapter 22 where the people of god had sinned and god sent fiery snakes and serpents into the camp and and they were dying by multitudes and they cried out to moses and

god says moses get stick get a pole and take some brass and beat it into the form of a snake

and put it high on a pole and go through the camp and preach your sermon three words right what were they look and live look and live

the picture people knew they had been bitten by sin nicodemus and that that poison pulsed through their veins assuring them of certain death and the most ridiculous thing is when moses holds up this serpent on a pole and says if you look you'll live i remember on a missions trip to russia irkutsk right near lake mccall and i am teaching three days a week three times a day to russian children who didn't even know there was a god new tribe's mission had these beautiful pictures from creation to christ but i've got to speak through a translator and i came to this story and i said these are the people of god but they've sinned against god

and they're dying and so i got down on the ground and i started writhing going i'm dying i'm dying i don't know about american children but you just got to do stuff to get their attention and these russian kids are like whoa well anyway i'm writhing and then and then i said but moses said look at the snake and live and i'm one of the people dying and i say oh that's the most stupid thing i and i died

reenactment just lift my head and is there anything else i need to do no just look just look and the moment they looked that moment they were healed

why the preaching of the cross is foolishness to those that are perishing but to unto us who are saved and being saved from the penalty and power and presence of sin it is the power of god it is the cross where jesus tells nicodemus i'm going to be lifted up because later paul tells us that that god made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of god in him have you heard those words god made him who was absolutely sinless to be the snake the serpent on the pole to take all the venom out of our veins so that he might put into us divinity the life of god itself those who looked lived nicodemus nicodemus you need to look to me you've been looking at the law and all the law can do is condemn you and that's why you're empty but if you look to me you look to me as the one who will be lifted up you will live forever

to be born again nicodemus has to see himself bitten by sin a perishing sinner abandon all hope of anything but christ and christ alone and to look to the son of god because the moment he does that he's born again i did that at 19. and then we can say with paul who was also a pharisee

where then is boasting where then is boasting it is excluded by what kind of law of works no but a law of faith will maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law i preached the romans once jay were you there when i did that two years but i'm telling you if you want to understand the magna carta of christian doctrine you need to understand romans what a great book but tall the pharisee understood

to whom is john 3 16 spoken

personally i think jesus spoke it to nicodemus some said well john the apostle here fills in the blanks but i just don't think jesus would leave nicodemus hanging

with the pole and the serpent

and so he says to nicodemus i believe you may disagree for god so loved the world nicodemus when my students recite that i don't let them say the world i make them put their name in that when we do john 3 16 we put our name in there for god so loved george that he gave his only begotten son that if george would believe in him george would not perish but have everlasting life for god so loved sally that he gave his only begotten son that if sally would believe in him sally would not perish but have everlasting life john 3 16 some have said we have arrived at the great metropolis of gospel truth no other single statement in the bible so aptly sums up god's redemptive purpose for the human race is that god loved you

to the extent

that he allowed his son to bear his wrath that we might experience god's grace

there's no distinction again in romans 10 where paul tells us for the same lord as lord of all abounding and riches for all who call on him for whosoever shall call upon the name of the lord shall be saved john 3 16.

the problem we have is that we really don't experience the love of god the way god wants us to so i have a challenge for you i have a challenge early on in my christian life i found that paul the apostle was a man of prayer and i began to memorize the prayers of the apostle paul and pray them for myself my family my loved ones my church

there are two in ephesians one in philippians one in colossians and then there's about 10 more in the rest of paul's epistles ephesians chapter 3 you should memorize that prayer you should memorize it and you should pray it day after day after day after day until god makes it real in your life and then keep praying it because paul says he prays that god would grant us out of the riches of his glory

out of the riches of his glory that we would be strengthened with might by his spirit in our inner man that christ may dwell the greek means to be completely at home to dwell in our hearts by faith that we being rooted like a tree and grounded like a building on the love of christ might be able to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth and to know experientially the love of christ which passes knowledge hold on that we might be filled to the measure of all the fullness of god and you would say paul didn't say that of course he did because you looked it up but then paul says now unto him you know this one now unto him who is able to do what exceedingly abundantly above and beyond all that we ask or imagine according to what according to the power that works within us the holy spirit who makes real the love of christ to us

what an amazing thing that glory might be brought to god forever and ever and ever now unto him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine according to the power that works within us unto him be glory in the church the body and in the head christ jesus throughout all generations world without end but think about the width of god's love there will be people in heaven who will understand that god loved the world this was a hard one for the jewish people wasn't it yeah they called the gentiles what dogs the samaritans half breeds no for god so loved the world nicodemus and there'll be people in heaven from every nation and tribe and language rich and poor all washed in the blood of the lamb that's how wide

when i was working as a teenager at peter kewitt on john's island james island they'd lower us in a bucket 110 feet in the ground put us on a train and take us out across underneath the charleston harbor and there'd be this big machine out there scooping mud the mucker and i would go down into that tunnel let's just say in an alternate state

and uh i would come up and i'd be able to see i i'd have maybe not mud on my eyes but the rest of my body was covered with mud one day a young man came there and gave me a gospel track and i know i had some words for him i am certain of it and they weren't pretty

he gave me a gospel tract and i'm certain i threw it away but about a year later in 1973 i entered my church for the first time and he was standing right there the guy that gave me the gospel track

and i remember him saying to others having known what kind of person i was if god could save that person he could save anybody done god did it at the age of 19. so when you think of someone that is unsavable you understand how why god's love it how long well from eternity past before the creation of man god's son was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world yeah god loves us with an everlasting love i'm going to finish up quite soon i'm hurrying but i want you to understand that that there's no whoops or oops or didn't see that coming with god in the garden of eden and adam and eve's sin god was going to bring the greatest amount of glory to himself through the redemption

of adam and eve whom you'll see in heaven and a multitude of others because it was a plan of god's love before god created the heavens and the earth and then its depths whoever believes in him shall not perish what a frightening word to carry into eternity every unholy desire every unmet need hating god not knowing if there's ever any way out and there isn't there isn't when we were sunk in the depths of unspeakable sin rebellion and depravity christ came from heaven to rescue us from the wrath of god and eternal fire how deep is god's love it's it's a love that drew him from heaven to earth to rescue us from hell and its height have eternal life we've been given god's life raised up with christ in the heavenly realm seated with him in the heavenly places ephesians 3 6 that in the ages to come god might show to us the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through jesus christ we are seated with christ in the heavenlies and we're engineered you can look at your neighbor and just look at them and say whoa you're engineered out of the stuff of eternity yes this body's gonna perish we understand that it's gonna rot okay but the very life of god himself pulses through our spiritual veins we are made out of the stuff of eternity because of what jesus christ had done and nicodemus could never never dream of such grace it begins with one who had no beginning it ends with one who has no ending it is called the new birth and it is the possession of all who have truly repented of their sin truly you see the word repented you should circle that if you're taking note just underline it if you've repented of your sin and believed on god's only son repentance you're walking along your back has turned on god and god begins to move in your heart and make you aware that you are a sinner in his sight and you come to your senses like the prodigal and you turn around and you face god and all you see as an eternal love for you personally the world's greatest text let me read this and wrap it up how do you know you're saved for god did not send his son into into the world to condemn the world but the world through him might be saved whoever believes in him is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already i believe this was spoken to nicodemus

this is the verdict light has come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil

don't raise your hand ever been to a nightclub spent my teen years you know going to nightclubs what one word describes a nightclub oh you've been to one yeah it's dark the church is god's light club every day as we open the word of god and we preach it and we teach it more light comes into us but he who loves his sinful life loses it and he who hates his sinful life in this world will keep it to life eternal it's a love hate test and the earth is a rebel planet and jesus did not come to condemn because we're already under the wrath of god the law of god we've broken it but if we come confessing our sin and our need of christ we will be forgiven so the proof of our salvation blessed assurance jesus is mine oh what a foretaste of glory divine is that we continue to come to christ in his word day after day no bible no breakfast no bible no bed that's the mantra of my students at school but jesus said if you continue in my word then are you my disciples indeed you continue to come you continue to come you continue to come can i just give you another hint i said memorize ephesians 3 14-21 one more assignment psalm 119 how many verses are in psalm 119

thank you 176. it's kindling for a heart that just has embers it is kindling for a heart i live in the 119th psalm two students memorize the 119th psalm in fourth grade all 176 verses it's amazing plus they memorized 50 from isaiah that i had memorized and 50 from romans that i'd memorized almost 300 verses in a year kids can memorize scripture kids if you're here you'll never waste time memorizing scripture but god so loved the world that's where we end because if the love of god is real to us then we will be compelled by that same love well let me read it when the church comes to understand the love with which god loved the world she will be restless and ill at ease until all the great empires have been captured in every coral island has been one we go with the love of christ because everyone out there is savable if they repent if they repent and believe the gospel and what about nicodemus what about nicodemus hmm

where do we see him we see him at the end of john with joseph of arimathea coming out into the light and going to pilate and craving the body of jesus to take it down from the cross and to lay it in the tomb from which he will rise nicodemus was not ashamed anymore no and neither was joseph of arimathea they were once secret disciples they were in the darkness now they're in the light and they boldly go to pilate and ask for the body of jesus that's love that's love and all that remained to confirm confirm their well-placed faith was what was was was a resurrected savior and you know the rest of the story because nicodemus and joseph of arimathea would know that christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day and what would you circle that word repentance just so you don't forget it if you don't mind and if you have this life and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in his name to all the nations repent if you have not done that if you've just prayed a prayer and god's not going to be real to you but if you understand how god sees you and how god sees christ and you repent and you say i am lost i am a sinner and i am under the wrath of god but i believe that jesus christ was sent by god was crucified buried and rose again

you'd be saved as the song said oh i got saved oh i got saved at 19.

i got saved and my friends

they went that way and i went this way let's pray father in heaven we have many loved ones that don't know you and we know the world is lost we know the world is lost and so would you fill us by the holy spirit with the love that compels us to take the gospel so that those who don't know him might repent turn from their sin and receive the gift of eternal life god i prayed for every soul here today i prayed for those you lead us to in jesus name amen amen would you stand with us as we respond to that

the gift of grace is jesus my redeemer

he is my joy my righteousness

is for my life is

is

his

through the deepest he will be

in me

no

it has been made for jesus

jesus

all the chains are released

with every breath i long to follow jesus for he has said that he will bring me over

jesus

is

my hope is only jesus

is

is yet but through christ

me

amen jack thank you so much for that wonderful message let's go to the lord in prayer now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask of or think of according to the power at work within us to him be glory in the church and in christ jesus throughout all generations forever and ever amen go in peace

you