Recorded on February 3rd, 2019
No one can see the Kingdom of God without being born again. Learn what it means to be born again, and why it’s so valuable in your Christian walk.
Transcript of Sermon:
[Music] let’s go to God as we get started god I ask that you would fill me completely and that every word that I speak is only yours empty me of myself fill me with your presence help us to hear your truth help us to hear your hope and help us to hear your promise in the name of Jesus we pray amen we are going to we are in the middle of a series called following Jesus we’re gonna look at this a little bit in a little bit later but if you we’re not here a few weeks ago we did a vision meeting where we did most of it during church so that we could get everybody there but in our vision meeting the question we’re asking is what is it that God has for our church to do in this season of ministry now I’m not defining that season because seasons for God are never usually a month or a year there are all sorts of odd times so whatever the next season God has for us how does he want us making a difference in this world and we went through looking at some of the strengths of our church and I see that some of you have added things to that and I love that this is going to be up here for a while so as you think about it please continue to add we had some of our weaknesses one of them was finances and one of them was not having enough children well the conference has given us some more money to help us have better programs so that hopefully when families with children come we can do a great job of loving on those kids and so God is already working where we are and then we looked at what the community around us our community bogart Watkinsville Athens whatever pieces we all touch because we we are representative of this church and we live in all of those communities and so what is it that that community needs and one of the things we looked at is that the community more than anything needs to understand that there’s God a God who loves them a God who created them and a God who has a plan for them and I told you that our community this neighborhood this area is the fastest-growing area in our church district so if you look at the whole Athens Elberton district which is gigantic if you ask me our area specifically is the fastest-growing area and the people moving into this area are usually families with children and so we our heart is exactly where God wants us to be our desires are exactly I think where God is positioning us so we looked at the idea of understanding that God has given us we were looking at Jesus turning the water into wine and how he used the resources he had right in front of him and he used servants to make the miracle happen he didn’t do it himself and so as a church we’re seeking what resources do we have that God wants to use so that we can make his miracles happen in this community and so as we continue on this following Jesus journey today we’re going to look at what the community needs is our focus and what the community needs is the kingdom of God let me reach you from John chapter 3 it says 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 who has come from God for no one could perform the signs that you are doing if God were not with him and jesus replied very truly I tell you no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again Nicodemus continues how can someone be born when they are old surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born and jesus answered very truly I tell you no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of the water and the spirit flesh gives birth to flesh but Spirit gives birth to spirit you should not be surprised at my saying you must be born again the wind blows wherever it pleases you hear it sound but you cannot tell it where it comes from or where it is going so it is with everything that is born of the Spirit the Word of God for the people of God amen today we’re going to be looking at Nicodemus and Jesus’s answer to him now a lot of you may have heard a sermon preached on this and most sermons preached on Nicodemus and Jesus have to do with baptism because of what it tells you you need to be born again of the Spirit but today we are going to be focusing on the very first thing that Jesus says to him the very first thing Jesus says is very truly I tell you that no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again see Nicodemus goes to Jesus and Nicodemus is a Pharisee which means that he is one of the most scholarly educated highly thought of people in that area Nicodemus knew his Bible Nicodemus knew prophecy Nicodemus even though his friends may have been uncertain about Jesus being sent from God Nicodemus was certain that Jesus had been sent from God because of the miracles that Jesus was performing Nicodemus says to Jesus I know I know without question that you were of God but he also says that in the dark of night you see Jesus is sought after by Nicodemus at nighttime now many people could say that this is because he doesn’t want to be seen by the other Pharisees admitting to Jesus that yes I do believe you are of God it could be because that’s the only time Jesus didn’t have crowds of people around him and he knew he needed to have a really serious conversation but whatever the reason and the darkness of night Jesus’s response to nanika Nicodemus is centered in the kingdom of God you see Jesus and his coming is the promise that the kingdom of God has come that it is now and it is also to come in the future and what Jesus is trying to help Nicodemus understand here is that the focus is not necessarily the miracles the focus is the fact that the miracles lead us to understand that God’s reign the reign of Jesus on earth and in heaven has finally come now why in the world with the people of our community who don’t know God with the people who are far from Jesus care about the kingdom of God what makes a kingdom so important well we have to remember that Jesus is using words that meant a lot in those times see when you say King to us if you’re like me you might think of I don’t know Robin Hood is a movie from the 90s that there was that you know there was bad Kings and Robin Hood took all of the money from the bad King to give it to the good people if we look through Scripture almost every King that’s talked about in Scripture with just a few being outliers they were bad people Kings were people who looked out for themselves Kings were people who were power-hungry Kings were people who wanted more land who wanted more influence who wanted their armies to take over or today you might think of a king as just being somebody who sits in Britain and doesn’t really do much well we don’t really they don’t really have a king I guess right now but it’s just this figurehead but not somebody with any power or any potency but what the kingdom of God is telling us is so incredibly rich with meaning and life that you and I need to know what that is so that we know what we’re sharing you see what Jesus is trying to tell Nicodemus here by talking to him about the kingdom of God by making the kingdom of God first is the fact that you thought you knew what life was beforehand Nicodemus you are educated Nicodemus you know Scripture and I know you think you understand what is about ready to happen but I’m telling you right now you have no idea what life is going to be like as the kingdom of heaven comes and you’re going to want to be a part of this kingdom of heaven kingdom of God because as a part of the kingdom of God life can be so much more you know I’ve told you that I grew up in a broken home I think I lived a story that’s very typical now it might not have been typical 50 years ago but in this day and age I think my story was very typical and that’s sad if you think about it how many people are living their lives day by day from one meal to the next from one work day to the next broken families producing more generations of broken families people not understanding that you know what there’s more to life than this whatever you’re experiencing right now whatever you think is the biggest reality in your life there’s more to life than this and I believe specifically that God has called me in my life in my journey to speak that exact message because it wasn’t until I had Christ in my life that I realized that there was more to life that life could be so much more than I ever realized my life today is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination we have our ups and downs in our family I have ups and downs and relationships I have ups and downs of my work life and my health life but still there’s something so much more about my life with Jesus in it then my life ever was with Jesus not in it and when I didn’t know Jesus I had no idea that it could be so much better I had no idea that the roller coaster ride could be so much smoother it’s like going from a wooden roller coaster that was built way back when to one of those sleek shiny new ones that’s really smooth you still have ups and downs you still have issues and problems but the experience along the way different and what I think these people need what I think our community needs is an understanding that life can be so much more than it is right now but in order to do that they must understand that the kingdom of God is here that it’s available to them you see with the kingdom of God what we have is the promise of a few things when you accept Christ into your life you accept membership into the kingdom of God when you are a member of the kingdom of God you have a king that reigns over your life you have a king who’s not just a figurehead who sits in an office and has parades you have a king who’s not war thirsty power thirsty you have a king whose first order of business is to rescue and redeem people when we accept membership into the kingdom of God when we accept baptism of the Spirit the Holy Spirit coming in us we now fall under the rule of a loving gentle caring king a king who is effectual a king who does have power a king who can do things for you in your life you see the king that I serve the kingdom that I sit under the kingdom of God that I get to experience every day is the kingdom that exists where a king leaves the 99 to go find the one where instead of caring about all of the little the money in the and the importance of himself radically leaves any thought of himself behind to chase after the one who’s fallen away and our lives are filled of those ones in our grocery stores and restaurants in our families we all know a1 that Jesus is currently right now seeking after that your king my king our king is trying to bring home our king leaves the 99 to get the 1 because his first and foremost job is to rescue and restore people and then our King reigns by governing and this is the part that can be really hard in Christianity and I think we get it wrong a lot of times because when we have a king and we submit to his leadership that means we need to submit to the leadership of our king and honestly in order to experience the fullness of God’s promise to us in the kingdom of God we have to submit to God’s leadership of us in our lives we have to be willing to say yes God I will do it your way yes God I will follow you yes God I believe that you love me so even though I really want to do this I’m not gonna I’m gonna do this because that’s what you’re asking me to do and when we don’t follow God’s path for us sometimes we step outside of we were never not under his kingship but sometimes we step outside of his best for us because we take his rule over us into our own hands sometimes this is where we get that that word hypocrite and Christian circles you see those ones in our community that need to know God have met too many of those who have submitted to the kingship of God only in word but not in deed you know some of the people in your life who are far from God may have experienced people like that in their lives and that that has only caused more distance between them and the God who can share with them a life like they’ve never known before and I believe that it is our job to submit ourselves to the kingdom of God to the rule of God so that week be shining lights in our community and that those who have been hurt by others in the church may come to know the love of God through his presence and us you see a kingdom has a people this kingdom has a people that are choose to become part of that kingdom most of us here have chosen to become a part of the kingdom of God and we get to live a life that is different than anything that most people have ever experienced but as we just saying that shouldn’t stop there because under the rule of God we are called to share the news of the kingdom of God with the world and what Jesus is teaching Nicodemus here is that kingdom of we need to understand that what the kingdom of God is it’s not what you thought it was I’m not coming here to sit on a literal throne I’m not coming here to be a king that that waves a sword I’m coming here to be a king that rescues and redeems people and in order to be one of those rescued and redeemed people you need to be baptized by the spirit and if you haven’t been baptized I would love to walk through that journey with you the Holy Spirit’s available to you without the actual water I promise you that but I’m going to also promise you the experience of being baptized amongst a community who are walking this journey with you is one that you’ll never forget and one in which you’re putting a stake in the ground saying this is my I am allowing God ownership King to ship over me the life of the believer a child of God is not an easy life and we don’t want to promise people that their lives will change overnight what we can promise them is that they will have a king who loves them who cares for them and that will guide them step-by-step in their lives I don’t have a booth oh so if you take your piece of blue paper I want us to think about this community that God is calling us to we talked a few weeks ago about how one of the things that we are going to probably move towards as we as we finish this series is instead of measuring attendances our number one most important thing is looking at how you and I are sharing God in our lives day to day whether that’s praying for somebody helping somebody put their groceries in the car walking somebody across the street noticing that your neighbor hasn’t been walking lately going and knocking on the door and seeing if anything’s going on if you’re in a assisted care facility you’re nice to your neighbor who you don’t get along with very well but you’re very intentional each day about asking God how you can represent him in that day and then each week we come together and we’re gonna find some way to measure how we’re touching people with how God’s using us to touch people in the community so that that one might come home so I’m going to ask you to take a minute to think about somebody in your life maybe your sister maybe the barista at Starbucks maybe your next-door neighbor who’s the one who’s not close to God who doesn’t know God who needs God in their life write their name down on the sheet of paper and then when you come up for communion drop it in the basket and we will be praying over those names every week this year lifting them up to God asking him to move in their lives so that they could experience his love and His grace in his mercy the way that you and I get to experience God’s love grace and mercy let’s pray God we thank you for the ability to participate in your mission on this earth just as it is with tithing we ask you God to show us how to tithe of our times and our talents which we asked you to show us that person that you are actively right now trying to bring home and God help us to participate and bring in that person your light God give us boldness in our day-to-day lives as we are out in this world help us to love other people in a weird unusual way that makes them think wow help us to represent you in such a way that your lost sheep come home God we love you in the name of Jesus we ask this amen