The Lighthouse Keeper

Greetings from Pastor Kerry, former pastor of Spring City UMC. This blog contains my sermon outlines and/or manuscripts from my pastorate among the people of Spring City PA, from 2006 to 2011. Pastor Dennis is now the lighthouse keeper. Come and worship on Sundays at 10:00 a.m.!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Jesus and Nicodemus

September 3, 2006
Conversations with Jesus that Led to Discipleship: Nicodemus
from John 3:1-12 and 2 Corinthians 5:17 - 6:2

"Jesus came that we may have life, and have it to the full." – John 10:10

My sermon outline:

• Introduction to September Series: Conversations with Jesus that Led to Discipleship. We'll look at Nicodemus, the Woman at the Well, Saul on the road to Damascus, and Mary Magdalene after the Resurrection. What did Jesus say and what’s it to us?

• Imagine if Jesus had said "No one can see the kingdom of God unless they have two heads."

• It's easy to join Nicodemus in not understanding what it means to be born from above, born again (BA). btw, the term in Greek is anothen ... it’s used 13 times in the NT, 3 in this chapter. The other ten times it has to do with top-to-bottom stuff, like the temple curtain tearing. “from above”, “from the first”, “anew”, “again” are other renderings of the verb.

• But Jesus says anyway that it is another birth, a second kind: "John 3:5-6 Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit."

• Just as there is beginning to physical life, there is beginning to spiritual life. Not: accident, stumble on, unawares, by association,

• You have your own beginning, no one else’s. I'm the youngest of three boys. My oldest brother's birthday is May 8th, mine is May 19th, and my middle brother's is November 26th. I thought I should be older than Chris because my birthday is before his. But we have different birthdays, we have our own lives, our own breaths, our own spiritual lives... We weren’t born at once, neither do we share spiritual births.

• Being BA doesn’t come about from being good or being nice or simply liking God and Godstuff: "Romans 10:9: If you confess with your mouth that 'Jesus is Lord' and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)"

• People come to this state differently, some enter faith like a flower blooming, others come to know God suddenly and immediately like a bee-sting.

• One pastor wrote: "We cannot tell the first time the sun came up, but we knew that it had come up. To be born again means that I am able to say "I have had a beginning. My relationship with God is personal." "

• What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

• There's something inherently different about this birth. Whoever is in Christ is a new creation.

• We need to be a new creation because on our own, we sin. My daughter is an angel but she fulfills her nature ... as my mom puts it: "Children exist to make liars out of their parents". It's in her nature to be contrary, just as it's in our nature to rebel against God. In the book I'm reading (Golfing With God): "Faced with [the majesty of God], we're frustrated by our own incapacity for perfection and we compensate for those feelings with bravado, petulance, anger, and ungratefulness."

• Our problem is sin, and the solution is inward reconstruction, reconciliation.

• The butterfly is a wonderful Christian symbol of rebirth because of the way it is born again. Genetically identical but not at all the same.

• BA we have new loves, new values, new priorities, new goals. ("When I was a child..." 1 Corinthians 13)

• BA is a miracle: "The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

• We don't choose when how circumstances of our births, we don't choose the wind, but we can respond to the wind. We don’t control circumstances of own spiritual birth (therefore miracle) but we can respond to the Spirit.

• BA is a process. My daughter is constantly being born, even though she's 3 1/2. I am constantly being born.

• Our life in the Spirit needs nourished, which we do in fellowship and study and we do as last week putting on the full armor of God. (truth, righteousness, salvation, readiness, gospel... Ephesians 6) Nicodemus came to Jesus alone at night and Jesus was able to answer question.

• BA does not mean end of struggles, but gives spirit ability to deal with struggles. And we nourish ourselves with communion as today.

- Pastor Kerry
This Sunday: A communion Sunday, also Labor Day Weekend. Lovely weather. 65 in worship.
Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!


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