The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 01/17

Posted on | January 17, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 01/17

Scripture reading: John 3:1–21

Do You Know Your ABCs?

How can these things be? (John 3:9)

 

Nicodemus came to Jesus at night because he had some questions that his theology could not answer. Though he was a “ruler of the Jews” (v. 1), the power and status of his position did not satisfy the ache in his soul. Though he was a Pharisee and a “teacher in Israel” (vv. 1, 10), his moral behavior, religious conduct, and conservative theology simply did not quench his inner thirst. He came to Jesus hoping that perhaps this miracle-working rabbi could give him some answers that would fill the inner void.

Jesus wasted no time and went straight to the heart of the matter: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. You must be born again (vv. 3, 5, 7). Jesus was explaining to this moral, religious, Bible-believing theologian that what was missing in his life was life! Though Nicodemus was physically alive he was spiritually dead. And until he recognized that morality, power, wealth, status, and even religion were impotent to give life, he would remain dead in his sins: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (v. 6). Life comes only through a supernatural work of the Spirit of God.

Nicodemus, confused and incredulous, responded to Jesus’ words: How can these things be? (v.9). How indeed? How can one be born again? How can one who is dead come alive? At the risk of oversimplification, the answer is as easy as ABC.

Admit your need. This is the hardest part for many, especially those who are moral and religious, because it demands that we humble ourselves and acknowledge that our best efforts have failed. In God’s kingdom, no one comes to life who doesn’t first admit that they are dead!

Believe. Jesus explained that just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent on a pole in the wilderness, so he too must be lifted up so that whoever believes in him may be healed of the venom of sin, so they can receive the gift of life (vv. 14–15). For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life (v. 16).

Come to the Light. But it takes more than admitting your need and believing in Jesus to experience the abundance of life that the Gospel makes possible. We must come to the light and live in the light. Only then can we see the truth and walk in it: And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the dark- ness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God (vv. 19–21).

Today, if your efforts at self-improvement and behavior modification have left you feeling empty, thirsty, and spiritually dead, then this would be a good day to work on your ABCs.

 

 A man once asked George Whitefield, “Sir, why do you

so often preach on the text ‘You must be born again’?”

“Because,” replied Mr. Whitefield, looking solemnly

into the face of the questioner, “You must be born again!”

 

 point to ponder  If you are born once you will die twice, but if you are born twice you will die only once.

prayer focus For friends, family, coworkers today who need the supernatural work of the Spirit of God.

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