Sunday School Material 3-25-12: Nicodemus Learns of New Birth

(John 3:11-21; 3/25/12)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is Jesus talks to Nicodemus about being saved through faith. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure we are saved through faith and living accordingly.

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Read John 3:11-17
I. Believers and Unbelievers.
Jesus talks to Nicodemus about Nicodemus’ lack of faith. Jesus talks about how it took faith to save God’s people with Moses (see Num. 21:5-9), and it will take faith in Jesus for people to be saved today. Jesus says He was sent to save, not condemn.

Applications –
- Helping people grow from where they are.
Notice in vs. 12 of the Sunday School material that heavenly knowledge is built on top of earthly knowledge.

One of the reasons that it is good for us to work on using illustrations and comparisons that our listener can understand is because without a point of common knowledge, it will be very difficult to build greater understanding.

Just like a person who doesn’t understand basic math will have a problem learning algebra, a person who doesn’t understand basic truths will have problems with advance truths. Let’s work on working with our listeners where they are with an aim of helping them grow in their knowledge and obedience to God.

Being a good listener is a great way to discern where your listener’s level of understanding is.

- Using the Bible effectively in ministering to others. Notice in vss. 14-15 of the Sunday School material that Jesus used His and Nicodemus’ knowledge of a Bible story to make His point about Himself.

First, it is important to study the Bible, so you can readily call on passages to make your point. Second, it is important to study the Bible’s meaning and application, not just remember the stories.

Without interpretation and application, the Bible is rather irrelevant. Third, we should look for the Christology of the Bible – how the passage relates to the person and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Let’s work on prayerfully studying the Bible, so we can use it effectively in helping our loved ones become saved and growing disciples of Christ.

- Love gives. Notice in vs. 16 of the Sunday School material that God loved the world so much that He gave His unique Son, Jesus Christ. Humanity’s assignment is to accept Jesus as savior by faith, in order to have eternal life.

First, love gives. Just as God’s love for us move Him to give His Son, our love for Him should move us to give our time, talent, and treasure (i.e., tithes and offerings). Second, we still need saving faith.

Knowing the story and going to church is not enough. We must accept Jesus as our savior by faith. We must trust His death payment for our sins to be a full substitute for our sins.

Let’s work on appreciating God’s love for us so much that we give back to Him our obedience in winning others to Christ with our words and deeds.

- Being a saved sendable person. Notice in vs. 17 that Jesus was sent to save, not condemn. First, just as Jesus was sent, every believer should be sendable. It takes humility to allow someone to send us.

It takes capability and character for people to trust us enough to send us. We become a representative of the one who sends us. There is so much ministry in and around the church that calls for sendable disciples to do.

Second, we should be thankful for Jesus’ ministry of saving, instead of condemning. We were all guilty and in need of a savior. Let’s work on being sendable and appreciating the salvation made available through Jesus.

Read John 3:18-21
II. Doers and Haters.
In this section of the Sunday School material Jesus goes on to talk about how without faith, one is already condemned. Those who do evil love darkness. But those who live by the truth love the light.

Applications –
- Living in condemnation.
Notice in vs. 18 that when a person doesn’t have faith then that person is already condemned –already found guilty and sentenced to doom. The urgency of evangelism should be obvious.

When our loved ones and neighbors are thinking about coming to Jesus one day, but not today, they are living another day in condemnation.

In fact, they may be living their last day in condemnation. Let’s work on being urgent in helping our loved ones get saved from the condemnation that they are in.

- Living right, instead of hating the light. Notice in vss. 19-20 of the Sunday School material that those who do evil do not want to be in the light, less their evil deeds are exposed.

In our church, we have various report cards to show how various people are coming with various commitments and how our church is coming with our goals.

It is interesting to see how those who fail to keep their commitments are offended by the light that comes with the public report.

Let’s work on living by the truth, so that God’s record of us will be in order. If more people demonstrated being more concerned about what God has in His records than what people have in theirs, the world would be a better place.

- Living right for the right reason. Notice in vs. 21 of the Sunday School material that those who live in the truth, come to the light, so that others can see what God is doing in and through their lives.

First, we should strive to live up to God’s expectations of us – live by the truth. At the core of God’s expectations are the issues of loving God and others, as we love ourselves. This kind of love should move us to worship, even when we do not feel like it.

It should move us to be responsive to the needs of others. And it should move us to take care of ourselves and what God has placed in our trust.

Second, our motive should be that we want God to get the glory, as opposed to our just wanting to show off. God knows are true motives. Let’s work on living by the truth for the right reason.

Conclusion: Let’s make sure we are saved and striving to live accordingly. God has much for those who obey His will.

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