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Jesus and the Seriously Religious (3 of 10)
Come As You Are
January 14, 2001
Imagine you are filling out an application today. Not a job application. Not even an application for college next fall or membership in some club. Imagine you are filling out an application for heaven. What would you put down? What qualifications? What experiences? What references would you sight? Think about that.
Behind our text today lies the startling revelation that the very things that most people—even the best people--would put on such an application aren't enough. Next week's text emphasizes just the opposite--the very things that most people think would disqualify a person doesn't!
The early chapters of John's Gospel tell a series of people-stories. They included men and women, rich and poor, religious and sinners—all of whom had a little talk with Jesus. Behind each discussion is a bold assertion that John makes about Jesus, (John 2:25) He did not need man's testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man." This is still true today. He knows you and what makes you tick, even better than you know yourself.
In our text, Jesus meets a religious man. In fact, Nicodemus was more than religious. He was a Pharisee. He was seriously religious. He wasn't just a casual spectator. He didn't leave his faith on the bench when he left the synagogue. He was committed to a living a religious life. That makes Jesus memorable statement even more startling. "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." The statement raised a lot of big questions for Nicodemus. It should for us as well! Let's tackle four of the more obvious questions as a means of getting into this Jesus meeting: Who needs to be born again? What does it mean to be born again? Why is it necessary? How can it happen?
First, who needs to be born again? Let's start here even before we define our terms because this is wher ...
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