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Part 6: Nic at Night

November 22, 2020

Dr. Jason Kennedy

Part 1: Jesus came and did something new for the world.

Part 2: Jesus came to do what no one could do in the history of the world, overcome temptation.

Part 3: Jesus calls us all to take an informed step of faith.

Part 4: We must put Christ in perspective when we walk through disappointment.

Part 6: Jesus came to fulfill all of the law for us.

A 2011 Barna study shows that 50% of Americans say they have prayed a prayer like that, and subsequently believe that they are going to heaven

BIG IDEA: I want to show you the difference between superficial faith and authentic faith.


John 2:23–25

23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs that he was doing. 24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man. 

They believed in Jesus, but Jesus didn’t believe them


Matthew 7:21

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.


Luke 8:5–8 

5 “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell along the path and was trampled underfoot, and the birds of the air devoured it. 6 And some fell on the rock, and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up with it and choked it. 8 And some fell into good soil and grew and yielded a hundredfold.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 


Luke 8:13 

13 And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away...

What kind of belief saves?” 

And do you have the kind of faith that is superficial or the kind that saves?


John 3:1–8 

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Jesus tells us that those with authentic faith will be “born again”.

People are under condemnation.


John 3:36

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. 


Romans 1:21, 28

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Romans 1:28

28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 


Ephesians 2:3

3 ...Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.


Romans 7:24

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

Sinful flesh cannot hope to see the presence of God.


Ezekiel 36:25–27 

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.


John 3:14

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up...


2 Kings 18:4 

He removed the high places and broke the pillars and cut down the Asherah. And he broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the people of Israel had made offerings to it (it was called Nehushtan).

Jesus did was take the serpent into himself.


2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 


John 3:16-17

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.


John 1:29

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

Superficial faith...

Acknowledge Jesus without surrendering to him

Likes his miracles but not his method

Follows him when it is convenient (ie...the crowds during the day)

He effects you but does not change you

Authentic faith...

Acknowledges their sin and see him as the antidote for it

Looks to his method as a way to bring life

Follows him in their darkest moments

Re-born to a new life

Where are you? Is your faith deep, rich and authentic or shallow and conditional?

David Platt: “What we don’t need is superficial religion; we need supernatural regeneration. We are dead in sin, and we need to be born again.”

Digging Deeper

  1. Talk about some expectations you’ve had of Jesus. How did he meet or defy those expectations?

2.  Read John 3:1–10. The idea of a second, spiritual birth challenged Nicodemus’s assumptions about religion because it meant God’s love and gift of salvation extended beyond Abraham’s offspring. Can you think of any examples of people today acting as though they have exclusive rights to a relationship with God? Why is it so easy for people to fall into that pattern?

3.  Read Luke 9:44–45. In what ways has not understanding what Jesus is doing in your life or the world around you been an obstacle to your faith?

4.  Read John 3:16–17. What are some reasons it can be difficult for us to believe that God loves us so much he sent Jesus to die for us? Why is it sometimes easier to believe that God condemns us?


Read and reflect John 3 every week. Write down different various things you see in the passage, and describe what those insights mean to you.


John 3:16-17 - For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.


From Augustine of Hippo (354 - 430)

Look on us, O Lord, and let all the darkness of our souls disappear before the beams of your brightness. Fill us with your holy love, and open to us the treasures of your wisdom. You know all our desires, so bring to perfection what you have started, and what your Spirit has awakened us to ask in prayer. We seek your face, turn your face to us and show us your glory. Then our longing will be satisfied and our peace will be perfect.


Bible Reading

John 3

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