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If you’re visiting with us and this is your first Sunday. We just started a new sermon series last week called FAQs, acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. Over the last six weeks, we have been asking everyone maybe longer than that. What? What’s on your mind? What do you want to know about God? Bible, life, anything and everything you can ask it. Just write it out on the facts card, put it in the in the box and we will answer your questions. Whether it’s a sermon on Sunday or we blog about it or post it to our Facebook, we will answer questions. As a church family, there is nothing that we’re going to consider offensive. We want to be able to provide a place for anyone to be able to ask questions and not worry about any repercussions, but to learn about the Lord and what God desires for us. And so this week, we are on the second question that we’re asking. And it just so happens, I got to tell you, I knew that we started this when we started this series, that baptism was going to be the second week of this. And and I was worried. I was thinking, man, I’m going to have to make up a question that no one really submitted related to today because it’s so important. But then, lo and behold, someone entered a question, right? They didn’t even know I was thinking this, but this, this is where it came from in John chapter three and verse five.

And I’ll tell you the thought behind this, and then we’ll dive into today’s message. John three five says this Jesus answered, talking to a man named Nicodemus, truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. And the question related to this is, what does this mean to be born of water and spirit? Let me just tell you, Jesus defines that for us in this passage, so we don’t have to make this up. But but I want you to know, to those of you who are being baptized today, what this what this verse isn’t saying is that baptism saves you. Okay? The baptism is not the gospel. The gospel according to first Corinthians 15 verses 1 to 4 is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. As a matter of fact, in first Corinthians that same book, chapter one and verse 17, Paul says, I came not to baptize, but to preach the gospel, meaning if baptism was a part of the gospel or included in the message of the gospel, Paul would have said, I came to preach the gospel, which includes baptism. But he didn’t say that. He said, I came to preach the gospel, or I came not to baptize, but to preach the gospel. Baptism is something distinct from from the gospel.

The baptism isn’t what saves you. It’s it’s the gospel. It’s what Christ has done for you. And so when Jesus is saying this here, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is not talking about physical baptism in water, and we’ll explain that in just a minute. But that’s related to the question, what is Jesus talking about in this passage? And as we get ready to define this answer according to this passage, as it relates for us to to baptism as individuals and understanding what God desires for us in that, I’m going to I’m going to take just one step back and answer just just a simple question for us as we get ready to dive into this text, because this backdrop will help us answer what this passage of Scripture is. And it if we wanted a key thought related to this passage, this is what I’m going to answer, because this is what Jesus is answering in John three. Why do I exist? And the beauty of baptism is described for us. Why do I exist? Have you ever considered that question? And why did God make me? I know philosophers, theologians around the world for centuries have speculated on this idea, have tried to come up with an answer to this, but I don’t want to say, apart from a biblical understanding, none of them really measure up or fit the way that God has designed us.

So why do I exist as an important question for us to define? You know, I find in America today we don’t talk about this very much because we like to separate between church and state. So why do we exist as something we don’t often think about? So when you consider this question in your mind, it may be something that you’re scrambling with in your own identity or idea of who you are. But I’m going to tell you the importance of answering this question is paramount to the way that you choose to live your life, because if you can’t answer why you exist and you can’t answer the question, then what it is you’re supposed to be doing according to the existence that you have. So why you exist sets the springboard to why you choose to live your life the way that you do. And without a properly defining why you exist and you are just a shot in the dark as to how you live your life. Why do you exist? We answer this question. Some people tend to think that the reason for our existence is because God needs you, right? I exist because there’s some sort of shortcoming within God where he found me necessary to have. I am great, right? I exist because God needs me. When you take that answer to to the Bible, you find out that God God really doesn’t need you.

As a matter of fact, there’s not anything that God can’t do for himself that you’re going to do for him. God has no need for you, but God yet desires to create you. It says in acts 17 and verse 24. The the God who made the world and all things in it, since he is Lord of heavens and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands, nor is he served by human hands as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all people life and breath and all things. I mean, Jesus is saying here, you know, the the places that you think are so special that you create well, God doesn’t need that. And God doesn’t need you to serve him. God isn’t a dependent being. And so it tells us in first John in chapter four and defining God, it helps us understand why God doesn’t need us. It says the one who does not love does not know God. For God is love. What it’s defining for us is the very characteristic of God. It isn’t saying for us that God loves though God does because it’s his nature. But what it’s saying is that the the very identity of God is love. So for us as human beings, we look for love within relationships. In this world, we, we, we need and long for relationships to feel connected to one another.

But God, God isn’t dependent like that. God doesn’t just want love because he is love. But you know the joy of all that knowing that God doesn’t need you is that because God is love, God created you out of his grace as a creature through which he could lavish his love upon? He’s not dependent upon you. And this is the comfort of this thought, is that all things God upholds in his hands? He has the future secure in him. And so the fact that he doesn’t need you should, should bring you hope and joy. And knowing there is a God so sufficient out there that he can supply anything and everything and all of time wrapped in his arms. But in addition to that, he is gracious. And he created you for his good purposes out of that grace that he could lavish his love upon you for eternity. Because God is love. Some people think that maybe we exist because God loves us. Maybe some other people think that the reason for our existence is to do good. I’ve heard people say that the purpose of my life is about doing good, and I want you. I want you to know before I define this God. God wants you to do good. Okay, I’ll tell you why in a little bit, but. But the purpose of your existence doesn’t begin with you simply going out into this world and doing good.

Here’s the reason why. If you’re created by God for God, and you’re defining life as the purpose is to do good, you can do that apart from God. The purpose of life is not or does not begin. The reason for your existence does not begin with doing good. And here’s another reason why. If God created you to do good, what good are you going to do that God can’t possibly do himself? God not only can supply everything that he needs, but anything good that needs done. God can do that as well. He doesn’t need you, nor does he need you to do good. So why did God make me? Jesus answered this question, I think in the gospel of Mark in chapter 12 and verse 29. He’s approached by religious leaders. During this time period, it was common for religious leaders to come to Jesus. Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians asked Jesus questions according to the leaders of each division that would try to trick Jesus so that they could alienate Israel from Jesus and the people wouldn’t keep following Jesus and Jesus, in a series of questions is approached by this young man who’s a lawyer. No one really knows for sure if he’s got a genuine heart or he’s trying to trick Jesus with his question, but he asks Jesus. Jesus, out of all the laws that Israel obeys on all the works that we think are so important, all the things that that we think are about doing good, and that’s the purpose of life out of all of those.

Jesus, what’s the most important? And Jesus says in Mark chapter 12 that one’s easy. I already know I created the world, right? Colossians one tells us that Christ created all things and he upholds all things. And so in Mark 12 he says this Jesus answered, the foremost is hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. And you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your mind, and with all of your strength. The second is this you shall love your neighbor as yourself. And granted, there is doing good in that. But the important part of what Jesus is saying here is that that the whole point of life, the whole point of your creation, the reason God made you not because he wanted you, but because God desired a relationship with you. God created you, that you may know him and enjoy him for eternity. And in fact, in John 17 three it says, this is eternal life, that they may know you in terms of God. Eternity. Living forever is all about knowing him. God created good things in this world, but the good things of this world aren’t the point. It’s to recognize the giver of all good things.

To not worship created things, but to worship the creature. When God designed you, he designed you as a creature of worship and the way that you find the purpose of life and the meaning of life and satisfaction in life is all wrapped up in the identity of who God is as you relate to him in relationship. God created you for that. In fact, it tells us in in the book of Genesis when God designed you in 127, he made you in his image, which means when God created you in his image, he made you as a creature that could relate to him. He did this and he said this in Genesis one, different than any creature that he makes. He makes you with a capacity of relating to him, having the characteristics that are similar to him love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness. You can connect to God because God created you to do so. You’re made in his image. And he says in Genesis two seven that the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being. God imparted his spirit into you, that you may worship him. Your being is wrapped up in his identity. To understand you, you have to understand him. His characteristics in his images. We are designed. And God said in Genesis 128, Then God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.

Meaning, meaning God created you in his image. And as you relate to him in relationship, God teaches you and ingrains within your heart what it means to be in God’s image. And so you bear that image in this world. But it’s not. It doesn’t start with doing good. It starts with your identity in relationship with God. And through that relationship with God, you bear the image of God in this world. Jesus is answer. Loving God with all of your heart reminds us it is all about relationship. But he asked the question because we’re going to deal with it. In John chapter three, Jesus came. Why was that even necessary if God created us for that purpose? I understand that purpose and I can have a relationship with God. Well, the Bible tells us why Jesus came. It says in Isaiah 59 and two but your iniquities, meaning your sins, have made a separation between you and your God. For all of you have become like one who is unclean. All of our righteous deeds are like a filthy rag before the Lord. As a matter of fact, in Ephesians chapter two, it says this you were dead in your trespasses and sins. What God is acknowledging here in this passage of Scripture is that God has created us for relationship, but at the same time, God is holy and perfect, and in his perfection.

If we have sin, we can’t have relationship with God. And so in Ephesians two it says that you are dead. It doesn’t. It doesn’t mean that that you’re necessarily you’re not existing. What it means is you’re severed or cut off from relationship to God. Meaning there needs to be something to take place to reconcile the relationship with God that we had, but we lost. How? How do we do that? Some people’s answers are we just attempt to do good before God and hopefully we can reconcile the wrong that we’ve done. But I want to tell you, according to Romans chapter three and verse 20, it says this to us by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin. Meaning, when you look at the Old Testament and you look at what God wrote and all the laws that exist for the nation of Israel, if you think that’s the way to earn your salvation before the Lord, the answer is no. Romans three Paul defines that for us. He says, by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified. Meaning, no matter how good you choose to live your life, you can never reconcile your relationship to God. Here’s why. No matter how much good you do, it will never remove any bad that you’ve done.

Nothing you do can take that away. Once you sin against an eternal God, it is an eternal sin. And no matter how hard you may try to fight to remove that, it still stands as an offense against him. And God is holy. So the answer of removing that on our part is an impossibility. As a matter of fact, in Genesis, when this first took place, when the first sin existed, Adam and Eve ate of the fruit. You know the story. Some people like to call it an apple. Satan tempted them. They ate after God told them not to do it. And here’s the response of Adam and Eve. I want to tell you it’s an unbiblical one, but it says here they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the coolness of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. God creates us for relationship. Man sins against God, alienating them from God. Man’s response is to run and to hide. It tells us that in the story of Adam and Eve, that what Adam and Eve did is they hid themselves. They clothed themselves in fig leaves. And essentially what’s taking place here is the first man made religion is created saying to God, God, we got to run away. God, we got to fix ourselves. God, we got to look good.

And God, when we look good, then maybe we’ll come back. But we’ve got to hide right now. But look what God does. Tells us as Adam and Eve sinned in verse eight, run and hide. Then verse nine, then the Lord God called to the man and said to him, where are you? See, I can’t fault Adam and Eve in this story. Because to this point, no one has ever sinned against a holy God. No person has ever sinned against a holy God. And so they may not know how God would respond to that. And you think the extent of the sin of Adam and Eve in the garden, the Bible tells us all of creation groans because of this sin, which means their sin was a curse to the earth. And God even told Adam and Eve in this passage, by the sweat of your brow and the thorns of the earth, you’ll be reminded of this curse. And from the women and childbearing, you’ll be reminded of this curse. The earth was cursed. It’s the reason that we die. God. God didn’t create us as creatures to die, but creatures for relationship for eternity. But because of sin, sin brings death. The Bible tells us the wages of sin is death. And death, when it takes place, happens both physically and spiritually in relationship to God. All of all of the world’s famines, all of the world’s diseases, all of the world’s wars, all of the world’s heartaches and pains, all of it was birthed in this moment.

And so when Adam and Eve sinned against God, I can’t blame them. In that moment and thinking I would feel like I need to run and hide too. But God, in this passage of Scripture, reveals something to us about his identity toward us in our sin. Bible tells us in Romans five eight that God demonstrates his love to you in that while you’re yet sinners. Many will say as a church, it doesn’t matter how much you do, God’s not going to love you more. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done. God isn’t going to love you any more than he already loves you. God has been pursuing you from the beginning. As soon as man sinned, man attempted to run from God and hide. As soon as man sinned, man attempted to build religion to prove to God their worth. And God comes to us and says, none of that will prove your worth. But I’m pursuing you in my love. God comes. It tells us in Genesis 315. As soon as man sins, God comes for man and he gives him the promise that Jesus will come. And he says in verse 15, and I will put enmity between you and the woman talking to Satan. Notice he says, the woman and not the man, because Jesus will be born of a virgin.

And between your seed and her seed, he shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the hill. Meaning when Jesus hangs on the cross to pay for the sins, knowing that Satan tempted us according to his kingdom to pursue sin. When Jesus hung on the cross to pay for the sins, and he said to Telestai, it is finished, he crushed the head of Satan, but his heel was nailed to the cross. From Genesis chapter three through the rest of the Bible, is God’s story of redemption and pursuing you in relationship. And God, as the story unfolds throughout the rest of Scripture, begins to tell us throughout the course of Genesis and on through the rest of the Bible, that he chooses the nation of Israel, but not just the nation of Israel, but the tribe of Judah, and not just the tribe of Judah, but the town of Bethlehem through which the Messiah would come and ultimately offer himself as a sacrifice for a debt that you could never pay before. God. Jesus reconciles you. To him. And so when John starts. And John chapter three. There is a leader who comes before Jesus, a leader of Israel. And he’s recognizing in these moments that the promise of this Messiah could be among him. That all that the Bible spoke about, that God would come making payment for my sin on my behalf, where I couldn’t reconcile these moments right now were unfolding before him.

This man’s name was Nicodemus, and I don’t think he completely understand the magnitude of what Jesus was about to do. But he started to see the importance. And so Nicodemus says in chapter three and verse one, now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him. When Nicodemus comes to Jesus, he comes by night. There’s a few speculations as to why Nicodemus chooses to come by night, and why the Bible distinguishes that he does come by night. Some people think Nicodemus comes by night because Jesus is so popular that he finds it difficult to get near Jesus. Other people, which I would be included, think that people come or. Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night because of his position, and he’s he’s afraid in his circumstance, or he’s at least concerned about his circumstances. He connects to Jesus because the Pharisees hated Jesus. And to be seen next to Jesus. He’s among these people that are following Christ, these future Christians, that that that wouldn’t fly well with with the Pharisees. And so he comes to Jesus by night, and he and he wants to know Jesus. If you can answer my questions right, I’m going to discover if following after you is really worth it.

And then in this darkness, me just sneeking to you God, I’m going to make it known in the light. And so by night. Nicodemus comes to Christ. He doesn’t completely understand all that Jesus is, but he’s recognizing his authority. And Jesus, taking that moment, then begins to explain to Nicodemus. Jesus answered and said to him, truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom. Well, that’s what Jesus says. Unless one is born again. He cannot see the kingdom. This is a must statement by Christ. Nicodemus, you want to understand how important my coming is to this earth. It was so necessary that unless you’re born again, you cannot see the kingdom. I explained a little bit about the death. Let me explain a little bit about the birth. When? When we are born, we’re born with an irreconcilable difference between God on our part. We’re born dead. We’re going to die physically. We’re born dead spiritually. But Jesus comes before Nicodemus and saying, let me tell you how important this moment is, Nicodemus, that you think you’re earning your way to me by by law. But I’m telling you, it’s impossible. You will earn your way to me by by spirit, and it’s by my death on the cross. That’s going to happen unless you’re born again spiritually.

Because of what I’m about to do, you cannot enter the kingdom. And so Nicodemus, confused by this born again passage, he didn’t have it defined for us like we did. He says this how can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born again. Can we? I don’t know where Nicodemus is imaginations going with this, but I don’t want to follow. Right? That’s just that is just weird. But Nicodemus is trying to reconcile being this thought of born again. Jesus is a new term. I don’t quite understand it. And so Jesus then begins to explain. Through the rest of this passage, he explains this thought of being born again in chapter three and verse 4 to 8 is the first explanation. He says in the passage of Scripture, how can a man? Jesus answered, truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Now take note. This is the verse we started with. Unless one is born of the spirit and water, he cannot enter the kingdom. Let me. Let me explain to you. Jesus is playing on the thought of Nicodemus before. Nicodemus is thinking about a physical birth. So Jesus plays on that thought in verse five, born of water and of the spirit. And so he explains what those mean in verse six.

He says that which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. The answer to verse five is found in verse six. So let me read that one more time to us. Jesus said, truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of the water and the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of spirit is spirit. What Jesus is defining the physical birth as being born of water in the flesh, and the spiritual birth is being born in the spirit. Listen, if you want to be a part of God’s kingdom, first of all you need to exist. And second of all, you need to put your faith in Christ. You’ve got to be reborn in spirit. It’s not talking about water baptism in this passage, but physical baptism as we were born. And so in verse seven he says, do not be amazed that I say to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the spirit. When? Jesus. Dies on the cross for our sins. The Bible tells us in first Corinthians 12 that we are all baptized in one spirit. There are two words for baptism in the New Testament.

Baptism means to immerse. When the Bible talks about that immersion, it talks about it in two ways one, you’re immersed in water by by demonstrating your salvation in Christ when you’re baptized. But before that happens, you’re immersed in the spirit is belonging to Jesus. First Corinthians 316 and 619 tells us, you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God indwells you. Meaning when Jesus reconciles you to himself because of what he’s done on the cross, you get to enjoy that relationship with him for which you were created. It’s telling us that it’s no longer about buildings or rules or laws or legalism or religion. It’s about relationship to him. When Jesus’s Spirit indwells you, wherever you are in this world, you may engage in worship before your God. We worship both in spirit and truth. It tells us in John four when Jesus is talking about being born, and again in this passage, he’s saying, not only is it necessary for you to be born physically, but you’ve got to be born spiritually. And when you’re born spiritually, the Spirit of God enters in your life and you may not understand it because it’s like the wind. You can’t see where the wind is blowing, but the wind is all. Or you can see where the wind is blowing. But you can’t see the wind unless someone here has some kind of special powers.

But the Spirit of God. Moves in such a way that when you recognize what Jesus has done for you, and you place your faith in him, that spirit gives life to your life, that you may enjoy that relationship with God. And Nicodemus still doesn’t understand this, and he’s a teacher of the law. He’s got to understand why he’s taking the stand. And so Nicodemus said to him, how? How can these things be? And Jesus answered and said to him, are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how are you going to believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man, as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, the Son of Man will be lifted up, so that whoever believes will in him have eternal life. Here’s what Jesus is saying listen to your teacher. You think that you know everything and you don’t. Here’s here’s what you need to do. You need to listen to me. And I just want to say to, to everyone here this morning, I don’t care where you’ve come from, uh, Jesus doesn’t care about your past.

It’s covered in his cross. What Jesus is thinking about is your future in him. Jesus desires for you to know him. God’s got a glorious plan for you. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t even matter if you feel like you’re sneaking in at dark just to figure this Jesus thing out. But what Jesus makes here is an important point for all of us. And just saying, no matter what people in this world tell you, no matter what people in this world want to press you into believing like Nicodemus feels pressured by by the Pharisees. If you just go with Jesus, you will not make a mistake. Who cares? Jesus. It’s all about him. He tells Nicodemus. You think you’ve got it figured out? But listen, you’re mistaken because in all of this, you’re just. You’re just not listening to me. It’s all about Christ. And so Jesus gets the place in the Bible that we probably would refer to as one of the most popular portions of Scripture. And Jesus finally says this. Nicodemus, let me just outline everything that I explained to you in the beginning. For God so loved the world. God is love and God has lavished his love upon you. God in his grace has created you for his love. And he says, For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that Jesus has come, and he’s given his life for you, that whoever believes in him shall not perish.

Where you couldn’t reconcile that relationship, Christ has done everything it takes, which is why on the cross he shouts to testify on your behalf, meaning it’s paid in full the debt that you owe. But have we have eternal life? This is his promise. And just for Nicodemus, I think, and just for the religious mentality of people in the world, he gives us verse 17 before we read this, I want to say our default mode as people. As to live religiously. Our default mode at people with as people is to prove our worth. As people, we have a difficult time accepting grace and forgiveness. We feel like we owe debt to people, but when it comes to God, it’s important to recognize the debt is so large you could never hope to pay it. It is impossible. And so in verse 17, talking to the religious thinking of Nicodemus, he says this. For God did not send the son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Listen, if you’re in religion and you’re in that mentality and you feel judged and you feel worthless and you feel like you can never own up to to what the demands are, I just want you to know what Jesus said to Nicodemus in that setting. He said, For God did not send the son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

If there were any other way to reconcile yourself to God, than Jesus wouldn’t even had to have come. He could have just left it up to you in your own ability, but knowing that it was impossible, Jesus came for you and he came for you not to judge you because you’ve already been judged. You know what judges you the law. You know what the law proves to us? That we can’t merit God’s favor. It’s impossible. It said in Romans 320 that we saw together. But what he’s saying in this passage that praise God by his grace, in forgiveness, in those moments that you’re running from God, like Adam and Eve in the garden, God is running after you because he desires your heart. He desires that relationship through which he has created you for. Not to judge the world. Because the world already stands condemned. But rather to save the world through him. Verse 18 but he, he who believes in him is not judged. He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. What matters. What matters is Jesus. Not other people’s relationship with you according to what you want to believe, but your relationship with Christ. And I know the accusations that are sometimes made to a story that Christ shares in John chapter three, which is seems too easy.

It seems too easy that God would just do this for us. But let me just remind you, it’s not about what you do. It’s about the fact that he’s created you for relationship as a creature for worship. God has created you for him, and God knows that. And God knows as you come to him, he strengthens you. He encourages you. He builds you up to reflect his beauty in this world. But without that relationship, not without being able to answer why I even exist to begin with, we’re left at a shot in the dark as to how to live in this world. God created us for relationship in him. And some may still say it seems too easy. And I would just say to this for us it is. But for Jesus, it cost him everything. His grace is free for us. That’s what Grace is. Grace is unmerited favor that you never deserved. Which is why, as a body of believers, as we come to realize this, the reason that we serve God isn’t because we feel obligated to or because we have to, or we think that life is about doing good. The reason that we serve God is that we look at a God who is so gracious, and a God who was so loving, and a God who created us for his good intentions and purposes.

And out of that love and out of that grace that we have never experienced in any other relationship before in this world, we just praise his name and demonstrate him in this world. We don’t serve God out of obligation, but rather we serve God out of joy. We enjoy the relationship that God has given us because he didn’t have to do it. From the moment Adam and Eve sinned. God was completely just and condemning all of mankind, but in his love he has extended to you. And in these moments, he has offered you his grace, that you may hear his message of beauty. And from a place of joy. Look at a God who loves you so much and just say Jesus, knowing what it’s cost you. I’m giving you my life with all of my heart. God, I love you. No greater love has a man ever seen than what Christ has done for you. It may be easy on our part, but it cost God everything. Which leaves me with maybe a thought in my head. If it seems so easy, why haven’t you done it? Jesus went out of his way to declare his coming. The significance of his coming, why he’s coming, your need for his life. And you, why haven’t you trusted in that? Obviously, speaking to those who may not have. Maybe Jesus would say that to Nicodemus in these moments. Nicodemus, I know the pressure that you’re facing.

I know that your Pharisee friends want you to ignore me. But you need to understand how important I am. I am life. When Jesus said in John 14 six, I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. If you want truth, go to Jesus. If. If you want to know the way God desires for you, go to Jesus. If you want life, go to Jesus. And the end. The only opinion that matters is Jesus. For God so loved the world, he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. In John three and verse three, Jesus said to Nicodemus, Unless one is born again, you must be born again to see his kingdom. When we come to this place in Scripture today, because it relates to us in baptism, why baptize? If baptism isn’t what saves, but Jesus is what saves, then why baptism? And the reason is, is because baptism identifies the salvation that Christ has brought. When we go to get baptized, we go into the water and we’re totally immersed. Just like just like the Spirit of God immerses you in him. God made baptism as a point in our lives to to make a big deal of this salvation he’s brought. God made baptism important for you as an individual today because you are celebrating God’s story of redemption taking place in your life.

Meaning, when you go through Scripture and you start in Genesis three and you see God pursuing man and God proclaiming the coming of Jesus and God prophetically revealing how Jesus will come, and then Jesus culminating his coming to earth to die for your sins. This story of God’s redemption being played out is now finally culminating to a realistic story in your life and in your heart and in your mind. It has it has met the crossroads for you personally. And we celebrate God’s story of redemption being made known in your personal life through the thought of baptism. Baptism demonstrates to us that just as Jesus was buried and rose again, so you go into the water as your old self, being buried in the water in your old self, and resurrected in life, in your new self, in Christ you have been born again. As as it says in John three, we’re symbolizing the cleansing that takes place when we step into the water of the old self that needed the forgiveness of Christ, being washed clean by the blood of Jesus and being resurrected new in that relationship with Christ, we’re recognizing the baptism and the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit in Matthew 2819, demonstrating the completion of God’s plan on your behalf. For us, baptism is a symbol of a wedding ceremony that Jesus desires for you. Because when Jesus came and Jesus died for his church, he referred to his church as his bride.

And so publicly in ceremony form, you have the opportunity to stand in the water before believers and before this world and saying, just as Jesus has come for me and just as Jesus is referenced as my groom, I’m declaring that I am his bride and acknowledging before this world that I desire to pursue him in this relationship. Baptism is a symbol that, just as Jesus has given his life for you. So you are offering your life in return to him. Jesus is not just Savior, but Jesus is also Lord. The beauty of baptism is that it’s our way of declaring that we are no longer coming to Jesus in the night. As as Nicodemus, but publicly showing what he has done for us, as John three describes. And so maybe this morning, for us as we think about God’s redemption story on our behalf, culminating here in John three. Remember why God has made you, why you exist. God didn’t need you, but he wants you, and he desires to lavish his love on you. All of the Bible has been God’s story of his pursuit of you in redemption, and your baptism becomes your response to Jesus based on the salvation that he’s brought you. As you put your faith in him, he’s given his life for you. And so in return, you give your life to him.


Evil and Suffering