Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 24, 2013

"Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,  that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."   John 3:14-16
What a great salvation is ours through the grace of Jesus Christ!
In an instant microwave what have you done for me lately culture we are prone to forget the greatness of what Jesus has done and what God continues daily through His Spirit!
Nic reminds us of that in John 3. This man who came to Jesus as a seeker and left as a saint. He came in the darkness but left in the light! He reminds us that we don't have to yearn for salvation - we have all we need in Christ! He reminds us that we don't have to earn our salvation - we just accept what He has done for us on the cross! And today, we complete this study with the reminder that we don't have to burn!
I am sure you have heard the stories of near death experiences where people have slipped into eternity and gone through the tunnel of light into a beautiful place. I wondered why I never heard accounts of near death experiences of folks who went into darkness and terror. A little research on the world-wide web yielded plenty of such horrific stories. They are chilling.

When you study this part of the conversation Nic had with Jesus it is clear that Jesus him, "Believe or burn"! That applies to you and me as well. But the good news of the Gospel is that you don't have to burn!

The glory of the cross is that Jesus took Nic's penalty, and yours, and mine, when He went to the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He took the judgment of God on Himself! You must know that! You must believe that! You must receive that!

Hebrews 2:3 declares this fundamental truth -  "So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?"

The answer is, "You won't escape!"

Therefore, Nic's reminder that we don't have to burn is reason for great celebration! Remember it! Receive it! Rejoice in it!



May 23, 2013

"Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3
On this week leading up to Memorial I am making time to remember our great salvation provided by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
All month we have been studying the encounter Nic had with Jesus one evening. Though he came under the cover of darkness he came to the light when he met Jesus. Looking at how Nic came to faith brings three reminders of the greatness of our salvation.
In our last post we saw that Nic reminds us we don't have to yearn. Our salvation satisfies every need.
He also reminds you you don’t have to earn.
If there ever was one would have earned his salvation it may have been Nic. He was a REALLY good guy. He had devoted his entire life to his faith and to the people of God. He had studied well and he had served well. But he couldn't! No one can.

There are 613 religious rules that devout Jews must observe in order to be judged righteous. Can you imagine remembering 613 rules, let alone observing all of them!
How long do you think it would take you to grow weary of counting how many steps you take on the Sabbath? How annoying would it be to have make sure you don't carry anything that would weight enough to be considered labor on the Sabbath. This is the way Nic lived as a religious leader. What a drudgery!
So no wonder when he came to see Jesus he fully expected to hear another rule or set of rules from Jesus. But much to his surprise, Jesus told him that pleasing God is not about what he had to do but it is about believing what Jesus would do for him.
That is another thing to celebrate about your salvation, we don't have to earn it! We just receive by faith what Jesus did for us!
The Apostle Paul, himself a one-time phariseew put it like this: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Nic came under the darkness of religious performance and left in the light of personal relationship. He came under the darkness of legalism and left in the light of love!
Have you found the love and grace of God or are you still trying to earn them?
The good news of salvation is that Jesus paid the price for our sin! Have you received His Spirit.