SUBJ: The plan of redemption in
response to Nicodemus’ questions and the implications in salvation and
AIM: To provide a look to the
reason of redemption, especially in John 3:16.
INTR: John 3, is often dealt with
in four parts: the description and necessity of the New Birth, John
3:16, the statements on condemnation and the testimony of John the
Baptist. It should be two: the answer to Nicodemus and the testimony of
John the Baptist.
1. Nicodemus asked three questions: Are you of God?
How can man be born again? And how can these things be. The third seems
to include the first two.
2. The answer to the first two questions is
essentially a declaration of the necessity of the New Birth and is a
mystery indeed. But, the third question brings out another response that
is just as mysterious.
3. Having shown the mysterious nature of the
work of the Holy Spirit, He would now declare God’s motive and method in
bringing about redemption. God is sovereign in all He does!
THESIS: Jesus’ answer to Nicodemus
reveals the motive of God, the purpose of God and the method of God in
bringing many to salvation. It is important that we understand these
things if we would properly know and apply John 3:16.
I. How the
work of Christ is to be understood (vv. 9-13)
1. The first thing is a
question answered with a question. Art thou a master…?
2. The witness
of Christ is firsthand (vv. 11-12):
1) Nicodemus had not received the
things that he heard and saw
2) And yet, the Kingdom he couldn’t see
and the reason of the things he questioned were present spiritual
3. While many had reported from visions and inspiration,
none had ascended to see and know the mind of God (v. 13). Furthermore,
He declares that He is still in heaven and, of course as God but
manifest in the flesh as man.
II. Why and how it is accomplished
1. In the same sense that “Ye must be born again”
declares the necessity of divine intervention, these words declare the
divine requirements for men.
2. The story of the serpent in the
wilderness (Num. 21) is here seized upon to describe the necessity of
the work of Christ and the way of it.
3. Thus, the New Testament
essential is that He be lifted up to the cross.
1) He was made a
curse as symbolized by the serpent
2) He is looked to by those who
know that He is their only hope (consider that the serpent did not
benefit those that had already died and those that had not been bitten).
3) Some thoughts on His being lifted up as to rejection of men and God.
4. The necessity is that there be something to answer to the desire of
God to save:
1) No sacrifice, no salvation
2) The work of Christ
is the guarantee to true belief.
5. John 3:16 then comes as a
summary restatement of verses 13-15
1) The love of the world (kosmos)
put into perspective (cf. John 6:33 For the bread of God is he which
cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.)
motive of God, however, is clearly born out of love.
3) Thus, we may
understand that God gave His Son to men for a sacrifice so that it would
be as if they knew Him and offered Him themselves. He is a man!
God’s purpose must succeed, therefore, believers must not perish!
Believers are given dual assurance in the New Birth (John 1:11-13 11 He
came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as
received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to
them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of
the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.) and the
assurance of the sacrifice.
6. In verse 17, we understand that the
purpose of God was not condemnation. As an afterthought, we realize that
God saved the world through Noah.
III. How salvation is
distinguished (vv. 18-21)
1. He that “believeth” (is believing) is
not condemned. Here we must understand the compelling aspects of true
belief in terms of what is needed and what is believed.
2. We are,
also, in verse 18, made aware that at the time Christ came into the
world and before that condemnation was a preexisting condition.
While Christ was not sent to condemn, His presence as the “light” does
just that because He exposes their evil deeds.
4. We consider then:
1) That hating the “light” is the proof of evil deeds (v. 20)
love of the “light” is based in truth (v. 21)
3) And where the
“light” is loved, the deeds are wrought of God. (v. 21)