ALL-CHURCH FOCUS 2018 DEVOTIONAL

August 25th, Day #7 - John 3:1-21

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For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

 

This is the most famous verse in the Bible. Why do you think that is? 


What is it about God’s love that can change the world? 


How will you respond to Jesus?  

GAME ON

Read John 3:1-21

 

The incomparable African church scholar and teacher from centuries ago, St. Augustine, is reported to have said, “The Gospel of John is shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.”

 

This sentiment is powerfully revealed in our passage today. Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel comes to Jesus and he is confounded by the concept of being born again. It just doesn’t compute for Nicodemus.

 

And yet, Jesus brings clarity by giving a Bible verse that many of our children can, and have, memorized. It is so simple that any of us can grasp it. In that sense, it’s shallow. But it’s also deep enough for that elephant to swim.

 

Imagine it for a moment: The God of all creation loves us enough that the perfect and sinless Jesus would come to suffer and die for us, as undeserving as we are.

 

Dive in and ponder that reality. The water’s deep. 

your  move

Let’s look to what God wants to say directly to you today through John 3:1-21


 Scripture: What specifically is the Holy Spirit highlighting for you as you read through today’s passage?

  

Observation: What is Jesus’ outlook on the world? How would you say Nicodemus’ outlook changed?

 

Application: How does this passage intersect with your life? What difference can it make in your life today?

 

Prayer: Spend some time sitting quietly with the Lord, reviewing all that you have just read through. After a few minutes write out a brief prayer asking the Holy Spirit to speak to and through you over the course of this all-church focus.  

BONUS ROUND

As you read about Nicodemus' questions, and Jesus' responses, you may recognize the phrase "born again." You may have heard that term in our pop-culture, politics, or slang, but what did Jesus mean by it? 

(to watch a video version of this article, view here)


The classic passage from the Bible that answers this question is John 3:1-21. The Lord Jesus Christ is talking to Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee and member of the Sanhedrin (the ruling body of the Jews). Nicodemus had come to Jesus at night with some questions.


As Jesus talked with Nicodemus, He said, “‘I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.’ ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, “You must be born again”’” (John 3:3-7).

The phrase "born again" literally means "born from above." Nicodemus had a real need. He needed a change of his heart—a spiritual transformation. New birth, being born again, is an act of God whereby eternal life is imparted to the person who believes (2 Corinthians 5:17Titus 3:51 Peter 1:31 John 2:293:94:75:1-418). John 1:1213 indicates that being "born again" also carries the idea of "becoming children of God" through trust in the name of Jesus Christ.

The question logically comes, "Why does a person need to be born again?" The apostle Paul in Ephesians 2:1says, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (NKJV). To the Romans he wrote, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Sinners are spiritually “dead”; when they receive spiritual life through faith in Christ, the Bible likens it to a rebirth. Only those who are born again have their sins forgiven and have a relationship with God.

How does that come to be? Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." When one is saved, he/she has been born again, spiritually renewed, and is now a child of God by right of new birth. Trusting in Jesus Christ, the One who paid the penalty of sin when He died on the cross, is the means to be "born again." "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If you have never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, will you consider the prompting of the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your heart? You need to be born again. Will you pray the prayer of repentance and become a new creation in Christ today? "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God" (John 1:12-13).

If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and be born again, here is a sample prayer. Remember, saying this prayer or any other prayer will not save you. It is only trusting in Christ that can save you from sin. This prayer is simply a way to express to God your faith in Him and thank Him for providing for your salvation. 


"God, I know that I have sinned against you and am deserving of punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness—the gift of eternal life! Amen!"

Have you made a decision for Christ because of what you have read here? If so, please contact us! We'd love to give you some free resources to help you as you begin your new life with God! 


*This resource an excerpt from What does it mean to be a born again Christianby GotQuestions.org


Post Game Review

This week we’ve walked through the initial chapters of John and recognized how God took the initiative when we were separated from Him. Just like a coach will look back at a recent performance to help figure out what happened, so we want to take a couple of minutes for the Holy Spirit to coach us on what God said to you over the course of the last week.

 

 Did any recurring thoughts or themes emerge this week?


How is God challenging or encouraging you?

  

What tangible action steps might God be moving you to take?

how do i get in the game?

As we study the Scriptures, we always need to be careful to avoid simply being hearers of the Word and not doers. It’s likely, if not this week, that God will soon direct you to take some action to help you go to the next level in your relationship with Him. This section will have some ideas for your next steps at the end of each week. So, how do you get in the game in light of God coming to us despite our separation from Him? 

  • Understand what it means to be on God’s team, to be one of His children.
  • Regularly attend worship services to celebrate God’s initiative towards us and goodness to us.
  • Get to know this Jesus who has pursued us by getting into this devotional and building the habit of being in the Bible regularly.
  • Get in a Life Group so you are able to hear God’s voice through other believers.