Well-Known Gospel Message

FTGC-30a, MMG-44,  WFM-46

020407AM

Well-Known Gospel Message

As an added resource on our 52 Greatest Chapter Study this week, here is a special lesson on Jesus explaining the Gospel to Nicodemus.
One of the best-known verses in the Bible is framed by one of the strangest scenes in the Bible. What are we learning this morning? John 3:16 and the story of Nicodemus.
What is the setting? Snakes, Sinners and the Savior. Jesus uses a strange scene, snakes attacking and killing people as the backdrop for John 3:16 and the God who so loved that He gave. Wow-what a lesson, what a passage, and what a joy to learn from Jesus the Message of Salvation this morning!
Welcome to the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
We are learning in these weeks of Bible Study The Master’s Message In John. We are watching Jesus through the eyes and ears of the Apostle John. What is the Gospel? Christ Jesus answers through the book He prompted John to write as the Apostle captures numerous powerful scenes where our Lord Jesus Christ explains the truth about salvation. We have already seen Jesus describing believers as those who:
Possess Jesus Christ; understand salvation is only by substitution; have been overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit; hang on to Christ alone, and finally — get to start life over again –only this time brand new and in the right way
 
Turn to that truth with me. It is the best-known verse in God’s Word John 3:16. As we stand follow along as I read John 3:14-16.
 
Jesus is in an evening visit by a seeking Bible Teacher named Nicodemus. The Nicodemus of the New Testament may have been the Nicodemus known in secular history as Nicodemus ben Gurion. If so, he was the 3rd richest man of early 1st Century Israel. His brother was Josephus ben Gurion, as in the world-famous historian we read today called Josephus.
 
This may explain why Jesus refers to being “born of water”. This may point to John’s Baptism of humble repentance. Nicodemus may have been in that delegation sent to query John at the Jordan River. If so that explains why Jesus dealt so directly with him in John 3. But in our text in the midst of Christ’s talk with Nicodemus, in the midst of His explanation of the New Birth, being Born Again, He says you need another birth, you need to become a baby again.
 
That is a very striking to think about. Why? Because, a baby has no past, just a future!
Our passage reveals Christ’s present mission.
The Son came down (3:13)
To be lifted up (3:14)
In order for man to enter in (3:15)
And get out of perishing and into everlasting life (3:16)

Transcript

Open your Bible with me to John chapter 3, to perhaps what’s the best known, most loved, perhaps the most quoted verse in the Bible. John 3:16. We’re going to look, this morning, at Jesus Christ again sharing the Gospel in the most unusual way. Taking this most well-known verse and launching off into one of the strangest scenes in the Bible. I call it snakes, and sinners, and the Savior all in one little passage. We’re going to read in just a few moments, John 3 verses 13 down to 16. Let’s get ready for that by thinking of a few points before we go there. One of the best known verses in the Bible is framed by one of the strangest scenes in the Bible, John 3:16 and the story of Nicodemus.

What’s the setting? While Jesus takes this religious leader and turns him to look back at a scene that happened 1,500 years in the past. Think back 1,500 years in our lives. 1,500 years ago, the Roman Empire was just on its ebb and flow. The Roman Empire? That’s so far distant. We think that’s ancient history. This scene that Jesus points Nicodemus to was 1,500 years in the past. It was a strange one involving a brass or bronze serpent on a pole and the children of Israel dying of snake bites. That’s the setting. What Jesus does is, he shares the message of salvation and gives us a lesson.

What we’re doing is, we’re progressing through each of the salvation scenes where Jesus explains to people how to be saved. We’ve gotten through four and this is our fifth one. We’ve seen in the past that Jesus said, those who are in my family possessed me, “But as many as received Him,” they have possessed Christ. Then, we saw that those who are saved understand salvation is only by substitution, the Lamb of God who takes away our sin. He took our place. Then, we saw that those who are saved have been overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit. They’re baptized with the Holy Spirit. We studied that a few weeks ago. Then, they hang onto Christ alone. They believed in Him.

Now we come to chapter 3. I love this one because Jesus declares, starting in verse 3 (we’re only going to actually read in verse 13, but starting in verse 3 of chapter 3) Jesus declares that He’s offering a new birth. We call it being born again. He compares it to physical birth and a baby. He said, it’s wonderful that you get to start over. Think about what a baby is. A baby is a little person who has no past, they only have a future. They aren’t crippled by the past. They aren’t haunted by the past. They aren’t ruined by the past. They have no past; they only have a future. Jesus said in Him, those who are born again, those who get His salvation, get to start all over again. Brand new, no past, with a wonderful future. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what Jesus is relating to Nicodemus.

Jesus comes to this man, this great man and explains salvation in an unusual way. Let’s read the account. John 3, verse 13. I’m going to emphasize words and I’ll explain why after a while. Verse 13, “No one has ascended to Heaven but He who came down from Heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in Heaven.” Verse 14, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Verse 15, “That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” What a portion of God’s word, let’s bow together.

We bow in our hearts before you, O God. Asking you to open our eyes to behold wonderful things out of Your word. For some may, they for the first time today, comprehend and grasp and understand by your Spirit’s moving upon their heart. That you Lord Jesus came down to be lifted up for them. That they today, by faith, could immediately have the poisonous venom of sin removed and its devastating eternal death effect on their life. That they might be saved today. That they might be as a baby and have no past, only a future. For those of us who know you are ready, may we rejoice in our salvation. May we act like those that have started over and have a brand new beginning starting the right way in You, O Christ. In any way we failed you, we come to you and ask you to meet that need to cleanse our heart. To fill us anew and afresh with your Spirit, that we might worship you. Thank you for letting us come. Open our hearts. We bow before you. In the name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

We have come to what might be called everyone’s text. Most people, in fact, famous people always have a portion of the Bible that’s their favorite texts. They sign it, put it in books, and everything else. You know what? This is everybody’s favorite verse. It’s the one we learned first of all. In fact, I have at home this little, tiny Plaster of Paris something that I was given when I was three years old, because I quoted John 3:16. It’s amazing. 1959. My mother wrote on the bottom, Johnny said John 3:16. It was the first verse I ever learned. I don’t know how that thing survived all the earthquakes of California and all of our moves through life. The kids all carry it around and look at it. They turn it over and they all try to learn John 3:16 before they’re three, so they can beat dad. It’s a popular verse and we all know it.

We’re looking at Jesus, that evening, being visited by a Bible teacher named Nicodemus. It says in verse 2, he came to Jesus. He wanted to know about salvation. If you go to the pages of secular history this may be the Nicodemus that was known from secular history. Like in the Encyclopedia Britannica, he was contemporaneous with this event. The Bible doesn’t explain which Nicodemus this was. There may have been many, but if this is the one from history, this man was the third wealthiest man in all of Israel. This man’s brother was Josephus, as in Josephus ben Gurion who was the writer of the great histories of the Jewish wars against Rome. If Nicodemus is Nicodemus ben Gurion, he was one of the most influential, powerful wealthiest, and well-known people of the day. A member of the ruling body. One of the great Bible teachers. A man of wealth and of means, and of power. He came to Jesus. Jesus spoke to him in a very clear way. I don’t have time to go through this fifth verse, “Born of water and the Spirit.” Maybe Jesus brought up that water and Spirit part because Nicodemus had been a part of that contingent that had been sent out from the ruling body to meet with Jesus’ relative, His cousin, John the Baptist. John the Baptist had exhorted that group to humble themselves and take the water baptism to show that they were acknowledging their sinfulness and their need of a Messiah. That could be what Jesus is alluding to, we don’t know. It would be very interesting if this is Nicodemus ben Gurion, if he was the man that was there with John the Baptist, and if he was the man who had so much to lose by identifying with Christ.

All that just to say this, and if you’re a Bible marker look at verse 13 of John 3, because Jesus summarizes the entire Gospel message in these little, tiny verses we read. Our passage this morning reveals Christ’s present ministry. Verse 13, the Son of Man “came down.” If you’re a Bible marker, you got to grab your pen and just put a box right around, “came down” because it will help you realize how Jesus so succinctly describes His whole purpose. He came down, that’s His incarnation. Is coming from the presence of the Father, to save this lost world.

Verse 14, here’s part two. To be “lifted up.” There’s the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Verse 15, in order for men to enter in, the “whoever believes in Him.” We enter in, in verse 15. Then, look at verse 16, they “should not perish.” I wrote, get out. The Son of Man came down to be raised up, so we can enter in, so we can get out of this predicament we’re in, eternal death because of our sins, and into everlasting life. Here’s the whole Gospel message. Verse 13, the Son of Man came down, I have a little box around that in my Bible, to be lifted up, verse 14, on the cross in order for us to enter in, believe in Him, so we can get out of perishing, verse 16, and into everlasting life. Jesus Christ explains the magnitude of the new birth to Nicodemus. How does he explain it? Look at verse 14 with me.

Verse 14 takes us to one of the strangest scenes of the Old Testament. One of the most unusual stories. If you take the time and ponder, as I spent all week long in Numbers 21, getting ready for John 3, you will realize as it deeply impressed on me, the wonder of our salvation. Let’s turn back to Numbers chapter 21, let’s stay there for a while. That’s the fourth book. Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. Chapter 21. Keep that pen out because there might be a few things that you might want to note. What I want you to see as I share all this is, Jesus takes, this perhaps third richest man, perhaps from an aristocratic family of power and wealth, He takes him on a Bible story that we tell children. It takes him on a little journey, back 1,500 years in the past and uses the setting of this 21st chapter of Numbers to explain what I believe is the clearest explanation of salvation. The most powerful, the simplest.

Sometimes we get salvation so big. I remember when I was on staff at Grace Community Church with John MacArthur. He had all of us, there were 40 pastors at that time, he had all of us write down the plan of salvation. Some of these guys, it was 100 pages long. John came back and he said, how would you ever share that with someone sitting next to you on an airplane? How about if the airplane was crashing? How would you share it? We get salvation so big that we cannot share it. We can’t distill it down.

Jesus shared it like this. He said, let me tell you a little story. Starting verse 4 of Numbers 21. “Then they journeyed from Mount Hor by Way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the soul of the people became very discouraged on the way.” Sounds familiar, right? Take a long trip with your family in the car and this scene will happen. There’ll be complaining, where are we going to stop? What are we going to eat? How much further? These people were walking. “And the people spoke against God and against Moses.” They start complaining. Verse 6, “So the LORD sent fiery serpents.” Don’t tell your kids that, they’ll all lift their feet in the car. Don’t say you complain too much and God will send fiery serpents. This was a divine judgment because it says, “They,” verse 6, “bit the people; and many of the people of Israel died.” It’s divine judgment. Catastrophic, cataclysmic, devastating, horrible.

Look at the repentance in verse 7, and this is a beautiful story. “Therefore the people came to Moses,” the ones that hadn’t died yet, “and said, ‘We have sinned.’ “ They got the message. ” ‘We’ve spoken against the LORD and against you; pray the LORD that He take away the serpents from us.’ So Moses prayed for the people.” Look at this, curious. This is a strange part. Here’s the cure. “The LORD said to Moses,” verse 8, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” “So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” There’s something. We could talk about everything He doesn’t do. God could have just gotten rid of the serpents. That’s what someone told me after the first hour. They said, you missed one point God left the serpents. I said, hey, what a great idea I never even thought of that, that’s great. He didn’t take away the serpents. He gave them a remedy because they were surrounded by the serpents.

Moses didn’t get a pitchfork, skewer a serpent, and hold it up. That wasn’t what God wanted. That would have been a bad picture. This is a picture of Jesus Christ. That’s why He uses it in John chapter 3. You couldn’t hold up a serpent because Jesus was not a what? A sinner. He became. What did Moses have to do? He had to make a representation of a serpent. Jesus was made in the likeness of what? Us humans, but He was sinless. He was a bronze serpent. If you know anything about the tabernacle, and if you don’t you’ll find out we’re studying the tabernacle in the weeks ahead, did you know every part of the tabernacle, every part of it is an incredible introduction to some facet of Jesus Christ? Everything inside the Holy Place is made of gold. Why is that? Because God it is divine. Everything outside, that has made of brass. Why? Because it speaks of fiery judgment against sin. To get to God you have to have your sin judged. Everything to do with the approach to God is gold. It’s just a beautiful little picture. This was a brass serpent, speaking of judgment against sin, held up.

Let’s just draw some lessons. You might want to jot some of these down. Number one, we share a similar deadly infection. That’s what Jesus was trying to tell Nicodemus. He says, hey, Nicodemus, you come to me, you’re Mr. Rich guy perhaps, you’re Mr. Famous guy perhaps, you know what? Look at that story. Look at those people. They were hopeless, helpless, dying. You have the same problem Nicodemus. Nicodemus needed to realize he was lost, in spite of his religious background, his teaching, his temple ritual, he was lost. He was in a desperate condition. That’s the first thing Jesus points out. Everyone touched by the poison of the serpent would die, all people infected with the sin virus will die. We have the same problem they had, just like Nicodemus had. We’re all in fact, we’ve all been bitten by the serpent. We are of our father, the what? The devil. We were born doing the will of the god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, we’re his children who were born into this world. People don’t like that. That’s not a popular thing, but it’s the truth. We’re all born sinners by nature, by choice, and by God’s divine decrease. We all have a similar deadly infection Jesus told Nicodemus. All this morning are also infected. That devil, the old serpent, the fiery serpent, as he appears in Revelation 12, has through his deception through leading Eve to disobey God and Adam willfully joining in that disobedience and that rebellion, sin has passed upon all of us.

Also, we have a similar offer of a cure. There was only one cure offered to these people. It wasn’t going off to the Mayo Clinic. It wasn’t getting a snake venom antidote kit. It wasn’t rubbing on some oil. It wasn’t cutting it out. It wasn’t looking at a picture of the brazen serpent. It was one cure. They had to individually turn and look at that pole. In fact, I was telling the first hour and I remind you, it would have been very hard to have taken a constructed brass serpent and set it on a single pole without having a crossbar to hold it up. See that? A lot of pictures of the cross in the Old Testament. Most likely it was a pole of some kind, or a tree trimmed off with something to hold it, this nailed on serpent. Very interesting. We share a similar offer of a cure. There’s only one cure. God Himself devised and prescribed the antidote against the fiery serpents. This morning, our salvation was invented by God. There’s only one cure, the one that God invented. It was a very unlikely method of a cure.

When you look at this, when it says in verse 8 of Numbers, 21, “Make a fiery serpent.” That’s the last thing I would have thought of. I would’ve thought of having a divine whirlwind and carry them away or let the people who were around pour water on them. A serpent? What a gross thing to think about. Think of Jesus Christ, He became sin, became like that brazen serpent. It says what cured them was shaped in the likeness of that which wounded them. I think about Romans 8:3 which says, Christ was made “in the likeness of sinful flesh.” The serpent was in the likeness of the fiery serpents that bit them.

The scriptures tell us that Jesus was identified. In fact, in John 9, Jesus helps this man who was blind from birth, and they accused Jesus. They said to that man, are you like this sinner? They called Jesus a sinner, those religious leaders. This was such blasphemy. Another thing, the brazen serpent was lifted up. This bronze serpent had to be a fixed to this pole and held up for people to see. Jesus said, when I am what? Lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself. We learned at our Passover Seder a couple of weeks ago that God promised in the third promise of Exodus and the whole Passover, He says, I will save you by outstretched arms. Remember that point? Jesus, on that third promise, handed to them the cup with His outstretched arm, almost prefiguring that He would be crucified. He was lifted up just as the serpent was. That’s an amazing point.

What I love about this, look at verse 9, “So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” This goes back to my days of Grace Community Church, when John told all the 40 pastors to write down the salvation message. Jesus was very simple. Anybody that’s bitten, if you will look in faith at that serpent on the pole… that’s how simple salvation is. Think about it. It was very simple. They looked and lived. If we believe we shall not perish, Jesus said it is by faith that we look onto Jesus.

In fact, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, that tremendous Baptist minister of the 19th century, who spoke to thousands in London at the great Metropolitan Church that he pastored there. Do you know how he got saved? He was walking in the snowstorm by a little brethren chapel when he was a young man. The man in there, to a handful of people, was preaching Isaiah 45:22. Isaiah 45:22 says this, “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Spurgeon walked by, stuck his head in, listened to that man, and it struck him that all who would look onto the Lord will be saved. That’s the message of salvation. We must be sensing that we’re wounded, in danger by it. We received the record God gave concerning His Son. We rely on the assurance that we shall be healed and saved if we look at Him.

There’s a lot of information here. They had to understand, in verse 7, that they had sin and they had to understand that there was a solution. All it took was looking in trust, in faith. It was very simple, but it was also very specific. The brazen serpent lifted up wouldn’t cure them if it wasn’t looked at. If you could go and scrape some of it off and drop pieces of bronze on your wound, it wouldn’t help you. You could get some snake oil, beat up a snake and pour out some and put it on, it wouldn’t work. You could wash it off, you could cut it out, you could do anything, but if you didn’t specifically obey the looking, you wouldn’t be healed. If they slighted the method God chose for the cure, if they chose natural medicine, if they trusted to themself the cure, they would perish. That’s what we see all around. There’s one way of salvation. Jesus lifted up, substitutionary dying in our place. There are churches on block, after block, after block in our country that say, if you get baptized, you will get saved. If you join our church, you will get saved. If you go out and do this Christian service you will get saved. If you will confess this, or if you will get involved in the sacramental order, you’ll be saved. There’s always a little addition there hat is perverting  the simplicity of looking at Christ.

Finally, the last thing that I see, in a general principle, was it was simple, it was specific, but it was powerful. Do you remember, many months ago we were going through the camp of Israel, and I told you that if we super impose just the tents of the nation of Israel in the wilderness on Tulsa, it would go from Louis and beyond all the way to 161st Street East in Broken Arrow. That would be the width of the camp, just the tents, nine miles. Also, all the way from 91st street up to Admiral. That’s 81 square miles of camps. That’s a lot of camp tents and people. Look at this, verse 9, “Put it on a pole.” There was only one. When anyone looked, they lived. You know what? This was powerful even though someone was on the outer fringe of the camp, even though someone was too weak. To me, I started thinking about, do you know what hundreds of thousands of people bitten by snakes would look like? Some of them would already be paralyzed and have that glassy look, where the paralysis has set in, and their eyes were starting to cloud, and they were just barely alive. Others were starting to have convulsions as the venom went through their system, organ, and a systemic failure. Others were probably already stiffened in death. All these different conditions, these people with snakes all crawling around. People screaming and the snakes attacking them.

The word began to fan out through the camp that off in the distance, nine miles away for some of them, if they looked in faith, they could see that little, tiny thing on the hill, pole sticking up. If they would just open their eyes and look at that pole. It was very powerful. There’s only one pole, but whoever looked at that healing sign, though from the outer parts of the camp, even though they were weak, even though their eyes were starting to cloud, they would be instantaneously healed. Isn’t that a picture of salvation! Reminds me, whoever believes in Christ, though yet weak in faith shall not perish. Paul said there are weak brethren and for those Christ died. There are some people who have very weak faith, but it’s not the power of the faith, it’s the power of the cure, which is Christ lifted up.

If we were to summarize, this is what I have written in my Bible. What is the promise of salvation that you can find from Numbers 21 that Jesus probably was emphasizing? I just shared the story with you. What would Nicodemus have gotten from this story? Number one, he would have gotten God’s sufficiency, the lifted bronze serpent was all that was needed to supply a complete cure. They didn’t need offerings and they didn’t need all these different cleansings. They didn’t need to make pilgrimages. They didn’t need to bring a dove and wring its neck. They didn’t need to do all that. They had one sufficient cure. That one offering was a complete cure. God’s sufficiency. Salvation should always remind us of God’s sufficiency.

Secondly, their hopelessness. Look at verse 7. “We have sinned.” The people had to acknowledge their hopelessness. They were bitten. We are bitten. We have the sin virus. We were born with it. We are infected. We are perishing apart from Christ sacrifice. Their hopelessness, snake’s venom was deadly, just like sin is. The burning pain they were feeling. These serpents, by the way, are still there. God didn’t bring these in from Mars or something. He didn’t create them from the spot. If you travel. In fact, I read all the travel books (our trips don’t go there by the way), they said that everywhere you go in the sands of that part of the desert you can see there are tracks. These things you can see in the National Geographic. They’re wriggling through the sand, and they are fiery red. They’re still there. One of the travel books I read said that some of them are two inches wide. Oh man, can you imagine it? A two inch wide, fiery, monster snake coming at you? Usually, they go away from you. In our yard, we have many snakes in our yard, they always leave when they see us coming. These came toward you. Can you imagine? Wow. Their hopelessness, how desperate their burning pain reminded them of their need. Christ told Nicodemus, God’s sufficient. That’s all you need, you’re hopeless. That’s all.

Thirdly, God’s power. One snake on a pole worked no matter how many bites or how bad their condition. You didn’t need to have several poles. You didn’t need to look several times. It doesn’t matter how many times you got bit, how close to death and frozen in paralysis from the snake bite you were. It doesn’t matter how far away you were removed from the pole. We happen to be 2000 years away from the pole ourselves, that’s further than nine miles I might add. No matter how removed, how bitten, or how close to death the power of that one offering, one snake on a pole worked no matter how many bites or how bad their condition.

The fourth truth I think that Jesus underline’s, not only God’s sufficiency, their hopelessness and God’s power but their personal need. It couldn’t be your mom would run up and look at the pole for you. It couldn’t be your dad would run up and look at the pole for you and look at that bronze serpent. You had to look. That’s the danger we have. We have a lot of parents looking for their kids. We have a lot of wives looking for their husbands. We have a lot of husbands looking for their wives. You look, it’s personal. Their personal need. The antidote was only good for an individual. No one could look at the bronze serpent on the pole to get another one healed. They personally had to, verse 7, acknowledge their sin, acknowledged their need. God’s perfect solution. There was one source of hope and salvation that saved anyone of any age, of any family, anywhere in the camp. Isn’t that neat?

There’s not a different Gospel message for those that live in the first world. I always hear about the third world. What are we the first or something? What is the second world? They always talk about these third world nations. What’s the second world? There’s not a Gospel message for the first world, the second world, the third world. There’s not one for children. There’s not one for people that are really old and sickly. There’s one solution, any age, any person, any family. One solution. God’s perfect solution. One source of hope and salvation. It saves those of any age, of any family, anywhere in the camp.

Next is, God’s reliability. The bronze serpent never failed to work no matter how often they tried it. It always worked. Anybody in the camp that ever got bitten with this serpent during this situation, it always worked. If they looked, God healed them right there, saved them. They didn’t die. Wow.

Finally, the last thing I think Jesus probably underlined in Nicodemus’ heart was God’s simple plan. It was an instant look that was required. It was easy, but it had to be at the only source of help. Salvation is simple, it’s a simple remedy. Salvation is immediately powerful, but it’s exclusive. There was one and only one hope they had. Let’s go back to John 3 and see what Jesus did with this. John chapter 3, and we’re going to conclude. Jesus was just like the bronze serpent, because the bronze serpent was in the form of the deadly venomous serpents and Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh in our place. Jesus was like the bronze serpent because He was lifted up on the cross, like it was lifted up on the pole. How did Jesus apply this?

Look at verse 15, I can just hear Nicodemus saying, then how can one be saved? Jesus said in verse 15, by believing on this. That’s what verse 15 says. How can you be saved? By believing on the Son. By believing He’s the only hope. Looking at Him only, not trying your own cure, not looking for someone else. You, personally, looking. Everything we talked about. Why can we be saved? Verse 16 says the answer to that. Because, God so loved us. The initiator in this whole deal is God. He’s the one that came to us bitten by snake people. He originated this. It’s prompted by His love. What a powerful thought that is. Who can be saved? Verse 16 says, whosoever. What is salvation? Not perishing, but having everlasting life, the end of verse 16 says. Where can one be saved? Keep going in verse 17. It says, God sent His Son into the world that the world might be saved. We can be saved right here, right now today. Wherever we are in the world, anywhere in the camp, you could get saved anywhere on this planet. You can get saved. When can one be saved? Look at verse 18 of John 3. “He that believeth on Him is not condemned,” at this very moment, that’s what the Bible says. Today is a day of salvation. Today, if you hear his voice, don’t harden your heart. If you don’t look at the pole quick enough the venom will get you, and you’ll be gone.

What a wonderful message, “Whosoever believes in Him,” believing with all our heart, believe in God loves us, believing Christ’s death, and His Son was the only way to God the only hope of forgiveness, the only salvation I can ever have. Look at the end of verse 16, and this is powerful. Whoever looks at Christ as their only hope has everlasting life. For just a minute, if you haven’t thought about this for a while, what is that? Think about everlasting life. What are the implications of having that, today? I think that there are some powerful implications that can touch all of our lives wherever we are, whoever we are, however bitten by snakes, or however close to death we might be. Think of this, “have everlasting life.” Eternal life is the very life of God Himself. The answer that Jesus gave to Nicodemus was, eternal life will surround every part of your life with peace. Think of it, number one, we get peace above. Once we have everlasting life, we have peace with God. Here’s what Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” We get peace above. That’s the most important piece. I remember Billy Graham’s book, Peace with God. Remember that great book? That’s what we get.

It doesn’t stop there. We get peace around us. He gives us peace with men. It says in Ephesians 4:32, that we forgive one another, “even as God in Christ forgave you.” We get peace around us when we get saved. I don’t have to be angry at my relatives, and angry at my neighbors, and angry at my employers, and angry at my employees. I have no beef against the Arabs or the Muslims. I don’t have enemies because I am forgiving as Christ forgave me. That makes us perfect ambassadors of Christ. They come and crash our buildings. We can go and crash them with the Gospel. I think we should send more missionaries than missiles. We need to think about that, how would Christ have responded? As Christians, we need to be careful not to be so caught up with the patriotism and politics that we forget the whole reason we’re here, the Gospel. We get peace around us. Peace above us and peace around.

Romans 8:28 tells us, we get peace along. It gives us peace with life. It has God the Father working all things together for good. All along my life I have peace. It doesn’t matter if my life is cut shorter than I thought it should be, or if it goes longer than I thought it should be. It doesn’t matter if I get to go through life with not all of my bodily functions working, or if I get to just be healthy as a bull to the last day of my life and drop over with a heart attack. Doesn’t matter because God’s orchestrating all that. I get peace all along the way. I get peace above. I get peace around. I get peace all along the way, because God is in charge.

Fourthly, I get peace within, peace with myself. Isaiah 26:3 says, I will be kept in perfect peace, when my mind is stayed on Him. I can have internal peace all along the way of life. You know what? If you practice that people will notice that. Finally, last one, eternal life gives me peace to come. It makes me certain. With the deepest peace I have on Earth it’s only a shadow of, foretaste of, the ultimate peace to come. Here’s what Philippians 3 says. He will “transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body.” Then chapter 4, verse 6, I’m “anxious for nothing.” Verse 7, “And the peace of God, which surpasses understanding,” guards me. I have peace to come. I am kept by the power of God, through faith, to the day of salvation.

What did Jesus tell Nicodemus? He says, I’m sufficient to take away your hopelessness. My power will meet your personal need. I have the perfect solution. It’s reliable and it’s simple. Here’s what it is, I will give you eternal life if you will believe that the Son who came down was lifted up to let you enter into this life. Once you enter in, do you know what you get? You get peace above with God. You get peace around you. You have no enemies because you’re forgiving. You get peace along the whole road of life. You get peace within to live the most amazing life you can have in tranquility. You get peace to come. We get to dwell with our Father forever. Jesus presented the Gospel to Nicodemus. He said, you get to be like a baby. You don’t have any past to cripple you and bother you, you only have a future. What a great message.


Check Out All The Sermons In The Series

You can find all the sermons and short clips from this series, 52 Greatest Chapters In The Bible here

Looking To Study The Bible Like Dr. Barnett?

Dr. Barnett has curated an Amazon page with a large collection of resources he uses in his study of God’s Word. You can check it out here.