Live-blogging D.A. Carson at Liberty University
TITLE: "One Focus of the Gospel" (John 3:1-21)
Introductory question: "What is the gospel?" The gospel is, first of all, good news. What is it news about. Some people have said, preach the gospel, if it's necessary use words. But this is a bit like telling the newscaster on the evening newscast, 'Give the news, if necessary, use words.'
What God has done in Christ Jesus, primarily through the Cross and Resurrection, to reconcile sinners to Himself.
Legal dimension: how can guilty people be declared just before God?
We cannot understand the good news until we know what the bad news is.
Relational component: whereas the gospel itself is what GOD does, through the gospel God reconciles us to one another.
Eschatalogical component: we will have new bodies in a new Heaven and a new Earth on the last day.
I. What Jesus said about being born again (vv. 1-10)
1. Pharisees would have been seen as theologically correct and upright.
2. Those on the ruling council would have been tremendously powerful.
3. Nicodemus was apparently known as the Teacher of Israel.
4. Nicodemus' coming at night, as recorded by John, was also indicative of his spiritual darkness.
5. Nicodemus' use of "we" comes across as slightly pompous.
6. Nicodemus recognized Jesus as coming from God.
7. Nicodemus claimed to see something important, but Jesus informed him that he could not see at all.
B. The Impossibility of Going Back in Time to Right Past Wrongs
C. Born of Water and the Spirit
1. The context must be considered.
2. Ezekiel 36:25-26.
3. "Born of water and the Spirit" = cleansing and transformation.
D. Wind: we can see the effects, even if we cannot explain the mechanics.
E. "You must be born again, if you are to see and enter the kingdom of God."
II. Why Jesus Could Speak So Authoritatively About Being Born Again (vv. 11-13)
1. Jesus uses "we," playing off of Nicodemus' earlier use of "we."
2. This is demonstrated in the fact that Jesus immediately switches back to the first person singular.
B. Jesus' Authority Rests In Who He Is
1. Our authority is not based on rationalism. (We cannot reason ourselves to God.)
2. Our authority is not based on mysticism. (We cannot feel ourselves to God.)
3. Our authority is based on revelation. (God reveals himself to us.)
III. How We Experience The New Birth (vv. 14-15)
A. Numbers 21:4-8.
B. "Whining is idolatry."
C. "We are sinful people... and we stand under God's curse."
D. The Good News
1. The Good News is bound up in what God has done on the Cross in Christ Jesus.
2. We experience the new birth as we cast ourselves on Jesus.
IV. Why Jesus Was Sent to Bring About This New Birth (v. 16)
A. "In John's Gospel, the world is a damned place."
B. God loves the world despite the fact that the world has made itself unlovely.