Hello MVC Family,
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Good Morning MVC - May 6thby Pastor Pete on May 6, 2020
Good morning MVC!
This is National Nurses Week honoring the commitment, dedication and hard work of those in the nursing profession. Professional healthcare heroes are risking their lives on the front line every day, helping fight the coronavirus pandemic. If you know a nurse or see one today thank them from all of us!
Please checkout www.helprwa.org today. MVC has joined with 11 area churches for an initiative to "Help, Enable, Local, Pandemic, Response". In our local area, people that need help will be connected with Christians who want to help in a variety of ways (groceries, pharmacy delivery, financial need, repairs.) Deacons Signa Anderson and Janice Heil are our coordinators and trustee Paul Kemp will manage home repair and special projects. We are working closely with our local partners, such as Vine Maple Place and the Food Bank. So far we have 50 volunteers signed up from the dozen churches and only four people have reached out for help. But we know more and more of our neighbors will be in need. If you would like to be available to help or if you or someone you know is in need of help, please go to our local website and register.
We are calling this Sunday's livestream service teaching time "Mother's Day Q&A with Pastor Pete". Kids of all ages have sent in videos of them asking me questions about faith, the Bible, Jesus, missing out on seeing their friends, and many other questions I haven't seen yet. I am looking forward to hearing all their questions and answering them live on Sunday.
Jesus always had the perfect, genius answer to the questions he was asked. One conversation he had with someone with a lot of questions is recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 3. The question asked is: What does it mean to be born again?
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”...“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” John 3:1-4
Here we read of Nicodemus’ encounter with Jesus. What can we learn here about Nicodemus? For starters, we know he’s a Pharisee, that is, a member of the Jewish ruling council called the Sanhedrin. And in v.10 Jesus called him ‘Israel’s teacher’. So, from this description we can deduce Nicodemus is: a biblical scholar, most likely an older gentleman, probably he’s a wealthy man, a civic leader and as a member of the society’s Supreme Court this is a man who certainly has his act together!
Nicodemus is curious to meet Jesus. Maybe he’s on a fact-finding mission from the Sanhedrin? Or maybe he wants to see for himself if the rumors of a miracle-worker are true? Or maybe he’s heard enough about Jesus & the rumors to think, “Could this young Rabbi from Galilee teach me or show me something I’ve never learned or seen before?”
Old Nic goes to see Jesus at night because he doesn’t want anybody important to know he’s talking with this young rabbi. In John’s gospel, there’s often more going on than meets the eye. On a deeper level, Nicodemus is coming out of spiritual darkness into the light. He’s curious, but far from convinced about Jesus. He doesn’t yet know who Jesus truly is, not yet. So, he says, “Rabbi, my friends and I know you’re a gifted young up & comer. We’ve heard strange reports of miraculous signs!
Jesus skips the pleasantries and says to this put-together, distinguished, respected, religious leader of the day, “I'm telling you the truth, no one, not even you Nicodemus, with all your credentials, can see [or enter] the kingdom of God unless you are born again!"
Jesus is talking of a radical transformation-- spiritual regeneration. To be changed so profoundly from the inside out, from the very core of your being, it is as though you’re born all over again.
Jesus is also saying to be born again is to receive new life from heaven.
Nicodemus would have thought and taught a person is born into God’s kingdom by the covenant of Moses, and by being a faithful & good Jew. It was about your bloodline, your nationality and your faithfulness to keeping the Torah. But Jesus tells him new birth into the spiritual kingdom of God, that is Almighty God’s full rule and reign, Is NOT inherited by adherence to religion, or to nationality, birthright or human effort. John 1:12,13 puts it this way, “Yet to all who did receive Jesus Christ, 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.”
I’m sure Nicodemus was a good person, a moral person and a religious person. He just wasn’t a saved person. He wasn’t born again, not yet anyway. I image he was dumbfounded by Jesus’ statement. In verse 4 he asks another question, “How can someone be born when they’re old?” He’s saying, “How can a gray-headed old man be reborn? It’s impossible to go back into the womb a second time!”
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, curious but not convinced. He came out of the darkness & the light was starting to dawn on him.
To be born again does not mean you belong to a particular brand of Christianity, or that you’re a bible scholar, or that you live by a religious moral code, as if somehow we can earn God’s grace. No, the Bible says, grace is a free gift of God received by faith. To be born again means a radical reboot, restart, regeneration! To be born again is a supernatural & sovereign act of God! You’re born again when God does something only God can do!
Have you personally been born again to new life by faith in Jesus Christ? If the answer is yes, you know the change I’m talking about. If the answer is no, I invite you right now to trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and Treasure. And confess your sins, all you’ve done that you know is wrong. Repent of it, turn away from your old, dead-end ways and turn to the path of life. Say, “Lord Jesus I believe in you and I receive you, save me!” Reject the ways of the world and the Evil One. And be filled with the Holy Spirit of God, enter His Kingdom and live a new life in right relationship with God our Father in Heaven.