Sermon Notes

SBS  Sermon Notes   Note 09/06

Salvation ... Who Needs It?

Reading: John 3

Nicodemus was one of the most respected leaders in ancient Israel. He was a Pharisee, one of the strictest religious denominations Israel has ever known. Along with other Pharisees of his day Nicodemus had attentively listened to and analysed the words and work of Rabbi Yeshua and come to the conclusion that he (Jesus) had 'come from God' and that 'God was with him'.

John 3: 1: There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Yet for all his knowledge and position, Nicodemus was not satisfied with his life. He knew, that far beyond and above what his own religious group could provide, something important was missing. Overcoming his strict orthodox reservations, Nicodemus visited Jesus by night! Within a flash the Master diagnosed Nicodemus' problem. This respected religious ruler, this pillar of society, this learned man needed something a lot more than Phariseeism could deliver. What was it? Where and how could it be obtained? Jesus provided the answers.

John 3: 3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4: Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5: Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus needed salvation and he knew it.

He needed to be born again!

Here was a man who went to bed one night with the most unusual thoughts on his mind. He had just heard two prisoners (Paul and Silas) preach, pray and sing the Gospel. Maybe he had heard them tell the story of salvation from sin, judgement. and eternal death. They had warned the other prisoners in that jail about the coming Day of Judgement, when all men would answer for the things done in their bodies. The jailer was afraid. But somehow he dropped off to sleep. At midnight the prison was shaken by a mighty earthquake. The prison doors flew open and every prisoner's chains fell off. Flooding into that jailer's mind came two terrifying thoughts:

Acts 16: 27: And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28: But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
29: Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
30: And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

The Jailer needed salvation and he knew it.

2Kings:5: 1: Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper.

Naaman knew that all his bravery, his skill, his victory and fame and honour were worthless; because eating into his body and soul was the deadly disease of leprosy! To be sure he would give anything to be rid of this living hell - anything! Wouldn't you?

2 Kings 5: 8: And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.

After being healed Naaman spoke these words: Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel. (verse 15)

Naaman the Syrian needed salvation and he knew it.

Here was a woman who had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. Pause and try to imagine this poor woman's condition. Twelve years - bleeding to death! She had heard about Jesus; heard of the mighty miracles he could do; heard of his message and perhaps even met someone who had been healed by him. So here she was: frail, frightened and desperate. This was her last chance. If this physician couldn't heal her she was doomed!

Oh yes she needed salvation and she knew it.

Mark 5: 28: For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.
29: And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.
30: And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31: And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
32: And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.
33: But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.
34: And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.

This man's condition was even worse than those we have already mentioned. He was sick of the palsy (a partial or total loss of sensibility, voluntary motion, or both, in one or more parts of the body). He was paralysed and completely incapable of even getting near Jesus. It is possible that even his faith in God had well nigh vanished. The Bible says he was healed by Jesus and that his healing was triggered by the faith of his four friends.
Mark 2: 1: And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house.
2: And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
3: And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.
4: And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.
5: When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

These are well known Bible stories. They were included in the Holy Scriptures because they contain invaluable spiritual lessons for us who live in the closing days of this age. The Apostle Paul writes:

1 Cor.10: 11: Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Accepting that fact, that these Old & New Testament stories are examples, types and living dramas, each containing a spiritual lesson, and possibly even a prophetic message, let me ask a few questions:

Nicodemus the Pharisee
Once again consider Nicodemus the Pharisee: a leading lecturer on the Torah, the law of the Almighty God of Israel. Oh what a respected man he was. But like Nicodemus we need to be born again to even see the Kingdom of God, let alone enter it. Many are blind and totally ignorant of real spiritual concepts, values and priorities. We need to be converted, born again; else we shall never see or enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Oh yes, all of us need salvation.
But do we know it? That is a question we must all answer individually.

Naaman the Syrian
Consider Naaman the Syrian: that brave and valiant soldier, through whom Yahweh had wrought many victories. But Naaman was a leper. Few knew about his condition, but Naaman did. Like Naaman the Syrian some of us are outwardly successful, victorious, rich and powerful. Perhaps the LORD has even used us to bring deliverance to others. But we have a spiritual problem, a 'moral leprosy' which is eating our souls away. We are unclean and need to be thoroughly washed - seven times!

Oh yes, all of us need salvation.

The Jailer from Philippi
Consider the Jailer from Philippi: He is like the outwardly successful manager of a large and difficult institution with many souls under his control - prisoners in a jail! Some have never heard about a Day of Judgement One day a spiritual earthquake will jolt him out of his sleep. You can be sure it will come. When it does, remember Paul's answer to the jailer's question:

What must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Oh yes, all of us need salvation.

The Haemorrhaging Women
Consider the haemorrhaging woman: She is like those who are frail, bankrupt and drained of their resources - bleeding to death! But she had faith. She had one last chance to touch the hem of the Saviour's garment (the symbol that he was an obedient follower of the Most High) and she took it.

Oh yes, all of us need salvation.

The Paralytic
Consider the Paralytic: He is like the man who is unable to move or even speak on spiritual matters. His faith is probably as paralysed as his body. But he has friends who believe in the Saviour; friends who can pray for him; friends who will rip open the rafters of heaven and bring him - in prayer - to Yeshua for salvation! Do you come into this category? Are you the paralytic? Or are you one of his friends? The fact is, salvation is on offer to all. Why?

Because we all need salvation - desperately!

Salvation is free! It cost the Almighty His Son's life; but it is on offer to us - free of charge!
All we need to do is believe and be saved; to be washed seven times; to stretch forth the hand and touch the Master's robe. Salvation is available for even the spiritually paralysed, especially to those who have friends in the faith; friends who will take the trouble to bring their lost loved ones in prayer to the Rabbi who came from God! Do you fall into one of these categories? I'm sure you do. I do.
Oh yes, we all need salvation; and we must accept it before it is eternally too late.

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Author: David B Loughran
September 1998
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland