The second message in Tapestry Lenten message series of 2023 from the Sunday, March 5, 2023 worship gathering. John 3:1-17. Jesus talked about a new birth. What does that mean for us during the Lenten season?
Thank you, Adam, by the way.
Strings are not here.
Maidan’s Long John is up for auction. Do I do I have a bid? Basically, who would like a long John?
There we go.
If I throw it, it’s gonna be it’s gonna be destroyed.
So I’m gonna wait for you to.
Come up there.
And get it.
Well, guess what you have.
A long John.
Now you only stole it from a it.
Made us three, I think.
So you only stole it from a four year old.
If, if she blames anybody, I’m gonna throw you under the bus.
Just so you know, OK.
Basically, I’m going to be referencing pretty much everyone of Lindsey and Jason songs because those were realistically the sermons, so.
If you remember anything from the Gospel of John that we have been talking through, and I don’t ever expect anyone to remember any of the the sermons, I’m always honored when you do remember any of the messages, but the reality is most of what we do in church is we just try to remind each other the grace of God.
If you get that and you can live that out during the week.
That is a wonderful thing.
It’s not about.
More biblical knowledge is about more interaction with Jesus.
So if you remember anything, the text that we are about to go through, you’re going to go, huh?
We talked about that about four weeks ago because what we’re doing is we are going through the scriptures that are typically used in Lent.
So this is one of those, but we’ve already talked about a little bit.
I’m going to turn this down.
’cause I can hear it.
Does it sound like?
It’s ringing just a little bit to you guys.
OK, well, it does to me just a teeny bit.
This is why I like it when Eric is here.
Because Eric immediately adjust the sound.
So if you have your Bibles or if you have a bulletin around you or a phone, or if you just want to look behind me, this is the word of the Lord and Mr.
You’re going to operate this.
So I can thank you.
This is what the word of the Lord.
Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling Council.
He came to Jesus and 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 they were not from if if God were not with him.
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.
Jesus answered very truly I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the spirit flesh gives birth to flesh.
But the spirit gives birth to spirit.
You should not be surprised at me saying you must be born again.
The wind, the wind blows wherever it pleases.
You hear its sound, but you cannot tell.
Where it comes from or where it is going so it is with everyone born of the spirit.
How can this be nicodemi?
Asked you are Israel’s teacher, said Jesus. And you do not understand these things very truly. I tell you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen.
But still you people do not accept our testimony.
I’ve spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe.
How then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven, the son of man.
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the son of man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes.
May have eternal life in him.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
I want you to think for just a second.
About groups around us that influence what’s important to us, think about it.
What are some of these groups?
That that influence.
What you think or what others think are important?
And I’m going to give you an example that I actually talked about with with my family yesterday because it, if you have noticed.
There is, over the past few years, a change that takes place within our the whatever the popular drinking vessel is, so water is important.
You should all hydrate.
Hydration is good.
A few years ago, well Yeti was the cup of choice that you wanted to get, and it was like, oh, this is really expensive.
I figured out a way to work the system.
For some reason there is a Security Agency that is convinced that tapestry has a building and they were like Pastor Robert.
If you watch this this seminar, you’ll get a free Yeti.
Like, OK, that would be nice.
I could use a Yeti.
I watched a seminar.
Are you interested?
No, we don’t have a building.
We can’t use a security system, ABB.
Your your mom might want one here, but they it’s like, oh, OK, OK, we’ll send you the Eddie.
Hey, Pastor Robert.
If you watch another seminar, we’ll send you another Yeti.
I watched another seminar.
Would you like?
Would you like this security system?
It’d be great for sure.
This looks really good, I agree.
This is really top notch.
We could probably really use this if we had a building we don’t have a building.
We’ll send you Yeti, pastor Robert.
Would you like to watch another?
I watched 3 stinking seminars.
I have a Yeti now.
My wife has a Yeti.
Now I think, Adam.
You’re the only.
Immediate member of the former nuclear family that did not get a Yeti because you were not living at the house at that time.
You got a wife.
Instead, I think you made a better choice, OK?
Not that sounded really bad.
That’s not what I meant.
We’re just going to go home now, guys.
If you remember like.
People really into this and then it went from Yeti to like Hydro Flask and then it went, I know.
And then it went from Hydro Flask.
What was the other one that you guys talked about that you said that I didn’t remember it?
Which makes me think from The Muppets my favorite character was beaker on The Muppets, and now it’s Stanley Cups.
I have a Stanley coffee coffee thermos that that I love that I take with me hunting or watching Eagles.
I love it.
Those things you’re selling for, like apparently 70 bucks now for a Stanley.
Stop, because some people decide to use this and it influences everyone else.
You were wondering where this was going or OK.
You see this around.
Think of the groups that influence you and those around you that say this is what’s important in life.
There’s a lot of it.
Here’s why I bring this up.
Our passage today starts with this.
Now there was a Pharisee.
The very first thing we know about Nicodemus is that he was defined as a Pharisee, and the reason that’s important is there were groups in the ancient Near East, specifically in Judaism at this time that were thought groups that influenced how everyone.
The world now, there are a lot of different groups there.
I’m going to talk about 3 specific groups, but there were a lot of different groups, OK, but religiously there were these, for lack of a better phrase, religio political groups that were concerned about one question.
And that question was.
Why is Israel no longer powerful?
God had said that we were the chosen people. God had said that David’s Kingdom would rule forever and we are now subjugated by Rome.
Why is Israel no longer powerful?
And you had three groups, and if you notice this artist basically set them up a little differently.
You had the Sadducees, who were more priestly.
You had the Pharisees who were more scribes, and here’s the different.
The priests, the Sadducees, were concerned with the ritual of the temple.
They were concerned very much with what happens in this ritualistic practice and how is that ritualistic practice continued elsewhere.
The Fierces were very much considered are concerned with the law, so think this way.
Church Service Bible study.
And then you had the essence, Essenes.
They were like, everybody’s messed up.
We’re just going somewhere else.
So here’s how they approached him.
The Sadducees were convinced that Israel was no longer powerful because they had chosen the wrong side, and the Sadducees said if we do the ritual right and we’re faithful, that’s the most important thing.
God will lift us up again.
So what we need?
To do is make sure that that Rome is happy with us.
And we are able to continue to do the sacrifices.
So they very much fed into the power structures of Rome at the time and they’re like everybody needs to do the ritualistic practices.
So they would encourage you, you had these powerful priests that were encouraging people to do it.
And when you read the story of Jesus, you see where priests.
We are basically concerned with, Oh my gosh, he’s ticking off Rome.
That’s going to stop the sacrifices from happening in the temple.
We have to deal with him.
We have to get rid of him.
The Essenes over here.
Basically had the mindset of everybody is so evil that there’s no way for us to redeem it.
We’re going to separate ourselves from everyone else.
Now you have heard of them, even though you didn’t know that you’ve heard of them. Because we in the 1930s is this wonderful gift that was discovered in a.
The Cave that was known as Kumaran, and specifically the Qumran community, was known to be there.
We know it as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
We have the Dead Sea Scrolls because of the Essenes and it’s a great gift because some of the.
The best examples of Old Testament literature we have come from the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the reason those exist there is because this group right here said everybody is ruined.
There’s no repentance possible.
Only thing we can do is separate go out into the wilderness, escape everybody else, and then we can live a pure life.
And finally, God will lift us back up so that Israel will be redeemed.
So you have people here.
That are we’re going to lean into the power structure.
You have people here that are we’re going to escape the power structure.
And the Pharisees are kind of in the middle.
The Pharisees are convinced the reason that Israel is no longer powerful, the reason that Israel is subjugated is because the people of Israel were not following the law properly.
And they specifically meant by that 613, what would be known as mitzvah laws, commands righteous acts that you were supposed to follow, and they were saying if we can get the people of Israel to follow the law perfectly, then God is going to lift Israel back up.
And we will again be the powerful people that we were supposed to be.
Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night.
And he says the following, he says.
Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God for no one can perform the signs you were doing.
If God were not with him and Jesus answers him in a way that seems to not actually answer his question, Jesus says the following.
He says this very truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God.
Unless they are born again.
Nicodemus comes and says you’re doing great things, and no one can do that without God being with him, but his whole background is 1. He’s a part of a group that’s saying if we want to be lifted back up by God again, we have to make sure that we follow all 613 laws. We have to make sure that everyone does it. There’s an old story.
About Pharisees, this is probably apocryphal, but the story is that their foreheads were constantly bruised because they were so convinced that they would be tempted if a woman walked past them.
Because women are evil, that is me saying that in quotes, OK.
OK, I’m not actually saying that.
I guess I did actually say that, but I’m saying it in quotes, that they were worried they would be tempted that they had constant bumps on their foreheads.
Because if a woman walked by them, they would turn this head, turn their head this way or away from the woman, and would walk into things nonstop.
They were concerned with purity.
Over and over.
Again, that’s what Nicodemus is coming out of.
And he sees Jesus and says this man is doing the things of God.
I have to go talk to him.
And Jesus understands affairs.
He’s talking to me at the end of the day.
What they’re concerned with is what do we have to do for Israel to be lifted up again?
Nicodemus takes Jesus too literal in one way.
He he does this wonderful statement where he says how in the world can a man.
Be born again.
How how does a person get back up into the womb and and those of you who’ve given birth before?
We’re probably like I am very thankful that is not possible.
That would be very painful, that would not be.
But what I think happens so often is while Nicodemus took Jesus physically, literally too much.
We don’t take.
Jesus, literally enough when it comes to life.
His answer literally was.
You need a new birth.
And I think so often when we hear new birth, we think new as in going back and doing a second try, we think new as in restoration.
But when Jesus talks about new, he’s talking about transformation.
It is a different way of life.
The poet that we watched at the beginning used a phrase that comes from Scripture where it is people turning the world upside down.
When we sang the Ren collective song, which is I forgot the name of it.
Build your Kingdom here.
There’s one phrase that is change the atmosphere.
What you think about that for just a SEC.
What would happen to us if the atmosphere in this room was changed?
We can’t exist it.
We have been created to live in a certain atmospheric condition, to be able to live in a different atmospheric condition.
We either have to somehow bring our atmosphere with us or entire system would have to be changed.
Jesus is talking about a new birth where he’s saying.
You’re being born.
Into a new set of values, because what happens again and again is we just want to take the values that are around us and make them religious rather than looking for a different set of values.
We are in the midst of Lent.
A few weeks ago, we saw people walking around with ash in their forehead.
Matter of fact, if Sarah Reeve is watching this today, I had the photo showed with me.
I was going to put in the slide show and I didn’t.
But Sarah Reeve sent Pam a photo this week that said if you remember the statement from Lent is, remember thou art dust and to dust you shall return.
And she sent us a photo of a sign that says, remember thou art dust, and to dust you shall return.
Therefore, I do not dust.
Oh, I I didn’t catch the last.
I did not catch that the last part was because it might be someone I know that makes it even funnier.
See, I only get half the joke and I still thought it was funny.
Lint is supposed to remind us that all the systems that are telling us this is what you should value.
And the reality is, followers of Jesus so often we do not look for upside down values.
Instead we take the values of the world.
And we just try to make them religious.
If you think about it, you’ll think of lots of examples.
I think Lindsey did an example up here, not in a bad way, Lindsey said.
We’re not trying to say that Aaron Stomp.
There we go.
Aaron Strempel is wiser than than Martin Luther.
Because the value of this world is is that you, if you have charisma, if you have great learning, if you are a great speaker, then you probably have wisdom.
But there’s no no actual connection that you will have great wisdom just because you’re a great speaker.
If you look at the history of Martin Luther, he was.
Is a jerk that God used.
I’m convinced that Paul was probably a jerk also, and God used Paul because he was able to use that ability to accomplish his will, but it doesn’t mean that somehow Martin Luther is holier than you or I.
It means Martin Luther had the right talents at that time for God to be able to use that kind of needed a jerk.
For the Reformation to happen.
Now, that may sound a little weird until you start thinking we have a story of Jesus watching everyone give their offerings at the temple and he says that one specific person does it right.
Anybody know who it was?
As a widow who threw 2 little small coins in, we call it the widow’s mite. Jesus literally says everyone else is giving a lot.
She gave next to nothing and that is the greatest gift that happened today.
It’s not the only example.
All of Scripture is again and again the values being turned over.
The first will be.
And the last will be.
But even when we know that we struggle when the songs we said today was that our weakness would be made strong.
But if you look at Scripture, what it says instead is that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness.
It’s not that weakness has somehow changed into strength, but literally when God displays his strength, it is weakness.
You look at Scripture again, Jesus is glorified not when he is lifted up at the end.
His glorification literally is when he is.
On the cross.
When our God is calling out my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
He is in the midst of his glorification.
His coronation is king.
The values of the Kingdom are the exact opposite.
And we have to be challenged from that, Thoreau.
Who I don’t normally quote, but I think it fits, said the following.
He said never use a clicker was that?
You or me?
OK, alright, he said.
I went into the woods because I wished to live deliberately to front only the essential facts of life and to see if I.
Could not learn.
What it had to teach, and not when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Now I have real problems with rowing some things, but what I liked is he understood that where he lived.
Influenced who he was.
I want to be this person.
I need to escape this spot and go and live in this spot.
And when we try to make the world’s values religious, when we try to say we’re going to reach more people if we’re more popular.
We’re going to reach more people if we have a larger system.
We are influenced by those values.
To follow a false gospel.
And it is.
All around us and it, I mean today for me.
One of the things I love the size of tapestry, but we had like three weeks in a row where we were bursting at the seams.
Bursting at the for us, OK?
We were back close to what we were pandemic wise. We had 41 people here. Yes, last week. That’s huge for us. We ran out of bulletins for the first time in a long time.
And I love you.
Got you were my friends, and I was upset when there weren’t as many people here today.
And some of us, my pride, because my son and my daughter-in-law are here today, and I want you to. I want them.
To see it like we’re back.
Higher numbers are not a.
Value of the Kingdom of God.
There is nothing more holy about large church attendance, but we buy in that lie all into that lie all the time.
You will hear in church healthy things grow, which is pure baloney.
Healthy things mature.
If you continue to grow, it’s called giantism and it’s not a good thing.
And this morning, rather than going father, I am so thankful.
For these constant reminders of the image of God that I am surrounded with.
I was going.
Why are we low today?
Because I live in the wrong values.
My Kingdom is not of this world.
If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders, but now my Kingdom is from another place, he says this in challenge to someone saying I have power over you.
My kingdom’s not here and.
That doesn’t mean it’s just blandly.
Spiritual he’s saying I literally live in a different system.
Where what is good and what is bad are different things than what you value.
And yet so often as believers in Jesus Christ, we claim the values of the world, we just try to make them religious.
We are influenced by where we live.
Paul says do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will.
And when we come to lent, we are not only recognizing that we are dust.
We are not only recognizing that we have.
Then, but we are recognizing that the world we live in, the world we are constantly influenced by the world that says what is good and what is bad is dust also.
And we have to come to him and say change us now.
The new birth is not about a new start.
It’s not about a maybe this time I will be able to correct it.
It is enter an entirely different world.
The atmosphere has changed and for that to happen you have to be a new creation with new lungs that can can take up nourishment from this other stuff that is viewed as poisonous and is weak.
Nietzsche’s problem with Christianity was that he saw it for what it really was, and he says it makes humanity.
Weak and Jesus’s answer is yes, because my strength is made perfect in weakness.
So when we come to lent, we not only recognize our own sin, but we recognize the failure of the values around us, and we beg for a new birth.
So before I suggest what I think we can do with this, does anybody have?
Anything to add?
00:25:20 Speaker 2
So how do you live in a new world?
Not through our own effort.
Jesus describes it literally as a new birth.
What did you do to get born?
Not diddly squat.
You sat in your mother’s womb. At least I’m assuming we all came out of a womb you sat.
In your mother’s womb.
For nine months.
Maybe a little more if you were late, maybe a little less if you were early.
I think we have to constantly come back and.
Well, in the back table we have a sticker from from Dietrich Bonhoeffer that’s there every week.
It says, Lord, I do not understand your ways.
But I know you are the way for me.
I think Lent gives us the chance to come back and say.
What is dust all around me?
And how is it influencing me?
Jesus, I do not understand your ways.
But I know you are the way for me.
And that may be destructive, but it’s always destructive.
That leads to construction.
It is deconstructing around us.
That we might live in the Kingdom of God.
So this week.
Recognize you live in a dusty place.
So if you will join with me and singing.
00:26:56 Speaker 2
The closing prayer.
00:27:00 Speaker 2
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
00:27:08 Speaker 2
00:27:10 Speaker 2
All creatures here be low.
00:27:16 Speaker 2
Praise him up all of Ye heavenly host, praise Father, son and Holy Ghost homily.
You live in a dusty world.
I live in a dusty world.
Remember you art dust, thou art dust.
But we have a God who breathes life into dust.
Have a great week.
Thank you for joining us on video.