Rev. Dr. Holmes Williams Message: 844
Rev. Dr. Holmes Williams
Text: “There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night…” (John 3: 1-2.)
Night brings our souls into sharp focus. Almost everyone feels funny about climbing into bed without saying their prayers. Night has a way of reminding us about eternity. A man’s problems become a little heavier at night. They did with Nicodemus. He felt that he had to find out something once and for all. He had tried religion. He needed something more. While others sought the bright lights, he went straight to Jesus. Nicodemus had made up his mind that he would not sleep that night until he had talked personally with Christ. He must find out once and for all whether or not a man may have peace with God.
SOMETHING WAS BOTHERING NICODEMUS. I believe it is the same thing that bothers all of us. First, the peril of a sinful nature. My problem can’t be washed away as Governor Pontius Pilate tried to wash his away in a basin of water. A deadly infection flows in my very blood stream. My father’s sins are my sins and grandfather’s sins are the sins of my father. The fact is so plain and positive that human reason can never set it aside. The words of David written in the Bible are true: “Behold” he said, “I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Paul wrote the same thing in the New Testament—“among whom also we all had our conversation in times past” he says, “in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” I belong to a sinful race. Romans 5:12 tells us a fact:
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”
That’s the first thing that bothered Nicodemus that night.
Second, HE FACED THE PERIL OF A CARNAL MIND. Not only his nature was wrong, but his thoughts were wrong. The Bible says: “… the carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; so then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” The Bible says that before the Flood, “God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Psalm 53: 2-3 tells us how rotten ripe mankind had become before the Flood:
“Everyone of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no not one.”
Nicodemus must have felt that some of that dirt and filth had rubbed off on his own soul and mind. But that is not the only thing he felt. He felt—
Third, THE PERIL OF A WICKED HEART. He knew that Jeremiah, the prophet, was right when he wrote: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” Jesus said that:
“Out of man’s heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies and blasphemies”.
And fourth, Nicodemus must have realized THE PERIL OF SINFUL CONDUCT. God says we have not done the right thing and God is the One who brings in the verdict. There is no appeal to His decision. The decision of the Judge of all the earth is final. God says:
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way “
“We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags, and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
“There is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.”
God’s Word and man’s conscience warn that every one of us must meet our sinful deeds in judgment and give a personal account of them to God.
There is only one place for a man troubled like that to go, and that is to go to Jesus. That’s where Nicodemus went.
WHY DID HE GO TO JESUS?
The answer will always be the same: “to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.” That’s why? ONLY JESUS HAS THE ANSWER.
Jesus said: ‘The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost”. Romans 5:6 says: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Jesus came to satisfy my need. He said: “I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh unto me shall never hunger: and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” He came to lift us up and to save us from every evil thing that would rob and kill. He said: “The thief cometh not but to steal, and to kill, and destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” He came to take away our load of guilt. He said: “Come unto Me, all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
There burns in His heart a love and a longing for the lost. He tasted death for every man. While He was hanging on the cross Jesus prayed for the lost. Jesus, through lips that were bursting and bleeding from the abuse of man, prayed for us: “Father” he said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
Some of Nicodemus’s friends said to Jesus: “Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?” And Jesus replied: “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Nicodemus, the man who afterwards stood up for Jesus in the Council of the Jews, said: “I must see that Man tonight. I must ask Him a question. He has something my soul longs for.”
It is not hard to find Jesus when you really want to. And it isn’t hard to find the answer to all your questions when you come to Jesus. THE ANSWER IS A NEW BIRTH. It’s a complete new start in life—a spiritual rebirth. Nicodemus found the answer that night: YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN. No man of Adam’s race is ever whole until he is born of the Spirit of God. An old, sinful, carnal, God-hating nature must give way to a God-loving, heaven-seeking, righteous-living nature before a human being can have peace in his soul. JESUS CAME TO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE. He came to quicken us by His Spirit. He came to break the sin power of trespasses and guilt in our souls. Out of his own experience Paul declares it to be a fact. He says: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief”. Nicodemus went to the right Man—the only Man who could help him:
When I remembered Calvary
Where Jesus died in agony,
My heart o’erflows with love; for He
Was dying there that day for me.
A guilty, helpless sinner, I
Was for my sin condemned to die;
But through the riches of His grace
I live; for Jesus took my place.
There at the cross my debt was paid
By Him who suffered in my stead:
Who gave His life upon the tree
To pay redemption’s price for me.
In Him I live; shall never die:
No condemnation now have I;
For on the cross of Calvary,
He took my place and made me free!
Nicodemus found that night what he had never been able to find in his Temple ritual. He found the power of living faith. He placed his faith in Jesus.
That faith changed his life. It will change yours. Do the shades of night remind you of a greater darkness to come? Does night wrap itself around your soul? Do you wonder what will happen when the lights go out for good? Have you sought the answers from false gods? Are you tired of the sinful fun that leaves your soul naked and ashamed? Are you desperate in this hour? Does it seem inevitable that you, too, must find the answer for yourself. “Who is this Jesus and what does He really mean to my life?” There is only one way to find out for certain. GO TO HIM NOW! He already knows you are coming and He waits for you.
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