A Man in the Night
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A Man in the Night

John 3:1–15  (ID: 2967)

Nicodemus was a good, religious man—but when he came to Jesus at night, his questions showed how little he really understood about the kingdom of God. In this message from John 3, Alistair Begg reminds us that because the real darkness in every life is the darkness of sin, everyone must be radically transformed in order to enter the kingdom. An interest in religious things, even if sincere, is not enough. We must be transformed through an encounter with the living Christ.

Series Containing This Sermon

An Extraordinary Encounter

Selected Scriptures Series ID: 27001

Sermon Transcript: Print

John 3:1:

“Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you[’re] a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can a man be born when he[’s] old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again.” The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’

“Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ Jesus answered him, ‘Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.’”


A brief prayer:

Father, what we know not, teach us. What we have not, give us. What we are not, make us. For your Son’s sake. Amen.

Well, in the seventeenth verse, which we didn’t go on to read, we have the words “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Calvin writes, “There is nothing in the world deserving of God’s favour[.] He nevertheless shows he is favourable to the whole [lost] world when He calls all without exception to … faith [in] Christ, which is … entry into life.”[1]

When, in Mark chapter 2, the people grumble concerning Jesus going to the home of Levi, who was a newly professed follower of Jesus but a tax collector nevertheless, and the religious establishment said, “This is ridiculous; what is he going into the house of someone like this for?” and Jesus says, “I didn’t come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”[2] And when we read the Gospel records, as we’re going to spend our mornings doing, we realize, as my good friend Sinclair Ferguson says, “The pulse beat of God’s heart has an evangelistic rhythm.”[3] I think that’s a wonderful sentence: “The pulse beat of God’s heart has an evangelistic rhythm.”

And yesterday morning we encountered a man who was brought by his friends on a bed to meet Jesus, and tomorrow morning we will look at a religious nobody who, in the middle of the day, met Jesus. And this morning we are considering a religious somebody who came under the cover of darkness in order to meet Jesus.

Now, my purpose in these studies is largely twofold: one, in order that some who as yet do not believe in Jesus may come actually to believe in him, to discover him not simply to be a figure in history, somebody who is remote to them, but a friend and a Savior; and at the same time to enable those of us who profess to follow Jesus to understand how Jesus dealt with people and how we in turn may be better enabled to live out our Christian lives in the context of our day. So, with that as introduction, we look at familiar words: Jesus and his encounter with this man.

John sets it up, “Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.” That gives us all the credentials that we need. John, at the end of his Gospel, says, you will remember, that there were many signs that Jesus did—that, he said, it would take more volumes than the Gospel of John to contain them all. But he said, “These things have been included in this Gospel as signs, in order that you might believe, and that by believing you might have life in his name.”[4] And if you read the Gospel of John with that as a framework, you will be greatly helped: evidence, belief, and life. John is constantly moving in that direction. Jesus, the events and his words giving evidence of who he is and why he’s come, calling men and women to believe and, in believing, to discover life in his name—a life that is necessary and a life that is truly life.[5]

At the end of chapter 2, if your Bible is open—and I hope it is, because if I were you, I’d be checking to see if what I’m saying is actually in the Bible. I never understand people just simply staring into space. Maybe it’s because you can’t read. But if you can read—if you can read—then you should have a Bible, and you should be paying attention to it. That’s just a word of exhortation.

But at the end of chapter 2, John has described some who believed in Jesus. In fact, it says that “when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs … he was doing.” So there was a kind of superficial belief that was culled out on the strength of the evidence that Jesus had been providing. “But,” says John, “Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.”[6] And therefore, when this religious man appears under cover of darkness, Jesus knows what is in him.

The Opening Gambit

Now, Nicodemus has presumably seen enough and heard enough of Jesus to recognize that, as he describes him, he is “a teacher come from God.” That’s his opening gambit. In fact, in my notes, I just simply wrote down “The Opening Gambit.” For those of you who are chess players, Nicodemus makes the first move—Pawn to King 4, let’s say, or pawn to his bishop, whatever you want. His opening gambit: “Rabbi, we know that you’re a teacher come from God, and here’s how we know: because no one could be doing these signs that you’re doing unless God is with him.” Well, that’s pretty good, but it’s a far cry from proclaiming that Jesus is the Promised One. The signs are sufficient to begin the conversation.

We might wonder: By what mysterious constraint did Nicodemus find his way to Jesus in the night? And what are the factors behind his arrival, about which we know nothing? Are we to assume, as most of our Bible teachers have taught us through the years, that he “came to Jesus by night” for fear of being associated with him, for fear of what his friends and his colleagues might say? There would be no surprise in that. But we know that he came. Says Edersheim, in his wonderful work on Jesus,

It must have been a mighty power of conviction, to break down prejudice so far as to lead this old [Sanhedrinist] to acknowledge a Galilean, untrained in the Schools, as a Teacher come from God, and to repair to Him for direction on, perhaps, the most delicate and important point in Jewish theology.[7]

What is it that gets a fellow like this, with all of his training, out of his bed—or before he goes to bed—to encounter this Galilean carpenter who is saying these amazing things and giving evidence of it by his signs? And so he “came to Jesus by night and said to him…” Therefore, presumably, it was dark. But the real darkness was a moral darkness, the real darkness a spiritual darkness. His own night was blacker than the night in which he came. And Jesus knew.

Even upright, sincere, religious individuals are, by nature, without hope and without God in the world—devoid of spiritual life, born in transgression, unable to rectify their predicament, and without hope.

Now, let’s just pause there for a moment and acknowledge something that I think is vitally important. Because every so often, people will seek us out as well. Now, they may come to us because they’ve seen evidence of your life as you have been a good soldier in the cause of your office or in the fulfillment of your tasks in the workaday place. And they come to you, and they are nice people; they may even be religious people, respectful people, interested people, questions-about-the-Bible kind of people. And if we’re not careful, all of these external factors may seduce us into buying the contemporary lie, which is that anybody who has any remote interest in these things at all must somehow or another be, really, a follower, a believer, of Jesus—not just our kind but, you know, one of the other kind. No. No, not for a moment.

What this is making perfectly plain is that even upright, sincere, religious individuals are, by nature, without hope and without God in the world[8]—that the description in Ephesians 2 is a description of both the religious and the irreligious without God: devoid of spiritual life, born in transgression, unable to rectify their predicament, and without hope. In other words, such an individual is not in need of information but is in need of regeneration. Such an individual is not in need of renovation but rather of transformation, a radical change, a spiritual conversion—something so unbelievably transformative that the best analogy that one can come up with is the analogy of physical birth and all that is contained and entertained in that amazing miracle that happens all the time.

The opening gambit: “Rabbi, it’s pretty obvious you’re a teacher sent from God. Nobody would be doing the signs that you’re doing if God were not with him.”

A Striking Response

Well, we move from “An Opening Gambit” to “A Striking Response.” “A Striking Response.”

Whatever expectation Nicodemus shared with his friends and colleagues about the kingdom of God—and as a good Jew, he was very focused on the kingdom of God—surely this really knocked him back just a little bit. Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly”—or, in the King James Version, “Verily, verily, I say [to you],” although I do remind you that Jesus was not using the King James Version at that time, although I know some of you believe he was. But that’s just… You’re the same people that pronounce tryst as “trist.” And so… But I will try to pronounce tryst as “trist” in the future. Anyway, Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” All right?

So, in the Jewish mind, the kingdom of God was all going to come together at the end of the age. And at the end of the age, entry into the kingdom would be guaranteed to every good Jew. Jesus is not talking now about a kingdom that is out there at the end of the age. He’s talking about the present reality of the kingdom. Remember in Mark’s Gospel, Mark has opened his Gospel with the words of Jesus: “The time is [now] fulfilled, … the kingdom of God is at hand,” or is at near; “repent and believe [the good news].”[9] John, in a very similar way, in this incident is driving home the same reality, and that this entry into this kingdom is possible only as a result of being “born again” or “born from above.”

Well, verse 4 tells us that Nicodemus responds in a quite surprising way, actually: “How can a man be born when he[’s] old?” It’s a strange question for such an intelligent man. He knows you can’t be born when you’re old. “Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” No, of course he can’t! I wonder, really, why he’s asking it in this way. Is he simply saying that he can’t see how, given his age and stage, it’s not possible for him to turn over a new leaf? That there’s no possibility for him now? He’d missed the boat, as it were, like Winston Churchill speaking with Billy Graham years ago, when Billy Graham met with Churchill. Churchill died in ’65, so it had to be before that. And as Billy Graham sat with Churchill and spoke to him of the kingdom of God and what it meant to be born again, Winston Churchill said to him, “It’s too late for me now, Dr. Graham. It’s too late for me.” Was that what Nicodemus is saying here? He’s too clever to think for a moment that Jesus is suggesting some form of physical reconfiguration.

Jesus comes back to it: “Verily, verily…” “Truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, … that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said [this] to you…” Look at that, verse 7: “You shouldn’t be surprised that I said this. You shouldn’t be surprised.” But verse 10, Jesus is saying, “I actually am surprised. I’m surprised. Are you the teacher of Israel, and yet you don’t understand these things? You shouldn’t be asking questions like this. You shouldn’t be marveling. But I’m marveling, that you’ve come here under cover of darkness, knowing all that you know about the Old Testament, and you’re here asking me these questions in the darkness of the night?”

Now, you see, we have the benefit of being able to read this encounter in light of what John has already said in his prologue. And what has he said in his prologue? We have to turn back a page in your Bible, and you will see. And there he says, “He came to his own”—1:11—“and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” You say, “Well, this is quite interesting, isn’t it, that Jesus would chide this man Nicodemus, and chide him as he does as the teacher of Israel?” And legitimately so. Because he hasn’t put the pieces together. He hasn’t put the pieces of the puzzle together.

What pieces of the puzzle? Well, you can turn here, if you’re still with me, to Ezekiel 36:25–27. God’s word through his prophet:

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

Now, Nicodemus would have known these words from Ezekiel. He would have known the words of the psalmist, the psalmist’s prayer in Psalm 51: “Create in me a clean heart, … and renew a right spirit within me.”[10]

You see, what Jesus is doing is this: that the prophesied cleansing of the Old Testament and the renewing of heart by the Spirit is that to which Jesus refers as the basis of entry into the kingdom. In other words, it is the work of God’s Spirit. So don’t stumble over what he’s saying here about “water and the Spirit.” I think it’s fairly straightforward: the experience of cleansing from the old life, symbolized by water, and the regenerating power of the Spirit, symbolized by wind, are the pictures that Jesus is employing in pointing out to Nicodemus the absolute necessity of being changed by God.

Now, here we are this morning, and we can see already, if we can look out of the window, the evidences of the wind, because the trees are moving. But where in the world did this wind come from? Where did it start from? It’s hard to find, isn’t it? We don’t understand how the wind whips up from virtually nowhere. I was playing golf in Nebraska this time last week, and it was perfectly fine, and then, all of a sudden, somebody says, “Goodness, where did that wind come from?” It’s mysterious, actually! That’s the picture. We don’t understand how the wind whips up.

The hymn writers usually help us:

I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing [men] of sin,
Revealing Jesus through the Word,
Creating faith in him.

You preach the same sermon. The people are there. Ninety percent of them all look at you like cows looking over a wall, and there’s some poor soul who’s there, and he gets it. He gets it! Or she gets it! How did she get it? And how come the person next to her didn’t? I don’t know.

I know not how this saving faith
To me he did impart,
[Or] how believing in his Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

But I know whom I have believed.[11]

And I’m convinced that he will “keep that which I[’ve] committed [to] him” and which he has committed to me “against that day.”[12]

This, you see, is at the very heart of this. We’re talking, actually, about conversion. We’re talking about being saved. We’re not talking about encouraging people to have a kind of superficial interest in the existence of somebody called Jesus of Nazareth. We’re talking about a radical, God-ordained, eye-opening, heart-changing encounter with Jesus. That’s what we’re on about. And if we have started to become sufficiently satisfied with the vaguest of interests on the part of our friends and our cronies, then we have moved away from what the Gospels teach and have begun to create some kind of gospel of our own.

In 1952, when James S. Stewart addressed the folks at Yale Divinity School—he was then a minister in Edinburgh, but they brought him to Yale—and as he addressed them, he spoke on that occasion about what he referred to as a “theologically vague and harmlessly accommodating” Christianity, which he said was absolutely useless.[13] “Theologically vague and harmlessly accommodating.” If the cap fits, wear it, and bemoan where we are.

You see, it’s not enough for us simply to lay out Jesus on the smorgasbord of religious options. We do not have that option, because of who Jesus is and because of what he’s done. It’s not pride on the part of the Christian to say that Jesus is the only way. It is logic on the part of the Christian. There is no one else who can save, because no one else is qualified to save. Therefore, he has every right to say to a religious Jew like this, “I’m surprised that you, as a religious leader, you have not put the pieces of the puzzle together.”

And so he goes on to say to him, “Listen, if you don’t get what I’m telling you about how to enter the kingdom down here, how are you ever going to grasp the ideas that are related to the consummation of the kingdom?” I think that’s… It’s the best I can do with verse 12. It’s a hard verse. “If I[’ve] told you earthly things and you do[n’t] believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” That’s the best I can do with it. He says, “You know, if I’m telling you the way of entry into the kingdom now, and you don’t get the way of entry into the kingdom now, there’s really no point in me telling you about what it’s going to mean when the kingdom is consummated and the reality of a new heaven and of a new earth.”

It’s not pride on the part of the Christian to say that Jesus is the only way. It is logic on the part of the Christian. There is no one else who can save, because no one else is qualified to save.

So, he makes clear the absolute necessity of the new birth. He makes clear, for Nicodemus, the supreme tragedy of Jewish unbelief. The supreme tragedy of Jewish unbelief. “Still,” he says. “And still you do not understand these things. You do not receive the testimony. You do not believe.”

When Paul writes in 2 Corinthians, remember, he says so poignantly, “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” Are we? “Not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened.” Listen to this: “For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away.”[14] Do you believe that? That our devoutly committed Jewish, religious friends begin and end their day with the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord [y]our God, the Lord is one,”[15] and they say it to their children, and they talk about it when they walk along the road and when they lie down and when they get up;[16] and every time they do, there is a veil over their eyes that prevents them, and only in Jesus is the veil taken away. And here is the religious leader, confronted by Jesus himself: “Rabbi, rabbi, teacher: teach me!”

The absolute necessity of new birth, the supreme tragedy of Jewish unbelief, and the complete sufficiency of Christ’s death. The complete sufficiency of Christ’s death. You see, Jesus is actually preaching the gospel to him, isn’t he? That’s what he’s doing. Jesus is preaching the gospel from the Old Testament. “No one has ascended into heaven,” he says “except [the one] who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.” Here we go again: “the Son of Man.” That should ring a bell for him. “‘The Son of Man’? You mean Daniel 7 ‘Son of Man’?”[17] “That’s exactly what I mean!” “Ah!”

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” There’s another bell! There’s another bell! Jesus is not choosing things arbitrarily. He’s not just chucking big bits of the Bible at him. No, he’s ringing his bell for him. He’s saying, “Come on, now. You know the Torah. You’re the leader of Israel, for goodness’ sake.”

And what is he reminding of him of? Well, he’s reminding him of the scene that’s recorded in Numbers chapter 21, which you’ll find if you look for it—in your Bible, which, of course, you don’t have with you, but you will tomorrow, for sure. And in Numbers chapter 21, the people said,

“Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? … There[’s] no food[, there’s] no water ….” [God] sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many [of the] people of Israel died.

God did that! God does things like that, because he cares so much!

And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned.”

Ah, now there you go!

“For we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

And what did the Lord say?

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.[18]

They had grumbled, and they’d complained. A plague of poisonous snakes were sent to bring death to many of them as a judgment upon their sin. The bronze snake on the pole was the means God used to give new physical life to those who believed God’s promise and looked to the serpent. That’s the old song: “Look and live.” “Look and live.”

People say, “Well, don’t I have to do something?”

“No, look!”

“Well, shall I try and rub my spots, or shall I try and squeeze the serpents? What should I do?”

“Just look!”

“Oh, it can’t be so straightforward as that, can it? You mean just, like, look?”

“Yes! Just look!”

It’s what our friends say to us all the time: “It can’t be like that, can it? You’re not possibly telling me that all I have to do is believe?”

Yes, that’s exactly right! Believe! The people who were cleansed believed. The others sat around saying, “It can’t be that straightforward.” And they died.

And so, in a similar fashion, Jesus knows that he is going to be “lifted up” and that all who look to him will become the recipients of spiritual life. That’s what we’re saying to our friends: “Look to Christ. Look to him! He’s the Savior. Look, and you’ll live!”

Let me finish there. Because if Jesus is driving home, as I suggest to you, the absolute necessity of new birth, and the supreme tragedy of Jewish unbelief and all our unbelief, and the complete sufficiency of his death for sin, then he is also driving home the personal responsibility of each one to believe in Jesus—the personal responsibility of each one to believe in Jesus, so “that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” So “whoever believes in him may have eternal life.”

People were not saved back in Numbers 21 on account of their being in proximity of the pole. “Well, I’m sure… I like to live around the pole. It makes me feel a little secure, you know. It’s nice. I like to hear the sound of the bell ringing. It’s nice to have a little church in your life,” that kind of thing. No, they weren’t saved because they knew of the existence of the pole but only when they rested all their hopes upon that which was promised to those who looked. That’s why Calvin is so good when he says in his Institutes, around book 3, all that Christ has done for us is of no value to us so long as we remain outside of Christ.[19] A mere knowledge of these things is of no value at all.

I take a chair, and I bring it over. (I use it as an illustration. I can’t; I’m tethered to this just now.) And I bring the chair over, and I say, “Well, do you believe the chair will hold you up?”

“Well, of course,” they say, “we do.”

I say, “Well, would you sit in it?”

They say, “Well, maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t.”

“Well,” I said, “do you believe that Jesus is your only Savior?”

“I guess I do.”

“Well, have you ever entrusted your life to him?”

“No, I don’t think I really have.”

“Well then, I don’t think you believe at all.”

Because, you see, intellectual assent needs to be combined with volition. It needs to be combined with action. And that’s, again, what we need to be saying to our friends. That’s what Jesus is saying to this religious man: “You know all this stuff, and yet you’re missing it. Wouldn’t you believe?” So “that whoever believes [will] have eternal life.”

A Message for Everyone Who Believes

Let’s make it clear for us, as we stop, that the message is for everyone who believes. Salvation is not given until the gospel, the message of Christ dying in the place of the sinner, is believed: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe[s] in him [may] not perish, but have [eternal] life.”[20] God loves men and women so much that he will pursue them with his love in order to bring them to repentance and faith. Says Iain Murray, persuading men and women of God’s love is the great calling of the Christian ministry. Augustine referred to the cross as the pulpit from which God preaches his love for the world.

We began by quoting Sinclair: that “the heart of God beats with an evangelistic rhythm.” We then end with the question “Does my heart pulse with an evangelistic rhythm?”

God loves men and women so much that he will pursue them with his love in order to bring them to repentance and faith.

“The work of conversion,” said Richard Baxter, in his day,

is the first and great[est] thing we must drive at; after this we must [work] with all our might. [This] misery of the unconverted is so great, that it calleth loudest … for [our] compassion. … I confess, I am frequently forced to neglect that which [would lead] to the further increase of knowledge in the godly, because of the lamentable necessity of the unconverted. Who is able to talk of controversies, or of nice unnecessary points, … while he see[s] a company of ignorant, … miserable sinners before his eyes …?[21]

Who is able to talk like that?

Loved ones, it’s not unkind to say evangelical Christianity in contemporary America is well able to talk like that. So our response should be in part: redirect us to go back to our friends, whether they are religious people coming under the cover of darkness or—as tomorrow morning, if anybody shows up—irreligious people stuck in the noonday sun. Will you commit yourself to that? How much time do you have left on earth? Do you remember when you used to sing as a teenager,

Lead me to some soul today,
… Teach me, [God], just what to say;
Friends of mine are lost in sin
And cannot find their way.[22]

Or are you just concerned, are we just concerned, to make America the way we really would like it to be for our grandchildren, and we’ll worry about the unconverted once we get all the “important” things fixed? Nah, I don’t think so. I don’t think you would be here if you felt that way.

Father, thank you for your Word. Thank you for the opportunity to sing of Christ, to make much of him, and to see the consummate skill and grace with which he dealt with this religious man who came to him by night.

We pray for some of our religious friends, people we admire and respect but who as yet have never bowed their knee to Christ, to his lordship. We pray for them as they come to mind—some of our Jewish friends, Lord, whom we really, really like and respect. And we pray that the veil might be taken from their eyes.

Lord, we recognize that only you can soften hard hearts and only you can open blind eyes, but that in the mystery of your providence, you’ve given us the responsibility and the privilege of doing our part. So help us to do it well.

And may these mornings and afternoons and the leisure time around here provide occasion for us to redirect our own praying and to stir us afresh to think about what it means to live unreservedly for you. For we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

[1] John Calvin, The Gospel According to St John 1–10, trans. T. H. L. Parker, ed. David W. Torrance and Thomas F. Torrance, Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961), 74.

[2] Mark 2:16–17 (paraphrased).

[3] Sinclair B. Ferguson, Man Overboard: The Story of Jonah (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale, 1982), 10.

[4] John 20:31 (paraphrased).

[5] See 1 Timothy 6:19.

[6] John 2:23–25 (ESV).

[7] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1883), 1:381.

[8] See Ephesians 2:12.

[9] Mark 1:15 (ESV).

[10] Psalm 51:10 (ESV).

[11] Daniel Webster Whittle, “I Know Not Why God’s Wondrous Grace” (1883).

[12] 2 Timothy 1:12 (KJV).

[13] James S. Stewart, A Faith to Proclaim (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1953), 16.

[14] 2 Corinthians 3:12–14 (ESV).

[15] Deuteronomy 6:4 (ESV).

[16] See Deuteronomy 6:7.

[17] See Daniel 7:13.

[18] Numbers 21:5–9 (ESV).

[19] John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3.1.1.

[20] John 3:16 (KJV).

[21] Richard Baxter, ed. William Brown, The Reformed Pastor (1656; repr., Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2012), 94–95.

[22] Wendell P. Loveless, “Lead Me to Some Soul Today” (1936).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.