The Gospel Sync | #27 | John 3:1–21
Welcome Back! Today, we’ll be discussing the Gospel of John to see how Jesus addressed those who are curious but not yet ready to repent and believe.
So let’s dive in.
(Click here to get a copy of the Gospel Sync document)
The Gospel – John 3:1–21
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. Because no one could do the signs You are doing if God weren’t with him.” Jesus replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time to be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit is born of the Spirit. Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus asked. “How can this be?” Jesus answered “You are Israel’s teacher, and you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, and yet you people do not accept our testimony. If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended 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, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who 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. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come into the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever practices the truth comes into the Light, so that it may be seen clearly that what he has done has been accomplished in God.”
When we are training folks on how to share the gospel, we talk about three responses to the truth; Red, Yellow, and Green Lights (of course there is a fourth, the one who already believes). A Red Light is someone who flat out rejects Christ and His gospel. The second, the Yellow Light, is one who is curious but not yet ready to receive Christ. And the last is the Green Light, one who is ready and willing to repent and believe. Today we are talking about how Jesus handled a Yellow Light, namely, Nicodemus.
There are several indicators that Nicodemus was a Yellow Light;
- He was afraid and came to Jesus secretly at night
- He’s asking questions
- He’s only thinking on a physical plain, not a spiritual one
- He doesn’t understand spiritual truth (which can only be revealed by God)
- He doesn’t believe yet (Jesus said of him, “you people do not accept our testimony”)
- He is not yet born again by the Spirit
So what do you do with a Yellow Light? What did Jesus do? He continued the conversation by sharing spiritual truth. And Jesus didn’t make it easy on Nicodemus. Jesus used a couple of mysterious spiritual metaphors to communicate. This will reveal what God is doing in someone’s life. We know that spiritual hunger is created by the Father drawing someone to Himself and His Son. This is the only way a person can understand, repent, and believe.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44)
So this should take a lot of weight off our shoulders. Salvation is the responsibility of God and the person hearing the message. Jesus kept giving spiritual truth as long as Nicodemus would receive it. He kept the dialog going. Although Nicodemus became an ally, (John 7.50-51, 19.39) we don’t really know if he ever repented and believed. Tradition has it that he did.
When I encounter a Yellow Light I begin to introduce them to Jesus by sharing a set of stories called “The Stories of Hope.” When my respiratory therapist began coming to our house twice a month, I shared the gospel with him. He wasn’t ready to repent and believe yet so the next time he came I shared the story of Zaccheaus with him. Each story highlights an interaction with Jesus that leads to repentance and belief. But the punchline of each story is how Jesus responds to their faith. In every story, although in a slightly different way, Jesus makes a proclamation that this individual is now right with God.
I worked my way through all seven stories with Respiratory Rick, as we like to call him. Although he didn’t respond in faith, I believe he has a clear idea of who Jesus is and what He wants Rick to do. I kept the discussion going, giving more information about Jesus and His gospel. I treated him as a Yellow Light until he turned Red. I’m still praying for Rick and hoping one day he will come into the kingdom.
Here’s a couple of helpful tools;
7 Stories of Hope – Click here…
The Tax Collector – Luke 19:1-10
The Sinner’s Prayer – Luke 18:9-14
Repentant Woman – Luke 7:36-50
The Prodigal Son – Luke 15.11-24
The Woman at the Well – John 4:4-29
The Big Fisherman – Luke 5:1-11
The Thief on the Cross – Luke 23:33-43
Traffic Light Responses to the Gospel (made by Merari)
Our Action Plan
What is your plan for helping Yellow Lights make an informed decision to repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ? Here’s some suggestions on how to prepare yourself and others;
- Read through the Gospels and Acts and identify the Yellow Lights and how the messenger dealt with them
- Practice going through the Stories of Hope with someone to get the hang of leading a “Yellow Light Discussion”
- Keep sharing the gospel and look for the three responses
A big part of disciple making is to be trained and train others. That’s what Jesus did with His twelve, He made them fishers of people. Make sure you stay on the cutting edge of the mission and know how to train others to do the same.