Make no deal with God. Give everything up. The Spirit was sent to give us a new quality of life as we are born again. He knows us as He knew Abraham. Things of this world are chaff. They get blown away. (John 3:1-8; Genesis 18:17-19)
Speaker(s): Thomas Schaller
7:00 PM on 4/19/2023
P. Schaller –
Okay. Would you turn in your Bibles please for our message tonight on John 3. It will be the beginning of our text
here. John 3 with Nicodemus.
A week from this Sunday – not this Sunday but a week from this Sunday is the Franklin Graham
outreach at Timonium in the afternoon at 4:00. We have our service here, but we also have
people that are going to be counselors at that event. We are praying that God will move in the
city and in the lives of people. It’s a marvelous, amazing thing when somebody is born again.
And we see that written here in John 3. So, would you look at that text.
John. 3:102, you know there are people in the world and God is with them. God is with them. God
is with you. God is with a certain percentage of people in the United States. God is with us and
it’s sometimes known or seen by Nicodemus and people like him. He is a teacher. He is a rabbi.
He knows that God is with Jesus. He knows that.
So, he goes to meet him, vs. 3. That “verily, verily” is a phrase meaning for real. I’m not telling
you somebody told me to say this. I’m telling you from God. This is true. This isn’t just an idea.
He said my doctrine does not come from me. It comes from my Father in John. 7:17. He said it’s a
sure thing. It’s a guarantee. It’s in heaven. It’s for sure. vs. 3-4.
This shows you how people can misunderstand us. It shows you we have our thoughts, our
doctrine, our teaching, our way of life but people get it wrong. They don’t understand what we
have. They don’t know about the grace of God. They don’t know the power of God. Jesus said it
in Luke 22 where he said you greatly err because you don’t know the Scripture nor the power of
God. Very good statement, isn’t it. You are really off the mark because you don’t know the
Scripture nor God’s power.
The life that you and I live is because of the Scripture and the power of God, not because of our
strength, our good intentions, our determination, our fast and hard discipline. No, the life we are
living is the result of grace and the Spirit.
Look at vs. 4-5. In the Greek that could be water, even the Spirit. Actually, the way this verse is
read there’s many different ways. We could say the water is the Word of God. We could say the
water is the amniotic fluid. In your first birth, you can come into the world through the water of
the womb in your mother and then you’re born again by the Spirit. That Spirit. The Spirit is also
used as water in our Old Testament and in the New Testament. So, just to make that, – I hope
that helps you to understand.
Jesus is saying you must be born of water, even the Spirit, and if he is not, he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God. So, how does this work? The Holy Spirit is in the world. I was reading,
there was in a 20 year time, there were 10 million Christians in China in a certain – they were
counting and there was a certain time. I don’t remember the date. Twenty years later, there were
50 million. And today, I’ve heard 150 million. How did the Spirit move in China? What happened
in China? How did people become believers in Christ? How did it work? It was the work of God.
God did it. He used people that would sow the seed and pray prayers and meet and assemble
and give advice and counsel and meet in homes and have passion in their hearts. Jesus said it
here in vs. 6. So, we have the flesh and the biological reproduction of people. We have flesh
producing flesh, but then we have the work and the ministry of the Spirit.
When you are born of the Spirit, then the Spirit moves you. The Spirit leads us. We read that on
Sunday in Romans 8:14. Lead by the Spirit in his mind in faith saying prayers by faith. Making
decisions in our hearts about sin. My sin. I think we all know when we become believers, I start
to realize what sin is. I start to think I could have God or I could have my sin. I am drawn to sin
but I’m drawn to God. Why am I drawn to God? The Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us God
awareness and God is holy and the Spirit is holy. So, somebody in China who knows so little
about the Bible but the Spirit is speaking to them. They go outside of their little apartment into the street and they sit and they worship God in the Spirit. They worship God.
They hunger for God. They start to pray. They start to pray, God, I have questions or God I want to meet some
people that know about you. I want to meet Christians. God, who are you? It’s a work of grace
that happens in their hearts. This is the work of the Spirit.
Jesus said it here. He said do not marvel at it in vs. 7. This should not take you by surprise that
you can be in your flesh and be religious but you know as well as I know that I can be religious
or I can be educated or I can be moral, but that’s not the same as believing in God, trusting in
God. God being personal to me. When the Spirit draws us to God, we are drawn to God and to
worship God. And we deny our sin.
We said the other night it’s like a piston, a two-stroke piston and an engine where you know
what sin is and you just agree with God that sin – it’s like one stroke – and the same piston
shoots up and you have the affirmation. You have the fellowship in the Spirit and the Spirit in
you is saying amen. I got rid of that thing. That thing is not controlling me. Christ overcame that
sin. And now I’m living in the Spirit, fellowshipping in the Spirit. Of course. We all know that this
world is spiritual. Of course it is. But people in the flesh, and we see it more and more that are
telling us foolish and stupid things that don’t have any foundation or any roots. It’s called “chaff”
in Psalm 1. The ungodly.
Like if you were to say to somebody that is woke that I believe in this or that and I believe in the
woke ideology, then you ask them, what are the roots of that ideology? Explain it to me. Why do
you believe that way? Explain it to me. Then, they get angry about it. They don’t have a
foundation. They are like chaff. And many other things in this world that don’t have an anchor
because it’s not spiritual. Truth is spiritual. Truth sets us free. Truth liberates us from our sin.
Truth gives us God-consciousness for the Spirit.
And Jesus said don’t be surprised that I’m telling you you must be born again. If you’re not born
again, you’ll never see the kingdom of heaven. You might have some reformation or moral
change, but you’ll not have fellowship with God. You will not have fellowship with God. False
peace. Deceived heart. Arrogance. Religious mindset. Any number of things but you’re not – it
has to be done by God. God saves us. God has to convict us. God has to show that Chinese
person, and to think of millions of them. When the Communist government shuts down
preaching, millions of them for some reason are searching and looking for that which has roots,
Okay. Go to the closing part here, chapter 3:7-8. All of us know this. The wind blows wherever it
wants. Who governs the wind? Who is in control of the wind? How can you tell that revival
would come to China and millions and millions of people would come to Christ? How would we
ever or how could you ever control? How could it happen that the wind would blow in Asbury,
Kentucky. Or when we were there in Budapest and continues here. Where is the Spirit moving?
And what is the Spirit doing in the days we are living? How the Spirit wants to use Franklin
Graham and all of these local churches. The Spirit wants to put it in somebody’s heart to go to
the mission field.
I was thinking of that earlier today how people make no deal with God. You give it all up. You
give up your life. You make no deal with God. There’s no time frame. There’s no deal. There’s
no contract. There’s no deal with God. You give it all up. You give your life. You give your heart.
You give your plans. You give it all up to God. Isn’t that amazing? That’s amazing to think about
that and to have it in your heart. How can you think like that? It’s the Spirit. The Spirit does that.
The Spirit leads you. The Spirit says to you I give it all up. I trust you. And then you live your
everyday life, but behind your everyday life and your money is God. And to think of people that
have money, and they just say my money is not my God. I have money but it’s like God.
I’m giving up all of my life, all of my possessions, all of my money, all of my family, all of my future. I
give it up. I surrender it to you, because I believe you are better at this than I am. That you know
how to live my life better than I know how to live my life. I believe your Holy Spirit is sent into the world so that we would have another kind of life. A life of fruit. A life of understanding. A life of
conviction and persuasion.
Before we close, I want to show you one verse in Ge. 18 I read today and remembered it
vaguely from years ago. I looked it up again, and I liked this sentence. It’s Ge. 18:17-19. He’s
going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. God is going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and as
he goes to do it, he stops. Shouldn’t I tell Abraham what I’m going to do. I’ve had that in my
marriage. I’m going to do something and then I say, I got to tell Lisa, my wife. How could I be
with my wife and not tell my wife what I’m going to do, you know? That idea. Isn’t that cool? My
friend, Abraham. I got to tell Abraham. I’m going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but I got to
This is what he says about Abraham, vs 18. In other words, he’s going to become a great man.
So, shouldn’t I tell him that I’m going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? For I know him. Here it
is. This is the verse I want you to notice. vs. 19. God is saying I know him. What do you know
about him? That “he will command his children and his household after him.” I know him. He’s
going to teach his children. He’s going to command his household. He’s going to tell them about
me. God is saying Abraham is going to tell his children about me and the covenant I made about
me. He’s going to tell his son Isaac and Jacob, his grandson. And I know him. He’s going to
pass it on.
This is what happened to me in reading it. Suddenly I started to feel like I don’t do that. I don’t
tell my children. I don’t tell my grandchildren. I don’t do a good job at it. I’ve got my own religion.
It’s personal. It’s private. I let them decide for themselves. They can do their own thing. They
can live their own life and I’ll be praying for them. But I’m not going to be, I’m not going to be
involved. But the Lord said I know Abraham. He’s going to tell them. He’s going to give it to the
household. He’s going to be involved. He’s going to tell them who I am and what I’m doing. And
that’s challenging for us. I say this because I want to teach you a lesson about processing these
verses. I’ll draw a sketch here.
Here’s a verse, Genesis 18:19 that convicts your heart. And you say maybe I’m not good at that.
Maybe I don’t share my faith. Maybe I don’t invest in other people. Maybe I don’t make the
effort. Maybe I don’t care about people. I don’t care about the lost. Maybe. This is the idea. So,
what do you do with it? You take it before God and it becomes in your heart, – you take it to God
and you say to God, you ask the question. You can do this different ways. There’s different ways
you can do it. As a believer, you can do it different ways, but you can say, Lord, do I do that?
And the Lord is silent. I could say maybe I don’t do that. But I would like to be a friend like you
and Abraham were friends. Abraham and you were friends and you said to us, John 15, that you
call us friends. I want to be a friend. I want to have this relationship. I want it. I want to agree
with you. “How can two walk together except we be agreed?” and that agreement is on a
spiritual level. That’s all. That’s all. That’s all. It’s a meditation.
The heart becomes meditation and then meditation helps in our prayer and this is how you live
in the Spirit. And the Spirit blows where he wants to and there’s an increase in life in different
ways. We can count on him to teach us and guide us and give us grace and persuade us and
convict us and lead us. We can do many examples of that I think. Okay.
So, let’s finish this. Chapter 3:8, you cannot tell where it came from but you hear the sound. You
know, New York City, 1857, 1858, 1859 in New York City just before the Civil War, there was a
revival in New York City. I think it was one in every 15 or one in every – 15, something like.
Sorry, I don’t know the number. Churches started to fill up with people. There was prayer
meetings and there were churches filling up in New York City with people seeking for God.
It happened in Ireland. It happened in Wales. It’s happened at different times. The wind is
blowing and you don’t know where it is coming from but it’s happening. And when the Spirit is
moving in your heart. You know, I just was driving in here tonight and thinking about the earlier
time in my Christian life when I would get these little Watchman Nee books and Oswald Chambers books and I would buy them and read them and they would stir my heart. Finding Dr.
Stevens and this church back in those years and being very excited about it. I’d read a booklet,
and then the booklets of Dr. Stevens. The messages. The cassette tapes. Constantly stirring my
heart. There were times when falling away was so close to me. I was so close to like falling
away and just forgetting about the whole thing and just living my own life my own way. I mean
this is what millions of people do in life. And then, praise the Lord they also come back. And they
come back and say I did it.
I told you the story about the Hungarian brother who said, do you remember me? I said, just a
little. When did I see you last? He said twenty years ago. And we went out that night and he said
to me, he said I did it my way. Now, I want to do it your way. That’s what he said to me. I said it’s
not my way but I understand what you are saying. You want Christ more real in your life. You
want Christ in your life. You want the Spirit to lead you. You want the Spirit to lead you in
meditation. The Spirit to lead you in faith and in prayer. The Spirit to open up the Bible to you.
The Spirit to teach you to read books that are going to stir your heart. And meet people.
By the way, the circle of people that you travel with is a big deal. Like who are my friends? There
are people that could come to this church and then maybe they change their career, change
their life and end up in another circle of people. That circle of people they do not continue in the
church life. They leave the church life. They pick up bad habits with another circle of people.
They want to make an impression on them. They are controlled or influenced by worldliness and
their sin nature. They don’t want the narrow way. They don’t want what we are talking about
When you come before God, you read the Word and you say, Lord, guide me if there be any evil
way in me. Lead me. Cause maybe some day you could send me to China. Maybe some day
you could send me to Indonesia. Maybe Brazil. Maybe some day you could send me. To some
island somewhere you could send me. And I could go there and preach the gospel and see
people where the wind is blowing, where the Spirit is moving and people are born again. If they
are not born again, how can they enter the kingdom of heaven? If they are not born again, how
can it happen? How can their sins be washed away without the blood of Christ? How can they
be saved without being born again? How can they come to Christ unless they hear the gospel,
and how can they hear the gospel unless somebody is sent? I can’t be sent unless he prepares
me. He prepares me in my heart and life. He prepares me in our Bible school.
Now, listen. Let me say a couple more things shortly here. We’re sitting out here today talking
and we’re talking a little bit about where America is at. You know, all the craziness and the
politics and the morality and the collapsing and all of this and that. All of that, I believe it. We see
it. We see it and everything. Where’s the church? Well, maybe the seminaries are dried up.
Maybe they have an academic message but do they have people out on the street? Do they
have somebody behind the pulpit? Is there a message from the Spirit? Is there a moving of
conviction? Is there persuasion about sin? Where are the seminaries?
So, Dr. Stevens said the seminaries are not doing a good job. Let’s start our own Bible school.
But that comes from R. A. Torrey who did it with D. L. Moody and said we need to train people to
take the gospel into all the world. And I don’t need a PhD in Greek and Hebrew and nothing
wrong with that. But that’s not the thing that they need in China. What they need in China is the
Spirit filling, the Spirit leading, the Bible being open. It’s God saying to somebody can I do this
without telling my dear Chinese brother that what I am doing? I know him. He will teach his
children. I know him. He will pass it on. I know him. He is my friend. I know him. I know who he
is and I’ve got to tell Abraham what I’m doing.
That’s like us. Listen. We are in the world at a great hour. Remember Winston Churchill. This is Britain’s finest hour. They were dropping bombs on Great Britain, and he was encouraging the people. He goes, oh, no. This is our finest
hour. The darkest hour is our finest hour.
Listen. It’s crazy. But that’s okay. We are here. We are not crazy. We have a message. We are
born again. We have the Spirit of God, the mind of God, the heart of God and faith. We are not afraid. We are living in great times. So, when the wind is blowing and the chaff, the chaff is
being blown away. You know what chaff is, right? The cornel and the husk and the light little stuff
that just blow it away. That chaff has no roots. It cannot become a plant. There’s no life in the
chaff. The chaff has no future. The chaff is nothing. The chaff cannot change. The chaff cannot
have anything to do with eternity and reality. The chaff is nothing.
But just think about it. We are like a tree planted by the water. This is our hour. This is our
privilege to bring a message to people and say our faith has roots. What are the roots? Look
into the past. The cross, the empty tomb. That’s the roots. I was soul winning one day and I go,
just answer one question. Was the tomb empty or not? Then they talk about the Crusades and
everything. Is the tomb empty or not? Then they talk about some other thing. Is the tomb empty
or not? Was Christ raised from the dead or not? Is the tomb empty or not? It all hinges on that.
Did that happen or not? If it happened, nothing else matters. If it didn’t happen, nothing matters.
Nothing matters if that did not happen. Nothing matters. But if it did happen, nothing else
matters. That’s your message and mine. Amen. Would you pray with me.
Please enjoy these sermon notes from the messages preached at Greater Grace Church in Baltimore. These notes are provided to aid in your study and understanding of the Word. Note that these notes do not represent complete, word-for-word transcriptions. Also, they may contain omissions as well as some errors in spelling and structure, etc., as we attempt to provide them as soon as possible. Our hope is that these notes serve as a way to help you search and connect with messages on related subjects and passages. Thank you for your interest in the ministry of Greater Grace.