The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

The Sermon Notes of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from John 3:1-15

Trinity Sunday

1. This Sunday is dedicated to the doctrine of the Trinity, one God in three persons. The Triune God is the saving God. Many churches use the Athanasian Creed, rather than either the Apostles or the Nicene Creed, on this day. The Trinity underlies Jn. 3:1-15.

2. Vss. 1-10 are a dialogue between Nicodemus and Jesus. Vss. 11-21 are a monalogue by Jesus. Jn. 2:23-25 describe the people in Jerusalem who were impressed by Jesus' signs. But their faith was very weak. Jn.3:1-12 describes Nicodemus who, although he was a member of the Sanhedrin and a teacher of Israel, was not yet a Christian. The only remedy for unbelief is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

3. Three of the "Truly, truly" sayings in Jn. occur here, vss. 3, 5, and 11. There is a total of 24 in this Gospel.

4. Until a sinner is regenerated or born again he is spiritually blind, dead and an enemy of God. He cannot help himself. See Js. 1:18; I Pet. 1:23; Jn. 1:13; Lk. 8:11. The Law cannot cause rebirth. Only the Gospel does that. Baptism causes rebirth. Jn. 3:5; Tit. 3:5; I Pet. 3:21; Eph. 5:26; Acts 2:38. That's why Jesus commanded that all nations be taught and baptized. Mt. 28:19.

5. Vs. 6 tells us that physical birth only produces sinful flesh but birth caused by the Holy Spirit causes a person to be spiritual. II Cor. 5:17 says: "If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation." The Spirit's gift of faith in Christ causes rebirth, a new creation.

6. Nicodemus became a Christian. See Jn. 7:50 and 19:39.

7. Jesus is neither flattered by Nicodemus nor does He talk down to him.

8. The Kingdom of God on earth is the total number of those who truly believe in Jesus. When these people die they enter the Kingdom of Glory.

9. The illustration about the wind in vs. 8 simply means that just as the movement of the wind, though we experience it, is incomprehensible to us, likewise, though we experience conversion, we cannot explain it.

10. In vs. 12 Jesus distinguishes between the observable work of the Gospel on earth, and the unobservable person and work of Jesus. The observable work is baptism and conversion. The unobservable is likewise twofold: The Son of man, Jesus, is present both in heaven and on earth and the crucifixion of the Son of man saved the world.These four items, two observable and two unobservable, can be attained only by the faith of rebirth.

11. The serpent in the wilderness, Num. 21:8, was an OT type of the crucifixion of Jesus. Those who looked at the brazen serpent lived.Those who believe in the crucified Jesus will live forever. The serpent brought sin and death into the world. Hebr. 2:14 tells us that through death Jesus destroyed the devil who had the power of death. In this way Jesus reconciled all people to God. I Cor. 5:14 says: "If One died, all died." That is truly remarkable, but true.

12. In Jn. 3:14 Jesus says: "The Son of man must be lifted up (crucified). Jesus often said "I must." See Lk. 2:49; 9:22; 17:25. God had so willed it and Jesus knew that He must do it. But He did it willingly. Hebr. 10:9; Jn. 10:17-18. All true love always begins only with the love of God in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

13. In Jn. 3:7 Jesus says "You must be born again." It is absolutely necessary or otherwise we remain dead in our sins. And, secondly, we must be born again because it is God's will. Therefore, the musts in Jesus' life and my life are the will of God and are my salvation.

14. Jn. 3:1-21 contains the main central Christian truths: The Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit); the necessity of rebirth through baptism; Jesus, true God and true man in one person; the crucifixion of Jesus which saves all men; the new life of the believer compared with the dead life of the unbeliever; faith saves, unbelief damns; Jesus, the Light of the world.

The Sermon Outline of Harold Buls

On the Gospel Lessons of the Ingrian Lutheran Church of Russia

Text from John 3:1-15

Trinity Sunday

THEME: The, Son Of Man Must Be Lifted Up And I Must Be Born Again


The word "must" occurs twice in our text, the first with reference to the necessity of sinful man's rebirth in vs. 7 and the second with reference to the crucifixion of the Son of man in vs. 14. These two "musts" are our central thoughts.



This text was converted to ascii format for Project Wittenberg by Cindy A. Beesley and is in the public domain. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text. Please direct any comments or suggestions to: Rev. Robert E. Smith of the Walther Library at Concordia Theological Seminary.

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