BNC Text KN9

Albert Gunter: sermon. Sample containing about 4875 words speech recorded in public context

3 speakers recorded by respondent number C801

PS1RJ X m (albert gunter, age unknown, minister) unspecified
KN9PSUNK (respondent W0000) X u (Unknown speaker, age unknown) other
KN9PSUGP (respondent W000M) X u (Group of unknown speakers, age unknown) other

1 recordings

  1. Tape 084002 recorded on 1989-06-25. LocationEssex: Harlow ( hall ) Activity: sermon Belief & Thought

Undivided text

Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [1] [...] ?
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [2] Yeah, yeah.
[3] Over these next few weeks I'd like us to ... be looking at some of the ... interviews that Jesus had with various characters, sometimes with an individual, sometimes with a small group of people, and just to ... see some of the things that we can learn from them.
[4] Because, although Jesus ... was speaking to the people there, his words were not just for them, but they're for us as well and these are conversations that we can well eavesdrop on and learn something, I'm sure, for our benefit.
[5] Sometimes it will be, perhaps, I trust, new things that we'll be learning or ... increasing our knowledge and our understanding of the Lord, sometimes underlining and reaffirming, er our faith in him.
[6] And so we must start off this morning with his, perhaps most famous of all interviews that Jesus had, the interview with Nicodemus there in John, er er chapter three ... part of which Elaine read for us earlier.
[7] This, the, the background I'm sure we're all very familiar with.
[8] This man, this religious leader, this pharisee who came to Jesus by night ... and as he comes to Jesus he, is full of questions, but Jesus doesn't let him get too many of them out because the questions that Nicodemus has to ask are not the real issues.
[9] And you know, so often you and I, we have questions that we want to bring to the Lord, if only was here in person, if only we could sit him down in the front room, how many things we would have to ask of him!
[10] How many questions we would pose him with.
[11] I don't think that he would get us too far in those questions.
[12] I think he would treat us a little bit,o the way he treated Nicodemus ... and come in pretty quickly, and deal with the real issues.
[13] Because so often the questions that we ask are not the real issues ... they're not the really important things.
[14] Sometimes it's just because we want our curiosity satisfied, and that was obviously the case with Nicodemus.
[15] He says, we know that you're a great teacher, you've come from God otherwise you couldn't do these things, and er, he was undoubtedly gonna go and ask, and start asking some questions from then, but Jesus comes straight in ... and he really deals with the issue, the real problem in Nicodemus's life.
[16] He says, you've gotta be born again.
[17] Don't bother with the questions, let's deal with the real heart issue, Nicodemus, you, have got to be born again.
[18] ... And you know, for most of our questions ... the answers lie within ourselves, and when we deal with certain basic issues most of those questions become or answered or they become irrelevant.
[19] It must have been about the turn of the century the er ... Times newspaper ran a competition ... and it wa , the competition was a very simple one, difficult to answer but it was very simply put ... it was asking for people to write in letters and essays, and features and articles on, what was wrong with the world.
[20] Now, you and I could sit down, as many people could then, eighty, ninety years ago and write a whole lot of things with the world, but it took the, the Irish writer and whip G K Chesterton to really put his finger on it.
[21] He wrote what must have been the one of the shortest letters of all time, and he wrote back to the editor of The Times and he said, dear sir, in answer to your question what is wrong with the world ...
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [22] I am yours faithfully G K Chesterton.
[23] And that was what was wrong with the world.
[24] It wasn't the things ... it was people.
[25] And Chesterton says, I am what is wrong, not with the whole wide world, but I am what is wrong with my world.
[26] And what is wrong in your world?
[27] And what is wrong in my world?
[28] As individuals.
[29] It's not other people, it's not the problems that surround us, it's not the people that we have to work with or the conditions in work, it's not the next door neighbours, terrible though they may be, the real answer, for you and for me, lies within ourselves.
[30] And that was what Jesus was showing to Nicodemus.
[31] Nicodemus, you have got to be born again.
[32] Now, we don't know how long the interview went on, it's quite likely we have only a snippet of the conversation.
[33] But however long or short it was, Nicodemus certainly must have learned a, a tremendous amount as he listened to Jesus.
[34] And let's just, as I say, eavesdrop and pick up some of the things that Nicodemus learned, and things that we can learn.
[35] The first thing that he obviously ma , was made aware of, was that the Lord Jesus is always ready to meet the need of a seeking soul.
[36] Jesus did not grant Nicodemus an interview because he was the leader or a pharisee, because he was a leader amongst the Jews.
[37] That wasn't the reason why he had a Nico , why he'd a, an interview with Jesus.
[38] Turn over a page or two and you've got the account of the woman of Somaria.
[39] They're a long interview as well.
[40] You couldn't have got two people more different.
[41] One so righteous and religious!
[42] So self righteous and religious.
[43] An observer of them all!
[44] Another, a woman who was living, and had been living for many years in, in continuous adultery!
[45] Jesus, receives both.
[46] He receives all.
[47] He is always ready to meet the need of a seeking soul.
[48] And, Nicodemus comes to him in hi quest.
[49] He doesn't stumble across the Lord, it's not a chance encounter, he seeks out deliberately to meet with Jesus.
[50] He makes, he rearranges his life.
[51] It was no early night for him that night.
[52] Because, by night he comes to Jesus ... the whys and the wherefores of that doesn't really matter.
[53] Folk make great issue, perhaps he was frightened of what others may think?
[54] That doesn't really make any difference.
[55] The how we come to Jesus, the why's we come to him are not the important thing, the real issue is that we come to him.
[56] And so Nicodemus he comes to Jesus.
[57] And he comes, with his needs.
[58] And the tremendous thing is that, Nicodemus may not really have been too sure of what his needs were.
[59] He may have come as a very self- satisfied person, after all, socially, he had made it.
[60] Religiously, he had made it.
[61] He was one of the top dogs of the people!
[62] But Jesus sees right into him, and he sees perhaps, needs that Nicodemus himself is not even aware of.
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [63] That's why he hits him right where it hurts!
[64] And that's the thing that Jesus does.
[65] He hits us where it hurts.
[66] He doesn't come and swi whisper ... sweet nothings in our ears.
[67] He doesn't come with a lot pious platitudes and ... and charming words to make us feel better.
[68] But, he, he comes a , and really hits us hard!
[69] Says, Nicodemus you have got to be born again!
[70] But me?
[71] Now, first of all Nicodemus doesn't even understand what Jesus is talking about ... but even when he does, how he must of hurt his pride, but I'm religious!
[72] I'm a good man!
[73] Now if you had said that to some of those folk outside Jesus, I could have gone along with that.
[74] They need a new start.
[75] They're a terrible bunch some of them!
[76] Oh!
[77] I could tell you about some of their sins!
[78] I've heard about it.
[79] Nicodemus you, must be born again.
[80] You have got to have a new start.
[81] Jesus is always available and ready to meet the needs of those who seek him.
[82] He says, if you seek me, you shall find me!
[83] ... Let me just read you a verse in Psalm a hundred and seven.
[84] It's in verse nine, he says [reading bible] For he satisfies the thirsty soul.
[85] And the hungry soul he filled with what is good [] .
[86] And Isaiah takes up the same theme in the fifty fifth chapter.
[87] And he says there, [reading] Ho!
[88] Everyone who's thirst, come to the water.
[89] And you who have no money come buy eat and, and come buy and eat!
[90] Come buy wine and milk without money and without cost [] .
[91] And it goes on, later on he says, [reading bible] Seek ye the Lord while he may be found.
[92] Call upon him while he is near.
[93] Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return to the Lord and he will have compassion on him.
[94] And to our God for he will abundantly pardon.
[95] God ... the Lord Jesus ... is always ready to se , to to receive folk who come to him and to meet their needs [] .
[96] Then again, Nicodemus would have learned and discovered ... that the Lord Jesus is infinitely more than a great teacher.
[97] Nicodemus comes with those words ... we know Rabbi, teacher, master, we know that you are a gre , that you have come from God, as a teacher.
[98] Well ... you're, you're right as far you go Nicodemus ... but you haven't gone very far.
[99] Yes, I have come as a teacher.
[100] I've come to declare the father to you.
[101] I've come to make him known to you.
[102] I've come to tell you about him.
[103] I have come to declare the kingdom of God, that's it among you!
[104] I have come as a teacher.
[105] You are right as far as you go.
[106] And the people recognize Jesus the teacher.
[107] It says, the common folk, they heard him gladly, they listened to what he said because he taught ... as one having authority!
[108] But oh, Nicodemus if you only see him as a teacher ... you only see the minute part of me!
[109] You're not seeing the real me!
[110] I am not just a teacher, I'm so much more than that!
[111] ... And Nicodemus wasn't long with Jesus before he realized, and recognized, and discovered ...
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [112] that the person he was talking with ... was not just a teacher, there was something else about him!
[113] I always thank God that Jesus is a teacher.
[114] And he instructs us in the way of life!
[115] He instructs in the ways of God!
[116] And, the most tremendous teaching of this, of of the whole world have come from the lips of Jesus.
[117] Far greater than, than the teaching of any professor!
[118] Far greater than the teaching of any great religious leader!
[119] Far greater teaching than the teaching of all the, the other teachers put together!
[120] The teachings that come from Jesus.
[121] If we study his teaching.
[122] Study the code of ethics and the philosophy of his life.
[123] Read the sermon amount.
[124] You'll find that his teach is in, is in ... realms above all other teaching!
[125] His teaching of purity,i , it's standard, it's authority.
[126] But, throughout it all ... we see Jesus as not just a teacher, he must be more than that.
[127] He is first of all a saviour!
[128] He did not come, he didn't say, I have come to teach you!
[129] He says I have come to seek and to save, that which is lost!
[130] You see, our primary need, the most important thing that you and I need in our life, is not a teacher.
[131] We need to be taught, but that's not the first thing, that's not the most important thing.
[132] The first thing we need is someone to save us from our sins!
[133] You see, we can, we can know all about God and still be sinners!
[134] All we are is intelligent sinners, that doesn't make any difference to us.
[135] It might increase our intellect, er our I Q might go up ... but we're still sinners!
[136] And Jesus came first and foremost as he is, as Nicodemus learns here ... to seek and to save that which was lost.
[137] Se , we need someone first of all to save us from our sin.
[138] Because, no matter what we learn ... we cannot be educated into the Kingdom.
[139] Even, Christian teaching will not educate us into the Kingdom of God!
[140] We can go through Sunday school and bible school, we can sit in church year after year, after year and take it all in and learn great reams of the bible by heart, and be able to explain this and that, that does not make us, a Christian!
[141] We cannot be educated into Christianity.
[142] We only become a Christian by the radical work of grace in our heart, the bible calls it salvation, conversion, being born again.
[143] Then again, Nicodemus discovered ... perhaps a strange thing, in a way, but he discovered that, that which is born of the flesh is flesh, to use the words of Jesus.
[144] ... And Jesus, in saying that, he is showing to us, and teaching us that, flesh can never be changed into anything else.
[145] We cannot alter the nature with which we are born.
[146] We can't make ourselves any different.
[147] We can try and improve ... we can try and better ourselves, but at the end of the day we are still what we are.
[148] And David says it for all of us, I was born in sin and shapen in inequity.
[149] The apostle Paul, he says, I know that in me, that is in my flesh dwells no good thing!
[150] He says, I am a sinner!
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [151] That which is born of the flesh is flesh.
[152] That which is sinful by nature is sinful right the way through it's existence unless something radical happens to it.
[153] It's not gonna change itself.
[154] It's not gonna evolve into something better.
[155] And by, becoming religious and ... observing religious, er, practices does not make us a better person.
[156] We're still flesh!
[157] We were born in sin as as as David said, and shape in inequity.
[158] And there's been this moral downfall that we're all part of.
[159] The result of the sin of Adam and Eve there in the Garden of Eden.
[160] Now, we can dress it up, we can beautify it, we can make it look pretty, we can make it look respectable, but it, we're still sinful flesh, at the end of the day!
[161] But Jesus doesn't just say ... that which is born of the flesh is flesh, but he also says, and that is which is born of the spirit is spirit.
[162] And he's saying that that flesh can have something, that human nature can undergo a miracle!
[163] It's not an evolved process, but it is a dramatic, radical, miracle!
[164] And be born of the spirit.
[165] And become a new creation!
[166] A new person!
[167] Are we only born of the flesh or are we born of the spirit?
[168] That was what Nicodemus was learning in his conversation with Jesus.
[169] Then again, Nicodemus discovered that God's way of salvation is not reformation, or religion, but it's regeneration.
[170] Jesus described it as a spiritual rebirth.
[171] He says this over and over again in verse three, [reading] unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God [] .
[172] In verse five, [reading] truly I say unto you, unless one is born of [...] spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God [] .
[173] In the following verse, [reading] that which is born of the flesh, is flesh.
[174] That which is born of the spirit, is spirit [] .
[175] And in verse seven, [reading] do not mar what I say to you.
[176] You must be born again [] !
[177] You see, it's not simply an outward change.
[178] It's not simply making certain ... er, superficial, and external decisions.
[179] I'll go to church more often, or I'll read my bible more regularly, or I'll really make an issue about praying, it's not, it's not that at all.
[180] It's not an outward change, but's it's a new birth within!
[181] It's a new nature within!
[182] It's the old dying and the new taking it's place, that's what Jesus is talking about with his new birth!
[183] It's an impartation, a receiving of new life.
[184] His life.
[185] The commencement of the life of God within me.
[186] Within you.
[187] Not just patching up the old broken down life and saying something like this, from now onwards I'm gonna go to church, I'm gonna read my bi , I'm gonna be a Christian!
[188] That's not what it's all about.
[189] It's coming to re God for ourself , and allowing his life to come in and be our life.
[190] You see all those other things are outward.
[191] They're things that you do, they're things that I do.
[192] I can decide that I'm gonna go to church twice on a Sunday, and, once, during the week or, however many times, and I'm gonna spend an hour doing this, and an hour doing that, I'm gonna go round and do good deeds and help people and help and all the rest!
[193] I de I decide that ...
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [194] and to a large extent I've got the power of choice and the will to do it.
[195] My willpower may not ... may not strong enough for me to do it for long, but, I've actually, I've got that choice, to choose to do it, it's something I do.
[196] And Jesus saying ... this this this this salvation is not something that you do, it's something that is done within you!
[197] ... From the moment of it's birth, in fact ... poss er, even before it's actual birth, not long after it's conception, now that that babe has a will of it's own, and it will exercise it and will use it.
[198] The first way it uses, of course, is before it's birth when it starts kicking around and, changing it's position.
[199] And from the moment it is, comes out into the world it's will is expressed again and again and again!
[200] The one thing it's will had no decision in ... had no part in, didn't produce was it's actual birth.
[201] And you see, the miracle of the birth, of the new birth, is something which we do not do!
[202] God does it within us by his spirit.
[203] I decide, I I choose, I will come, I will receive it, but the actual giving of that life, tis the same as the giving of the life to that babe, it was no choice of it, it was no, didn't i , wasn't determined by it's own will.
[204] So that new life, which I receive is ... from God.
[205] All I do is to receive it.
[206] And so, Nicodemus learned that it wasn't by ... reformation, trying to make himself better, or by being religious, but he need regeneration, that's what regeneration means.
[207] A new birth!
[208] A new [...] [break in recording] And he didn't understand how it could happen.
[209] And he just sees the physical aspect of it.
[210] He said well how on earth can a full grown man enter into his mother's womb again?
[211] He said, but this is ridiculous!
[212] I don't understand it!
[213] It was way beyond him.
[214] And Jesus says hang on, you're supposed to be a religious person, you're a teacher, a ruler of Israel and you don't understand things?
[215] Listen!
[216] He says, I'm not talking about physical things!
[217] I'm talking about something spiritual.
[218] You've gotta let new birth within you ... allow God to bring you to life, to new life.
[219] What a shock it was for Nicodemus to learn this truth.
[220] All his outward experiences.
[221] All his outward religious observances.
[222] Jesus saying it hasn't done a thing!
[223] They might have been very good, but they haven't given you this new life, this new birth John, er Nicodemus, you've got to be born again.
[224] You see, God's way of salvation begins within a person, not the outside, but within.
[225] Right at the very core, the very centre of our being, the very heart of our personality ... God implants that seed of a new life.
[226] And we're born se again spiritually from above as Jesus says in this chapter.
[227] Just as twenty, thirty, or forty years, however old i er
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [228] how old he was, Nicodemus was born physically just the same as you and I were born physically.
[229] The nature of our parents.
[230] So, in the new birth we are born with a nature of our, of our father, our heavenly father the, God himself.
[231] Then again, Nicodemus discovered, that this new birth was absolutely imperative!
[232] There was no, there was no choice, there was no option, there was no alternative.
[233] We've already read them, you must be born again!
[234] Except, you are born again ... you can't get into heaven he says.
[235] You can't kno , you know nothing about the Kingdom of God.
[236] We're left in no doubt about the matter.
[237] We simply have to be born again if we're gonna be saved!
[238] And are gonna go to heaven and dwell with God there forever.
[239] I'll touch on that just er, in a few moments.
[240] Another thing that Nicodemus learned was that ... no one is too old to be born again.
[241] In verse four, [reading bible] how can a man be born when he's old?
[242] He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he [] ?
[243] To this question Jesus answers, yes Nicodemus, you can be born again!
[244] You're a full grown man, doesn't matter how old you are, you might be an aged man, a teacher in Israel, he certainly wasn't a youngster, you can, Nicodemus, be born again!
[245] You see, it's not er a natural thing, but it's a spiritual thing.
[246] And so it doesn't matter how young we are, how old we are, it doesn't matter what our background is, it doesn't matter what our cultural experiences are, it doesn't matter anything of the, of the outward about ourselves, every single one of us can be, and must be born again!
[247] And then, just one final thing that Nicodemus discovered ... he discovered that there is only one way to be born again.
[248] In verse fourteen and fifteen, Jesus uses an illustration that Nicodemus would have been very familiar with, it was back in th in the ancient history of the nation of Israel, when they were wandering through the wilderness ... and he says, just as Moses a , way back there on that occasion lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, there had been this ... plague, if if you have plagues of serpent, there had [laughing] been this plague of [] serpents, and they'd bitten the people and they were dying like flies ... and Moses comes to God, he says ... what are you gonna do?
[249] Your people are dying!
[250] They're suffering!
[251] And God tells him, he says, you make a serpent of brass and put it on a pole in the middle of the camp so that everybody can see it ... they look to that serpent of brass, they will be healed.
[252] Now, the serpent of brass didn't heal them.
[253] What was to heal them was the act of obedience to what God had said, and faith in what he had said.
[254] And so, Nicodemus would have been familiar with this story, and Jesus says ... as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the son of man be lifted up, but whoever believes in him ... may have eternal life.
[255] He says I'm gonna be lifted up on the cross.
[256] I'm gonna be raised up on a cross just as that brass serpent was put on a pole in the camp of, in the middle of Israel, of the, of the camp there in the er, there in the wilderness.
[257] And just as everybody who looked to that serpent on the pole was healed, so I am gonna be lifted up on a cross and everybody who looks in faith to me, and in obedience receives my gift of forgiveness, they will be saved!
[258] There's no other way said Jesus.
[259] It's only through me! ...
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [260] Jesus said, I haven't got any other alternative to give to you Nicodemus.
[261] You've come with your questions, you come with all the reasoning and your great intellect ... all your religious arguments.
[262] Nicodemus, the important thing for you is you have got to be born again!
[263] I've got nothing else to offer you.
[264] I've got nothing else to say to you.
[265] You've got your questions and of course I could answer them Nicodemus ... I could tell the why's and the wherefore's of this, and of that, I could give you all the details and all the ... the the things that you want to know ... but, they're not really important ... the real issue for you, Nicodemus, is that you have got to be born again!
[266] There's nothing else that I've got to tell you!
[267] Because there's nothing else that's important for you to know.
[268] And the only way you can be born again ... is by looking to me, cos I'm gonna be raised up on a cross for your salvation.
[269] Your religious life is not enough.
[270] Keeping the law is not enough.
[271] Doing all the right things is not enough!
[272] Your background, your pedigree, yes you you you've been brought up in a, possibly your fa your your parents, they've taught you the right way, they are thrilled pieces, or they were if if ... they ma , they may well have been de dead by that time, but they were thrilled to pieces when you as a pharisee became a teacher, and a ruler, a leader amongst your people!
[273] But Nicodemus, the important thing is not that.
[274] That doesn't stand you in good stead.
[275] That has not got you into the Kingdom of God.
[276] You must ... be born again!
[277] We sang, a little earlier on, a song of er Wesley's and ... back those ... two hundred and twenty, two hundred and thirty years ago, when Wesley was preaching in this country and in America, there was another preacher ... every bit as famous then, perhaps not quite so famous today, preacher by the name of George Whitfield ... and George Whitfield, he went around and he was preaching, and he preached on this, this text, John er,i in John three, [reading bible] you must be born again [] !
[278] He preached them again, and again, and again!
[279] And there was a lady in the, in his congregation ... he preached to masses, to thousands and thousands of people, and ... she came to him, she was, she was annoyed, she was a rather ... er, well-to-do lady, and she was offended at this ... this preaching that she had to be born again, and that people had to have this new birth experience.
[280] And she came to Whitfield, and she said Mr Whitfield, why is it that you keep on preaching on this, and you keep on using this text, and keep on saying you must be born again?
[281] And Whitfield said, madam ...
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [282] simply because, you must be born again.
[283] As far as God is concerned there is no other alternative.
[284] We can change the terminology, we can give it different words, we can talk about making a commitment to Christ, we can talk about salvation, we can talk about conversion, the word, they're not the important thing ... it's this act of a new birth of receiving God in Christ for ourselves, believing that he died for us ... and are receiving this new life.
[285] And that was the lesson that Nicodemus learnt.
[286] What, no matter who he was, for all his background, Nicodemus, you, me, we have to be born again!
[287] Not something we do, but something God does within us.
[288] Not on the outside of our lives, but right in the very centre of our being, the very heart, the core of our personality, this new life, this new birth ... to the only way that ... we can know God and receive his forgiveness.
[289] So simple ... and so wonderful!
[290] So glorious and yet so very real that if we by faith, and if we have by faith looked to Jesus Christ dying on the cross for us and received him, now, not there of course, but risen, and ascended, and glorified is promising that we ha will pass, or we have passed from death unto life.
[291] That's what it sa , what being born again is all about, is new life ... from death to life!
[292] We're gonna come around the Lord's table now and ... celebrate what made it possible for us, and we're gonna sing that little song, it's ... in the front of your erm ... Songs of Fellowship, it's number five.
[293] Reminds us that ... the way that God has reached out to us is through his love.
[294] In that verse, the closing verse that Elaine read for us, that God so loved the world!
[295] He so loved you and me that he gave his son for us!
[296] And this song, number five in the front section of the Songs of Fellowship reminds us that there on the cross as Jesus dies for his dad, great demonstration of his love for us!
Unknown speaker (KN9PSUNK) [...]
albert gunter (PS1RJ) [297] Oh I'm sorry!
[298] In your one it's, in that red folder erm ... number thirty one, sorry!
[299] ... [reading] Here is love vast as the ocean!
[300] Loving kindness is the flood!
[301] When the prince of life our ransom shed for us his precious blood.
[302] Who his love will not remember.
[303] Who can cease to sing his praise!
[304] He can never be forgotten throughout heaven's eternal days! [singing hymn]