John 3:1-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
The New Birth
1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
Aren't you glad to be born? To enjoy life! I am.
--In John 3 Jesus tells of a man born twice. Twice.
--Jesus says, "unless one is born again, he cannot see .. or enter the kingdom of God" (v 3,5).
--The second birth, "from above" is most important.
We are born first of parents, of flesh, on earth.
--We are "born again of God .. the Word .. the Spirit."
--This fits us for heaven. Nicodemus needed that.
--Fact is, all born need to be "born again .. of God.
Jesus preached to many on hillsides, seasides, all over to thousands - "4000 and 5000 - but His greatest sermon may well be to just one person, who hears and believes!
You may say, "I'm a good person." "I believe in God."
--I believe you, for Nicodemus was good, believed God.
--He had credential beyond most. But needed Jesus!
--Talk about good - a Pharisee. Very religious.
--Pharisees believed in God. Old Testament. Moses.
--In miracles. In a resurrection. A coming Messiah.
--Messiah was now come! In Jesus. All need to come.
So Nicodemus came, to Jesus, "by night," or any time.
--To the right Person, right reasons, the right way.
--To the right One, got right answers from the right God.
--The One "Who is the Way, the Truth, the Life" (14:6).
History records countless ways people try to be saved.
--Many have their own way. Salvation comes God's way.
--For centuries God's way was by animal sacrifices and the keeping of the Law, as in the Old Testament.
--When the promised Messiah came in Jesus, all was new.
--Rather than sacrifices and Law, now Jesus and grace.
Jesus knew all about Nicodemus, we read in John 2:24.
--Jesus "knew all men .. He knew what was in man."
--He knows all about you and me, yet loves us all.
--Wants us to love Him. Be saved. Why Jesus came.
That's why Nicodemus came to Jesus, "a teacher .. come from God." But more than a Teacher - God! Savior!
One of the cherished childhood memories was, as a family and when loved ones came, gathering around to sing.
--What did we sing? Favoritie hymns, around the piano.
--One favorite was "Ye Must Be Born Again."
--Its words tell the story of our Scripture in John 3.
"A ruler once came to Jesus by night,
To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain,
Ye must be born again! Ye must be born again!"
Nicodemus wisely recognized Jesus as "a teacher, come from God." So did Joseph of Arimathea, we learn.
--Both these men were religious leaders of Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling religious body.
--We don't have the full conversation that night.
--But Jesus goes to the heart, "I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
--To be "born again," get us saved, is why Jesus came!
People, then, sought an earthly kingdom, to throw off the ruthless rule of Rome, over much of the world.
--Wanted Jesus to be a political king, set them free.
--Jesus came for a spiritual kingdom, of God's rule.
So Jesus explains to Nicodemus what "born again" is.
--What "born from above" does. All it includes.
--How it never ends, nor grows old. But saves always.
--How we "must be born again." Or miss heaven!
--He says, "unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God" (v 5).
Nicodemus asked, "How can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?" No, one physical birth is enough.
--What Nicodemus needed - we all need - is to be "born of God," of the Spirit, to saving our soul.
"Born of water and Spirit." What does Jesus mean?
--Physically, at birth, we are born "of water."
--And God's "Spirit" of life blesses the little one.
--It is similar when one is "born again" in Jesus.
--Water cleanses. Purifies. Symbolizes.
--We have the "water of the word .. and Holy Spirit."
--God's Word is used in conversions. Especially Acts.
God's Word and God's Spirit saved Paul in Acts 9, one of the greatest conversions of all. By Jesus!
--Used by Peter to convert the Gentiles at the home of Cornelius, a Roman military officer, in Acts 10.
--And the conversion of the Ethiopian, in Acts 8.
--Word of God, Son of God, Spirit of God - all three.
--Bring these together, one is "born from above."
Both a Mom and Dad are essential for physical birth.
--Our. first parents, Adam and Eve were united of God.
--It was not Adam and Steve, but Adam and Eve.
--Life is sacred. Not to be taken,; but kept. Holy.
Those twice born are by God's Son.. By faith in Him.
--By the "water of the word," bringing repentance.
--By the Spirit of God, using "the precious blood, of Jesus," without which there's "no remission of sin."
All this Jesus endeavored to explain to Nicodemus.
--"That which is born of flesh is flesh."
--And the flesh is weak. Fails us. Spirit is needed!
--"That which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
--One, physical, temporary. Other spiritual, eternal.
--One, of man. Other, of God. God must do it in us!
In the flesh, we still have some trouble. Testings.
--Still have temptations. But we have Jesus to help!
--We're not alone. God is with us, by His Spirit.
--We may be "more than conquerors through Him that loved us, and gave Himself for us," by trusting Jesus.
Yes, we need this "birth from above," to change us.
--To change our old, sinful nature, to "grow in grace."
--To "love one another .. even our enemies."
--To be "light" and "salt" for the Lord, to others.
Good, religious folk like Nicodemus need Jesus.
--A not so good "woman at the well." . All of us do.
I was a church member. Of a good church and family.
--Living a good life. Good works. Lacked assurance.
--A dear friend told me about Jesus - "abide in Him."
--No one can be good enough, else Jesus need not come!
--We all need this Messiah - to save us and keep us.
--I was trusting more in my membership and good works.
--I needed to trust Jesus! His cross and resurrection.
--Until I was born again, it was I, not Christ; now it is Christ, not I. He is everything to me.
I was like Nicodemus, before he came to Christ, Nicodemus felt as a Pharisee, "a ruler of the Jews, member of the Sanhedrin, he was saved as he was. But he wasn't!
--Nicodemus needed Jesus. Just as we all do.
--In Jesus, born twice is far better than born once.
Jesus told Nicodemus, "You must be born again" (3:7).
--My dear friend, words of God - One crucified, risen, and ascended back to heaven - deserve believing!
The Spirit of God, by the Son of God, through the Word of God, must convict us, and bring us to "new birth."
--We can read about it here, and Romans 8:1-11.
Then, Jesus explained how Moses "lifted up the serpent, in the wilderness," and that Jesus must be "lifted up."
--Jesus was lifted up - on a cross, from a tomb, up to heaven, and in our lives - to give us hope of glory.
--Let's lift Him up! "Christ in you, hope of glory."
Nicodemus was "born again, from above," a believer!
--How do we know? Look at John 7:50-52, where, before a hostile Sanhedrin, Nicodemus defended Jesus.
--Also John 19:39, after Jesus' crucifixion, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus' body, to prepare it to bury their Lord and ours. Most courageous!
--Most of the disciples had forsook Jesus then!
--0 yes, these Pharisees were "born again in Jesus."
--I'm so glad someone explained all this to me!
So my friend, How about you? Have you come to Jesus?.
--Have you been born twice? Saved? Sure of heaven?
A best friend in heaven is the one who led you there.
--Jesus wants to be your Friend .. Savior .. Lord.
--He paid the price for our salvation. Invites us come.
--God says, "Come now, let us reason together ..."
--You'll be forever glad you did. What millions say!
--"Born again" is best!
Dr. Wilbert D. Gough, ThD., DD. 86