Salvation comes through Jesus Christ alone.
GOLDEN TEXT: John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
The greatest need of every person is salvation from sin. As a consequence of human sinfulness, pain, suffering, sorrow, and death come to every person, and without salvation from sin, we have no hope of a better life beyond death. This lesson is about the fact that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners-to save us from sin and death by giving to us eternal life. We explore an episode in the ministry of Jesus, when he spoke to a ruler of the Jews about the need of every person to be born again to enter the kingdom of God. By trust in Christ for our salvation, we experience a spiritual rebirth; whereby we receive the mind and heart to love and serve God.
1. WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
A. Why Must We Be Born Again?
Joh 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
Joh 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
…….Just imagine being in Nicodemus’ mind at this time. He knows for a fact that Jesus is something way greater than a prophet. He knows that through all of the allegations and conspiring to kill Jesus by his fellow colleagues, Jesus had something for him. There was something drawing him from the inside out, and though having a secret conversation would destroy his worldly and religious title, Christ’s inspiration would cause him to risk it all to find out. People listen, sinners are watching you and many are waiting to ask about your prize possession! Do not be ashamed and don’t hold it back! Be ready to give an answer to all men! 1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
…….God already knows our need before we ask! It’s not that we don’t need to ask, but verse 3 shows that He is waiting for us to ask so He can give the answer.
Because of all the religious controversies at this time, the idea of being born again could have been a stirring statement. Nicodemus surely thought within himself that he was a part of the chosen, but obviously wanted something that this Jesus had that he knew himself he didn’t have.
B. What Is the New Birth?
Joh 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
…….A question here about a statement that Nicodemus most likely has heard before. He knew that there must be a spiritual transformation, but it wouldn’t apply to a man with so much religious accomplishments. Now that He had the Master in his presence he knew he would get a deep response.
Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
…….To Nicodemus, water (baptism) cleansing would be the sign that your sins have been washed away. But Jesus lets him know that he must be baptized by His Spirit to have true righteousness and inward holiness exempt from rituals. This is what stamps the ticket for the kingdom of heaven!
Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
…….Until an human being is born of the Spirit, we will always be in submission to the power of the flesh. Those who are born of the Spirit can now walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Joh 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
…….Apparently this information from Christ began to blow Nicodemus’ mind for Jesus to make such a statement. Any time a religious person comes into a new revelation of the Lord, it is a transforming experience that will cause change as much as you allow it. I pray, dear Lord change me on a daily basis!
Joh 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth (desires), and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
…….I love this verse here! The wind blows where it listeth (or desires). Those who are born of the Spirit live with such influence that others around will literally realize that something else, something greater, is in control of their lives. We need to be totally influenced by the Spirit! As much as I wish it would, the Spirit will not control your life, but you can allow it to impact you greater than anything else in this world! It’s impact can be so influential that the fleshy desires are no longer in control. Surrender to the desires of the Spirit!
2. CHRIST MUST BE LIFTED UP
A. Jesus’ Authority Regarding the New Birth
Joh 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
Joh 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
…….The reason why Nicodemus could not understand what Christ was saying is because he was already full of everything he had been taught by man. In order to truly receive a revelation from Christ, we must allow Him to first empty us out!
Joh 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
Joh 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
Joh 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
…….The failure of Nicodemus and those like him to not be able to understand Christ’s teachings had nothing to do with opportunity. They had every chance to receive the ministry of Christ. Their failure was in their lack of reception. They completely refused to receive him because of where He claimed to be from and of. If he had been from the same teachings they would have listened and received, but Christ was of God and the only way to receive Him is to be with Him.
B. Jesus Brings About the New Birth
Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
…….In this part of the conversation, Jesus brings out a comparison that Nicodemus would understand more. Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, when the children of Israel were being punished for their sins and disobedience, Christ would be lifted up, that all who looked upon him for salvation would receive. Not only would we receive freedom from this immediate punishment of sins, but receive the greatest reward of relationship with the Trinity and eternal life with God!
The miracle with Moses and the serpent was amazing, but it was only temporal and conditional. The miracle of Christ being lifted up to eradicate the sins of humanity is eternal and unconditional!
3. GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD
A. The Greatness of God’s Love
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
…….I was randomly pondering this thought the other day. How does any person allow so much to happen to their child, even though the outcome was going to be perfect. I could not do it within myself if I knew I could stop it at any time. Think about that really hard! How would it feel to see your only child suffer in so much agony, after being so perfectly full of love and compassion, and be accused of the exact opposite by those who were full of lies, and then be put to death because of those lies! You can’t tell me God doesn’t love us!
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Joh 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
…….If we are to be like Christ, we are to Be like Christ. In Verse 17 Jesus literally said that He didn’t come to condemn anyone. He came to display His love in such a way that all mankind would understand that God is here for them. It is not up to man to condemn others for their sins, (vs 8) they do that already within themselves by rejecting Christ.
B. Who/What Do You Love?
Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
…….In my opinion, only people who have never had true salvation and deliverance from sin can say that they loved sin more that God.
Joh 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
…….This is the hold that sin has on people. Sin is so convincing that people will actually believe that the light of Christ is against them.
Joh 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought (worked out) in God.
…….People who choose to live in sin, do so because they love it. And yet, these verses make it clear that love for darkness only leads to ruin, condemnation, and destruction of the sinner. Why people choose to live sinfully is as deep of a mystery as why Satan chose to rebel against God. Nevertheless, we must not be discouraged from proclaiming the gospel because many choose not to believe in Christ. We must keep in view the many who will hear the Gospel and will believe in Christ.
If there is one person we must be like, that is Nicodemus. In the end, he was the one to take Christ off the cross and prepare his body for burial. He was so changed by the ministry that Jesus brought forth that in the end, though it may not have been an immediate change, he was totally convinced that Jesus was the Son of God. He even went as far as being a minister for Christ himself which required him to completely put away everything he had of the present to pursue his Christly ministry. What an example!