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Born Again


John 3:1-8

Here in John 3 we read about a man named Nicodemus. It is a story that most of you are familiar with.

Now, we have read the account of Nicodemus meeting with Jesus but I want to go back just a little at the end of chapter 2 and look at vs. 23 -25.

In vs. 23. John says: Now when He (that is Jesus) was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name…

But keep reading: Many believed in His name…now notice what John says; observing His signs which He was doing.

 But notice Jesus’ response; vs. 24: But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them,

 Do you see the word “entrusting” or if you have the King James the word “commit” in vs. 24? In the Greek that is exactly the same word in vs. 23 translated “believed.”

It is so hard to get people to understand that.

The kind of faith that Jesus commits to is the kind of faith that fully trusts in Him for salvation.

Now, look at Vs 24 again:   But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, 25 and because He did not need anyone to bear witness concerning man for He Himself knew what was in man.

Now, look at vs. 1 of chapter 3 and as we read this notice Nicodemus’s credentials:  Now there was a man of the Pharisees (very religious: Pharisees dedicated themselves to learning and observing the Law of Moses), named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews (a man of authority); and if you look at John 19:38-39, he brought spices to embalm Jesus’ body with; and spices were expensive; so he was apparently a wealthy man.

 Now, you would think that if anyone was going to “see the kingdom of God” it would be Nicodemus!

Now, Nicodemus was a Jew. He was born a Jew. He was under the covenant of Israel. Did the fact that he was a Jew grant him automatic entrance into the kingdom of God?

Many people believe that the Jews are still God’s chosen people and I am sure you will hear a lot of that as a result of what has happened this past week in Israel (“We must support Israel because they are God’s chosen people.”)

But you (those who are in Christ) are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nationa people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

So, Jesus tells Nicodemus that “he must be born again?’ How many of you have been “born again?”

That term has been used almost like it is talking about a separate religion; an off-shoot sect of Christianity; and many don’t like to be referred to as being “born again.”

So, what does it mean to be “born again?” Nicodemus was confused about this. He asked, “How can a man enter into his mother’s womb a second time?” How are you “born again?”

Well, Jesus tells us. In vs. 5 Jesus says that unless “one is born of the water”…and a lot of people dispute that this is talking about baptism but the only water ever connected to salvation in the Bible is the waters of baptism…

So, unless you are “born of water and the Spirit”; what does he mean by “born of the Spirit?

What Jesus is saying here is,  the new birth, not only involves the washing away of sin at baptism (Acts 22:16); but it also involves the inward change that comes about when the Holy Spirit creates faith in Christ in the heart and leads you to a changed and obedient life.

In fact, look at vs. 6: That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Now look at vs. 7. This is important for us to understand, especially in the light of what is taking place in the middle east. Jesus says, “Do not marvel that I said to you (singular – Nicodemus) , ‘You (plural – a wider audience – Jews – everyone) must be born again.’

8 “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Jesus says “the wind blows and you cannot stop it or control it;  you can hear it but you don’t know where it comes from and where it is going; so how do you know it is blowing?

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 understand these things?

Now, look at vs. 11. This isn’t just addressed to Nicodemus. The word “you” in this verse is plural which means this is spoken to the Jews as a whole. Look what He says:

 “Truly, truly, I say to you, we (reference to the Father’s witness with Jesus back up in vs. 2) speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you (the Jews) do not receive our witness. 12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

13 “And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man.

And this idea of being born again of the water and the Spirit was not an idea that came from man; it came from heaven (Luke 20:4) and yet, they refused to believe and as a result they would not enter the kingdom of God.

Now look at vs. 14:  “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life.

Jesus reminds these people of an incident in Numbers 21 starting in vs. 5 where the people spoke against God and Moses. And as a result God sent fiery serpents among the people and those who were bitten died.

And here Jesus says, “That same thing is true for HIm and these people. He must be lifted up (crucified) and if anyone wants to live; if they don’t want to die they must look to Him.”

And that helps us to understand the most popular verse in all the Bible:  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

I think it is interesting that most people turn to this verse to say, “All I have to do to be saved is believe in Jesus” and they completely ignore what Jesus says in the first 15 verses of this chapter…in fact, even the rest of the Bible.

Salvation requires faith; but Christ is not committed to a weak, superficial, conditional faith.

Are you born again? Will you do that today?