Summary: During a moment spent between Nicodemus and Jesus, we are all taught the way, the only way to savlation.
Moments with the Master Series
A TEACHING MOMENT
Over the last several weeks, we have looked at several of the personal encounters that Jesus had while He was here, walking upon the earth. We have watched Him as He interacted with sick people, dead people and lost people. We have watched our marvelous Lord do that which most people would have considered impossible. We have seen Him heal the sick, raise the dead and reach out to the lost.
In this passage, Jesus has a personal encounter with a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was one of the most powerful and influential men in all of Israel during this time period. Nicodemus is a wealthy, powerful, religious man. Yet, he is a man with an void that neither he, nor his money, nor his power can fill. During the course of their conversation, Jesus refers to Nicodemus as “a master of Israel”. This title means “teacher”. This tells us that Nicodemus was an educated man, but despite his learning, there were some things this man did not know. But, one night, this rich, powerful, educated man found himself in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. What Nicodemus learned that night would prove to be the greatest lessons of his life!
I want us to listen in on this conversation between the Lord Jesus and Nicodemus today. I want us to hear for ourselves the great truths Jesus shared with this man. You see, Nicodemus came to Jesus for some answers about religion, what he received were some answers about redemption. He came to Jesus with questions about Jesus. He went away with more knowledge about Jesus and about himself than he could have ever imagined. He came to Jesus that night to ask some questions about life. He left with information about the new birth. Let’s listen in as the teacher gets taught by the Master.
As Jesus teaches Nicodemus the truth about salvation, He shares a few insights about the new birth that we need to hear.
I. THE MUST OF THE NEW BIRTH (v. 1-7)
The New Birth! It has become part of the common language of America. 70% of Americans claim to be born again. President Jimmy Carter claimed, during his presidential campaign, that he had been born again. Since Carter, every American president has said that he has had a religious experience, which they have all referred to as being “born again”. And, I hope they have been! But, this is not a new phrase! 1 Pet. 1:23 speaks of the new birth. James mentions it, as does John in the epistle of First John. Well, what does it mean to be “born again”? The little phrase literally means “to be born from above.”
It carries the idea of getting a fresh start, a new life from Heaven. We call this experience “being saved” or being “born again”. In Titus 3:5, Titus uses the term “regeneration”. It means the same exact thing! You get a new start!
So many people have this thing confused! They are seeking reformation. That is, they are trying to “turn over a new leaf” or “get a new lease on life”. What the world needs is not reformation, but regeneration! Everyone here needs regeneration and not reformation! You see, reformation is just a touch up job, but regeneration is a complete overhaul! What the world needs, what you need, and what I need is regeneration! You see, if you have been born only once, then friend you are going to die twice! But, if you have been born twice, you will never die, because death has been swallowed up in life.
With all that in mind, let me share with you the Must of the New Birth. Let me show you why it is necessary, if you want to get to Heaven!
A. The Nature Of Humanity Makes It A Must
• Old Nicodemus has received a lot of criticism for approaching Jesus at night.
o Some people have suggested that he came at night because he was ashamed and was trying to hide what he was doing.
o I don’t think that was the case at all!
o I think he came at night because he was a busy man and he knew that Jesus was also a busy man.
o I think he came at night because he wanted some uninterrupted time with Jesus, without all the crowds around.
• Now, you will notice that when this man came to Jesus, he came humbly and was very complimentary to Jesus.
o He came with some serious questions, but I dare say that he did not expect the answer he received.
o Jesus told him, “You must be born again!” v. 3, 7.
o Surely, Nicodemus must have thought this was a mistake.