Summary: To establish that an entrance into the kingdom of God is possible only through the new birth. This lesson settles the arguement that the new birth truly does consists of two components mentioned by Christ - and they are "the water and the Spirit."
1. The Narrative of the New Birth
2. The Nature of the New Birth
3. The Necessity of the New Birth
1. In our lesson today we will answer the many objections and opinions regarding "the new birth." We will conduct an analytic review of this topic in light of the New Testament. This is described by some as - "analytic philosophy - a movement that seeks the solution of philosophical problem in the analysis of preposition or sentences - called also - philosophical analysis." Our purpose with God’s help today is to answer all the arguments that modern day religious leaders make regarding Jesus' narrative of the "new birth." Some contend it is clearly of the Holy Spirit; and He alone. The phrase: "born of the water and of the Spirit," have sparked much debate and controversy among these leaders. We will use “analytic philosophy.” to examine similar words, phrases, prepositions and sentences, in order to refute all their arguments with New Testament scripture, biblical examples and necessary inferences in "line upon line, precepts upon precepts, here a little, there a little."
2. First, Jesus narrates the new birth to a religious leader. His name was Nicodemus. In our scripture lesson, Nicodemus came to Jesus by night to applaud his authority. He said: "Rabbi we know that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles which thou doeth except God be with him." The Master responded, "Except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Jesus introduced and narrated to this leader and the world a discourse concerning the requirements of "the new birth." Jesus narrates this birth with great details, so the leader and all could understand its nature and necessity.
3. Secondly, the Master defines the nature of this birth. The ruler asked: "how can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother womb and be born?" Jesus replied: "except a man is born out of the water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," John 3:5. Jesus declares the components of the “new birth” are both "of water and the Spirit." In the original language, the text is: "ek hudatos kai pneumatos." Many of these leaders will claim the "Spirit” but, deny the water as being a part of the “new birth.” They even attempt to interpret water in our text as the "word” or the "spirit." We will answer these arguments at the appropriate time.
4. Finally, Jesus says to the leader: "Except a man if born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God." He further stated to him: "ye must be born again." The new birth then, is necessary. If one is to enter the kingdom of God, he must undergo or experience it. If one is to enter the kingdom of God "he must be born again." There is no option, no getting around this truth. However, this is a topic of argument and debate among many religious leaders today, as well as the nature and components of this birth. We will deal with them all in this lesson. Let’s consider first the “narrative of the new birth.”
BODY OF LESSON
I. THE NARRATIVE OF THE NEW BIRTH
A. Our lesson opens with a religious leader coming to Jesus by night. His name was Nicodemus; a ruler of the Jews, John 3:1-2. He acknowledged the authority and power of Christ, when he said: "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these miracles that you do unless God is with him."
B. Jesus introduces the new birth. The Master looks into the heart of this leader and replied to his deepest spiritual need, that is, he needed to experience the "new birth." Jesus said: "Truly, truly I say unto you except a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Jesus answers, that one cannot enter the kingdom of God without the new birth.
C. Nicodemus answer to Jesus. "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?" This response implies the leader was confused about the nature of this birth. Jesus discusses its nature as well as its necessity in the remaining verses. Before looking at this, I want to review other references to the new birth in the NT.
D. Other references to new birth are:
1. Regeneration. Paul calls it “regeneration” in Titus 3:5. "Not of works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit." We will revisit this verse later in our lesson.