Summary: A series based on John 3, "The Heart of the Gospel."
“BORN AGAIN” John 3:1-13
INTRO – Birth of a child is an incredible miracle. Doesn’t matter how kids you have, how many grandkids you have – still a wonderful, miraculous experience. As F.B. Meyer said, “Born! That is true of all of us. We were not asked if we would be born, or of whom we would be born. But we awoke gradually from months of almost unconsciousness to find that we had been born. And birth was the gate into life. Through birth we entered the blessed k’dom of life.”
Even more miraculous than the physical birth of a child into the physical world is the spiritual birth of a lost sinner into spiritual life. Why is this such a miraculous experience? B/c when a person is born again, God moves them from death to life. He changes them from being condemned to eternal death and separation from Him into a son or daughter of God, recipient of the gift of eternal life and a place reserved in heaven.
To be born again doesn’t mean that a good person just becomes a really good person…
- Or that a moral person just becomes an even more moral person;
- Or that a church member simply becomes an even better church member;
- Or that an upright citizen becomes an even more upright citizen;
- Or that a liberal becomes a conservative;
- Or that a person who keeps less than 5 of the 10 Comm. starts keeping more than 5.
In our “religious”, Bible belt, church-on-every-corner culture, we need to understand this afresh and anew. Being born again is not just a rite of passage for kids who grow up in church. It is not something that is expected if a person is to be socially acceptable. It is not membership in another organization that we can add to our resumes.
It is a life-altering, life-changing, life-giving moment when a person who is dead is given life by Almighty God. 1 Peter 1:3 – “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” (NASB) You don’t earn it; you haven’t done anything to deserve it; you aren’t smart enough to find it; you aren’t religious enough to gain it. God causes it to happen. He gives it as the NIV says in 1 Pet. 1:3 – “In his great mercy he has given us new birth…”
To be born again means that a spiritually bankrupt person gains all of the promises and blessings that God promises to those who are His. It means that a totally depraved, wicked person is completely cleansed of all his/her sins. It means that a person who has absolutely nothing to offer to God is freely given the greatest gift that they could possibly receive, and that is eternal life. It means that someone who is completely and totally rotten to the core becomes a child of God. Who is that spiritually bankrupt person, that totally depraved wicked person, that person who has absolutely nothing to offer to God, that person who it completely & totally rotten to the core? That person is you. That person is me.
I. LET’S TALK ABOUT NICODEMUS – v. 1-2
We need light in our lives. Power goes out & we immediately find flashlights and candles. Have to have light. People in Alaska go crazy and commit suicide b/c of the constant darkness during the year. We have to have light.
Nic. needed light in his life. He might not have known it at the time that he came to Jesus, but his heart was a dark as soot. He needed the Light.
Don’t get any more religious than Nic. As Wm. Barclay – “In many ways the Phar. were the best people in the whole country.” Gave their entire lives to the keeping of the Law, the first 5 books of the OT. But they went further than that. Took the Law, and came up w/ hundreds and thousands of rules, regulations, by-laws to try and cover every possible situation in life.
Sabbath Laws prime example. Bible itself simply says to remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy and that on this day no work must be done. Just the later Jews were not content w/ that and spent hour after hour and generation after generation defining what work is and listing the things that may or may not be done on the Sabbath.
Tying a knot on Sabbath was work; but a knot had to be defined: “The following are the knots the making of which renders a man guilty: the knot of camel drivers & that of sailors; & as one is guilty by reason of tying them, so also of untying them.” But then there were knots that were legal, those that could be tied and untied w/ one hand. Also, “a woman may tie up a slit in her shift or the strings of her cap and those of her girdle…” So here’s what could happen: If on the Sabbath a man wanted to let down a bucket into a well to draw water, he could not tie a rope to it, b/c that tying that knot would be work; but he could tie it to a woman’s girdle and let it down, b/c a knot in a girdle was legal.