Summary: What does being “born of water” mean?
Is Baptisim Essential for Salvation?
A Sermon on John 3: 1-14
by Pastor Thorolod Marsaw
Newtonbrook Baptist Church
Someone has said, “He that is only born once will die twice, but he who is born twice will die only once.”
Does this statement sound strange to you? Well if it does, you are not alone.
Open your Bibles if you will to the book of John, Chapter 3 versus 1 to 14. In this passage of scripture, we are introduced to a man by the name of Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a seeker. He was seeking the truth about God and Jesus Christ. God in the Flesh Himself met with him and gave this inquisitive Pharisee a statement that perplexed him.
Jesus told Nicodemus: “You must be born again.” Now unfortunately none of us were there to see his reaction but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if the word “huh?” was used in Nicodemus’ reply.
Indeed, there were a whole bunch of things that Jesus had publicly said that he didn’t understand and that’s way he came to Jesus. He wanted to find out who He was, why He had come and what it was about Him that made Him so special.
Deep down in his heart he was really attracted to the Lord, but he had a problem, he was afraid. Oh not of Jesus, but of his fellow Pharisees. Afraid of what they would think and say if Nicodemus was caught speaking with the Lord. His desire for illumination from the Light of the World though was too great though. So he basically snuck in to see Him, under cover of darkness.
Nicodemus was afraid. A lot was riding on his decision to visit Jesus. His reputation, standing and power were all on the line if he got caught. All this was playing through his head as he approached the Lord. He even pretended that he was making his inquiry for a number of others. In verse 2, we read: “We know.” “We know” what? “We know that thou art a teacher come from God,” and as I like to paraphrase it, “The other fellows and I have been watching you and we recognize that God is with you. I mean we, know this because no man can do these miracles that you’ve done unless God is with him.”
People, have you ever tried to talk with someone about spiritual things and found it really hard to get to the point? You sort of go around in circles, not quite knowing how to come to grips with the issue. Maybe you don’t even know what it is you should be saying.
Well I think that’s what was happening here and the Lord knowing what was on Nicodemus’ heart helped him out. He gave the answer to a question that Nicodemus hadn’t even formulated. He told him what he had to do to be saved, and go to heaven to be with the Lord. In the very simplest of terms that’s what the expression, “Kingdom of God” means.
Jesus said, “You must be born again…for apart from that it is impossible to enter into that Kingdom.”
Born again! Tell the average person that he must be born again and he thinks you mean that he must reform or mend his ways. That is, turn over a new leaf. It stirs up the idea of working on the outer man. But that’s not where the problem lies, the problem is within.
Suppose the mainspring of my watch were broken, what good would it do if I were to put in a new crystal and polish up the case until I could see my face in it? Why, not one iota! The seat of the trouble is inside the watch and so it is with the sinner. The new birth, then, is something more than reformation.
And, it’s more than becoming religious. It’s more than saying your prayers, reading your Bible and going to church each Sunday. It’s more than just having a good feeling after a church service. In fact you can do all those things and not be a real Christian, that is someone who is born again.
A born again believer is someone who has received a new life. And I am talking brand spanking new- not just one that’s been patched up.
Are you still confused? Let’s go all the way back to the 17th verse in Genesis chapter 2 . Here the Bible tells us about the Garden of Eden and of all the good things God had provided for man to enjoy and, we learn about the one thing in all creation that man was forbidden
“Of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam and Eve were not to eat, for the day they ate of that” God said, “thou shalt surely die.”