Summary: This series is based on John 3, "The Heart of the Gospel."
“BORN OF THE SPIRIT” John 3:4-8
INTRO – How important is life? This past week, we were all shocked to the core as we watched the horror of the events that unfolded in Nickel Mines, PA, as Charles Carl Roberts walked into a one-room Amish schoolhouse and proceeded to kill five girls, ages 7 to 13. Once again, we were reminded of how fragile our life on earth truly is.
John 3 is a chapter about life, spoken by Jesus, the One who is Life, who was given all authority by God the Father, the Author of life. Any teacher of that day could have uttered the same words, “except a man be born he cannot enter the Kingdom of God,” and he would have been laughed out of town. How ridiculous an idea! What a crazy concept! Where did you come up with that?
But when those words are spoken by the Lord Jesus, who, as Nic. himself said, had “come from God,” they carry eternal weight and significance. They make the difference between eternal life and eternal condemnation. Not only had Jesus come from God, but Jesus was God, and Jesus is God. When He spoke, He spoke the words of God b/c He was the Word of God. John 1:1: “IN THE beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.” (AMP) When Jesus spoke about Kingdom of God, He spoke as the King of kings and Lord of lords. When He spoke about new birth and salvation, He spoke as the spotless Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world as John the Baptist would proclaim; who would give up His life so that we might have life; who would shed His blood to cover our sins b/c the Scriptures say that w/out the shedding of blood, there could be no forgiveness of sin. When He spoke of the Holy Spirit, He spoke as the One who would send the Holy Spirit – “…if I go, I will send [the Holy Spirit] to you…” (John 16:7). When He spoke of all of these things, He spoke with all the authority of heaven, all the authority of God, all the authority that had been given to Him. Yes, Nic., He was a “teacher who has come from God.” But He was and is so much more! As one unknown writer put it:
He had no cornfields or fisheries, but He could spread a table for five thousand and have bread and fish to spare. He walked on no beautiful carpets or velvet rugs, but He walked on the waters of the Sea of Galilee and they supported Him.
When He died, few men mourned. But a black crepe was hung over the sun. Though men trembled not for their sins, the earth beneath them shook under the load. All nature honored Him. Sinners alone rejected Him. Corruption could not get hold of His body. The soil that had been reddened with His blood could not claim His dust.
He wrote no book, built no church house. But after nineteen hundred years, He is the one central character of human history, the pivot around which the events of the ages revolve, and the only Regenerator for the Human Race.
Was He merely the Son of Joseph and Mary, who crossed the world’s horizon nineteen hundred years ago. Was it merely human blood that was spilled at Calvary’s Hill for the redemption of sinners? What thinking man can keep from exclaiming: "My Lord and My God!" (Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations)
This is the One who speaks to us today about life, not temporary life that can be taken away in an instant, but eternal life – life born of the Spirit – that can never be taken away.
I. He is the One who speaks to us about entering the Kingdom of God – v. 4-5
Nic’s question was an honest question. Jesus had just made a unique, life-altering statement in v. 3 – “except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” The thought of being born again, or born anew, was a radical concept that obviously confused Nic., leading him to ask the question in v. 4.
Like many people today, Nic. wanted to have all the answers. Everything needed to make sense to him. Everything had to add up just right. Everything had to fit together in a logical, orderly way. “Being born again” definitely didn’t fit into that line of thinking. As Warren Wiersbe states: “Like many people today, Nic. confused the spiritual and the physical. He thought in terms of physical birth, while Christ was talking about a spiritual birth. Men need to learn that all of us are born wrong! Our ‘first birth’ (physical) makes us children of Adam, and this means that we are children of wrath & children of disobedience. No amount of education, discipline, or religious activity is going to change this old nature of ours; we must receive a new nature from G before we can see heaven or enter it.”