Summary: The spiritual birth message needs to be directed toward the Church and not just those who know their lost.
1. Nicodemus ... a man of the Pharisees.
A member of the Jewish ruling counsel.
2. The Pharisees ... Known as religious purists
A party which grew from the 2nd century ‘Hasidim’ (God’s loyal ones).
Their supreme delight was the keeping of the law (Including the oral traditions).
The Jews were a people of the ‘Book’.
Scribes were professional students who wrote & preserved the various laws & traditions.
They had exact regulations for every occasion.
Example: 39 types of action prohibited on the Sabbath.
...Disciples picked grain & rubbed it together in their hands.
... Jesus healed a man’s hand in the synagogue on the Sabbath & they were furious.
They (Pharisees & Scibes) kept the law & traditions in exact detail.
They would not associate with the common man and became known as having a holier - than - thou attitude.
Illus... Paul, The Pharisee (Phil. 3:5-6)
...Paul’s own statement: he was faultless in legalistic righteousness.
Trans...So this is the situation. Nicodemus, a member of the ruling counsel, referred to by Jesus as Israel’s teacher, comes to Jesus at night and confesses that the Pharisees know that He is a teacher come from God because of the signs they had witnessed. Did he come as a representative of the Pharisee’s? Probably not because he came at night! He came personally to the Master because he had an unmet need in his heart (even unknown to himself). Jesus responds to that personal need by speaking the truth in love.
I. The Condition of Israel’s Teacher
A. Jesus saw instantly the spiritual condition of Nicodemus.
Cf- John 5:39-40 “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.”
Nicodemus was coming to Jesus because he thought he was a great teacher who did miraculous deeds, but not as his Messiah who could give life.
Nicodemus’ condition was the same as that spoken by Paul in I Cor. 2:14. “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
Someone wrote: “Trying to get an unsaved individual to live like a Christian without being born again is like trying to teach a pig how to sing. You should never try to teach a pig to sing because you’ll wind up frustrated, and it really annoys the pig.”
Trans...Nicodemus didn’t need another set of rules and/or traditions to cover up the same old condition. Jesus said he needed to be born again.
II. The Need of Israel’s Teacher
A. Note vss 3 & 5
Vs 3 “...unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Vs 5 “...unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.”
This is not the difference between living a high quality life or a low quality life ... between having high self-esteem or low self-esteem.
It is the difference between eternal life or eternal death. ... between heaven or hell.
There is no second option or plan b. You must be born again ... born of the Spirit!
Jesus was not speaking to prostitutes, drunkards, drug addicts, etc. He was speaking to Israel’s teacher! To a religious leader! To a man of tradition.
This is not a message to the lost, but to the church of Jesus Christ!
To be born again is to be adopted ... justified ... initially sanctified & then wholly sanctified & finally glorified.
It is to come alive in relationship to the living Savior and to spiritual truths.
It is to see your life totally transformed by the power of God.
The gift of eternal life ought to be treasured above all else ... cherished, nourished, protected , watched over and celebrated.
If the world cannot distinguish between the Spirit filled life and that of religious rules & tradition then this message is for us! “You must be born again.”
In verse 8, Jesus compared the working of the Holy Spirit to that of blowing of the wind which tells us that the Holy Spirit is not a formula but a person. We do not manipulate Him like we would work a formula but rather we must seek Him wholeheartedly.
It is from the seeking, praising & the celebrating that we exalt Him to a lost & dying community. We lift Him up and He will draw men unto Himself.
Trans... “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (vs 16)
1. The problem is not with God, nor is it the world that hinders the church.