Summary: What is it to be born again? What is the change that happens in us when we are born again? The result of the new birth.
As John 3 opens, one of the Jewish leaders, a man by the name of Nicodemus came to see Jesus. John 3:2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus talking back to Nicodemus speaks the matter of the new birth.
John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (You cannot see heaven unless you are born again)
John 3:7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.
At this Nicodemus was very confused. John 3:4-6 4“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” 5Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. Jesus emphasized the need of the new birth to have eternal life.
Some misconceptions about the new birth.
1. Religious observance is not the new birth.
John 3:1-2 1Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
John makes sure that we know that Nicodemus is a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. The Pharisees were the most religious of all the Jewish groups. To this one, Jesus says: John 3:3 Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
So the points is: All of Nicodemus’ religion, all of his amazing discipline, and law-keeping, observation of tradition cannot give him the new birth or heaven.
Titus 3:5 ……he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done. What Nicodemus needs, and what you and I need, is not religion but a person Jesus Christ to go heaven.
2. Knowledge about God does not give the new birth.
If I ask, “How many of you know about Jesus Christ,” Everyone will rise your hands. That is Good but that does not guarantee the new birth. New birth is experiencing Jesus Christ, receiving Jesus into one’s heart and life, not just the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
John 3:2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In other words, Nicodemus sees in Jesus a genuine divine activity. He admits that Jesus is from God. Jesus does the works of God. To this, Jesus does not respond by saying, “I wish everyone in Palestine could see the truth that you see about me.” John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” You must be born again or you will never see the kingdom of God.
Knowing the Bible, knowledge about God, seeing signs and wonders, being amazed at them, does not save anybody. Giving the miracle worker, Jesus credit does not give the new birth. The devil himself knows that Jesus is the Son of God and works miracles. Mark 1:24 I know who you are—the Holy One of God!
Therefore, religious activity or knowledge of God does not guarantee new birth or heaven for a person. Man needs something else to go to heaven.
How can one be born again?
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (that is Jesus), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brings about the new birth.
Titus 3:5-7 ……he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
1 John 5:11-12 11And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brings about the new birth. The new birth enables us to have eternal life.