Summary: No qualifications or prerequisites required. All are welcome!


John 3:16-21

Have you ever felt like you just didn’t get it? Have you ever been left out, rejected, and passed over because you were under qualified or overqualified? Have you ever been excluded because you didn’t have the right looks, training, experience, abilities, etc.?

How did that make you feel?

Remember how it felt to be too short for the carnival ride that looked like so much fun? Remember when you couldn’t wait to be 16 so you could drive? Remember not being able to go places or do things because you weren’t old enough? How did that make you feel?

Do you remember how good it felt to suddenly be included? I have never liked being left out. I want to be “in the loop”, welcomed, invited, included, and made to feel like somebody wants me there.

When I see the word, “Whoever”,

it announces that I can be included!

WHOEVER means no matter who you are.

No qualifications or prerequisite required! All are welcome!

Let me tell you a story about “WHOEVER”.

We don’t really know why Nick came to Jesus. Maybe he was inquisitive. Maybe the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling council, sent him to check Jesus out. We don’t really know. What we do know is that for some reason, Nick came under the cover of darkness, perhaps so as not to be recognized or noticed. For whatever reason, Nick the Pharisee comes to Jesus and begins to lay it on thick.

"Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

(John 3:2 NIV)

We don’t know if Nick is speaking for others or just for himself, but Jesus shoots Nick straight in the heart of the matter.

John 3:3

3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."


Born again? Wait a minute! What does that mean? Nick had been taught all his life (his father and grandfather must have been Pharisees and members of the Sanhedrin just like Nick, since the Jewish leading council was a self-perpetuating thing, from one generation to the next. All Nick’s life he had been taught: Keep the law, get good grades, make lots of money, give generously, don’t kick the dog or the kids, and you’ll be okay with God.

Isn’t God amazed at all you DO and have DONE?

Just do these things and you’ll be SOMEBODY! That’s not how God sees you.

God created you to be a



Jesus throws out the to-do list. He uses a very simple example to describe the fact that WHATEVER you’ve done or can do is not what’s important; it’s WHOEVER! There is NOTHING you can do to earn the Kingdom.

John 3:5-7

5 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ’You must be born again.’


In the birthing process, the baby takes a passive role. It’s the parent doing all the work.

What can you do to be “born again”? NOTHING!


Nick still doesn’t get it! This cuts across the grain of everything he knows, all he’s been taught, all he’s ever seen!

Back when the telegraph was the fastest means of long-distance communication, there was a story about a young man who applied for a job as a Morse code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the address that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, noisy office. In the background a telegraph clacked away. A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man completed his form and sat down with seven other waiting applicants.

After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. Why had this man been so bold? They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They took more than a little satisfaction in assuming the young man who went into the office would be reprimanded for his presumption and summarily disqualified for the job.

Within a few minutes the young man emerged from the inner office escorted by the interviewer, who announced to the other applicants, "Gentlemen, thank you very much for coming, but the job has been filled by this young man."

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