Title: Ye must be born again! Nov.11, 01
Text: John 3:1 - 7
Ill. Billy Graham
Tells of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach at a meeting. He had arrived a little bit early to finish writing a letter for back home. As he finished the letter, he asked a young boy standing on the sidewalk of the location of the town post office. When the boy had given him the direc-tions, Mr. Graham thanked him and said, “If you will come to the Baptist church this evening, you can hear me tell everyone how to get to heaven.” “I don’t think I will be there.” The little boy replied, “You don’t even know your way to the post office, let alone how to get to heaven.”
One of the greatest tragedies in religion today is the fact that most church members to include a lot of religious leaders do not know how they can go to heaven when the Bible tells us how we can.
Here in John chapter three, Jesus talks with a Religious leader whose name was Nicodemus, and in their conversation, Jesus explains to this man exactly how a person can go to heaven. And in this passage before us today, Jesus tells Nicodemus some three things about salvation and going to heaven.
Now notice, the first thing Jesus tells Nicodemus is: in order to be saved and go to heaven -
I. Ye must be born again! V.3
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Listen, that is the only way to heaven – to be born again! Now I find that very interesting. You see Nicodemus was a ….
A. RELIGIOUS MAN
According to verse (1) the Bible says that Nicodemus was a Pharisee. He was a Separatist who kept himself from…..
* anything he might do that would break the Old Testament Law
He was one of the most religious people of his day. In fact, verse 10, Nicodemus was a great Teacher of the Law. And yet in spite of all his religious credentials, Jesus still tells him that in order to get to Heaven, he must be born again.
Listen, there are a lot of people in America today expecting to get into Heaven because they
* follow a set of religious principles
* go to church on Sunday’s
* don’t lie, steal or drink
But Jesus is telling you this morning that your religion is not enough to get you to Heaven. There is only one way to Heaven and that is God’s way, which is through Jesus Christ – he’s the only way you can go to Heaven. Jesus told Nicodemus –
Ye must be born again.
I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Nicodemus was not only a Religious man, he was a …….
B. PRESTIGIOUS MAN
According to verse (1), we find that Nicodemus was a Ruler of the Jews. He was a member of the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin was the Jewish Supreme Court of his day. This man had made it to the top of the ladder in the eyes of his society. Here was a man of religion, position and popularity and yet with all of that he was an -
C. EMPTY MAN
You see that is one of the problems with religion. Religion tells you to
* perform, get baptized
* work for your salvation, do your good deeds
* follow the 10 commandments – this is the way of salvation
The only problem is, is that your religion will leave you void, lonely and empty on the inside – never satisfied with yourself. Sad to say, there are literally thousands of church members all over America today who are religious, but they are empty! You see with religion, every time you fail, every time you sin you have to go back to the beginning and start all over again. And it is an end-less vicious circle the devil would like to keep you in so he can take you to hell.
And I believe Nicodemus was tired of living like that. The reason I say that is because Nicodemus came searching for Jesus. He knew there was something missing in his life. I believe he was tired of trying to…..
* work for his salvation
* obey a strict set of religious rules he knew he could never keep
So Nicodemus came to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me say he made the right decision.
Listen to me this morning, if you are trying to get to heaven by…….
* working your way