1There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
When we read this scripture we immediately find a man by the name of Nicodemus.
• Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jewish nation.
• In fact, we understand that he was in fact a Pharisees.
The name Pharisee in its Hebrew form means separatists, or the separated ones.
• They were also known as Chasidim, which means loyal to God, or loved of God –
• This is extremely ironic in view of the fact that, they were the most bitter, and deadly, opponents of Jesus Christ and His message.
The Pharisees perhaps meant to obey God, but eventually they became so devoted and extremist in very limited parts of The Law (plus all that they themselves added to it), that they became blind to The Messiah when He was in their very midst.
• They saw His miracles, they heard His Words, but instead of receiving it with joy, they did all that they could to stop Him
• Eventually to the point of getting Him killed.
Jesus Christ had strong words about the Pharisees…
These Pharisees thought that by observing the law of the Old Testament that they could somehow earn their way into Heaven.
• They thought that by living and observing a lifestyle of religious laws and rules, they could make their way into Heaven.
• They thought their righteousness would cause them to be saved.
• They thought their goodness would be good enough.
These Pharisees had a very limited view of God.
• They had a very limited view of Heaven.
They thought it was all as simple as doing the right things to get God’s favor.
• They thought it was all about acting the right way in order to get into Heaven.
• Somehow your righteousness could get you enough points that eventually (If You Were Good Enough & Did The Right Things) you could go to Heaven.
That’s what the Pharisees thought in that day
• And that’s what Pharisees think today.
These Pharisees were a religious sect of the Jewish order in the day of Jesus, but you don’t find many people today professing to be a Pharisee.
• But it amazes me that although one would never call themself a Pharisee, so many still have this kind of understanding concerning the Kingdom of God.
• There are many people today who believe that they can earn their way into heaven.
• There are many people today who believe that if they follow some strict list of do’s and don’ts that they will be saved.
• Even religious people. Even Church people. Even Christian people too often believe that they can or have to somehow earn their way into heaven.
• You and I have to understand what Jesus wanted Nicodemus to understand and that is this.
• Our righteous, no matter how good it is, is never going to be good enough to get us into Heaven.
“For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:20)
So these Pharisees, lived by these religious rule sets
• And they believed that by strictly living by these that they would be saved.
And Nicodemus is a ruler of these people.
• He’s one of their preachers.
• He’s the guy going around and telling other people how they should live in order to get to heaven.
• He’s the one with a pointed finger whenever someone get’s off track.
• He’s the one with the ruler deciding who is living right and who is living wrong.
• And Jesus says to Him, “Ye Must Be Born Again” – For unless you are Born Again, you are never going to even see the Kingdom of God.”
Jesus went directly to the point.
• He’s got a message for Nicodemus and He’s hoping that he will take it to the rest of the Pharisees.
• And it’s recorded here in the book of John so that anyone coming along after Nicodemus who thought that their good deeds or religious living could get them into Heaven could hear the rebuke and correction of Jesus…
• “Ye Must Be Born Again!”
It’s got nothing to do with if I do everything just right. It’s got nothing to do with my own righteousness.
• But it has everything to do with the Redemptive Power of God.
• It has everything to do with being Born Again.
• It has everything to do with His ability to save us when there is no way we can save ourselves!
Here’s the mistake so many people make.
• They think they can save themselves.
• They think they can Earn God’s favor.
Psalm 14:3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
As good as you or I can ever get is never going to be good enough to get us to Heaven…
• We need a savior.
• We need Jesus.
• And according to Him, we need to be born again.
• So many people think they can do it on their own.
• So many people think they can do it their own way.
I heard Oprah say one day, “There are many roads that lead to God.”
• Oh Really…?, because I hear Jesus saying in the book of John here, “Ye Must Be Born Again”!
• Ephesians 4:5 Tells us there is One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
• And that baptism is the same baptism that Jesus was referring to when he told Nicodemus in John 3 verse 5, “ …Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
But why should we be born again?
• What’s wrong with the life we’ve been living?
• Why can’t we just keep going the way we’ve been going?
1 Peter 1:23 23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Our physical man was born unto sin.
• But our spirit man needs to be born unto the Spirit of God.
Nicodemus asked Jesus: 4 …How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
• Now this does not make any sense to Nicodemus at all…
• Can a man be born again when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mothers womb and be born?
I don’t know if Nicodemus is being sarcastic or if he sincere, but it you don’t understand what the scriptures say, this sounds like a perfectly normal question.
• What do you mean “I have to be Born Again”?
• How in the world does that happen.
• Jesus answered that question for Nicodemus and he answered it for us here today…
• Vs 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
So here Jesus give us the process necessary for an individual to be born again.
You say, this doesn’t make sense to me at all…
• How can baptism and receiving the Holy Spirit into my life cause me to be Born Again?
• First: you have to understand that what I am teaching to you today is not of this world.
• I’m teaching you something that is a Spiritual requisite of God.
Vs 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Vs 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
We are not talking about a Physical birth here… We are talking about a Spiritual Re-birth!
Acts 2:36-38 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
This Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit infilling is what Jesus was talking about when He said a person had to be born of the Spirit.
• To be Spiritually Born Again is the greatest Privilege God has given any human being.
What an amazing opportunity that we have today.
• All of our past erased.
• All of our sins washed away.
• All of the stuff that we’ve done wrong, never to be brought up before God again.
• To be Born Again is to have a fresh start Spiritually.
• To be Born Again is God’s way of making an opportunity for each of us to have the opportunity to make it to Heaven.
Ye Must Be Born Again!