Ye Must be Born Again
(John chapter 3, verses 1 through 16)
1. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
Nicodemus was a Pharisee. Pharisees were very familiar with God’s word and very careful about following the letter of the law. They were very religious people. Not only was Nicodemus a Pharisee, but he was a ruler of the Pharisees.
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.
Nicodemus, unlike many of the Pharisees, was an honest man. He knew that Jesus had to be from God and was willing to say so. This was a good first step. People often come to God one step at a time.
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.
Jesus was not one to beat around the bush. He got right to the point….right to the greatest need of Nicodemus’ life. Perhaps this is the greatest need in your life.
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?
Nicodemus, like so many people, heard what God was saying to him, but don’t yet understand it. God had planted a seed in Nicodemus’ heart and it had begun to grow.
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.
You see, Jesus wasn’t talking about the physical birth, but the spiritual birth. Nicodemus was attempting to understand spiritual things in an earthly manner, and that will never work.
7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
When Jesus told Nicodemus that he must do something, it was imperative that Nicodemus heed his words. By the way, the word “ye” is a plural pronoun. What Jesus told Nicodemus applies to all. I believe that Nicodemus ultimately did heed Jesus’ words. Later, Nicodemus objected to the condemnation of Jesus by other Pharisees (John 7:50), and he brought embalming materials for Jesus’ body after his death (John 19:39).
8. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
10. Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
Nicodemus was recognized as a “master” of his religion, but he had not yet come to understand the basics.
11. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
Jesus was simply giving Nicodemus the foundation facts, but they were not being accepted by Nicodemus at this time or by his peers. You see, it is one thing to hear with the ears, but quite another to accept with the heart.
12. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
God often uses earthly examples to help us understand heavenly things. We see this all around us in nature. Who can look at the complexity and marvelous interaction of animals and plants on earth and honestly believe that these things all came about by accident? God says that he has created these things to be a witness to his power and wisdom.
13. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
This speaks of Christ’s omnipresence (his ability to be everywhere at once).
14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Here Jesus uses an Old Testament example (which Nicodemus would have been very familiar with) to help Nicodemus understand.
16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Here Jesus speaks some of the greatest and clearest words ever spoken in all of history. He speaks them to this lost man who is struggling to understand. He speaks them to all today who are struggling to understand. He is very patient.
Are you struggling to understand?
Perhaps you are religious (or perhaps not).
Perhaps you know the Bible very well (or perhaps you don’t).
It does not matter. Heed God’s words to you.
Ye must be born again.
The story of how God used this message:
I gave this message at a care facility for the elderly one day. There was a woman in a wheelchair in attendance whose name was Jean. She listened attentively to the message and at the end looked up and asked “Is it too late for me?”. Her question just about knocked me over! Rarely would anyone ask me such an important and direct question. “No Jean, it’s not too late for you”, I replied. We talked at length, I showed her more scripture, and I explained that salvation was between her and God and that if she really understood and sincerely wanted to be saved that there was nothing keeping her from going to God and asking him to forgive and save her. Jean said that she was ready and that she wanted to be saved. She bowed her head and prayed.
Jean’s eyesight was poor so I gave her a giant print KJV Bible. Her speech wasn’t very good either but, in halting words, she said “That’s….the best gift….anyone ever…gave me. I….can’t….thank you….enough.” When I arrived at the care facility the following week the staff told me that Jean had been reading that Bible day and night. I explained to her that salvation cannot be lost and she said, “Oh, that is wonderful!” One day, a few weeks later, I gave Jean’s testimony to her family and friends and sang at her memorial service.
I was only the messenger. To God be the glory.
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