Seeing and Entering the Kingdom of God

John 3:1–15

[1] Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. [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.” [3] Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” [4] Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” [5] Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter 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] Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ [8] The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

[9] Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” [10] Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? [11] Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. [12] If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? [13] No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. [14] And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, [15] that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (ESV)

INTRODUCTION: The Necessity of Being Born Again (v. 5)

“Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

We cannot believe unto salvation on our own; we need the Holy Spirit to open our eyes so that we can “see” – understand – the gospel and embrace it.

1. THE MEANING OF BEING BORN AGAIN (v. 5):

Nicodemus thought being born again means going back to your mother’s womb. Others think being “born again” refers to baptism, or the water that comes out of a woman when she gives birth to a child, or the water that came out of Jesus’ side when he was pierced by a spear on the cross. Others think it refers to God’s Word, since it spiritually cleanses and washes our souls. The Greek word Jesus used however could also mean being “born from above,” and this seems to be what he actually meant. Nicodemus, being a teacher of Israel, should have been reminded of The Divine Covenant in Ezekiel 36:25-28 where God promised to sprinkle clean water on his people and to give them new hearts and a new spirit, as well as to put his Spirit in them (c.f., Isaiah 44:3-5),

2. THE MEANS OF BEING BORN AGAIN (v. 6):

a) Not by flesh (John 1:12, 13; Romans 7:18a, Romans 9:16; Romans 8:7-8; 1 Cor. 2:14)

b) But by the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:9-12; Gal. 4:6)

The Divine Comforter is the agent or the means whereby we are born again.

3. THE MANNER OF BEING BORN AGAIN (v. 7-8):

“The wind (Spirit) blows where it wishes.” Being born again rests on The Divine Choice (Matthew 16:17; Acts 16:14; Matt. 11:25; 1 Cor. 1:30)

CONCLUSION:

The Goal of Being Born Again: To understand and embrace the gospel (verse 9-15; c.f., 1 Cor. 1:18; 2:12; 2 Cor. 4:3,4,6).

The natural person neither understands nor accepts the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritual discerned, but the Spirit has revealed them to us. Despite Nicodemus’ expert knowledge of the Old Testament he could neither understand nor accept Jesus’ testimony; that’s why he needed to be born again. The Spirit had to enable him to believe in the Son of man who would be lifted up on the cross (and from the grave and into heaven) so that whoever (including Nicodemus) believes in Jesus Christ could have eternal life.

APPLICATION:

A. Be thankful that God has sovereignly chosen and called you to be born again so that you could believe and be saved.

B. Be hopeful that your preaching is not in vain. As the Spirit wills, he will enable people to believe in the gospel and to be saved.

C. Finally, be hopeful that what is impossible for man is possible with God. Yes, on our own we cannot savingly believe because our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. But let us cry out nevertheless, hoping against hope, “I believe, help thou my unbelief!” Never mind that it is impossible with man. Jesus commanded the man with the paralytic hand to do the impossible, “Stretch forth your hand.” And he did so, the impossibility of doing so notwithstanding. So let us do the impossible. Let us believe, and we shall find that the power to do so will be graciously given!

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