What Did Jesus Mean When He Said, ‘You Must Be Born Again’? Part 3 (Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign #24)

John 3:1-15:

1 There 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.

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?

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.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

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.

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.

Today, I am continuing the daily Just Jesus Evangelistic Campaign sermon series, which is aimed at sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ with unbelievers and reminding Christians, in this important election year, to keep the main thing the main thing — and that is reaching unbelievers with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and praying for their salvation, for the problem in America is not only disobedient presidents and politicians but disobedient pastors, preachers, and parishioners who have refused to obey God’s Great Commission and who have refused to obey God’s repeated commands to “pray without ceasing” for unbelievers, believers, and political leaders. Yes, you should pray for the right candidate too win; yes, you should vote for the candidate that the Lord gives you peace about voting for. But, don’t get caught up in it like the world does. Nothing much is going to change until people get saved and get their hearts right with the Lord.

This campaign is inspired by the following three verses: 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, “For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” Acts 5:42 which says, “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.” And 2 Timothy 2:4 which says, “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

This series is not for Christians necessarily. However, I do hope you are one of those saints who still loves to hear the “Old, old story of Jesus and His love” — As the hymn says, “For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.” This series is primarily for unbelievers, so they can hear and understand the Gospel and be saved from sin and the punishment of sin which is hell. This is message number 24.

Chuck Smith said, “A person apart from the new birth lives a life that is dominated by his fleshly desires. His body rules over his soul and spirit. In fact, his spirit is dead…. But when a person is born of the Spirit, the spirit becomes alive and begins to rule within his life, and now his mind is occupied with the things of the Spirit, with how he might please God, in the worship of God, in the opening up of his life and his heart to the things of God and of His Spirit. A mind dominated by the Spirit is called the mind of the Spirit, which is life and peace and joy.”

As Jesus continues explaining to Nicodemus what it means to be born again, He expresses to Him that there is a part of it that he will never really understand. He compares the work of the Spirit of God in the heart of the believer to the way the wind blows. He says, “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.”

It is like the popular children’s poem by Christina Rossetti:

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

No one sees the wind; no one knows where it is coming from or where it is going. But we see the evidence of the wind when we see leaves trembling or trees bending. The Holy Spirit works the same way. We can’t see the sinner being born again. We can’t put the process in a test tube and reproduce it or study it. But it does take place. We see the evidence in the changed life of the individual. As I have said in the past, we may not be able to understand it all, but we believe it all and thank God for it all. That is what Jesus is telling Nicodemus.

Nicodemus responds, “How can these things be?” He is still trying to grasp this with his earthly mindset. Rules, regulations, and obedience to the law are things he can examine and see. He can wrap his mind around that. This being “born again” that Jesus is talking about is foreign to him. However, Jesus evidently does not think it should be; He responds with a statement of astonishment himself. “Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”

Nicodemus, as a Pharisee, knew the law backwards and forwards. However, he and his fellow Pharisees had only studied the letter of the law and completely missed the spirit. They thought salvation was in the keeping of the law, and did not realize that the law and the rituals prescribed therein pointed forward to the ministry of the Messiah who would carry out the fulfillment of the law.

Next, Jesus says, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.” Notice that Jesus suddenly speaks in the plural. He says, “We speak.” Who is the “we” here? Well, according to Old Testament law, no testimony could be accepted unless it was verified by two or three witnesses. Scholars believe that the “we” Jesus is speaking of is either Himself along with the Old Testament writers or Himself along with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Matthew Henry says, “Some understand it to mean those that bore witness to him and with him on earth, the prophets and John Baptist; they spoke what they knew, and had seen, and were themselves abundantly satisfied in. Others understand it to mean those that bore witness from heaven, the Father and the Holy Ghost; the Father was with him, the Spirit of the Lord was upon him; therefore he speaks in the plural.” I believe that it is not either-or, but both-and. I believe that it was God the Father, God the Holy Spirit and Jesus along with the prophets, John the Baptist, and the Word of God. Jesus satisfied the requirements for establishing a testimony as truthful in the eyes of the law and a man who studied the law such as Nicodemus.

Jesus goes on to gently chide Nicodemus, saying, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” Jesus had spoken of birth, water, and wind to describe being born again to Nicodemus. He had also alluded to the law as evidence that pointed toward the new birth that the Messiah would bring. If Nicodemus could not grasp it now, there was no way He would be able to grasp it if Jesus told him of the higher things of God.

Jesus had put the cookies on the lowest shelf. He used things that Nicodemus was familiar with to describe how being born again could take place. Jesus wanted Nicodemus to enter into the kingdom of God; that is why He goes to such lengths to explain this to him.

Jesus also wants you to be a part of His kingdom. And, as the writer of this Gospel states, “these things were written that ye might believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and believing, ye might have life through his name.” The question, ladies and gentlemen, is: Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Are you willing to believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Will you believe? Like Nicodemus, you might not understand how it all works. But you don’t have to understand everything about the new birth to be born again. All you have to do is trust Jesus Christ, and that is what I am going to show you how to do right now.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “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.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to GospelLightSociety.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please e-mail me at gls@gospellightsociety.com and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.

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