“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Corinthians 5:17)
TEXT: John 3:1-7
PROFILE OF NICODEMUS
Nicodemus was a ruler. He was not just a Pharisee, he was a Sanhedrin, a highest ruling class among the Pharisee. Being a Pharisee, he was a learned person in the Mosaic Law. With these qualifications in mind, you will understand why he was described as a religious leader. Perhaps we are wondering, “what is the connection of the profile of Nicodemus about the topic? It is very relevant because Nicodemus was a credible witness in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Nicodemus was on the other side among the group that persecuted Jesus Christ. However he witnessed some of the great events during the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth. Obviously he was closely and curiously monitoring all the miraculous activities in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Or perhaps every day, he received daily briefings of the miracles of Jesus Christ. He must have seen Blind Bartimaeus receiving his sight; he must have seen the deaf and mute receiving divine instantaneous healing.
Our eyes need to be opened, our mind need to be eager to pay close attention to those thing that stirred up the heart of Nicodemus. Those things that troubled him so much that made him come to Jesus Christ in the night supposed to interest us as well. If you still doubt the power of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the attestation statement of Nicodemus was strong and powerful. It was persuasive and convincing. He said “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.” Although Nicodemus acknowledged the ministry and teaching of Jesus Christ, but the cheap praises of man does not matter to Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ answered, v. 3 “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This means, witnessing of the miracles of Jesus Christ is not enough, but experiencing the power of the kingdom of God is the real deal. Nicodemus should stop being a spectator. He should begin to be spectacular. He is expected to become a force to recon with in the kingdom of God. The first step of doing this is to be born again.
vs. 4-5. To be born again is to be born of water and of the Spirit.
“To be born of water” is a spiritual regeneration by the Spirit, which is signified by washing with water in baptism as the visible sign of spiritual grace. (Ephesians 5:26-27) “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word—for His ultimate spiritual goal. It does not mean that all that are baptized only are saved. Without the new birth which is wrought by the Spirit, and signified by baptism, no one shall be looked upon as the privileged subjects of the kingdom of heaven. No man can be justified by the works of the law. We have to submit to the baptism of repentance, which is the great gospel duty. We have to be redeemed from our sins, which is the great gospel privilege.
To be born of the Spirit—In (Matthew 3:11) John revealed Jesus as the only one capable to baptizing with Holy Ghost and with fire. This is to show that when the Spirit sanctifies a soul, he cleanses and purifies it as water, takes away its filth which was unfit for the kingdom of God. This is the washing of regeneration, (Titus 3:5; I Corinthians 6:11)
COMPARISON AND CONTRAST BETWEEN THE TWO BIRTHS
v. 6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
To be born again was too great a statement to be understood by a mortal man at that time. No wonder, Nicodemus did not understand it. Jesus Christ had to explain it to him. Let us go from known natural to unknown spiritual. Every type of birth, be it natural birth or caesarean birth is a unique experience. The mother will know that she had given birth to a baby because of her physical experiences. The baby will acknowledge that he had been born, by the unique separation from his mother and by becoming a separate human entity, by breathing on his own and by crying.
- To be born again is to become a new creature, a new man, a changed person, transformation of character that comes through the renewing of the mind.
- A newly born baby is born of the will of his father and father, but when you are born again, you are born of the will of God.
- The natural birth brings you to the world of pains sorrow and affliction, but spiritual birth takes you away from the world of sin and brings you into the marvelous kingdom of God where there is no darkness. (I Corinthians 6:14-18)
- Natural birth takes place without your personal decision, but spiritual birth is your exclusive personal choice
- When you are born of the flesh, you possess the deprave human nature, but when you are born of the spirit, you possess divine nature of God. (II Corinthians 5:17)
THE NECESSITY OF THE NEW BIRTH
Another thing you will notice is that no prophet ever made this statement in the bible before. By this, a new spiritual order was established on earth. A new spiritual pathway was revealed to mankind from the only one that had divine authority to do so.
The new birth is the spiritual gateway into the kingdom of God. John 14:6. The new birth experience is not optional but compulsory for all who desire to enter into kingdom of God. This experience is variously called the salvation, regeneration, being born again, conversion and redemption. Someone labor in the Lord before we are born again into the kingdom of God. In this case, it began with our Lord Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.
- If you are not born again you cannot see the kingdom of God. You can only see the narrow gate that lead to the kingdom of God with spiritual eyes. If you cannot see it is means you are blind. In the language of the scripture, blindness is ascribed to someone that is destined to perish.
- If you are not born again you cannot grow spiritually and become mature spiritually in the Lord.
- If you are not born again you cannot gain entrance into the kingdom of God. The new birth is your spiritual entry visa to the kingdom of God. This is the requirement from Jesus Christ, the king of the Kingdom.
Christ makes it further necessary, by his own word: v. 7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, You must be born again”
Jesus Christ demanded for this important spiritual injunction from mankind. He was baptized by John was to fulfill all righteousness. He is the brilliant evidence of the righteous and holy characters of God. He is not required to be born again like every one of us because Jesus Christ is the word incarnate. He is the revelation of the personality of God on earth. Therefore He is God. He is the one that came from above to teach mankind the ways of the kingdom of God. He has spoken and he can never take these words back—that we must be born again. Why? This takes us to learn some of the profile of our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Jesus Christ is the great Lawgiver. His will is the law and commandment that every mankind should obey,
- —He is the great Mediator of the new covenant, and has full power to settle the terms of our redemption and reconciliation with God
- —He is the great Physician of all souls. He knows the sinful states of mankind and what is necessary for their cure,
- —He hath said, to all mankind that desire to see the kingdom of heaven, whether you are a ruler or a subject, whether you are rich or poor, whether you are a leader or a servant, whether you are strong or weak, whether you are white or black, “You must be born again” no one is exempted.
- What Adam and Eve lost in the Garden of Eden is the nature of God and holy and righteous characters of God. Jesus came to this world to right the wrong, to restore and to inculcate the way of heaven to humanity.
STEPS TO THE NEW BIRTH
a. Acknowledge your sinful state. Romans 3:23
b. Repent from all your sins. Mark 1:15
c. Recognize that you need a Savior
d. Believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins (John 3:16)
e. Invite Jesus into your life as your personal Savior and Lord (Revelation 3:20)
f. Believe that yours sins are forgiven and you are born again (John 1:12)
g. Continue in the newness of life in Christ Jesus