New Birth | Born Again | John 3
As John 3 opens, one of the Jewish leaders, a man by the name of Nicodemus came to see Jesus. John 3:2 // 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.” Jesus talking back to Nicodemus speaks the matter of the new birth.
John 3:3 // Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (You cannot see heaven unless you are born again)
John 3:7 // You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.
At this Nicodemus was very confused. John 3:4-6 // “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. Jesus emphasized the need of the new birth to have eternal life.
Some misconceptions about the new birth.
1. Religious observance is not the new birth.
John 3:1-2 // Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.
John makes sure that we know that Nicodemus is a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. The Pharisees were the most religious of all the Jewish groups. To this one, Jesus says: John 3:3 // Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.
So the points is: All of Nicodemus’ religion, all of his amazing discipline, and law-keeping, observation of tradition cannot give him the new birth or heaven.
Titus 3:5 // He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done. What Nicodemus needs, and what you and I need, is not religion but a person Jesus Christ to go heaven.
2. Knowledge about God does not give the new birth.
If I ask, “How many of you know about Jesus Christ?” Everyone will rise your hands. That is Good but that does not guarantee the new birth. New birth is experiencing Jesus Christ, receiving Jesus into one’s heart and life, not just the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
John 3:2 // He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
In other words, Nicodemus sees in Jesus a genuine divine activity.
He admits that Jesus is from God. Jesus does the works of God. To this, Jesus does not respond by saying, “I wish everyone in Palestine could see the truth that you see about me.”
John 3:3 // Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” You must be born again or you will never see the kingdom of God.
Knowing the Bible, knowledge about God, seeing signs and wonders, being amazed at them, does not save anybody. Giving the miracle worker, Jesus credit does not give the new birth. The devil himself knows that Jesus is the Son of God and works miracles. Mark 1:24 // I know who you are—the Holy One of God!
Therefore, religious activity or knowledge of God does not guarantee new birth or heaven for a person. Man needs something else to go to heaven.
How can one be born again?
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brings about the new birth.
John 3:16 // For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (that is Jesus), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Titus 3:5-7 // He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
1 John 5:11-12 // And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ brings about the new birth. The new birth enables us to have eternal life.
What happens at the new birth?
A person becomes a new Creation.
2 Corinthians 5:17 // Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! New birth is the experience of a new creation in us, transformation in our life, a new lifestyle, turning back from the old life. That should be seen evidently in a person who is born again.
How does that new creation happen?
John 3:5 // Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus was confused of the term ‘born of the water and the Spirit.’
John 3:10 // Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?” Jesus is asking, “You read and memorize the OT and you don’t understand what I am talking here from the OT?”
In the OT, water and the Spirit are the cleansing and the creation agent.
Genesis 1:2 // The spirit of the Lord was hovering over the waters. The clearest illustration is in Ezekiel 36. Ezekiel is prophesying what God will do for his people when he brings them back from exile in Babylon. What God will do for his people when he cleanses their sin? The implications here are much larger than just for the people of Israel, because Jesus came to forgive us our sins and give us eternal life in heaven. We are the NT Israel.
Ezekiel 36:24-28 “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. (In the NT, present there is a gathering of saints. We are presently gathered from all countries and tribes and languages by giving us a new life for our new city in heaven. How does God do that?)
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; and I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
So how the new creation happen?
a. Forgiveness of sins.
Ezekiel 36:25 // I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; and I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. The moment we believe in Jesus we are forgiven of all our sins. Cleaned, made pure.
b. Cleansed person receives a new heart.
Ezekiel 36:26 // I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; also I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
A heart transplant takes place. God takes out the heart of stone and puts in a heart of flesh. The heart of stone means unresponsive to God, never regretted to do sin was taken out and God pus in a new heart. Now the heart is soft, living, feeling.
So in the new birth, the new birth, our dead, stony heart is replaced by a heart that feels sin, heart that is spiritually receptive, that can be moulded by God.
c. God deposits the Holy Spirit into that heart.
Ezekiel 36:27 // And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
The Spirit of God is deposited in the new heart so that we will obey his commands. The old heart cannot obey God. The Spirit of the Lord works in our new heart of flesh and moulds us into the person that he wants us to be. He moulds us into the image of his son, Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:7 // But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Now, when we say that a new spirit or a new heart, is given to us, we don’t mean that we cease to be the human being that we have always been before the new birth. I am the individual human being, Shine. Before I was born again, and I am same person after I was born again. There is a flesh continuity in a new man, that’s why there has to be continuous cleansing.
But then we continue to live in this body and there is the need of water cleansing until we die.
We know that the Bible tells us that our old self was crucified (Romans 6:6), and that we have died with Christ (Colossians 3:3), we are to “consider ourselves dead” (Romans 6:11), and “put off the old self” (Ephesians 4:22). But none of that means that the old nature is not working in us. It means that there was an old nature, an old character, or principle that props up now and then, that needs to be done away with, and cleansing is a continuous process.
So when a man is born again, that new heart is grieved with every sin, because it is God who is working in that heart. That heart asks for forgiveness and the cleanses happens again.
Ezekiel 36:27 // And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. So in the new birth we become a new creature because there is continuous cleansing with the water and the spirit, we have a new heart that is sensitive to sin, and is being transformed by the presence of the Spirit into the kind of heart that loves to do the will of God.
To watch a sermon on ‘ETERNITY’, click the YouTube link.
The result of new birth:
1. Eternal life
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (that is Jesus), that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
2. Saved from God’s wrath
John 3:18 “He who believes in Him (Jesus) is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 3:36 // He who believes in the Son (Jesus) has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
3. World over comers
1 John 5:4-5 // ….for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
Faith—the key to victory. Because faith is the way we experience being born of God.
1 John 4:4 // You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
Romans 8:35 // Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? (Now that we have been given the new birth, we have been washed by his blood, given a new heart, and put God’s Spirit is in us) Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Difficulties can come in the life of a believer, sometimes terrible difficulties but..
Romans 8:37-39 // No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Now let me ask you this. You have come to the most important part of this message: Are you born again? If your answer is no or I don’t think so, then let me invite you to receive the new birth from God the Holy Spirit right now. All you need to do is believe.
I know I am a sinner and I need to be born again. Also, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that he came to pay my penalty for my sins. I believe he rose from the grave and he is alive. So I am asking you please give me the new birth. Please save me Lord. Rescue me from my sins. Take me to heaven when I leave this life.
To the born again friends are you walking in the new life and the supernatural experience every day of your life. Or is your heart hard like stone today. It is sin that makes our heat hard. You have lost your sensitivity to God.
Revelation 3:1-3 // To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.