You Must Be Born Again!
"You Must Be Born Again!"
Go so Loved – John 3-11-21
Last time we began chapter 3 with Nicodemus coming to Jesus by night, and saying he knows Jesus is a teacher come from God; for no one could do the miracles He was doing, unless God is with Him.
Jesus’ response to him was, “no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again from above.” If Nicodemus knows Jesus has come from God, Jesus has a message for this man, but Nicodemus does not understand this answer, and asks can a man enter into his mother’s womb and be born again. Jesus again tells him that unless he is born again from above, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Finally Jesus asks this respected Jewish teacher, “How is it you are the teacher of the Jews and you do not know these things? Today we begin at verse 11 and study one of the most familiar and important passages in the Bible. The focus turns from Nicodemus as a teacher and leader, to God’s gift of salvation and eternal life.
11 Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and you receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man has 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 whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
What does Jesus mean when He says “We” speak what We do know, and testify what We have seen? The word We is plural and capitalized, meaning that it is speaking of God. The Father is giving testimony of His Son, and the Spirit of God testifies of Jesus. They are the only Ones who have come down from and speak of what the kingdom of God and Heaven is like, but Nicodemus has not believed or understood what Jesus is saying.
If Jesus told him if earthly things and he does not understand or believe, how shall he understand if He tells him spiritual things and about heaven? The next verse again shows that salvation is from God in heaven. No man has gone up from earth to heaven to bring salvation down, but He that came down from heaven, His normal dwelling place, has brought salvation to mankind. Just as we cannot control the wind that comes from who knows where and goes to the same, we cannot control when and how the Spirit of God comes, and brings eternal life to people. The One who came from heaven, is the way to heaven. But how is God going to accomplish this?
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Jesus refers to an OT example Nicodemus would be very familiar with. When the children of Israel rebelled against God in the wilderness, God allowed fiery serpents to bite them. They confessed they had sinned against Moses and God and Moses interceded for them. God instructed Moses to make a bronze image of the serpent, put it up on a pole near the tent of meeting, and whoever had been bitten and poisoned by the snake, looked in faith at that serpent, would be saved from death.
Why would God use an image, of the consequence of their sin, to heal their rebellion? Mankind has a sinful nature that has poisoned our minds and bodies. The serpent on the pole was without life or venom. We must look to our sin, and confess it to God, for the poisonous effect of that sin to be mediated. We must become dead to our trespasses and sin, we are forgiven and released from its bondage.
Like that serpent, Jesus must be lifted up, but on a cross. Then He would go into the ground in a borrowed tomb, and be lifted up from the grave and death. Finally He was lifted up from the earth to heaven. Jesus death on the cross was the Father’s way of paying the penalty for man’s sin. He satisfies His justice by placing the sin of the world on Jesus; and shows His love by saving anyone who believes and trusts Jesus for their salvation.
Just as the Bible says “Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as righteousness.” So God saves on the same basis in the NT as He did in the OT. Faith in God; and now this faith is being anchored in the person of God’s Son, the Son of Man, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The sinless Son of God would be lifted up on the cross, and faith in Him by His completed work on the cross, is imputed as righteousness to whosoever will believe in Him.
The offer of believing, is eternal life. Eternal life has a quantity, which is forever, and ever, and ever…It cannot end, nor be lost if truly received by genuine faith in Jesus. There is also a quality of that life, it is the life of a child of the King; becoming more like Jesus. Jesus will offer abundant life, life full of the presence and favor of God. Victory over sin’s dominion or control over our life. This abundant life is also eternal with it’s abundance that is also to be revealed at coming of the Lord Jesus.
But why would God the Father do something like this? To allow His Son to suffer and die for evil, rebellious men? Let’s look at verse 16.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
For God, the greatest power in all the universe. So loved, the greatest emotion in the world; the world, the greatest number of people. Not the planet, but the people He created by special creation. His only begotten Son; the unique only Son of God, there is none like Him anytime, any where. Why? That whosoever believes in Him; that believe He is the only way to salvation, and faith in His completed work on the cross will bring acceptance and salvation to the sinful soul.
Just as you had faith in the pews here today, and did not test them to see if they would hold you up, you placed all your weight on that pew; we must place all our life, our present and our future in His control. It is called surrender to the Spirit of God, who convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment; and will justify, save, seal, and deliver who ever believes in the name of Jesus. The name represents everything of the person or object so named. (Children’s sermon – a nickel.)
Whosoever believes, has a genuine complete faith in the saving power of Jesus Christ, shall not perish. Perish does not mean be destroyed into meaningless oblivion to never be heard of again; but to be consigned to eternal pain and torment, as the just punishment for our lifetime of rebellion against God. That is the fate of all who refuse to believe in Jesus.
But have eternal life. The choice is ours, and every person; man and woman, boy and girl must make a decision whether they will believe and trust Jesus in this life, and saved from the penalty of their sin. Or reject God’s testimony of His perfect Son, and be cast into hell, eternally separated from God, light, and anything good, to suffer the guilty penalty of sin.
God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the people of the world, but that they might be saved. To be saved, they must come by faith to trust in Jesus. The Holy, Righteous, Son of God could condemn every sinner; but He came to seek them and reveal the salvation of God in a way they might believe and be saved. Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery, where are you accusers? Jesus just told the Jews, “He that has no sin may cast the first stone and stone her.” “There are none, Lord” was her reply. Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” Jesus calls us all to come to Him, and after being forgiven by Jesus, we are to go and live for Him; not our own sinful way.
There will come a time when He will condemn the world, this world system that is in rebellion against God and His anointed Son, Jesus. But His first coming is to reveal the Father and His righteousness. He came to offer grace and salvation, to suffer and die for the sins of the world. To become the way to the Father.
WAY? Have you come to see Jesus as the only way to the Father? Have you placed all your faith in Him? If not, you can do that right now, today.
Are you growing in your faith in Him? The Bible says were to grow in the knowledge and faith of the Lord Jesus. If we are not growing closer to Him, then what’s happening? We are drifting away from Him.