Last week….

– Jesus wants us to celebrate the life we have been given he enjoyed celebrations and will give us the best. He even cares about the little things you are concerned about

– He is the purifier when we have blown it he is faithful to cleanse us 

– We are the temple of God and as such He calls us to remember our calling and not get caught up with all the stuff in life, even good things to always remember to put him first Love God and love people enough to show them the one who loves you the most.

– He is always looking for ways to draw us back to himself and help us to remember all the good he has done for us.

John 3:1,2

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. 2 After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Nicodemus according to the Talmud the group of Jewish writings based on the oral traditions of the Jewish people, tells us Nicodemus was one of the four richest men in all of Jerusalem at the time and he became of follower of Jesus. His family was also very influential politically as 40 yers after this meeting with Jesus Nicodemus’ son negotiated the treaty with the Romans before the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. In the Greek, this narrative suggest that Nicodemus was not just a leader and teacher but he was “the” most venerated teacher in the ruling council, the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus comes to Jesus not as a solitary individual but the “we all know” suggests that he was representing a faction of the leaders in Jerusalem. They had heard of his miracles and understood the righteousness of cleansing the temple and knew he was God-inspired but he wanted to know if Jesus was indeed the Chosen one.

John 3: 3,4

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” 4 “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?

Nicodemus is really asking two questions. The Greek word “see” the Kingdom of God means not just to look upon but to perceive, grasp, fully understand….so Nicodemus is asking can a person understand God’s kingdom and what is the process of getting there. Nicodemus was giving a ridicules response to a peculiar answer from Jesus. 

The phrase “born again” is more effectively translated being “born from above,” they have the same meaning  but in today’s culture understanding it is a work only God can do through us if we allow him is important because so many try to earn their salvation and try to be good enough to be saved but it is an act of surrendering to God that we choose and then He does the work in us

Let me ask you are you born from above are you born again…

Paul said this regarding the concept…

2 Corinthians 5:17

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

Titus 3:4,5

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Being born again is

– recognizing that heaven is real and your goodness doesn’t give you the keys to entrance it is only by accepting that you can’t be good enough, your sin makes you ineligible for heaven but Jesus laid down his life so you might have life he is the free gift for you to enter heaven if you give your life to him

It is also about starting the process of sanctification that is a big theological word for daily choosing to live your life growing to reflect Jesus more to a broken world…Paul said the old life is gone and new life begun…good is everything has been forgiven, you are on the road to becoming who you were created to be…bad is you have to choose to walk away from people and things that are not really who you are

If you haven’t done that and are ready to do that you will have a chance for someone to pray and agree with you at the end of the service

John 3:5-10

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

9 “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

10 Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?

Some use this passage as a apologetic for believing the Jesus is mandating baptism as a requirement for salvation. The Problem with that is baptism then become a “work” unto salvation when we are saved not by works but… 

For by grace, you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9 (NKJV)

So what is Jesus talking about we don’t have inflection here but allow me to try to explain the way Jesus is saying this..

No one can enter the Kingdom by merely being born a natural way, the birth must be a spiritual one….every person is born naturally of water…as a human you naturally reproduce this way but  but to enter the Kingdom there has to be a Spiritual rebirth you must be born from above you must have a regeneration that only the Spirit can produce in you.

Jesus is scolding this teacher of the law saying you don’t yet understand God’s heart for people to reach them and give them new hearts always…the old testament teaches this and that is why Jesus is scolding him basically if you have really studied the word with God’s eyes you would have seen this one quick example is Ezekiel 36: 24-27

For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

God is speaking through the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel and saying I will cleanse you, I will give you a new heart (God does not repair hearts he gives new ones) my Spirit will fill you and you will be able to walk in real relationship with me….that is what it means to be born again or born from above

John 3:11-13

I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. 12 But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven.

Notice Jesus is saying “we” here. He is sharing with Nicodemus that he is not merely speaking for himself but all three are present in this conversation….He is challenging this teacher to go deeper than the standard walk of faith….like many today Nicodemus was probably satisfied to walk out his walk of faith just like everyone else…..because Jesus hadn’t gone to the cross yet, all the righteous dead were in a place called Abraham’s bosom no one had yet entered into heaven but Jesus came from there and is trying to help Nicodemus go deeper….and he takes him to a place in scripture to explain something that is not explained anywhere in the Old Testament.

John 3:14,15

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

The nation of Israel was complaining against God and Moses so God lifted his hand of protection and serpents whose bite felt like fire were allowed to bite the complainers…They asking Moses for forgiveness and relief and God told Moses to make a snake out of bronze and but it on a staff and as people looked on it they were healed…..a serpent represents sin and the bronze was used outside of the holy of holies it was used to contain all that was needed to be prepared for the holy of holies everything in the holy of holies was made of purest gold. This was an odd request from God as it made it appear as an idol, in fact we see in Hezekiah’s time (2 Kings 18:4) (700 years later) it was still around and being worshiped as an idol. But what it was, was a prophecy of what Jesus would do, go to the cross and become sin for us so we might be able to come into the presence of God and have eternal life….we also need to understand from this that some things God uses in our lives for our good can become idols….well this is the way God always does things we say, rather than allowing God to do something new in us…it is easy to get stuck when God wants to keep moving us forward

Jesus is taking Nicodemus deeper so he understands the ultimate purpose for the son of God.

John 3:16,17

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Jesus explains this is how to be born from above. God gave and we have to believe but what does it mean to “believe”

In the Gospel of John, the verb translated “believe” is often followed by the Greek preposition eis (“into”). No parallel exists for this in ancient Greek usage. For John, faith is not a status, but an investment in the person of Jesus. Faith means accepting who Jesus is and what he claims to be. Faith constitutes a commitment to let his call change the way we live. Faith is the work God wants from us (6:29) as we abide in Jesus’ word, as we love him, and as we obey his commands

For many years and for many people the churches focus was on God’s judgment on mankind for the Pharisees this was a common thought as well and Jesus dispels that thought here with Nicodemus.

John 3:18-21

There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 19 And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. 20 All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. 21 But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”

There is no judgment when you know your sins have been forgiven, that Jesus has paid the price for all of them and God wants that close loving relationship with you. Christ light was revealed, the night of his birth to shepherds and a whole city was awakened by crazy shepherd….Christ light was revealed when the wise men came and set the whole city on edge and the Sanhedrin sent scholars to explain the prophecy of where the messiah would be born. Christ light was revealed when as a twelve-year old boy confounded the Sanhedrin with his wisdom and knowledge Christ light was revealed with a voice from heaven said this is my son and now it is being revealed as Jesus gives insight and wisdom to “the” teacher of the pharisees but even some closest to this revelation did not get it…

That is where we will pick it up next week…

Being born from above is a requirement to make it into heaven, fortunately God made the way by allowing his Son to go to a cross take on your sin and my sin..

Being born from above is an ongoing process the believing in Jesus requires us to grow and change to accept the life he designed us for

The judgment of God is on all those who have refused God but his blessings on all who chose to surrender daily to him

Where are you today? Can you say you are born again, born from above? If not, let us pray for you today….if you are and you aren’t seeing your life transformed make the decision to start allowing God to do that through you so you become who you where designed to be…don’t allow the mistakes and failures of your past control your future…you have been made new!

John 3: 22- 35

Then Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem and went into the Judean countryside. Jesus spent some time with them there, baptizing people.

23 At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism. 24 (This was before John was thrown into prison.) 25 A debate broke out between John’s disciples and a certain Jew over ceremonial cleansing. 26 So John’s disciples came to him and said, “Rabbi, the man you met on the other side of the Jordan River, the one you identified as the Messiah, is also baptizing people. And everybody is going to him instead of coming to us.”

27 John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven. 28 You yourselves know how plainly I told you, ‘I am not the Messiah. I am only here to prepare the way for him.’ 29 It is the bridegroom who marries the bride, and the bridegroom’s friend is simply glad to stand with him and hear his vows. Therefore, I am filled with joy at his success. 30 He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

31 “He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. We are of the earth, and we speak of earthly things, but he has come from heaven and is greater than anyone else. 32 He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but how few believe what he tells them! 33 Anyone who accepts his testimony can affirm that God is true. 34 For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands.