How to be Born Again

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →

Three agents that are involved when a person comes to salvation.

John 3:1–15 ESV
1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 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.” 3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter 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 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” 9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

The Seeker (vv. 1-4)

The Spirit (vv. 5-8)

The Savior (vv. 9-15)

In most major decisions in life we employ some kind of agent. We employ insurance agents, and real estate agents. All of these agents take an active role in whatever it is that needs to be done. In our text for today we’ll see three agents that are involved when a person comes to salvation.
The Seeker (vv. 1-4)
Explanation of who Nicodemus is - The first agent involved when a person comes to salvation is the person themselves, the seeker. In our text that person is Nicodemus, who comes to Jesus and says, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs unless God is with him.” Nicodemus, verse 1 tells us, is a Pharisee, the Pharisees were a certain sect of the Jews that we very conservative and strict in the adherence to the OT Law. They were people who taught the Law themselves, and would have memorized entire books of the OT.
Religious people need Jesus - Nicodemus is one of these guys, but he still seeks after Jesus. Religious/moral people need Jesus. It doesn’t matter how moral you are or appear to be to other people, you still need to be saved. It doesn’t matter how much of your Bible you know, or how often you come to church, you need salvation. It doesn’t matter how well thought of you are in the community, if you don’t ever come to salvation, none of that matters. All of us, from the most moral to most immoral need to seek salvation.
Seekers can be cowardly - Sometimes this seeking after God isn’t done very boldly or courageously, sometimes it’s done at night, when no one else can see us. See, not everybody is like some of the disciples, who get called by Jesus very publicly to come follow Him and they obey. Sometimes people who are honestly seeking God can be very intimidated and scared of what others might think of their seeking. Jesus never rebukes Nicodemus for the way that he was seeking. Instead, Jesus showed Nicodemus how to have eternal life.
Seekers can be confused - We also see in our text is that Nicodemus comes to Jesus and tells Jesus all that he knows about Him, which honestly isn’t much. In verse 2 Nicodemus says… READ VERSE 2. Nicodemus shows us in this verse that he recognizes that something is different about Jesus, but he doesn’t really see Jesus for who He is. Nicodemus just thinks that Jesus has come from God to teach people. Often the best seekers are those that are the most confused. It’s the confusion that we have about life that causes us to seek after God.
Born again & from above - Jesus tells Nicodemus… READ VERSE 3. Nicodemus learns through his seeking that he needs to be “born again” in order to be saved. This word that’s translated here as “again” in the Greek is an adverb that describes the place from which you’re born. It can be translated two different ways. It can be translated as born “again” meaning a repetition, or it can mean born “from above” meaning from heaven. Jesus is teaching Nicodemus that in order to see the kingdom of God, to be a part of God’s family, you have to be born “again” and that birth is from above.
Nicodemus doesn’t understand - verse 4 tells us that Nicodemus doesn’t understand what Jesus is trying to teaching him. He asks how can you go back into your mother’s womb and be born a second time? And this is what leads Jesus into talking about the 2nd agent that’s involved in salvation.
II. The Spirit (vv. 5-8)
Born of water and the Spirit - Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless a person is born of water and the Spirit they cannot enter God’s kingdom. Jesus explains this second birth by saying that a person has to be born of water, in other words they have to be an actual human in flesh, and also that the person has to be born of the Spirit.
Like generates Like - Jesus explains this by saying, “that which is born of flesh is flesh…” so if you’re physically born on this earth then that’s great but that means that you haven’t been born spiritually yet. That’s why Jesus goes on to explain, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Jesus essentially says if you’re going to enter God’s kingdom you have to be born physically and spiritually it’s a birth that is brought about by the Spirit, not the flesh meaning you can’t inherit it, or earn it through being a good person or working really hard. The Spirit is the one who brings about this second birth. Jesus goes on to essentially say in verse 7 that you shouldn’t be surprised by this, it is pretty straightforward, whatever you’re born of you of course are yourself.
The Spirit is like the Wind - Jesus goes on in verse 8 to explain the Holy Spirit more… READ VERSE 8. Jesus’ main point in this verse to clarify to Nicodemus that the Spirit is like the wind. You can’t see the wind, control the wind, or really explain the wind, but you can feel the wind, and you can see the effects of the wind.
Some can testify about this - Some of you have experienced this in your own life. You know that the Holy Spirit has given you new life in Christ. You can see the effects the Spirit has had on your life. You can see the effects the Spirit has had on other people who have been born of the Spirit. This testimony is an effective one, and I encourage you to share what has happened to you in your life, and how you know you have this new birth. By sharing what the Spirit has done in your own life other people will hear your testimony, and see the effects of the Spirit, and will know that there is a God who works in our world and brings people to salvation and gives them new life in Him.
III. The Savior (vv. 9-15)
Nicodemus needs a savior in order to understand - Verse 9 tell us… READ VERSE 9. Remember that Nicodemus was an expert in the OT. He would have known the OT very very well, but he still doesn’t understand this second birth thing.
In Nicodemus’ mind you need to obey the OT commands in order to enter God’s kingdom, but Jesus is telling him that you absolutely need to be born a second time to enter God’s kingdom.
Jesus expectation of Nicodemus - Jesus’ response to Nicodemus in verse 10 is… READ VERSE 10. Jesus gives a rather harsh response to Nicodemus in this verse wondering how Nicodemus as the teacher of Israel could not understand this. Jesus is saying that this concept of a new birth from above is taught in the OT and that Nicodemus should know this already but he doesn’t, he needs a Savior to explain it to him.
Jesus doesn’t want to tell Nicodemus about heavenly things - Jesus recognizes the problem that Nicodemus has, it’s that Nicodemus doesn’t accept Jesus’ teaching on the new birth. “Earthly things” that Jesus says here is what Jesus has been explaining to Nicodemus, the new birth that happens by the Spirit but it happens here on earth. Nobody can be “born again” after they’re dead. And the “heavenly things” that Jesus is talking about here is details of what life in the Kingdom is like. Jesus is telling Nicodemus that it would do Him no good if He explained a lot about the Kingdom if Nicodemus refuses to accept His teaching on the new birth.
Jesus can speak about the Kingdom of God - In verse 13 Jesus tells us why He has the authority to speak about these heavenly things. It’s because He is from there, and He is going back there.
- Jesus finishes explaining the new birth to Nicodemus by drawing on a passage that would have been very familiar to Nicodemus, from . In this passage the Israelites have expressed distrust in God and as a punishment for their lack of faith God sends poisonous snakes to kill the Israelites. So God sees that people don’t have faith and He punishes them for their lack of faith. But God also provides a way to be saved. He has Moses make a bronze snake and put it on a pole and if anybody who has been bitten by a snake will look at the bronze snake on the pole then they won’t die.
If you want to receive the new birth you have to look to Jesus for salvation - Jesus recalls this story to Nicodemus’ mind to tell Nicodemus that He’s gonna be the ultimate fulfillment of the bronze snake. That anybody who has sinned, which is all of us, is under God’s punishment for our sin, and that we need to look to Jesus’ death of the cross, when He was lifted up to provide salvation for us, in order to receive salvation, and the new birth.
Application - So what difference is this text supposed to have on our lives? Firstly, if you are a Christian you’ve received this new birth through the Spirit, you should praise God, and you should share how the effects of the Spirit, how He has changed your life, with others. Secondly, if you aren’t a Christian you can believe in the Savior and receive the new birth in the Spirit today, so you will be a part of the Kingdom of God.
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more