Intro: Jesus is depicted as the Divine Teacher in this great chapter. It is important to keep in mind that the reason Jesus came to earth was to instruct people on how to escape darkness and enter the light. He came to show people how to get past death and into life. Jesus performs this ministry as a teacher in this chapter. He has the opportunity to instruct a teacher here, and He does so!
But Jesus also uses this passage to teach us something. Some of us may be in the same condition Nicodemus was in as we take the time to read these verses this morning. A man who was at the pinnacle of success was standing here. He had all of it. He was respected, had wealth, power, and position, and possessed all of the characteristics of a successful life. However, he lacked the one thing that would ensure a pleasant eternity. He did not have a personal connection to the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ teaches about this significant absence from Nicodemus' life. Jesus, the Divine Teacher, explains salvation to Nicodemus in these verses, and in doing so, He also explains it to us. Let's join Jesus, the Divine Teacher, in His classroom for the next few minutes. All I ask is that you listen to the Lord's voice and follow His leading as we go along. You will learn how to do just that if you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Jesus taught Nicodemus the truth about salvation in a way that no one else had ever done before. Let's listen in as He explains it. I. V. 1-13 THE CONVERSATION A. V. 1 Nicodemus's Personality - John 7:51 suggests that he was a ruler and a member of the Sanhedrin. As a result, he was one of the most powerful men of his time. He was a judge, similar to a Supreme Court member. 2. He was a Pharisee because he practiced religion. As a result, he upheld the highest ethical and religious standards. Not all Pharisees were dishonest. Some actually tried their hardest to live a truly holy life in front of the Lord. Nicodemus appears to have been of this caliber.) 3. He Was Real: The manner in which he approached Jesus demonstrates that he was sincere in his pursuit of the truth. A man who desired true inner tranquility was here. He probably came at night not out of fear, but rather so that he could talk to Jesus without interruption. (Ill. When someone is sincere and seeking the truth, I don't mind them asking questions. The Lord does not either!) B. V. 2: Nicodemus's Compliment - 1. Nicodemus refers to Jesus as the "Rabbi" when he addresses him respectfully. He appears to hold Jesus in high regard and refers to Him as a teacher. 2. He Addresses Jesus With An Acknowledgement: Nicodemus appears to have recognized that Jesus had been sent by God to the world. It would appear that Nicodemus has at least a hazy understanding of who Jesus really is. 3. He Addresses Jesus With Human Reasoning: Nicodemus is honoring Christ and showing respect for the power that he has witnessed from Christ (Ill. The Miracles). However, his assessment of Jesus' true identity is inadequate. Jesus is nothing more than a teacher or a prophet sent by God to Nicodemus. (Ill. Religion always has this problem! It doesn't even try to talk to Jesus Christ. Jesus is required, but you must also include baptism, confirmation, membership in a church, communion, or any of a thousand other things. A religion will never be complete without faith in Jesus. You are not saved if your belief system does not accept Jesus Christ as the only means of salvation! It is Jesus, nothing more, nothing less. According to John 4:6, only Jesus can save the soul from sin. Eph. 2:8–9) In what ways do you still believe? (Ill.) "You would be trained to talk, ask, look, and think in Chinese if the Central Intelligence Agency wanted you to be an agent behind the bamboo curtain in China." In order to speak Chinese fluently and without an accent, you would attend school and learn the language. You can imitate the mannerisms of China after learning about its customs and watching films depicting its physical characteristics. It's possible that you would have facial plastic surgery to make yourself look more Chinese. You could then enter Communist China and be greeted as a member of their group. "After that, you would carry out everything in the Chinese way. There would be no discernible difference. You are a Chinese person to everyone in China. However, are you Chinese? If you did not come from Chinese parents, no. Your race will not change for you in any way. "In fact, spiritually, it's the same way. You can act and speak Christianly. You can act like a Christian in every way, including by joining Christian organizations and singing Christian songs. But none of these will convert you to Christianity. You are a sinful race because you were born that way. This is a fact that you cannot change publicly. To be Chinese, you must have been born to Chinese parents, and to be a Christian, you must have been born again spiritually." C. V. 3: The Challenge from Jesus: Jesus addresses Nicodemus's heart's need rather than accepting praise or pious platitudes. Nicodemus is told by Jesus that his religion will not save him. He tells Nicodemus that the "New Birth" must be experienced by him. (Ill.) Jesus, the Divine Teacher, used a familiar illustration to illustrate His point. Everyone experiences birth. Everyone has experienced it. As a matter of fact, that is how we all got here. Jesus, on the other hand, refers to a different birth in verse 1. The Newborn's Characteristics - "Again" refers to "from a higher place." It is referring to things that only come from God. The birth itself is like that. It cannot be done by man. God alone is responsible for it! 2. The New Birth's Necessity The word "except" is an imperative. It literally indicates that a person has no other salvation options. Either you find your way to God or you do not receive His salvation. To put it another way, Jesus or nothing! Acts 4:12). D. V. 4: Nicodemus's Misunderstanding Nicodemus, like so many others, misunderstood what was of God and what was of the flesh. He believed Jesus was implying that he would return to his mother's womb. a thing that would be impossible to achieve. (Ill. There are many people in the area who do not comprehend the salvation plan. It makes absolutely no sense in human terms when someone tries to think about it. It is something that is spiritually discerned, and there can be neither understanding nor salvation unless the mind is opened by the Holy Spirit to the truth of God's plan. Because of this, Jesus emphasizes that the Father must lead people to the truth (John 6:44); John 6:65; Eph. 2:1.) E. V. 5-13 The Clarification of Jesus: Jesus continues to explain the process of this "new birth" in an effort to clarify things for the man in search of answers. 1. V. 5: The Instruments of the New Birth a. Born of Water: Some Bible readers aren't sure what the water in this verse means. 1. Baptism: Impossible due to the addition of works to grace. 2. The birth on its own—this is an option. However, a man would not require salvation at all if he had never been born. It makes it almost pointless. 3. The best response, in my opinion, is the Bible. The sinner's heart is regenerated and enlivened by God's Word. He is acutely aware of his need for Christ thanks to the Bible. Rom says that the possibility of faith and the conviction of sin are brought about by the Word of God. 10:17; ( Ill. This is why preaching the gospel centered on the Bible is so important - 1 Cor. 1:21.) b. Born of the Spirit: The second stage of salvation is referred to here. The sinner must make a choice after being persuaded and having their hearts piqued by the Holy Spirit. At the point when the heathen goes to Jesus for salvation, the Soul of God submerses the delinquent into the group of Christ, 1 Cor. 12:13, and grants him God's eternal life. 2. The difference between what is produced by the action of the new birth is made abundantly clear in verse 6, which is titled "The Imperative of the New Birth." 2 Corinthians describes the literal transformation of a sinner into a "New Creation" in the Lord Jesus. 5:17. This "New Creature" is ideally suited for heaven. While the natural man is only suitable for this world, the redeemed life has been prepared for glory. (Ill.) Jesus makes all the difference in a person's life when He enters. The power of God forever alters the sinner who has been saved. Take note of how the story that follows illustrates this reality. A ship was carrying a medical missionary to a foreign location. When the famous Scotsman Andrew Bonar went to the pier to say goodbye to his friend, he found out that the doctor would be going with his sister. "My dear, I don't believe I've ever had the privilege of making your acquaintance," he turned to her. I would like to keep you in my thoughts and prayers as I am pleased that you are going to assist your brother. Who are you by your first name?" The response was, "Christine." That's nice! "For you have Christ in your name," said the elderly servant of the Lord. I also have faith that you have Him in your heart!" The woman turned her head and remained silent for a while. The final call to board the ocean liner arrived before she could respond. She began to consider her relationship with the Lord after being convinced by Bonar's words. She attended church on a regular basis, but all of a sudden she realized that she was not truly saved and had never been made a "new creature" in Christ. She knelt that night and begged the Savior to forgive her and adopt her. An article about this incident appeared in the Moody Monthly much later. It concluded by stating that Christine's years of steadfast living and devoted service demonstrated the truth of her decision.) (These kinds of transformations in a person's life and heart are only possible through Jesus. Some individuals will attempt to "turn over a new leaf." However, only Jesus has the power to change lives and hearts forever. How wonderful that Jesus changes everyone who comes to Him forever!") (Ill. Imagine how miserable it would be for a person to be taken to Heaven in their natural state.) (Ill. Jesus says that a new birth is not an option! He states emphatically, "Ye must be born again!" verse 7. There is no other choice, no other plan B; either Jesus or nothing at all! You will never reach Heaven or escape Hell without Him. John 14:6 says that Jesus is the only way to the Father; 1 John 5:12.) 3. V. 8-13: The New Birth's Imagery Jesus uses the wind as an illustration to show how the Spirit works. Like the wind, his movements cannot be anticipated or predicted. The Spirit's movement is powerful but invisible, like the wind! He easily makes his presence known by touching whomever He chooses to pass by! (Ill. The Ezekiel 37:1–14 dry bones.) when the dead things were moved by God's wind. It came to life! The dead sinner experiences this. The sinner is drawn to Jesus after the truths of God's Word are brought to their hearts by the Holy Ghost. The sinner is saved and given a new birth from God when he responds in faith. The new life is both a necessity and a mystery! The child of God is a mystery to the world, just as the motion of the wind cannot be fully explained.) (Ill) Despite his extensive knowledge of the Old Testament, Nicodemus was still spiritually in the dark. He, like many others in our day, did not seem to be able to comprehend the straightforward fact that faith in Jesus results in soul salvation!) I. The Second Conversation V. 14–17 OF THE COMMENTARY (Ill.) In an effort to clarify things for this perplexed man, Jesus elaborates a little further.) A. V. 14: A Shadow from the Past: Jesus illustrates His teaching by citing an incident from Israel's past. He reminds me of the scene in Numbers 21:4–10. Israel is complaining about their difficulties as they travel through the wilderness in this passage. In response, God sends poisonous snakes into their midst, resulting in many people being bitten and dying as a result. When Moses prays for the people, God tells him to make a brass snake. This brass snake must be hung from a pole by him. If someone looks at the snake and is bitten, they will survive. Jesus is merely stating to Nicodemus that Jesus must be lifted up in the same way that the ancient snake was lifted up. (Ill. The serpent of sin has bit everyone in the world, and people are dying and going to Hell. Acts 16:31 says that anyone who believes in Jesus will live, just like that snake.) B. V. 16: A Sacrifice for Sin: Jesus explains to Nicodemus that God's love for humanity was so great that He willingly gave up His only begotten Son in order to save sinners. This makes reference to the death that Jesus took for us. Isa was brutalized beyond comprehension by a death that was so horrible and cruel that He died. 52:14. ( Ill. What took place at Calvary and how much pain Jesus went through for us all.) (Ill. We praise God that He carried out all of this in order to provide something for sinners who come to Him in faith and repentance.) C. V. 15-16: A Simple Plan for Salvation: Jesus explains to Nicodemus that believing is the only requirement for salvation. (Ill. Religion attempts to hinder men's reconciliation with God. There are always procedures to complete and rules to follow. Then, just when you think you've made it, you always discover that you missed one or more steps. Men are unable to be saved due to religion. On the other hand, Jesus makes it so easy for people of all ages, including young children, the elderly, those with limited intelligence, and those who are unable to add, subtract, or even write their own name to be saved by God's grace.) (Ill. What else could God have made easier? He has already completed everything. He has paid for everything. He has broken down every barrier. The sinner only needs to come to Him and believe in Him. This is how Isaiah said it, Isa. 45:22. In John 6:47, Jesus said it this way. Acts 16:31 records Paul's exact words. Nothing has changed in 2,000 years! By simply coming to Jesus by faith and believing in Him, sinners can still be saved.) D. V. 16 A Certain Provision - (Ill. "Whoever") When the Lord created His plan for salvation, He made it clear that no one would be left out! God has opened the gates of grace to all who will, inviting them to come to Him and be delivered from their sins and an eternity spent in Hell. Today is the day to meet Jesus and receive Him if you require salvation.) Ill. Rev. 22:17 and Ill. 11:28 - "All"; Rom. 10:13.) Salvation is for everyone! E. V. 16–17—A Solemn Promise—Jesus made it abundantly clear to those who believed in him that they would never die and would have eternal life. "Be given over to the eternal misery of Hell!" is the definition of "perish." Jesus, on the other hand, has declared that his children have been "saved." "to keep safe and sound, to rescue from all harm and danger" is the meaning of this word. (Ill.) The sinner can expect nothing less than eternal separation from God in hell without Jesus, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9. On the other hand, the saint has a firm conviction that God will one day rescue, protect, and transport him to Heaven! How hopeful are you right now? Where are you going to spend eternity?) I. The Second Conversation The Third Commentary V. 18–21: THE CONDEMNATION (Ill.) Jesus has a word for those who do not seek His salvation. He paints a small picture for the sinner of where they are and what they can't do if they don't come to Jesus.) A. V. 18 A Present State: This verse makes it abundantly clear that the sinner is already under God's judgment. You see, God already knows what will happen to people who don't come to Jesus in the end. They will be forever cut off from Him and His glory in Hell, as God has decreed, Psa. 9:17. To put it another way, in God's mind, it is as if you were already destined for the fires of Hell, even though you may be lost and sitting here right now. For your soul's salvation, you must run to Jesus. There is no other option for you. B. V. 19–21 A Persistent State: The sinner is entirely responsible for his or her condition. After all, Jesus has already carried out all of His abilities to save your soul. He died on your behalf, paid the penalty for your sin, rose from the dead to give you life, prays for you at the throne of the Father, and sends His Spirit to give you light and draw you to Himself. Either you have never heard and today is the day you must make an eternal decision, or you have heard before and have chosen to continue in sin if you are lost today. Please stop rejecting Jesus in this manner. You will run out of time and have no more opportunities in the future. While there is still hope and the Spirit of God is still calling you to Jesus, come to him. (Ill.) If you continue to deny the Lord, there will come a time when you will run out of time and your state will become a permanent one. The saint of God maintains an ongoing state of "eternal life," as stated in John 3:36. The sinner, on the other hand, endures God's wrath throughout their lives. If you have been saved, you can live forever right now! You are immortal. However, the wrath of God hangs over your life like a massive wrecking ball if you are lost. The grace of a benevolent God is the only thing that can keep you out of Hell for another moment. As you consider where you will spend eternity, you need to keep that in mind right now. I implore you to visit Jesus!) Conc: If the Master Teacher has taught us anything else this morning, I think it is clear that God loves sinners and has done everything in his power to save them. Except for using force, He has done everything in his power to bring you to Himself. Why not make this the day that you make Jesus' death and resurrection a part of your life? Why not make today the day that you will be saved? Jesus loves you, died for you, and will save your soul and cleanse you of all sin if you come to Him in childlike faith. That is what you truly desire. Why not put it into action right now?

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