02-11-18 – John 3:1-21 – Born From Above…

John 3:1-21 – Born From Above… 

 

After changing the Water into Wine.  Jesus begins His ministry and He’s disgusted with how they were treating God, His Holiness, His Name, His Character and Nature, Worship of Him and how they were creating barriers for people to come to God.

 

The Nation of Israel had turned God’s temple into everything but what it was supposed to be.   It was a “mockery” of God and worship of Him.

 

I think it’s interesting that Jesus begins and ends His Ministry by cleansing the Temple.  The week before His arrest and crucifixion He cleanses the Temple again.  (Matthew 21:13) 

 

Jesus is really making a statement about their “religious system” and how far from God they really were. 

 

Chapter 3.  Nicodemus the Teacher of Israel comes to Jesus. 

John 3:1-21 NIV – 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.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. (Born from above)” “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. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.  14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

 

Who is Nicodemus…   

  • A Pharisee – Religious political party in Israel. Pharisee means “Separated ones.” Obedient to the written and oral law.  A tight knit, political brotherhood that were revered by the people as being spiritually elite.
  • A Ruler in Israel – One of seventy men who formed what was known as the Sanhedrin. (A religious supreme court) Made up of High Priests, Elders (Heads of the Tribes of Israel) Scribes (legal professionals). Made up primarily of the two Religious parties in Israel – The Pharisees and Sadducees.
  • Teacher of Israel (Jesus doesn’t call him a Teacher but “The” Teacher of Israel.) A highly educated, well known, respected, revered Teacher of Israel.

 

His entire life has been devoted to and consumed by the study of God’s Word, (the Old Test.) his inclusion in the Religious political system that ruled the Nation of Israel.

 

All of a sudden, this, this Jesus guy appears on the scene.

  • He speaks with an authority and wisdom unlike anyone who’s ever read or spoken God’s word. AS IF He wrote it Himself!
  • John the Baptist called Him the Messiah. The Lamb of God…
  • He’s performing signs and miracles that are incomprehensible… unexplainable… that defy the laws of nature!
  • He starts his Ministry by coming into the temple rebuking, scolding and reprimanding people about their worship of God and their Religious system. Barriers to people meeting God.
  • Who is this guy? Who gave Him the right, the authority and power to do that!  He’s not part of the Sanhedrin, or the Jewish Leadership!
  • Who does this “bastard child” of Mary think He is?! (John 8:41 – They called Him illegitimate.)  Who is He to rebuke US…  scold US… reprimand US about God, God’s character, nature, His Temple and “Worship of Him?!”

Nicodemus goes to see Jesus.  (Some say Nicodemus went to Jesus on behalf of the Sanhedrin, but why would he go at night?)  I think God was working, drawing Nicodemus to Himself!  Nicodemus was empty.  For all the knowledge…  all the Religion He possessed….  He was empty inside!  He’s a hypocrite and I think he knows it.

“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.” 

 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. (Born from above)” “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!”

 

Nicodemus is hungry for the Truth.  In spite of his Success, Knowledge, Position, Religion (The Teacher of Israel is lost!)

 

Jesus begins by shattering his religious beliefs and his religious system.  Nicodemus believed he was right with God because they were God’s chosen people, Abraham’s descendants…  Were good!  Were in!

 

John 3:5-8 – 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. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

 

How many here had something to do with their own conception and birth?   (We couldn’t!  We weren’t even there!)

Your Father and Mother were the result of your conception. We had nothing to do with it.  The only thing we have a part of is to start living, adapting, learning, and growing once we were born.

 

It’s the same Spiritually… It’s an act of God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  We’re “born again, or “born from above” as a result of God drawing people to Himself!   And as soon as we are born spiritually we begin to live, adapt, learn, grow spiritually in Christ to become as He is.

  

Remember John 1:12-13 NLT – 12 But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. 13 They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

Ezekiel 36:24-28 NET.  The Nation of Israel had been taken captive by Babylon (Remember the Tower of Babel… Babylon and Babel are the same.)   Babylon is a symbol of Satan’s kingdom.  24 “‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries; then I will bring you to your land. 25 I will sprinkle you with pure water and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put my Spirit within you; I will take the initiative and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

 

Look at the “I will” statements of God versus what we do! 

 

Vs. 9-13 –“How can this be?”  Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Nicodemus should have known…  But he wasn’t born from above.  His religious system had him blind to the truth.

11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. (The Test. of John the Baptist the prophets and Jesus should have been enough for Nicodemus but He was blind!  The Testimony of God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus should have been enough!

12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?  You don’t understand…  You do not accept…  How will you believe?

13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.   A human can’t go to into heaven and come back but God can come to earth!  I’m not a teacher who has come down from God Nicodemus…  I am God in the flesh.

 

Then Jesus gives Nicodemus an illustration of how this new birth from above takes place: Vs. 14-15 – 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

 

Num. 21:4-9Then the people of Israel set out from Mount Hor, taking the road to the Red Sea to go around the land of Edom. But the people grew impatient with the long journey, and they began to speak against God and Moses. “Why have you brought us out of Egypt to die here in the wilderness?” they complained. “There is nothing to eat here and nothing to drink. And we hate this horrible manna!” So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, “We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes.” So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him, “Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!” So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to a pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!

 

At this point I believe Nicodemus eyes were opened to the Truth of the Scriptures… the Truth about who Jesus was and why He came.

Nicodemus thought like most, that the Messiah would come and rule and reign with a crown, but he came to rule and reign with a Cross!

 

Jesus revealed to Nicodemus that he would become sin for all mankind.  “Everyone” is snake bitten… everyone has the poison of that sin nature within, and must look to Jesus to be healed.   Otherwise they will die.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT – For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Galatians 3:13 NIV – Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

 

John 3:16-17 NIV – There’s been debate as to whether the conversation with Jesus ended at vs.15 or if Jesus continued through vs 21.  Many think John penned verses 16-21.   Look, God is the author of the entire Bible, but for arguments sake let’s assume Jesus did share this to Nicodemus as a summary statement.

 

John 3:16-17 NIV  – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

 

Conclusion:

Sometimes, we’re a lot like Nicodemus.  We’re educated, we’ve worked hard, we’re in a position of status, we’re religious, we have this religious system that we follow… maybe we think we’ve got this Christian thing figured out…  I read the Bible, pray, give when I can… work really hard at being good… and work really hard at not being bad and trying to do what I think God would want me to do.

Or maybe we’ve adopted (or developed) some “method” or “system” of Salvation that really isn’t of the Bible, it’s something we’ve come up with on our own…

Proverbs 14:12  – There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

 

Jesus said unless a person is born again, born from above they will never see the Kingdom of God.   When we’re born from above we have nothing to do with it!  God does it for us… God does it in us…

 

All we do is humble ourselves by admitting, acknowledging that we’ve been snake bitten and we’re dying from the poison of sin.  We admit we’re sinners in need of a Savior…  we look to the Cross and Jesus Christ…  If not, we will NOT be delivered from the poison of sin!

 

Jesus Christ is our hope, our answer, our salvation… unless we look to Him and His sacrifice on the Cross we will not see the Kingdom because we aren’t born from above.