Born Again | Gospel of John Sermon Series

Let’s read John 3:1-10

There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to him at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God, for no one could perform these signs you do unless God were with him.” 3 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”4 “How can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9 “How can these things be?” asked Nicodemus. 10 “Are you a teacher of Israel and don’t know these things?” Jesus replied.

Point 1 – Transformation does not simply come from information.

In this narrative, we are introduced to a man named Nicodemus who sought a private conversation with Jesus at night. From verse 1, we learn that this man was a Pharisee and acted as ruler of the Jews. Jesus refers to this man as a “teacher of Israel” in verse 10.

The Pharisees were one of the major religious sects in Jesus’ day. These leaders were experts on the law of Moses, memorized large sections of the Bible, and were well known for their distinct practices that set them apart from the rest of the Jews. They were incredibly knowledgeable of God and His word. The problem was that their religious traditions and special knowledge of God may have looked good on the surface but their hearts were far from God. They knew of God but didn’t have a personal relationship with God. They were revered by the people but Jesus took issue with issues in their heart: pride and self-righteousness.

In this story we see Nicodemus coming to Jesus with a posture of respect, referring to Jesus as “Rabbi” and “teacher.” He comes with language that mirrors a student eager to learn, as evidenced by him asking questions.

Nicodemus sought Jesus to get insight, but Jesus offered him an invitation instead.

Knowledge of God is important and helpful but true spiritual transformation requires a divine work of God on the human heart. In order for God to change us, like Nicodemus, we need to experience a touch from His Spirit that sets us on a new course in life. We can’t expect to do the things of God without the help of God.

Jesus refers to this type of transformation as being “born again” (see vs.3-7). The Gospel of John constantly uses symbolism to explain the greater truths of Jesus. In order for a man or woman to experience a transformed life, they must experience being born a second time. Not as one who goes back into the womb (vs.4) but someone who is born of “water and the Spirit.” The water symbolizes the cleansing that takes place in the human heart when God’s supernatural work takes place. The Spirit is the one who gives us a new heart to obey and follow Him.

Questions for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

  1. Can you identify with Nicodemus in this story? Have you ever been in a place where your knowledge of God didn’t match up with your heart for God?
  2. When did you first become “born again?” Was it a moment in your life? Or was it over a period of time?
  3. What are some of the areas that God has transformed your life (speech, conduct, thought patterns, etc.)? What are some areas that God is currently working on in your life?

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