(This was a class/lesson I taught for our World Changers and Giant Slayers Class a few weeks ago)
1. Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;
What two things do we know about Nicodemus so far from this verse?
Who were the Pharisees? Religious leaders of the Jews
Ruler of the Jews – Member of the Sanhedrin = Jewish ruling council
2. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
Why do you think he came by night? (see 9:22)
Correct “from God”
But….“as a teacher” Is this the primary reason Jesus came? To teach? What did John the Baptist say about Him as recorded in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
What things convinced Nicodemus that God was with Jesus in a unique and unusual way?
Did Pharisees believe they needed a Savior to be saved or that they even needed to be saved? Trust in their works
3. Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
How would most people have responded to these compliments?
Wouldn’t they have at least acknowledged that there might be some truth to them?
Jesus absolutely ignored it. He didn’t need man’s praise. He was most concerned about Nicodemus’s need.
Have you all heard of this phrase before?
Have you ever heard of it misused?
Examples: - Someone sick for a long time and now well “I feel like I’m born again.”
- Athlete in a slump, not playing well for a time. Then all of a sudden playing very well. Randy Nash with the L.A. lakers is born again folks. He is playing the best he’s ever played.
- Someone who made a new year’s resolution that they are going to get in great shape and lose weight and run in a marathon. Wow oh Charlie is born again.
All of these people returned to something they had experienced before; or on their own will power bettered what they had experienced before.
What does Jesus mean by “seeing” the kingdom of God?
Look at vs. 5
4. Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?
Did Nicodemus understand Jesus’s statement?
Why was it difficult for him to accept this statement?
Possibly because he was old and we old people find it difficult to learn new things
Possibly because or religious pride; look at all I have done for God!
5. Jesus answered, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
“born of water”? why do we take baths or showers with water?
“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you will be clean. I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” Ezek. 36:25-27
“born of Spirit”? what is our spiritual state when we are born into the world and begin to live our human lives? Are we spiritually alive or spiritually dead?
For a human baby in a mother’s womb to be fully recognized as an alive human being what has to happen?
So for a human who is alive physically but dead spiritually what has to happen?
Can a parent or a pastor or a therapist make this happen?
6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
What does the flesh or what does a human produce? Flesh or another human.
What can only the Spirit produce? A human spirit that is alive to God. A spiritually alive person.
A man and a woman can produce another physically alive human. But only the Holy Spirit can produce a spiritually alive human, who can hear God’s voice, do God’s will, be God’s instrument in the world, think like God, feel like God, actually having Jesus live His life through their body.
7. Do not be amazed that I said to you, You must be born again.
Is it an option to be born again to be able to have a relationship with the living God and spend eternity in heaven with Him?
Did Jesus say, “You might consider, if you get around to it, and aren’t too busy, being born again?”
8. The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
How is this analogy or illustration of the wind helpful in understanding the work of the Holy Spirit?
9. Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”
10. Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?
Why did Jesus call Nicodemus “the teacher of Israel”?
So should Nicodemus have understood these things?
11. Truly, truly I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony.
12. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
How does Jesus feel about unbelief?
13. No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.
14. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;
What is this speaking of?
15. So that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.
So how is a person born again?
If one of your friends confided in you and said they wish they could be born again but they don’t know how, what would you tell them?
By asking God to do for us what only He can do – make us a brand new spiritual creature.
Forgive our sins and make us a child of God.