March 5, 2023 sermon
John 3:1–3 1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This 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.” 3Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
I like Nicodemus, he really seems to be a nice guy and all, but he came to Jesus at night? It appears that Nicodemus was afraid to be seen talking to Jesus. Maybe it’s just the way I see it. Just the same, Nicodemus could not help but see the miraculous signs Jesus had accomplished in front of so many witnesses.
Nicodemus even greets Jesus with giving credit and the acknowledgement that Jesus is a teacher from God. It is the witness Nicodemus is bringing forth seeing these miraculous signs Jesus performed. It would seem that Nicodemus had his suspicions, and these suspicions were on fire burning from his faith in God. Nicodemus as well as the other Pharisees knew that a savior was coming, and I think this time Nicodemus wanted to know; is this Jesus the one.
But little did Nicodemus know that this Savior would answer with a profound statement. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Who would not wonder how one could be born again? This is absurd knowing the means of birth is through the mother of a child. How then can one who has already been born be born again?
John 3:4–5 4Nicodemus 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?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
What? Jesus continues to make His first statement even more profound. Is Jesus talking about baptism, and to say that once one is baptized one can now see the kingdom of God? We know that baptism is a form of God’s forgiveness. Nicodemus knows that John the Baptist baptized for repentance and forgiveness. The Pharisees knew that baptism meant cleaning oneself.
Nicodemus also knew that they, the Jews, received atonement through sacrifices made to God, on the temple altar, for their sins. Nicodemus may have known that John the Baptist said there is one mightier than he who will baptize not with water as John did but with the Holy Spirit bringing forgiveness to all nations.
Think of this, so far most of the Jews have lived much like we do today. We live in the flesh and approve of the flesh. What we do not do is live in the spirit as we do not try to please the spirit but work to please the flesh. What the Jews sacrificed was flesh for flesh, that is, sacrificing flesh of an animal for the atonement (forgiveness) for their sin. Through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross the ultimate flesh of no sin was sacrificed for our sin. Now we have forgiveness that leads us to live in the spirit. Though our flesh continues to fight it.
John 3:6–8 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8The 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.”
That which is born with a sinful nature is one who lives for the flesh’s desires. The one who is baptized, forgiven, is born of the spirit, and our desires should be of the spirit. This is our struggle in this world, but Jesus said He has overcome this world.
Where does the wind come from? It is the Spirit of God blown into every living creature at birth. The wind gives us the breath of God and our life. But the flesh tries to steal our life and lead us to an eternal death.
Where does the wind go, to where it first came from the Holy Spirit, our very breath of life. Take away the spirit and you take away the air we breathe and our life.
John 3:9–11 9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11Truly, 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.
How can this be, understand, God is the one who controls life. God can create life and, if so chooses, He can end life. God is in control. Why do we think we have control? It is our flesh talking, it is our sinful desires that want to rule this world. Forget about Satan, he needs to do nothing. It is our sinful nature that needs to be defeated. Satan is already defeated by Jesus Christ. with the help of Jesus Christ, He has defeated the demands of our sinful nature.
Jesus certainly speaks with true knowledge of everything, after all He is God. But the world does not want to believe God’s word and therefore the world will remain in the flesh and the world will parish. The wind will blow, and the world will fall into the bottomless pit. But we will not follow it!
John 3:12–15 12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
We believe too much and not enough. We want to believe the world and only a part wants to believe in God. We do not have the fear of God we should. If we could show our fear what would our worship, be like?
John 3:16–17 16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
We have a God who loves us, He even tells us this in His own words. God works to help all believe through His word, His promises, His Son and all He sacrificed, and also through His Holy Spirit. Breath in the Spirit, He is the air you breath, let God lead you to live by the Spirit. God is not a God to condemn us to an eternal death, He is a God who is trying to save us each and every day. Amen
Written by Pastor Curtis May