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Two Births

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Scripture Reading John 3:3-4

THE NEW BIRTH along with God’s great love (John 3:16-17), is the most important revelation ever made in all of human history. Jesus revealed the new birth.

1. Nicodemus approached Jesus (v.1-2).

2. The new birth: a necessity, an imperative (v.3).

3. The new birth: a spiritual birth (v.4-8).

4. The new birth: a true experience (v.9-11).

5. The new birth: rejected (v.11-12).

6. The new birth: revealed only by Jesus (v.13).

7. The new birth: secured by two acts (v.14-15).

1.   (3:1-2) Nicodemus: Nicodemus approached Jesus.

1. He was a ruler of the Jews. This means he was a senator or a member of
the Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews Matthew 26:59).

a. He was a Pharisee Acts 23:8.


b. He was the master of Israel that is, he held some official position of the highest rank. He was either the leading official or the leading teacher of Israel who was either authorized or accepted as such by the public.

c. He apparently was wealthy. He spent a great deal of money on the burial of Jesus (John 19:39).

d. He was silent at the trial of Jesus, saying nothing to defend Jesus, but he boldly stepped forth after the Lord’s death and publicly helped in the burial of Jesus (John 19:39-42)


2. He came in behalf of the religionists. He said, “We know.” Some of the
religionists wondered if Jesus was the true Messiah, thinking that perhaps He was. Some eventually become believers Acts 15:5.

Jesus was claiming to be the Messiah and performing the spectacular works that were prophesied of the Messiah; therefore, He was the talk of everyone throughout the nation.

The rulers were questioning and wondering: Is He really the Messiah?

This was Nicodemus’ question as well.

Note that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. He apparently did this because he feared the other leaders who opposed Jesus. John seemed to be saying this at the burial of Jesus John 19:39.

3. He acknowledged Jesus only as a teacher from God. He and others saw the miracles Jesus did, and they knew something: only a man from God could do such miracles.

4. In essence, Nicodemus was asking, “Who are you? The miracles show that God is with you, but you are claiming to be the Messiah, the Son of God. Are you—truthfully—in all honesty?”

Note that Jesus did not answer Nicodemus directly. He saw into the empty, searching heart of Nicodemus and saw the honesty of his question.

So Jesus went right to the heart of the matter. Miracles and signs were not what were important. What was important was for Nicodemus to be changed: changed spiritually, changed within, and changed completely—to undergo such a spiritual change that it could only be described as being born again.

2.   (3:3) New Birth: the new birth is a necessity, an imperative.

Two facts show this:

1. The strong assertion, “Except a man be born again.” The word “again” has three different meanings in Greek.



    It means...


a.   From the first: from the beginning or completely and fully (Luke 1:3).

b.   Again: a second time, a repeated act (John 3:4).

c.   From above: from the top, which means from God (John 19:11).

The point is this. A man must be “born again.” He must be...


born completely and fully, a complete and full change.


born all over again, in the sense of a second time.


born from above, from God.

3. The importance of the words “cannot see the kingdom of God.”

One must be “born again” or else he will never “see” (John 3:3)

nor “enter” (John 3:5) the Kingdom of God.

It is an absolute requirement that a person be born again (John 3:7).

“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18).

 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

4.   (3:4-8) New Birth: the new birth is a spiritual birth.

Nicodemus was puzzled by the words “born again.”

He did not know what Jesus meant. He understood Jesus to be saying that a man must be born a “second time.”

Jesus answered Nicodemus by doing five things.

1. Jesus gave the source of the new birth. It was being born of water, even of the Spirit

2. Jesus repeated the importance of being born again.

Note what John 3:3 says: a man “can never see” (grasp, understand, know, experience) the Kingdom of God;

John 3:5 says a man “can never enter” (gain entrance to) the Kingdom of God.

3. Jesus gave the nature of the new birth.

It is spiritual, not physical and material

The flesh cannot bridge the gap between flesh and spirit. Flesh is only flesh; it has no power to be born again, to become spirit (John 1:14).

5.Jesus re-emphasized the absolute necessity of the new birth. “Ye must be born again.”


The word “must” (dei) means absolute necessity, an imperative.

6. Jesus illustrated the point by picturing the wind.

The Spirit of God works just like the wind.

We may not know how the wind works, but we can see the effects.

It is the same with the Spirit of God: we may not know how He works, but we can see the effects of His working.

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12-13).

7.  (3:9-11) New Birth: the new birth is a true experience, a definite experience.

Nicodemus’ heart was touched by what Jesus was saying, and he wished to know what was meant by being “born again.

A point in time, just like our physical birth.

Nicodemus didn’t know but!


Think how many do not even care to know.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14).

Note the great tragedy of Nicodemus. He was the master of Israel, yet he did not know about spiritual things

“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).



5. (3:11-12) New Birth: the new birth is rejected. There are two tragic facts here.

1. There are the statements: “ye receive not our witness” and “ye believe not.”

Apparently, Nicodemus did not believe and receive Jesus at this point in his life.

He did what so many do: he rejected Jesus.

2. It is man’s nature not to believe 

 “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (John 1:11).

6. (3:13) New Birth— Jesus Christ, Son of Man— Mediator:

The new birth is revealed only by Jesus. Jesus said two things.

1. He came down from (ek PWS: 1609, out of) heaven.


No man can ascend up into heaven; no man can penetrate the spiritual world.


Flesh is flesh, that is, born of the earth; therefore, it is earthly (1 Cor. 15:47).


However, Jesus Christ was different from all other men. His origin was heaven.

2. He is timeless. “The Son of Man which is in heaven” means His existence and experience are timeless. He is eternal.

“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world....For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:33, 38).

 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5).


GOD the Father the Originator

GOD the Son the Creator

GOD the Spirit the Applicator

7. (3:14-15) New Birth: the new birth is secured by two acts.

1. The first act is Jesus’ death. Jesus illustrated His point by using the Old Testament story of Moses lifting up the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4-9).

 Jesus said that He must be lifted up just as the serpent was lifted up.

 What did He mean? There are several pictures here.


a.   The people of Israel had great need, for they were dying from the poison of the fiery serpents.


Men today are dying from the poison of the serpent, the deadly poison of sin.

The serpent is a symbol of the evil one, Satan (Genesis 3:1 Rev.


Jesus Christ destroyed the works of the devil by being lifted up (Hebrews 2:14-15);


The serpent hanging upon the pole symbolized the defeat of Satan. By looking upon the defeated evil (the serpent), Israel was healed.


Today man is healed by looking upon the Son of Man who has been lifted up upon the cross.


“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me” (John 12:31-32).

c. The serpent was a cursed creature from the very beginning (Genesis 3:14-15).

Jesus became a curse for man (Galatians 3:13).

“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13).

2. The second act is man’s belief in Jesus. The man who believes in the Son of Man being lifted up...

will not perish John 3:16

but will have eternal life John 1:4


If an Israelite believed God’s message (the good news of healing), he looked upon the lifted up serpent, and he was healed.


 If a man did not believe God’s message, he did not look, and he died.


Thus it is with us today: every man must believe the message of Christ in order to be healed, that is, be born again.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).


“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into
condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

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