July 4th, 2011
John 3: 1-8
Jesus is trying to teach three things about new birth here.
- Who is the new birth for?
- New birth is for everyone. John 3:8 – Jesus says ‘you must be born again’. To non-Christians ‘being born again’ can often mean having a new lease of life - only for those people that are broken or lost and need an emotional experience.
- There is equality to Jesus’ gospel – he came to bring both humility to the proud as well as strength to the lost.
- Nicodemus was highly successful, intelligent and moral and was kind and respectful to Jesus. But his career and moral standing counted for nothing – Jesus told him he needed to be baptised and born again. The gospel is not just for the marginalised.
2. Why do we need new birth?
- No-one can see the kingdom of God, unless they are born again.
- We try to save ourselves through our moral achievements but our self sufficiency can hinder us from seeing the kingdom of God.
- Trying to redeem ourselves through our own efforts only leads to fear or pride.
- It’s not about following rules; reading the bible more or going to church more will not save us – we need a supernatural collision from heaven to bring about new birth.
- Treating Jesus Christ as a teacher and example of how to live our lives is fruitless as we will never reach His perfect standard.
- Buddha’s last words were ‘strive without ceasing’, and in direct contrast, Jesus’ last words were ‘It is finished’. Salvation is complete through Jesus’ finished work on the cross. There is no more need for striving or searching or trying to fill our own emptiness.
- The secular world relies upon its own trinity; family, friends and career. But when one of those starts to go wrong, life becomes derailed.
- Idols are those things that we give our lives over to and hope that they answer our problems.
- Jesus Christ is not interested in our performance in life. He accepts us for who we are and we no longer need to build our significance from morality.
- We need a radical change of heart and a new identity.
3. How do we receive new birth?
- Through Jesus’ pain, suffering and death on the cross, there is new life for us.
- He came to live the life that we should have lived but never could and died the death that we should have died. He paid the just penalty for our sins so that we could be forgiven and have a relationship with God.
- This prompts a radical transformation of wanting to live a new and transformed life, because of what Jesus has done.
- Don’t delay giving your life to Jesus, there’s no need to get life sorted first. It’s the other way round – bring your baggage to God and he will sort it out. He loves you as you are.
- There is a barrier between us and God and Jesus died to break that barrier. Those that trust is His death and resurrection can step through the barrier and have a relationship with God – completely forgiven and totally free.