"YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN..." by Pastor George Burkinshaw
Updated: Sep 19, 2019
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto 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?
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot unto into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind blowers where it listen, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and wither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?" John 3:3-10
Poor Nicodemus, a religious leader and teacher of the Jews, was without true comprehension or understanding of the New Birth. What embarrassment, shame and humiliation this instructor of men must have felt when Jesus spoke to him of his spiritual deficiency.
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?" John 3:10-12
As a ruler and teacher of the Jews, Nicodemus was responsible to teach and instruct the people of Israel out of the oracles of the living God. What greater shame could there be for a Rabbi of the Jews? History reveals that in it's time the Jewish nation was the nation which the immortal God of all creation had chosen to receive His truth for the salvation of the whole Earth.
"What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of the circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God." Romans 3:1,2
The great advantage to Jewish birth was, as the apostle Paul clearly informs us in the book of Romans, the great privilege have received and possess the oracles of God's sacred word on behalf of the whole earth.
If we would be honest with ourselves today, many professing Christians, some with Bibles in hand, and all non-professing Christians, know little or nothing of the New Birth required by God for the Salvation of their immortal souls.
Let us understand that God in HIs goodness and mercy must often place men in embarrassing and humiliating situations so He can mend their relationship to Him. If the truth of God's word should embarrass men or offend man's pride, the wise man will remember it is God's goodness seeking his soul's redemption.
After all, it was much better for Nicodemus to be temporarily embarrassed in this life than to suffer the eternal damnation of hell in the world to come.
"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." Romans 2:4-5
The New Birth is without doubt the most important doctrine or teaching in the word of God regarding the final destiny of every individual immortal soul. For the decree comes only from the head of the Church, the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The New Birth is the clear teaching of the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He, and He alone, has established the necessity of the New Birth for all mankind. The New Birth is God's final and only decree to all men of all nations regarding their soul's salvation. It is so clearly spoken by the Lord that it cannot be disputed by rational men. Men may only accept the doctrine of the New Birth unto eternal life or reject it unto eternal damnation. "...Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" John 3:3
May the reader understand that these are not the words, thoughts, and opinions of any mortal man. Neither are they the interpretation of any one denominational theology, but a clear indisputable and definite declaration of the Lord Jesus Christ himself to all mankind.
Yes, marvel if you will at the ignorance of the poor teacher, Nicodemus, but in spiritual ignorance be not like him. As the apostle Paul warns, make very sure of your own salvation and the destiny of your immortal soul. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
2 Corinthians 13:5
For as we have said, Nicodemus in his day was a religious leader and teacher of the Jews. In his time and epoch he was a member of the correct religious organization, according to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews." John 4:21-22
Consider also that Nicodemus had the Word of God in his possession. He was supposed to be a teacher of God's Word, yet he was lost and ignorant of his soul's need of a New Birth.
"Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master in Israel, and knowest not these things?" John 3:9
What then is the New Birth? Well, it is obviously not our first physical birth. "Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." John 3:5
Nicodemus came to Jesus by night because he had seen the miracles that Jesus had done and realized that no man could do those miracles by his own power. He understood that Jesus Christ was no ordinary mortal, but a teacher sent from God.
Jesus immediately received the heart of Nicodemus seeking to learn more of the Kingdom of God and discerned the desire of Nicodemus to enter into God's kingdom. Jesus then revealed to Nicodemus that if he wished to enter the kingdom of God he would need a New Birth. The truth is that a physical birth only brings one into a physical life. If we desire to have a spiritual life, then a spiritual birth is required.
"Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" John 3:4 Obviously the birth of the womb is the first birth, a water birth. Physical birth of water occurs when we break forth from our mother's womb and rupture the amniotic sac of water in which we are enveloped. The water birth is only a birth of flesh which gives only physical life and is not sufficient for the kingdom of God.
God's kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Romans 14:17 A spiritual birth is necessary to give you spiritual life and the ability to enter the kingdom of God.
"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh: and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:5-6
Truly it is the goodness of God that leads a man to salvation. Confused and bewildered Nicodemus asked once again. "...How can these things be?" John 3:9 To help Nicodemus fully comprehend the necessity of the New Birth, Jesus spoke to him of the old testament miracle in which Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:14-15
While on the wilderness journey, the people spoke against God's provisions for them and became discouraged with his leadership and rule, because they found the way hard. They accuse God of leading them to destruction and death while they became discontent with his provisions.
"And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our should loatheth this light bread." Numbers 21:4-5
Here we see the enmity of the flesh as mortal man stands before God, his maker. Since all men have the nature of sin which is passed down from their fathers, all men will and do sin against God as the people of Moses did. "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." Romans 3:10
Since every man will at some time in his or her life despise God and His law, God must hold all mankind under condemnation. "The soul that sinners it shall die..." Ezk 18:20. Men often reveal their contempt for God by breaking His laws or charging God with indifference to their plight because He allowed what they considered to be undesirable situations, which then brought discomfort into their life.
God then sent fiery serpents into the midst of the people and allowed them to bite the people, causing them to remember their mortality and total dependence on God for their very life and breath. "See now that I, even I am he, and there is no god with me: I kill and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up ,y hand to heaven, and say, I live forever." Deut 32:39-40
After God sent the serpents into the camp, " And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died." Numbers 21:6, the people return to God and sought deliverance from the plague of the serpents.
To deliver the people from their fatal condition, God told Moses to make a serpent of brass and place it on a pole in sight of all the people. The people who repented of their sin against God looked at the serpent and were miraculously healed from the poisonous bite of the serpents.
"Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live." Numbers 21:7-8
"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3
Salvation, or the New Birth, therefore, is an act of Grace on God's part when we repent of our sin and turn to Him alone through faith in Him. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph 2:8-9