A Sermon (#535) Preached By William “Bill” Touchton
Edited By Michael D. Lawson
If you have your Bibles turn with me to John 2, and I want us to look at one verse, and then I want to look at the first 16 verses of John 3.
When my 2 girls were born in the 1970’s, the idea of the father being in that room to observe that event was unthinkable. In our days, they held the father in a waiting room, and they would not even let you hold that baby until the day you brought them home, but times have changed.
Now they allow the father to be in the delivery room as well as other friends and relatives. They even allow you to bring in VCR equipment and record the entire thing.
When Elizabeth was born, our precious grandchild, by son in law watched the whole thing and I asked him what it was like, and he said it was a real miracle.
In fact, I have spoken to many fathers who have witnessed the birth of their children and they all describe it the same way. They all say it was a miracle.
Well this morning, I want us to look at life’s greatest miracle, and I have entitled this message, “The Miracle of Being Born Again.”
Now look at 2.23.
The word “miracles” is the word semeion in the Greek, and it describes a wonder. An event that supernaturally contradicts the laws of science or nature. It is a word used to describe the supernatural work of God.
“…many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did…”
We know He has turned water into wine, opened blind eyes, opened deaf ears, made the lame to walk, cured leprosy, raised the dead…Jesus was a miracle worker…and drew great crowds.
Jesus was a miracle worker, and touched literally 1,000’s of people and gave them a miracle, and He wants to do the same with you. He wants you to experience “The Miracle of Being Born Again.”
About a year ago I received a letter in the mail from a TV preacher and in big bold letters on the front of this letter were the words “enclosed is a miracle for you.”
So, I decided to open this letter up to see what my miracle was and inside this envelope was a letter of explanation and a little square piece of linen. Now, it looked like a regular piece of linen, but not according to this letter. In fact, this letter said this piece of cloth had been especially anointed by God and contained great healing powers.
It said if I had a physical problem I could lay this cloth on the problem, and expect a miracle of healing. If I had a financial problem, I could lay this piece of linen on my wallet, pray, and then expect a miracle.
Now, none of us were sick at that time, so I took my wallet…Gail’s wallet…and our checkbook…and placed this cloth on top, and prayed…
Now, guess what happened to my wallet? Nothing! So I threw it away!
But listen to this, also enclosed was a card to check and a self-addressed envelope. And if you wanted more, or the real thing, they would be glad to send you some in response to your generous contribution. Now I thought to myself, who would order this stuff?! Who would send money, and the answer is you would be surprised. In fact, this evangelist probably pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars off this scam because he appealed to man’s curiosity in the area of the supernatural. People are just flat out interested in the miraculous.
Listen, in the state of Georgia, a lady claimed that Mary, the mother of the Lord visited her farm, and people by the tens of thousands visit this farm in Conyers, GA every year, hoping to see this miracle repeated.
Just recently in the news, was the story of this religious statue that would drink milk. They would take a teaspoon of milk and hold it up to this statues mouth, and the milk would be absorbed by this statue. And by the tens of thousands, people have traveled to this place to see this wonder.
Listen, people are fascinated by the miraculous, and it’s always been that way.
In the days of Jesus, great multitudes would follow him in hopes of seeing a miracle, and the Bible says He did many miracles. Even his enemies…on three occasions in scripture the Pharisees said, “Lord show us a miracle.” You will recall when they arrested him that Pilate took him before Herod, and Herod agreed to see him because he had hoped to see a miracle (Luke 23.8).
Listen, these people were fascinated by the supernatural, by the miraculous. And maybe Nicodemus came to Jesus to see a miracle. But listen, Jesus didn’t want to show Nicodemus a miracle, He wanted to do a miracle in his life.
Now, let me show you several things in this passage.
- Think with me first about this man, Nicodemus and let me show you several things about him.
A. He was a good natured man. He was just a good man, and as I studied his life, I discovered several things about him.
- Respected: His name means to be victorious among his people. You see, in the eyes of this city, he was a somebody. He was well respected.
- Rich: Which suggests that God had been good to him. Historians tell us that Nicodemus was one of the three richest men in town.
- Religious: A Pharisee. which meant he lived by the strictest letter of the Law. Now 2 things about his religious life.
*He was sincere in his faith: Many times in scripture when Jesus confronted a Pharisee, Jesus would call them a hypocrite, but not Nicodemus. He was sincere.
*He was serving in his religion: Verse 1 says he was a “ruler” or a leader of the Jews. He probably taught Sunday School. He gave his tithes. He evangelized. He prayed.
He was a good man.
Listen, he was respected, rich, which suggested the blessing of God. He was sincere and serving in his religion.
Now listen, you will be hard pressed to find a better man in scripture than Nicodemus. He was good natured.
B. But secondly, He had a great need. And Jesus saw it immediately upon arrival at his house.
You see, he barely got in the house and introduced himself before Jesus said, “You must be born again.” And unless you are born again, then you will never enter the kingdom of God (v. 5). You won’t even see the kingdom of God (v. 3).
Now listen to this, the miracle of being born again is an absolute necessity. Look at verse 7. “…marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” The word “must” means to be a moral requirement. Listen, He’s not saying you may want to think about this, or, you may want to try it. He’s saying if you hope to make heaven, it’s an absolute necessity.
I wonder, if Nicodemus needed to be born again, how much more do we need to be born again?!
A while back, I visited a man by the name of Charlie, in his mid 70’s with a heart problem. Listen, he grew up in a religious home. I’ve never known him to lie, cheat, steal, cuss, smoke, drink…he’s been faithful for 50+ years in marriage. And I told Charlie, you need to be born again. He said, “No, I’ll stick with what I got. I’ll take my chances with who I am.”
His chances are NONE.
You must be born again! But what does this mean? Recent polls say that 80% of all Americans claim to be born again and yet you see very little evidence of it and no one has the answers to how it took place.
2. The mystery of being born again:
Jesus said, “Nicodemus ye must be born again.” But he says, “How can these things be?”
Verse 4 – “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?”
He’s confused. Not as to what Jesus is saying, but as to how he can accomplish it. You see, Jesus is saying you have got to be different to enter heaven, and Nicodemus is saying, but even if I could enter my mother’s womb, wouldn’t I be born the same way all over again? Of course!
Let me illustrate this from the book of Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 13.23, Jeremiah asks this question. He said, “Can a Leopard change his spots?” Well of course not.
Now watch, you could take this spotted leopard, place him back in his mother’s womb, and allow that birth to take place all over again, and guess what? When he came out, he would still have spots. Why? Because that’s the nature of his birth. His mother had spots, so did his father. You could do this over and over but every time he’s birthed, he will have spots.
Now watch, for him to be born differently, ,you have to change the method of conception. You will have to allow this leopard to be birthed by parents without spots.
Born again…born from above…born a different way.
Verse 5 – “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.”
Now, we know what the Spirit is, but what is the water?
Some say baptism, but this contradicts scripture. If this were the case, Jesus would contradict himself in verses 16-18.
What about physical birth? But if that’s true, then what would you do with all the aborted babies? Did God condemn them to hell because they never experienced physical birth?
Well, what is the water? It’s the Word of God. Ephesians 5.26…1 Peter 1.23.
Here’s how the new birth is conceived. God takes the word of His gospel and brings it together with the Holy Spirit, and at that moment, conversion takes place.
The word regeneration means to be reborn. The word renewing means to renovate.
So, when a person is born again, when God brings the Word of God and the Spirit of God into a person’s heart, they are reborn spiritually, and renovated.
That’s why 2 Corinthians 5.17 says, “if any man be in Christ, they are a new creation.”
Question: Have you ever had an experience like that with God? Has there been that miraculous, supernatural moment when He changed you?
We have looked at…
- The Man
- The Mystery…and now let’s look at
- The Means
Verse 9 – Nocodemus said, “How can these things be?” How can I get this miracle?
In the book of Numbers, we’re told of a story where the nation has rebelled, and as a punishment, they encountered deadly snakes. The people began to die, and they prayed to God about it.
God gave instructions to Moses about what to do. He was told to make a brass snake and put it on a pole in the camp. Those who look upon the snake would be saved.
Some thought, that’s stupid. I’m strong enough…they died. I’ll out run it…they died. Ill will it…they died. Some built their own pole…they died.
There was one way to be saved. Look on the pole. That which is lifted up, by faith, you will be saved.
Here’s what I think. Nicodemus left without experiencing the miracle of being born again…and pondered it. Two years later, Jesus was back, they arrested him, beat him, nailed him to a cross and lifted him up. And suddenly Nicodemus understood.
How do you know? In John 19, He came with Joseph and begged for the body of his Savior. They kicked him out of town, confiscated his wealth, excommunicated him from his religion. But it didn’t matter. He had a miracle that all the money in the world couldn’t buy.
He wants to do the same for you. Now, by faith, you can experience the same miracle.