You Must Be Born Again
Today I give to you my 3'rd encouragement to plan on attending this series of sermons on John's Gospel at Immanuel Chapel beginning Sunday September 4, 2011.
Reason #3: Our eternal destiny depends upon a new birth. This is a foreign concept to many of us. In this world virtually anything can be obtained by talent, time or money. Heaven, however, is not for sale. Admission cannot be bought by you or me. Naturally, we are all a bit like Nicodemus in John 3, and expect to gain entrance to heaven by good works, kind deeds and religious ceremonies. Or worse, we suppose that ultimately everyone gets to heaven, given enough time, in this life or the next. But Jesus says “you must be born again (John 3:7).”
Let me briefly remind you of Nicodemus’ advantages. We read of them in John 3:1 “There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.”
Nicodemus was in a privileged position:
· He had a good name: “Nicodemus!” His name means “Conqueror of the people.” Wow. Impressive.
· He had the right parents: He was a “Jew!” He was born, therefore, with a great spiritual heritage.
· He had excellent training: He was a “Pharisee.” He was trained in the Scriptures and respected.
· He had significant power: He was a “ruler of the Jews.”
But neither a good name, nor good parents, nor religious training nor power were enough to save Nicodemus according to Jesus Christ. “You must be born again.”
Have you been born again? The Gospel of John does not allow us to place our hope for heaven anywhere but in Jesus Christ Himself. John 3 contains what may be the most famous verse in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).” There are 2 things in this verse that are shocking. First – the extent of God’s love. He gave His Son for sinners! Being a father myself, I cannot fathom this. Second – the fact that many will miss it. Jesus said “the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil (John 3:19).”
I entreat you not to miss this series. But even more than that, I entreat you not to miss the love of God. In the end, it appears Nicodemus was conquered by the loving grace of God. At Jesus’ burial we find him there attending to the body of his Savior: “And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds.” Dear reader – maybe now is the time for you to stop depending on your religion, your name or any process you have gone through – and turn in faith to Jesus Christ.