1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Gospel of John, The Interview with Nicodemus, John 3:3-7, in the Period of Consideration or the Object of Belief, Part II - Lesson 15


 Verse 3:3,   ......Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.


In this statement Jesus goes to the heart of Nicodemus' need.  He addresses the new birth as the first subject of his teaching in this Gospel. 


On many occasions Jesus Christ uses experiences common to man to teach spiritual truths. 


He uses birth to explain the condition of entrance into the kingdom of God.


Everybody that can listen to his words has been born, so this example can be universally understood.


We know that in order to have a birth, a seed must be planted. 


This seed is not planted by the one who is born. 


The seed grows until the proper time for the birth to take place. 


Some seed does not come to full term and no successful birth takes place. 


Some seed results in what appears to be a successful birth but with time failure is evident. 


Apparently the body of the Mother, the receiver of the seed, is sometimes deficient in something and may not provide the best environment for the seed.  In human reproduction some seed is deficient. 


But some seed grows and produces a successful birth and there is, of course, rejoicing. 


Natural forces within the body of the Mother cause the child (the one produced from the seed) to exit the Mother at the proper time. 


The one born takes part, but the body of the Mother is responsible for the expelling of the child. 


Three things are responsible for a successful birth.  


Good seed, a good environment for the seed to grow and a mechanism for the child to be brought forth. 


Each part must take place in order for a successful birth to be realized. 


The seed can grow, the environment can be perfect but until the child leaves the mother, no birth takes place.


This whole process is again compared to a sower sowing seed in various kinds of ground in other gospels. 


A good teacher uses many devices to get a point across and Jesus Christ was, of course, the Master teacher, who all teachers should try to emulate.


So Jesus Christ chooses to use this analogy to explain to Nicodemus about how a person can understand the kingdom of God.


The first two chapters gave accounts of what he did but here we are given Christ's first words of instruction recorded by John in his Gospel. 


Jesus does not use this occasion to explain how man should live but he uses this time to tell Nicodemus how men are made alive spiritually.


We see here that the basic fundamental that Jesus taught is that a person must be born spiritually first before anything else of spiritual importance can take place. 


He thunders the basic foundational truth, Ye must be born again.


The Lord uses the words, verily, verily, another form of Amen, Amen, which means, of a truth, of a truth.  It means firmness, stability, constancy, true, faithful, certain. 


He did not use this phrase lightly.  It was of weighty significance. 


It was a solemn thought and meant to be a preface to a very important statement designed to prompt serious thought on the part of the listener. 


He uses the word twice. 


Double importance.  Ye must! 


There is no room for compromise.


When God says, ye must, he leaves no room for squirming out and finding or making another way. 


By the way, the "verily, verilys" (the double verilys) of Jesus Christ are found only in John.


He says that without the new birth God will not allow you to see the kingdom of God. 


The door is closed to you until you are born again. 


Your first birth does not give you entrance into the kingdom. 


Your trouble is that you were born wrong and there is nothing you can do from the first birth, the birth that produced the old nature, you must be born anew, you must be born from above.


The seed that produced you in your first birth was bad seed, corrupted seed, seed that doomed you to the death that was decreed to Adam, your father. 


That seed contained, not spiritual life, but death and no ability to communicate with your creator.


Your heart from the first birth cannot perform the works of God, you must be given a new heart to do the works of God. 


As David cried in Psalms 51:10, Create in me a clean heart.


He did not say clean my heart. He realized that his heart was not cleanable. 


A newly created heart was necessary.


That clean heart is created with the new birth. 


God plants a new seed, a spiritual seed, the seed of the Word of God, which will produce after its own kind. 


That kind is Jesus Christ. 


That seed, by the agency of the Holy Spirit produces the fruit of the Spirit of God. 


Without the planting of that seed there is no new creation, there is no new heart.


The kingdom of God here used, means that which the physical eye cannot see. 


It must be seen through new eyes that come with the new birth. 


Jesus gives new vision to the one who is born again.


This vision allows you to see the kingdom of God as described in Romans 14:17, For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 


Without the new birth you are not righteous, you do not have peace, and you certainly cannot joy in the Holy Spirit because he is not in you. 


Most people don't believe this. 


It is not a popular doctrine because it destroys the hope of man that his works have standing before God and a man or woman's work is all that most people depend upon. 


The five words of Jesus, Ye must be born again, are words that the human mind or human nature must reject because they conflict with notions of eternal life that people cling to so strongly. 


Self righteousness or self worth or self value to God is destroyed by this doctrine.


Nicodemus depended upon his connection to God's chosen people and his standing among the Jews as a ruler of the Jews to gain him entrance into the presence of God.  He was part of the "in" crowd and now Jesus says that it is impossible for him to understand or know the kingdom of God. 


But the problem is that we all, including Nicodemus, have a sin nature and God will not allow anyone who has not been given a new nature to see the kingdom of God. 


None of us in our natural state are fit for the kingdom of God. 


You cannot access the grace of God by your sin nature. 


It is like trying to communicate on the wrong radio frequency. 


It is like trying to speak to a nation of deaf people or operate in China while speaking Spanish or English. 


But a new nature comes with the new birth. 


Only with the new birth comes life, the kind of life that opens your spiritual eyes to the things of God, spiritual things, things which are enjoyed by the regenerated here upon the Earth. 


Paul amplifies this teaching in I Cor. 2:10,14,  But God has revealed them (the things of God mentioned in verse 9 of this chapter) unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  But the natural man recieveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.


Also in Hebrews 12:14, ...without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.  Holiness is accessed only through the new birth.


The natural man does not know this.


This was verified by Nicodemus in his question to follow, can a man enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born?  Nicodemus was a natural man at this time.


Look at Verse 3:4,  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?


This question is proof that this ruler of the Jews was totally lacking in spiritual discernment and unable to know the things of God. 


Again we see a Jew thinking in physical terms. 


Perhaps Nicodemus was stating how impossible it is for an old man to change his ways. 


When he is old he is set in his ways, ways of sin and neglect of God. 


It is as hard for a man to change his ways as it would be to enter his mother's womb and be born again.


How is it possible for a man whose whole nature at any moment is the sum of all the past, to start fresh? 


How can he undo, or do away with, the results which years have brought and which goes to form himself? 


How can a man's "self" survive a new birth?


Nicodemus' reasonings are but the reasonings that depend upon the flesh. 


God is Spirit and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in truth. 


The things of God are indeed spiritually discerned.


The new birth makes alive your spirit. 


You can now worship since God is Spirit and can only be worshipped in spirit.


A man is blind until he is born again. 


The new birth is God performed and does not depend upon the flesh. 


God gives a new nature to you without destroying you. 


You are given eyes to see the kingdom of God!


Verse 3:5,6,7,  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.  Marvel not that I say unto thee, Ye must be born again.


Jesus uses figurative language here.  In other passages of John's gospel he explains what water is in a spiritual sense.  In John 4:14, to the woman at the well, Christ said, "Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."


We know that the water Christ talked about on this occasion was not literal water. Again in John 7:37, John tells us, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."


These passages lead us to believe that the use of the word water in John 3:5 is figurative and not literal. I believe that Jesus, in this passage is using the word water as a figure of speech for the Word of God.  God uses his Word as his instrument in the act of regeneration.


Other passages where the new birth is mentioned are always accompanied by the inclusion of the Word of God.  Psalm 119:50, For thy word hath quickened me.  Again in I Cor 4:15, Paul says, I have begotten you through the gospel. 


James 1:18, Of his own will began us he with the word of truth.  Peter declares in I Peter 1:23, Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.


The new birth comes by the Word of God.  God describes it as seed because it produces after its own kind. 


God describes it as water because of its cleansing power. 


He calls his word a lamp because it illuminates. 


He calls it a hammer because it breaks up the hard heart. 


So born of water means born of the cleansing and purifying Word of God.


If the water of the word is the instrument that God uses to quicken or make alive the sinner then the Holy Spirit is the one to produce the new birth. 


He is the one to use the water of the word to impart a new nature to one who before was dead in trespasses and sins. 


Therefore John says, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


This is not a decree of God that can be negotiated. 


It is a principle more sure than gravity, surer than the position of the stars in heaven. 


Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people and God sees to it that He is the preparer, He is the one who fits the person for his new dwelling place. 


God wants all his sons and daughters to be conformed to Jesus and He uses the new birth to do that. 


It produces after its own kind.


The natural man is not fit for eternal life with the Father because he is devoid of spiritual life. 


He is a spiritual corpse and needs to be brought to life. 


He is a member of the old creation which has fallen and is under the curse of God. 


There is no hope for him in that creation.


Jesus makes it imperative to Nicodemus, a religious man, a preacher, a ruler of the Jews, that what he has, the condition of his heart does not measure up to the standard that God has set. 


The new birth is not becoming religious, it is not a change of heart, it is not the removal of anything from the sinner, or the changing of anything within the sinner. 


It is not the reformation or the education or the purification of the outward man, but it is the giving to the sinner something that he cannot give himself. 


It is the impartation of a new nature, it is the impartation to the sinner of God's nature, Jesus Christ's nature. 


It is a nature that the sinner has absolutely no capability of conjuring up for himself.


The Spirit of God begets in us a spiritual nature:  as we read in II Peter 1:4, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.


The Spirit of God begets his own kind. 


This is the established order of things. 


That which comes from vegetables are vegetables, that which is born of animal is animal, that which is born of sinful man, is sinful man. 


That which is born of flesh is flesh. 


It may be beautiful, cultured, refined, well behaved, religious flesh, but it is still flesh.


But, and thank God for the Spirit of God, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 


That which is born of God is divine and will reveal the same characteristics as the Father.


The new birth then is the creation of a new man, it is a birth of the Spirit, it is being made a new creation, it is becoming a partaker of the divine nature, it is being born into God's family.