John 3:1-16 (Nic at Night)


Intro: Everyone today is familiar with the term "born again."

A) It has become so popular that it is used for all kinds of situations that have nothing to do with the way the BIBLE uses it.


B) If a football team has a bad season and the next year better one - , they have been born again.


C) Rock Stars – Career – Born again

Marriage in Trouble: Born again.

Car – New Look -


Interesting – Some who profess to be  Christians –shy away from its original use –

I am a Christian just not one of those Born again types

A)What does that mean? – Born again – It is a Must!  Straight from the words of Jesus Himself.


B) That is what we learn in this story of our Lord’s encounter with this religious leader by the name of Nicodemus.


Who was Nicodemus?

A)Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews.

That means he was a  member of the Sanhedrin,


B)They were a council of seventy men who ran the religious affairs of the nation. 

C)That council was almost entirely made up of Pharisees.

It is very important to understand who the Pharisees were.


They were a select group -- never more than 6,000 of them.

A)Men who had each one taken a solemn vow before three witnesses that he would devote every moment of his entire life to obeying the Ten Commandments, as a way of pleasing God.


B) The Pharisees took this very seriously. These men spent their lives studying the Ten Commandments and applying them to situations of life so that the Pharisees could carry out these commands and thus obey God.


C) Within the sect of the Pharisees were the Scribes – the Scribes were the scholars –

1) They comprised a thick book called the Mishnah – sort of a commentary that explained what it means to obey the commandments


D) Another Book was the Talmud – it is a commentary interpreting the Mishnah – Both books are still used today by the Jews


E) They focused on the Minutest detail of the commandments that God laid out. - 

1) For example in the Talmud there are 156 pages given to explain what it means to keep the Sabbath

Things like tying a Knot or drawing water out of a well – or walking a certain distance from your home were all violations


This is the Kind of man that Nicodemus was –

Given to that sort of detail & devotion to the law of God

A)His Life revolved around the rituals


B)It is amazing that he would come to Jesus at all,

1.) because of their dedication to the law the Pharisees regarded themselves as superior to other


So Nic was a religious man – he was a ruler or a leader in his circle – V. 10 Jesus refers to him as The teacher.

A)He was also Wealthy – John 19 he brought costly myrrh to the tomb of Jesus.


B) But despite having Religion / Power / Prestige / and Wealth – Nic knew that something was missing.

1) So he comes to Jesus by night.


C) A lot has been made about Nic coming at night – 1) It has been suggested that He came by night because of embarrassment – He didn’t want to be seen with Jesus


2) So he opted for a secret meeting.


I don’t think that is the case. –

A)Cooler -  { Roof top patios – coolness of the night


B) Calmer – This was Passover season – the busiest time for a Pharisees especially the teacher in Israel – Simply – the most convenient



So Nic comes and addresses Jesus is a very polite way.

A)Rabbi = Teacher or Master -  Blind Bart – Rabboni – My master …..

Nic wouldn’t go that far.  He was curious –


B) But notice also that he says we know….: Letting Jesus know – You have been a topic of conversation amongst the religious leaders –

1) They as a group had come to the conclusion that Jesus was from God – the reason – His miracles –


C) Amazing to me – that no one doubted the miracles of our Lord—not in that day!


D) But today you have Seminary Professors – who want to debate and doubt and explain away the miracles of Jesus /

1) Professors who are removed by two thousand years and several thousand miles from the land where it all took place, and then you can doubt the miracles.


E)But you will not find that either the friends of Jesus or His enemies ever doubted His miracles.



So Nic is being all polite Rabbi : V.3 Jesus cuts to the Chase: Answers the unasked questions

A)This was the thing that was burning on the heart of Nic


how can I know that I am going to be a part of the kingdom of God. Assurance


B) Despite all of his knowledge / education / training / background position – Nic was lost – Knew – sensed something was wrong

1) No assurance –


C) I am sure that Nic thought – My religion tells me that I am secure by keeping the law

                                 Problem is I don’t

1) I know my heart – my thoughts – sometimes I falter in actions


D) Paul said the same thing – law revealed he was covetous – Busted

1) Who can save me ?


So Not feeling that assurance Nic comes to Jesus –

He comes speaking in Broad terms we know … General A)Jesus gets specific – Nic I am saying to You. – You must be born again.


B)I love this about the Lord – he loves to get specific – We love to be general

C)We say the Church needs to experience a revival – Forget about the Church –

1) You need to experience Revival.


D)Jesus says to Nic – You must be born again? Spiritual birth

1) Religion / Morals / ethics is not enough – There is a problem at the core.


Two servants in a king’s court were debating over the idea of whether a man could be made a gentleman, or whether he had to be born one.

A)The King grew tired of the debate and gave each some money to try and prove his point.


B) The one who thought –it was possible for a man to be made a gentlemen – went to an inn. Ordered some food

1) Amazed at what happened next – Out comes a Cat walking hind legs – all dressed up nice like a Gentlemen – Served his food


C) This proves my point – If a Cat can be made a Gentlemen – so can a man. Bought the cat – to show to the King

1) Other Guy who thought only born – Got wind -  Idea to disprove


D) The Day came to present their findings to the King – The one man showed up with his Cat- Other a Box

E) The cat was doing his thing – the King was amazed – Until the other guy opened his box – 12 Mice – Cat natural instincts reverted


That is the way it is: You can clean up a man / new clothes / stick him in great surroundings –

A)But when things heat up – Natural tendencies are going to surface


B) According to published reports 60% of those released from Prison – Recommit serious crimes – 2/3 are arrested

1)Not reform that is needed – it is REGENERATION - You must be born again.”


C) Nicodemus immediately thinks of gynecology:

1)  "How am I going to get back into my mother's womb and start life all over when I am already old and grey? How can I do that?"


V.4 I will commend Nic though – he is not asking Why ? Asking How?

A)To ask why Lord is a sign of a hard heart – why should I do that?   { Purpose why necessary


B) To ask How – soft heart –

1) Ok I see the need – maybe even have the desire – but How ?


C) Which are you – are you always asking Why? Why is it this way why that way. – Why that need} who messed up

1) How can it happen Lord – show me


D) Nicodemus I think understood the need for a fresh Start –

Born again – Yea that would be nice – New Start/ How


V.5 Water and the spirit

V.5 Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit He cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

A)What does that mean?


Some  Water = Baptism –  The symbolism of baptism is one of death not of life. -  Burial -

A)And Baptism is not a criteria for salvation – but rather the evidence of it.


Barclay: Water = Cleansing / Spirit = Empowering

A)Though both are parts of salvation – by products of salvation – neither are a part of the Criteria or process in regeneration


B) Others Believe water = Physical birth { embryonic fluids –

v.6 would seem to support that idea – that which is born of the flesh is flesh – spirit is spirit


C)Problem – the word water is never used in that way in the Scriptures

D)And V.6 is really magnifying on the need presented in v.3 – Being born Physically is not enough. –

1)Spiritual birth is needed for salvation


E)“That which is born of the flesh is flesh.” That is an axiom.

1) See God does not intend to save the flesh at all. This old nature must be replaced by the new nature.


The spiritual birth is necessary so that you and I may be given a new nature.

A) Flesh is temporal – Tent


B)Spirit is eternal – Question how will you spend eternity – Alive or dead


4th Wuest: Water = The Word – Eph. 2:26 / John 15:3 You are clean thru the Word

A)I believe this is the clearest explanation – Born again – thru the ministry of the Spirit acting thru the Word of God


B) Been said the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible – 1 Peter 1:23 declares we are born again not of corruptible seed – but incorruptible – by the word of God which lives and endures forever!”


C)The HS works thru the word of God – to ignite the heart – to convict the soul -



Interesting terminology Born again – there are similarities in Physical birth with Spiritual Birth.

A)Human birth involves travail…. Labor for nothing


B)Likewise spiritual birth involves travail Our Saviour had to travail on the cross so that we might become members of the family of God

1) Neat picture in nature : Tolaith worm – Red Die –


C) As believers we travail in Prayer to see people come to Christ


In Physical Birth the child inherits the nature of the parents.

A)SO too in Spiritual birth  . We become “partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).


B)Nature determines appetite. Cows Grass / Lions meat

1) Christian gets an appetite for the things of God (1 Peter 2:2–3).

  Desires the milk of the word -


C) Birth involves a future, { Beginning all upward – grow mature

1) Spiritually  we are “born again to a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3, nasb).


D) Nic you need to be Born again –


Now Nicodemus must have had a surprised and yet bewildered look on his face, for the Lord had to say, V.7 “You must not be surprised that I told you that all of you must be born again” 


To Prove his point – Born again you see the affects

Analogy of the Ministry of the Spirit being like the wind – Looked at on Sunday.

A)Point – Can’t see the wind – but you see the affects –


B) Same is true of the person who is born again – You see the affects

1) Inward Spirit affects outward life.


1) Free –

2) Driven by the flesh – Now led by God – Look different – sound different – act different – Marching to a new Drum beat


C) I read of  a Christian in England who was asked to sign a church guest register.

1) He noticed that a number of guests had entered their degrees after their names.


D) He wanted to put some letters after his name, but had never been to a university. So he wrote, "John Smith, BA and MA."

1) Asked what the letters stood for, he said, "John Smith, Born Again, and Marvelously Altered!"


E) Jesus is saying, "Do not marvel at that; that is to be expected." When God's life becomes your life, you can expect many changes.

MY DAD – HUGE IMPACT !!! CRIED reading word

2) Patient – Kinder – treated my mom Better.



Once again Nicodemus is puzzled. "How can this be?" he asks V.9 /  V.10 Now It is Jesus' turn to be astonished.

A)He has spoken to a man who is the teacher of Israel, a man who has given his life to studying the Old Testament.


B)Jesus also knew that book. He knew that Isaiah / Ezekiel / Jeremiah all wrote about the New birth – part of the New Covenant


C) Nicodemus – You should Know exactly what I am talking about!.


All through the Old Testament there are statements about a new birth, a new beginning, a new creation, a new life that would come as a gift of God to those who would humbly, without pride, receive it as something they desperately needed.


So Jesus says to Nicodemus, "How can this be? How can you, a teacher of Israel, not know about these things?"


Selective Theology

A)Guilty of selective Theology – all laws – no grace –

  Also No law all grace

Jesus responds by Chiding Nic a bit v.11-12

A)Not understanding earthly things – Ref to analogy of the wind –

How will you understand Spiritual things


B) But here we see the patience of Jesus – real plain - V.13-15 Jesus says let me give you a Picture: The serpent on the pole


C)The story in Numbers 21:4–9 was certainly familiar to Nicodemus.

1) It is a story of sin, for the nation rebelled against God.


D) It is a Story of Judgment – Because of their sin Israel  had to be punished.

1)God sent fiery serpents that bit the people so that many died.


E)It is also a story of grace, for Moses interceded for the people and God provided a remedy.

1) Brass serpent on the Pole – Those who look to it – Saved/ healed 


F) Also a story of Faith - when the people looked by faith, they were saved.


Great picture of What Jesus was going to do.

A)Interesting that the serpent was a symbol of the Curse


B) Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree – Jesus became a curse so that we could be healed


C) Later the serpent on a pole would become a symbol of healing { Medicine and hospitals –

1) That is what Jesus does – he reverses the curse


Jesus would say later John 12:32 If I am lifted up I will draw all people to myself.

A)He was lifted up at Calvary –


B) We continue to lift Him up – Point to exalt


C) Finally Jesus – Flat out answers the question of How – V.16


John 3:16 is exactly twenty-five words long, and in these twenty-five words, Jesus communicates the Father’s heart, the Father’s plan, and the Father’s will.…


•     His heart: He loved the world.


•     His plan: He gave His only begotten Son.


•     His will: Whosoever believes in Him should not

       perish, but have everlasting life.