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THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST

 

The New Birth (1)

John 3:1-8

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.     We were introduced to the concept of the new birth in John 1:12-13.

 

But as man as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name, which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of men, but of God.

 

B.     Sonship was very important in that day.

1.       Individuals were proud of their heritage.

2.       A Jew was extremely proud of his genealogy. He was a descendent of Abraham.

3.       It is important today, not physically, but spiritually.  If we are the sons of God, we should rejoice (I John 3:1a).

 

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God…

 

C.     In this study, we will look at “The New Birth.”  We will be examining John 3:1-8.

 

I.             THE COMING OF NICODEMUS (John 3:1-2)

 

A.     Nicodemus (John 3:1)

 

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews…

 

1.       He was a man, of the male gender.  LESSON:  Men do not lose their masculinity by being religious. 

2.       Of the Pharisees

a.       Their name was taken from the Hebrew word “Pharash,” which signifies set apart or separate.  They took this to the extreme and believe that they were set apart and better than others (See Luke 18:11).

b.      They were the strictest sect of the Jews.  They had the most accurate interpretation of the Law of Moses.  Jesus said that they sat in Moses’ seat (Matt. 23:2).

c.       In addition to the Law of Moses, they held to a body of man-made traditions called “the traditions of the elders” (Matt. 15:2).

d.      They were the largest sect of the Jews.  The appealed more to the common man.

e.       They were proud, self-righteous, and hypocrites.

f.        NOTE:  This man was religious.  Why did he need Jesus?  Most today would say that since he has a religion he is okay.  We will see that he was not.  Having a religion does not equal having salvation.  (This does not mean that a religion is not important in the salvation process).

3.       Nicodemus

a.       Definition

1)       Strong (3530):  victorious among his people

2)       Thayer:  conquerer

b.      He was one of a few Jewish leaders who were intrigued by Jesus and His claims.

c.       Ultimately, he assisted Joseph with Jesus’ burial (John 19:38-42).

4.       A ruler of the Jews

a.       Ruler

1)       Strong (758):  a first (in rank or power)

2)       Thayer:  ruler, commander, chief, leader

b.      He was a member of the Sanhedrin, or great council of the Jewish nation.

c.       On one occasion before the council, he advocated for Jesus (John 7:50-51).

d.      Lesson:  Those in high positions need Jesus as much as anyone.

 

B.     Night (John 3:2a)

 

The same came to Jesus by night…

 

1.       The question has always been asked:  “Why did Nicodemus come at night?”

a.       Any answer to this question is mere speculation.

1)       His duties during the day did not allow him to come to Jesus.

2)       The crowds around Jesus during the day were great and Nicodemus wanted to speak to Jesus privately.

3)       Nicodemus was fearful of the reaction of his Jewish peers.

b.      Lesson:  There is never a wrong or poor time to come to Jesus.

2.       He came to Jesus.

a.       Nicodemus came to right person, Jesus Christ.

b.      He seems to have come with the right heart.