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JOHN 3 (Kent Smith notes 2/4/24)

NICODEMUS:

THE SECRET SEEKER

JOHN 3

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John 3:1  Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews;  this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”


Nicodemus:  Powerful, influential, devout, religious.  

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RELIGIOUS UNDERSTANDING IS INSUFFICIENT

  • Knowledge of religious teachings and principles.

  • A familiarity with the language of God.

  • A discernment to recognize the activity of God.

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John 3:2  This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

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A PERSONAL SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY

What is lacking is a new nature, a transformation.

What is required is AN ACT OF GOD: a new birth!

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John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”


2 Timothy 3:1-7  But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who [c]enter into households and captivate]weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 



Do you know that God has birthed you into new life?  

What evidence convinces you that God has done this? (Besides that you hope it is so!)


Do you draw your life source and power from Him?  Are you abiding in Him?  


Col. 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.  Is He your life?


Is your life “ROOTED” in Christ?   


Know this: Where there is a root, there will be the evidence of fruit!

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COMING TO THE END OF SELF: HUMILITY

  • Nicodemus: “How can a ‘rebirth’ happen?”

  • You can have all the religious education and understanding.

  • You can have a solid reputation and influence with others. (Even in the church!)

  • You could have even kept all the religious rules and practices.


 But if God has not birthed you again, then you have not been saved, you have not been transformed, and you cannot understand the things of God.

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John 3:4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born again?” 


All that defined Nicodemus’ religious life was discounted.

All his efforts at spiritual piety was worthless.

All his years of climbing the ladder of religious influence amounted to nothing.

Even all his years of benevolent leadership and training of others was empty and without value (at best) and misleading, even corrupting of others at worst.


Paul wrote: 1 Corinthians 2:14

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.


Again he wrote: 

Ephesians 2: 1-5 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,  in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.  But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 


Perhaps you are sitting here today, saying, I know this, I understand, I get it, I have already done this. –

Dear friend, it is less about what you have done, than what God has done IN YOU!



This is NOT about “have you taken the right steps” – but that you can look within and know that God has transformed you, God has made you alive, God has birthed you again, and God has made you His own – NOT because of anything that you have done, but because of what He has done in you.

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YOU MUST BE BORN OF THE SPIRIT

The Essential - Indispensable - Necessary Action is 

THE WORK OF GOD

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The Statement of Jesus:  You must be born again

The Illustration of Jesus:  The Wind

You see and hear the evidence of the wind, but you do not recognize the source, power, or divine intention of the wind or it’s Source / Creator.

Nor can you understand the power, and divine intention of the One who births individuals into new life.

John 3:8 The wind blows where God wishes it to blow, so is everyone born of the Spirit.

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THE HUMBLE QUESTION

  • Nicodemus: How can these things be?

  • How does this (rebirth happen?

The first step in understanding eternal truths is admitting you do not already have the answers.

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John 3:9 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”

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THE ANSWER FROM JESUS

  • Jesus is He who came from heaven and will again ascend to heaven.

  • Jesus (like the serpent in the OT) must be lifted up. (Crucified)

  • All who look to Jesus in faith, believing in Him, will have eternal life.

  • Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • Those who believe in Him are not judged.

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John 3:13  No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man.     [I am God]

John 3:14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;  [I must be crucified]

John 3:15 So that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.  [Faith in Me leads to salvation]

John 3:16 whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.   [Those who are born again never die]

John 3:18 He who believes in Him is not judged;  [Believers are not judged because I will take their Judgment]

John 5:24

Jesus said,

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

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THE INVITATION

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

Acts 16:31

If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

For the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Romans 10:9-10

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This is throwing yourself on the mercy of God.

You bring nothing.   

You have nothing to offer Him.


He has done it all!  The work for your salvation was accomplished before you were ever conceived!

You were born with a sin nature, and sin accomplished your spiritual separation from God – your spiritual death.

Dead people do not make decisions.  Lazarus could not raise himself, nor can we bring about our own salvation.

But today, if you hear the voice of God calling to you, then today is the day of salvation.  He calls you from death to life.

Hebrews 3:7-8

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says,

“Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me, As in the day of trial in the wilderness,


2 Cor. 6:2  “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”—


2 Thessalonians 2:13  But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

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