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Born Again?

We become new creations through Christ.


One of the most familiar stories of Jesus, found at the opening of John 3, begins this way: "Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night."

Don't miss this man's spiritual pedigree. He was, first, a Pharisee—a professional theologian, who knew the entire Old Testament virtually by heart. He made it his daily work to observe the law of Moses minutely. Later Jesus says to him, "You are Israel's teacher." He and the 69 other men on the Sanhedrin had jurisdiction over all the religious affairs of Israel.

On top of all that, I think this man was genuine. Often Pharisees came to test and trick Jesus, but this man didn't. He came at night when there were no crowds to impress. Later John tells us he defended Jesus to the other leaders, and when Jesus died on the cross, Nicodemus was there—along with Joseph of Arimathea—to bury his body. He was Jewish—born among God's chosen people, heirs of God's promises. Surely if anyone, anywhere, was ever a citizen of the kingdom of God, it was Nicodemus.

John makes note that Nicodemus came to Jesus at night, but he is telling us more than the time. He's giving us a literary hint of Nicodemus's need.

A salvation case study

Nicodemus is a salvation case study of someone who was as good, devout, well-born, and sincere as you can be. Here was a man who fully expected to enter the kingdom of God. We know lots of people like that who have far less impressive credentials than Nicodemus: people who assume that in due time they will enter God's kingdom.

In John 3:2, Nicodemus says, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God ...

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Lee Eclov recently retired after 40 years of local pastoral ministry and now focuses on ministry among pastors. He writes a weekly devotional for preachers on Preaching Today.

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Sermon Outline:


I. A salvation case study

II. 'Unless they are born again'

III. 'Born of water and the Spirit'

IV. Re-creation of a person

V. Divine, unseen, unmistakable