The Great Need Of Our Age

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John 3:1-2 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

We recently moved our clocks forward to observe “Daylight Saving Time”. It was NOT implemented to help the farmers (they have lobbied against it since its inception), but was started During World War I to conserve energy sources. In 1966 the Uniform Time Act standardized Daylight Saving Time. The same Act keeps states from going to a permanent Daylight Saving Time, though states are free to return to standard time. States cannot go to a permanent DST (which Tennessee wants to do) until the U.S. Congress passes the “Sunshine Protection Act”. The Senate passed this March 15, 2022, but it died in the House. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a change!

The ancient Jews and Gentiles didn’t move the clock around like we do. In Jewish tradition, the day began when night fell. When three stars could be seen in the night sky, this was the start of their day. The reason for this is that the Jews believed in the Genesis account of creation. In Genesis chapter 1 we are told that:

Genesis 1:3 (ESV) … there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

God’s day – it was believed – began with evening, and days were reckoned from evening to evening. It was considered “night” when there were three stars visible in the sky.

Nicodemus Came To See Jesus At Night

When the sun set for the Jews, it was a “new day”. Nicodemus meets Jesus, and this meeting will bring “a new day” to his life. We find out some things about Nicodemus. First of all, his name. The name Nicodemus (Greek nikodēmos) means “Conqueror, One Victorious among his people”. Nicodemus is a man who is successful, who pursues victory, and seeks excellence. He is not a run of the mill man. He wants to win, wants to succeed. We read that:

John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

There were around 6000 Pharisees, very devout keepers of God’s Law. We are told that Nicodemus is “a ruler of the Jews”. The Phrase the Jews used in the New Testament is usually a reference to THE Jews, that is THE Jews who were particular about keeping the Law. In short, “THE Jews” is another term for the “Pharisees”. Nicodemus has studied the Bible, and excelled in learning its truths. As a result he has risen to the top tier. He is a ruler of these people, people who called themselves “Pharisee” or “Separated unto God”.

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night

Why did Nicodemus come to Jesus by night? Some have suggested that this was just when Nicodemus came, that there was nothing significant about him coming at night. I don’t believe this. Nicodemus is mentioned three times in the Book of John, in John 3 (where we are tonight), and again in John chapter 7 when the Pharisees plotted against Jesus. They sent men to take Jesus by force, but the men refused to grab Jesus when they met Him. They asked, “Why didn’t you bring Jesus to us?” The hired men replied,

John 7:46 … No one has ever spoken like this Man.

The Pharisees told them, “You have been deceived. The Pharisees do not believe on Jesus. Only those ignorant of the Law believe on Him”. It is then we read that Nicodemus speaks up for Jesus:

John 7:50-51 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?

Nicodemus, though a Ruler of the Pharisees, spoke up for Jesus by reminding them that the Law forbids judging a person without first hearing them out. The fact that Nicodemus came to Jesus by night is mentioned once more, and again in John 19:39. The Law required that an accused man be given an opportunity to speak and clear His name. The Law required that the man’s accusers – in this case those who accused Jesus – hear him out before passing judgment.

Three times in Scripture it notes that Nicodemus comes to Jesus BY NIGHT. This is because – of all the Pharisees – the only one who ever heard Jesus’ was Nicodemus!

Nicodemus wanted to hear Jesus explain Himself. During the daylight hours Jesus was busy healing, blessing, resurrecting, teaching. Jesus had crowds around Him during the day – and Nicodemus wanted a quiet time to sit down and access Who Jesus is. When do not exactly know where Jesus is. We know that Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover feast, and has cast the money changers and sellers of sacrifices out of the Temple. The Chief Priests and Pharisees were in partnership with these people. Perhaps this is part of the reason Nicodemus is here. But the greatest reason why Nicodemus is here because he has been watching Jesus

John 3:2 … Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Jesus Is More Than A Rabbi

Nicodemus has seen Jesus doing miracles, and believes that God was with Him. Nicodemus is like many people. They think that God is WITH Jesus – but that Jesus is just a mere mortal man. Nicodemus calls Jesus Rabbi or rhabbi, which means “Teacher” or “honorable One”. The Pharisees called one another Rhabbi, but Jesus condemned them for that. He said:

Matthew 23:8-10 be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. 9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

The only One Who can truly be called Rabbi or “Honorable One” is The Christ sent from God, just as the only One Who can truly be called Father is God the Father. The Only Master(Greek kathēgētēs) or Superior Teacher is THE Christ. As humans, we all fall short.

Nicodemus is calling Jesus Rabbi to tell the Lord “You’re just as good as we Pharisees are”. He was sadly mistaken. Those who are lost think themselves good. They classify themselves by comparing their own self made rules, and how they live in comparison with others. They are like many of the “woke” crowd today who believe themselves to be morally superior because their color is more acceptable, or because they have the elite stamp of approval from some liberal arts college.

We are all fallen creatures. Nicodemus, Jesus isn’t as good as we are. We aren’t worthy to tie His shoe laces!

People who are spiritually blind cannot see this. Jesus, Who is THE Christ, now speaks to Nicodemus, one of THE Jews, and says:

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Word Study: Jesus begins with Verily, verily which is literally amēn amēn. The word means “this is absolute truth”. As Jesus speaks, He ties what He says to Himself. He doesn’t say “This is absolute truth per the Scripture”, though Jesus often quoted Scripture and said “It is written”. Nicodemus has already said that God was WITH Jesus. Based on his own words, Jesus is going to make a judgment on Nicodemus. His judgment is “Nicodemus, you are spiritually blind. You have come to Me in darkness, and I am now going to open your spiritual eyes. You must be born again!”

The Bible teaches us that people are all born into this world separated from God both physically as well as spiritually. Those who are without Christ walk through this life …

Ephesians 4:17-19 (ESV) … in the futility of their minds. 18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. 19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

The Bible does not tell us that all people are born basically GOOD, and then over time they drift toward evil. The Bible tells us that when Adam sinned, he brought spiritual death on all his progeny. The Scripture declares:

Romans 3:9-18 … (ESV) … all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.

People are not good until they are bad. People enter this life physically bereft of God. The Prophet said:

Micah 7:2-4 … there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. Their hands are on what is evil, to do it well; the prince and the judge ask for a bribe, and the great man utters the evil desire of his soul; thus they weave it together. The best of them is like a brier, the most upright of them a thorn hedge.

Jesus looked at Nicodemus and said, Unless you are BORN AGAIN – born not just of flesh but spiritually born – you CANNOT SEE the Kingdom of God. The Pharisees relied on their schooling, on their position in society, in their elitism to make themselves right with God. And yet Jesus would later tell the Pharisees:

Matthew 23:27-28 (ESV) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

The Pharisees – as do we all – needed to be “born again”. Nicodemus is blind to his spiritual need. He asks:

John 3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Nicodemus response is like the rich young ruler who asked Jesus, “What must I DO to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17, ESV). Jesus told the young man to keep the Law of God. Affirming that he had done this “from my youth upward”, Jesus told him, “Sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and follow Me”. The man refused to do that …. and yet, this is the only way to eternal life. You must receive eternal life through Jesus. It is a free gift that He grants to those who REPENT and GIVE THEMSELVES TO HIM. Jesus tells us:

John 3:5-7 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. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Who can enter into the Kingdom of God? Not the fallen angels. There is no provision made for their salvation. Then who? Only the sons of men. Only those who have been born of water, that is, born as a son of Adam, can enter Heaven. But those born of water must ALSO be born of the Spirit. The Bible says:

1 Peter 1:22-23 (ESV) Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God

When a person hears the Gospel and God opens their spiritual eyes to its truth, they are given the opportunity to receive or reject that Gospel. If they receive that Gospel truth the Holy Spirit moves upon them, and they are spiritually washed, born into the Kingdom of God.

Some believe that the washing of the “water” is a reference to the Prophecy of

Ezekiel 36:25-28 (ESV) I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.

God cleanses His people with the Word of God rightly applied (see Ephesians 5:25-27). Salvation is a gift of God – not of works, lest any boast. When we come to Christ He and He alone has the power to save us. Believing on Him, the Spirit of God is sent to our lives – and we are “born again”.

John 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Jesus compares the New Birth (you must be born again) of the Spirit with the wind or the breeze. The word translated wind is the Greek pneuma, whereas the word for the Spirit is the Greek πνεύματος, pneumatos. The words are very similar to one another. Why did Jesus compare the Holy Spirit to the wind? Is the Holy Spirit just a force of God, as the wind is?

The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is not a power, but a Person. A Person has their own identity or individuality, and are able to make conscious decisions. The Bible tells us that God the Spirit knows God’s thoughts (1 Corinthians 2:10). No human is able to do this, but God the Spirit does. The Holy Spirit has a mind:

Romans 8:27 (ESV) He who searches hearts {God} knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

God the Holy Spirit intercedes for the believer, praying for us as we live within God’s Kingdom. The Holy Spirit has a mind, and volition, the ability to choose. The Spirit not only has a mind, but the Spirit has feelings like a Person. We are warned,

Ephesians 4:30 (NIV) … do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

You cannot “grieve” a power or a force. You cannot grieve electricity or the wind. You grieve God when you as believers live in sin. Kurt Selles, the Director of Reframe Ministries, stated:

Paul reminds his readers—and that includes us—that they should no longer live like unbelievers in the darkness and “futility of their thinking.” All who believe have been purchased with the precious blood of Jesus, and now they are called to live in his light. Living in Jesus’ light means following him in our thoughts, words, and deeds.”

The Holy Spirit is a Person – the Holy Spirit is actually God. In the early Church the Apostle Peter told Ananias and Sapphira:

Acts 5:3-4 (NASB) “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.

You cannot lie to a power or a force – but Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit, they lied to God. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity. He is God.

The Holy Spirit is the One Who causes a person to become “born again”. When the Gospel is shared, the Scripture is quoted, God the Holy Spirit will move to open eyes and, if that person is willing, the Spirit will cause him or her to be “born again”. The Spirit is lie the wind in that:

1 Both the Spirit and the Wind are INVISIBLE. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

2 Though both the Spirit and the Wind are invisible, their WORK can be seen. When the Spirit moves on a person’s life, the change is very visible.

3 The work of the Holy Spirit and Wind are both POWERFUL. When the Holy Spirit “moved over the face of the water” (Genesis 1:2) during creation, He brought order to chaos. Where the Spirit is, order is brought from chaos.

4 The work of the Holy Spirit and the Wind is AMAZING. Why would God love us so? The Bible says, “Who has understood the mind of the LORD, or instructed Him as His counselor?” (Isaiah 40:13).

5 Just as the Wind blows where it blows, the Spirit moves where He wishes. The Scripture tells us that “all the gifts are given by the Holy Spirit as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11) … God sets the members in the Body of Christ {the Church} as it pleases Him (1 Corinthians 12:18)” {author’s paraphrase}. We are warned not to

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Quench not the Spirit

When you hear the Gospel of salvation, and hear that Jesus Christ is God’s Messiah, the Only Way to salvation (John 14:6), you have a choice. You can heed the call of the Spirit and turn your life over to Jesus. Or you can reject Him. Yet I would warn all, reject the Gospel call with caution. Quenching the Spirit may cause Him to depart – and none can come to Jesus except the Father which sent Him draw him (John 6:44). It is the “Spirit that makes alive” (John 6:63). It is the Spirit that bids the lost come to Christ.

Revelation 22:16-17 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

Do you know Jesus? Have you believed on Him Who gave His life for you? Have you received Him as lord and Savior of your life? If not, today is a great day to do so. My prayer is that God would reach out to everyone who reads these words. “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” (Romans 10:10, 13 – ESV). Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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