River Rock Baptist Church
Tuesday, August 11, 2020
All To The Glory of God

John Lesson #11

John Lesson #11
John 3:1-7

There are a number of different kingdoms. The lower kingdom is what we would call the mineral. That is, the minerals, the rocks, and things that are placed in the earth. That’s the lowest stratum, that’s the lowest kingdom. [non-life]


And, then above that is a higher kingdom that we would call the vegetable kingdom. These are living things. And, so that makes them higher than minerals, but the vegetable kingdom doesn’t have conscience life. [unconscious life] You may talk to your plants, but I really doubt that it does much good.  They used to say music helps, but I don't know.


Then, above that is the animal kingdom. Animals have conscious lives and so we put the animal kingdom above the vegetable kingdom, which is above the mineral kingdom, but animals don’t have a spirit like human beings do. Animals are not made in the image of God like human beings are. Humans have self-conscious life.


Above the human kingdom is the Kingdom of God. Now, the question comes. How can you move from one kingdom to another kingdom? It’s very obvious that the mineral kingdom cannot by its own efforts place itself into the vegetable kingdom. And, vegetables cannot by their own effort place themselves into the animal kingdom. And, animals by their effort cannot place themselves into the human kingdom. And, humans cannot by their efforts place themselves into the Kingdom of God.


But, the mineral kingdom may move into the vegetable kingdom. How? Well, those vegetables put down their roots into the ground and absorb those minerals and those minerals actually become vegetable. And, the vegetable kingdom may move up into the animal kingdom. Because the animal is grazing, or feeding on those green things and bringing those things up into the animal kingdom as they feed upon them.


And, then that animal kingdom may be a part of the human kingdom. Because we take old Bessie and turn her in to filet mignons, and rump roast, and such. And, then we serve her for Sunday dinner and she becomes a part of the human kingdom. And, she’s absorbed and lifted and brought up into the human kingdom and correspondingly, we can be brought up into the Kingdom of God, not by our own efforts, but God Himself can reach down and bring us up into His Kingdom. The Bible calls this being born again. We can’t do it by our own efforts.


I might illustrate this morning by asking a little boy to come up here today--to stand up here and put his hands under his shoes and see if he can lift himself off the floor. Of course he couldn’t do it. Now, I can lift him, but he couldn’t lift himself off the floor and no person by self effort can lift himself into the Kingdom of God. But, he can be born into that Kingdom. In the Greek language, “to be born again” literally says—“to be born from above.” Now, what we really need therefore is not a boost from beneath, but a birth from above.


I’m so glad that God used the figure of a birth, because that’s something we can all understand. Now, Jesus is talking to us about earthly things. You remember He told Nicodemus, “If I’ve told you earthly things, and you don’t understand, how shall you understand if I tell you heavenly things?” A birth is an earthly thing. We all understand the birth. Now, there are many figures for salvation given in the Bible and, they are all good, but we don’t understand them all necessarily. For example, being saved is like a sheep returning to the fold. Well, if you’ve never seen a sheep, you might have difficulty with that. Or, being saved is like a leper who has been healed of his leprosy. Well, if you’ve never had leprosy and never seen a leper healed, you might have difficulty with that. Or, being saved is for example like a resurrection. I don’t think any of you have had one or seen one, but being saved is like a resurrection, it’s compared to that. But, there is one thing I know about everybody here. We’ve all been born. We have. Did anybody get here any other way? You were all born, and so Jesus took something that was absolutely common to human beings, something that we could all understand and he used that to teach us a great tremendous spiritual truth.


You say, “Well, Pastor, I’m religious.” You don’t need to tell me that. It was a religious man whom Jesus Christ was speaking. Jesus Christ was speaking to a man named Nicodemus. Remember what the Bible says, “There was a ruler of the Jews named Nicodemus.” His earthly name, “Nicodemus” means, “superior,” he was a superior man. He was a Jew -- the chosen race, he was a ruler of the Jews, that means that he was one of the Sanhedrin. There were less than eighty people in this Jewish court and he was one of them, a ruler of the Jews. And, yet Jesus said to Nicodemus that he had to be born again. But, Jesus told him, “Except he were born again, he could not see the Kingdom of God.”


So, now, whether you’re Baptist, or Methodist, or Presbyterian, or Episcopalian, or Catholic, or Jewish, just put all that aside and I want to ask you this question today. Do you know, that you know, that you know, that you’ve been born again? If not, I want to remind you that it doesn't say it is optional...that it might be good if you were born again, He said, “You must be born again.” “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” Now, why did Jesus use the figure of a birth?


Well, in the first place a birth implies a conception. That is, there are things that come together in order to cause a birth. You were conceived in your mother’s womb when that sperm from your father and that egg from your mother came together. There was a conception and because of that conception a life began. There were two elements that came together that caused a birth. Now, the same thing is true in the new birth. There are two elements that come together. You read about them in verse 5. Water and the Spirit.


Now, what does it mean to be born of water? Some people have the mistaken idea that Jesus was talking about baptism. Not at all. I’ll tell you why.


First of all, baptism is not a picture of a birth, but of a death. The Bible says, “Buried with him in baptism… ye are risen… raised him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12). And, if Jesus talked about that He’d be mixing metaphors. And, secondly, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Aren’t you a master in Israel and you don’t know these things?” That is, you’ve had all this Old Testament study, and you ought to know this. Well, baptism is not an Old Testament thing. There’s no reason that Nicodemus should have known about baptism. That’s a New Testament truth. Yet, Jesus scolded him for not understanding what He was talking about. Besides that, baptism is a work. And, we are not saved by works. The Bible says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us…” (Titus 3:5). And, don’t you ever let anybody tell you that you are born again by being baptized. It is sheer folly to believe that. The Bible says in Romans chapter 10, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved…” (Romans 10:13). And, if you make baptism necessary for salvation, let me tell you what you do. You take that “whosoever” out of the Bible.


ill.--Let’s just imagine there’s a man who is flying in his jet airplane over the Sahara Desert. And, his airplane malfunctions and it flames out and he knows it’s going down. And, he pushed the eject button and the canopy comes open and he is catapulted out and he pulls the ripcord and he drifts to the desert floor. And, he’s there on the burning, broiling desert floor. Nobody knows he’s there. For hundreds of miles he has no water, no canteen. He knows before long he’s going to dehydrate and die. There’s not a drop of water anywhere. He remembers what his mother taught him about the Lord Jesus Christ. He remembers the preaching of his pastor who taught the grace of God, how a man could be saved by Christ, who died on the cross to pay for his sins. He’s convicted of his sin. He says, “Oh God, what a fool I’ve been. I’ve lived for self and self-alone and now God, you’ve brought me to this place, God, at least I thank you that you’ve given me enough time to think it all through. I believe I’m going to die here, but I don’t want to die without knowing you. Now, Jesus, you died for me on the cross. You said that if I would believe on you that you would save me. You taught, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. And, God, right now, with all of my heart, as much as in me is, I repent of sin, I open my heart, I receive you, Jesus, now as my Savior.” And, let’s say that he was not just saying that, he was praying that and meaning that, he was literarily trusting Christ to save him. He really meant it. Would he be saved? Of course. For the Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” If I make baptism necessary for salvation, that man can’t be saved. Number one, there’s no water there to baptize him with. Number two, there’s no preacher there to baptize him. Number three, he wouldn’t be of a certain denomination.


The moment you make baptism necessary for salvation, you take the 'whosoever out of the Bible and you have to read it this way, "for whosoever' shall call upon the name of the Lord, and is fortunate enough to be near water, and is fortunate to have a minister to baptize him, can be saved." At that moment you’re going to eliminate a lot of people. I’m everlastingly glad that we’re saved by the grace of God and that Jesus is not talking about baptism here.


What is water a symbol of? Is it a natural birth when the water breaks? Maybe, but I believe He’s talking about the Word of God. Water in the Bible is a symbol for the Word of God. In Isaiah God says, “Is not my word ‘…as the rain cometh down…’ from heaven (Isaiah 55:10)?” Also, the Bible speaks of the washing of regeneration. And, the Bible speaks of washing of water by the Word. And Peter says that “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Peter 1:23). He’s saying that the Word of God is like a sperm. It is like incorruptible seed. And, that’s the idea of the seed, not a seed like a plant seed, but a sperm. Now, when the Spirit of God and the Word of God come together in the bosom of a human being there’s something that happens, there is a impregnation, there is a germination, there is a conception that results. That's why we preach the Word and invite the Spirit to our services.


You remember when Mary who was to be the mother of the Lord Jesus had that miracle that was formed in her? Both of those elements were there. The angel of the Lord spoke to her that was the Word of God. And, Mary said, “…How shall this be…” And, the angel said, “…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee…” That’s the Spirit of God, but there was more thing that was necessary. Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:34–38). And, when you get the Word of God, the work of the Spirit and the will of man...you get a new birth.

a birth implies a conception...

A birth also speaks of an impartation of life.

How do little babies get here? Parents don’t manufacture babies, they have babies, but what the parents do is impart to that baby life. The life is first in the parents and the life comes from the parents to the child. Now,  even the birth of a baby in the natural realm is a miraculous thing. There must be this impartation of life and so it is in the spiritual world when we are saved, God gives us life. Jesus said in John chapter 10 verse 10: “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Maybe you are listening now and, you have existence, but you don’t have life. Jesus was speaking to people who were already existing and he said, “I have come that you might have life.” Now, you receive physical life from your physical birth, but you will receive spiritual life from your spiritual birth when you are born again. You become a new creature. The Gospel of John is the gospel of life. And, as a matter of fact, the word “life” is used at least thirty-six times in the Gospel of John.


What does that life bring? That life brings a new nature. Whose life is it? It is the life of the parents. Therefore whose nature will it be? It’ll be the nature of the parents and when you’re born again, the Bible teaches that you become a partaker of the divine nature. You are going to be like your Father. You are a partaker of the divine nature. Listen, Christians are not just nice people. They’re new creatures, they are born again and they share the nature of God. Now, if that nature doesn’t dwell in you, if that nature doesn’t live in you, you’ve never been born again. Being born again is not just like a tadpole turning into a frog...it's more like a frog being turned into a prince by the kiss of grace!


So many people sit on church pews on Sunday morning. They’ve never become a partaker of the divine nature. They’ve gone through ritual, they have their name of the church roll, but they’ve never been born again. What are the signs of the divine nature? If God is in you, how can you know? What is the nature of God? Well, I’ll tell you one thing about the nature of God. The nature of God is the nature of holiness. He says, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). That is, like Father, like son. Now, that word “holy,” does that scare you? All that means is a love for righteousness and a hatred for sin. Do you have that? There are people who are members of churches who are nothing but baptized pagans living double lives. They have no hatred of sin. All they want is a fire escape so they’ll not go Hell. I don’t mean you are going to be sinless and perfect. But there is going to be an inner desire for holiness.


I’ll tell you another mark of divine nature. You’re going to love the Lord Jesus Christ. When I want to know if a person is saved, I don’t say, “Well, how much of the Bible does he know, or how often does he go to church, or how much money does he give?” I say, “Does that person love the Savior? Does he love Jesus? Has he become a partaker of the divine nature?” If he loves Jesus he’s going to love what Jesus loves, and that’s church, and the Word, and lost souls. He’s going to want people saved. How can a man say that he is a partaker of the divine nature if he doesn’t want to see other people saved and back it up with his life? Do you have a passion, a concern, and a desire that people know Christ as their personal Savior and Lord?


When you’re a partaker of the divine nature, you’re going to love the Bible, the Word of God. The Bible says in the book of Peter, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). There are some people who never read this Bible, never care for this Bible, they don’t understand the Bible, they don’t love the Bible. If you’d rather read a newspaper, or you’d rather watch a television program, you’d never crack it open unless perhaps under guilt trip sometimes, and because you think a dose a day keeps the devil away...but, you never have a real desire for the Word of God. I wonder if you’re saved.


Now, let me say something else about this thing called a new birth. It’s a brand new start. Now, when a baby is born he’s all tomorrows. That baby has no yesterday, but he is all tomorrow. One thing you’ll not see when a baby is born down at DMH is a sheriff there ready to arrest that little baby for some crime he’s done. He has no past, no yesterdays, he is all tomorrows. And, so it is when you get saved. The Bible says, “…thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). The Bible says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). The Bible says, “…thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back” (Isaiah 38:17). God says “…their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12). Isn’t that wonderful? I don’t care what you’ve done, it's gone!


I don’t care if you’re a murderer. I don’t care if you’re a Sodomite, it makes no difference, “…though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18). Every stain, every blot, every blur, every blemish that ever came across the soul, whiter than snow the Lord Jesus makes it. It is gone, he’s like a brand new babe, he’s all tomorrows, and no yesterdays.


Those things you did are now in the grave of God’s forgetfulness. God has forgiven, God has cleansed, God has made you whole. That’s the reason Jesus called it a new birth.


Now, I want to say something else about a baby—a baby is complete, but a baby is not mature. That is, you get all you’re going to get when you get born. You don’t go back and have more equipment added later on. Now, this is true about salvation. You spend the rest of your life discovering and developing what you got when you were born.


You need to understand that when you get saved God gives it to you all, but you may stumble and you may fall. There’s a lot you need to learn, you are complete, but you are not mature. You’ve got to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. You know, the reason that some folks don’t get saved? They’re trying to grow up and then get born. That’s right. They say, “Well, I’m just too weak.” Well, of course you are. You’ve got to get born so you can begin to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but you get it all when you’re born.


Now, let me say something else about a birth. A birth is a once in a lifetime experience. Now, nobody is born twice physically, right? That’s what confused Nicodemus. Jesus said that He had to be born again. Nicodemus said, “How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?” (John 3:4). Jesus said, “Nicodemus, you’re getting confused, that which is born of the flesh is flesh, that’s finished. Now, you’ve got to have another birth, you have to be born of the Spirit. There are some people who believe that you can get saved and then be lost again and then be saved again. But when you are born, you can’t be unborn. This business of getting saved and lost and saved and lost, and saved and lost...the Bible doesn’t teach that. The Bible teaches we are born from above by the Spirit of God and God keeps.


Is this a license to sin? Some of you have your name on a church roll, yet you’re living in sin, and you’re counting on eternal security. Don’t count on it, bud, you’re going to Hell.


Finally, a birth implies a certainty. You ought to know it if you’ve been born. Now, sometimes you might ask somebody, “Hey, are you born again?” Do you know what they’ll say? Something like this. “Well, I sure hope so. I think I am. Maybe I am. I’m doing the best I can.” Well, now let’s put that over in the physical realm. Suppose I would ask if you have ever been born physically? You would say, “Well I hope so. I think so. I’m doing the best I can.” Wouldn’t that be a ridiculous answer?


Thespiritual birth ought to be as real as a physical birth. Will Rogers went to get a passport and they said, “Well, we will need a birth certificate.” He said, “What for?” They said, “Well, for proof of your birth.” He said, “Well I’m here ain’t I?” That ought to be good enough. The Bible says, “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself…” (1 John 5:10). And, God’s Spirit will bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God, that you’ve been born into the family of God, and that you’re a partaker of the divine nature. And, if you’re not absolutely certain that you’ve been born again, remember that Jesus said, “You must be born again. Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”