Heaven’s Gateway

Introduction Text Read:  John 3:1-7


There is no portion of God’s word in which we  are more familiar than with this passage. I suppose if we should ask the man on the street if they believed that Jesus Christ taught the doctrine of the new birth,  they would undoubtedly say, “Yes I believe he did”.  But when asked  what the new birth is, we would get sundry answers to this query .


These words compose one of the most solemn thoughts that one can entertain . “Have I experienced the new birth  am I born again,”  For Jesus emphatically declares   3Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.


The doctrine of the new birth is, therefore the  foundation of all our hopes. It is really the ABC’s of Christianity, and my experience has been, if a man is unsound on the doctrine of the new birth, he will be unsound on almost every other fundamental teaching in the Bible.


I questioned a lady once, who had not obeyed the gospel . She had attended faithfully, and heard the gospel preached many times., when questioned as to why she had not obeyed the gospel,  she stated that  she was as good as any those folks down at the church who had obeyed the gospel. I don’t need to do that , I go to church.   But Jesus states :  5Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


 I once heard the story of a man who approached a minister and stated “If you can answer all my objections to your doctrine  satisfactorily, I will join your church." The preacher told him,  "you don’t need to join  my church, what you really  need is to study and look at the testimony concerning Christ, the rest will take care of itself. " This he did. And I understand, his objections  were answered.


The doctrine of the new birth upsets all false hopes and foreign doctrines.  The question remains for each of us, "Have I been born again of the water and of the Spirit".  For without having done so, Jesus says you cannot enter the kingdom of God. :  5Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


 Nicodemus came with his troubled mind, and to him Christ said,  “Ye must be born again.”   This  man comes inquiring of Jesus,  2Rabbi, 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.    Others had  decided without investigation, that Jesus was not what He appeared and claimed  to be,  Jesus had asked the Jews on more than one occasion, believe me for the works which I do.  Nicodemus had obviously done this. 2Rabbi, 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.


Nicodemus came  not as some ordinary person, but a ruler, evidently a member of the Sanhedrin,  a man of authority, and a teacher of the Jews. Of the seed of Abraham.  And he was treated differently than he had expected. A ruler and teacher of the law.  Now notice how Jesus puts it.  except a man be born again,” born anew”; or born of the Spirit and the Water”. he cannot see the kingdom of God.


I am so thankful that Jesus spoke of the new birth  to this ruler of the Jews,  a doctor of the law,  rather than to, the woman at the well of Samaria, or to Matthew the publican, or even to Zaccheus. Had He spoken this great matter to people as these our thoughts might be, “Oh yes, the publicans and the harlots certainly need to be born again, but I am an honest man. I do not need to be born again.”         


I suppose Nicodemus was one of the best examples of the people of Jerusalem. To my knowledge, there was no record against this man, he comes to Jesus with an impeccable resume.  If heaven could be earned by works, Nicodemus perhaps would have merited the eternal reward.


There is a class of men who say that gospel meetings and evangelistic campaigns are for a special class of people. It would indeed be good if we could get the drunkard, the harlot, the thieves and other wicked people to attend, But  I am a good person. Religious people are often the most difficult to lead to Christ. They may be good folks, even gifted in their studies,  but they can suffer from a blindness that is almost impenetrable.


But not Nicodemus.  This man had considered the evidence, and came inquiring concerning the Christ. Consider, to whom did the Christ speak these words?  To Nicodemus. Was he a drunkard, a thief, or other vile criminal? No! He was no doubt one of the best men in Jerusalem.  He was an honorable counselor. He belonged to the Sanhedrin. He held a very high position, in the religious world of his day.


And yet, Christ said to this good, moral,  yet religious man, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"  I think it hardly necessary for me to continue this line of thought, we all  need we all have to be born again, Jesus has answered once  this quire once and for all "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God"


Well just what is the new birth? This is the question of the hour.   Please allow me to state what the new birth or regeneration is not.


The New Birth. is not simply going to church. Often we ask someone, "Are you a Christian?" The reply , "well I think so, I go to church each Sunday.  Although I am not  a member of any particular  church. I contribute to charity. Yes! I think I am a Christian".  Beloved it  is commendable that we attend the worship services,  That  is not the new birth. One is not born again, just because he attends church.


There is another class -  those who have turned over a new leaf. We decide we  will abandon our ungodly ways, and this will make me acceptable in God's eyes.. But beloved, forming a new resolution, and abandoning evil practices is not the new birth.


Then there is a class of folks, good, sincere, who say I am saved. I believe in God , I accept that Christ is the Son of God, it is enough.   It is a very serious question that comes  before us,  I would that each would seriously ask himself ; “Have I been born again?”  Jesus says it so plainly that there can be no mistake:  Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God   ¾  much less inherit it......


Please allow me to say, any doctrine, that teaches that one is a child of God, prior to the “new birth”  is a false teaching, therefore faith only doctrine is false.  For Jesus emphatically says to us: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. "


When Jesus spoke these words to Nicodemus He used a figure of speech. And in so doing He indicated that some change, so complete and so thorough that we might refer to it as a new birth, must take place before one has the right to be called a citizen of the kingdom of God.  This change having taken place, he has been born into the family of God.  Thus the new birth.  If it is possible for us to understand what this new birth is¾  Then it is possible for us to know how one may get into the kingdom of God,


Since the new birth is the only process by which one may  get into the kingdom, only that which is embodied in Jesus’ expression “the new birth”, constitutes what God would have us do to become children of God.  This is one point in all God’s dealings with mankind, where  light must shine crystal clear


There are only two kingdoms in the world. The kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God. All humanity belong to one or the other. There is no third place. These kingdoms are completely separate. they do not overlap and it is impossible to be in both kingdoms. We fall by transgression  into Satan's kingdom of darkness and we are translated out of this kingdom and into the kingdom of light , the kingdom of God.


 God is not willing that any should perish. 2 Peter 3:9. His desire is that every lost soul should come out of Satan’s kingdom and into His kingdom of light. This we do by the new birth, The way must be clear, there can be no doubts about it. So much depends upon it.  Let us look at some passages and see if we   can understand the new birth.


In John 1:12-13 we read:

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become sons of God, even to them who believe on his name, who are born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, or the will of man, but of God.”


God then is the author of the new birth, When we are born again, we are said to be born of God. It is not a birth of flesh, the natural way we had our physical being,  rather it is a spiritual  birth,  God  is its author.  James wrote in James 1:18:

18Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.


Thus we are born or brought forth by the word of truth.  To be born of God then is to be born of the Word of Truth, and to be born of the  Spirit.  The Holy Spirit Himself uses these terms interchangeably, so can we. The Holy Spirit is  right, and  when I speak that which  the  Spirit has said. I speak right as well. n 1 Peter 1:22-23  Peter states

22Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.


No wonder Paul declared in   Rom 1:16-17

16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written,  The just shall live by faith.


Christianity is a sensible affair, where men and women hear and  are taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. When faith is produced it leads one to reformation of life.  But it begins by  hearing the old old story of Jesus and His love.   Jesus declared that  men were to hear and learn  John 6:44-45

44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.


Beloved when we get away from all the mystery and fog that many have attached to this passage concerning the new birth,  and get down to the simplicity of Jesus’ teaching,  then it becomes clear that the new birth is simply believing the gospel, that the apostles required of all believers, obedience  to  the word of truth.


There is then a very simple answer to the question: Of what does the new birth consist? When the facts of the gospel are taught,  and we hear these facts an appeal  is made to the intellect of man. The intellect reacts to the facts presented to believe or reject them.  If received, faith is produced, and we may become children of God by faith   John 1:12-13,  authorized for that is the meaning of the Greek word  [ejxousiva] translated power.  But if the message is rejected, then faith is not established, and without faith it is impossible to be pleasing to God.  Heb 11:6


This faith in God, mixed with a repentance, brought about by a realization that we have transgressed God’s laws, and offended the Great God of Heaven results in a reformation of life,. This change of the inner man creates completely a different spirit within the man. The new man is so different from the old man, that it is not amiss to say, He has been born again,


Perhaps the clearest commentary on what  Jesus meant when He told Nicodemus "Ye must be born again" is given by the Master Teacher Himself, Surely He would know more about it than anyone else.  In Mark 16:15-16 we read,    Jesus doing the speaking ¾

15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.


It would take far more help to misunderstand than to understand it. Note these conclusions from what has been stated thus far: All who are saved are in the kingdom of God.  Those who are born again are in the kingdom of God. Therefore, all those who are born again are those who are  saved.  But: all who believe and are baptized shall be saved. Mark 16:15-16. All the saved are in the kingdom of God. Therefore all who believe and are baptized are in the kingdom of God. The old expression, "things equal to like things, are equal to each other."


But note still further:  None may see, get into the kingdom of God except they be born again, the new birth. John 3:3-5. All those who believe and are baptized are in  the kingdom of God because they are saved Acts 2:38 and are added to the church the kingdom…

Acts 2:47.


Therefore all who have believed and are baptized, have been born of the water and the sprit. We have been translated out of the kingdom of Satan and into the kingdom of God's dear Son. These conclusions are inescapable.  None may show otherwise.


When this change takes place, it is no longer possible that our physical bodies should serve and obey the lusts of the flesh and of sin. When our hearts have been born again our actions must change. We are brought into subjection to Christ.  Read: Rom 6:1- 6; 17-23


The salvation of our souls depend upon the new birth. We must be able to clearly understand and obey it. Would God who loved us and sent His son to die for us, want to hid this teaching from us? This is the one place in all the gospel, where we must read our title clear.


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.


My friend, you may  be a globe trotter and see many countries in this life, but there is one country you will never see, unless you are born again.         You can look far and wide, see many beautiful flowers trees, but you will never see the tree of life, unless you are born again.   You may  see many rivers, but you will not see the river  which bursts from the throne of God, unless you have been born again.


You may see many people in this life, those we love, those we share fellowship with. But you will never see those who have died faithfully in the Lord unless you are born again. You may dwell in the presence of  kings and  of  lords, but you will not dwell with  the king of King and lord of Lords unless you have been born again.


The New Birth  the gateway into the Kingdom of God. "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."


In Luke chapter 16 we have a clear picture of one who is unprepared to meet God at death.  The Bible says  Luke 16:23-31

23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.


Have you been born again? You must be, if you would enter into the kingdom of heaven.  

contact:: Ron Cope minister

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658