Previously we saw the commission of Jesus christ to make people citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven revealed in the work of Jesus Christ of turning water to wine and cleansing the temple of God. That was from Christ’s personal perspective and now we shall learn about how that all works for us such that we enter into the Kingdom of God. This is well detailed in John 3,4 where Jesus discusses about the being born again/from above with Nicodemus, and Living water, True worship with the samaritan woman at the well.
Born again Christian
To be born again is the fundamental event in the life of a christian for his salvation. This Born again experience involves various persons and activities happening in various dimensions. A true born again christian is born by water and spirit to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven during salvation when accepting the work of Jesus Christ on the cross whereby building a character in which he worships God in Spirit and Truth. Now lets deep dive into the various dimensions by rightly dividing everything due to the complexity of so many things involved in this act of salvation. This a continuous journey where some events are in a moment while others last during a season and some the entire lifespan.
Ye must be born again
Jesus in John 3:7 during the conversation with Nicodemus affirms that one must be born of water and spirit to see and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. He asserts it strongly with the word must saying “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again”. The born of water here does not mean water baptism as the conversation here is not about physical realm and secondly this conversation is explicit to the Gospel of John. From christian standpoint the following things do happen
- Made Righteous: Holy Spirit in the beginning stays with us leading us to the cross and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and convicting us of the nature of sin and lack of worthiness to stand in the presence of God. By this our conscience which was dead towards God, cries unto him for forgiveness and a person receives forgiveness and the Righteousness of God. Practically this act is for a season. Ref: John 16:8 John 14:17; Rom 2:15 John 8:9; Heb 9:14 1Tim 1:5; 2Cor 5:21.
- Receives a new Heart: Now as faith builds up, we receive a new heart that believes in God and as Jesus said out of it flows the new desires of life. In this season the hunger for God and faith in Christ increases and we receive the various measures of the Love of God (the very nature of Loving and Love for the Lord himself). Also with spending more time with God and his word, the faith Grows. Ref: Rom 5:5 Eze 36:25-27; Heb 10:22.
- Born again in Soul and Mind: Soul – In the place of your being where you know who you are, the spirit of god gives you faith that you then know that you belong to christ and Lord God have become your father by whom you are. Now Mind is the most vulnerable area that got habituated, exposed and bound to the ways of this world and the lusts of flesh. This area is renewed every day through subjecting ourselves to prayer, practicing the ways of the Lord and renewing it by reading and understanding the word of God. Here begins all temptations either of self or even by enemy. This is continuous process throughout life. Ref: Eph 2:3, 4:17,23 Acts 17:11, 20:19, Rom 1:28, 7:25, 12:2, 2Cor 4:4, 11:3, Mark 12:30 Phil 4:7 2Tim 1:7 Titus 1:15 Heb 10:16 2Pet 3:1
- Born again in Spirit: When from a believing heart a cry comes to have Lord Jesus in his life, the Holy Ghost who is with him comes now to dwell in him and gets united with him thus is he born of spirit and bible goes to tell that they have become so much one that it is one Spirit. Now the Holy Spirit teaches deep things of God and reminds us of the Word of God and glorifies Jesus Christ. Ref: John 3:5, 14:17,26, 16:13, 20:22 Rom 8:16,14 1Cor 6:17
- New creation: Now this new creation of God lives in this world, yet he is not of this world. So now he must live in the flesh that is limited to the rules of this world and his mind receiving things both from his flesh/world and his spirit in which he has to walk a life that is holy and acceptable unto God. He does this by praying always, giving thanks in everything, led by holy spirit and making the Word of God as Standard of his life while living in this world with all that God has setup including family, job and his calling.
- Born again in Flesh: We shall be born once again in flesh that is receive a new body when the last trump sounds and this corruptible and mortal body shall put on incorruption and immortality. This is in future. Ref: 1Cor 15:51-53, 6:19
- Born of Water: This represents the cleansing that happens so that we are made clean as Jesus did wash the feat of his disciples and said unless this is done, you have no part with me. This is not water baptism(essence is surrenderence of his life and partaking of his death) but a separate act to clean the person fully of his past life, post which its only everyday walk that needs to be made clean using the water of the word. This is an act done by Jesus and we become clean and holy and one in the Lord.
So we have got a new spirit and heart and our soul is being transformed handling both this world and heaven, and we live in a mortal old body which is weak and was corrupted by sin and want to return to old ways.
When we ponder further on this, it makes sense of the bigger picture of Jesus calling of turning water to wine, cleaning the temple and from our standpoint the act of being born again discussed with Nicodemus and rivers of living water flowing out of us (our thirst being fulfilled for God) as discussed with the samaritan woman at the well. The word of God become the bread of Life for us and the Holy Spirit become living water in us to quench our thirst as Jesus said in Rev 22:17 and John 7:37-39 “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” and John 6:35 “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst”.
Now as born again christian we must learn the ways of this new kingdom of which we are, and need to understand them properly and walk in them in this world, which is not yet redeemed even though we are redeemed. So next sermon we shall learn of the ways until then Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven and continue to feed on the Bread of Life, Drink the living water and Worship God in Spirit and Truth.
Bible Topic Study
Jesus and Nicodemus in the bible
John 3:1–15 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 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. 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. 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? 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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 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. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world
John 3:16–21 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Spirit without measure
John 3:22–36 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Ænon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison. Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him. John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Jesus and Samaritan Woman at Well: Life giving water
John 4:1–18 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. And he must needs go through Samaria. Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.
Worship in Spirit and Truth
John 4:19–26 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.
Born again scriptures | life giving water
|Bible Reference||Bible Verse|
|John 7:38||He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.|
|1 Cor 6:11||And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.|
|1 Cor 10:1-4||Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.|
|Eph 5:26||That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word|
|Titus 3:5||Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;|
|Heb 10:22||Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.|
|2 Pet 2:17||These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.|
|Rev 1:5||And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,|
|Rev 7:17||For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.|
|Rev 17:15||And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.|
|Rev 21:6||And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.|
Who was Nicodemus? Nicodemus was a Pharisee and is believed to be a member of the chief priests and pharisees, known as Sanhedrin (These were literal followers of the Torah and established customs by which the Law of the Moses is fulfilled). Behind the name Nicodemus is the meaning “victory of the people”(Nike = victory, demos = people). Now John 3 well suits that by being born again people can be victorious in life, when it is interpreted using the name.
Pharisees: Ritualists and legalists by whom traditions were established. Tough to bring to faith but once they come, they stand strong. Sadducees: Liberals, denies the inspiration of word of God, don’t believe in resurrection – so sad. Near to impossible to bring them to faith.
Pharisees had general acceptance of Jesus like of John, until Jesus spoke to them in parables and things beyond their understanding like giving his body to eat – John 6, 6:27,53-57. And breaking the sabbath law, which of course Jesus explained by the example of how David ate from the house of God – Luke 6:1-5, and the everyday practical example of how a Jew would save his sheep that falls down in a pit even on Sabbath – Matt 12:11-13.
Jesus and Nicodemus
Nicodemus meets Jesus during the night when he saw the miracles that were performed by Jesus as he wanted to know and understand about these things. He had understood god mostly in natural the ways of natural world but not spiritual world. Thus was curious to know and thus went during night as he wanted to have one on one conversation with him. Important lessons to learn are
- It was natural for a person of such high state to not to openly show his interest in the person until that person is known and tested. So he went in night.
- Nicodemus was interpreting everything naturally, but learned that some things are spiritual too.
- He learnt that one must be born again spiritually to be able to do those things and enter into the Kingdom of God.
- A person serving in the position of Nicodemus is expected to know the fundamentals well of the Kingdom.
- Bible does not condemn Nicodemus for following Jesus privately as long as he was fulfilling what was expected of him.
Nicodemus in the bible
The character of Nicodemus does not disappear in the bible after John 3. We see that he is mentioned three times in the bible.
- Conversation with Jesus on being born again: Learns the need of being born from above in John 3.
- Defending Jesus: In John 7 when officers fail to arrest Jesus Nicodemus suggests to the chief council to atleast give an opportunity to Jesus to defend himself before they declare him guilty based on perceptions about him. But of course they reject his council saying “Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet”. At that he had no answer as many did not knew that he was born in Bethlehem of Judea. Ref John 7:45–53.
- Saving the body of Jesus after cross: Lastly he was mentioned in John 19 after Jesus’ crucifixion. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man & member of the council, takes care of the burial of the body of Jesus Christ. These both were secret followers of Jesus as they feared Jews (who by this time were strongly against Jesus) and these worked under them. But they secretly approached Pilate and by permission took the body and buried the body of Jesus with all rituals.
John 19:38–42 “And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.”
Woman at the well
The story of the encounter between Jesus and samaritan woman at the well tells us about the thirst in us for god and the heart of god to give us the living water that flows unto eternity. Once the holy spirit is received (John 7:37-39) then comes the ultimate overflow of this living water which is to deeply Worship God. Jesus explain the kind of this worship is, A worship in Spirit and Truth: which must be done by a person and that is what God looks for!. Now this encounter has several other facts and learning to be learnt from a bible study perspective too:
- Jesus’ journey: It is evident that Jesus took this journey at the will and guidance of God (John 4:4 “Now he had to go through Samaria”). Just like today crusades that gets held based on guidance & will of god. So that answer why Jesus needed to go through Samaria. Secondly he was expanding his ministry in this process and sharing the gospel to the lost sheep.
- The samaritans: Bible mentions well of Samaritan’s behaviour and characteristics. Of course in the law they were not experts and their knowledge, customs & standards of keeping it was also low according to Jews & also Jesus mentions: You do not know who you worship. (Their history is: These northern Israelites remained in Israel during Babylonian captivity. As per Jews they got mingled with Babylonians and were considered impure, So were regarded low in society and from Mosaic standards. For further details read on britannica.)
- Samaritan women: This woman was of a unique nature, famous in town and of much speech. Scholars say she was outcast therefore she came alone to draw water. But i defer: These samaritans were open minded and free spirits, so going alone to an inherited well is fine. She had five husbands yet the town accepted her testimony to invite and further hear Jesus.
- Living water: Jesus offers her living water such that she will not thirst. Just like Nicodemus even she did not interpreted this as spiritual (remember we are in John’s gospel). Bible interprets this as Holy Spirit in John 7:37-39 “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive”
- Go, call your husband: This does sound off-track at first glance. But by now you have become more matured to understand that it was not so. The Lord then choose this path to lead her to salvation: proving to her about his words were of prophet (coming from God) & provoking her to test him, open a door to listen to his words in faith. You need to understand that practically things go differently in this world. Some of you can say directly he could answer, but how many of you directly believed in first time? so believe me when i say that practically things flow in this world differently and it all depends on each person, their journey, experiences and the road to their salvation.
- True Worship: The message is clear about Worshipping God and it is that God desires us that we worship him in Spirit and Truth. Here Spirit means an adoration & worship that comes from your spirit and your heart and Truth means that you worship God as who he really is (which you gain knowledge based on Word of God, revelations & experiences you have). This is the practical understanding of it. Also while Worshipping Holy Spirit (you feels as your own thoughts as you both flow together – we are one spirit in christ), shows you visually and in knowledge the person of Jesus Christ and God the father.
- Many Samaritans saved: The lord choose her to open doors for his preaching in Samaritan city whereby he got great harvest. Today it can be compared to meetings that gets held in areas and some pastor or a group organizes the meeting. Also note finally they get personally connected to Jesus Christ, middle man roles to create an appointment.
This is the same chapter which also explains about Harvest and the rewards of each and also the role of each one is crucial in good harvest. Minister can learn a lot on deep study about the Ministry of Jesus Christ, how he practically implemented it in those times and the objective, outcome of those preaching. God bless you and make you fruitful, Amen!