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November 25, 2021 7:00 pm
BJU President Steve Pettit brings part one of a message entitled “You Must Be Born Again” from John 3:1-9
Welcome to The Daily Platform sponsored by Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina speakers president Bob Jones University. Dr. Steve had for over 29 years.
Steve was an evangelist traveling across the country preaching and teaching in evangelistic services and Ministries but ask you to take your Bibles this morning a turn with me please to the book of John. John chapter 3 this morning I like us to read the third chapter of John, beginning in verse one and we are going to read down to verse nine and I would like to take this morning and tomorrow morning to speak to you of one of the most important and fundamental basic themes in the Bible and that is that in order for any of us to enter into God's kingdom, we have to be born again and I really like to take the time to talk through what it means to be born again. What is the Bible say about that. Let's look beginning in verse one this morning where Jesus says, with the Scripture says there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews same came to Jesus by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God for no man can do the miracles that thou do us except God be with him. Jesus and answered said in him, verily, verily, literally means amen. I sanded the except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God, Nicodemus, they offend him.
How can a man be born when he is old Kenny enter the second time into his mother's womb and be born. Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say under the 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, that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Verse seven Marvel not that I said into the you must be born again. The wind blow with where list of the doubt. Here's the sound thereof, but can, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth so is everyone that is born of the spirit. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, how can these things be in verse seven Jesus said Marvel not that I said under the you must be born again. I don't know about you, but in my normal conversation with people I don't really use the word must very often.
I don't come up to someone and say you must.
I might use a word like, let me suggest or let me encourage you, or let me recommend. Or maybe I would ask questions like if you ever considered what you think about her help me understand what you're thinking, but for me to say to someone, you must complete reveals or gives a completely different feel. Somebody asked the famous evangelist George Whitfield why do why do you always preach on the subject. You must be born again and he responded because you must be born again. The word must implies necessity.
Something has to take place. So there's going to be a consequence you monster or else what Jesus is saying to us is that the message of the new birth is not a message to mess with you. Don't trifle with this. He says if you're not born again you will not see the kingdom of God. Now that should cause all of us to be concerned. The reason why preaching this message to you today and tomorrow morning is because I'm actually very fearful and concerned that many of you are not really born again.
Maybe your religious but you haven't been born again. Some of you are knowledgeable of the Bible you've grown up in a Christian home, but you haven't really been born again. Some of you have gone through maybe a religious profession of faith. At some point in time in your life that you remember or you vaguely remember looking back, but you really not been born again. Some of you have some form of religious standards or you conform to some external standards that would be representative of Christian living, but in reality you've not been born again. It's very interesting to me that over the last year and 1/2 that I've been here Bob Jones University. I've asked. I've met many graduates, many actual who came here to Bob Jones University. They went for years in school. They lived in the dorms. They sat in the classes they attended chapels and services. They prayed in prayer groups and then they told me it was years after graduation that they were actually born again. I've known graduates have gone out of here they thrown away their faith, which in reality is a misnomer because you can't throw away something you don't have, and yet they turn to a sinful lifestyle and they deny the reality of the life of someone who is been born again. So what I'd like us to do this morning is look very carefully at verse seven of John three and this is our text verse and notice what Jesus said.
He said Marvel not that I said under the you must be born again this morning were going to look at the first half of that verse where it says Marvel not in the tomorrow will look at the second half of the verse when he says you must be born again. And so today we're going to look at why is it that when we talk about being born again people are somewhat surprised by their somewhat more bold by it and then tomorrow morning we'll talk about actually how it is that you're born again so let's look at this verse seven. This first half. This morning as he says Marvel not that I said and that the you must be born again. Why is it that people are so surprised by that statement. You must be born again number of years ago I was on a missions trip in New York City with some of our teenagers from our church. We got on the New York City subway and if you've ever been on the subway New York City. You notice nobody ever talks to each other. So if people are talking to each other.
It means that they must be visitors and so we were visitors and everybody around us figured out that we were from some other place and so I started talking to a man on the subway I thought you know I never got to see this man again, I'm just gonna step out here and asking the question. I looked at about six or let me ask you a question.
If you ever been born again in his response was interesting. He said, born again, born again, born again, that's all I hear today is born again.
They looked at me said what is it mean to be born again. On the left likes and succumb to a bulldog and from one stop to the next stop on the subway New York City. I expressed to this man is clearly as I could in just a few statements what it means to be born again when Jesus said don't Marvel what is the word Marvel mean it means to be surprised, somewhat amazed, but it's not confusion as much as it is admiration or all it's something that maybe I didn't know I didn't realize, but I'm very interested in our Kent Hughes described it as wishful yearning. It's a statement that I can hear you begin the sense to recognize it's something that I need.
Why would this man Nicodemus marvel at Jesus's statement will let's look more carefully at the man Nicodemus because this is a conversation between Jesus and this man who came to see him. Notice what the Bible says in verse one where Jesus is interacting with Nicodemus and what we discover about what's is first of all, that he was a man of the Pharisees that means it was extremely religious in Jesus day the Pharisees were the chief exponents of an ethical and moral way of life. They were the most religious people in all of Israel. They were small tightknit group.
They were extremely conservative. Their name means separated wants to codify the laws of Moses. In the 613 laws and then they sought to apply the law literally in the keep the wall diligently so the man that came to Jesus was an extremely religious man, but the notice.
Secondly, he not only was religious but he was very intellectual, is a very smart man.
He was a scholar. Nicodemus is actually a Greek name.
It means one who conquers the people. Now most people that are Jewish have Hebrew names but those that are wealthy are exposed to Greek culture and so consequently often times parents gave their children, wealthy families, a Hebrew name and a Greek name and since Nicodemus preferred his Greek name. He was probably a Hellenistic Jew that is very influenced by Greek culture.
He probably read the Old Testament in Greek and he was educated in Greek philosophy there some evidence that Nicodemus may have come from a very aristocratic family. So he was in his aristocratic scholar. He was a part of the educated elite was interesting that in verse nine Jesus said to Nicodemus, you're a master of Israel, and that takes them to a whole another level because it meant that he was considered to be one of the greatest teachers in all of Jerusalem. So think about religious smart intellectual but something else about it since he was a ruler much of the Jews. That is, he was a politician. This meant that he was a member of the Sanhedrin. These are group of 70 men who were the rulers of the light of the nation. They were the highest court of justice.
You could almost say it was like combining today. The soup cream court and the U.S. Congress, so he was a member of the exclusive ruling body of the land of Israel. So who is this man Nicodemus of very unique individual. In other words, there's probably not another one like him and all of Israel. Let me also say that Nicodemus was probably the best. If you want to say it that way.
Or you could say he's just about everything a person would ever want to be in life, ethical, educated elite and the highest social orders religious, moral, recognize known that is there very few people that are like Nicodemus, but when Jesus spoke to him in verse three he actually did not speak to him as a unique individual, but he spoke to him as a representative of all individual for. Look at verse three, he says Jesus answered and said, verily, verily, I say that the except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God. The word, except a man refers to anyone, it refers to everyone and what Jesus is saying is that Nicodemus, though he may be considered the best of men.
In spite of his achievements in spite of his status in spite of his character in spite of his wisdom in spite of his prominence, he still was not going to go into the kingdom of God unless he is born again, I want to say to every one of you if you are not born again you cannot. You will not see the kingdom of God.
So why did Nicodemus marvel at this. I was he so surprised. Should he not have known this. Why is it that so people are surprised why people are so surprised when you ask them the question. You know II think if I asked you are you a Christian. Are you a believer are you say you know that's one thing but to ask a person are you born again.
I have seen the same surprised look on the faces of many people, I believe, just like the surprised look Jesus on the face of Nicodemus, why are we so surprised by this.
I think there are couple of reasons. On the one hand, I think Nicodemus was surprised because he did not see his need of a new birth. He didn't really understand it. And the reason he did not understand it is that he couldn't understand it. You understand folks that nobody naturally understands that they need a new birth. Nobody understands that day. They need to actually have a change take place in their life that is similar to what it meant for you to be born in the coming of this world. Paul said the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God. It's not in your spiritual wheelhouse. How can someone describe a blue sky. Their blind. How can somebody listen to a beautiful song at their death. How can somebody run in a race.
If the crippled, the natural man like you are you are in adequate to comprehend your personal need of regeneration. You don't even think that way now. It wasn't that Nicodemus was ignorant of the Bible. He was a scholar of the Bible. He understood the Old Testament. He knew the story he memorized the Torah, he would've understood Adam's fall, he would've understand understood the promise of the coming Messiah. He would've understand understood that man failed in keeping the law he would've understood that there are sacrifices because people leave their sins forgiven. However, he did not have the ability to perceive the answer to his true sinful condition because man's answer to his sinful condition naturally is to always try to get better be good, do good work harder improve yourself. Work your way, but he did not see he did not comprehend that he was so alienated from God that his nature was so predisposed towards evil. He did not understand or comprehend that he was by his very nature a child of wrath. And why could he not understand this because he was blinded, he couldn't see it, you realize that this morning about yourself, you know, and I'm really concerned about some of you really are spiritually blind.
You really don't see it. You got religion, but you don't have the new birth, and that's why Jesus said that the work of the Holy Spirit is to come into the world and to convince people to show people their sin to show people there need of righteousness to show people that they're going to be judged by God. Folks if the spirit does not come and work in your heart you cannot see the kingdom of God.
If he doesn't give you ears.
You will not hear if he doesn't give you eyes. You will not see if he doesn't raise you up, you will not live no man Jesus said can come to me except the father which sent me draw number years ago I was actually holding a two week revival meeting at Morningside Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina in the first week of that meeting on a Monday night a lady turned to my wife and said that I talk to you right now.
It was during the song service so my wife and our schoolteacher that was traveling with us on our team went out into the lobby of the church and she said Terry I need to talk to you. I don't think that I'm saved my life that I think you need to talk to Steve after the service. So after the service I got my Bible and I was going to talk to this young lady thinking that she needed the assurance of salvation.
So I began to ask her some very basic questions like tell me when you were saved or errors in response to me was very interesting. She said I've always believed that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead. I've always believed it. She said, but I guess I never really realized why I really needed Jesus because I didn't really see myself as being all that bad. Not all will. Had you told me I would've told you how bad your what is amazing to me is here's a young lady who grew up in a Christian home who graduated from a Bible college to talk to years in a Christian school and was traveling on our team and for the first time in her life. She really saw herself and began to recognize what she needed masculine question this morning.
Do you recognize the need of the new birth. Do you realize in your own heart that you need Jesus it's interesting here we see the blindness of Nicodemus when what he confessed about Jesus in verse two is very interesting look at what it says is it's the same came to Jesus by night and said in him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God for no man can do these miracles that thou do us except God be with them that when you read this you think what maybes a believer but I want to know that what Nicodemus confessed is really not much different than what a Muslim or Mormon beliefs about Jesus because he said that Jesus did miracles. He said that Jesus was a teacher come from God and he also said that God was with Jesus, but none of those things are sufficient to get you to heaven because what it did not say about Jesus. He did not say that Jesus was divine. He did not say that Jesus was God himself. In fact, is nobody really believes Jesus is God just intellectually to really believe Jesus is God. God's got open up your eyes and remember what Jesus asked his disciples, who do men say that I am, and who answered Peter, what did he say you are the Christ, the son of the living God. During the Messiah and you are God in the flesh, and what did Jesus say to Peter flesh and blood has not revealed this to you Peter but my father which is in heaven.
What is he saying Peter you are able to make this confession because you have had a revelation on apocalypse your eyes.
It been open.
You do see who I you know I think if the disciples didn't clearly see who Jesus was.
I wonder how many of you really haven't seen her. Jesus, I mean where you really come to see him for who he is.
He is God in human flesh, and you love him and you start them and you worship him.
Nicodemus clearly did not see it.
He was blind. We also see his blindness in the way he reacted to Jesus's words, what did you wouldn't Nicodemus say to Jesus does a man enter back into his mother's womb and be born, Nicodemus, what are you talking about Jesus is not talking about obstetrics. He's not talking about a physical birth. He's talking about the demand of a new heart, a new nature, a new life. You are thinking about here, but this birth is one that is from up here. It's a spiritual birth flashes flash the spirit is the spirit are not one and the same so the one hand, Nicodemus was blinded because he didn't see the need of the new birth, let me say that, on the other hand, Nicodemus sensed in his own heart, that what Jesus was saying was true.
That's what the word marble mean it means to be like all to say I didn't really understand that and I'm not sure if I understand that but I have a sense that this is true, and I need this master question.
Do you sense in your own heart that you need a change. Have you ever wanted to change a be a different person and never gotten sick and tired of being you have ever wanted to start over. The first time I heard the gospel. I was 17 years old is a public high school teenager when the gospel was permitted was presented to me there are two things I new new number one I knew that I was a sinner and number two I knew I was going to hell. I knew that but you know what I didn't want to get saved you know why because in my heart I really didn't want to have a change in my life I wanted heaven.
I wanted eternal life. I didn't want to go to hell. But in my heart I still wanted me to years went by, God worked in my life do a lot of different circumstances through the faithful witness of godly Christians and after two years my freshman year of college. Second semester I began to realize that I needed a change in my heart I started to hate my sins, myself, and yet I came to realize I was powerless to change, and the only one that could change me was the Lord himself. Jesus said you have to be born again by the way, if you're not born again you would never want to go to heaven anyway because heaven is a place where people are there, have a different nature. They love God. They worship God they they walk in righteousness. They spend eternity praising God. If you don't like doing that, down here you're definitely going to hate it up there. That's why you need to have a change of heart, so that you can actually live in glory with God. So I ask you this morning.
Have you been born again, would you bow your head with me enclosure as we pray this morning. I'd like to ask two very simple questions. If I may and I would like you to respond to the question is, you're able. Question number one is this how many of you would say Dr. Pettit I think that I at least understand this, that if you're going to go to heaven. You have to be born again. How many of you believe that that is true, would you raise your hand hold it up.
You may put your hands. Question number two very simple question the moment I'm that I have a word of prayer. That's all going to do, but I'd like to ask you this how many of you would say.
Please pray for me because in my heart I don't know if I've been born again or I'm not really sure and I would like you to please pray for me. I'm going to pray for you we been praying for you for some time, not by name individually, but as a group, but I would like to pray. Would you please pray for me. Would you lift your hand to slip it up all over the room this morning.
KFC a number of hands number hands right number hands.
The moment as I pray if you need to talk to someone. I would encourage you to go to a door mentor dorm supervisor come to my office and see me. But God is working in your heart and we will pray for you that you will be born again Lord, we realize that this is a work of your grace and hearts.
And I pray for the sinner here is students that this word will penetrate deeply what we are confident that you will accomplish and fulfill your will will in the matter of our salvation, but we also pray for each one that you are speaking to that they will be saved. We pray for your mercy and your grace here on our student body that we would all be born again, and we ask this in Jesus name, amen. Thank you for joining us today. These daily programs are made possible by the many friends of Bob Jones University and this radio ministry would love to hear from you, so don't hesitate to send us your feedback by going to the website. The Daily Platform.com.
Thanks again for listening. I would look forward to having you tomorrow as we study God's word together on The Daily Platform