My thoughts on John 3
Be Nicodemus or hide behind a piece of furniture in the room and listen in on this conversation in John 3. It will blow your mind.
Nicodemus got much more than he bargained for. Nicodemus could never be the same again.
Imagine a stage. Dark. Then dim light from a candle. Only Jesus by the candle. Silence. Then a knock on the door.2 “After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus.” I know how he felt. So much on his heart. So much to clear up. I want to talk to You, Jesus. I really need You. MARK 3:34 WHILE HE WAS ALONE WITH HIS DISCIPLES HE EXPLAINED EVERYTHING TO THEM. Let me always make time to be alone with you, Lord.
THE NEW BIRTH John 3:1-21 (Read through John 3:1-21 before answering the questions.) The red writing is directly from the Bible.
1There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
1. What do we know about the Pharisees’ attitude to Jesus? (Matthew 12:14)
2This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
2. With what attitude did Nicodemus come to Jesus? What did he say about Jesus? (Also read Matthew 11:4-5)
3. Why do you think he came to see Jesus in the night? Why do you think he came to see Jesus? Would you say that Nicodemus was a secret believer? Give a reason for your answer. (John 19:39; John 7:45-52).
3Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4. Look at what Nicodemus had said to Jesus and then look at Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus. How do you understand this? Do you think that Nicodemus as a Pharisee should have understood this? Why or why not? (Read Joel 2:28-32 …I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh…) Did Nicodemus know the facts that are found in 1 Peter 1:3 “It is by His great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead?”
5. Let us stop for a while and look at some Kingdom verses: “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’(Mark 1:14,15). “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21). Let us read Matthew 13:44-52.
4Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
6. How does this answer of Nicodemus relate to John 3:31?
7. Is it right for us to ask if we don’t understand things? Who should we go to for help if we still do not understand what we read and we have asked God? What should we do if we still don’t understand and something just does not make sense to us? Read Deuteronomy 29:29 and Proverbs 3:5. (Pray that God will help you understand or be at peace with the situation.)
5 Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ (NLT) Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
8. What do you understand under this answer? It sounds as if we need to be born of two things. We should all have two births; name them? Which birth allows us to receive the Spirit and to enter the Kingdom? When did we lose our right to the Kingdom? Genesis 3:23
9. Read 1 Corinthians 15:50. What cannot inherit the Kingdom of God? Let us never forget John 14:6!
8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
10. If the Holy Spirit is like the wind and we are under its control; then who is in control of our lives? Read 2 Corinthians 5: 14-15 “Either way, Christ’s love controls us… He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”
11. Do you find that people who are not Christians have this same attitude of “How can these things be? Have they come up to you with questions that are just so irrelevant to Christianity? Have they said that Christianity is just a crutch for weak people? What other things have you heard that make Christianity ‘not true’ or makes them angry? Why can’t they understand? Read 1 Corinthians 2:13-14 “When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit’s words to explain spiritual truths. 14 But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive the truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.” (Read up to verse 16) People must be born again to receive the Spirit and to understand the Kingdom things.
12. Have you ever felt like saying to God; “How can this be?” Discuss. (I know when my sister lost her daughter and granddaughter she asked this question. (I know I have aske it of God.) Read Daniel 2:22; Psalm 135:6; Psalm 119:91 and Psalm 103:19.
10 Jesus, answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness.
13. Do you expect your pastor or cell leaders to have all the answers? As a Christian, do you think you should have all the answers? If you do not have all the answers what should you be sharing with others? Acts 22:15 For you shall be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. If this section of John 3:1-10 was the only passage you had ever read in the Bible, what could you go out and tell people now?
14. Notice the plural words ‘We’ and ‘Our’. Who is Jesus referring to? Read John 10:30; John 1:1; Genesis 1:2. (Do realize that as we read here or anywhere in the Word of God, We have God, Jesus and Holy Spirit speaking to us of what They know and of what They have seen. May God help us to receive His witness.)
12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. (Thinking of Luke 16:10 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. “No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of man has come down from heaven” (John 3: 13 NLT).
15. Can you think of some earthly things Jesus had taught us? (James 4:11; Luke 6:29; 2Cor. 6:14.k) Is it enough to believe them?
16. What is Jesus saying here in verse 13? How do you understand this? Do you feel the holiness surrounding the Son of God? ‘Ascended’, ‘came down’, ‘is in’. ? Who is this whom we must lift up? (I can’t help thinking of Jacobs ladder Genesis 28:10. It’s top in heaven, its body providing steps to come down and up.) Why do we believe that Jesus is from Heaven?
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
17. Why did Moses lift up the serpent? Who was helped by this serpent that Moses lifted up? What did they need to have removed? Numbers 21:9.
How can you lift up the Son of Man?
15 That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
18. Why was Jesus lifted up on a cross and crucified? Who is helped by this? What do we need to have removed? What is the result for those who believe? How long is this life if fully lived? How long is eternity?
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting Life.
19. This must be one of the most quoted and important messages Christians like to hand out. Why do you think this is so important? Who loved the world? What did He give? Why? Who should have everlasting life? Is there any exception here? Who is ‘whoever’?
17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
20. What is God’s desire? Are we allowed to condemn the world? What is expected of us?
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
21. If someone is condemned, who is to blame? (God died for everyone without exception).
22. What is the sin we are condemned for in verse 18? Also read John 16:9 and : “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed
23. Why do people hate the light?
24. What happens to people’s evil deeds when they come to believe and accept Jesus? “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of His Son and forgave out sins. He has showered His kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:7-8)NLT.
25. Does the exposing process also happen to those who are reborn and believe in Jesus? “I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me” (Romans 7:22-23).
26. If we sin, what must we do? “But if we confess our sins to Him He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:8). “Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 7:25). Read Romans 8:1 again. Also remember: “But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God (Romans 8:6). (Do yourself a favour and read all of Romans in your free time – just for a God blessing.)
21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
27. Matthew 5:16 says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” How does this verse agree with the above verse 21? (What light will you be shining? Who will see the good works? How will you know that the deeds have been done in God? Who will be glorified?
28. What do the following verses have to do with being reborn?
Turn Acts 26:18 and Col. 1:13 (the verses below) in to a prayer for someone you know who is not reborn:
Acts 26: 16-18 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, 18to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
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