This past Sunday, Lauren and I (Chris) made a visit to a church in a neighboring village to Cahul (Gotesti). Pastor Anatol took us there, accompanied by his son’s Paul and David. Pastor Anatol visits different churches around Cahul on a regular basis to encourage them and worship with them.
The Pastor of the church in Gotesti was on holiday in England, so he had invited Anatol to preach and lead worship. Anatol in turn invited me to offer a short sermon prior to his time of teaching.
I chose to speak on John 3:1-8, the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus. Whenever I get up to speak, I have only one mission: that the Gospel of Jesus Christ be shared.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This 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.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus 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?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
(John 3:1-8 ESV)
This is the portion of John’s Gospel that I often come back to for review and study. Nicodemus comes to Jesus to learn from Him, and Jesus tells him he must be born again. Nicodemus offers the human response when he says he doesn’t understand how an old man could be born again. Nicodemus considers the physical angle of the question and not the spiritual side Jesus intends.
Luckily for Nicodemus and for us, Jesus makes it very clear as He continues to teach. To be a part of the Kingdom of Heaven, a person must experience two births. The first birth is physical, and is part of the human experience. The second is spiritual, a spiritual rebirth as God claims us as the redeemed, those for whom He died to take take away sins. This second birth is for those who call on Jesus in repentance and belief, and live out the transforming power of God through salvation.
If you don’t know Jesus and you’re reading this, consider this verse:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
(John 3:16 ESV)
Believe in him, so that you should not perish, but instead have eternal life. Let Him transform you.