By Rejoicing in the Possibility of the New Birth

Dr. Rob Green February 28, 2021 John 3:22-36
Outline

John 1:11-13 - He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

4 reasons to make regeneration a primary focus for life and ministry

I. Because the New Birth Is the Only Way to Enter the Kingdom (vv. 1-3)

A. Four facts about Nicodemus that show his surprising need

John 3:1-2 - 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 have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

1. He is a Pharisee (v.1)

2. He is a ruler of the Jews (v.1)

3. He is attentive to Jesus’ arrival (v.2)

4. He is a teacher of Israel (v.10)

B. One simple truth that would satisfy his need (v.3)

II. Because the New Birth Is Supernatural Transformation (vv. 4-8)

John 3:4-8 - Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and 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. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

A. This new birth was predicted in the Old Testament (v.5, 7)

Ezekiel 36:25-27 - Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

B. It can only be accomplished by the Spirit (v.6)

C. Those who have not experienced new birth cannot understand those who have (v.8)

III. Because the New Birth Comes Through Faith in Jesus and Results in Eternal Life (vv. 9-15)

A. Not by a prideful heart (vv.9-10)

John 3:9-10 - Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?”

“Doubtless he himself had for years taught others the conditions of entrance to the kingdom of God, conditions cast in terms of obedience to God’s commands, devotion to God, happy submission to his will; but here he is facing a condition he has never heard expressed, the absolute requirement of birth from above.” (D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, 198)

B. Through the testimony of Jesus, John, and the prophets (v.11-14)

John 3:11-14 - Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up…

1. Jesus’ prior home qualifies Him to explain the truth (v.12-13)

2. We must exercise faith (v.14a)

3. Jesus must give His life (v.14b)

C. It results in eternal life (v.15)

John 3:15 - …so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

IV. Because the New Birth Is Only Possible Through God’s Great Love (vv. 16-21)

A. God, because of His love, gave His Son Jesus (v.16)

John 3:16 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

B. Jesus came to save the world (v.17)

John 3:17 - For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

Matthew 28:19-20 - Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

C. His gift requires our response (vv.18-21)

John 3:18-21 - He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.

“Whoever believes in him experiences new birth (3:3, 5), has eternal life (3:15, 16), is saved (3:17); the alternative is to perish…to lose one’s life (12:25), to be doomed to destruction…There is no third option.” (D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, 206)

John 19:38-42 - After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Please open your Bibles to John 3:1. As you are turning there, let’s remember the context.

After the opening prologue, John the Baptist enters the scene as the fulfillment of the Isaianic voice preparing the way for Messiah. He challenges the nation to repent and be baptized to properly prepare their hearts for the coming of Messiah – Jesus.

- By the end of chapter 1 we know that several believe that the Messiah is Jesus and follow him. Good news, right? Woohoo!

- Jesus’ own actions take center stage in chapter 2. He turns water into wine – a clear indicator that he is no ordinary person. In fact, it is a sign that points us to the purpose of John’s gospel – the Messiah is Jesus and that by believing you may have life in his name.

- He cleanses the temple and states that his zeal for God will cost him his life (v. 17). Additionally, that section reminded us that Jesus is the temple! Those who want to follow Jesus need to worship him properly.

While there are some wonderful things happening, all is not well. John 1:11-13 said, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Not everyone believed in Jesus. In fact, not all who said they believed in Jesus actually believed. Because Jesus knew their hearts, he knew that they wanted a genie and not a savior.

- Pastor Greg reminded us that it is possible for people to want that today. They want God to bless them, make their life easy, and grant their every desire, but they do not want or believe they need a savior and they certainly do not want to live for him.

Jesus knows the hearts of everyone. Today, we learn about a man who came to Jesus whose name was Nicodemus. Let’s discover what he wanted and see how the Lord might want to use this passage in our lives.

Read John 3:1-21. This is the Word of the Lord. It doesn’t get much better than that does it?

Let’s consider 4 reasons to make regeneration a primary focus for life and ministry

When I read John 3 you did not hear the word regeneration. It is a synonym to the phrase “new birth,” or “born again,” or “born from above.” They all refer to the act whereby the Spirit makes a person alive to God. Why make it a focus of our life and ministry?

I. Because the New Birth is the only way to enter the Kingdom (vv. 1-3)

John assumes that everyone would want to enter the eternal kingdom of God.

- Is that a fair assumption with us as well?

- I hope all of us would say that we want to enter the kingdom of God.

This passage also presupposes that some people are better than others. That is not a crazy assumption.

- In their day, like ours, there was a thread of thinking that said it is possible to enter the kingdom or go to heaven by being good.

If you check enough boxes, then you make it. John 3 takes that line of thinking and stands it completely on its head. Because when we read the passage we know that Nicodemus has a need. However, consider …

A. Four facts about Nicodemus that show his surprising need

John 3:1-2 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; 2 this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

1. He is a Pharisee (v. 1)

Known as those most concerned to know and live according to their OTs. Think of this group as a walking encyclopedia for the Bible. If this group cannot get to heaven, who could?

2. He is a ruler of the Jews (v. 1)

Not all Pharisees were part of the Sanhedrin. This is another very elite group with a restricted number of members. Nicodemus was not just a student of his OT, he was a recognized leader of the people. Again, if he would not make it, who would?

3. He is attentive to Jesus’ arrival (v. 2)

As a leader, Nicodemus keeps current of the various happenings in the nation. He does not see Jesus for who he is, but he recognizes that God is with him. He cares and wants to know more. He comes at night possibly because it would allow for a more open conversation.

I think this is a positive for Nicodemus. He does more than sit in his seat on the council and condemn Jesus.

4. He is a teacher of Israel (v. 10)

Nicodemus is a recognized Bible teacher.

When you put this together, you realize that if anyone would get into the kingdom by being good, Nicodemus is a likely candidate.

- Careful with his OT, a communicator to others, a recognized leader, and humble enough to learn for himself. If yearbooks included most likely to enter the kingdom … Nicodemus would have won.

B. One simple truth that would satisfy his need (v. 3)

I think if you asked Nicodemus in John 3:1 whether he would gain entrance into the kingdom, he would say absolutely yes and could make a significant list of his accomplishments.

In reality, Nicodemus needs regeneration … he needs to be born again … he needs this new birth. Without it, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

Friends, is that you? Are you trying to rely on your good works to enter heaven? The Bible proves it is impossible to do that. Not unlikely – impossible.

Christian friend … I hope that you are marveling right now that new birth, regeneration, being born again is even possible. You could not enter the kingdom without it.

- Why make this concept a focus of life and ministry? Because it is the only way anyone (including you) enters the kingdom. Let’s move on.

II. Because the New Birth is supernatural transformation (vv. 4-8)

John 3:4-8 Nicodemus *said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Jesus’ response to Nicodemus surprised him. It does not surprise us. We already know from John 2 that Jesus knows the heart of men. He does not have to spend 3 hours talking to Nicodemus to discover the real need. He knows what it is.

- Nicodemus needs new birth/regeneration.

But Nicodemus does not know that he has that need. He thought he would be on the first ship to the kingdom. He was there to learn, but he was not ready for that lesson.

- The next portion of the conversation reminds Nicodemus (and us) that regeneration, born again, and new birth refer to a spiritual reality and not a physical one.

It begins with Nicodemus responding with a rhetorical question. It also may have a hint of “what in the world are you talking about?” This section explains three facts about this new birth that Nicodemus needed and so do we.

A. This new birth was predicted in the OT (v. 5, 7)

There are times that the biblical authors refer to a single passage of Scripture and say, “see, here it is.” We saw that when John the Baptist says he is the voice of Isaiah 40:3. There is a one to one correspondence between one OT passage and one NT situation.

- That is not whole story. Sometimes they use words to draw out attention to themes. That is what happens here.

- Jesus says that when you properly read the OT in all of its glory you realize that regeneration, new birth, and being born again is all over the place.

Here is one passage that has similar wording to our passage in John 3:

Ezekiel 36:25-27 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

New birth, regeneration, being born again … it is all part of the story line of the Bible. This should not have puzzled Nicodemus it should have excited him, motivated him, and driven him to focus on it.

B. It can only be accomplished by the Spirit (v. 6)

Nicodemus, at this point in the story, is still thinking in horizontal terms. What information do I need? What relationship connection should I build? What good work needs accomplished?

Because Jesus knows that (because he knows everyone’s hearts) he goes straight to the point – You must be born again! If that does not happen, then nothing else matters.

This regeneration, this new birth, this second birth comes through the Holy Spirit. Again, shown clearly in the OT passage.

- The only way your heart changes from the heart of stone to the heart of flesh, the only way you get a new heart is through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Friends, please do not get stuck on the treadmill of works’ righteousness. It will never accomplish spiritual transformation.

- You are not basically good only in need of a minor adjustment, you are fundamentally broken. You need a new heart.

Christian friend, again, I hope you are listening and thinking “That is so right. Thank you Lord for making this possible. Thank you Lord for bringing about this work in my heart!” Help me never, ever get over it.

C. Those who have not experienced new birth cannot understand those who have (v. 8)

Part of Nicodemus’ struggle is that his condition is still bleak. He has not connected all the OT dots and so he was not fully ready to properly respond to Jesus’ initial statement. We will see later that this is not even close to the end of Nicodemus’ story.

Jesus says that the Spirit moves in mysterious ways, but when he moves everyone knows.

As a Christian v. 8 helps me in my life. There are times I want unbelievers to live like a believer. They don’t because they can’t. It makes no sense to them. I make no sense to them.

- It will remain that way until they are born again.

This new birth is not layering on one more thing on a person who is good, it is spiritual transformation. It is giving them a new heart – not one of stubborn rebelliousness, but one that is soft and sensitive to the things of the Lord.

Why make regeneration/new birth a focus of your life and ministry: (#1) Because it is the only way to enter the kingdom of God, (#2) Because it is the only way to experience the needed spiritual transformation. Now …

III. Because the New Birth comes through faith in Jesus and results in eternal life (vv. 9-15)

We know that regeneration/new birth only come through the Spirit’s work, but is there a part that we have to play? Yes, and this section describes it. It is …

A. Not by a prideful heart (vv. 9-10)

John 3:9-10 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and do not understand these things?

This passage is a conversation. What is the tone? I suggest that Nicodemus’ attitude may deteriorate in the course of this conversation. I evaluate that by the words Nicodemus uses and the response Jesus gives.

- Generally speaking, Jesus responds with grace with honest questions, but with more intensity when arrogance is part of the equation.

- Nicodemus starts by wanting to know in v. 2. In verse 4 he has a little bit of attitude as he struggles to understand. In v. 9 Nicodemus acts a bit skeptical. How in the world can this happen?

I thought D.A. Carson explained it well when he said, “Doubtless he himself had for years taught others the conditions of entrance to the kingdom of God, conditions cast in terms of obedience to God’s commands, devotion to God, happy submission to his will; but here he is facing a condition he has never heard expressed, the absolute requirement of birth from above.” D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 198.

Jesus’ response is that you are teacher and you don’t know this already? Jesus leads him through a partial story line of the Bible.

B. Through the testimony of Jesus, John, and the prophets (v. 11-14)

John 3:11-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know and testify of what we have seen, and you do not accept our testimony. 12 “If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 “No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;

The “we” here is not Jesus with a mouse in his pocket nor is it the rhetorical “we” that makes a sentence sound better.

- I think Jesus is talking about his testimony, John the Baptist’s testimony, and the testimony of the OT prophets and forefathers. We have already seen that Jesus is not referencing a single verse of Scripture, but an entire story line to make his point.

If we had time to unpack it all, we could discuss Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the many other instances where the story line moves in this same direction. Even Jeremiah 31, a passage on the new covenant, reminds us of the Spirit granting new hearts.

This time we see …

1. Jesus’ prior home qualifies him to explain the truth (v. 12-13)

Since Jesus was in heaven (John 1) he is perfectly qualified to explain the earthly things like the new birth and the heavenly things.

2. We must exercise faith (v. 14a)

We do not have time to reread the story in Numbers 21, but the short version is that Moses lifted a bronze serpent. All those bitten by snakes could by faith look at the serpent and be healed. It was an act of faith. God said, “exercise faith by looking” and all those who looked proved that their faith was real.

3. Jesus must give his life (v. 14b)

He also reminds us of the grizzly reality that Jesus will one day soon be lifted up on the cross.

C. It results in eternal life (v. 15)

John 3:15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.

Jesus calls Nicodemus to humility. It was time to see his need. It was time to understand that the entire OT explained the need for rebirth – for regeneration.

- The Spirit of God accomplishes that work, but it comes through faith in Jesus as the Messiah.

- Nicodemus was not initially ready for such a radical answer.

John uses kingdom and eternal life terminology to explain the glorious consummation of living with the Lord forever in his eternal dwelling place.

If you are not absolutely sure that you have been born again, experienced rebirth and regeneration, then today is that day.

- Nicodemus had a need he did not know about. You might be in that position today.

- I want to urge you to trust in the saving work of Jesus. Look at the cross where Jesus suffered, died, and paid the wrath of God.

Christian friend, I hope you stand in awe that God would give you a new birth, that he would through his Spirit make you alive together with Christ.

- I hope you will become more passionate about the new birth/regeneration than ever before. In fact, I hope it will be a focus of your life and ministry.

The final reason to make regeneration a focus of your life and ministry is far from the least significant for it is in the 4th reason that things come together. It is not entirely clear if we are reading more about the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus or John’s summary. Either way, it is one of the most significant and well-known sections of the entire Bible.

IV. Because the New Birth is only possible through God’s great love (vv. 16-21)

Nicodemus did not fully understand his OT despite being a teacher. Nicodemus did not fully grasp his own need. But notice how this passage comes together.

A. God, because of his love, gave his son Jesus (v. 16)

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

So often we see John 3:16 – the most famous verse in the Bible – separated from its context. We see it on posters at football games. We see it on billboards. We see it practically everywhere. It is possible for some people to think that “believing” in John 3:16 is just adding one more thing onto the list of everything else.

- I think that was Nicodemus’ initial problem. He was looking for the thing to learn or thing to do.

- What he needed was something radical.

The same can be true today. Just add Jesus to everything else that you have going and you are good. This is just like going to the insurance agent and writing a fire protection policy.

But John 3:16 is in the context where Jesus calls Nicodemus to radically respond in a way that will change everything about his life on earth and the one that is to come. It allows for entrance into the eternal kingdom.

I am sure many of you have played a game with your spouse, parents, boyfriend, girlfriend that goes something like this … how much do you love me? I love you from here to Texas … I love you all the way to Europe … I love you from here to Asia … I love you to the moon… I love you to the moon and back. That last one is like ‘checkmate.’ We end that conversation very happy.

- This passage says that God loves you so much that he gave his son.

- The son loves you so much he says … I love you all the way to the cross.

How can this be true? Because of the love of God. We will see in John 4 that this love applies to the religious leader like Nicodemus and to the woman who struggled with relationships. God’s love applies to everyone.

Notice…

B. Jesus came to save the world (v. 17)

John 3:17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

This verse has been misquoted in many ways. Some use it almost as if Jesus never evaluates anything. Remember that the gospel writer has been tracing the story line of the Bible. Jesus’ first coming fulfilled the purpose of salvation. He came to seek and save those who were lost. He came to fulfill the promises of the suffering Messiah. He came so that salvation was possible.

- His first advent mission was not judgment. The world was already under judgment. Nicodemus did not initially understand that. He thought he was good to go. Jesus told him he was wrong because he wanted to rescue him.

That mission is true for Christ’s followers today.

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

That is why this sermon has been organized around the idea of making redemption/new birth the focus of your life and ministry.

C. His gift, requires our response (vv. 18-21)

John 3:18-21 “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

What is happening here? Carson explains, “Whoever believes in him experiences new birth (3:3, 5), has eternal life (3:15, 16), is saved (3:17); the alternative is to perish, … to lose one’s life (12:25), to be doomed to destruction …. There is no third option.” D. A. Carson, The Gospel according to John, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; W.B. Eerdmans, 1991), 206

I have spent the vast majority of the time so far explaining why the new birth should be the focus of our life and ministry. We needed to see the flow of this story and the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus. But we also need to apply this passage at the street level – the level of our life.

To the person who does not know Christ:

Friend, Nicodemus was in worse shape than he realized. He could not earn his way to heaven and neither can you.

- It does not matter if you come from a good family or a difficult home.

- If you have wealth or poverty. It does not matter if you are nice person or mean.

- You cannot earn your way to eternal life.

This passage is urging you, even commanding you, to repent of your sins and exercise unqualified faith in the finished work of Jesus. Verse 20 reminds us that unbelievers hate the light and want to live in the darkness because it is more comfortable.

- I beg you to see it differently. Allow your deeds to be exposed so that you can enjoy the light and experience the forgiveness available in Christ.

If you want to speak with someone about your need for Jesus, then meet me in the foyer and we will arrange a time or reach out to someone else with the same question.

I have incredible news for you. The Love of God can reach to your deepest darkness. The Love of God proves that he cares about you. The Love of God demonstrates that while you are right now under wrath, Jesus is offering a way out. He came the first time to save not condemn.

John 3:21 does not tell us how Nicodemus responded. Did he repent right then and there?

- Did he return home and read his OT again after listening to Jesus? Did he go home and return the next day?

- We have no idea. But what we do know is that Nicodemus put his faith in Christ alone for his salvation. Look at this amazing statement …

John 19:38-42 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate granted permission. So he came and took away His body. 39 Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. 40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen wrappings with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. 42 Therefore because of the Jewish day of preparation, since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Nicodemus was so radically changed by Jesus that he was there to take him down from the cross.

- He paid for burial spices. He gave the body of Jesus a respectful burial when normal Roman protocol was to leave the corpse on the cross to rot and be eaten by animals.

If God can do that to Nicodemus he can do it you as well.

Christian friend, you have heard me say multiple times that the new birth/regeneration must be the focus of your life and ministry. I owe you some answers for how that could be true.

  1. Be amazed and I mean amazed that regeneration/new birth is even possible. You were condemned. Jesus came to rescue you. Never, ever, ever get over that.
  2. John was written to the unbeliever to convince him of his need for Jesus. To the Christian the gospel is meant for growing belief in Jesus.
  3. Preach the gospel to yourself daily. The Gospel Primer is worth some of your time, but more importantly the gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke, and John) are worthy of your time.
    1. You have to tell yourself the gospel regularly so that you might live worthy of it.
  4. Make much of Jesus and little of yourself. John 3:21 says that believers love the light … not the limelight. There is a huge difference.
    1. Believers love the light so that their deeds, actions, and accomplishments might clearly show a divine origin. In other words, we love the light because it allows Jesus to be front in center. [Think of it like this … it is me with the cross behind me … or is it the cross that is fronted and me behind it?]
  5. Be ready to explain someone’s need for rebirth. That sounds strange doesn’t it? You need to be born again / regenerated.
    1. Using that terminology helps avoid the easy believism that does not represent conversion. The only condition worse than being lost and knowing it, is being lost and not knowing it. As this pandemic starts to wind down there could very well be a huge interest in activities like church. We need to be ready. There might be more willingness to have general conversations. We need to be ready.

One last word and I will be done. If John 3:16, in context, speaks directly against easy believism, then it is appropriate for everyone to check their spiritual birth certificate.

- Was believing in Jesus just another thing in my life, an emotional high that never led to change? If so, maybe what the Lord wanted for you today is to see that you are playing a spiritual game.

- You want a genie not a savior. When you only want a genie you get neither. If that is your condition, then today needs to be different.

Authors

Dr. Rob Green

Roles

Pastor of Counseling and Seminary Ministries - Faith Church

MABC Department Chair, Instructor - Faith Bible Seminary

Bio

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Dr. Rob Green joined the Faith Church staff in August, 2005. Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the Council Board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow for the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. Pastor Green has authored, co-authored, and contributed to 9 books/booklets. Rob and his wife Stephanie have three children.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.