Born of Spirit (John 3:1-21) by Richard K. Min (1992, February 1994) Born of Spirit Richard K. Min “No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again” (John 3:3 NIV) 1. Born of Spirit (John 3:1-21) Nicodemus came to Jesus Christ. He was a Jewish man, a Rabbi and a member of Sanhedrin. Today's equivalent, Nicodemus was a man of power and wisdom, a successful ruler and respected leader, an honorable senator of the people and a judge of the Law, a renowned biblical scholar and a leading theologian, and a national champion and the authority of the Scripture. Indeed he was a godly man who believed in God and His promise for the coming Savior and Messiah (Christ). He came to Jesus and this old man greeted this young man, "Rabbi" or "Great Teacher!" He confessed his faith and trust in Jesus that no one could do these miraculous signs that Jesus was doing, if God were not with him. Truly Nicodemus was a man of wisdom and conviction, to make sure that Jesus was from God, based on what he heard and eye-witnessed of many miraculous and unshakable signs of God that Jesus did. To his greeting and confession of faith, Jesus commanded, knowing the heart of Nicodemus (John 2:24-25), "You must be born again" (v.3). You must be born of Spirit if you want to be saved. If you want to see the Kingdom of God, if you want to go to Heaven, if you want to be forgiven of your sins, if you want God to forgive your sins, if you want to have eternal life, if you do not want to go to hell, if you do not want to be doomed, you must be born again. If this is your question, Jesus gives you now the straight answer! You must be born again. 2. Wind Analogy (John 3:8) Born again? How can an old man go back to his mother's womb? (v.4) As Nicodemus asked, Jesus answered: Be born of the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, and the Spirit of God gives birth to spirit (v.8). Each man was born of flesh, with flesh and bones in the physical and natural realm and phenomenon. I was conceived and be born as result of being conceived by my father’s seed and mother’s egg. This is born of flesh. Jesus says that this is not what I am talking about but the birth by Holy Spirit, in the supernatural and spiritual phenomenon. The wind blows wherever it pleases. You can hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. As the wind blows, you hear its sound, you feel its flow. The wind is usually invisible with our bare eyes. Without a special instrument, it is almost impossible to trace the flow of wind. We know through the scientific progress that the wind is flow of the air which consists of many small and different molecules such as nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and others. So it is almost impossible to trace the flow of the wind or the trace of a chuck of the wind moving. Look around the room where you are now. Can you feel a flow of air in this room? Can you even hear the sound of it? Look at my hands. As I wave both of my hands, I am making some winds. As I breathe, I cause a flow of air coming in and out of my lung. I can hear and feel a flow of air from the air ventilation in a room. Using a piece of paper, I can even make a flow and sound of a wind. You can feel the wind, at least two winds from my both hands as I wave them. But can you tell me where is wind Born of Spirit (John 3:1-21) by Richard K. Min (1992, February 1994) moving from one place to another? Can you pinpoint each piece of wind from one place to anther? Can you see the piece of wind moving away from this room to somewhere else? So is the one, born of Spirit. So are the man and woman, born of God. A mystery! It is a mystery for man; it is a mystery for this world. It is a supernatural phenomenon, transcendental, inexpressible, miraculous, mysterious event by Holy Spirit of God, "to be born of Spirit, to be born of God". It is something beyond the wisdom and power of man. It is the wisdom and power of God in its manifestation. It is being born of Spirit of God, being born of God, being children of God. It is not by man's flesh, not by man's will, wisdom, nor power. It is by Mighty Power of God, by His sovereign power. It is a mystery, something beyond our wisdom and power, beyond our understanding and even imagination. But as promised by Jesus Christ, whoever believes in Him shall be born of Spirit. Not by work but by the grace of God through faith! As you and I believe the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, according to the scripture! By the miraculous work of Holy Spirit, it is to be born of Spirit. Each one of us is the new creation by the awesome power of God, the power even to raise Christ from the dead. 3. My Citizenship I was naturalized in 1983. There were several steps that I had to follow to become a citizen of the United States of America. No matter what, I was not a citizen of the United States of America until the final step of the declaration by a Federal judge. But when the judge declared me and the others to be the citizens of the United States of America, from that very moment I have been a citizen of USA. Have I changed anything because of the declaration? Nothing! Before and after of being naturalized, there is absolute nothing changed in my height, weight, and my skin color due to the naturalization! Nothing is changed. They are same. Has anything changed due to the naturalization, for example, of my appetite, my hobby, and even my Korean accent? I still like Kimchi (awesome smelly Korean food, a pickled fermented cabbage with a lot of pepper powder). I still have my Korean accent. And my English is still so and so. Nothing of myself has been changed physically, and even mentally as I walked out of the federal court after being a citizen of USA. I wondered whether I was truly a citizen of USA as I walked out of the federal court. It seemed the same person, who had walked into the court house, now walking out of the court house. But there has been something changed at that very moment of the declaration by the judge. Something very important, something we call the citizenship or the legal status. At the very moment of being a citizen of USA, I became a new being, concerning my citizenship and my legal status. I am not anymore a Korean citizen but a US citizen. When I am kidnapped by North Korea or terrorists from Iraq, it is not the concern and obligation of Korean government but of US government. So is born of God. You and I are totally new creation in Christ. New born spirit babies of God our Father. 4. The Signs of Being Born of Holy Spirit Even though nothing may be changed in our physical or biological or even mental status, except the fact and faith that now we believe in Christ, we are totally new creations from God's perspective. So it is so vivid to Satan and evil spirit. There is no way to detect who is Christian Born of Spirit (John 3:1-21) by Richard K. Min (1992, February 1994) physically or naturally. If so, Christians might be exterminated a long time ago. We Christians have a long history of the severe and brutal persecution, by Roman emperors, by conquering Moslems, by hostile rulers of other religions, and recently by the blood-thirst red army of the communist regimes. There is no measurable mark or physical sign that this world can detect whether you are a born-again Christian or not. There is no gain or loss in weight or in height because you are born again. Your brain waves are same as usual. Yet there is a visible sign of a new born Christian. There is a sign of God for each one of us; it is the Holy Spirit dwelling within each one of us. We start to call God our Father in heaven and we mean it seriously. As we believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are born of Spirit, following His leadership. By the Spirit of God, we become the new creation in Christ. Even we may not distinguish one from the other, but God knows and he declares you and me as His beloved son, His beloved daughter, and His beloved child. Jesus knows and declares you and me as His beloved brother and sister. Satan knows and evil spirits know who belongs to whom. All of sudden, we know what is sin and we do away with it. Our sins start to trouble us and we give up our bad habits and Holy Spirit urges us to trash them. We seek and do good things, and it becomes our passion. People around us start notice that you and I have changed and are different, even though they are not quite sure what has happened to you and me, born of the Holy Spirit. 5. Bronze Snake (John 3:14, Numbers 21:4-9) "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up" (John 3:14). (1) Have you seen recently the sign of the bronze snake on the pole that Moses lifted up? I am telling you that sometimes you see it everyday. Here are some hints: (a) medical services, (b) hospital, and (c) ambulance. Yes, it is the sign for the medical help and services. Some hospitals have put the huge sign of the bronze snake (or sometimes two snakes) on a pole in their main hall facing the entrance, reminding the people seeking the medical help and healing that the ultimate healing and salvation is from the Lord (Raphael). (2) Is this bronze snake has a magic power of healing? No. Many believed and make this an idol and superstition that King Hezekiah destroyed (2 Kings 18:4). It is God who gives His promise of healing and healing itself, and ultimately our salvation. So we preach the message of the cross, the gospel of Jesus Christ according to the Scripture. Our message is Jesus Christ who is the power and wisdom of God. This is what Jesus has given to John and Peter, the disciples and Paul, and it is given to you and me, to preach and witness. It is available to you and me. What a Good News, what a Gospel, and what a grace of God it is! Amen.
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