TEXT: JOHN 3: 1-10
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of 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 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

From the text above, which essentially was a conversation between our Lord, Jesus Christ and one Nicodemus, who was a ruler of the Jew, and who came to Jesus. The Lord, Jesus Christ, told him that no man can see the kingdom of God except unless becomes born again. The man became stunned and asked the Lord if it was possible to enter the mother’s womb and be born the second time.

While the man was totally confused about Jesus’ instruction to be born again, the Lord, Jesus was totally surprised that the man did not understand the doctrine of new birth. To Nicodemus, carrying out the literal meaning of Jesus’ instruction was not ‘possible’, but to the Lord Jesus Christ, it surprising that a man of high caliber as Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews and, by virtue of that, a custodian of Jewish tradition’ could not understand the new birth which is a basic doctrine. There are many cases of Nicodemus confusions and misconceptions, even today, that the coming of the Lord, Jesus Christ is as near as it can ever be. I will mention a few. 

Once, I heard a message preached by one man of God. In the message, the man of God said that some youths, probably youths who were just invited to a church, went to meet the pastor of that church and asked him what they shall do to be saved now that they have started attending church. It was said that the pastor just told them to go and join the church workers and that is all they need to do. It was said that the pastor never told the youths they needed to confess Jesus. That was a big heresy! If you asked such workers if they are born again, their answers will be a ‘Yes’. If you asked further how they knew they were born again, they might have told you that they knew they were born again because they were workers in the church.

If you asked some other people if they were born again. They will also answer you with a positive reply. And yet, If you asked them further how they knew they are born again, some will tell you ‘my father is a pastor’. Some others will tell you ‘I have been going to church since I was small’. Others may also tell you some other things that suggest that they never knew what it really meant to be born again.

What I have seen with some ‘so-called-pastors’ even suggests that many of them who bear that title conveys or behaves themselves in contradictory ways or basically do not also know what it means to be born-again. If Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, could not understand what it means to be born again, some pastors, who are also church leaders in their own right, may also not know what it means.

This teaching becomes necessary that each person may apply the steps mention to his life to know whether he is born again. Jesus is coming. Do not be in doubt about your salvation. If you do not know if you are born again or not, how then can you work out your salvation with fear and trembling?

The Two Types Of Birth[u]
1. Birth by flesh.
This is the birth of a person as result of joining, through sexual intercourse, of the flesh of two people, basically those of a woman and of a man, who eventually will be the mother and the father of that person. 1 Corinthians 6:16 talks about this joining of the flesh of two people to produce another flesh (a person).

1 Corinthians 6:16
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? [u]for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

All human beings, both past and present, except Adam, Eve and Jesus Christ, are born of flesh. Adam and Eve were created directly by God and eventually fell into sin. Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit.

Everybody that is born of flesh is born into sin and shapen in iniquity. 

Psalm 51:5
5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

That is why if a new child is born, nobody will teach him/her how to tell lies before he will begin to tell lies, steal and commit some other sins.

The following inferences can be drawn from the few lines above.

1. Everyone that is born of flesh is flesh.

2. Everyone that is born of flesh is born into sin. 

3. Everyone is born into sins except Adam, Eve and Jesus.

4. This birth cannot take anyone into the kingdom of God and as such there is a need for correction and thus ‘the new birth’

The New Birth (Being Born Again)
Man’s flesh always has affinity for sin while his spirit has affinity for God and godliness. But through our being born into sin, dominance is given our flesh over our spirit and man always commits sins and does that which displeases God all the time. 

The new birth is meant to give man’s spirit dominance over his flesh so that he can always do that which pleases God and consciously run away from sins. See Galatians 5:16-17.

Galatians 5:16
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

To achieve this, a man has to deliberately repent of all his past sin by confessing them to Jesus Christ who is the savior of all mankind. Also he should ask Jesus to wash away all his sins with Jesus blood and invite Jesus to be his Lord and Saviour. Once this is done genuinely, all the past sins of the will be forgiven. At that instance, it is as if that man is just born before God. All his old records of sins have been destroyed. The man is starting afresh like a new born baby. That man is now in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

However, it does not end there. After this, the man must deliberately open and submit his heart unto the Holy Spirit for destruction of the seed of sin he was born with, regeneration of his wicked heart and activation of his once dormant spirit in tune with the Spirit of God and godliness. 

Once this is achieved it will always be easy for the man’s spirit to always be in tune with the Spirit of God. 

1 Corinthians 6:17
17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

Why Every Man Should Be Born Again?
Consider the itemized points below.

1. God is a Spirit (John 4:24a). 
John 4: 24 
24 God is a Spirit:

2. Holy Spirit is a Spirit.

3. Jesus Christ was made a Spirit in a body.
1 Corinthians 15:45
45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit.

4. Angels of God are spirits.
Hebrews 1:13
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
5. Heavenly resources are spiritual resources.
Ephesians 1:3
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

From all the above points, the following points can be inferred.

– Heaven is a spiritual place.

– Only spirits and spiritual things are in and can be in heaven.

Let us go back to the answer of the Lord, Jesus Christ, to Nicodemus.

John 3:5-6
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of 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.

From the scripture above, in John 3:5, The Lord, Jesus Christ, mentioned the two types of birth and stated categorically that NO MAN can enter the
Kingdom of God unless he undergoes these two births. In John 3:6, He explained the basic difference between these two types of birth.

Once again, the two types of birth are
1- Water Birth. (The natural birth or the flesh birth). 
The delivery of every man by his mother involves 3 primary things – flesh, water and blood: the blood and the water she sheds during delivery (child birth) and the two fleshes joined together during sexual intercourse and which led to the formation of him in his mother’s womb. This is perhaps why the natural birth is referred to birth by water or flesh and blood.

2- Spiritual Birth. (to be born again)
This is the new birth we have been trying to explain.

Let us look at another scripture, 1 Corinthians 15:50 which is a direct confirmation of the statement of the Lord, Jesus Christ, above.

1 Corinthians 15:50
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

This scripture clearly states that flesh and blood, that is a man who has undergone the ONLY the natural birth, cannot inherit the kingdom of God.

Why can flesh and blood not inherit the kingdom of God? The answer to this question is the difference between the two births mentioned by Jesus in John 3:6.

Simply put, a man born in flesh is a flesh. A man born of Spirit is spirit. Since heaven is a spiritual place, then flesh cannot enter it. For you to enter heaven, a spiritual kingdom, then you must be converted into a spiritual body. This is achieved through the spiritual birth when a man is born again and lives and dies or raptured as a born again person.

Practical Ways To Know if You Are Genuinely Born Again

1. Date of Encounter With Jesus
There is a day each person is born by his/her mother into this world. That is the date of their natural birth. Most people know and keep the record of their dates of natural birth. Many even celebrate the anniversary of this day on yearly basis – that is birthday celebration. 

Just as there is a date a man was born was born by his mother, there must be a date a born again Christian encounters Jesus Christ and repents of his sins. That is the date of his new birth or date of his spiritual birth. The day a man comes in Christ is very important because it marks a day that spiritual turn around that you cannot forget begins in your life. Spiritual birth is more important than that of the natural birth and such date should be well kept.

2. Experience of Encounter with Jesus.
Though, we mentioned above that most people know and keep their dates of natural birth because it is important to them. However, there are still many people who don’t know their dates of birth due to one reason or the other. 

In the same manner, many born again Christians may not know the dates they gave their lives to Jesus. That still does not mean they are not born again. But one thing that a born again child of God must not forget is the event that led to his salvation encounter with the Lord, Jesus Christ, because that is a real event that marks a turn around in his life.

If you forget the date you gave your life to Jesus Christ, you must not forget how you came across Jesus. It may be when a preacher was preaching inside the bus. It may be that you encounter Jesus in a supernatural way like Apostle Paul. It may be during a crusade. It may be you had a dream of hell or rapture and then give your life to Jesus. You must be able to narrate the story of how you gave your life to Jesus Christ. If you asked me how I gave my life to Jesus Christ, I can recount how it happened.

The Bible has accounts of how different people had salvation encounter with the Lord, Jesus Christ. The Samaritan woman could narrate how she encountered the Messiah at the well (John 4). So also was the adulterous woman: she could tell the story of how she met the Lord and was saved (John 8:1-11). 

Apostles Peter and Andrew could tell how they encountered Jesus Christ during their fishing adventure. So also was the rest of the disciples. Two times, in the book of Acts of Apostle, Paul, himself, narrated how he had salvation encounter with the Lord, Jesus Christ, Acts 22:6-10, Acts 26:12-18.

In like manner, you also must be able to narrate how you encountered Jesus Christ otherwise your salvation ‘may not’ be genuine. The impact of salvation 

encounter with the Lord, Jesus Christ, on your life can be so significant it turns your entire life around totally. The Lord, Jesus Christ, mentioned the impact of salvation encounter with him in Acts 26:18. The impacts are underlined in the scripture below.

Acts 26:18
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

When you have genuine salvation encounter with the Lord, Jesus Christ, your spiritual eyes suddenly become open, and at the same time, you are turned from spiritual darkness to the marvelous light of the Son of God, from power of satan to that of God and also receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance. How can you suddenly forget all these things that bombard you like hailstorm? 

Some Christians may tell you they know they are born again because their parents are pastors or ministers or because they have been going to church since their childhood. That does not automatically make you a born again. You must still deliberately come to Jesus for salvation. You can do that, NOW.

3. Sorrowful Repentance 
At the instance of repenting and giving your life to Jesus, you must be very sorrowful. True repentance comes with remorsefulness for past evil deeds and sins. In actual sense, nobody truly wants to repent except that Holy Spirit convicts him. And once you are convicted, the guilt of conviction is what will make you remorsefully ask for mercy and determine not to return to your wicked ways anymore. 
How can a pastor preach about prosperity and then make alter call after such. It does not work like that. Holy Spirit ‘cannot’ convict of sin in such ways.

Mathew 5:4
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 

Here, the Lord Jesus Christ is talking about mourning for your sins in repentance. After that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter will comfort you with Joy after forgiveness.

Psalm 51:17 also confirms sorrowful repentance.

Psalm 51:17
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

This scripture is saying the same thing. You cannot repent unless that you are of broken spirit and contrite heart for your sins. Were you of broken spirit when you gave your life to Jesus? 

4. Strong Determination to Follow Jesus Through
You must make a strong determination to follow Him through. The journey of salvation is not easy and is not going to be any easy, soonest. In fact, it is going to be more difficult by day to follow Jesus. Your strong determination and the Holy Spirit will keep you going. Many people just make a lip confession of sin without any serious determination to pull through no matter what. It does not work like that. If the three Hebrew men had not been firm in their determination to stand by the Lord, they would have fallen in the face of threat/persecution, (Daniel 3:16-18)

5. Joy of Salvation. 
Remember, you come to Christ with a broken heart and you sorrowfully repent of your sins and regret ever committing them and make a strong determination never to return into sin. The Holy Spirit will not leave you in this position of heaviness of heart. He will comfort you and replace the heaviness of heart with joy in your heart. Those who are genuinely born again must have this joy. The Holy Spirit will pump this joy into your heart once you are reconciled back to God.

The joy over a sinner that repents begins in heaven and is eventually transferred into the heart of the now-repented-sinner.

Luke 15:10 
10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. 

Remember, the prodigal son came back to his father with sorrowful heart (Luke 15:17-21) but it ended with joy and celebration because his father received him (Luke 15:22-24).

Jesus Christ says that those that mourn (for their sins) shall be comforted. It is the Holy Spirit that will comfort that person with Joy of heart.

Mathew 5:4
4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 

It is the same request for joy of salvation that David was asking in Psalm 51:8, 12.

Psalm 51:8,12
8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

This Joy has nothing to do with money or any material possession but that you are reconciled to God. If this pure joy has departed from you or have never experienced it, please pray for it like David.

…to be continued.

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