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John 3:1-8

Talks for Growing Christians

A Dialogue Between the Lord and Nicodemus

John 3:1-8

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Lesson Number 12

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
  2. Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s be like Nicodemus and not like Demas.

Questions

  1. How did Nicodemus differ from most of the Pharisees?
  2. Did Nicodemus ever become a true believer?
  3. The Lord confronted Nicodemus by saying, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” What did He mean?
  4. Why did Jesus use the illustration of the wind?
  5. What did the Lord mean by being born of water and the Spirit?
  6. “Be like Nicodemus and not like Demas.” What does this mean?

Answers

  1. He was refreshingly different. Most of the Pharisees were legalistic and self-righteous, and they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Nicodemus came to Christ with an open mind, listening to what He had to say. He addressed Him with respect and realized that the wonderful works Jesus did had to come from God.
  2. Yes. At the end of the gospel of John, we see that he helped Joseph of Arimathea take down the body of Jesus and bury Him (John 19:39-42). Prior to that, as a member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus defended the Lord when they tried to bring charges against Him (John 7:50-51).
  3. He referred to a spiritual birth, a birth brought about by the Holy Spirit.
  4. Because you can’t see the wind, but you know it’s windy by the sound and the effect. So it is with the spiritual birth. Also, the wind is not controlled by human power, but by the sovereign power of God, and so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.
  5. In context, it seems to refer to physical or natural birth, and the Lord is drawing a distinction between the natural realm and the spiritual realm.
  6. Demas was a fellow-worker with the apostle Paul, but he quit. He left the ministry and he stopped serving the Lord (see 2 Timothy 4:10). He loved this present world. What a contrast to Nicodemus, who came to Jesus to seek answers. He became a believer, he defended the Lord in the Sanhedrin, and he boldly came forward to give the Lord a proper burial. Demas started out strong, but he did not finish strong.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Can you explain the difference between the physical and the spiritual birth? Could you lead someone to Christ?
  2. Are you a bold believer, like Nicodemus? Or, could there be some of a Demas in you, loving this world more than Christ?

Challenge

  1. Where do you turn first when you have questions? Do you take them to Jesus?

Key Verses

  • “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” John 3:3, 7
  • “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6
  • “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.” John 3:8

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