We are going to look at the account of Nicodemus in John chapter three. What does the name Nicodemus mean? It means “ruler of the people.” There is a little Nicodemus in everybody. Self wants to rule. If you haven’t experienced that yet, you will. People talk about Jesus Christ being the Lord, but many, and I’m talking about Christians, do not want to submit to His Lordship and there is a simple reason for that. Every time you submit yourself to His Lordship, you cross your will, because His will and your will are not one and the same (Isaiah 55:8). They are two opposites, and I’m sure if you haven’t discovered that yet you will in time. There is no greater hindrance to your spiritual advancement in the Lord than self.
John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
There are some Nicodemuses today – rulers of God’s people. Some are called pastors, some deacon boards or trustee boards, and sometimes the oldest family in the church.
John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know You are a teacher from God; for no one can do these signs You do unless God is with him.
It’s not hard to know God as God; it’s just difficult to submit to Him. We were talking earlier about the fact that if you could keep the devil out in the world, then we could just stand and prophesy against the demonic forces of Satan’s kingdom. That would be a simple matter. Anybody can dedicate himself to that. But when you discover the problem is within, it’s a whole different ballgame. When you realize the opposition to His Lordship is in you, you are faced with a very difficult problem. Most people have a hard time coming against their own self. There’s where the problem is; that self nature that wants to do its own thing. It has its own will and wants its own way. It is easy to convince yourself that what you want is God’s will. “What I want is important. I’m sure God can bless this for me.” We’re learning very quickly that God is not on our side and never will be on our side. Our side is a fallen nature; we have to get on His side.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto you unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God….
Kingdom perception is a result of the new birth. Without that new birth you cannot see the Kingdom of God. You can read the Scriptures, you can study, you can pray, you can praise, you can do all kinds of things, but you’re not going to see the Kingdom of God until there’s a new birth. Religion won’t do it; the Law of Moses won’t do it. There’s no preset regimen, no kind of diet, no exercise, no self-discipline that will do it. It’s a matter of you having to be born again. You cannot see into His world without being born again. You don’t realize the deception that’s resting on human nature. You cannot see the things that are most important for you: how God loves you, how He wants to bless you, how He wants to meet your heart, how He wants you to become as He is and to bring forth His life and His nature in you. I have come that you may have life and that you may have it more abundantly. John 10:10. He’s not talking about human life; He is talking about His divine life.
John 3:3-4 …unless one is born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God. And Nicodemus asked, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?
No, that’s not the kind of born again Jesus is talking about. He’s talking about being born from above, born of God, a change of nature. The religious world has people believing that forgiveness means they are born again. “You are forgiven for your sins, so now you are born again.” Not so! You are born again when there is a change of nature. Listen to what John says in his epistle: Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. I John 3:9. He is saying that our born again experience is not yet complete. When it is complete, when the Lord has finished replacing your fallen nature with His nature, you won’t be able to sin.
People have a tendency to think in absolutes. It’s either this or that. Either you are saved or you are not saved. Either you are born again or you are not born again. Well, if you are progressing in the Lord, then you are in the process of being born again. Even the natural birth process doesn’t take place in a skinny minute. It takes time. There is the formation of the child in the womb for nine months. Then when the child comes into this world, what can it do? Wave its little arms, kick its little feet and cry – that’s about it. It doesn’t know what’s going on and some of us are about like that now. The born-again process is started but all we can do is make a fuss. We can’t really do anything, don’t know anything, can’t even talk yet. And when you come into God’s world you will have to learn how to talk again because it’s a whole different language.
Peter in his epistle said: All things pertaining unto life and godliness have been given to us. II Peter 1:3. Sometimes we don’t understand the way God speaks. “Well, Lord, if it’s been given to us why don’t I have it? Where is the promise that you made?” But we tend to forget that everything He gives and promises is given and promised as a provision. It is a reality, but we have to appropriate it. “Well, if it’s given, it’s given.” Yes, it’s given so that you can appropriate it. Everything you need in order for this spiritual birth to be completed is all given. If we don’t appropriate it, it is no one’s fault but ours. It’s just like being saved. Jesus Christ died on the cross. He is not going to die on the cross again and shed His blood again. It happened once. Once for all time for anyone who wants to take advantage of it, but how many people do? Not many. Those who do become Christians have the right to become sons of God (John 1:12). It’s all given as a provision. Therefore, it is up to us to receive what is rightfully ours. Some people won’t do it. They like their own little kingdom better.
John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
In verse 3 Jesus said, “Unless you are born again, you can’t see the Kingdom.” Then in verse 5, He says, “Unless you are born again, you can’t enter into the Kingdom.” So it’s one thing to see it; it’s quite another thing to enter into it. There’s the appropriation, the walking in it, and the living in it.
If you remember back in Genesis 13, Abraham was in his journey toward the will of God and his nephew Lot was with him. There came a time when Lot’s herds and Abraham’s herds began to multiply and increase. The next thing you know their herdsmen were arguing, and there was turmoil and problems. So they got together and Abraham said, “Here, look out across the land and choose what you want. Whatever you want, you can have it for you and your herds.” So Lot did and he looked toward the land of Sodom. It looked good and he said, “I’ll take this portion.” Abraham took what was left.
As you walk on with the Lord, there are separations that have to be made. I have no doubt that God created that strife between Lot and Abraham because there had to be a separation. There are some things clinging to you that need to be separated, too. Anyway, after the separation took place God spoke to Abraham and said, “Abram, lift up your eyes and look to the north, to the south, to the east, and the west. All that you see I’m going to give it to you.” A kind of a birthing took place; Abraham lifted up his eyes, for that is what the Lord had said, “Lift up your eyes and look. Lift up your eyes to look into another realm and see what I’m going to give you.”
Oh, praise the Lord! Now we’ve got a lot of preachers today that have some insight. They’ve looked and they see the Kingdom and they’re preaching it, but they don’t really know what they’re preaching about because they haven’t entered it. They just saw it from afar. Abraham looked and he saw it, but then God said, “Now, Abram, walk in it. Start walking through the land that you see.” So Abraham began walking through it. The walking through is the possessing of it. He is possessing it! By faith he possessed every place where his foot trod. After Abraham walked through the land and got back to camp the Lord said, “Abram, pack up your tent and move to Hebron.” Hebron means fellowship with God. You are moving into a new realm with the Lord. Abraham saw it, walked it, possessed it, and then he moved into it and lived awhile. However, when you move into it, keep your tent. You’re going to live in a tent because pretty soon you’re going to tear it down and move again.
We’re moving in the Lord. You see it and then you have to possess it. That’s what Jesus is talking about here. “Nicodemus, you have to be born from above in order to see it.” Then that born-again experience has to be expanded so that you can enter into it. It’s there but if you don’t take the initiative to appropriate in it you can’t really blame God. He said, “This is the way I do it. I put it there – it’s yours. Possess it!”
John 3:6-7 That which is born of the flesh is flesh,
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Do not marvel that I said unto you, You must be born again.
It is interesting that in the phrase “you must be born again” the “you” is plural. He is not only speaking to Nicodemus here, He is talking to everyone. He is speaking to you and He is speaking to me. YOU must be born again!
John 3:8-10 The wind blows were 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.
9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, How can these things be?
10 Jesus answered and said to him, Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?
We should know, and need to know, a lot more than we do. I remember Jesus saying to His disciples, “O, you of little faith. How long am I going to be with you? Do you not yet understand?” Receive what you need; it has already been given. Years ago I was associated with a brother who had a prophet’s ministry. He had a lot of revelation and I was still young in the Lord. I remember him saying, “I have revelation because I am determined to have revelation.” That was his attitude and his faith. He was determined to have the revelation he needed for ministry. We need that kind of determination. What is your calling? Be determined; you are going to have what you need to fulfill your calling! You can know what you need to know! You can have what you need to have!
How does your born-again experience expand? First, lift up your eyes to see in a realm above you. You can’t experience what you can’t see. Then begin walking in it. Enter it and possess it. Pitch your tent in it. Don’t build a house; that’s permanent. Pitch a tent, because you are planning on another move. Once your born-again experience starts expanding, never let it stop. A large portion of Christianity is dead spiritually because they built a house and didn’t move on.
Copyright © 2006 by Henry DuBose