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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord's Day Morning, August 21, 2005
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

Now I want you to turn with me to the most beloved verse in the Bible, John 3:16. Let us stand and read that verse aloud.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

You may be seated.

Jesus was preaching and teaching, and great crowds of people wanted to be near Him and hear His sermons. The Bible says,

"But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man" (John 2:24-25).

Christ knew that something was basically wrong with human nature. He knew that mankind is totally depraved and cut off from God by sin.

Now there was a man in that crowd by the name of Nicodemus. He was a great teacher of the Bible. He was a very famous, and a very wealthy man. After the service was over and the great crowd of people went home, he slipped away from his house and came back to meet Jesus late at night. The two of them sat down to talk, and Jesus told Nicodemus something that startled him. Christ said,

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

Jesus told him that he must be born again.

In that simple statement, Christ told Nicodemus about the greatest need of the human race. It was true that night, and it is true this morning. The greatest need you have is to be born again!

That's the way it is with you this morning. You may believe in God. You may try to live a clean and good life. But something is missing. You need to be born again.

Nicodemus, the man who Jesus was talking with, was a ruler of the Jews. He was very religious. He prayed. He fasted twice a week. He tithed all of his income to the Lord. He even taught the Bible. But he wasn't satisfied with life. He knew something was missing. He felt sinful inside, even though he was very religious. Many churches today would be happy to have him as a member. But Jesus said that wasn't enough. He said to Nicodemus, "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).

Now why did Jesus say that to him? He said it because He knew what was in man. He knew, in spite of all his religion, that Nicodemus was lost in sin.

The Bible teaches that you have the same problem. Your problem is sin. You have broken God's law. You have broken the Ten Commandments. The Bible says, if you break God's law, you are guilty of sin. And the Bible says,

"There is not a just man upon the earth, that…sinneth not" (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

The Bible says that you are a sinner. You want to do your own thing, and the things you want to do are often wrong and sinful. Sin has caused you to be spiritually dead - dead toward God.

We were all born sinners, we inherited a sinful nature from our first parent, Adam. And the only way to escape the blindness and pollution of sin is to be born again.

Nicodemus wasn't satisfied with Christ's answer. He wanted to know what the new birth was. He said, "How can a man be born when he is old?" (John 3:4). He wanted to understand the new birth rationally and intellectually. But Jesus said it was like the wind. You can't understand everything about the wind.

There are many things I don't understand. Both of my sons are in college. I went through college, but they are taking courses that go right over my head. They are studying some courses in college that I never took. And some of those subjects are simply too complex for me to fully understand.

And that's the way it is with the new birth. It is supra-rational, it is above and beyond our human minds to completely understand.

But Jesus Christ came to earth to give us the new birth, even though we don't fully understand it. Christ came to give us a new life and a new relationship to God. He came to give us the new birth.

You see, Jesus didn't just come as a great teacher or a great example. Oh, no! He came to die on the Cross and shed His eternal Blood so we could be pardoned and cleansed from all sin.

Many of you saw "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson's great film on the crucifixion of our Lord. Thousands of young people went to see it. Some were upset because it showed a great deal of violence. But most people thought that it portrayed our Lord's crucifixion beautifully and accurately. This film was very close to the Bible on most points. It showed the Roman soldiers scourging Christ, beating Him on the back until He was half dead. That's in the Bible. He was scourged and beaten for nearly ten minutes. Those cruel Roman whips cut His back to the very bone.

After Jesus went through all of that pain and suffering, the Roman soldiers took Him outside the city and nailed Him to a cross. Crucifixion was a horrible way to die. But the worst suffering Christ went through was when God left Him alone on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins. Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46). God the Father turned away from Jesus the Son, and He was left all alone on that Cross to pay the price of your sin. On that Cross He bore your sin and shed His Blood to cleanse you from it. On that Cross, Jesus took the punishment you deserve for your sin - and if you come to Him, Jesus will pardon your sins and you will be born again!

This morning, you need God to do something for you that you cannot do for yourself. You need God to pardon and forgive your sins because of what Jesus did for you on the Cross. When you come to Christ by faith, your sins are all forgiven and cleansed by Jesus' Blood - and you are born again!

And that brings us back to that great text, John 3:16. Stand and read it aloud again.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

You may be seated. That verse says it all. God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die in your place, for your sins, on that cruel, painful Cross. Three days later, His dead body rose physically from the dead. He ascended back up to Heaven, where He is praying for you now!

But what must you do to be saved? What must you do to be born again? John 3:16 makes that perfectly clear. It says,

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

All that God requires is for you to believe in Jesus. Oh, I know you believe that He really lived and died. Many of you even believe that He rose from the dead and ascended back to Heaven. But those are only doctrines, teachings in the Bible. Believing those Bible teachings will not save you. The verse says,

"that whosoever believeth in him should not perish" (John 3:16).

You must believe "in him." You must come to Jesus by faith and trust Him. When you do that, His Blood cleanses all your sin, and you are born again.

Come to Jesus. Believe in Him fully. Throw yourself on Him and you will have forgiveness of your sin and everlasting life.

After this service, ask one of our deacons, or myself, and we will talk to you about coming to Christ and being born again. God bless you!

You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at Click on "Sermon Manuscripts."

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 3:1-17.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
"Oh, How He Loves You and Me" (by Kurt Kaiser, 1975).



by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

(John 2:24-25; 3:3, 7; Ecclesiastes 7:20;
Romans 3:23; John 3:4; Matthew 27:46)