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A sermon written by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
and preached by Mr. Noah Song
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord’s Day Morning, October 1, 2017

Now I want you to turn with me to the most beloved verse in the Bible, John 3:16. It’s on page 1117 in the Scofield Study Bible. Please stand as I 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. Great crowds of people wanted to be near Him and hear His sermons. But the Bible says,

“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 what was in man. He 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 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 Jesus was talking with, was a ruler of the Jews. He was very religious. He prayed. He fasted twice a week. He gave ten percent 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 that Nicodemus was lost in sin, in spite of all his religion. Nicodemus was a sinner. He needed to be born again.

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. The Bible says,

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

And the Bible says,

“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.

You are a sinner. You have broken God’s law. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” (Exodus 20:16). Have you ever told a lie? When you did, you broke the law of God. The Bible says, “Thou shalt not steal” (Exodus 20:15). Have you ever taken something that wasn’t yours? When you did, you broke God’s law. You are a sinner.

One day Jesus said to a man, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37, 38). Have you ever missed church on Sunday? Then you showed that you don’t love God with all your heart. You broke the first and great commandment.

But your sin goes much deeper than that. Why do you do bad things? Why do you break God’s law? Because inside, in your heart, you are bad. You are sinful. The Bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). The Bible says, “The [unconverted] mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). In your heart you are selfish. In your heart you are an enemy of God. That’s why you did the wrong things that you did. In your heart you don’t want God to have first place in your life. That’s why you broke His law. You are a sinner in your heart. You have a sin-nature.

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 in his mind. But Jesus said it was like the wind. You can’t understand everything about the wind.

There are many things I don’t understand. There are subjects in college that I don’t fully understand. And that’s the way it is with the new birth. 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.

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.

I saw “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson’s great film on the crucifixion of our Lord. Some of you have seen it. Some were upset because it showed a great deal of violence. But most people thought 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 trust Him, Jesus will pardon your sins and you will be born again!

And that’s Jesus told Nicodemus – to be born again. Mr. Griffith sang a few minutes ago about what Jesus said that night. Mr. Griffith sang,

A ruler once came to Jesus by night To ask Him the way of salvation and light;
The Master made answer in words true and plain, “Ye must be born again.”
Ye must be born again, Ye must be born again,
I verily, verily, say unto you, “Ye must be born again.”
   (“Ye Must Be Born Again” by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).

That’s what you need – to be born again!

Every real Christian has been born again. I’m thinking of Martin Luther (1483-1546) who led the revival that people call the Reformation. He trusted Christ by faith. He was born again! Luther said, “I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise” (Roland Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, Hendrickson Publishers, 2009 reprint, p. 48). He was born again forever!

Jack Ngann is a wonderful Christian man. He’s sitting here on the platform behind me. Jack said, “By simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His sin-cleansing Blood was I saved... My Lord [laid] down His life for me... for His enemy [me!]... and giving [me] eternal life!” Jack trusted Jesus. Christ gave him new life. Jack was born again!

Now listen to what happened to me. It was Jesus and His sin-cleansing Blood that saved me. I felt as low as dirt, but Jesus pulled me up and saved me. He brought me up out of the sting of death, and rottenness of sin. He turned my night to day. Christ gave me eternal life. Praise God, I was born again! And you will be born again if you trust Jesus.

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 trust Christ by faith, your sins are all forgiven. Your sin is cleansed by Jesus’ Blood – and you are born again!

And that brings us back to our text, John 3:16. Listen as I read it 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).

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 – to trust 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. Trust Jesus. Throw yourself on Him and you will have forgiveness of your sin and everlasting life. Dr. Hymers, please come and close this service.

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Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: John 3:1-7.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Ye Must be Born Again” (by William T. Sleeper, 1819-1904).