This past week I was listening to an audio sermon on CD by Timothy Juhnke, senior pastor of Faith Community Church in Kansas City, MO. I received the CD from Nick a new friend who has visited OBC on several occasions. Nick and I have the great state of Tennessee in our past in common. He gravitated to me when he spotted my bright orange Tennessee Vols jacket one worship day. Sorry I digress.
Pastor Timothy uses the expository preaching style that I love so much and he is taking his congregation through the book of John. The sermon Nick turned me on to is from last year and is on John 3:1-5. A religious leader from the Pharisaical sect whose name was Nicodemus comes to see Jesus in the middle of the night to ask him some soul searching questions. Nicodemus acknowledges that Jesus has to be from God. The Lord Jesus states that:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of heaven.
Exactly what does this “born again” mean. Nicodemus questions the Lord again displaying that he is unsure what Jesus is saying. The Lord then makes the statement:
Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now I have read this passage many times and had based my interpretation on what I had heard from someone else. The previous interpretation was that the Lord was saying that you must be born of water, meaning a natural birth, and of the Spirit, meaning the regeneration done by the Holy Spirit when you accept Jesus as your savior and are baptized. But now after having listened to pastor Timothy preach through this passage he refers to an Old Testament passage, the same scripture Jesus is also referring to in Ezekiel chapter 36:25-27. This passage refers to what God is proclaiming through Ezekiel. He will sprinkle clean water on you (born of water), and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses. He will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put in you.
The biggest thing that I now understand better about this passage in John about being born of water and of the Spirit and its obvious relation to the Ezekiel passage is that God is the one doing it. He is the one who sprinkles us with the clean water. He is the one putting His Spirit in us. This totally blows away my earlier interpretation of a natural birth or baptism. It makes so much more sense. I have a whole new perspective on these passages from John 3. By the grace of God I threw off the doctrine of a man centered salvation a few years ago. I now see through sovereign grace eyeglasses and this passage now has new and accurate meaning.
You can hear this enlightening sermon at the following link: