Birth or Reborn (新生或重生)
Worldwide Outreach Teaching School
Dr. Meiman Lai Saidi
if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has
Preface: The example
of born again: Chuck Colson’s life pivoted (被轉向) on
August 12, 1973.
Before that date, he had been known as Richard Nixon’s “hatchet man (職業殺手),”
and he was indicted on Watergate-related charges. However, on Sunday evening, August 12, 1973, Colson visited his
friend, Tom Philips, and his life was forever changed.
Tom told him, “I have committed my whole life to
Jesus Christ and it has been the most marvelous experience of my life.”
Colson was stunned, not only by the news, but by the change that he sensed in
his friend. That night, as they talked over tea, Tom was frank. He suggested
that the White House staff had put their faith in themselves, because they had
no faith in God. Colson couldn’t deny it. As Tom read to him from C. S. Lewis’
Mere Christianity, Colson felt under conviction because Tom was reading about
him. When Tom asked if he wanted to accept Jesus Christ, Chuck said he wasn’t
ready, but before Chuck left, Tom prayed for him. Chuck was
moved by the words of the prayer. He said later
that the prayer was so intimate that he found himself fighting back the tears. When Colson got to his car, he couldn’t drive because of the tears.
They just wouldn’t stop. He started the car and drove a couple hundred feet,
but he had to stop because he was sobbing uncontrollably. There in his car he
offered himself to God, saying, “Take me, take
me.” For the first time in his life, he felt he wasn’t alone.
This was the beginning of the transformation of
Chuck Colson. People were at first skeptical that Nixon’s sidekick in dirty
tricks had promised God to give the rest of his life to religious service. But
his life is one of the outstanding and best-known examples in modern times of
the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. The ministry of Prison
Fellowship, his radio program Break Point,
and more than 30 books give witness to that change.
Today’s session focuses on a person very much like
Chuck Colson. He was also a very prominent man in politics. His name was
Nicodemus, and he was separated from God by sin. Nicodemus was a man who
seemed to have it all. He was wealthy, well-educated (John 3:10), a leader in his nation,
and a very religious man. You would think that someone like Nicodemus had it
all. But he didn’t. And he knew it. Something was missing from his life. That’s
why he came to Jesus one night.
Scriptures Reading: John 3:1-8 Nicodemus Visits Jesus at Night尼哥底母來見耶穌.
- Now there was a man
of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council.
- He came to Jesus at
night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from
God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God
were not with him."
- In reply Jesus
declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born
- "How can a man
be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot
enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
- Jesus answered,
"I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of
water and the Spirit.
- Flesh gives birth to
flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
- You should not be
surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.'
- The wind blows
wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it
comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the
- 這人夜裡來見耶穌、說、拉比、我們知道你是由 神那裡來作師傅的．因為你所行的神蹟、若沒有 神同在、無人能行。
- 耶穌回答說、我實實在在的告訴你、人若不重生、就不能見 神的國。
- 耶穌說、我實實在在的告訴你、人若不是從水和聖靈生的、就不能進 神的
Nicodemus Nicodemus was a man who was wealthy,
well-educated, a member of the Sanhedrin, a respected teacher, and very
religious. He came to Jesus under the cover of darkness to avoid the criticism
of those who might see him. Or it could be that he came to Jesus at night so
they would be uninterrupted by the crowds of people who flocked around Jesus
during the day. However, it could be that Nicodemus came to Him in the evening
because he was under conviction
and just couldn’t wait through the night to see Him.
You must be born
again (vv. 3-7). 耶穌說您必重生, 因聖靈能給接受耶穌者靈命.
Nicodemus began by
asking a polite question about Jesus’ ministry. Rather than answer directly,
Jesus responded to what Nicodemus wanted to say. “Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I
tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again’” (v. 3).
understand, so he asked, “How can anyone be born who has already been born and
grown up?” (v. 4). Jesus answered again, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of
water and the Spirit” (v. 5). “Water” is a symbol of cleansing. When we
embrace Jesus, seeking His forgiveness, He washes our sins away.
“The Spirit” represents power. It is His Holy Spirit that enables
us to receive Jesus into our lives. John Wesley called this “initial
sanctification” because it is the beginning of God’s purifying work in
the believer. Christ comes to us imparting new life so that we may live
differently, so that we may grow in Christlikeness.
When Jesus said,
“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit” (v. 6), He
was saying that only God’s Holy Spirit can give spiritual life to the one
who believes (1:12). There is urgency in Jesus’ voice when He
says, “You must be born again” (3:7, emphasis added). The new birth is an
imperative for those who want to be part of the kingdom of God. The most important decision we will make is to participate in the new
life available in Christ.
Spirit is like the wind (v. 8). 聖靈如風 看不見但深感能力 使人有耶穌形像. According
to Jesus, the Holy Spirit’s presence is like the blowing of the wind (v. 8).
You can’t see it, but you can see and feel the effect of its powerful presence.
In the same way, the Spirit’s presence in a believer can be seen. It will be
evidenced by Christlike changes in the individual.
The Vistor from Heaven: John3:9-15
God, whom I serve with my whole heart in
preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember
in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now
at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.
long to see you so that I may impart to you some
spiritual gift to make you strong—
that is, that you and I may be mutually
encouraged by each other's faith.
No one has ever gone into heaven except the one
who came from heaven--the Son of Man.
Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert,
so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
9 我在他兒子福音上、用心靈所事奉的 神、可以見證我怎樣不住的題到你們、
10. 在禱告之間、常常懇求、或者照 神的旨意、終能得平坦的道路往你們那裡去。
The Son of Man must
be lifted up 人主必生天 (vv. 13-15).
The “Son of Man” was Jesus. John 3:13
makes it clear that the Son of Man was revealing himself as the one who
descended from heaven. Jesus was qualified to speak authoritatively about
heavenly matters because He came from heaven.
Jesus then reminded Nicodemus of an incident that transpired while Moses was
leading the children of Israel
(Numbers 21:4-9). The people became impatient because they ran out of bread and
fresh water, so they complained about Moses, and even spoke against God. Then
poisonous snakes invaded their camp, and many died. The people repented and
asked Moses to pray that God would take the snakes away. So the Lord told Moses
to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. Anyone bitten by a snake could look
at the bronze serpent and live.
Jesus used this incident as a prophetic picture of God’s plan of salvation.
Just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent, Jesus said that He, the Son of Man,
must be lifted up. And anyone who believes and looks up to Jesus will be saved
from the deadly bite of sin. What Jesus meant that He would be crucified on a
cross so that “everyone one who believes may have eternal life in him” (v. 15).
Lifting Up the Savior 救主生天 (John3:16-18) The entire message of the
Bible is encapsulated in this one verse: “God so loved the world that he gave
his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have
eternal life” (v. 16).
This is how much God loves
you: He gave His one and only Son for you. He comes saying, “You must be born
again” (v. 7). How is a person born again? John 3:16
tells us, “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Bill Manning said, God calls
us to himself in love. He yearns for us to come to him. And He lovingly waits for us to
respond to His invitation. Methodist Bishop Charles McCabe used to
tell this true story that happened to him while he was traveling by train down
the coast of California. As
he rode along, there was a young man near him who was quite nervous and fidgety (坐立不安).
He explained that he had just been released from prison and was headed home. He
said that his parents had been so hurt when he was sent to prison that he was
not sure they would take him back. He had written a letter asking them to
forgive him. He told them that he wanted to come by the house and see them
after he was released. He had written, “If it’s okay to stop by the house for a
visit, just tie a rag in the old tree by the back porch.” He would be able to
see the tree from the train as he passed by the family farm. He told them, “If
there is not a rag in the tree, I’ll just keep on going.”
As the train approached the
farm, the young man could not bring himself to look for the signal. He asked
McCabe if he would look and let him know if he saw a white cloth. As the train
rounded the turn, McCabe saw the tree and leaping to his feet screamed out,
“Look! Look! The whole tree is covered with white rags! Hundreds of them!” And
that, said McCabe, is a picture of the forgiving heart of God. I have good news for you today! The
“whoever” of John 3:16 means you: "For God so loved the world that
he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but
have eternal life. 這真實故事說剛出獄之罪人其父母歡迎他回家 神也是愛我們. “神愛世人、甚至將他的獨生子賜給他們、叫一切信他的、不至滅亡、反得永生 (約翰3:16).”
POINT: Jesus accepted our punishment
and paid the price for our sins so that we would not perish. Perish does not
mean physical death, for we all will eventually die. Here, it refers to
eternity apart from God. Those who believe will receive the alternative, the new
life that Jesus bought for us—everlasting life with God.
(Life Application Bible Commentary: John [Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1993], 63).
1. Why Nicodemus came to Jesus at night? (John 19:38-42 reports that Nicodemus was present with Joseph
of Arimathea and placed Jesus’ body in the tomb. His first appearance was at
night; now he shows up in full daylight. Nicodemus experienced the good news of
does it mean to be born again? (The new birth has to do with coming into a
relationship with Christ and experiencing new life in Christ. It involves a
spiritual transformation. The New Birth,” helps us rethink what it
means to be a true follower of God.) 3.
In what ways we can get the spiritual growth?
SONG:歌: The Reborn Can See the Kingdom of God 重生可見神的國 Words adopted from (1 John 3:3;Ro.6:6;Tit.3:5-7;Col.3:10), Music composed by Dr. Meiman L.Saidi 賴美滿