The purpose of the gospel of John is twofold: first, as to salvation, directing the ones seeking a relationship with God; and secondly, as to discipleship, instructing the true followers of Jesus in how to enjoy life in the truest sense. Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe[a] that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:30-31. Our study will look at seven signs in this book that direct our attention to Jesus. This is the message of a second birth – being born again – how to become children of God. These seven signs are:
1. Water Turned to Wine (John 2:1-11)
2. Healing of the (Nobleman’s) Son Near Death (John 4:46-54)
3. Healing of the Lame Man at the Pool (John 5:1-17)
4. Feeding of the Five Thousand (John 6:1-15)
5. Walking on the Water (John 6:16-21)
6. Healing of the Man Born Blind (John 9:1-41)
7. Raising of Lazarus from the Dead (John 11:1-47)
In the middle of these signs, and defining spiritual rebirth – with the affirming promise that to believe and accept is to pass from death to life.
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. 33 Whoever has accepted it has certified that God is truthful. 34 For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God[a] gives the Spirit without limit. 35 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them. John 3:31-36.
- Being Born Again Means Escaping the Condemnation of our Fallen Nature. The Bible is clear – from the fall in the Garden of Eden forward, we have fallen short of the glory and standard of a righteous God, and by both heritage and life, stand condemned in our sin. But the good news of Jesus – of the gospel – is that God through His Son has provided a way out, a way forward, an escape from the condemnation of our sin. Whomever believes in Him is not condemned (John 3:18).
- Being Born Again Means Turning from Rejection to Acceptance of the Gift of Salvation. The Bible uses terms like born again, fallen, loving the darkness and evil, fear that our deeds are exposed. This is all of what is described as the human nature post Eden. The lessons of our ancient ancestors Adam and Eve are that sin affects ourselves and others, that sin once committed can never be undone. But the good news is that there is a pathway forward for the forgiveness and covering of our sin, resulting in the gift of eternal life. Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:20.
- Being Born Again Means We are Restored to our Greatest Design as in Fellowship with God. Again, without equivocation, the Bible teaches that men and women are made in the image of God, that there is a God-shaped vacuum in every person. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3;11. God is in control of all the affairs and details of life. And the promise is as sure as the Truth of the words of Jesus: 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.
For my family, last week poignantly illustrated this. My sister died after years of suffering under the effects of a stroke. She loved Jesus and followed Him in her life, in her family, and in an amazing operatic career. We grieve, but not as one who has no hope. While these times are hard for family and friends of one who dies, I can tell you that there is no hope that compares to the hope and promises of these words. Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24. The inevitable is true of everyone – one out of one people die. But both the joy and comfort of this life, and the eternal reality as a Christian turns for home, is that he or she has passed from death to life, from life mortal to life immortal, covered by the grace and cross and resurrection of Jesus.
No better new year’s resolution, heading into 2024, than that you are made right before God, that if you have not believed, that you believe and receive the gift of life, of being born again, promised to all because of Jesus. And if you have believed and are a follower of Jesus, that you commit your life to living in a way that counts for eternity. Therefore, the promises and instruction to Nicodemus, of the necessity of being born again, ring true today.
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.