Youth Family Talk:
1. How can you be born again? How do you know if you are?
A. Jesus intended for the statement, “born again” to be vague. The word “again” here can mean ‘again’ or ‘from above’.
a. According to one commentator, Jesus used the word to point to a location (heaven, the source of rebirth), while Nicodemus understood it as a reference to time or a repeated activity (that the birth must happen multiple times). Jesus used the word spiritually (spiritual transformation), while Nicodemus understood it physically (birth from a mother’s womb).
B. How can you be born again?
a. As it will be discussed in the next question, to be ‘born again’ is related to ‘believing in the gospel’ and the result of this is salvation. Therefore, you can be born again by believing in the gospel.
1. What is the gospel? The life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus
C. How do you know if you are born again?
a. Simply said, it’s nothing that you do but something that was done to you. You can change what you do whether you are born again or not, but you cannot change your heart unless God does it for you. You cannot be born again unless God sends his son for you. You cannot be born again unless Jesus died on the cross for you. You cannot be born again unless the Holy Spirit convicts you of your sins and gives you faith.
1. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
b. Discover more in https://www.gospelproject.com/signs-born-again/
2. What does the kingdom of God mean?
A. Jesus says that the kingdom of God can only be seen by those who have been born again.
B. Kingdom is a nation of people under the rule of a king. Therefore the kingdom of God is a nation of people under the kingship of God.
C. Jewish people understood the kingdom of God as a future reign of God over all creation and all humanity. In a sense, it is a return to how things were in the garden of Eden. The prophets spoke of a time when the Messiah would come as king and rule over all the earth.
a. What the Jews did not know was that the messiah would also be the suffering servant.
1. The suffering servant is prophesied by Isaiah (in Chapter 53) as the one who would be hated by his own, die for the sins of many and resurrected by God.
2. The second time Jesus comes to earth, he will come as the conquering king to make the world his kingdom. In that time, all the world that remains in rebellion will be struck down, while all of God’s people will be rescued.
3. Until our king returns, (similar to Aragorn in Lord of the Rings, the Return of the King) we work as ambassadors of the kingdom of God, urging people to turn from their rebellion.
D. The kingdom of God is also related to the term: eternal life.
a. Thus the phrases are parallel
1. Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God
2. Whoever believes in him (Jesus), should not perish but have eternal life
b. In this example, we see that being born again is related to believing in Jesus and seeing the kingdom of God is related to not perishing but having eternal life.
c. In talking about believing in him, Jesus speaks about the serpent that was raised by Moses in the wilderness.
1. If you don’t remember, the Israelites spoke against God and Moses in Numbers 21:4-9. Then God sent “fiery serpents” among the people which bit the people so that many Israelites died. When the people repented, Moses prayed for the people, and God told Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole that anyone bitten who sees it shall live.
2. We see that the rebellious Israelites were afflicted with poison that would kill them. This is sin in humanity, we are all affected by the poison of sin that will kill us. There were those among the rebellious who repented by confessing their wrongs and turning from their rebellion and believed by looking upon the fiery serpent raised upon a pole.
3. Similarly, Jesus’ first message on earth was, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”
A. Time is fulfilled: meaning, the prophesies of the Old Testament are fulfilled.
B. The kingdom of God is at hand: meaning, the promised kingdom of God has come near, meaning, salvation is near for his people, while judgment is near for his enemies.
a. Like the master in the parable of the talents eventually returned (Matthew 25:14-30), like the groom in the parable of the ten virgins returned (Matthew 25:1-13), like the landowner in the parable of the tenant farmers returned (Matthew 21:33-45), our king will return.
C. Repent and believe in the gospel: meaning, turn from your rebellion like the Israelites who were bitten by the serpents, and believe in Jesus, who was hung on the cross like the serpent on the pole, as the only way you can be saved.
3. As people of the kingdom of God, how are we to differ from the people of this world?
A. First there are three things that we share with all people regardless of their faith:
a. Every person inhabits this world created by God (Acts 17:24-26)
b. Every person has sinned against God (Romans 3:23)
c. Every person is thus separated by God and deserves his wrath (Romans 6:23)
B. There is also one thing that was offered to all man: the gift of salvation to all who believe in the gospel.
a. Therefore, as the people who have accepted this gift and been admitted into the kingdom of God, we live by the law given by our king, to love him and to love others as ourselves.
1. Godly love is exclusive to Christians, this means you are to give up your old way of living in sin to a life living in holiness: “assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” - Ephesians 4:21-24 ESV