Did you ever read about the encounter that a man named Nicodemus had with Rabbi Jesus? Here it is:

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:1-2)

Nicodemus was a Jewish man who was a ruler of people, and he came to meet Jesus during the night. Perhaps he was being cautious, because Jesus was not widely accepted during that time. Nicodemus had obviously heard about, or possibly witnessed some of the miracles that Jesus had done, and he was sure that Jesus was sent by God.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? (John 3:3-4)

Jesus cut right to the chase, and he told Nicodemus that he needed to be born again, but he did not understand what Jesus was talking about. Nicodemus was thinking in the natural and physical realm, but Jesus was talking in the spiritual realm. There are many even today who are not quite sure what it means to be born again. Many people believe that the “born again” movement is some end times sect or something.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (John 3:5-6)

Jesus made it clear that a “spiritual birth” was absolutely necessary for entrance into the kingdom of God. Each and every one of us has been born of the flesh, or in the natural realm, but Jesus made it clear to Nicodemus that the physical birth would not help him spiritually.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth [wishes], and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. (John 3:7-8)

Jesus told Nicodemus not to marvel at the fact that he told him that he must be born again. Jesus did not say, maybe, could be, should be, or possibly, but he did say MUST BE when speaking about this “spiritual birth” and entrance into the kingdom of God.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:5)

Nicodemus was obviously a very religious man, and he showed great interest in Jesus Christ, but the Lord knew this mans spiritual needs, better than he did himself. All of our own good deeds will merit nothing in gaining entrance into the kingdom of God, it is a new heart that we need. There are many well meaning people who are in that same predicament that Nicodemus was in, and they hope that they will gain entrance into God’s Kingdom by doing the best that they can.

Many years ago I was street preaching in Times Square, NYC, and I met a man named Ron, from England who was in the States for a tournament to raise money for charity. Ron was 68 years old at the time, and he told me that he just got back from Chicago where he participated in a punchball tournament for charity. In fact Ron had his hands wrapped in the canvas that boxers use. He told me that he punched one of those boxing bags, that are on a stand for over 30 hours non stop, and I was amazed.

The conversation got around to “spiritual things” and I asked him what he would say to the Lord if he died that night, and the Lord asked him why he should let him into Heaven. Ron thought for a minute and then he told me that he would tell him, that he tried to live a “good life” and that he had raised over half a million dollars for charity. I looked at Ron and told him that if he punched that bag for over 50 hours at the next tournament, and raised another million dollars, that it would not be “good enough” to gain entrance into Heaven. Ron looked at me, then he bowed his head, and said “I guess your right” in the most humble manner that you could imagine. I explained the gospel to Ron, and told him about the cross, and the blood that Jesus Christ shed for him, and the fact that salvation cannot be earned, and that it comes by simple faith in Jesus Christ. Ron had a desire to be saved, and he asked the Lord to save his soul that very day. Ron spent a great deal of time talking with me and my wife that day and then he went back to his hotel.
A few days later in the same spot on a Saturday, We saw Ron coming down the street again and he started to talk. Ron had a big smile on his face, and he said this. “After I left you that day, I went back to the hotel and threw myself on my bed and I said: “I AM BORN AGAIN!” Ron spent the next few hours with my wife Cathy and I handing out gospel tracts that day, and to this day we know that it was by divine appointment that we met this gentleman named Ron.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)