Wednesday evening, I taught the Bible lesson to our T & T Awana group (Truth & Training) at First Central Baptist Church in Chicopee, MA. The lesson was on Nicodemus in John 3:1-20. Here’s a synopsis of what I shared with the kids.
I will be 113 years old. (The look on their faces was, “No way. That makes no sense at all.”)
I have two birthdays. I was born physically in 1955. I was born spiritually in 1961. I trusted Christ as my savior during a VBS program, a Vacation Bible School program, at my church when I was 6 years old.
I have one birthday in February and a second birthday during the summer. When you add my two birthdays together, you get 113 years old. (Light bulbs started to go on in some of the kids’ eyes.)
Tonight’s lesson is about why we need to have a second birthday. Jesus said that there are two types of people in the world. Some are born once while others are born twice. Each one of us is born physically. But there are some who are born physically and spiritually. After our physical birth, we reside in Satan’s kingdom, but after our spiritual birth, we can live in God’s kingdom.
In John 3, a Pharisee by the name of Nicodemus came to Jesus with a question (1-2). He was certain that Jesus had been sent by God. He knew that the great miracles which Jesus had done could only be done by the power of God.
Many of the other Pharisees hated Jesus and were saying that he did his miracles by the power of Satan. Nicodemus came to speak to Jesus at night, probably so that the other Jewish leaders would not see him.
Jesus told Nicodemus that the only way a person can enter God’s kingdom is to be born again (3-7). It’s the only way we can know, love, and obey God. Nicodemus thought that Jesus meant that people’s bodies have to be born a second time as a baby. Jesus said that every person who comes under God’s rule (into his kingdom) must be born of water (physical birth) and of the Spirit (spiritual birth).
Nicodemus still could not understand how he could be born into God’s family. Jesus explained to Nicodemus by reminding him of what happened to his Jewish ancestors in the wilderness (14-16).
The Israelites had sinned against God, so God sent poisonous snakes to bite them, and the people began to die. When they repented, that is, changed their mind and admitted their sin, God told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole. God promised that whoever was bitten and looked at the bronze snake would be healed. He kept his promise!
Jesus said there is only one way we can be delivered from Satan, sin, and death, and be born again into God’s kingdom. Jesus said that he must be lifted up, just as the bronze snake was in the wilderness, so that whoever trusts in him will be given eternal life by God.
Those who believe in Jesus as their savior will receive everlasting life (16-20). Those who refuse the savior are condemned and rejected by God right now.
No one has to wait until he dies to know if he will be accepted or rejected by God. If we believe the good news of the gospel, we will be born again and have everlasting life.
How many birthdays do you have?