What is a PHARISEE?
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and was one of 70 leaders who had a prestigious seat in the Sanhedrin (Jewish council). He had it all together religiously, but Jesus challenged his traditions. If you grew up in religion, do you struggle with the same issues as Nicodemus?
- We fear how certain people will view us.
- Religion operates in the physical realm (doing) while relationship lives in the spiritual realm (believing).
What is a BORN AGAIN Believer?
Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again (literally: “born from above”) in order to enter into God’s kingdom. If belief is the only requirement to be born again, what does it mean to believe?
- We entrust Jesus with our eternity.
- We entrust Jesus with defining the truth.
- We become what we believe.
Study and Discussion Questions
1. Did you grow up in a church where certain traditions were placed on the same level as the Bible? Do you have friends or family who are a part of certain denominations who are doing religion but do not have a relationship with Jesus? Have you shared the truth with them lately? What is holding you back?
2. Read Mark 7:1-23. Talk about the difference between the traditions of man versus the commands of God. Are there any traditions you are holding onto that you need to release?
3. Read about the wide and narrow gate (Matthew 7:13-14). Discuss why the gate to “believe in Jesus” is so narrow.
4. Do you trust in God? Why is “trust” an integral part of accepting the gospel (Psalm 9:10; 13:5; 20:7; 28:7; 31:14; 56:3; 84:12; Prov. 3:5-6; Dan. 6:23; John 14:1; Rom. 15:13)?
Applying the Word to Life
5. Do you know someone who is entrusting their eternity in all their works? Are they hoping to get to heaven based upon the good things they are doing? What do you say to someone who considers themselves a “good person” who deserves to go to heaven? Will you decide to talk with this person about “belief” in Jesus Christ and how He alone saves?
6. How would you explain to someone that they have to be “born again” in order to go to heaven?
7. Jesus was willing to meet with Nicodemus. Make an appointment with someone who is not saved this week to talk with them. Tell your group (for accountability).