The New Birth - Gospel in Life

The New Birth

Tim Keller |  January 17, 1999

Download Agreement

By downloading this file, I confirm I understand Gospel in Life's Copyright & Permissions policies and agree to only use this file for personal usage and will not upload it to any third-party platforms.


  • Salvation
John 3:1-15
RS 99-2


The phrase “born again” has its own meaning in our culture — but what did Jesus truly mean by it? In this sermon, we’ll learn what Jesus said about the new birth: 1) How important is it? 2) What is it? 3) How do we receive it?

John 3:1–15

Jesus used several metaphors in the Gospel of John, like being the Light of the world, the Vine, the Bread, and the provider of living water. One of the hardest to understand is the idea of being “born again.” Today, people often get the wrong idea about what this means. So, it’s important to clear up these mistakes and dig into the real meaning of being born again, and how it happens.

1. Why being born again matters

Jesus makes it clear that everyone needs to be spiritually reborn, not just those who are hurting or looking for emotional healing. He challenges Nicodemus, a rich, educated, and morally good man, to be born again. This shows us that being born again isn’t just for certain people. It reminds us that faith isn’t about following a bunch of rules, but about realizing the need to be reborn spiritually and letting go of any reasons not to.

2. What being born again means

Being “born again” in Christianity isn’t about having emotional experiences or following a bunch of rules. It’s about starting fresh and understanding your value isn’t tied to what you’ve done in the past. It’s a mistake to think that doing good things can earn you a spot in heaven. Accepting Jesus as a Savior, not just a teacher, leads to a big change that alters how you see things and impacts every part of your life.

3. How to be born again

Nicodemus, who seems to have everything going for him, learns from Jesus throughout the book of John. He struggles with understanding the difference between Jesus as a teacher and Jesus as a Savior. Jesus emphasizes that being reborn is something He does, not something we can do ourselves. This new understanding leads Nicodemus to honor Jesus after his death on the cross. It shows us the importance of having our own spiritual journeys that focus on Jesus’s sacrifice and teaching, instead of just copying what others do.



Why Does God Do Nothing?

By Tim Keller

The Wellspring of Wisdom

By Tim Keller

The Prodigal Sons

By Tim Keller

July Book Offer

Reading Galatians Can Change Your Life!

Galatians is a powerful book that shows how people can think they know the gospel but are actually losing touch with it. In this study of the book of Galatians, Dr. Keller helps you understand how this short book in the New Testament can transform your life.