Matthew 23:10-11 KJVS
 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.  But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Today if the truth of the gospel were preached from many of the pulpits of churches that number in the thousands of people, within a very short period of time they would begin to empty out and become desolate buildings devoid of their occupants.
The unfortunate reality is that if believers of the first few centuries heard what is being preached today as “the gospel” they would reject it. To many Jesus is their buddy, or God is a sugar daddy waiting to bestow upon them all the things that they desire and deserve. They are products of a diluted gospel, one that has been propagated as truth, but is so full of dead mens bones that it literally stinks in the nostrils of The ALMIGHTY. Most people believe that they should never question a time when they walked down an isle, uttered a few ceremonial words and had a religious experience. Many think that some kind of religious experience or set of religious rules buys them acceptance into the company of Christ. When I used to hold revivals years ago I adopted a saying, that being a lot of people are going to leave this life and wake up on the other side with baptismal water still on their faces and hear the words of Jesus. Depart from me!
Matthew 7:21-23 KJVS
 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
We are recognize some characteristics of the religious in the narrative between Jesus and Nicodemus in John 3 where the Lord outlines several critical principles that are the basis of the common teachings that are reflected in the false gospel of our age.
I. THE DEFICIENCY OF RELIGIOUS ACTIVITY.
That they are highly regarded because of their prominence. The expectation is that because of their position in life Christ is excited about their decision to come to Him.
Nicodemus must have thought that Jesus would find commendable his lifestyle and his actions, didn’t Jesus know that the Pharisee’s could remove him from his position of importance on the highest order of magnitude in religious circles. A passage that enforces this is found in John 9:22. John 9:22 KJVS These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Nicodemus was risking it all just to show up and have a conversation with him. Didn’t The Lord know how much money he gave, that he fasted and prayed in the temple daily was engaged in all the hundreds of fastidious rules that were stringently adhered to and practiced ardently? Jesus looked at those aspects and defined them no higher than a prostitutes standing in the kingdom, in fact He elevated the worst level of sinners above the most esteemed religious leaders and instead of heaping accolades He informs Nicodemus that he must be born again in John 3:3 KJVS  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.
Now there’s a misconception about what is being implied by Nicodemus’s response. Nicodemus is not asking about rebirth on any level. He is saying that he has traveled to far down the path he’s been walking on and it’s impossible for him to redo anything religious that he’s done he was to old, unable to learn new ideas, Christ’s demands put him in a hopeless position.
II. THE CONSISTENCY OF DISCLOSURE.
Jesus’s rebuttal is sharp and decisive. John 3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him…Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? The O. T. Clearly outlined the concepts of salvation implicitly.
Compare 2 Timothy 3:15 KJV  And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. Its message, woven through sixty-six books, written over a span of fifteen hundred years by more than forty different authors who by the inspiration of the Spirit woven together in a tapestry of truth that outlines that the humble through faith are granted all the necessary elements to gain eternal life and freedom from sin.
Nicodemus was a scholar who was steeped in a tradition that aligned with religious activities but lacked the essential and primary consideration…that being that without faith which was the outstanding singularity of the life of Abraham, that it was impossible to please God.
There is a key element of insight available here, true spiritual knowledge only comes as a result of following the precepts of Christ implicitly. Real revelation only comes by being a part of the vine.
III. THE DRAINING INFLUENCE
Jesus destroyed every notion that Nicodemus had of his spiritual enlightenment. His approach was a smug self righteous attitude that because of his assessment of scripture that he was by it immune to the poison that is in the veins of every living person who has been born since Adam.
He points out a passage that Nicodemus would’ve easily recognized.
Numbers 21:5-9 KJV  And the people spake against God, and
against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the
wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul
loatheth this light bread.  And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people,
and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.  Therefore the people
came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the
Lord , and against thee; pray unto the Lord , that he take away the serpents from
us. And Moses prayed for the people.  And the Lord said unto Moses, Make
thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every
one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.  And Moses made a
serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent
had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. He’s not
giving an easy reprieve, identification with elite religious leaders doesn’t equate
to salvation, everyone no matter their pedigree must submit to the master’s plan
of recognizing ones debilitating state of being bitten by the great serpent for
which the only remediation is repentance and rejection of the lifestyle of the
world. It’s not a once and done deal but our broken state must be
acknowledged every time we receive insight into the greater vantage point that
The Eternal has over ours.
All have been bitten by that great serpent the devil and without the antivenin of the true gospel being administered spiritual death is imminent.