Most people would rather risk catastrophe than ask directions. Nicodemus asked directions. Twice he asked, "How?" (vv. 4, 9). When told of the necessity of being born again in order to see the kingdom of God (v. 3), he wisely and legitimately asked "how" (v. 4).
The soul winner must be sure he tells a person how to be saved, how to be born again, how to have his sins forgiven. Too often this is not done! A discerning person can often notice in sermons that no one is told how to do that which is fervently preached! Too often, then, nothing happens; and people say the day of mass evangelism is over. Preachers stop having evangelistic meetings. They stop giving invitations and say the church services are only to build up Christians. Let's not blame the message for the wrong methods. The gospel is "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16) and evangelism will still work.
In John 3:14 Christ tells of Moses' lifting up the serpent in the wilderness. This was a familiar story to Nicodemus. It is easy to talk over the heads of people who are not biblically oriented. This is why Christ used so many parables and illustrations. But we must make proper use of Scripture also, for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17).
The well loved verse 16 is the culmination of instruction to Nicodemus on how to be born again. It contains all the good news of the gospel. What good news it is to the lost to know "God so loved" them too. Amazing, but multitudes have never heard this side of the story. The essence of the gospel that "he gave his only begotten Son" to suffer and die for our sins is grossly omitted and strangely not even missed by the average person. As Dr. Vance Havner has said, "You think they [some preachers] are going to say it. They come right up to the point and then make a neat detour and some even think they said it!"
The good news is that Jesus Christ died for sins in the sinner's place. He paid the debt. This focal fact must be presented one way or another. Only then can one say to "believe in Him" to be saved. As Dr. L. S. Chafer so often said, "Give them something to believe."