Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
You Must Be Born Again - By Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/02/you-must-be-born-again.html
5 " Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:5-6)
There is no other doctrine that is more central to the Christian faith as when Jesus spoke with Nicodemus and proclaimed that a man must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was obviously very confused, as written of the account of the meeting the Pharisee had with Jesus after coming to Him after sundown and it was dark.
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 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.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:1-5)
Nicodemus was thinking in physical terms and could not understand the concept thinking that he must he enter the womb of his mother and be born again? He wasn't thinking in spiritual terms and it seemed totally illogical to him at that moment.
Many Christians use the term to describe their being a believer of Jesus Christ, but do they fully understand in Spiritual terms exactly what Jesus was driving at? Many use the label to describe themselves as a believer in Jesus Christ, but is belief enough? Remember what James said :
19, Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19)
Let us examine what it means to be "born again" in the physical and in the spiritual.
As an illustration, when I was a young man, I used to be only concerned with myself. I was single and single minded of what I wanted. But when I got married and especially when I had a child between us, I changed. My identity of who I was changed dramatically. Oh, before when I was a happy go lucky young man, without the responsibility of being a husband and then a father, I would have been happy with a condo on the beach. That would have been wonderful. But now, my focus was on someone else. My money went to take care of a wife, and then a new life born into our family. I changed and my focus changed. My identity changed. I was no longer responsible for just myself. I now had a wife and baby and I was a father. My focus was different. I was a changed man.
So it is with becoming "born again". We change. Our identity is changed. Our core being is changed. We are not the same person. Know one thing, my brethren. God is not doing a remodeling job on the same old house. He's not coming in and saying, let's knock out this wall, or let's put in a new refrigerator over here, and put up some new nice curtains for the windows....No, God comes to us and since our life was built around being lost in our sins, objects of His wrath, and considered a walking dead man, spiritually, God started from scratch. It's like an episode of "This Old House". The old house is so much in disrepair, with rotting walls full of termites, leaky roof, a foundation that is falling part, that they come in with a bulldozer and tear it all down and start over completely. There is just no way to repair what is without ability to be repaired. . They dig a new foundation, pour new concrete with cement blocks for a foundation and build a whole, brand new structure. That's what we become. A complete new creation or a "new structure". The old is gone, and the new has come. We were changed at our very core. Our being was changed inside. Oh, we may look the same on the outside, but spiritually we are different and God has taken the old man and killed him and buried him with His only Son, Jesus Christ and raised him to a new life in baptism.
1 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (Ephesians 2:1-3)
We were hopeless, lost and objects of God's wrath. We were walking dead men who didn't realize it until the Holy Spirit drew us to the foot of the cross of Calvary. There we believed John 3:16-18 and the surrounding Gospel message of Jesus and Him crucified for the sins of the world. Then by obedience to the Lord's example we were baptized by immersion into a watery grave just as Jesus demonstrated when baptized by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:14-17).
Why do we immerse a person? Why not just sprinkle some water on his head, or stick his head in a bowl? Because the water of baptism is a symbol of the grave. We died to the old man. We were raised to newness of life. But the question raised, is baptism necessary for salvation? No, but as mentioned, it is a sign of obedience and knowing that we have died to the old man and raised a new creature. Romans 7:
4 'Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:4-6)
The law was our school-master to point us to our need for a Savior, as there is none that can keep the law.
10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:10-12)
That is what confused so many during the time of Jesus, as they thought that the law of Moses would save them. No works of keeping the law will do anything but one thing, CONDEMNS US.
Through Christ Jesus, the law has no hold on us, in that it condemns us, because we have been baptized into the death of Jesus Christ and the old man has died and we are now raised with a changed identity. Oh, we still have that sinful nature, because we are still mortal. But Paul addresses this conflict of the flesh waging war against the spirit.
6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." (Romans 6:6-15)
In Paul's day, it was believed by a heretical belief held by a sect called Gnostics that we could sin all the more, so that grace could be even more grace. Paul says no. For we are not under the law, but under grace and dead to sin. He continues:
16 " Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." (Romans 6:16-18)
You see, because of grace and the mercy of God, it doesn't allow us to willfully sin and act like nothing ever happened. Some people feel if they come down to the front of the church, give the preacher your hand, and join the church and "believe by being an assenting Christian" in Jesus Christ, that they are fine.
("Party time now, because it's all good. I can live like I want, do what I want and I'm covered, past, present and future. I just got my free ticket to heaven")....
See there is a difference between believing as the demons do, by assenting to the fact that Jesus is God, and becoming a follower of Jesus and being conformed to His likeness. It's speaks to the level of your faith, and decision to allow Jesus to be Master of your life. But let us go a little deeper, as what does the term really mean to be "born again"?
Born again is a phrase used by many Protestants to describe the phenomenon of gaining faith in Jesus Christ. It is an experience when everything they have been taught as Christians becomes real, and they develop a direct and personal relationship with God. ...that is true enough, as we are become a new creature in Christ Jesus....BUT
WHAT IS THE END RESULT OF BEING BORN AGAIN?
As said, it is true enough that we are supposed to change into a new creature, even though we are still living in these mortal bodies that are prone to sin. We struggle everyday to be more like Jesus, but if you are still human, you will fail at times and come to the ABBA Father in heaven through Jesus to repent of a sin that you fell into sometimes with much weeping and remorse. But remember the words that Jesus spoke to the Pharisee in the above mentioned passage in John 3?
5 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:5-8)
Paul speaks of this in Romans in my most favorite chapter...
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30)
That gives us thoughts of what Jesus and Paul were speaking of....we are justified upon being saved by faith and ultimately baptized unto our Lord's death and struggle to live and be conformed to the image of Jesus, our Savior, but what of these words above about being glorified?? The Bible, I believe gives us clues to what being "born again" truly means. It is not about just being a new creature in Christ on this earth, but goes way beyond what many of us can only imagine. Let us