After open heart surgery, I felt I’d been given new life. In fact, a great physician (heart specialist actually - a rather non-flighty fellow) by the name of Parrott, said, “Conrad you’ve been given a second chance!” Not many people are offered a second chance at life, let alone actually given one. Some may think of this as being born again!
However, there is only one heart specialist who can actually perform the procedure which allows me and you to be born again! In fact, He can and will do far more for you than spectacular by-pass surgery. This GREAT PHYSICIAN can completely cure our sin problem and everyone submitting to His care will have a new heart after His open heart surgery. His name is Jesus Christ. Everyone has a sin problem but in spite of this, He definitely wants you to have the real “second chance” for eternal life.
I’m not talking about cholesterol free life - I’m talking about (in God’s eyes) new life - “freed from the consequence of sin.” I’m talking about the spiritual operation our "great physician" is prepared to use which will allow you to be “born again”. HAVE YOU BEEN BORN AGAIN? This sermon is intended to help you learn the procedures Jesus uses to perform transformation surgery on our spiritual heart.
This message is my RESPONSE to a person who say, “No, I don't believe I have been born again,” but also says, “How can I be born again?” You must must trust God to perform His corrective surgery. FAITH (in his ability to do this thing) IS YOUR STARTING POINT!
Many ardent PREACHERS of the Gospel adhere to “a doctrinal position” which specifies procedures they have to follow when explaining to someone how they can be born again. Their church teaching might bring us into a doctrinal conflict. I only believe in following procedures Jesus and the Holy Spirit taught (in the Bible) concerning someone being born again!
Jesus Christ is the “great physician” and I’d much rather hear about his procedures on what constitutes "re-birth" than adhere to well-intended procedures of some modern theologians.
This therefore leads to my next question, “If theologians have moved away from Christ’s foundation teaching with regard to procedures which are necessary in order for a person to be born again; which “intern” theological standard should I or you adhere to in order to answer this most fundamental question - 'How can I be born again?”
“I will build MY church and the gates of Hell can not stand against it.” He also taught, “A house divided against itself, can not stand!” Therefore, I can truthfully declare, “All sectarian theological divisions and “intern” theological speculations may have absolutely nothing to do with Christ’s will for His church. Could you agree to that? I truly hope you do!
Theological expediencies have often altered the course Christ set for His Church. That course has been referred to, by our Lord, as being on the “straight and narrow path.” Theological error occurs whenever well intended church leaders willfully divert from “the well-marked procedures” he wants His followers to adhere to. HE IS THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.
The church belongs to JESUS CHRIST - does it not? Is there any other name given among men whereby we must be saved? I want to Honor the great physician today!
Lets listen to His teaching - together. All are welcomed into the family of God, who have accepted Jesus as being "the Christ, the son of the living God” and follow him and his Apostles teachings regarding how one is re-born into the Kingdom of God. You can become part of His body - the CHURCH.
Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life - no man comes to the Father except through Me.” When ANYONE follows clear instructions given by Christ to His DISCIPLES - (the blueprint, if you will, for being born again), he will be one of those God adds to the only Church there really is. New Testament scriptures emphasize this fact, particularly in the book of Acts! “…..and the Lord added to the Church daily - such as were being saved” (Acts 2)
Therefore, in order to answer my very first question, you need to know and follow clear teachings of Jesus Christ. “Hear Him!” Are you willing to listen to Him?
The initial question, “How can I be born again?” presupposes, that a person asking this question must believe they have to be “born again”. It seems rather impossible for anyone actually wanting to be born again, if they did not first believe that they can be born again! They know Jesus was not a liar. He said, “You must be born again.”
Setting theological bias’ aside …. What do the scriptures teach concerning this subject? John wrote, “these things are written that you might KNOW that you have eternal life.”
Therefore, confusion over re-birth can only be eliminated when you go into the Bible and take God at His word. First… acknowledge the context in which the scripture is written. Second….. examine the content of the message itself. Remember, the Lord said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word shall never pass away.”
Read Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 7 verse 21. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, BUT HE WHO “DOES” THE WILL of my Father who is in heaven WILL ENTER.” You can not earn or merit your salvation! It IS God’s will for you to submit to his authority in order to enter His Kingdom. God can offer you His “FREE GIFT” but if you do not go and pick it up - (just believing that he can do this), will definitely not do you any good!
Continuing in Matthew Chapter 7 vs. 22 “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” vs. 23 “And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (So would you rather do things Christ’s way or whatever way seems right to you?) vs. 24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (throughout Scripture Christ has always been the rock of our salvation) vs. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on that rock. vs. 26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand. vs. 27 “The rains fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell - and great was its fall.” (Whose house do you want to be in?)vs. 28 When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at His teaching; vs. 29 for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes….. YOU SEE FOLKS, Christ pointed to the fact that He was sent here by God (his miracles attested to that fact) and therefore He could BE FIRM with the truth….just LIKE THAT!
As Jesus was crossing the Sea of Galilee, with His disciples, a great wind arose and these men thought they would MOST CERTAINLY perish in the boat as Jesus slept on a pillow. They awoke him rather indignantly “Save us Lord; we are perishing!” That certainly was an understatement if there ever was one! He came here because we were perishing…sin had destroyed their and our relationship with God! In Matt. 8:26 He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” (He didn’t get cross with them - he just stated the facts) Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. vs. 27 The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Interesting isn’t it….the wind and sea will listen to and obey the Lord, but generally speaking, mankind does not care to listen very well and obey even less!)
Many of the early disciples left off following Jesus, (because of statements he made concerning his body and blood) - he asked his chosen Apostles (the twelve) - “Will you also go away?” and they answered, “Where can we go Lord? ... ONLY YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF LIFE!”
If Jesus were to ask you, “Have you been born again?” (He’d already know your answer!)
Would your answer be theologically acceptable teaching or would your answer be based on the truths that He taught?
Do you take Christ at His word? Do you have faith in Him? Again, would YOUR answer to Him be BASED ON THE FOUNDATION TEACHING that He, is THE ROCK of your salvation, or would your answer to HIM be based on the sands of popular theological belief or do you even have any particular beliefs at all? In order to clarify this subject; accompany me now to that time when JESUS dealt directly with the answer.
IT WAS Dark! THE NIGHT OFFERED PROTECTION FROM HIS ENEMIES and therefore, CHRIST met secretly with one of the Jewish leaders who believed in HIS teachings, but several other religious leaders were seeking to have Christ assassinated. In their minds, His teachings were totally unacceptable. To them He was a heretic. Many Pharisees and others were looking out for their own interests (much like some politicians and church leaders today).
But, on this dark night, Jesus ANSWERED THE QUESTION, “How can one be born again?”- even before Nicodemus could find words, to ask THE QUESTION!
It is therefore my considered opinion that JESUS perceived Nicodemus thoughts. Have you ever had someone look you in the eye and commence telling you what was on your mind? Sort of wakes you up in a hurry doesn’t it! Jesus often knew what people were thinking or plotting. He often commented on what the Apostles were actually thinking or arguing about among themselves while He had been away from them. Therefore, on this night…it is most certainly possible… Jesus knew exactly what Nicodemus’ was trying to ask and he could have perceived Nicodemus did not know how to articulate the question!
Turn now to John Chapter 2 vs. 23.…. “Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast; many believed in His name, observing His signs which He was doing. vs. 24 But Jesus, on His part, was not entrusting Himself to them, for He knew all men, vs. 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify concerning man, for He Himself knew what was in man.”
Man had a sin problem and Jesus was the solution to that problem. He was the only man who could and would fix man’s sin problem before God, The sin problem had persisted in man ever since Adam and Eve started it in the Garden of Eden. Jesus knew His purpose for coming to earth and would protect that purpose through every means in His power. Protecting His purpose meant, no political assassins or anyone else would keep Him from His prophetic appointment at Calvary. He could not die anywhere, or at any time other than His appointment on the cross, after the Passover - lifted up, blood shed, His death for our life - He alone having paid THE RANSOM which frees us from SIN’S PENALTY! (separation from God forever).
Christ’s bodily resurrection FROM THE TOMB confirmed His mighty authority over the consequence of sin and death and His ascension back into Heaven confirmed He has established redemption from the curse of our being separated from God - once and for all.
Jesus never once broke God’s law which had been given to Moses. Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the MOSAIC law. He did not sin and consequently had no problem with sin being in His life. None of us can claim such righteousness! No not one, for it is written in the book to the Romans (people of the Nations) “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
God became man in Jesus Christ, and this “precious one” would now present Himself as the sacrificial lamb - the perfect sin offering - God’s acceptable sacrifice! Now He is abiding in the Heavenly Father’s presence, forever making intercession on our (His redeemed people - the church’s) behalf.
Jesus walked approximately 60 miles in order to be baptized by John, and in effect told John this had to be done “in order to fulfill all righteousness” As He came up out of the water, the Father declared from Heaven - “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased….HEAR Him!
Jesus EPITOMIZED GOD’S LOVE for each of us - on Calvary’s cross. It was there, that He completely delivered all repentant sinners from sin’s eternal consequence! The Mosaic Law could no longer separate repentant sinners from the love, mercy and grace (unmerited favour) of God.
Christ sets us free (when we are born again) to approach the Heavenly Father with full assurance having placed our faith in His promises - He completely Redeems us from the law of sin and death.
On the Country Gospel CD I recorded in 2007 entitled, “Thank God,” you’ll notice in one song I included lyrics that say, “If you’ve been buried with Christ, you will never die twice!” Its one thing to depart this fleshly body when it dies (we’ve no use for it any more anyway) but, In Christ we will not be separated from God at the Judgment. We have been made alive with Christ - by His power - through His atoning blood. Jesus becomes our righteousness. In Him we are called righteous BEFORE GOD … CHRIST OWNS US! He bought and paid for us at Calvary. We rise in the likeness of his resurrection. If we are IN CHRIST WE ARE BORN AGAIN in the eyes of God. (But don‘t just take my word for that - examine the scriptures and see whether or not this is so!).
Now, after that sermon in a sermon (IF YOU WANT TO KNOW How TO GET INTO CHRIST - HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN) lets take up this intriguing story where Nicodemus secretly comes to Jesus, knowing his fellow Pharisees are plotting to assassinate Christ whenever opportunity arises.
John 3:1 Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know (apparently he was referring to everyone who believed) that You have come from God as a teacher for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
(In my opinion, Nicodemus wanted so very much to know if Jesus was the long promised Messiah that would usher in the Kingdom of God! He was purely thinking like a good politician at that time. He had a Kingdom on his mind all right - He believed Jesus could be the Messiah of a new Jewish State which would be God‘s Kingdom! He did not realize God had written a New Covenant which would take effect upon Christ‘s death and resurrection! His people would be people of FAITH - true Children of Abraham. They will take God at His word. They will listen to Jesus - His son!) John 3 vs. 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot SEE the kingdom of God.”
(Jesus had clearly taught His disciples- “My Kingdom is not of this world” - IT IS A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM, WHICH UNLIKE THAT WHICH EXISTED UNDER THE OLD COVENANT - ANYONE IN THE ENTIRE WORLD WILL BE INVITED TO ENTER! Abraham was the man who believed God- Abraham trusted God - Abraham followed God‘s leading and GOD MADE A PROMISE TO ABRAHAM MANY YEARS AGO THAT THROUGH HIS SEED, THE WHOLE WORLD WOULD BE BLESSED AND GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES! (JESUS BECAME AND TODAY REMAINS - THAT BLESSING!)
(Oh course, we know, when Jesus speaks about the Kingdom of God, He speaks from a position of authority - He has IN HOUSE KNOWLEDGE on the subject. Therefore, I firmly believe Jesus is PURPOSELY redirecting Nicodemus’ thinking concerning the Kingdom of God!
Look into Nicodemus’ mind and hear him wondering about priorities he has set for his own life. What is Christ‘s point WHEN teaching these things He is teaching? How does this relate to Nicodemus personal relationship to God? This secret meeting means Jesus can get to the point. Nicodemus BELIEVES JESUS …he just does not know what to believe any more. He has been SINCERE in his religious convictions but maybe he has been SINCERELY WRONG ….the “what if” factor is gnawing at his soul ….. (IF THIS MAN IS THE ONE SENT FROM GOD - AM I GOING TO OBEY HIS VOICE OR LISTEN TO MY RELIGIOUS CONVICTIONS?)
Jesus presents Nicodemus with a major spiritual broadside. in this secluded one on one setting, He will not have to speak in parables (indirect answers) as He often did in public. HERE IS THE straight TRUTH as Jesus relates it to Nicodemus - there is no double talk! No person can see the spiritual Reality until they acknowledge the reality of who Jesus Christ really is.
1. Unless one
2. Is born again
3. He cannot SEE
4. The Kingdom of God.
Jesus apparently makes His major point and by so doing goes directly to the heart of the matter rather truthfully, bluntly and quickly. LETS LOOK AT THIS CONTENT ONCE AGAIN.
“Unless” there is an entirely new beginning in an individuals life…..some sort of fundamental re-direction if you will …a refocusing of priority….. that person will continue heading away from the Kingdom of God, rather than move toward it! Therefore, (it is my opinion) that Jesus is teaching Nicodemus the fundamental truth that REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD IS OF PRIMARY IMPORTANCE or He will definitely miss out on ever recognizing the TRUE Kingdom (the church) which Christ would be personally building SHORTLY.
John, the one who immersed Jesus in water at the Jordan River, came preaching, “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Jesus never skirted around the truth concerning where He came from, or who he is, or why he came. or what he’ll accomplishes for each one who has been born again! And on this night, Jesus taught Nicodemus about - When and How you are born again.
Every believer must truthfully approach this fundamental question, ‘Have I been born again? You must use the bright light Jesus shone on this subject during the intriguing meeting Jesus had with Nicodemus on that dark night.
John 3 vs. 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? (apparently he was a very mature man) He cannot enter a second time into His mother’s womb and be born, can he?”
Can you hear Nicodemus thinking, if you will - “I hear what you are saying Jesus …. I accept it to be truth but what in the world are you talking about?” “Lord - I’m quite confused with this whole subject so please help me understand things clearly!” “I know that I came forth out of my mother’s womb when I was born… but who or what will I come out of - this second time - in order to be born again?”
NOW, look closely at Jesus’ answer! He clearly responds to Nicodemus’ open question IN VERY DIRECT TERMS in order for Nicodemus to comprehend Christ’s teaching on what it means - to be born again. John 3 vs. 5 Jesus answered,
1. Truly, truly, (Take what I’m about to say, totally serious Nicodemus)
2. I say to you (I speak with AUTHORITY- this is God SPEAKING TO YOU NICODEMUS)
3. Unless (Salvation IS CONDITIONAL AND what I’m about to say next is essential, its like saying don’t think you have a boat unless THAT STRUCTURE has a bottom in it)
4. One is: (THAT IS ANYONE, EVERYONE - for God loves the world Nicodemus)
5. Born (Nicodemus, you‘re not going to come out of your mother - this time you are going to come out.)
6. of water (This will be the mode- your entrance into my Kingdom Nicodemus - this is something you will be able to do. Your faith IN ME will compel you to do it! Do you remember how God led Moses to bring His people through the Red Sea Nicodemus?)
7. AND (Take note of this little conjunction that joins things of equal value)
8. The Spirit (This will be my part Nicodemus - I will send the Holy Spirit into you, He will lead, comfort and strengthen you as you walk in new paths of righteousness for my names sake)
9. He cannot enter (Follow my plan for being born again or you‘ll be looking for the Kingdom but will never find it in this world)
10. Into the kingdom of God (Nicodemus, These are my people who will be called out of the world. They are sheep of my pasture and they listen to my voice. Right now people are outside of my Kingdom but by being born again in this way God will add them to it!)
Theologically Speaking, I reiterate that, some well meaning theologians teach that water has nothing to do with your salvation. They WANT to spiritualize water and say it isn’t really necessary - it has nothing to do with being born again.
Do you agree with them - that believing "only" is what Jesus taught Nicodemus on that night? Jesus was very clear in His presentation to Nicodemus.
GOD DELIVERED HIS PEOPLE THROUGH WATER ONCE BEFORE! They placed their complete faith and trust in God when they walked on dry ground through the Red Sea.
Turn to 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 and carefully read what it says. In the NIV, Paul writes, “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.”
Now listen up - how much clearer does it have to get than that? Stay with me here and lets look at this deeper. For 430 years the Hebrew’s (Abraham’s physical descendants - those through whom God would bring a blessing upon the world) stayed in Egypt. At first, the Hebrews had been asked to stay as Royal privileged guests and over the ensuing years they were forced to stay as Royal underprivileged slaves. In our day - when an individual recognizes (through God’s Word) that he is a slave to sin, Christ in effect also sends this Good News message, “I have come to free you from your slavery to sin.” Therefore, we today are just as much in bondage to Satan’s slavery as the Hebrew’s were to Pharaoh’s slavery in Egypt. The Hebrews yearned for freedom yet had no idea how it could come.
God sent the Hebrew’s a type of Christ, a savior who would lead them out of bondage. They chose to follow Moses after God used many convincing proofs that He had sent Moses to accomplish this task. Do you begin to see interesting parallels between Moses (a type of Christ) and Jesus the Christ - Savior / redeemer of the world?
God brought this great company to a place of decision. They would either have to go back into slavery or have faith that He alone would set them free from Pharaoh’s slavery - forever. He brought them to a place where they were literally “hemmed in.” They had no place to run! No place to turn, No place to hide.
God covenanted with Abraham's descendants, giving them the promised land, if they would trust Him and obey His voice! They were having a small taste of freedom but now after a number of days, Pharaoh’s great military force was coming after them. He was not about to give them up and now they appeared trapped and their only escape was through….you guessed it…water! There would be no wooden boat to ferry them across the water (such as God provided for Noah during the great flood.) And in this same way Satan wants you enslaved to your sin.
God told Moses to raise his staff over the waters of the Red Sea and “see the salvation of the Lord!” God parted the deep water and His (chosen people) - obeyed Gods command and without hesitation went forward into the water. By crossing over toward the other side (through His awesome power) they were all delivered safely into new freedom.
When Pharaoh's army followed them into the sea, God left the Egyptian pursuers buried there in the same water he had just delivered His people through. They were freed from slavery.
In this same way, when we are buried with Christ in believer’s baptism you become freed from enslaving sin. His redeeming blood allows us to walk safely away from slavery and into His freedom, just as surely as dry ground on the sea floor delivered the Hebrews that day. Water (in believers baptism) is the place and time through which God chooses to keep His promise and set His people free from the slavery of sin.
Hebrews had to do more than believe Moses. They had to trust his words, following His commands and go down into the water in order to be saved. A Hebrew would certainly not have been set free had he stayed on the other side of the Red Sea and refused to go down into the water.
Taking God at His word and proceeding across to the other side through the walls of water (God’s mode of escape) did save them! In the same way - water baptism (immersion) into Christ is the only mode God offers in order to escape enslavement to sin - today! Do you need further clarification? Allow me to give you a modern example.
Put your swimming trunks on! You have an in ground swimming pool - the diving end is nine feet deep - - now, go out on the diving board and take a leap of faith into the swimming pool. Is it necessary for water to be in that pool in order for you to have a swim? You know it’s necessary! The pool needs lots of water, if you are going to dive in.
In affect, some theologians teach, actually having water in the pool is not necessary! All you’ll have to do (according to their theology) is jump off the board with the complete assurance of faith that everything will be just fine, because their teaching holds that faith alone is all that’s required in order to go for an “eternal swim”. How can anyone believe, (in all truthfulness) this is what Christ just told Nicodemus? Was He talking about real water, such as he was immersed into, when He went to John to be baptized? Or was He talking about spiritual water that He told the woman at the well about - that water which He would give her to drink so she would never thirst again? Jesus said born again (of the water) and (of the Spirit) …. Two distinct entities are they not?
Let’s get back to your swimming pool! What’s going to happen to you? Wake up friend! It is nine feet down to the bottom! … Are you beginning to get my analogy here? “Not a happy camper” when you land on your head in the bottom of the empty pool! It’s highly unlikely anyone would have the audacity to eliminate the water in a swimming pool before they attempted to go for a swim. (Excluding their being on drugs of course!) Jesus - in all reality, would have a swimming pool filled with water (lots of real water).
Your faith in Christ will be displayed by your positive response to the Gospel message. You obey the Gospel by being buried with Christ in believers baptism (immersion) or would you much rather have the water of baptism declared non-essential by theologians who teach this is not necessary, in order to be born again.
Jesus taught his disciples that water is part of His plan for our salvation - lots of water. What if you were only to sprinkle a tiny bit of water in the bottom of the pool….Do you still want to take that jump of faith off the springboard under those conditions? I shouldn’t think that it would make a lot of sense… do you? Remember… “This is my beloved Son - HEAR HIM!”
If you’ve been taught that water has nothing to do with your salvation, when Jesus emphatically teaches the very opposite, where do you stand in His scheme of redemption? To be born again, Jesus says water has to be there and you dare not “spiritualize it away”. Do you know more than Him? Remember, everything Jesus teaches Nicodemus this night, refered to a universal re-birth into the Kingdom of God.
Now, I’ll ask you this….who and what do you chose to believe? Do you want the family physician to perform your surgery or the specialist? Listen to Jesus! Listen to Him very carefully! You don’t need theological expediency here - Jesus has clearly given the answer of how you must be born again! Follow His procedure if you want the operation to be successful. Ask yourself this question…”Who and what was I listening to, when someone asks me the question, “Are you born again?”
Jesus continued teaching Nicodemus in vs. 6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, (You’re absolutely right Nicodemus - you can’t enter your mothers womb again) and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. vs. 7 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.”
Christ once also said, “there is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is the way of death. and when He declares “You must be born again” “He chose to ACCOMPLISH this transition for your new birth … …… IN water and BY the Spirit.” Never the less, be assured… “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” We can either take Christ at His word or bring our so called “faith” into question! The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans giving a deep explanation of what part water plays in being born again. (Connect the dots if you will!)
Romans 6:3 “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? vs. 4 therefore, we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (born again) vs. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, vs. 6 knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; vs. 7 for he who has died is freed from sin. vs. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, vs. 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him. vs. 10 for the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. vs. 11 even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. …. (born again)
NOWHERE have I stated that water in and of itself saves you, however water is the mode which God chose to use in order for your faith in Christ to be expressed BY action. Through faith, you do something which is pleasing to God! It is not enough to look at a gift - you must reach out and accept it!
Listen to Paul writing to the Galatians in Chapter 3 vs. 26-29 (N.I.V) “You are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ, for all you who were baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.”
In Acts 2; 36-38 Peter clarifies the water issue even more when he said, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ - this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the Apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent and each one of you be baptized (this is what you can do) in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Jesus promises to send God's Holy Spirit into you)
BAPTISM IS NOT AN END, IT IS A NEW BEGINNING. 1Peter 1:22-23 , “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, vs. 23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable that is, through the living and enduring word of God.”
(Who do you choose to listen to? Whose teachings are acceptable to you?)
In 1 John 5:1 the matter is clarified even further when John writes, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him, vs. 2 by this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. vs. 3 for this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. vs. 4for whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith. vs. 5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Pause right here for a moment. (This is not a commercial break!) John has just asked a question. Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and if so, is this belief all that’s required in order for you to overcome the world’s (Satan’s) influence over your life? He is talking about saving faith…he is explaining that you might believe who Jesus is…. You can believe the fact of who He is but, saving Faith comes into play when you act upon this belief and thereupon take Christ at His word.
Belief, may only acknowledge your position on a matter. Faith that is not acted upon is not faith at all! “Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water.” (Based on this observation I can say unashamedly, that neither faith only nor water only is all that’s necessary for your salvation!) Listen up!
1 John 5 vs. 6 continues with his answer of what enables the believer to be born again in the eyes of God. This is the One who came by water and blood. Jesus Christ; not with water only, but with the water and with the blood. (Baptism is no more than a bath, if a person has not come to Christ in Faith, committing their deliverance from sin to Him by trusting in His atoning blood) It is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is the truth. vs. 7 For there are three that bear witness vs. 8 the Spirit (the power that raised Christ from the dead) and the water (how we contact the merits of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection) and the blood (the ransom and release from sin‘s grip over us) and the three are in agreement. vs. 9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater (Have you listened to a theologian or to Christ?) for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. vs. 10 The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who does not believe in God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son vs. 11 And the testimony is this that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (so get into the Son and out of sin) vs. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. vs. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” (BORN AGAIN)
CONSIDERING THE BIBLE ANSWER, the question for you is this: “ARE YOU BORN AGAIN?”
Mark 12: vs. 24 “Jesus said to them, (this was over an unrelated issue) “Is this not the reason you are mistaken, that you do not understand the Scriptures or the power of God?” Pious religious people are no different today. Anyone can be honestly mistaken over this issue….but grant this if you will…..Jesus did not make a mistake over the paramount issue surrounding the new birth.
Mark 10: 17-18 states, “As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” vs. 18 And Jesus said to him,Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” (The entire inference here has Jesus implying that if you are to call him good you should also recognize that He is God for the truth is, no one is good except God alone and Jesus had plainly told others…“if you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
Mark 16: 15-16 And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. vs. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” FAITH? (There was that familiar little conjunction “and” once again, which joins things of equal value)
Peter wrote in his first Epistle 1 Peter 3:18-22 “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; vs. 19 in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, vs. 20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. (don’t try to spiritualize that one folks) vs. 21 Corresponding to that, baptism (the burial of a repentant sinner in a literal watery grave in order for that sinner to rise up out of the water as a new baby in Christ) now saves you - not the removal of dirt from the flesh,(again, this is not a bath) but an appeal to God for a good conscience- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (being baptized into Him - I have totally accepted everything Christ has done for me - I now openly acknowledge the fact surrounding His death, burial, resurrection and ascension - the blood of Christ has been applied to my life - he is my Passover lamb) vs. 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him.”
Know this - Every demon ACKNOWLEDGED who Jesus was as He walked on earth in the flesh. Demons know who Jesus is…and that’s all they’ll DECLARE about Him. THAT IS ALL THEY WANT YOU TO DECLARE ABOUT HIM! They will not WORSHIP HIM, but they always had to ACCEPT HIS AUTHORITY over them… one day every knee will bow in Heaven and on earth DECLARING “JESUS IS THE CHRIST….THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD!” Remember this, if that is all it takes to be saved from sin - Demons were already doing that while Jesus walked on earth. THEY ARE NOT SAVED!
Jesus said, “UNLESS YOU are “BORN AGAIN” of the WATER and of the SPIRIT you will not enter ……GOD’S FOREVER KINGDOM.”
Elvis Presley once sang a “LOVE SONG” and some of the lyrics included “Be mine forever, its now or never, my love won’t wait!”
How long has Jesus Christ BEEN WAITING on you in order to perform your open heart surgery? Have you been BORN AGAIN? The wind and the waves obey His voice – WILL YOU?
HAVE YOU BEEN BORN AGAIN IN OBEDIENCE TO CHRIST’S COMMAND? Have you been born again BY the will of God or BY the will of man?
Jesus, THE GREAT PHYSICIAN, taught Nicodemus that You can be born again …. Do you recall His words?
“Marvel not when I say to you that you must be born again”
IF YOU BELIEVE JESUS CHRIST - you can be born again, this very day. You MUST BE BORN AGAIN! Heaven will not be empty if you’re not in it, but you’ll be sorely missed if you’re not there.
Jesus wants you to be there! HE DIED IN ORDER FOR YOU TO GET THERE. Do you believe this now? You must be born again! In closing LISTEN CAREFULLY as we read and obey THE WORDS Jesus SPOKE TO HIS DISCIPLES JUST BEFORE ASCENDING BACK INTO HEAVEN. THIS IS FOR ALL those who HAVE BEEN born again:
The Great Commission
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®
SERMON/ lesson BY: R. CONRAD CLINE revised on March 30, 2020
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