Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Being Born Again

"If only I had the chance to live my life over again."

How many times have you heard people say, "If I could just live my life over again, I would do it different." This is not a new concept, curiosity lead Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews to Jesus by night, and there he heard Jesus make a strange and puzzling statement; John 3:3 (KJV) 
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. 
What a strange thing for this teacher come from God to say, How could this be? 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?
Maybe Nicodemus thought that Jesus was joking with him, but Jesus proved in his next statement that he was "dead serious". 
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.

So there you have it from the mouth of the master himself, You must be born again, no if's, ands, or buts.
But how does one experience this new birth? What must we do to be saved? This question was echoed on the day of Pentecost from the Jews to Peter, 

Acts 2:37-39 (KJV)
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 

Well, before I begin, let me tell you that being born again is as easy as 1,2,3.

1. Repent: Easton's Bible Dictionary uses the following definition for the word "Repentance":  (2.) Metanoeo, meaning to change one's mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun metanoia, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.
Evangelical repentance consists of (1) a true sense of one's own guilt and sinfulness; (2) an apprehension of God's mercy in Christ; (3) an actual hatred of sin (Ps 119:128; Job 42:5, 6; 2Co 7:10) and turning from it to God; and (4) a persistent endeavour after a holy life in a walking with God in the way of his commandments.
—Easton's Illustrated Dictionary

What Easton does not tell us is that before a person can repent they must believe that there is a God.

Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. 
O k, so how does one know that they are ready to repent? Let's take a look back up to Acts 2, Luke wrote that when the men of the Jewish hiarachy heard peter's message they were "pricked in their hearts."  David explains the "Prick" that these men were feeling. 
Psalms 51:17 (KJV)
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 
Now there is a feeling that we can all identify with, a broken spirit, the word contrite here means a feeling of guilt with a strong desire to be forgiven. There isn't a person on earth that at some point had their heart broken and felt the sadness that accompanies it. Even worse is the knowledge that you were responsible for your heart being broken. That old familiar feeling of a heavy heart so full you feel like it's just going to drop right out of your chest. You've tried some many things, so many times to make the feeling go away but no matter what you do it just won't leave.

So one night you find yourself at a crossroads and now the feeling is so strong that it has literally driven you to your knees. Tears begin to stream down your face, you feel like you just want to die. Now is the time to pray, but how, what will I say? Will God listen to me, is he going to hear me? God's word tells us to call on him while he is near,
Isaiah 55:6 (KJV) 
6 Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Finding an alter you throw yourself down broken before God and begin to just weep and ask him to forgive you.This is the time to tell God just exactly how you feel and to ask him to forgive you and fill you with his spirit. There are those who teach that all you have to do is confess your sins and you are saved, salvation is not merely a confession, but a tangible possession. Along with confessing your sins to the Lord Jesus, you must also tell him that you are truly sorry for the sins that you have committed and be willing to totally and completely turn away from them. Now the tears are flowing down your face and you find yourself literally emptying your heart to God. You have given it all to God, you feel like a very heavy load has been lifted off your shoulders. 

Don't miss part two of our Being Born Again series "Baptism".

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