Saturday, December 19, 2009

Born Again

What does it really mean to be born again? Why must we be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God? Is there a clear understanding of this truth in the bible?

In this bible study we will take a fresh look at being born again, and what Jesus said we must all do in order to enter the kingdom of God.

I will start this study by quoting 1st Timothy 3:16-17
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching), for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

If you believe this scripture to be true then you believe that every scripture from Genesis to Revelation was given to the writer by inspiration of God and the teachings that are contained in the bible will profit you. You will be open and willing to be reproved, corrected, and instructed, by the Word of God. You may disagree with the interpretation of the scripture, but to disagree with the scriptures would mean you don’t believe 1st Timothy 3:16-17.

John 3:1-8

“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 that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

First we see the Pharisee Nicodemus coming to Jesus in the night, afraid to be seen talking to Jesus openly for fear of his religious peers. We also learn that the Pharisee’s knew that Jesus was a teacher who was sent by God because they could not deny the miracles that God did through Him to confirm His ministry and to show the world that He was approved of God.

Notice that Jesus didn’t speak about the miracles that were being done; He instead chose to tell Nicodemus what was more important than the signs and wonders. Jesus was concerned about the soul of Nicodemus and every other soul that would desire to enter into the kingdom of God. He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. Jesus was so adamant about this He said it three times! He told Nicodemus, and He tells us today we MUST be born again.

Do you believe the words of Jesus? Do you think He was just saying that to Nicodemus?

We can also see from the scriptures that Nicodemus did not understand the words of Jesus because his mind was not spiritual, but carnal, and of course Jesus knew that. The words Jesus spoke were spiritual, as given from above by the Father, and He only spoke what He heard from heaven. (John 12:48-50)
Jesus tells Nicodemus you need two things in order to be born again; water AND Spirit. You cannot have one without the other; you must have both to enter into the kingdom of God. How was Jesus able to tell this truth to Nicodemus? Because He did it Himself and knew exactly what one had to do in order to please the Father.

Look at Matthew 3:13-17

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus was immersed in the Jordan River by John the Baptist and when He came up from the water the Spirit of God came upon Him. This righteous act pleased the Father and Jesus went on to start His ministry now empowered by the Holy Spirit. This was the precursor for the day of Pentecost when the Spirit would be poured out upon the apostles and disciples in the upper room.

God also gave this vision and physical manifestation of the Spirit to John so that He would know that Jesus was the Son of God. He set the example that we are to follow today in order to be born again.

John 1:32-34

“And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

Jesus also spoke to His apostles about this after His resurrection from the dead. The apostles and disciples had already been baptized in water by John but they were missing the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:4-5

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Then we see the fulfillment of this prophetic word days later in Acts 2:1-4
“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Like John saw the physical manifestation of the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus, so did all the believer’s on the day of Pentecost. How else would they have known they were being baptized with the Holy Spirit if they did not have any evidence?

It is no different for us today, we will KNOW that we have received the Holy Spirit of God because there will be some kind of physical manifestation. Whether it’s tongues, prophesying, or magnifying God; when the Spirit of God is poured out upon our flesh there will be evidence that we have been clothed with power from on high.

This is how the apostles themselves were able to know if a believer received the Holy Spirit. Look at Acts 10:44-47
“While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (Day of Pentecost)

Now we know what it means to be born of water and Spirit! Now we know what it means to be Born Again!

Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? (Acts 19:1-7) If not, ask the Lord to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and He will.

God Bless You,
Tyrone D Palmer, your servant and apostle of Christ

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