I thank God for allowing me to continue to share His word. The reason for me going into great detail about this topic is to clarify many misconceptions about the Born-again Experience. So with that said, letís get into it deeply.
Jesus and Nicodemus- The Born-again Discussion
Nicodemus whose name means ďconqueror of the peopleĒ was an influential and respected member of the Sanhedrin. He held a high position of trust in the Jewish nation. (See John 7:44-53) As a Pharisee, Nicodemus was thoroughly trained in Jewish law and theology. Although he was rich, learned and honored, he was captivated by the preaching, teaching, miracles, signs and wonders that Jesus performed by the power of God.
Having been impacted by the awesome ministry of Jesus, he desired to learn more from ďthe true Master.Ē Nicodemus desired to personally meet privately with Jesus and perhaps establish a teacher-to-teacher relationship that will aid him in his profession.
However, he was afraid of seeking Him openly before his fellow colleagues. Should his organization or denomination find out that heís fellowshipping with a man that operates in the supernatural level of ministry, it would bring upon him their scorn and denunciation. So he settled for a secret interview.
Learning about where Jesus could be found he went to Jesusí circle during the night. Feeling awkward by sneaking in the night to meet Jesus, he was able to find words of compliment to acknowledge Jesusí ministry.
Nicodemus said, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; For no one can do these miracles that you do unless God is with Him.(John 3:2) By making such a statement Nicodemus hoped to open the door of conversation. However, Jesus overlooked the hypocrisy and flattery and focused immediately on the religious manís problem.
Jesus came directly to the point of this manís dilemma by saying, Verily, Verily, I say to you, Except a man be born-again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.(John 3:3)
We Must Be Born-again
Nicodemus, you, me and every human being on planet earth must be Born-again. If not, we cannot see the kingdom of God.
1. It is not by theoretical knowledge.
2. It is not by memorizing verses and chapters in the bible.
3. Itís not by attending some Bible College.
4. Itís not by celebrating the Passover or any Biblical feast.
5. Itís not by paying tithes or giving money to the poor.
6. Itís not by making our prayers 3 times a day.
7. Itís not by sacrificing bulls, goats, lambs, doves or sheepís.
8. Nor by obeying the 10 commandments on our own power. Nicodemus did all this and he still needed to be Born-again.
Is it based on Morality?
Itís not based on morality. We may try to keep the golden rule, pay your bills on time, be a good neighbor, keep out of jail and live a quiet life. We could get along with our boss and co-workers. We could get straight ĎAís in school and be an honor student. We could be a decent person, and do all kinds of charitable deeds, but we still need to be Born-again.
Nicodemus is a good example of all the religious and moral practices that were mentioned, but he still needed to be Born-again. Itís not an option, an opinion or a good suggestion. Itís not a doctrine that if your church doesnít like it you could do without it and teach about other things in scripture that may be twisted too.
Itís a must, a command by Jesus Himself- in order for us to tap into the supernatural power of God and be birth into this great invisible kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. This is what Jesus told Nicodemus. This is what Jesus is telling us today.
Nicodemus lacks Understanding
Nicodemus said to him, how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his motherís womb, and be born? (John 3:4)
We cannot enter or exit through our motherís womb a second, a third, or fourth time and be born-again. This is not a biological birth or a physical rebirth. This is not a reincarnation theory or doctrine. Whether we are old or young, male or female, black, white, red or brown in complexion we still need to be Born-again.
Whether weíre a Jew or a Gentile, rich or poor, tall or short, fat or skinny, educated or uneducated, we all must be spiritually Born-again. We must be supernaturally Born-again.
Itís by Grace and Faith- A gift of God
Paul said, for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; It is the gift of God. Not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Eph.2:8-9)
Itís by Godís Mercy
Paul made this clear to the Christians at Rome; so then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy (Romans 9:16)
It happens when God draws you to this Experience
Jesus said, but you are not willing to come to me that you may have life (John 5:40). No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; (John 6:44)
It takes place by Receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord
John wrote, he came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:11-13)
This last verse thatís in John 1:13, is very clear that itís not by human effort. However, I would like to expound on this last verse.
It is Not of Blood
We are not Born-again just because our parents may be. Some people Iíve met told me that they were born physically by Christian parents and attended church services when they were young as they sometimes were forced too. Others said, they had fathers who were Pastors, and were under the impression that they are saved. But they werenít Born-again spiritually according to scripture.
Salvation does not run in the veins. John said, who were born, not of bloodÖ(John 1:13a). This clearly means blood relatives. We cannot even inherit salvation when our Christians parents pass away and go to heaven. This supernatural experience is not passed on by being related to Born-again parents or other relatives. Letís not fool ourselves to thinking that itís a Ďrelational experienceí because itís not.
It is Not of the Will of the Flesh
It is not by our own efforts when we endeavor to discipline ourselves, making resolutions and building a strong will power. Itís not by outward reformation. Itís not turning over a new leaf and endeavoring to live a better life.
Reformation is an attempt to eliminate evil habits, attitudes and behavior patterns from a fallen ungodly nature that we have from Adam. We have a corrupt nature Paul said, see 1 Corinthians 15:42-50. So we cannot do it on our own. We must be supernaturally Born-again.
If we are not Born-again, our human will and fleshly nature is alienated from Godís divine will (Eph.4:17-20). When Adam sinned he ran away from God. We never move toward God until we are drawn to Jesus. Jesus said so (See John 6:44). So itís not of the will of the flesh.
It is Not of the Will of Man
It is not by some flamboyant, dramatic, impressive, highly elaborate and expressive preacher. Itís not an attempt to force a decision on someone by pressure or persuasion above scripture. It is the preacherís business to be sensitive to the voice and inspiration of God, to lead him or her to the location and preach the gospel of salvation. (See what Paul taught and practice in regards to ministering as he was led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 10:14-15/ Acts 16:6-15).
Itís Godís business to convict and produce godly sorrow in the heart of an unborn-again person, so when they hear the word of God preached it will lead them toward a repentance to believe and confess their sin and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior and be Born-again.
Overcoming the Struggle to Understand
This Born-again experience that Nicodemus was introduced to was hard-hitting that he struggled to comprehend it. Like many today that struggles to understand how to get into the kingdom of God. However, itís not brought about by any of manís religious creeds, systems of worship, traditions or customs. No man or organization can do anything to us that will make us a child of God.
We can join whatever group or organization thatís available today. We can go through ceremony after ceremony and try to stick with man-made rules and regulations, but it will not bring us into the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who practiced the Old Testament part of the Bible with every ritual, ceremony, rule and regulation, but he wasnít Born-again. He Sadducees and Lawyers the other religious groups of Jesusí day were not Born-again. The Scribes were not Born-again.
Today we have Bible Teachers, Preachers, Deacons, Elders, Bishops, and sad to say Pastorís who are not Born-again. They have a GED, a Diploma, a degree in Theology, but they donít have a divine BA a Born-again experience. This divine experience is not of blood-line, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of manÖ.
But of God
1. God had planned to save mankind.
2. God has the power to draw the worst sinner to Jesus.
3. God has the plan to save us at His appointed time.
4. God has the resources to bring us in contact with this experience.
5. God has the capability to change our old nature into a new one.
Being Born-again is a miraculous work, a supernatural encounter that any man or woman could humbly experience. God alone is the Author and Giver of Life.
May God bless this teaching into your heart in Jesusí name, amen.