YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
While Jesus was here on the earth, there were may things that He said and today, we will focus on when Jesus said, “You must be born again.” A man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, came to Jesus and had a conversation about being born again.
“Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs You are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:1-8
I am always amazed at how Jesus responded to questions; always with such wisdom! So let’s discuss this a bit further now. We know that as believers we must be born again, but what does that mean for us exactly?
I grew up in a Catholic home where going to church was only a couple of times a year and when you left church, you would come back home and do the same old thing. There was no transformation at all, no real relationship with God. I do not have anything against the Catholic or any denomination, I am just sharing my personal experience.
When I heard about Jesus in a new way, how He died for my sin, I wanted to learn more. I learned about accepting Jesus into my heart and being born again. Now, there was transformation. Some of it was instant because there were some things that required that, but a lot of the transformation is still happening today, almost 20 years later.
When we are born again, we change. Our behaviours, habits, and even our interests. And this change that I am talking about is not based on our own power or strength. We definitely do have our own part, but it is the work of the Holy Spirit in us.
We must be born again because that is how we enter into the kingdom of God. It requires daily and sometimes hourly, discipline. We need to be in prayer, in God’s Word, and keep in check with how we treat others. These are all practical things that are a reflection of us being born again.
Unfortunately, there are many Christians (no judgement here) who are not truly born again. We really need to hear these words of Jesus today, and ask ourselves if we ourselves are truly born again. It’s not about being perfect, because only Jesus is. It’s about genuinely seeking God and asking Him to show us if there are any ways in us that do not please Him, asking for forgiveness, and asking for the strength to do our part.
What about you? Are you born again? Maybe you would like to be born again?
I encourage you to seek God for yourself and have one or two other believers that you can be accountable to. This is very important and a great way to keep ourselves in check. God loves you, He has great plans for you, and He desires for that experience of truly being born again.
There are also too many people in our world who have never heard about what it means to be born again. Let us continue to pray for more workers to share this great news with them. Let’s also keep our missionaries in prayer. They have a great task ahead as they serve, and our prayers truly make a difference.
May God continue to guide us and equip us with all that we need in our daily walk with Him.
Growing up, I was good at reminding my sisters that I am older than them. This often meant I did things they considered grossly unfair. For example, I would tell them to do the chore they had heard my mum tell me to do. While they would be unhappy about this seniority move, I felt justified in my actions because I was only doing what my cousin had done to me as the eldest. We saw fairness differently.
The thing about fairness is that it can feed into our illusion of control. After all, if the world is fair then things should work out a certain way. For example, being a good person, serving God and praying; are behaviours we often think should lead to good outcomes. When they don’t, we feel a strong sense of injustice.
My pastor will always say, “Fairness died the day Jesus was crucified between two thieves. For it was most unfair for He who knew no sin to hang on a cross and became sin for us”
How often have we been angry at God because we felt he was unfair to us? The truth is, many times we use the tools God has given us to connect with Him as a way to try to control outcomes in our lives…. “But God I prayed”, “But God I served you”.
God can never be controlled but He is fair. The difference is, He controls the terms of fairness, not us. A faithful and righteous Judge!
The bible reminds us that God’s terms are the best even when it doesn’t seem that way. His plans for us are of good and never of evil.
Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us of one of God’s plan:
“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord,
thoughts of peace, and not evil, to give you a future and a hope”.
So don’t be discouraged, His ways are not ours. TRUST HIM.
Want to pray with us? We host two online prayer gatherings each week. Tuesday morning at 10:00 am Eastern time and on Thursday evening at 9:00 pm Eastern time. We are happy to have you join us and we will send you the Zoom link if you ask for it. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 800-784-7077.
Hello, and welcome back to our series on Spiritual Warfare and Missions (SWAM). If you missed the previous posts in this series, you really should click here to read them first. And be reminded that this series is based on the book by Jerry Rankin and Ed Stetzer called Spiritual Warfare and Missions.
Last time we learned that part of Satan’s Strategy is to destroy the spiritual vitality of the Church. It is that spiritual vitality that is the distinct witness of a dynamic, spiritually transformed people of God.
In this final post of this Spiritual Warfare and Missions series we will look at the final victory and ask whether we will be found faithful.
To begin this final chapter, the authors relate the story of Esther. Please take a few minutes to read the story if you aren’t familiar with it.
In chapter 8, Esther had become the queen of Persia and, at risk of her own life, had intervened for her people. The conspiracy of Haman was revealed, and he was hung on the gallows prepared for Mordecai. However, the decree had already been issued, due to Haman’s devious influence that all Jews were to be destroyed. And the law of the Medes and Persians could not be changed.
So the king issued another decree. In this edict he warned the Jews of the pending threat and gave them permission to arm and defend themselves. It was a message of salvation for a people doomed to be destroyed. The Bible tells us that they sent couriers with the message translated into every language to the most remote regions of the empire. There was a sense of urgency. They chose the fastest horses from the royal stables as the couriers “rode out in haste, at the king’s urgent command” (Esther 8:14).
Several things could have gone wrong with this attempt to get this good news out. What if they had forgotten about one of the minority people groups in a faraway province in the remote regions of the empire? Or what if they had not been able to find someone in the capital city to translate the decree into the language of some of the people? What if the courier had stopped along the way, or been diverted, and the people to whom he had been sent never got the message? The people would have perished, not because a decree of salvation and deliverance had not been given but because they never got the message!
That is exactly what has happened in our world today. Jesus Christ came and died for the sins of the world so that whoever calls on the name of the Lord can be saved. But many of the peoples of the world have not heard that good news, and they continue to perish in their sins. Multitudes continue to die and enter an eternity in hell, not because salvation is not available but because they have never heard the news. Of the sixty-five hundred languages in the world, fewer than a thousand have the entire Bible in their own language.
We are the couriers sent to proclaim deliverance to all peoples, but we have stopped short. Instead of reaching the most regions, we have been diverted to caring for our own people and investing more in our own church programs than getting the gospel to all peoples.
But, God’s mission will be fulfilled. God is moving in providence and power to bring the nations into the kingdom. Mordecai has this sense of God’s providence when he challenged Esther to recognize that God had uniquely positioned her within the palace to be the one to intercede before the king. We often miss the implications of the rest of that often quoted verse. Mordecai goes on to say in Esther 4:14, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Mordecai remembered God’s covenant with Abraham, the patriarchs and the affirmation of His promise to the prophets of God who foresaw the fulfillment of that coming kingdom. He knew that God would be true to his covenant promise. He would make a way to deliver His people that the Messiah would come and bring redemption.
He said to Esther, “If you do not step up to be the one that God chooses to use, you are the loser. You and your household will perish along with others, but God’s purpose will be carried out through some other means and instrument.” God’s mission will be fulfilled. That day will come when those from every people, tongue, tribe, and nation will be gathered together around the throne of God singing praises to the Lamb.
The tragedy is the fact that many of God’s people have forfeited the privilege of being the one used by God. Many have been unwilling to take the risk, holding on to their own security and comfort instead of recognizing that we have been called into the kingdom for such a time as this.
We are called to be the faithful ones that have the privilege of extending the kingdom of God on the earth. “The Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful” (Revelation 17:14). God is sovereign over the nations, and His kingdom will prevail. We need to recapture the vision that was so prominent among the Old Testament prophets.
Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you.
For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you.
And nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising (Isaiah 60:1-3).
The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, (Isaiah 62:2).
It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD
shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it, and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem, (Isaiah 2:2-3).
For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts, (Malachi:1:11).
It is going to happen. The question is, will we be found faithful to our calling? Will we go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything that Jesus commanded?
If you want to know how to do this better, let us know in the comments below and we can help you.
GOD USES ORDINARY PEOPLE
Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of God is like a woman who took a small amount of yeast and put into a great amount of dough.
As she worked the yeast into the mix, it spread until all of the dough was leavened.
Jesus was showing us that an ordinary person can take something very small and use it to make an impact that’s very big!
Our dream is to do what Jesus said -- to help ordinary people around the world use small tools to make a big impact in God’s kingdom!
Have you ever wondered how the church got started? In the beginning, nobody was a professional. Are you surprised? It’s a good thing God had a plan that didn't require professionals. God uses ordinary people. He did it to start the first movement of the church. And He does it today.
The first church sent ordinary people around the world to tell others about Jesus. It sent ordinary people to stand before governors and generals and rulers and kings. It sent ordinary people to heal the sick, feed the hungry, raise the dead, and teach all of God’s commands to everyone in the world.
The first church sent ordinary people to change the world. And they did.
Our dream is to do what Jesus said -- to help ordinary people around the world use small tools to make a big impact in God’s kingdom!
Jesus’ final instructions to His followers were simple. He said — All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey all I have commanded, And I will be with you always - even to the end of the age.
Jesus’ command was simple - make disciples.
His instructions on how to do that were simple:
So what are the steps to make a disciple?
Every follower of Jesus should count on the promise that Jesus is always with us. Because He is!
But that also means every follower of Jesus should commit to the fact that Jesus wants each of us to make disciples. Because He does.
Jesus said - All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples.
The authority that Jesus relies on when He sends us -- is His authority.
Jesus says there is no authority higher than that. No tradition has more authority.
No culture has more authority. No law on earth has more authority.
Jesus said - Go and make disciples.
Ask yourself this…
If Jesus intended every one of His followers to obey His Great Commission, why do so few actually make disciples?
Is the idea that God uses ordinary people different from what you had learned or assumed was the plan?
Do you wonder what simple tools are available to help you make a big impact for the Kingdom of God? Let us know in the comments and we will get in touch.