Monday, March 7, 2011

Jesus and Nicodemus: First of Four Illustrations

Jesus gave Nicodemus four different ways to think about this radical new concept,
1) Birth:
“I assure you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom." (John 3:5)
Rabbis of Jesus day were actually familiar with this idea but to them it was completely external. It meant making vows and going through a purification ritual in order to enter into a new order, like the Pharisees, or even to become a Jew. Jesus added a profound new dimension

We often talk about a Christian being someone who gives one's life to God, but first we need to describe a Christian as someone who gets one's life from God.

The same way people enter into the physical world by being born physically, people enter into the spiritual kingdom of God being born spiritually.
"Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6)
One can’t adapt to the new kingdom. You have to be born again, born from above. You need to be a whole new person, born into the kingdom.

Rebirth is that act by which the Holy Spirit puts His eternal life into a person who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. "Rebirth" in theological terms is referred to as regeneration. Regeneration takes what was once dead spiritually and causes it to be born again in newness of life.

The Holy Spirit recreates the human heart, putting into your heart, and mine, an inclination towards God and a desire for the things of God. Just as the child inherits the nature of her parents, so does the child of God. The born again person has God’s nature within.

Just as there are two parents for physical birth, there are two parents for spiritual birth: water, which in the Bible often symbolizes the Word of God, which refreshes and purifies, and the Spirit of God Who enlivens. When put together, believing God’s word and being enlivened by the Holy Spirit, new life begins.

This news rocked Nicodemus to the core. He was a Jew, born of Abraham, child of the covenant, circumcised and keeper of the law. But inwardly he was spiritually dead, as the Bible describes everyone to be. The reason people fail to do what is right is because there is something wrong with who we are. Who we are needs to change, not just what we do.

The Lord Jesus must have seen the shock on Nicodemus face because He said “Don’t look at me like that!”
"Don’t be surprised that I said to you, ‘You must be born anew.’"(John 3:7)
and He gave Nicodemus a second illustration...

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  1. Blessings, Ken! Have checked back to your blog a couple of times -- keep the faith, brother


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