Born Of The Spirit
The real born-again experience only comes when the Spirit of God working within you.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Doin’ alright today? I trust everything’s okay at your house. If you struck a rough day, remember, I often say this and the reason I say it often is that people need it often. [chuckle] If you have struck a rough day, look up and say, “Lord, I don’t like this but please see me through it for your glory.” Trust your Savior to see you through. The keyword is through. “When thou passes through the waters, they shall not overflow thee. Yea though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil.” God sees you through if you let him. Look up and trust him today, beloved.
Well, I’ve just been praying that God might fill my mind and heart with his Holy Spirit and put the very sound of his love and truth in my voice. May God grant that prayer as we look into the third chapter of the Gospel of John, man of the Pharisees. A good man, a sincere man, a man who was busy obeying what he conceived to be the law of Moses and the explanation of that law as provided by the tradition of the elders. He also had decided that there must be some connection with the divine because of the miracles that the Lord Jesus was doing. He said, “No man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with Him.” Our Lord Jesus did not give validity to that claim. He said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
And I don’t know if I can make this plain to you but I’m gonna try. You have a combination of God’s willingness to do that which is beyond human ability. “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” God is quite willing to answer prayer and to do those things that you and I call miracles. But by themselves, they do not constitute the proof that any given human being is in touch with God. Do you see the difference? It is perfectly biblical for a believer, you or I or anyone who knows and loves the Lord Jesus, it is perfectly biblical for any believer to call on God and ask Him to answer prayer in a way that you and I might call a miracle. God loves to do the unusual and the super human for those of His children whom He pleases to help in answer to prayer. At the same time, you do not use the super natural as a proof of truth. You follow me on that?
Jesus brushed aside those polite words from Nicodemus. He didn’t say, “Yeah, that’s right.” He said, “I got something to say to you.” That verily, verily is our word Amen, Amen, Amen which means so be it, so be it, truly, truly you might say. “Truly, truly I say unto you except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “Nicodemus, you’re dealing with something spiritual here and it goes beyond your comprehension of miracle.” The Christian life is so much bigger than anything that can happen that you have to start with God and with his word. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Do you understand me? Every now and again, you’ll have a Christian leader so called, that comes along and claims to have all sorts of miraculous things happening. Whether or not they are valid, and I’m not going into that today, whether or not they are valid, they do not constitute proof that that person is of God.
Only the word of God. “To the law and to the testimony for if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them,” said Isaiah in his eighth chapter. The word of God is the criterion on which you and I base validity, test every religious leader, every religious precept, every religious experience by the word of God, you’ll be okay. You follow that? That’ll keep you from going off the deep end sometime when there are things happening that seemed to dazzle or on the other hand to discourage. You test experiences by the word of God. “Believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they be of God,” said John.
Alright, here’s his answer, he said, “Truly, truly, Amen, Amen, verily, verily. I say unto you, Nicodemus.” Good man, keeping the law, good reputation, he’s got it made. He said, “I’m talking to you, Nicodemus. You have to be born again.” That word ‘again’ is interesting. It’s a Greek word ‘anothen.’ Anothen. And it can mean from above, from the first or it can mean again. Nicodemus evidently understood what our Lord Jesus meant because he said, “How can a man be born when he is old again?” See? He understood that, obviously. What we call the new birth is from above. It comes as a result of the blessed Holy Spirit of God and bring into your life when you trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. “A new birth born of water and of the Spirit,” said Jesus later on in verse 5. The Holy Spirit of God is the one who implements that new birth, so we’re quite accurate in saying, “Yes, it is from above, it comes from God.” But what our Lord Jesus said here is exactly portrayed in the text. Born again. Another kind of birth.
Nicodemus says, “How can a man be born when he’s old? Go through the process of gestation and be born again as a little baby, how can that be?” He said, “You’ve got to have two births: Of water and of the Spirit.” Now you got different interpretations of that 5th verse, I know that. Some people think that that refers one at the word water refers to the word of God, and it very well may, the washing of water by the word. The use of the word water in the Bible very frequently refers symbolically to the word of God. I know that, and so do you. So you could read it that way if you want. Unless you’re born from the word of God and the Spirit of God, working in your life, you can’t enter the kingdom of God.
I lean toward the view that our Lord Jesus was using a very commonly accepted expression there. The birth by water oftentimes was used to speak of the human birth when after the fetus has gone through the process of growth throughout those nine months, when mother is carrying that little baby under her heart, then what is called the bag of waters is ruptured, and the baby is ready to be born. And so, in those days, they would talk about the birth by water. The water birth. And so, what he actually was saying if you want to read it that way is, “Nicodemus, you had a human birth once. Your mother carried you until the time was finished and then that sack that carried you was ruptured and the water flowed out and you came after it. You had a human birth once, Nicodemus but you gotta have a spiritual birth. That which is born of the flesh… ” See, this follows out then, you see. “That which is born of the flesh is just flesh. You had a human birth but that’s all you had. “But that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
Jesus said in John 6, “The words that I speak unto thee are Spirit and they are life.” The very essence of God’s life imparted to you. “If any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation. Old things passed away. Behold, all things have become new,” says Paul in 2 Corinthians 5. You see the point there? Well, you can have your choice and I think both interpretations may well be true. I believe so deeply, as do many of you, that real conversion, real born again experience does not come except by the word of God and the spirit of God working in your life, absolutely true. But I also lean toward the belief that our Lord Jesus was using a common expression there so that Nicodemus would not mistake his meaning when he said, “You had a human birth once, Nicodemus. Now, you got to have a spiritual birth.”
What does that really mean? Well, it means that there’s peace with God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” says Paul in Romans 5:1. That means there’s an open heaven, he said, “We have access also by faith into that grace wherein we stand.” “Let us come boldly,” says the writer to the Hebrews, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,” Paul said to the Galatians crying, “Abba, Father,” Papa God. A deep wonderful close relation with your heavenly Father. Oh, how precious that is.
No condemnation. Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.” No condemnation. The war is over. God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The penalty is paid. Salvation is a free gift, “By grace are ye saved,” Paul says to the Ephesians in his second chapter there. “By grace are ye saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Born again. A new life. A new creation. “If any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation.” “Born to live that they which live should not henceforth live for themselves but for Him who loved them and gave Himself for them,” says Peter.
Born again, new life, new relationship, new purpose, new destiny. “That in the ages to come might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.” God wants to make you his exhibit A and show you off through all eternity as to what his grace can do. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” God is going to show you off throughout all eternity, born again, not only that you might enjoy His life now but that you might reflect His glory throughout all of the ages to come. Hallelujah.
Father God, today, may we show by the life we live that we’ve been born again. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio. Walk with the King today, and be a blessing.
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