You Must Be Born Again
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God – John 3:5.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a teacher. The Pharisees are one of the three sects of Judaism in the time of Christ. The name means separated by special works. The sect included all Hebrews who separated themselves from every kind of Levitical impurity, following the Mosaic law of purity.
Nicodemus came to Jesus by night; he reverenced Him by calling Him Rabbi. Rabbi was a title of respect the Jews gave to their teachers and physicians. Nicodemus was one who believed in God; he acknowledged that God had to be with Jesus through the miracles He performed, and according to the doctrine of Jesus, he had to be born again of the Spirit.
Millions of people attend church regularly and haven’t been born-again. They haven’t had an encounter with Jesus but with religion. Religion is someone acknowledging God but refusing to live according to God’s instructions. Nicodemus was the ruler of the Jews, he kept the Levitical law of purity, but he hadn’t been born of the Spirit of God.
Many attend church because it’s their Christian duty to attend church on Sunday. Many attend because it’s so much hell in their homes; they need a place to go besides their homes; others attend to find a spouse, seeking a change in their circumstances and situations, and very few attend seeking a change in their mind and hearts.
Although God is God, He’s looking for us to give Him permission to abode in our physical bodies, giving Him permission to have His will in our lives. God’s will refers to His purpose for the life of the believer. It may imply His guidance or direction in our life decisions. Dedication is an act of surrender or submission to His will for our lives, whereby we become a living sacrifice.
A sacrifice is giving up one thing for the sake of another, such as God’s will being done in you as it is in heaven. We must give up our will and give Him our will so that we will come in line with His will. It’s a blessing, and benefit, to have the Spirit of the Living God abiding in your physical beings, but He only comes in when we give Him permission to do so by submitting ourselves to His Word (Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man loves me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him – John 14:23).
We cannot live according to our old ways of living prior to accepting Jesus as our Savior; there is a standard of living for the Christian if we do it according to God’s Word (Because strait is the gate, and narrow (difficult or confined) is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it – Matthew 7:14). Christianity comes with restrictions (Love not the world neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that are in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world – 1st John 2:15-16.
As Christians, we should; let love be without dissimulation (hypocrisy). Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love in honor preferring one another. Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.
Distributing to the necessity of saints, given to hospitality. Bless them who persecute you, bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Don’t set your mind on high things but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as within you, live peaceably with all.
Avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, said the Lord. Therefore if your enemy hunger, feed him; if he’s thirsty, give him something to drink (non-alcohol). Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. All this is our Christian duty according to Romans 12:9-21; it’s not about how much we attend church, but living as the church of God.
For these actions to manifest in us, the Spirit of the Living God must reside in us. The Fruit of the Spirit cannot be manifested in us if the Spirit of God is not living within us. This is why Jesus told Nicodemus he had to be born again; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance will not be manifested through us if we have not received the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is what brings these godly actions to manifestation; the Fruit of the Spirit is God’s Spirit. This is what comes out of His heart and will come out of our hearts if we have His Spirit within us.
There are many Christians who have not received the Holy Spirit when it’s a gift to all those who ask Him for it ( If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him – Luke 11:13). Receiving the Holy Spirit comes with a price of dedication and submission to the Word of God. Those who ask for the Holy Spirit are ready to deny themselves and will allow God’s will to be done in them and through them. Everyone receives a portion of God’s Spirit when they truly receive salvation, but to be baptized in the Spirit is when one has been regenerated by the Spirit of God, and he or she will continue to receive refilling of the Holy Spirit as they commit themselves to God.
In order to enter heaven, one must be born of the Spirit of God; religious actions will not get one into heaven. When one has truly been born of the Spirit, no one has to tell you; the Spirit itself will witness that the Spirit in you is of Him. Your behavior and character will begin to reflect that of the Father and Son. The individual will no longer desire to look, listen and go places that do not reflect them as being children of God because they have a new nature, the nature of God.
Their thoughts are not to do anything that will displease God; if what I’m looking at is offensive to God, I will not look at it. If what I’m listening to is offensive to God, then I will not listen to it. If where I’m going is offensive to God, then I will not go there. Our nature has been changed to please the Father.
Those that are Spirit-filled focus on the things of the Spirit, but those that just have a religion focus on the things of the world, what’s the newest fashion, how revealing can I be without being naked, what is my favorite entertainer or artist. I can remember the lyrics to their song, but I can’t remember a Scripture.
I can talk about my favorite singer, but I can’t find anything to talk about my Savior; something is wrong with this, this is being carnal-minded, and it’s just as bad as being a non-believer. Two things are coming that we know for sure will happen, the coming of Jesus and death; where will you be spiritually when either one of them comes?
Many profess to Christianity, but their lifestyle indicates something different. When we have been born again of the Spirit of God, our characteristics will be that of our Father. Christians are in the world, but they are not of the world when they truly have received salvation.
When salvation has truly been accepted, the Spirit of God comes into the individual’s life. They will be baptized in the Holy Spirit as they continue to submit themselves to the Spirit of God. Sometimes individuals will receive salvation and baptism of the Holy Spirit at once.
Christians should not be conformed to this world but conformed to God’s Word, conformed to the Spirit of God.