“I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God………You must be born again.” John 3:3, 7
And Jesus spoke this to Nicodemus, a religious leader, a Pharisee! So, this applies even to church leaders and church memebers, as well as sinners outside the church!
This chapter is a MUST, so we need to give it a lot of attention! The prior chapters are largely to give logic, facts, and evidence for faith in Jesus Christ (Yeshua the Messiah). As we have stated previously, even Satan believes that Jesus exists and is the Son of God and Savior of mankind, but Satan is NOT a follower who comes under the authority by faith in Jesus. The second birth puts us in a loyal relationship of Jesus by faith. The second birth is essential to being saved. True salvation is more than believing in Jesus.
In our generation, we tend to talk about being “born again” as believing in Jesus and saying a salvation prayer. Some people follow that model but then just go back to living in the world just as they did before! The difference in whether the prayer for ‘second birth” really resulted in true salvation is if it was prayed as a heart vow.
When you were “born again”, was it like a marriage vow? Did you determine to repent of your old life and now live your life under the authority and in union with Jesus as your spouse and head of household? Did you give Him your heart in lifelong loyalty? Did you change your name and identity from “world chaser” to “follower of Christ” (Christian)? Were you willing to let the old life fall behind you in order to take up the new life with Jesus?
This life surrender level of being “born again” also called “the second birth” is what the “old time” preachers of the gospel of Jesus preached. D James Kennedy mentions George Whitfield who was forceful in the Great Awakening. Other “old time” preachers with this message are Charles Spurgeon, A. W Tozer, Oswold Chambers and Andrew Murray. You can find many of their sermons, articles, and books online. Very good reading and video listening!
The whole message of the Bible, God’s Word, is new birth, regeneration, and restoration. It is the big picture and all the details coming together for His astonishing and unimmaginable purpose! Mankind chose to disobey and leave His authority and kingdom to pursue their own, and therefore fell away from God and His right way of being and doing (righteousness). Seed can only produce its own kind and therefore all mankind is born in sin with the consequence of death (separation from God). But, God promised mankind hope of restoration with Himself and into His kingdom of life through a Savior. The Bible tells us of this prophesied promise and its fulfillment in Jesus Christ! We can now choose to be regenerated into life out of death, and restored in relationship to Creator Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Our first physical birth is in sin and death, but we can ask for the new second birth of our spirit through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit….if we are willing to take the “marriage vow” with God.
Here are some examples of this promised new second spiritual birth in Jesus Chrsit that the Bible teaches……
Beginning in Genesis in the Garden of Eden, the serpent became the symbol of Satan, sin, and disobedience. In Numbers 21, we find a disobedient people are attacked by serpents in the wilderness and the venom is killing them. God tells Moses to mount a bronze serpent on a pole and tell everyone that if they look upon it, they will be saved from the serpents. This was prophetic of Jesus Christ who would be lifted high on the cross and bear the sins of the world so that all who look upon Him will be saved and given eternal life!!! Jesus also teaches about this is John 3: 14-18.
We are born of water and the spirit. John 3:5, Acts 1:5, 1 John 5:8
We are made alive. “You has He quickened (made alive), who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1
It is passing from death into life….a resurrection from death. “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
It is being born of God, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible seed of the Word of God….Jesus is the Word of God made flesh. 1 Peter 1:23, John 1:14
It is being begotten again unto a living hope. 1 Peter 1:3
It is a washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:5
It is a circumcision of the heart. Deuteronomy 30:6
It is the giving of a new heart. “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh (a heart designed to love God). Ezekiel 36:26
It is being given a new mind in Christ. “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 2 Corinthians 2:14
It is becoming His workmanship. Ephesians 2:10
This was the confession of faith for centuries! We can even see the “new birth” in Christmas songs. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” contains the words, “Be born in us today.” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” tells us that Christ has come “to give us second birth”. “Joy to the World” says “Let every heart prepare Him room.”
There is real evidence for the second birth. Millions of people from all nations and all strata of life have experienced the “second birth” through total surrender to Jesus Christ and its resulting change of heart, mind, and life. They are transformed! Their testimony and the witness of their changed actions and behavior give evidence of the reality of the second birth of the spirit.
I agree with D James Kennedy when he says on page 136, “Most of all, I believe in the new birth because I have experienced it.” I had been raised in Christianity and believed in Jesus. But, there came a time as a young adult when I heard that there was more than “church memebership” and believing. My mother had taught me how to pray, so that is what I did one night all alone in my room. I had to ask Jesus about it and if it was true. Guess what? The second birth is true. I realized that I was not enough in myself. I would be moving from trusting myself to trusting in Jesus. This was a serious commitment to walking His way, not my way on my own! I decided to “marry” Jesus that night. I wanted to give up my old life with all its failures and inadequacies. I repented of my sins and asked His forgiveness that I might be made pure and holy and enabled to “marry” Him. I wanted to be like Jesus! I made a vow to love Him more than all others, to follow Him everywhere and anywhere, to be faithful and loyal in our love relationship, to do my best to please Him, to do my best to work together with Him through life and to belong to Him!
I had also heard about the second baptism of the Holy Spirit. I knew about and experienced the baptism of water, but had never experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. (Mark 1:8, Matthew 3:11, John 1:33, John 14, Acts 1:5, Acts 2, Acts 10: 44-46) So, I also asked Jesus about this truth, letting Him know that I also desired this being filled to the full in relationship with the Holy Spirit. I also experieced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit that same night. My spirit knew the truansformation and exploded in joy and thanksgiving! For me, it was a private matter, but totally transformed me and changed the direction of my life forever! I became a new person in Christ with a new identity and now living in a new kingdom authority! I determined to love and remain faithful to God forever to the best of my abilities and strengths!
Now, I have learned that when I experienced my second birth, it was also a death to “self”, as well as to the “old life” with primary focus on the physical life. One day, my physical body will see death, but my spirit has already been transformed from death to life and will never die again! I have eternal life in Jesus through my second birth! My name is now written in “The Lamb’s Bood of Life”. I will never experience the second death of the spirit, which is eternal separation from God, for those who are without Jesus Christ.
If you have not experienced the second birth, please ask Jesus! If you seek Him for it, you will find it. “Ask and it will be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:8, Luke 11L 9-10
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17
Are you tired of trying to do life all alone? Are you willing to trust someone other than yourself? Are you feeling empty or without purpose? Do you find that no matter how much you gain, your heart is never satisfied? Do you desire a life transformation? Do you believe all the evidence this book has been presenting and now want to get to know Jesus personally?
Then, forsake your sinful life and be sorry for that past focus, failures and imperfections, and ask Jesus for forgiveness. Then come into a relationship with Jesus through a commited vow of heart and mind and confession. Ask Him to be your Savior and the Lord of your life! You will then belong to Him and no longer be enslaved under the authority of Satan and the fallen world. You are now His beloved and His workmanship! You will never walk alone again! Now, remain faithful! Read His Word so you can learn how He thinks, talks, and works. And, ask for the Holy Spirit to teach, lead, and guide you. What a blessed adventure…all the way through eternity! What a marvelous plan! What immeasureable love!