1997-12-13 - Yo! Just What Does it Mean to Be Born Again?
The Comprehensive Study Series, Part 18
Last week I left off with the following verses and a promise of "Just What does it mean to be born again?" Let's prayerfully examine this passage and may God open our eyes to behold wondrous things from His Word - Amen.
John 3:1-8 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
In verse 3 Jesus declared, except one be born anew he cannot see the Kingdom of God. What did he mean and what is the significance of the Kingdom of God?
Psalm 103:19 says it is the entire Universe Jehovah hath established his throne in the heavens; And his kingdom ruleth over all.
1 Chronicles 28:4-5 Howbeit Jehovah, the God of Israel, chose me out of all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Judah to be prince; and in the house of Judah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel; And of all my sons (for Jehovah hath given me many sons), he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of Jehovah over Israel.
This verse states that the Kingdom of Israel was co-extensive with the Kingdom of God and limited the Kingdom of God to the borders of Israel at that time. The Kingdom of God was co-extensive with Israel from the giving of the law at Sinai to the cross of Calvary. Moses and the prophets foretold clearly that the Messiah would come and engage in a public ministry and evangelize. Christ did this while here on earth. He would announce, "The year of Jehovah's favor" - the church age which we now are in - to be followed by the day of vengeance of God (The Great Tribulation). This latter period is to be followed by the great Kingdom age a 1000-year reign of Messiah.
The prophets foretold the establishment of the Church of Jesus Christ to include both Jews and Gentiles. This age would be followed by Messiah's millennial kingdom. The church age is more clearly explained in Ephesians 3:1-6.
Ephesians 3:1-6 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you Gentiles,-- if so be that ye have heard of the dispensation of that grace of God which was given me to you-ward; how that by revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote before in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; which in other generation was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to wit, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and fellow-members of the body, and fellow-partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,
Two prior generations of Old Testament times God had not revealed the mystery of Christ through His prophets. It is now revealed in the New Testament through His holy Apostles and prophets by the Holy Spirit. The New Testament prophets had a fuller revelation than did the Old Testament prophets. John the Baptist broke the silence of about 400 years when he announced the Kingdom of heaven was at hand
Matthew 3:2 Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
What Kingdom was this? It could only be the Kingdom that was foretold in Isaiah 61 and other Old Testament passages, "The year of Jehovah's favor", the church age. Jesus declared to Nicodemus that He must be born anew to enter into this specific Kingdom -- announced by John the Baptist and Himself. Nicodemus could not understand this statement. He believed that he and his fellow Jewish countrymen were born into the Kingdom of God (The Jewish Kingdom) by virtue of their Jewish parentage. Jesus told him in no uncertain words that his natural birth placed him into the Kingdom of God as it had existed up to this time, but in order to enter into this new Kingdom he must have a second birth. Nicodemus still could not understand. Jesus then explained that He was not speaking of a physical rebirth but a spiritual one. He then declared "Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he can not enter into the Kingdom of God."
What is the meaning of this being born of water and of spirit? The Scriptures in John 4:10-14 shed light here for us:
John 4:10-14 "Jesus answered and said unto unto her, 'If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.' The woman saith unto him, 'Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: whence then hast thou that living water?'"
We see Jesus granted living water (salvation) to the Samaritan woman, if only she would ask for it. She responded to His offer and (salvation) living water was given unto her.
John 4:15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come all the way hither to draw.
From this we find that salvation comes by partaking of the living water. The Greek word translated "and" connotes "even," "also," or "too" One must select the word that is in best accord with the facts of the context.
With that in mind let us now look at the clear meaning of the passage: "Except one be born of the water even the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God." Elaboration is found in the next verse: "That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of Spirit is Spirit". In substance: Jesus said you must be born of the water and spirit for you can get your spiritual nature -- only from the Spirit of God. With these facts considered, no one today can enter the Kingdom of God - the church of Jesus Christ - except he experience a spiritual new birth. Only those who enter the spiritual Kingdom are ready to enter the glorious kingdom which will be established at the end of the Great Tribulation. It is easy.
Realize your need. Ask God to accept you - just as you are because you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Tell someone what you did. Find and fellowship with a Bible-believing church. Read your Bible and learn to pray regularly.
And as you abide in Jesus you will grow in grace.
In His Service,