1. The Musts Of The Christian Faith: You MUST Be Born Again!

John 3:3,7 … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.


Photo by Joshua Reddekopp on Unsplash

The Baptist Evangelist F.B. Meyer once wrote:

“The present decline in Church attendance may be largely due to the failure of the pulpit to meet the demand of the human spirit for a more adequate presentation of the spiritual and eternal aspects of our Christian faith, and for a more powerful dynamic and a clearer analysis of the steps that lead through darkness unto God.”

When I read the long and educated sentence – I’m but a country preacher – I must respectfully say that I agree with the first part of the sentence. The Coronavirus Pandemic has caused a massive decline in Church attendance – and rightly so. As our medical gods and goddesses has not of yet found a cure the best we can do is social distancing until the fire burns out. I pray that the fire does not totally incinerate our national economy. But I digress. Prior to this “Pandemic” declines in Church attendance are, as Brother Meyer said, “largely due to the failure of the pulpit”. I believe that we as God’s preachers have, since the early 60s, drifted farther and farther from that old time religion, what Jude called:

Jude 3 … the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

The faith that was ONCE delivered – the faith of our fathers – has ceased to be preached in many of the pulpits not just in America, but throughout the world. The faith once delivered was not a welcomed faith when it was delivered. When it was once delivered by God it was rejected by Israel in favor of the Law. When God became Perfect Man the Lord Jesus Christ once more shared the faith ONCE delivered. The faith once delivered was rejected by the established Church of His day, totally repudiated by the liberal Sadducees, despised by the conservative Pharisees and Scribes, and mocked by the political Herodians and Romans. This faith once delivered was so hated that the Lord Jesus – a clearly innocent Man – was nailed to the Cross for it. It was no accident. As Max Lucado once wrote, “He chose the nails”.

There are five MUSTS in the Christian way of life,
five MUSTS that MUST come –
if a person is to be a Christian

When Jesus Christ healed, fed, and comforted the masses there was not room to sit in the Church. But when Jesus preached repentance there was room to stretch out on the pews. When today’s preachers speak on prosperity, comfort, healing, blessing from God, salvation from the Coronavirus, the churches fill up. But let that dreaded six letter word “R-E-P-E-N-T” rear up, and crowds fall off.

The cry of the awakened soul – the soul that realizes it is dead in trespasses and in sins – is the same cry that the Philippian “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). The cry that came to Peter on the Day of Pentecost – when the crowd was “pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37) was “men and brethren, what shall WE do?”. Our response as humans has always been the same response that Adam had when he failed both God and his children in the Garden of Eden. We hide ourselves from God because we cannot fix the problem. “What shall WE do? How can WE fix ourselves?” The old time religion, the “faith once delivered” has always been the same. “Repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Repent, turn to God. Bring forth fruits showing others you have repented. Be baptized under the authority of Christ. Bow the knee to Jesus! And you shall receive the gift of God!”

You MUST Be Born Again!

There are many who think that Church membership is the way to salvation. Many others believe that being a “pillar” in the local Church will make you right with God. The Sunday School teacher, the Deacon, even the Preacher are certainly headed toward Heaven. But Beloved, this is not true.

The first step toward Heaven is not a step you can take yourself. It is not something you can do, but it is something that God will gladly do if you would but bend the knee and bow your prideful heart to Him.

You must be born again!

The day before our Lord Jesus said “you must be born again”, the Savior went into the Temple to observe the Passover. The Passover was a time for Israel to focus on faith. The Passover commemorated a time when God’s people sacrificed a lamb to God, and took of its blood, and put that blood on the doorway of their homes. God said:

“When I see the Blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be over you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt”
(Exodus 12:13)

God did as He said. He destroyed Egypt, but passed over those who, in faith, did as He commanded. The Pass Over – later combined to be one word “Passover” – looked coming to the coming of Jesus Christ our Savior. The Bible declares that:

1 Corinthians 5:7 … Christ our passover is sacrificed for us

The Passover Lamb slain taught Israel that the Messiah would one day come and be slain for our sins. When we believe in Him, and trust His Blood to cover our sins, God does something in us and to us and through us. God changes us.

When Jesus went into the Temple and saw – not faith in God but human greed – the Bible tells us that “Jesus made a scourge of small cords, and drove them all out of the Temple” (John 2:15). Jesus said “take these things away – you will not make My Father’s House a house of mechandise” (John 2:16). His actions infuriated the Pharisees and the Sadducees, along with the Ruling Council of Elders in Jerusalem called “The Seventy” or “The Sanhedrin”.

Jesus got the Pulpit Committee and the Board of Elders mad!

That is why in John chapter 3 we see a man named Nicodemus – a Ruler of the Jews – a Member of the Sanhedrin – come to Jesus by night. No one tells us why Nicodemus came, but I suspect he was there because the Board of Elders sent him. Nicodemus says:

John 3:2 … Rabbi (meaning “teacher”) 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.

Do you notice the “WE”? Nicodemus is not coming to Jesus on his own. He did not say “I know You are a Teacher from God”, but “WE know”. The ruling Council is upset. Jesus overturned their profits from the Passover. So Nicodemus comes to Jesus to delicately address the situation. He probably had a prepared speech, something he rehearsed in the mirror before finding Jesus after sunset. The Bible says of flatterers:

Proverbs 26:28 28 A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

The devil flattered Eve in the Garden before tempting our foreparents to betray God. The devil flattered Jesus in the wilderness, trying to get Him to betray the Father. Now Nicodemus comes flattering, fawning, falsely lifting up. Jesus replies simply:

John 3:3 … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. … 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Jesus begins His statement with the double amen. “Amen, Amen, I say unto you”. Jesus used the double amen 25 times in the Book of John alone. He used it:

To show Himself the Door to Heaven (John 1:51)
To declare that He alone represented the Father (John 5:19)
To promise everlasting life to those who believe in Him (John 5:24)
To teach that He is the True Manna from Heaven (John 6:32)

“Verily, Verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I Am”
(John 8:58)

Jesus used the double amen to speak absolute and non-flexible truth. Amen, amen, I say unto you, unless you are BORN AGAIN you cannot see the Kingdom of God. You MUST BE BORN AGAIN.

The first birth you had is not something that you did. You know you were born the first time because you are, right now, drawing breath. You are thinking, feeling, processing. Yet you did absolutely nothing to be born the first time. The only thing you did was show up. You were there. But you in no way assisted the Doctor nor the Nurse. You caused your mother pain. She suffered so that you could be born. You hurt her who loves you.

Before you were born you had no name, no identity. Your parents thought of names, and loving you, decided that they would bring you into the world. When you were born you were given a name. When you were born you became a citizen of the United States. You took no tests, passed no exams to become a citizen. You were just born. You could not salute the flag, nor pay taxes, nor cite the Pledge of Allegiance. Yet you are an American, a citizen of the United States by birth.

You must be born again!

If you wish to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom, a child of God, a genuine Christian, then you must be born again. You cannot work your way into citizenship in God’s Kingdom, God’s family. You must be born again. Your first birth is insufficient to bring you into union with God. You were born into this world – in your first birth – a lost and undone child of Adam, a sinner by nature. The Apostle, quoting Psalm 14:1-3 and 53:1-3 states:

Romans 3:10-12 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

No child born in the flesh is automatically a child of God. That child is a CREATION of God, but not a CHILD of God. That child is a POSSESSION of God, but not a possessor of the Kingdom of God. God says:

Ezekiel 18:4, 20 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. … The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

God told Adam that – “the day that thou eatest thereof THOU SHALT SURELY DIE” (Genesis 2:17). As creations of God we enter this life SPIRITUALLY DEAD though PHYSICALLY ALIVE. Those who are without Christ, without salvation are yet dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13). Death is the separation that a person experiences from life. In God is life. While we are outside of His family, we are spiritually dead.

We must be born again.

What Work Must I Do To Be Born Again?

“What work then, Preacher, must I do to be born again?” I answer your question with a question. What work did you do to be born the first time? What did you do? This is the very question that Nicodemus asked Jesus.

John 3:4-7 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, 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. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Nicodemus asks the same question that every lost person asks when they hear “You must be born again”. They ask, “What can I DO to facilitate this? How can I go back to my mother’s womb?” What shall I do? Beloved, there is NOTHING you can do but receive and believe. You were “born of water” when you were born into this earth. Every child delivered breaks his or her mother’s water. Jesus speaks of being “born of water AND of the Spirit” to show us that Christ did not come to save angels. He came to save fallen humans, those who were born of water. When Christ says that we are to be “born of the Spirit” He is emphasizing that New Birth is a product of God’s work. God the Holy Spirit moves on the soul that cries out for New Birth. Being born again is to be born of the Spirit of God.

John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

A Christian is a person who is “born of the Spirit”. A Christian is a person who did the only thing you can do to be born of the Spirit. Solomon said:

Ecclesiastes 7:13 Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

The sin nature and spiritual death of man is not something that man – or woman – can eradicate. It is not something that we can purge. It is inherent in human nature that we are sinners, by nature separated from God. Our Lord Jesus said:

John 6:27-28 Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. 28 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

John 6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

This is the ONLY work of God that the unbeliever can do to become born again. You must believe on Him, on Christ Jesus, Whom the Father has sent. Jesus Christ alone is the Messiah. Jesus Christ alone is the only Door into the Family of God.

We do not ACCEPT Jesus Christ as Savior (which means to approve of Him) but we RECEIVE what He has done for us. We are promised by Jesus in:

John 1:10-13 {Jesus Christ} was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

When the soul repents, realizing that he or she is lost and deserves eternal damnation, and when that soul sees Jesus as the only Life Preserver, the Only Way back toward God. When that soul reaches out, crying out, needing Jesus – then God the Holy Spirit acts. The blessed Spirit moves on the physical life of that repentant soul, and moves into that life.

Someone asked me “How can I know that I am saved?” You can know by the promise of Christ.

John 3:14-17 … as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

But we can also know we are saved by the Spirit of God. Jesus said:

John 3:7-8 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

When God the Holy Spirit moves on a person it is like the wind rustling through the trees. You cannot see the wind, but you see the leaves moving in the wind. The same is true of the Spirit. The Spirit comes on a person and changes that person. The Spirit speaks to our hearts, assuring us that we now belong to God.

Those Born Again Walk In The Light

After Jesus told Nicodemus these things he replied:

John 3:9 … How can these things be?

Jesus told Nicodemus:

John 3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.

When Nicodemus came to Jesus, he came representing the Sanhedrin. He said at the beginning of their dialogue, “WE know that thou art a teacher come from God” (vs 2). Now Jesus begins to use plural pronouns:

WE speak
WE do know
WE have seen
OUR witness

As Nicodemus spoke representing the Sanhedrin, Jesus Christ spoke representing the Holy Trinity. He knows because He has seen, along with both Father and Spirit. Jesus represents a much greater council than Nicodemus came from. Jesus represents God.

How can a person know that they are “born again”? Well, how do you know that a BABY IS BORN? Before we were born physically, we existed in darkness. We ate what mother ate. We drank what mother drank. We went where mother went. This is not a hard concept to understand. Once we were born the first time we came from out of the darkness and into the light. We are no longer bound to mother.

In the same way, before a peson is born again that person is bound to sin and worldliness. But once a person hears the Gospel message and repents, what happens?

1 Peter 1:23 … Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

The new believer is born again. The Christian is changed. There are five external signs that a person is now a son or a daughter of God:

  • We are no longer in league with the lost world. We are citizens of a higher Kingdom, and we no longer follow the paths of worldliness. This makes us alien to the world. The Church has – since the 60s – attempted to become more worldly to be better accepted of it. Beloved, once saved, we cannot climb back into the womb:Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1)
  • We do not continue in known sin, but walk in the light as Jesus is in the light:1 John 3:7-10 Little children, let no man deceive you:he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as {God} is righteous. 8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
  • The person born again loves other born again believers:1 John 3:14 …We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
  • The born again believer is conscious of God’s life and love, and is obedient to the Lord Who saved us:1 John 5:1-5 5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
  • Those who are born again continue to walk in obedience to the Family of God:1 John 5:19-21 And we know thatwe are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. 20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

You must be born again! If you are saved by faith in Christ, you are now children of God. Praise Him! Praise Him! If you are not Christ’s child, then Beloved, call upon Him! Receive Him as Lord and Savior. Come, join the Family of God. May God’s Word and His Spirit move you toward new birth this very day. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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