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Friday, March 26, 2010

John 3:3, “You MUST be born again…” A Bible Study Devotion.


John 3:3, “You MUST be born again…” A Bible Study Devotion.

Read John 3:3. In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

I remember hearing the term “born again” here and there throughout my life. I remember that it always had a negative connotation, but I’m not sure where that came from. I heard comments like this, “He used to be a great guy, but he became a born again Christian.” I remember that Gary Gaetti, my favorite player on the Twins, (I’m from MN) became a born again Christian. I remember telling my friend, “Gaetti just ruined the Twins. He ruined the great chemistry they had in the club.” I said that with authority like someone who knows, but I didn’t know one actual thing about being “born again,” yet I had very strong opinions on the matter. Why?

Jump ahead 15 or so years. A lot has happened. Now I know what it means to be born again. Now I am born again. I’m even a youth group teacher. One night the Holy Spirit took control of our typically chaotic group. We were sitting in a circle and this is what happened: I was a new teacher. I had been there 2-3 times but always with the normal leader. I typically just sat and listened throwing in a small comment here and there. This time though, when I got to group I was told the normal leader couldn’t make it. The class was all mine, yikes… I decided to scrap the lesson plan and get to know my guys. I went around the circle and asked them a few questions each. Right around the circle, in order, the exact same questions. I first asked them where they went to school, what city they lived in, etc; warm up questions. Most of these kids were from families in our church. They certainly had heard the Christian “language” before. Then I asked them, again right around the circle, “Are you a Christian?” Every boy said yes. Then I asked them, “Are you a born again Christian?” Every boy said no. Fascinating! Then I asked them what it means to be a born again Christian. None of them knew. None of them knew, but they all knew that they weren’t one. How does that happen?

So there we were sitting in a circle, everyone a Christian, nobody a born again Christian, and I read them this verse: In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” …It was silent… So I asked them, “What does that verse mean?” …more silence… I just had a group of guys tell me they were not born again. I just showed them that Jesus said they must be born again if they want to go to Heaven. This is where I know the Holy Spirit had a hand in our group. Typically if you tell a teenage boy something along these lines, they say “whatever,” (or some other derivative of that word which is currently in their vernacular) however this time there was not one boy who didn’t have their head bowed running this stream of logic through their soul. I could imagine one boy, maybe two, who would consider what was just taught, but the whole room? Only God himself could arrange the scene…

This was part one of “You must be born again.” I’ll tell you what happened to those boys sometime in the future. It has been five years since that night. However, I want to leave you with a few questions: Are you a Christian? Are you a born again Christian? Jesus said you must be if you want to go to Heaven; are you?

Written by Chris Vasecka

If you have not accepted the free gift of salvation that only Jesus can offer, but you want to, talk to a pastor, read the Bible and pray that God will show you how, or send me an email…

To join a group of Christian business professionals who want to guide the next generation of Christian small business owners and professionals go to www.goodfaithpeople.ning.com.

6 comments:

  1. Isn’t it odd that if the Baptists and evangelicals are correct that their “born again experience” is the true and ONLY means of salvation, the term “born again” is only mentioned three times in the King James Bible? If “making a decision for Christ” is the only means of salvation, why doesn’t God mention it more often in his Word? Why only THREE times? Isn’t that REALLY, REALLY odd?

    Why is it that the Apostle Paul, the author of much of the New Testament, NEVER uses this term? Why is this term never used in the Book of Acts to describe the many mentioned Christian conversions? Why is this term only used by Jesus in a late night conversation with Nicodemus, and by Peter once in just one letter to Christians in Asia Minor?

    If you attend a Baptist/evangelical worship service what will you hear? You will hear this: “You must be born again: you must make a decision for Christ. You must ask Jesus into your heart. You must pray to God and ask him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart, and be your Lord and Savior (the Sinner’s Prayer). You must be an older child or adult who has the mental capacity to make a decision to believe, to make a decision to repent, and to make a decision to ask Jesus into your heart.”

    It is very strange, however, that other than “you must be born again” none of this terminology is anywhere to be found in the Bible! Why do Baptists and evangelicals use this non-biblical terminology when discussing salvation?

    Maybe it’s because…making a “decision” for Christ is NOT the manner in which sinners are saved!

    Gary

    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

    ReplyDelete
  2. Five questions that Baptists and evangelicals should ask themselves:

    1. Does the Bible state that a sinner is capable of choosing righteousness/choosing God?

    The Bible states that the sinner must believe and repent, but are these actions initiated and performed by man of his own intellectual abilities, or are faith, belief, and repentance a part of the entire "package" of salvation? Are faith, belief, and repentance part of the "free gift"? Does God give you faith, belief and repentance at the moment he "quickens" you, or does he require you to make a decision that you want them first, and only then does he give them to you.

    2. Is there any passage of Scripture that describes salvation in the Baptist/evangelical terms of: "Accept Christ into your heart", "Make a decision for Christ", "Pray to God and ask him to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart, and be your Lord and Savior (the Sinner's Prayer)". Is it possible that being "born again" is something that God does at a time of his choosing, and not something that man decides to do at a time of his choosing? Is man an active participant in his salvation in that he cooperates with God in a decision to believe, or is man a passive participant in his salvation; God does ALL the work?

    3. Is the Bible a static collection of words or do the Words of God have real power, real supernatural power? How does the Bible describe the Word? Is it the meaning of the Word that has power or do the words themselves have supernatural power to "quicken" the souls of sinners, creating faith, belief and repentance?

    4. Does preaching the Word save everyone who hears it or only the "predestined", the "elect", the "called", the "appointed" will believe when they hear the Word?

    5. WHEN does the Bible, if read in its simple, plain, literal rendering, say that sins are forgiven and washed away?

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

    ReplyDelete
  3. How many steps did you complete to receive the "free gift" of Salvation?

    Is this a "free gift"?

    I tell my child that I have an incredible gift for him. However, in order for the gift to be his, he must:

    1. apologize for his bad behavior and sincerely mean it.
    2. he must commit to change his ways and follow MY ways for the rest of his life.
    3. he must make a decision that he WANTS my gift.
    4. he must then approach me, hold out his hands, ask me for the gift, and cooperate with me, as I place the gift into his hands.

    If he does all this, he will receive his gift. But...if he chooses to reject my gift, I will damn him to HELL!

    Now is this "gift" really a gift...or a REWARD for making the right decision?

    No, that is NOT a gift!
    .
    This is a gift: "Dear Son, I have a gift for you. Here it is. I love you more than words can describe", and then I place the gift in my son's lap. No strings attached. The gift is his. He did nothing to receive it. I did everything.

    THAT is a free gift!

    So what is God's free gift? It is the whole salvation package: faith, belief, repentance, forgiveness of sins, atonement, and eternal life. It is ALL free... to those whom God has predestined, before the world existed, for reasons we do not know, to be his children.


    Gary

    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

    ReplyDelete
  4. How many steps did you complete to receive the "free gift" of Salvation?



    Is this a "free" gift?

    I tell my child that I have an incredible gift for him. However, in order for the gift to be his, he must:

    1. apologize for his bad behavior and sincerely mean it.
    2. he must commit to change his ways and follow MY ways for the rest of his life.
    3. he must make a decision that he WANTS my gift.
    4. he must then approach me, hold out his hands, ask me for the gift, and cooperate with me, as I place the gift into his hands.

    If he does all this, he will receive his gift. But...if he chooses to reject my gift, I will damn him to HELL!

    Now is this "gift" really a gift...or a REWARD for making the right decision?

    No, that is NOT a gift.
    .
    This is a gift: "Dear Son, I have a gift for you. Here it is. I love you more than words can describe", and then I place the gift in my son's lap. No strings attached. The gift is his. He did nothing to receive it. I did everything.

    THAT is a gift!

    So what is God's free gift? It is the whole salvation package: faith, belief, repentance, forgiveness of sins, atonement, and eternal life. It is ALL free... to those whom God has predestined, before the world existed, for reasons we do not know, to be his children.


    Gary

    www.LutherWasNotBornAgain.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Do you think that it is important to have a specific event that you can point to and say: "THEN, is when God saved me!"?

    We Lutherans do NOT believe that baptism is mandatory for salvation. All the saints in the OT, the thief on the cross, and many martyrs have died without baptism. We believe they are saved and in heaven. It is not the lack of baptism that damns someone to hell...it is the lack of faith/belief that damns one to hell, as Christ states in Mark 16:16.

    Many evangelicals think that Lutherans believe that salvation must come through Baptism. This is flat-out wrong! Baptism is one of several possible "when"s of salvation. It is always the Word of God that saves. (Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God). A sinner can be saved sitting in church listening to a sermon; listening to a Gospel program on the radio; or reading a Gospel tract. Baptism is NOT mandatory for salvation.

    However, Baptism is God's mark upon us that he truly has saved us. We belong to him. Unless someone intentionally fakes believing, fakes repenting, and fakes a genuine desire to receive Christ's "mark" in baptism, the person being Baptized DOES receive Christ's mark stating: YOU, child, now belong to me.

    In the evangelical conversion, you have two viewpoints, Arminian and Calvinist. The Arminian believes that he is saved when HE makes a decision to have faith and believe/repent. The problem is that when HIS faith is ebbing low, he begins to question the sincerity of his "decision": "Did I really do 'it' right?" Why this worry? He worries because his salvation was partly dependent upon HIM; upon HIS "decision".

    The Calvinist, on the other hand, believes that he is either born the Elect or he isn't. There doesn't need to be any specific time of conversion, as long as at some point in his life, the Calvinist declares to the world his faith and belief---he IS one of the Elect. However, ask many Calvinists when they were saved and they will give you a blank stare and then answer, "Well...my salvation was a 'process'!"

    Are there any examples in the Bible of ANYONE being saved by a process??

    Receive the mark of Christ, brothers and sisters. In Holy Baptism, God's marks you as his: “Property of the King of Kings, Almighty Lord of Heaven and Earth".

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

    http://www.lutherwasnotbornagain.com/2013/07/how-many-steps-did-you-complete-to.html


    ReplyDelete
  6. BORN OF WATER JOHN 3:5

    There are some who deny water baptism is essential to the forgiveness of sins, by debating the clear meaning of "born of water" found in John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.


    The primary debating point is that born of water refers to natural child birth. Was Jesus telling Nicodemus that one of requirements to enter the kingdom of God, was that he had to exist? That makes no sense. It is obvious if you were never born you could not enter the kingdom of God.


    To suggest that "water" in (John 3:5) means embryonic fluid, is at best an unreasonable conclusion.


    Jesus said you have to born again to enter the kingdom of God. Being born of flesh the first time is not being born again. Again never means the first time!


    When the apostles were preaching the gospel, did they say, in order to enter the kingdom of God, you have to physically exist; that is, you must have been born of embryonic fluid (water)? No they did not.


    Jesus said "unless one is born of water he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (John 3:5) Jesus said "has been baptized shall be saved."(Mark 16:16)


    THERE IS A WATER AND SPIRIT CONNECTION IN SALVATION.


    Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,(The AND cannot be ignored)


    WATER BAPTISM: washing of regeneration.
    SPIRIT: renewing by the Holy Spirit.
    NOTE: It is God our Savior that saves us.(Titus 3:4)


    Acts 2:38 ....be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


    WATER BAPTISM: for forgiveness of sins.
    SPIRIT: receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


    BORN AGAIN OF WATER AND SPIRIT!


    The only way to not understand that Jesus meant water baptism in John 3:5, is by using extra-Biblical sources.


    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete