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Posts tagged ‘born again’

Jesus Encounters

80. Partake – The Christian Disciple and Jesus’ Encounters

We know Jesus spoke to and interacted with large crowds. The Sermon on the Mount, the feeding of large crowds just a couple of examples. But we also have records of his encounters with individuals and their reaction to him. People who we talk to about Him, often have three reactions: rejection (either in sorrow or anger); more to think about it; and acceptance. We are going to look at two encounters that we find in the Gospels, what Jesus had to say to them and their subsequent reactions: his encounter with the rich young ruler and his meeting with Nicodemus. Next time we will look at two examples of those who accepted and believed in Him.

1. Rich young ruler Matthew 19:16-26 Mark 10v17-22 Luke 18:18-27

Mark 10v17: As Jesus started on his way; a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.'”

“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

This story is in all three synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke. Luke describes him as a wealthy ruler (Luke 18v18-27). Matthew describes him as a young man (Matthew 19v16-26). In Mark’s account, he is simply a man (Mark 10v17-22). Put altogether that makes him a rich young ruler. He runs up to Jesus and falls on his knees before Him. He wants eternal life, wants it now and so asks Jesus about it. When he calls Jesus a good teacher, Jesus responds “No one is good—except God alone.”

Now Jesus could have been correcting the young man, but more likely Jesus was asking: “Do you know what you are saying and how close to the truth about me you are?” This young man had fully kept the commandments listed by Jesus (Mark 10v19). However when Jesus said to the young ruler that in order to follow Him, he would have to give up all his wealth in order to have treasure in heaven and eternal life, the man left rejected.

That was a step too far for the rich young ruler. He wanted his riches and also eternal life but Jesus said he couldn’t have both. He remains the only man who left Jesus’ presence sorrowful, and that due to putting his trust in his riches & wealth alone. Now riches are not necessarily wrong but they do make trusting fully in God very difficult (Mark 10v23).

2. Nicodemus John 3v1-21

John 3v1-3: Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.[

Nicodemus wants to know more about Jesus and investigate Him personally, instead of following the majority of the other Jewish leaders. What do we know about Nicodemus?

  • Member of the Jewish ruling council, the Sanhedrin
  • A leading teacher and learned scholar of the Scriptures
  • From other sources we know he may well have been from a family of wealthy landowners
  • Protested against Jesus’ condemnation without a trial (John 7v50-52)
  • Took gifts to anoint Jesus’ body (John 19v39-40)

Nicodemus was probably one of the many looking for a kingdom of God based around a political Messiah; hence him admitting that due to his miraculous signs, Jesus must have been from God. They wanted a Messiah who was a political leader who would lead Israel to be a shining light for the whole world to come to Jerusalem and worship the one true living God. However, Jesus corrects Nicodemus and says that it is not through a new Israel that God’s kingdom will be seen, but by being “born again”.

Three times in this conversation, Jesus repeats about being “born again”. What does “born again” mean?

  • It is not a physical rebirth and nor is it merely a turning over a new leaf.
  • It is not baptism because Jesus has not instituted baptism yet!
  • It is the new covenant, which Nicodemus should have known about it (Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36). It is being born with water and spirit – cleansed of sin and indwelt with the Holy Spirit
  • It is being born from above, which is looking to the one who has come down from heaven. For the phrase “born again” can also be translated “born from above”.
  • It is looking to Jesus and trusting in him just as the ancient Israelites were saved by looking at the bronze snake (Numbers 21v8)
  • It is on an individual basis just as physical birth is. Nobody knows the date and time of their own birth unless they are told by somebody!

Jesus seemed astonished that the teacher didn’t already know that, being as Nicodemus was a highly educated and learned teacher!

 

So there we have 2 different reactions to Jesus: The rich young ruler who left full of sorrow; the Jewish leader who left with more to think about regarding this Jesus. In each encounter, Jesus is remarkably comfortable with all two people. He loved the rich young ruler (Mark 10v21)His love surrounded them, just as His love surrounds all people today. His message of salvation, through Him alone, is for everybody of all time.

For more to think about please do ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. Please read Mark 10v17-22. What things may be hindering me from fully trusting in God for all things?

Q2. Read John 3v1-21. What does this Scripture tell me about God’s salvation?

Q3. How does Jesus’ approach to telling people about salvation inspire me to do likewise?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partakes(at) googlemail.com. Thank you

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Glimpses 43

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Entrance to the Kingdom

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G’day and welcome to Partake Glimpses Stories. Where we see together how Jesus is alive today, working in peoples lives in different ways and is relevant to the world today, 2000 years after He walked the earth, died, rose again and ascended to the right hand of God the Father. Today we welcome back once more, Jim Allis, an experienced pastor, relating to us a situation where God undoubtedly helped people and shows His relevancy to them. So over to you – Jim!

Born Again?

One Tuesday evening in a meeting , I was preaching John 3 concerning a question Nicodemus asked Jesus . “What does it means to be ‘born again?” Jesus had said “Except a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God” Jesus then explains it to him . Nicodemus doesn’t understand and thinks he has to return to his mothers womb in order for it to happen.

A lady who was sitting in my congregation was dozing, not because she was bored but because dying from cancer she had drugged herself before she had left her home that night.. Pain always set in when she entered the church . When I had finished preaching I walked down the aisle close to her. As I did so she grabbed my jacket and said “What do you mean we have to become Christians and be born again, isn’t this a Christian country we are living in?” I replied by asking her a question. “Well, what do you think?” She replied ” I suppose the way things are, murders thieving, adulteries and child abuse this can’t be a Christian country and what’s more I know I am not, Please will you help me?” This was a cry from her heart. I was convinced of that.

Home visit!

A day or so later I called on her and gave her a book called “By Searching” by Isabel Khun, a godly missionary. It included an account of how she became a Christian. As I left the house, Mrs D said “I am not there yet. I cannot call Jesus Lord of my life.” I said I would pray for her. A few days later her daughter rang me to say her mum had been rushed into hospital and it was 50/50 whether she would recover from the operation to remove the cancer.

Born Again with New Life!

The day I visited the hospital I will never forget, Earlier I had read God’s word for encouragement and prayed for Mrs D feeling very inadequate to know what I would say to her to comfort her in her extreme condition. Entering the ward I found her sitting in a chair beside her bed looking very pale. However there was a huge smile on her face. Excitedly she said “It’s happened” she explained. ” I can now call Jesus My Lord! I was reading the preface of this book you gave me and the writer explained how she was going through a deep mist but as it cleared she began to understand Jesus purpose in coming into this world”.

Mrs D now could understood about sin, forgiveness and her need of a righteousness not her own to cover her. Mrs D was full of joy and we praised God together.

Dead yet Alive!

The next time I visited the hospital she was in a coma after the operation. I prayed for her aware from experience that my words would be heard in her spirit even though she couldn’t respond . She went to heaven shortly afterwards. How loving and wonderful , full of mercy and compassionate our Lord is. How determined He was to quicken her through His Word before she died. “She must be born again” and she was, and she died in peace

If you have found this helpful, please do let us know how it has helped your own journey of faith. Thank you.

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Partake – WISE – Born Again

G’day! Welcome to Partake WISE. The word for today is Born Again!

Jesus says these words: “I tell you the truth, no once can see the kingdom of God unless he is born, not again.” (John 3v3)

Each person has something in common with every other person that has ever lived. They have been born physically! Of course they only know the time and date of their physical birth, because somebody told them. They also had no say in whether they wanted to be born physically or not!

Just as each person has a physical body, each person also has a spirit. Now the spirit is our spiritual system, which is seen in our consciousness of God and in our faith and conscience. A spiritual birth is required in order to give a spiritual life, just as a physical birth gives physical life. Each person is made up of a physical body and an internal spirit. That is why Jesus says that in order to be one of His followers you need to be “born again”. This phrase can also be translated “born from above”. It is also something that you cannot do by yourself, as it is only a work of God, that you can be “born again” or “born from above”. When you are physically born, your spirit has cataracts on, so that you are alienated from God. However by submitting yourself to Jesus, your spiritual cataracts fall off, and then you are “born again”. However, unlike your physical birth, you need to say to God you want to “born again”, live for Him and have that spiritual birth. Now, you may or may not know the exact time and date of when this took place, but be assured, one day your Heavenly Father will tell you!!

As a result of being “born again”, you are now:

  • washed by rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3v5)
  • a new creation (2 Corinthians 5v17)
  • a new person created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness in a lifelong process of regeneration. (Ephesians 4v24; Colossians 5v17)
  • now truly alivjust physically but also now spiritually (Ephesians 2v5)
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