February 25, 2013
Forty-five percent of America’s citizens claim to be “born again.” Are they? Have they had such an experience? Are they genuinely “twice born” people? Let’s see as we undertake the study of the “new birth.”
John 3:1-7 states, 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. 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? 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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.
The “New Birth” Defined
Now what is this “born again” experience? Nicodemus, a master or teacher of Israel, figured that it might have something to do with reincarnation. So he asked, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Christ instantaneously refuted this reasoning by saying, That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
The Greek word anothen, translated again means “from above.” Thus, Christ actually said, “Nicodemus, reentrance into and rebirth from the womb of one’s mother only produces a second fleshly manifestation, not a spiritual birth. For that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Therefore, marvel not (don’t be shocked) that I said you must be born from above, or born spiritually.”
This plain, simple, logical statement from God should “put to bed” once, for all, and forever the nonsense taught by reincarnationists. They believe that after death one is “reborn” as a human, cow, dog, or ant. (Don’t step on an ant because it might be your Aunt!) Wow! If one wants to believe fairy tales, that’s his business. But please do not use the Bible to propagate such heresy.
May I tell you a little story? Once upon a time, a couple believed in reincarnation. The wife, a chronic nagger, made her husband so miserable that he longingly looked forward to death. Guess what? He died. Then she died. He returned as a dog and she as a flea!
Quit worrying. It won’t happen, McGee, because being born again has nothing to do with a fleshly conception. Neither does it have anything to do with fleshly service. That’s why John 1:13, speaking about “twice-born” men, says, Which were born, not of blood [fleshly reproduction], nor of the will of the flesh [works], nor of the will of man, BUT OF GOD. Titus 3:5 agrees by stating, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.
This makes it plain that baptism, confirmation, the communion service, the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Ten Commandments cannot save a soul. Salvation is of the Lord (see Jonah 2:9). That’s why Romans 4:5 declares, …to him that worketh not, but believeth on [Christ] that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
The new birth, then, is a birth into God’s family, produced by the Holy Spirit, the moment one receives Christ as his or her personal Saviour. Let me prove this. Humans become sons or daughters by birth. Since one can only become a son or daughter by birth, it is evident that God’s SONS and DAUGHTERS are also born into the heavenly family. This occurs as Christ is received. John 1:12 states, But as many as received [Christ], to them gave he power to become the sons of God…. Christ-rejecters cannot, therefore, be sons of God. Call me bigoted and prejudiced if you will, but I simply believe the Bible. .., yea, let God be true, but every man a liar… (Romans 3:4).
Jesus said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: NO MAN cometh unto the Father, but by me. Acts 4:12 also states, Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Therefore, … ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26).
How different are the teachings of God’s Holy Word from the speculative guesses of men-even clergymen! Ordained apostates hate the teachings of the Bible. They, loaded with degrees (enough to give their parishioners a fever), know more than God who wrote the Book. At least it seems this way as they attempt to gain the sinner’s favor by parroting the ecumenical message of the “Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.”This pleases the lost, but it is not the message found upon the pages of Holy Writ. God is not one’s Father until a birth has occurred. Blind leaders of the blind ignore this fact and distort the truth by quoting misquoted texts.
Now, taking a text out of context produces a pretext. This is the case as “reverends” quote the first half of Galatians 3:26 . … Ye are all the children of God…. It sounds wonderful to the average pew warmer, but is so untrue. The entire verse tells the story accurately. I quote: Ye are all the children of God BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS. Christ must be received if one is to become a son or daughter. Until then, one is a child of the devil. Ouch! Don’t blame me for that statement. Jesus made it in John 8:44. He said, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do….
The Holy Spirit also declares in 1 John 3:8. He that committeth sin is of the devil…. We see then that one is either a child of God or a child of the devil. To become a child of God one must trust in the shed blood of Christ for the remission of his sins. The moment one makes this decision, the birth “from above” takes place and sonship begins. Then, and only then, can one honestly pray, [My] Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name (Matthew 6:9). No man may call God “Father” without this spiritual birthday.
The “New Birth” Described
One’s understanding of the “new birth” or “birth from above” can be enhanced by making three brief analogies between it and the physical birth with which we are all familiar.
First, it takes a birth to live upon earth, temporarily. Likewise, it takes a second birth to live with Christ, eternally.
Second, one does nothing to become born physically. An act of love between man and wife produces life. Similarly, an act of love upon Calvary made eternal life a possibility for all who receive Christ.
Third, one’s life upon earth begins as he is born. Likewise, eternal life begins immediately as one is “born again.”
This reception of the Son of God into one’s heart and life automatically and instantaneously makes one a child of God because John 1:12 states, But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the SONS OF GOD …. Spiritually speaking, then, sons are born to God as the Lord Jesus Christ is received.
This is possible only because of Christ’s death and resurrection. That’s what the gospel message, meaning “good news,” is all about. Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Moreover, brethren, l declare unto you the GOSPEL which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what l preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
This is the message that must be accepted if one is to be “born again,” “born from above,” “born by the Spirit,” and “born into eternal life.” This gospel must include the proclamation of Christ’s shed blood for the remission of one’s sins. To bypass the blood is to destroy the message! The “good news” becomes “bad news” when the blood is omitted. One could not get to heaven by the death of Christ if Christ’s decease were bloodless.
Had Christ expired via suffocation or heart attack, His death would have been in vain as far as salvation is concerned. It had to be death by the shedding of blood, for … it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11). That’s why the Church was …purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28), and why … we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7). This “good news” also tells us that.., the blood of Jesus Christ [God’s] Son cleanseth us from all [ALL] SIN (1 John 1:7).Small wonder that 1 Peter 1:19 calls Christ’s blood precious …as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
This gospel message, however, is not complete without Christ’s bodily resurrection. Permanent death would have rendered the sacrifice valueless. Therefore, Romans 4:25 states, [Christ] was delivered [Calvary] for our offences and was raised again for [or because of] our justification. In simpler technology, the text declares that Jehovah raised His Son from the dead to prove that the saved sinner’s righteous standing before God was settled forever because of Christ’s shed blood. When one accepts this gospel message as the only way of salvation and receives Christ who made it all possible, he immediately becomes a SON OF GOD. The recipient instantaneously is “born” by the Holy Spirit into the family of God and commences to celebrate his new birthday for time and eternity.
Life in a Look
Millions upon millions will be in heaven because they followed God’s instructions for eternal life given in John 3:1-7. In verse seven, one is told that he must be born again and verses 14 through 16 explain God’s process in performing the miracle.. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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.
The background for this precious portion of Scripture is found in Numbers 21. The children of Israel, because of disobedience to God, had been trampling in the wilderness needlessly. Meanwhile, their constant griping got to Jehovah God, and He gave them a good spiritual spanking.
The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people …(and many died). Therefore [they] came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee [Moses]; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived (Numbers 21:6-9).
What an experience! Think of it, there was life in a look! The infected victims did nothing but obey God’s message. They came, looked, and were healed. Now John states, [Just as] Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man [Christ] be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:14-15). As there was physical life by looking at the uplifted serpent, so there is eternal life by looking at Calvary’s uplifted sacrifice.
Since brass in Scripture depicts judgment, the brass serpent uplifted on a pole pictured judgment accomplished in behalf of the people. They only had to look and believe to live. Christ, lifted high on the cross 1,900 years ago, also symbolized judgment accomplished on the part of sinners.
No doubt about it! Christ died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3). [God] hath made [Christ] to be sin for US, who knew no sin; that WE might be made the righteousness of God in him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Therefore, one need do nothing. Christ has already been judged for the sin of all sinners. Just look and live, believe and be saved! As life was imparted to the Israelites by looking, so eternal life is bestowed upon all who look and believe. It is logical, then, to conclude and theologically accurate to say that one’s reception of Christ becomes the “born again” experience because it is this reception of the Saviour and His shed blood that makes one a “son” (see John 1:12).
The “New Birth” Is in Christ
With this background, it is easy to comprehend that “life,” yea “eternal life,” is always associated with Christ in the Scriptures. This is a necessary conclusion. Why? If one is born into God’s family by receiving the Lord Jesus, then it logically follows that eternal life, produced by the birth, must also be in Christ. Amen and Amen!
Please put away all preconceived ideas and let God’s Word speak for itself.
John 1:4: In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 3:16: 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.
John 3:36: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
In John 5:40 Jesus said, …ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. He again declared in John 6:47, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. Hear Him in John 10:10, The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:27.28 adds, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life ….
Jesus said in John 11:25,26, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? Every saved heart should respond, “Yes Lord, I believe; I believe! Thou art the eternal life, and I have been born into this unending experience. Therefore, I shall never die.” Hallelujah!
Sinner, you, too, may experience this everlasting blessedness. John 20:30,31 states, …many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ; the Son of God; and that believing ye might have LIFE through his name. I beg of you-see it as it is–Jesus Christ, our Lord, alone produces “eternal life,” as He enters hearts.
Could anything be more obvious than 1 John 5:12 “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. Someone cries, “I have been baptized, confirmed, catechized, and religiously simonized and that should be sufficient. “Yet, God says, He that hath the Son hath life and he that hath not the Son hath not life.
Another echoes the old refrain, “I am living by the Golden Rule, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Ten Commandments. This should insure a reservation in heaven.” Still, He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not Life (1 John 5:12). The Son of God is what the new birth is all about. That’s why 1 John 5:1 states, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God …. When one is “born of God,” eternal life begins because … this life is in his Son (1 John 5:11). Do you know Jesus?
The author of the Gospel of John, so frequently quoted, sums it up beautifully by saying in 1 John 5:13, These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. You may be “born again,” “born from above,” “born spiritually, ” “born into sonship,” “born into eternal life” by receiving Christ this very moment! Remember, it is to …as many as [receive] him, [that he gives] power to become the SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12). The question is: What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be. Someday you may be asking, “What will He do with me?”
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
But What Have I to Offer?
The little boy was only about 8 years old, bright-eyed, blonde, and so very cute.
He came up to me that Wednesday evening before the crusade service started and said, “I have something for you, Rexella!”
I smiled down at this vibrant little guy, knelt beside him, and asked, “What is it?”
He excitedly held out a brown paper bag for me to open. Inside was a freshly-baked, crusty-brown loaf of bread. “Oh, how nice!” I exclaimed. “Did your mother make this for me?”
“No, I did!” he said proudly. “I made it for you.”
I couldn’t keep from giving him a hug of appreciation for his gift that meant so much to me. To some it may not have seemed like much — a slightly misshapen, slightly overdone loaf of homemade bread. But behind it was an overflowing supply of generosity and love for my husband and me.
And even little is much when it is given with love.
Jesus confirmed this with His comments about the giving of a poor widow who dropped two tiny coins into the offering at the Temple. Contrasted with the large sums being given by the wealthy, her gift must have seemed insignificant to those who looked on. But the Lord said, “This woman has given more than all the others. They gave a portion of their abundant wealth — she gave all she had, even her very living” (see Mark 12:41-44).
I think it is very significant indeed that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, took note of that small, sacrificial gift and said that, in His eyes, it was worth more than all the other gifts put together. The New Testament account doesn’t actually say so, but I wonder if God didn’t bless those two little coins and multiply their value many times over!
How God will use your gift
He did that one day with a little lad’s lunch of five loaves and two fishes. Jesus multiplied that simple sack-lunch into enough to feed a multitude of 5,000… with lots of leftovers.
I believe the Lord performed this miracle for more than one reason. Yes, He felt compassion for the multitude that had followed Him and listened to His teaching all day long. He wanted to meet their physical need and satisfy their hunger for food as He had satisfied their thirst for spiritual truth.
But I believe this miracle may also have been to encourage the faith of His disciples. Perhaps they may have been tempted to send the multitude away hungry (“what good is so little among so many?”) and use the few loaves and fishes as a meager snack for the staff.
But the Lord demonstrated in a graphic way that, in His kingdom, there is always enough to meet the need. He blessed and broke the bread and fish, then had them serve the hungry people. When everybody had eaten his fill, the disciples gathered up what was left. And there were 12 baskets full — one basket for each disciple!
What a great lesson! What a great miracle! Yet, it could not have happened without the unselfish giving of the little boy who handed over his lunch. What if he had said, “There are too many hungry people here, and I have barely enough food for myself. I can’t afford to give… and what little I have wouldn’t make much difference anyhow.”
But he did what he could do — shared what he had. And his gift fed a multitude… and taught Jesus’ disciples a great lesson. Plus, I’ve always felt the little boy must have ended up taking more food home that night than he’d started out with. So he had a chance to witness to his parents about what the Lord had said and done.
Who could have blamed the poor widow if she had said, “Look at all the rich offerings the wealthy people are giving at the Temple. I have only these two mites — worth less than a penny. There’s no way I can give. No one would even know if I did give, or miss my tiny offering if I didn’t.”
But out of love for God she gave — and Jesus himself noticed and called attention to her generosity!
Your giving is important
So often people look at the worldwide soulwinning outreaches of Jack Van Impe Ministries and feel that our program is so big that we don’t need their help. “What I have to give is so little in comparison to your need that I’m embarrassed to even offer it,” they say. In essence they’re saying, “But what have I to offer?”
You know what this ministry is doing. We’re on weekly television, with regional audiences that are growing with each telecast. The rating services say that already we are number one with some segments of the viewing audience. Our goal is to blanket the entire world with our program ministering to multiplied millions each week.
In addition, our overseas radio broadcasts are touching thousands upon thousands of homes across Europe and in many other countries. Each month we receive letters from people in many nations who have been blessed and helped through this outreach.
And we are able to do this on a fraction of the budget of many larger organizations. It has always been our policy to hold overhead expenses to an absolute minimum and use virtually all of our funds for pure ministry. And we make sure the ministry gets full value for every dollar invested. That’s the secret of how we have been able to accomplish so much on a fairly small income.
And this is why every support gift we receive is important. Even a small offering sent to Jack Van Impe Ministries very probably will accomplish as much as a larger amount given to a “big name” organization. Some friends also have the misconception that most of this ministry’s support comes from those who give very large amounts — thousands and tens of thousands!
We have no corporate sponsors, no denominational underwriting, no group of wealthy benefactors. Actually, what keeps us going are the regular, faithful, sacrificial gifts of friends who send $10, $20, or $50 each month, or as often as they can. Every gift we receive — large or small — is important.
What is in your hand?
What do you have to offer? Give that. For remember, to whom much is given, much is required. But even if you had absolutely no material possessions, you still could give your love, your encouragement, your prayers. It means so much to know our friends are standing with us.
What do you have to offer? What God has placed in your hands. What you are willing to give to His work. If all you have to give to God in Jesus’ name is a cup of cold water, then that is all God expects.
For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not (2 Corinthians 8:12).
Over the years the Lord has blessed my husband and me with many precious friends who have shared the burdens and the opportunities of this ministry. Occasionally, in addition to the support given for our work, we have received a card or a word of encouragement, or a small personal gift. I have appreciated all of them.
But I don’t think I’ll ever forget the night when that charming 8-year-old brought me the best he had to offer, a loaf of bread he baked himself!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Dear Mr. Van Impe:
I’ve been listening to you off and on since 1968 and during all those years your message has never changed, you’ve never compromised that “Jesus is coming soon, maybe today” and you’ve never given in to your critics. What a reputation, that a man can stay on the same course all his life. And yes, Jesus is coming soon, maybe before you get this. We’ll talk later.
I and all Bible-believing Christians are with you and praise God for preaching the truth no matter what the cost! I pray daily for you and your wife and ministry. God has put a prophetic mantle upon you for this hour!
Take heart and be strong in the Lord my dear brother and sister in Christ!
Hello Dr. Jack and Dr. Rexella,
I just wanted to say thank you so much for your honesty and perseverance in presenting the Gospel each week to a World that is losing its way. I met you and Rexella on an Eastern Airlines flight from Ft. Meyers, Florida to Atlanta about 1982. I walked to the front of the cabin in flight to say hello.
Captain Bill and Cheryl L.
United Airlines (Ret.)
HIGHLIGHTED PRODUCT OFFERS
Is Sharia law on the horizon for all 57 Muslim countries; and then the whole world?
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