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July 8, 2013

Forty 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

We want to continue this week looking and the remaining two truths from Psalm 139.


Cooperating with the Designer


A second truth from Psalm 139 is that God knows us. In fact, He knows everything that can be known about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The psalmist wrote:


O Lord, thou has searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou has beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it (verses 1-6).


One reason we, as human beings, are so concerned with externals is that much of what we can see of others is what shows from the outside. God, however is not so limited. The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Yes, God knows all the secrets of our hearts, all our thoughts, all our desires, and all our feelings. He knows some terrible things, doesn’t He? In addition, if we understand that God is holy and hates sin, the fact that He knows everything about us can become even more frightening, for all of us are guilty of sin. We cannot keep the deepest secrets of our hearts hidden from God-He knows them.


Nevertheless, despite our secret sins, God reaches out to us in love. The corruption of our hearts does not change His compassion and care for us. The wonderful truth is that He offers His forgiveness, continuing love, and salvation unconditionally to all those who will trust Him. He could deal with us as enemies, but He chooses to love us.


Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not believe that self-acceptance is the same as self-indulgence. True self-acceptance does not mean that we abandon ourselves to our faults or that we blind ourselves to our character flaws. Rather, it means that we recognize them for what they are-sin-confess them, and determine to cooperate with God’s work in conforming us to His image. Does that sound difficult? Then remember Dee Jepson’s statement that when we do this the responsibility transfers to God.


Notice the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17-Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [or creation]; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. What a blessed truth. We can be like the Lord because of His work within us!


Companionship that satisfies


A final truth from Psalm 139 is that God is with us. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee (verses 7-12).


How marvelous to know that God, having made us, did not simply abandon us to ourselves! What assurance there is in knowing that He didn’t just create the universe, set things in motion, then walk off and leave it to whatever fate lay ahead! God wants to be with us, fellowship with us, commune with us, know us, and have us know Him intimately. This, apart from anything else we say or do or become, gives each of us tremendous value.


Nothing gives me more confidence than the knowledge that God is with me. I could not have sung before thousands, travel as I have done, or appeared in front of the television cameras for an international weekly program without the knowledge that God is with me and that He has called me and is empowering me to do what I am doing.


Each of us, you see, is a bit like Moses, who had a definite self-image problem. Perhaps he had it because his first attempt to lead the Israelites ended in incredible failure-he killed a man, was publicly humiliated, had to give up his position of status and wealth, and spent forty years on the back side of the desert thinking about it. Talk about being baffled, bewildered, and befuddled! How miserable he must have been. Then God appeared to him in a burning bush and called him to confront Pharoah on behalf of the children of Israel.


Moses, his ego wounded from his previous failures, didn’t think he had what it would take to speak for the Lord. He protested, I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue (Exodus 4:10). God answered him, I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say (verse 12). What an incentive to service that must have been! God himself promised not only to be with Moses but to give him guidance and instruction as well. He promises the same to you and me.


Yes, the God who made us and knows all about us wants us to know Him in His fullness. That is why He has revealed himself through His Word. He wants us to walk with Him, to enjoy His presence, to draw on His strength, and to lean on Him in times of uncertainty and pain. His promise is, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).


In the early days of our ministry, there were times when I was very sick and weak. I can remember getting out of bed to sing in meetings and then, later, returning to bed with heavy medication. Sometimes the pain was so excruciating that I did not feel I could sing another note. Yet, when I was weak, the Lord sustained me. When I was tired, He strengthened me. When I hurt, He comforted me. I could never have done it in my own strength. Through those experiences, I learned the same truths Paul discovered during his ministry-God’s grace is sufficient. His strength is most powerful in the midst of our weaknesses.


Most of all, I learned that God made me the way He did for a purpose. If I had been given the opportunity to choose my characteristics as a minister’s wife, I probably would have asked for a tremendous amount of stamina and physical strength. I would have requested perfect health and unlimited abilities. God, in His infinite wisdom, did not make me that way. Instead, He has used my weaknesses to amplify His strength.


My heart aches for those who are not satisfied with themselves. I wish they knew the satisfaction of resting in the confidence that God made us, He knows everything about us, and He is with us. Ultimately, you see, the person who rejects himself is really rejecting the God who made him the way he is. For such a person, there is no hope of true satisfaction, but instead he will remain baffled, bewildered and befuddled.



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

As a retired Deputy Sheriff/ Detective from a central Florida Sheriff’s Office, I have spent my career and life based on evidence. Not on how things look or sound at the time or location, but at evidence. My investigations were based on the questions of “who, what, when, where, why, and how”. It is with great security that you approach and answer those questions with each Biblical stand you take. Not with current society attitude or opinion, but with scriptural evidence. As my wife and I have begun to search through your teachings and materials, we are amazed that you take such a safe and strong Biblical stand on everything that comes out of your mouth! When someone asks me if I can trust what JVIM teaches, I literally can say, “Yes, case closed!” Keep the faith, my pilgrim brother and sister. God Bless!


Tom P.


 


I am 41, and have found I am in the minority, even among “Christians” in my beliefs. I am soooo happy to find someone who stands firmly and Biblically upon the Word of God! Praise God for you and your wife! May blessings be upon you!


Laura D.



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