Lifelines

 

by Gary Lacy

What Do You Mean Born Again?

What do you think of when you hear the term "born again"? In the Bible, Nicodemus had an idea of what he thought it meant...but he was wrong. So, in John chapter 3, we see that Nicodemus went to Jesus in the middle of the night to find out what truly being born again means.

Nicodemus begins his conversation with Jesus by offering compliments. Verse 2 says, "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 you do, except God be with him." Jesus brushed off the compliment, and cut to the chase. He replied, "Verily, verily I say to thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God (verse 3)." Nicodemus immediately thought that Jesus meant someone had to be physically born again to see God's kingdom, asking Jesus, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? (verse 4)" But Jesus responded by telling Nicodemus that someone must be born of water and of the spirit to enter the kingdom of God.

That is the new birth experience...repentance, water baptism in Jesus' name, and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. By repenting, we turn away from our old, sinful life, bury our old ways in water baptism in Jesus' name, and receive Jesus through the infilling of the Holy Ghost. What a precious promise from God, offering us one true path to eternal life.

The Enemy From Within

We are living in a world of division. The Bible talks about a time when some people would not accept the sound doctrine of Jesus. We are living in that time. Those who have a love for the truth of Jesus...no matter how bittersweet it might be to take...are getting harder to find. Many are looking for sweet, sugar-coated sermons when they go to church...or they just don't attend church at all. Some call themselves atheist, saying they don't believe in God...but that, in itself, is still a belief.

It takes a lot of faith to believe there is no God...when the evidence is all around us in Creation's beauty. As we live in this end time generation, when the return of Jesus to Earth is imminent, true believers and followers of Jesus are meeting resistance like never before from government edicts and hostility toward conservative Christians. They are not really hostile toward us but rather the doctrine of Jesus. Most who are hostile would rather live in a corrupt, sinful state than give their lives to the Son of God. And many of them are our own family members. In Matthew 10, Jesus talked about how close to home our spiritual attacks would be: he said, "And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and and cause them to be put to death. And he shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved." (Matthew 10: 21, 22)

Jesus never promised a cakewalk down the yellow brick road when we become his disciples. Instead, he said those who truly follow his doctrine will be persecuted by those who don't love the truth...including some of those in our own families. I have a sister who hasn't spoken to me in 17 years because of my stand for Jesus Christ. She turned her back on my family because she didn't want to face the gospel and apply it to her life. We must choose to please Jesus, not men. Psalm 71:1 says it this way: "In thee O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion."