All American Speedway
October 15, 2011
“You Bet Your Life!”
We have concluded the series of messages for 2011, so here and Phoenix we will deal with a one-off message. In Phoenix I hope to share Chapel with the Nationwide Series with a special guest speaker and a special band, soooo…Be sure to come join us!
However today, let’s talk about being “Born Again.” Today this phrase or scriptural name of this subject is probably the most maligned, misunderstood, and scorned subject there is. Let’s look at this subject today.
* Please note:
I want to make available, and urge you to go to the online audio version of this subject that one of my best friends did at our home church. Not only is the subject complete and handled well, but Bruce Stefanik is an absolutely amazing teacher and speaker. You should be able to go direct to the link if you click the below link address or copy & paste in in your computer. Please take the time to listen to this message along with the entire series if you choose:
First of all, let’s look at some background concerning the event and who Nicodemus was.
Nicodemus was a much respected Jewish Leader, Judge, Lawyer or Pharisee. These were all powerful people and very learned in the Jewish culture. Each of them had to commit to memory the entire first five books of the Old Testament Bible to become a Pharisee. Nicodemus came to see Jesus during the night so that nobody saw him with Jesus because he feared his fellow leaders. Jesus had already offended these Pharisees and other religious leaders. Nicodemus obviously was very quick to note that there was something special about Jesus when he either watched Jesus or heard about Jesus turning the water into wine at the wedding feast. Shortly after that Jesus calmly sat and made a whip after which He walked into the Temple in Jerusalem and wreaked havoc on the businessmen and those preying upon the people coming to the Temple to pray and repent within the customs of Jewish Old Testament law and custom. That had to be quite a volatile scene as He drove everyone and the animals out and destroying their tables of goods. That included these Pharisees too!
But, Nicodemus was judging Jesus by His performance of the miracle at the wedding in Cana followed by Him making a whip and driving out everyone from the temple in Jerusalem. (So much for the meek and mild Jesus so many people view Him as still today) By these two events Nicodemus knew Jesus had a relationship with God …just like any legalist would today.
Let’s pick up this account in John Chapter 3, verse 1 & 2:
Note: All scriptures are from my Gospel by Bob (GBB)
“There was a Jewish leader named Nicodemus, who belonged to the party of the Pharisees. One night he went to Jesus and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher sent by God. No one could perform the miracles you are doing unless God were with him.”
Jesus ignores Nicodemus’s statement and responds in verse 3 when He tells Nicodemus: “I am telling you the truth: no one can see or enter the Kingdom of God without being born again.”
Nicodemus then responds to this shocking statement in John 3:4: “How in the world can a grown man be born again, or as You say …be born from above? Nicodemus asked. He certainly cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time!”
To that Jesus answers: “I will tell you the truth, that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. A person is born physically of human parents, but is only born spiritually by the Holy Spirit.”
Can you see Nicodemus here? Just like us, he was thinking: “Huh?”
This IS the very heart of the Gospel.
This is the heart of why we believe.
This is the heart of why we are here today.
Jesus jumps way ahead of Nicodemus here to the supernatural. Jesus is going back to the origin …what is behind this all.
We along with Nicodemus, have to come to the same conclusion …that IF we are truthful …then there is more to this life than what we know, then what we do, the pleasures of this life, the position we have attained, or whatever it is we are impressed with of ourselves. But one STILL has to come to the conclusion that there is still something out there that is missing!
That something is your spirit. …unless you have experienced what I am about to speak about.
For myself on that day, October 22, 1978, I had no idea what or how this all happened to me, but my experiences that day and other indicators from then on led me to faith. (Romans 10:17)
Jesus is saying 3 things here as He spoke to Nicodemus:
- We are spiritually lifeless as a result of “the fall.” (Gen.2:17)
God warned Adam that if he ate of the forbidden tree he would die. But Adam didn’t drop dead immediately at that point. But something inside him died …his supernatural spirit. The Bible clearly shows we are made of spirit, soul, and body.
We can look at someone and see their body. And maybe by their smile or words we can “see” their soul … (their mindset, will, & emotions) and know how they are doing today.
But their spirit is a God communication thing. As we mature in the Spirit we begin to sometimes understand where someone stands in the Spirit. … whether alive or dead.
Example: We all have woke up in the night when our mind and/or emotions have awakened our body and said no more sleep! Our soul had blended with and overruled our body.
And, if it is a marriage problem, rarely will you get very far because marriage is a physical, soul realm and spiritual relationship so it must be solved in all three realms.
In reality, that is usually just like most of life’s issues.
The trouble is …our spirit is dead. We are not bad, just spiritually dead unless we have experienced this 2nd birth. We hear with our head but it spiritually bounces off in our regenerate state.
Flesh gives birth to flesh. Romans 7 simply summed up says:
“I know that nothing good lives in me in my sinful nature. I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” We try & try & try but get nowhere because we don’t have what it takes. It takes something greater than what our flesh can produce.
This is what Jesus was saying to Nicodemus. Despite all your credentials & experience, …you don’t have what it takes! All Nicodemus learning, all his powerful place in life and religion would get him nowhere in respect to entering the Kingdom of God or Heaven.
Lastly, we end up back to where we began when Jesus said “You must be born again.”
Probably the best definition I have heard of exactly what that means comes from Pastor John Piper of Minneapolis who describes things this way:
“When you’re conceived and born by human parents you share in a human nature.
And when you are conceived and born by His divine Spirit you share in a divine nature.
Your first birth makes you alive to human life.
Your 2nd birth makes you alive to spiritual life.
Your first birth knits our hearts affectionately to our human father.
Our 2nd birth knits our hearts affectionately to our Heavenly Father.
Our first birth gives us an appetite for warm milk, a cool reputation, and hot sex.
Our 2nd birth gives us an appetite for God.
Our first birth imparts to us a natural impulse to save our lives.
Our 2nd birth imparts to us a natural impulse to lose our lives for Christ’s sake.”
These two births are irreconcilable without accessing the Spirit of God! Period!
Without the ability to hear in the Spirit we might as well be listening to a post and if we are talking to someone else without a reborn spirit we might as well talk to a post. It is like the wind Jesus refers to. Its there, but we cannot see it, cannot describe it, explain where it comes from or where it goes. But it is there whether we understand it or not.
When we start listening to the impulses led by the Spirit or try to talk to one not born to the Spirit we will look crazy or sound crazy! …to anyone not born to the Spirit.
All of this leads us to a personal choice …or gamble if you choose to call it. However, this gamble is one that you are betting your life upon.
Jesus said “You MUST be born again.” …This means you HAVE TOO! PERIOD!
If you want to enter the Kingdom of God or Heaven …YOU HAVE TO BE BORN AGAIN (or of the Spirit)
So, place your bet today!
Is what Jesus said true? Can you go to heaven when you die without this 2nd birth? Can you ever understand God without this 2nd birth?
It’s YOUR bet…
You can come see Kathy or me anytime if you need too, or talk to God yourself, but either way you respond to this message places your bet.
If you would like to listen to a more complete message on this subject please go online to one of my best friend’s message at our home church:
Have a safe and prosperous race today!