Born Again

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Reborn as a child of God

I wonder if you have come across the phrase "born again" or met someone who has said they have been "born again?" Quite simply, it is an expression taken from this verse (John 3:3) to mean they have become a Christian, reborn as a child of God.

Have you been "born again" or more literally "born from above?" It can be called conversion, repentance, or being saved, but has it happened to you? Does Christ live in your heart? Do you know it? Do you have a personal relationship with God? Many people have thought a long time about religion and Christianity and yet have never made a personal commitment to Jesus. 

Here, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a prominent Pharisee. He was an educated man in that he knew and studied the scriptures. Nicodemus had come to Jesus at night. We are not told why. Perhaps he wanted a private conversation away from the crowds. Maybe he wanted to know more before committing himself to Jesus Christ. In any event, he came and asked Jesus some questions that had been on his mind. He confessed to Jesus that he knew Jesus was a teacher come from God, because of the miracles Jesus had performed. However before he could say any more, Jesus said to him “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

This could either have been a rebuke, i.e. just admiring Jesus was not enough; or Jesus had read his thoughts and had answered before Nicodemus could even ask his question. Nevertheless, when Jesus told him in no uncertain terms you must be "born again", this clearly stunned and confused him, but it didn't put him off.  “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” This seems a sensible question to raise. How can someone physically be born again? He wanted to understand.
 

Jesus explains further

Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’


Jesus says it is not a physical birth, but a spiritual one! It's a fundamental change that takes place inside a person, by the work of the Holy Spirit! The only way this dramatic change can be described is by saying it's being born again! First, there is spiritual conception and a period of growth in the womb as God invisibly works on the heart and mind. Then the birth itself as spiritual realities are grasped by faith, along with the open confession of becoming a follower of Jesus.

Conversion can happen very quickly or it can take a long time. However once God has started a work in you, you will be changed.  It has nothing to do with how educated you are, or that you have been raised by Christian parents, or what church you attend. Heaven cannot be inherited or earned. It's a work that God alone can do, to be born a child of God.
 

Jesus goes further "Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8)


In saying this, Jesus is showing Nicodemus that it is God's mysterious and invisible work, not man's.
 

Nicodemus should have known this. He had the scriptures that promised this change. In Ezekiel, God says this "I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." (Ezekiel 36:25-27)


Nicodemus needed to change on the inside, not just the outside. He needed the Holy Spirit to work in his heart. It is nothing we can do ourselves. It's Gods work of sovereign grace. We need the Holy Spirit to come to us and convict us of our sin against others, and more importantly against God. He enables us to see things clearly, and choose to turn to God and say sorry, help me, forgive me (repentance).

The Holy Spirit regenerates, he changes our whole outlook on life. He gives us a new heart. New eyes to see the truth of his word. He opens our ears to hear and understand. That is when we are born again. The Holy Spirit comes to live in us, to teach us and to help us live the Christian life.

Are you asking what must I do to be saved? Then follow Nicodemus' example, and go to Jesus, and ask him for the Holy Spirit to work in your heart.
 

"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5)

Books

And they crucified Him Alun Ebenezer

Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? 

A Meal with Jesus Tim Chester

Tim argues that meals are also deeply theological – an important part of Christian fellowship and mission. He observes that Luke’s Gospel is full of stories of Jesus at meals. And these meals represent something bigger. In six chapters Tim shows how they enact grace, community, hope, mission, salvation and promise.

Knowing God J.I.Packer

J I Packer's modern classic on how we can know God. This book is normally in the top 10 list for all true bible believing Christians.

Something must be Known & Felt Stuart Olyott

In true Christianity God’s revealed truth is believed, it is lived out, and it is felt. It impacts the soul. If we forget this we will eventually lose biblical religion altogether.

Prayer - Experiencing awe and intimacy with God Timothy Keller

Keller begins by giving a theological underpinning of what prayer actually is - both conversation and encounter with a personal God - before describing how we can learn to pray, and then deepen that prayer. Finally he gives detailed, practical suggestions on how to make prayer a part of the reality of daily life.

ESV Study Bible Highly Recommended

The ESV Study Bible, Personal Size compresses all the features of the award-winning ESV Study Bible into a smaller size for easier carrying.

Podcasts

Pastor Gerard Hemmings Amyand Park Chapel

Gerard Hemmings was born in London and was raised a Roman Catholic. He was saved at the age of 17. He graduated from university with a degree in Biology.

Grace to you By John MacArthur

This powerful broadcast will boost your spiritual growth by helping you understand and apply God's Word to your life and the life of your family and church.

Truth For Life Alistair Begg

Truth For Life is the Bible-teaching ministry of Alistair Begg. The ministry's mission is to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance so that unbelievers will be converted, believers will be established and local churches will be strengthened.

Dr. Steven J. Lawson Sermon Audio

The latest podcast feed searching 'Dr. Steven J. Lawson' on SermonAudio.com.

Feed your soul daily on...

Topics

What is salvation?

What is true salvation? What does it look like to be in a right relationship with God, our Creator so that I can call him God my Redeemer?

Jesus says, I am the Door

"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture." (John 10:9)

God wouldn’t want me

Do you think you are too bad for God? Do you think you’ve gone too far for God to ever want you back? Well, maybe we should let God decide that.

No Other Name

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

I am the way, the truth, and the life

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

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Amyand Park Chapel, Amyand Park Road, Twickenham, Middlesex, TW1 3HY

Sunday Services at 11am and 6:30pm