Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
“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!”
Jesus answered, “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.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:1-16
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
- 1 John 1:6-7
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
- John 17:22-23
“Sometimes we are fresh and eager to attend a prayer meeting, but do we feel that same freshness for such mundane tasks as polishing shoes?
“Being born again by the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, and as surprising as God Himself. We don’t know where it begins— it is hidden away in the depths of our soul. Being born again from above is an enduring, perpetual, and eternal beginning. It provides a freshness all the time in thinking, talking, and living— a continual surprise of the life of God. Staleness is an indication that something in our lives is out of step with God. We say to ourselves, ‘I have to do this thing or it will never get done.’ That is the first sign of staleness. Do we feel fresh this very moment or are we stale, frantically searching our minds for something to do? Freshness is not the result of obedience; it comes from the Holy Spirit. Obedience keeps us ‘in the light as He is in the light…’ (1 John 1:7).
“Jealously guard your relationship with God. Jesus prayed ‘that they may be one just as We are one’ — with nothing in between (John 17:22). Keep your whole life continually open to Jesus Christ. Don’t pretend to be open with Him. Are you drawing your life from any source other than God Himself? If you are depending on something else as your source of freshness and strength, you will not realize when His power is gone.
“Being born of the Spirit means much more than we usually think. It gives us new vision and keeps us absolutely fresh for everything through the never-ending supply of the life of God.”
- Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
I once had a pastor tell me that I was on the right track in teaching people how to evangelize, but I had to avoid one thing.
I asked what that one thing was, and he said, “Avoid mentioning being born-again. It sounds too much like being in an exclusive club.”
And my reply was, “But it is. It is free for anyone to join. In that way not exclusive, but you will never know what it is like until you have opened the door to your heart and let Jesus in. For those on the outside looking in, they only see an exclusive club until they surrender to God’s will for their lives. Then, they will see, but until then, they only see that you have something that they do not have.”
The pastor had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye and he said, “Exactly.”
Some day may come, and it may be soon, when we are not allowed to tell others of Jesus, but that is not today. Rev. Chambers starts with such a strange thing. We do the noble things, but we forget to polish our shoes. Being born-again is like polishing your shoes.
I was never good at spit shining my shoes in the military. It took hours of painstaking work. Then you stub your toe, and you are starting all over.
It is so much easier to just go to the prayer meeting and forget the shoes, but it the shoes, the born-again part, that makes all the difference. Unless Jesus is in your heart, He is not in your heart. Unless you surrender your will to His, you do not understand. You can say the words of Paul, but you cannot live them unless you are born again.
To live is Christ – every second of every day is a gift of God and I must take up my cross and follow.
And to die is gain – like the movie says, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, but then it gets better.
I am born-again. Yes, I said it. You can too by asking Jesus to come into your heart, but only if you do not resist. He’ll want to do some cleaning, and sometimes that is not that pleasant, but you will like the results in the end.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.