By Pastor Jeff,
One Day Nicodemus a member of the Sanhedrin court came to Jesus, John 3:1-3, “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.” Of course Nicodemus didn’t really understand what Jesus was saying and asked the question in versus 4, “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?” What Jesus said next has been a point of contention as soon as those that heard it passed on and the next generation tried to reinterpret it, verse 5, “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.”
Pretty plain isn’t it? we must be born of the water and the spirit! But unfortunately man has tried to explain what Jesus said instead of accepting and obeying what Jesus said. As you look into the many different denominations in our world today you can find that they try to explain the “Born Again” experience in ways I see as unbiblical, they look to the Epistles, to which the writters are addressing already “Born Again” believers, to determine the mode of salvation for us all. I’m not here to argue the merits of “accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior”, for in my experience once a person truly repents God can and will do amazing changes in one’s life, but is that fulfillment of John 3:5?
I rather look to how the Apostles took what Jesus said and applied it and we just need to look in the book of the Acts of the Apostles to learn about that. There is little dispute that on the day of Pentecost is when the church was birthed as you can find in Acts 2:1-4. Is what happened next that should give us this explanation, the Apostle Peter explains to the crowd of what just occurred and also tells them of the resurrected Jesus Christ whom they had part in having crucified. As they were pricked in their hearts they asked Peter what could they do about this, Peter promptly replied in Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” in which three thousand souls were baptized. Water and Spirit!
We can follow this water and spirit being applied in people’s lives all the way through the book of Acts, we find it in the house of Cornelius in Acts 10:44-46, “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days” Water and Spirit! Notice Peter didn’t give them an option on baptism, did he?
Some will claim that they got baptized after they received salvation just as the apostle Paul did in Acts chapter 9, but I think they are missing what the Apostle Paul did at the city of Ephesus, Acts 19:1-6, “And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied” Water and Spirit!
Don’t be satisfied with church tradition or what man tells you if you do not see the same experience modeled in the word of God. You must be “Born Again”! no maybe’s about it and I encourage you to be born again not mans way but God’s way!
Picture care of :tonyabastree.com