Enter Gods kingdom? The 3rd chapter of the Book of John gives us insight into this question of how we accomplish that.
There was a Pharisee name Nicodemus whom the Bible says was a ruler of the Jews. He came to Jesus one night and said to Jesus that he knew He was a teacher sent from God because no one could do the miracles Jesus did unless He was from God. Jesus responded to this statement with His own statement, ", unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus responded and said, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?" That was a good question wasn't it?
Jesus responded and said, ", unless one is born of water and the Spirit he CANNOT ENTER the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
That appears to be the prerequisite to enter Gods kingdom. We must be born of the water and of the Spirit. What does that mean? How is that done?
Being born again is the beginning of the most incredible transformation in the life of any human being and gains them entrance into the covenant kingdom. The question that has to arise is what does it really mean to be born-again? After all, that term has been the subject of books, written articles, and in sermons for many many years. Everyone who has ever attended any kind of a church meeting has probably heard that term used, but what does it really mean? How does it really affect my life? Is there really a change, a real transformation that takes place? What should begin to happen to me when I enter Gods kingdom?
Are you one of the multitudes of people that have responded to an altar call, repeated a prayer after somebody, were told that you are now a Christian - a member of God's family, got baptized in water, have attended church meetings, gone to Bible studies, said prayers, yet have really never experienced any form of transformation in your life?
If you are, I want you to hang on as we examine this radical concept that opens the door to true biblical Christianity and allows us to enter into covenant with the living God by being born again and to enter Gods kingdom with all of its benefits.
A SERIOUS QUESTION BY NICODEMUS
John 3:3-6 -- "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, HE CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, 'How can a man be born his old? He cannot enter a 2nd time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?' Jesus answered, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
The predominant message of the early church was that the kingdom of God is at hand and this was declared to be good news. The good news was that God loved humanity enough to make a way for humanity to be able to be delivered from under the influence of the kingdom of darkness and to enter Gods kingdom by accepting His gift of grace.
John 3:16-21 -- "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
The word believe from the original Greek language does not simply mean an intellectual belief, but rather to trust in, to reply upon, to cling to. This way of deliverance was to reject the kingdom of darkness influence, yield your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and to be baptized in water. These actions done in faith are the prerequisites to enter Gods kingdom. These actions when taken together are the meaning of the word repentance. Repentance simply means to turn around and change direction. When you understand that you were in the kingdom of darkness and under Satan's domain then chose to reject that kingdom and submit yourself to the Lord Jesus you were repenting of the sin of rebellion to God. When you are baptized in water the Scripture says you died to your old life, were buried under the water, your heart was circumcised, and you were raised into newness of life in Jesus. You were then able to enter Gods kingdom and become a part of His family.
You were transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God under the rulership of King Jesus. All of this taken together is the meaning of being born again.
Being "born again" occurs when:
The most profound truth in the Bible is the truth of mankind being able to enter into covenant with God. You actually enter into this covenant relationship with God when you are born again. This is explained in detail in the page covenant relationship of this website. There are many incredible things that happened to us as the result of being born again, but I believe the greatest of these is the fact that when we enter covenant with God through Jesus we actually receive the life of Jesus in the person of the Holy Spirit. He actually comes to live within us according to the Scriptures. THIS TRUTH IS THE ESSENCE OF BEING "BORN AGAIN". It restores that which was lost in the Garden of Eden by Adam and restores that union with God that Adam had in the beginning. We once again have the life of God within us.
John 14:16-17 -- "And I will ask the father, and he will give you another helper, that He may be with you for ever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you."
As you can see, being born again opens up a whole new world that we need to learn about and understand.
THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND
When you hear the message that the kingdom of God is at hand you have a choice. You can choose to stay in the kingdom of darkness and reject God, His light, and His ways; or you can reject the rule of the kingdom of darkness by accepting the offer of God and bow your knee to the Lord Jesus Christ and enter Gods kingdom.
John 8:12 -- "Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, 'I am the light of the world, he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life."
When you reject the kingdom of darkness and its rule in your life and you choose to make Jesus the Lord of your life, that is called repentance. When you repent and make Jesus the Lord of your life you are to be baptized in water as soon as possible. The dunking under the water symbolizes the choice you have made to reject, or die to, your old life and demonstrate a resurrection into a new life as you enter Gods kingdom. A life of obedience to Jesus as your new Lord and Master.
At that time you become a member of "the Church", or the "Ekklesia", those called out of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light by the Holy Spirit of God.
The Church is the part of the kingdom of God that is composed of people who have rejected, or died to, the kingdom of darkness and have become the people of God and His family through being "born again" into a new kingdom - they have chosen to enter Gods kingdom.
It is truly relational in its nature. Once we make that decision to reject the kingdom of darkness and enter Gods kingdom our spiritual eyes are opened by the Holy Spirit and we begin to SEE THE REALITY of the kingdom of God.
John 3:3 -- "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
John3:5 -- "Truly, truly, I say to you unless one is born of the water and the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
John 1:12-13: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."
Ephesians 5:7-11: "Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;"
When you were born into this world you were under the rule of the kingdom of darkness by default, but when you rejected the kingdom of darkness you chose to enter Gods kingdom by being "born again" into a new life in a new kingdom. This new life is one of relationship with God and relationship with His family - other people that have been "born" into the family of God. These people who are the family of God by "the new birth" are the "Church" -- the "called out" one's -- the "ekklesia"
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