“You Must Be Born Again …”

Last night I returned from a visit with my folks (and brother) in upstate New York. I had intended to visit First Baptist Church of Johnson City to hear Pastor Murphy preach, but after staying up late playing cards and games with my mom, grandmother and bro the drive was not possible Sunday morning.

So I went to my mom’s church, which I’ll admit isn’t my favorite. But there are things I think her church does well. For one thing they are passionate about evangelizing the lost, and I’ve seen that reflected in my mom’s life as well as my brother’s (I noticed gospel tracts in the visor of his car). And the pastor is willing to preach the truth, even if it is unpopular.

During the sermon, the pastor spoke of a witnessing he encounter he had with a woman once and when he asked her if she was “born again,” she said, “No, no, no.” His willingness to share that she must be born again was an important reminder.

As frustrated as I get by false teaching and as much as I want to expose it, I don’t want that to be the sole focus of this website. We all need to go back to the basics every so often. If you look carefully at the banner at the top of this page (and if you have good eyesight) you might be able to tell that when I took that photograph the Bible was open to John 3, the same passage I want to share right now from the ESV:

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesusa by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born againb he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.c 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘Youd must be born again.’ 8The winde 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.”

9Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but youf do not receive our testimony. 12If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.g 14And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.h

16“For God so loved the world,i that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

The truth is plain as day. You must be born again, according to Jesus’ own words. Many people try to worship a Jesus of their own making, out of ignorance of the scriptures or tradition or pride (willfully disregarding scripture), but those false christs built up by men cannot save. They have no more power than an idol of wood or stone or gold.

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