“I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” – John 3:5-6 (NIV)
Last week we found out that it is God’s desire to restore us to the original position of fellowship with Him when He created us. That is why He sent Jesus Christ to share our humanity and then die on the cross for us so that we might receive salvation – forgiveness for our sins and be restored to fellowship with God as children. Some very key scriptures in this regard are Ezekiel 18:23 and 32 and John 3:16 and 17. We also found out that our relationship with God is only restored through a new birth. We must be born of the Spirit of God as Jesus explains in John 3:3-8. To do this, we must believe in Jesus Christ as the One God sent for our salvation as we read in John 1:12-13 – “But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn! This is not a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan – this rebirth comes from God.” (NLT)
It is important to stress that receiving and accepting Christ Jesus means that we have:
(a) By our intellect, acknowledged that we are sinners and therefore separated from God and alienated from Him;
(b) By our emotions we have a yearning to belong to Him because we sense His love; and
(c) By our will we accept God’s offer of salvation through Jesus Christ.
In Romans 10:9-10 we are told: “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”(NIV)
When we ask Christ into our lives a number of things happen including the following:
- CHRIST COMES INTO OUR LIVES AS HE PROMISED – 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.” (NIV)
- ALL OUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN – Col. 1:14; 2:13. “In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all your sins. (NIV)
- WE BECOME CHILDREN OF GOD – John 1:12 “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
- THE HOLY SPIRIT DWELLS IN US – John 14:16-17 Rom. 8:11; I Cor. 6:19 – “Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you and was given to you by God. You do not belong to yourself.”
- WE HAVE RECEIVED ETERNAL LIFE – John 5:24 and I John 5:11-13. “ I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (NIV)
1 John 5:11-13 say “And this is the testimony; God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”(NIV)
WE HAVE BEGUN THAT ETERNAL RELATIONSHIP OF A NEW AND SATISFYING LIFE FOR WHICH GOD CREATED US – John 10:10 and 2 Cor. 5:17. “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness”. (NLT) What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!
Perhaps some of us still wonder whether Christ is really in our lives. It could be because we are still struggling with sin in our lives or perhaps we are expecting some sensations or feelings to course through us so that we can be sure that we really have Christ. If we happen to be in this category then let us together go back to what the Scriptures say.
If we have earnestly and genuinely invited Christ Jesus into our lives, then we should take Him at His own word and know that He is in our lives as Rev 3:20 tells us “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with Him; and He with me.” (NIV)
Do we think that Christ Jesus will lie to us? I am sure we know that He won’t do that. In fact He can’t do that. We can therefore trust in what He has said and know that He is in our hearts.
In fact we do not yet have to ask Him again and again. God has given us eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. Let us therefore thank God for giving us Jesus Christ.
Let us also thank Him for His promise in Heb. 13:5b “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Let us say a big Amen to this wonderful promise, remembering that as Christians, we rely on the promise of God’s word and not on our feelings. As Christians we live by faith and not by sight as we read in 2 Cor. 5:7. This means that we trust in the reliability of God Himself and His Word. Our feelings are not reliable and so do not let us depend on them. Let us rather depend on our faithful, promise – keeping God.
What are some of the very practical things we should do as Christians as far as our relationship with God is concerned.
- Let us daily go to God in prayer. Let us remember the prayer Jesus has taught us in 6:9-13. In Luke 18:1 Jesus also says that we must persist in prayer and not give up.
- Let us daily read the Bible which is God’s word and our spiritual food. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” – Psalm 119:11 and Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” – (NIV). If you do not know where to begin, let me suggest the Gospel of John. There are many daily Bible reading guides such as Our Daily Bread, Daily Power, Light for Our Path, Every Day with Jesus, and these can be found in most Christian bookshops.
- Let us live moment by moment in obedience to God. In John 14:21 Jesus says; “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father and I too will love Him and show myself to him.” (NIV)
- Our lives should show that now we are new creation: as is written in 2 Cor. 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” This will make us speak to others about what God has done in our lives as Jesus recommended to the man out of whom the legion of demons were cast out in Luke 8:39.
- Let us put our trust in God in all areas of our lives. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) No area of our lives is too small or too big for the Lord Jesus.
- Let us allow the Holy Spirit who now lives in us to fill us daily. Let us allow Him to control us, guide us and empower us to live daily for God and witness for Him – “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” – 5:16-17 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8 (NIV)
- Let us fellowship with other Christians in a church where Christ is honoured and His word preached.
It is good to meet with others who have also found Christ as Saviour and are experiencing His love – “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Heb. 10:24-25 (NIV)
Above all, live a life of love, humility and gentleness as Jesus our Lord did while He lived on earth – “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross!” – Phil. 2:5-8 (NIV).
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