“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.” John 3: 5, 6, 7.
My friend, if you cannot fully appreciate the word of God, believe its' promises, and perceive with your heart and mind all the glories, joys, and happiness of the kingdom of God; if you cannot enjoy the fellowship with God as a parent – child relationship, and experience the sense of justification and forgiveness of sins past, present, and future, perhaps it is because you have never truly been “born again” into the family of God.
When Adam and Eve our first earthly parents disobeyed God at the very beginning of creation, they sold their birthright to Satan, and since then every human being that has ever been born has inherited the sin nature, and comes into the world already estranged from God. So, when we are born, we are born in ther flesh only. Our spiritual life does not begin at the time of our physical birth. Although God is the creator of all, he is not the father of all until his child has been conceived and born. God is spirit, he must be worshiped in spirit, and to become a child of God, we must be born in the spirit.
“The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2: 14.
In order to be born into the family of God, it is totally a work of God's grace. We must be drawn by God to hear and accept the word of God as absolute truth, and by faith believe, as it says that - “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”, and that “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the holy ghost.” One must accept by faith that Jesus Christ is the divine son of God, and that he died for the sins of each individual person who will receive him, and that his bodily resurrection was proof that God had accepted his sacrifice in payment of their sin debt, and for the justification of all who will receive him.
Intellectual knowledge is not enough. The heart must confirm by faith, that which the mind knows factually. The world says prove it to me, and I will believe. God says, believe me and then I will prove it to you by spiritual discernment.
“God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten son of God. John 3: 16, 17, 18. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of
God, even to them who believe on his name, which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1: 12, 13.
Dear reader, I invite you to believe the word of God; to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. If God is drawing you to himself, and has implanted within your heart a grain of faith as minute as the grain of mustard seed, if you are willing, by r eceiving the Word of God into your heart, this grain of faith will become impregnated with the word of God, and cause you to become a child of God. Then the Holy Spirit will dwell within you and cause you to know God, enjoy God, and perceive the kingdom of God, and have the assurance of eternal, everlasting life.
There are two roads in life on which mankind may travel. It is impossible to travel on both roads at the same time, therefore one must chose which road he will travel. Both roads start from the same place, and it appears at first that they will both lead to the same destination, for they seem to run parallel to one another for quite a distance, but then very subtly they begin to separate and the distance between them begins to widen, and after a while they have gone in completely different directions.
Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior has warned us about choosing the wrong road in life, and has described these two roads for us. He has pictured one as being a very broad , well paved, well lighted, and easily traveled highway on which it seems would be the most logical way to travel if one had alternate ways of reaching the same destination. This is the highway upon which most people travel. This is the most popular highway for the multitudes, but this road does not lead eventually to heaven, but it will take you directly to hell. Jesus said: “Broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat.” Matthew 7: 13.
If one would go to heaven, he must choose the narrow road. This is the unpopular way according to the multitudes. It is difficult to travel. It has treacherous curves. It is rocky. It is a road that few people want to travel, but it is the only road that leads to heaven. “Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few that be that find it.” Matthew 7: 14. “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Luke 13: 24.
My friend, if you want to go to heaven and enjoy the riches of God's glory forever, then you must choose the right road.
Jesus said, “I am the door” he also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” If you would have life eternal, you must choose to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and receive him as your Lord and Savior, and by his grace, walk in the paths that he has trod.
What is true religion and true service to God? Does God require continual fasting, continual sacrifices? Does God require us to have a sad countenance, and to be constantly clothed with sackcloth and ashes, and continually be doing some sort of penance to atone for our sins? No! We could never pay for, nor atone for our own sins. There has been provided for us a perfect lamb - a perfect sacrifice which was slain from the foundation of the world. Once and for all the great transaction is done. Our sin debt is forever paid if we will receive it. Christ came into the world to save sinners. “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15: 3,4. he ascended into heaven and is now at the right hand of God interceding for us.
What then does God require of us? God requires us to receive by faith his free love gift, his son the Lord Jesus Christ as our savior, believing that Christ died for us – each of us, individually, and present our bodies to him for his service, and allow the Holy Spirit to be in control.
What kind of fasting and sacrifice does the Lord require? “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye brake every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” Isaiah 58: 6,7.
The world is bound in wickedness. We who know the Lord have a message and a testimony for the world. That is – if they will accept the truth of the Word of God, the heavy burdens will be lifted and the oppressed will go free. God's requirements for us is to deal thy bread to the hungry. Feed a man when he is physically hungry and cannot help himself, but more importantly, feed him with the bread of life. Tell him of Jesus the mighty to save.
“I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” Psalm 27: 13, 14.
Oh! The sloughs of despond that we as Christians so often and so easily fall into when we are anxious for our lives, and have not the patience we need to be calm, and to wait on God. Oh! How difficult it is to believe that which we cannot see and touch., This is part of our old carnal nature, but the gift of God is faith. Faith even as the size of a grain of mustard seed to believe the promises of God's word, if we exercise it properly, will be as a light in a dark tunnel that will direct our thoughts and actions toward God, and allow us to perceive the goodness and providence of God.
Believe God, trust his word, stagger not at the promises of God. Even as Abraham of old, believe God implicitly and God will not fail those who put their trust in him. Believe to see the goodness of God in the land of the living, and you will not faint. Many times throughout the scriptures, we see that God does not seem to be in any hurry to do all that he has planned to do for our good.
We honor God when we determine in our heart to wait for the promise of God's infallible word. If God has spoken rest assured it shall be done as he has said. Therefore - “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait I say on the Lord.” Psalm 27: 14.
We were created and saved so that we might serve God and bring honor and glory to his name. As we begin this new day, let us ask ourselves, how can I best serve God today and bring the most honor and glory to his holy name?
First we must acknowledge him as God, the sovereign authority in the universe. “He that would come to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of all them that diligently seek him.” We must realize that he is the Holy God and cannot look upon sin.
We are all sinners by nature and estranged from God, but God in his mercy provided us with a Savior, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to take our sins upon himself, and to as many as would believe on him, forgive us and justify us before God the Father.
Having been given so great salvation, let us love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, and with all our soul. Let us seek first the kingdom of God in all areas of our lives. Let us have a heart filled with gratitude for all the blessings and good things that God has bestowed upon us. Let us confess all our known sins and claim the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as the propitiation for our sins. As someone has said, we ought to keep short accounts with God., and having confessed our sins, let us present our bodies as living sacrifices to God if perchance he might see fit to use us as channels of his blessing to someone else or to some noble cause. Lets not blush to name the name of Jesus our Lord among our comrades while others are blaspheming that worthy name. Let us be ready always with an answer for those who would inquire of the hope that we have in Christ. Let us open wide our lips and praise the Lord with our whole heart.
“I will praise thee with my whole heart before the Gods will I sing praise unto thee. I will worship toward thy holy temple , praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for thy truth for thou hast magnified thy word above thy name.” Psalm 138: 1,2.
Parents, how does it feel to go through the pain and anxiety of child bearing to bring children into the world, to nurture them through babyhood And adolescence, only to have them rebel against you and be disobedient and disrespectful ?
Think of how it must grieve God when he has gone through the great pain and expense of saving us and redeeming us, and causing us to be born into his family, only to see us disrespect him and rebel against his laws and commandments.
It hurts tremendously when the one you love with all your heart slaps you in the face, as it were, and turns against you. God loves his children with a love that far surpasses all human understanding; how he must be hurt when we ignore him!
“Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people do not consider.” Isaiah 1: 2,3. These words spoken primarily to Israel are applicable to us today as well, for we are all guilty of rebelling and disobeying God our Father. Even dumb animals do not treat their masters the way that we sometimes treat God. We attempt to honor God with lip service, so to speak, and with offerings of good works, but much of the time our hearts are far from him, and he does not receive from us the love, honor and respect that he deserves.
“To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts?” Isaiah 1: 11, 12.
God is not interested in our good works and good deeds, not even in our going to church until our heart is in love and in tune with him.
“Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?. Proverbs 20: 9. Only those who have believed and called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ who came into the world to save sinners. By believing and having faith in his word, we can know that all who truly have confessed their need for salvation and have asked Jesus to save them have been forgiven and have been made pure and given a new heart. Not one of us can say - “I have made my heart clean” Only Jesus can make our hearts clean, and he will if we ask him.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life John 3: 16. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”, - which means me, and you, and all of us “He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquity, the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his strips we are healed.” Isaiah 53.
The only detergent available to clean our sinful hearts and make us pure from our sin is the precious shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you would have a clean heart and be pure from all sin, call upon the Lord today and ask him to apply his blood to your account, and impute to you his righteousness.
As I gaze through my window on this chilly November morning, I am beholding the inevitable death of summer. I see the last rose on the bush fading away and gasping for it's last breath, it seems. Trees and flowers which only a few weeks ago were in their hey day and ablaze with beauty and glory are losing their beauty and soon will lie dormant in the frozen grasp of winter. The leaves are falling and the cold winds blow and the days grow long and dreary as all the world seems to be ready to close its' eyes and succumb to the death and sleep of winter.
Then my thoughts are turned to myself, and I began to realize that I TOO AM ON THE THRESHOLD OF THAT WINTER SLEEP CALLED DEATH. MANY OF MY LOVED ONES AND FRIENDS HAVE, LIKE THE LEAVES ON THE TREES, FALLEN TO THE EARTH IN SUBMISSION TO THE WAGES OF SIN, WHICH IS DEATH. As I meditate on these things and look at the bareness of the fields and trees and wish it were spring, then I began to realize, soon it will be spring again. After the winter is past, the earth will return in its' orbit, gentle breezes will blow again, and alas! The buds will spring forth again on the trees, the flowers will bloom again, and the birds will once again send forth their sweet song. As someone has already said: “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”
If a man dies shall he live again? Oh yes! I know, even as Job of old has said: “For I know that my redeemer lliveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for my self, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another: though my reins be consumed within me.” Job19: 25-27.
When spring comes again, the bush will have a new rose, the trees will have new leaves, the fields will burst forth with new life and all will be alive again.
Even though I despair and sorrow now for awhile, I know that I shall rejoice later. As the songwriter has encouraged us with the words of that beautiful song - “Some golden daybreak Jesus will come”. On that bright spring morning Christ shall appear and abolish sin and death and spiritual winter forever. I shall have a new body as do the trees have new leaves.
“Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness. For his anger endureth but for a moment: In his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Psalm 30: 4, 5.
“For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged, sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12
Perhaps this is why some of us avoid the preaching of the Word, and neglect to read the bible, and deprive ourselves of the blessing and fellowship of God our father. When we read the bible, or hear the word preached, it tares us apart and reveals to us all the hidden secrets of a darkened soul. It shows us how black the heart of mankind is without being cleansed by the blood of Christ. It shows us how we measure up to God when compared to his dear son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
But oh! what blessings we receive when we allow the Word of God to accomplish its' purpose in us, when we allow the Holy Spirit to take the word of God and go down into the basement of our lives, as it were, and search out all the trash and garbage that is there in the depths of our soul, and bring it to our attention and give us the grace to confess and repent of all the evil that is within us and make room for the filling of the Holy Spirit.
Every creature is naked before God. Even if we neglect to listen to God speaking to us through his word, yet - “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4: 13-16.
What are we Christians looking forward to today? As we begin this new day which God has given to us, do we have something to hope for, something that has been promised to us that we can with assurance look forward to?
We all ought to be looking for Jesus to come. What a glorious morning that will be when - “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”Thessalonians 4: 16, 17.
We ought to be diligently scanning the heavens - “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ: who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2: 13, 14.
Meanwhile, as we wait and watch, and long for his coming, we ought to occupy until he comes as good soldiers and should live … “soberly, righteously, and Godly in this present world.” Titus 2: 12.
Let us rejoice and be glad. There is a great day coming when we shall enjoy the fruits of our labor., but rejoice today for this is the day that the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it because this is the day that we still have opportunity to labor for the Master so that when the bridegroom comes we will have oil in our lamps, trimmed and ready to meet him.