The Miracle of the New Birth: Am I Born Again?

Friends;

I pray to God in the name of the Lord Jesus, that the grace of His Son may be upon me to write unto you these few words on the miracle of the new birth. The miracle of being born again.

Many of us certainly believe that we are born again (or, born from above, or, born of the Spirit), for without this new birth one cannot be identified with Christ and has no hope of a future with God. But are you?

John 3:3,5,7Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”…5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”…7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

IT STARTS WITH “OUR” VIOLENT DEATH

The new birth is a miraculous act performed by God, whereby He first kills us, and buries us, and then bring us back to life.

Romans 6:3,4Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death…

The death by crucifixion that Jesus-Christ experienced is the best image given to show us how our new birth starts. It is an extremely violent act, whereby our whole being, our identity, who we are, is killed by crucifixion, with the same violence that Jesus experienced when He was crucified.

Romans 6:6…our old man is crucified with him…

The necessity of such a death results from the fact that we are utterly corrupted by sin, and therefore impossible to repair. Everything about us is corrupted, the most important of which being our minds, where everything about us originates.

Romans 6:6 – …Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

We are utterly corrupted by sin, having completely forgotten the reason we were created in the first place: To have a perpetual, vibrant and loving relationship with God, being in communion with Him, partaking into His activities, and enjoying everything He created for us. Therefore, we should be killed, so that a completely new “us” will be created: A man with a new mind, uncorrupted, untainted by sin. A man, who once again understands why he exists, why he was created.

THEN THE RESURRECTION COMES…

The miracle of the instantaneous yet violent death we are subjected to when God begins the process of our new birth, is only matched and surpassed by the miracle of our resurrection, where a new identity, which shares absolutely nothing with our former self is created.

2 Corinthians 5:17 …if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.

Yet, in Romans 6, instead of equating the resurrection of Jesus to the fact that when He returns, in the future, we too will be resurrected, God instead ties Jesus’s resurrection to a much closer, present and very practical reality.

Romans 6:4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, JUST AS CHRIST WAS RAISED from the dead by the glory of the Father, WE TOO MIGHT WALK in newness of life.

To be born again is not a future, but a very present reality. And we are born again now so that now we can walk now completely differently than we did in the past.

The Christian walk, which only those who have experienced the death of Christ in their own selves can experience, is nothing short of a miracle, equivalent to nothing less than the fact that Christ was resurrected by the Spirit of God.

If you think Christ coming back to life was a miracle, then so is the Christian walk. It is nothing short of a miracle. The same Spirit that raised Jesus is the same Spirit that enables us to walk like Christ. It is a miracle than one can walk like Christ, and THIS IS PRECISELY what God is after when He creates you at the new birth.

My friend, when you confess that you are born again, I pray that you will understand what was done in you. You have been killed, re-created, and been given a new identity, and a new ability: To live by faith, freed from sin, fully able to live a miraculous life, one that testifies in the most solemn way, not only to your family, friends and coworkers, but also to all the spiritual powers, both angelic and demonic, that BEHOLD, A SON OF GOD IS BORN.

May the peace and grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

AMEN

Remembering Who Owns the Churches

Dear Friends;

May the grace, mercy and peace of God, our Father, and of Jesus, our Lord, be with you. Allow me to submit to you by the Lord Jesus that for a church (a community of believers) to be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, and therefore be healthy, it must not only remember, but also understand that it is Jesus, the AMEN, exalted on the right hand of God, who owns it.

Revelation 1:20As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

In the Book of Revelation, as He spoke to seven of its churches, Jesus reminded them of this very fact, in at least two distinct ways: By declaring that the churches (and its leaders) are in His hand (Rev. 1:20), and by demonstrating in excruciating details just how much He knows about the life of each church. He knows not only the state of your church, but also where it comes from. He knows every single activity that is taking place inside your group, whether in public or in secret. He knows how your church has progressed (or digressed), where it is heading, and what your group must do given its current state.

In fact, NO ONE KNOWS BETTER about the state of a church than His Majesty, our God, and Jesus, our Lord.

Not only remembering, but understanding this fact (that Jesus owns the churches) gives us the most essential ingredient in the life of a church. A CHURCH MUST BE CONNECTED TO JESUS OR IT WILL WITHER.

John 15:4As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

AND TO BE CONNECTED, ITS LEADERS MUST BE EXCLUSIVELY DEDICATED TO PRAYING AND SERVING THE WORD.

In the Book of Acts we find this very practical truth in action. The early church was growing, and growing rapidly. And among the many ministries the church was performing, one of them was to ensure that everyone, among themselves, especially those in need of help like the widows, would receive food, daily. An issue arose as the greek-speaking Jews started to complain that their widows were being neglected.

Please note that the very fact that this church was performing this ministry among themselves speaks volume about the life and love that must have been present among the members! A beauty to behold indeed!

Nevertheless, note how the Apostles handled this matter.

Acts 6:2-42 And the twelve summoned the full number of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. 3 Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. 4 But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

The twelve Apostles did not say that this ministry was not important. Matter of fact, the instructions they gave to the people to choose seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirt and full of wisdom speaks highly of their position regarding the importance of this matter.

But what was even more important than daily food was the need for them to be continually in prayer and to continually serve the people, the spiritual food, the Word of God. The Apostles understood that NOTHING should come in the way of spending any less time with Jesus. As leaders, they should continually be in prayer. They must devote themselves at the feet of the One who OWNS THAT CHURCH, to receive daily grace, life, and blessings so that they will continuously feed the flock entrusted to them. They must not distract themselves, even with valid matters of the church.

Oh that you will appreciate the wisdom given to the Apostles, for they did not neglect the matter brought before them. But something more important, more valuable, they were instructed never to neglect, no matter the cost, for in them did the very life of the church hanged: Prayer and ministry of the Word.

And perhaps here lies the greatest failure of many of our churches. Our leaders do not understand their most solemn duty, the one duty they must preserve at all cost, to be in prayer, so that they may receive the daily grace they need for themselves and for the people.

If you are a leader, and recognize that these words are TRUE, then repent and assume your duty, as a servant of the LORD who desires to be called faithful.

For those of you who might aspire to be a leader. You desire a good work, but may this letter serve to caution you of your most important, and only duty.

And to all, abide in the Vine, the Lord Jesus in prayer, that His life may flow in you in abundance.

In Jesus Name. AMEN.

The Fear of the Lord

To my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, who, like me, have received the forgiveness of sins, having been washed in the blood of the Lamb, Jesus, the Christ, and our Lord. My friends, there is a subtle, but dangerous sin that has infiltrated the church, that, by the Grace of God, I would like to bring your attention to, so that you may not fall into that snare of the devil. And it has to do with how you see God, and how you see Jesus.

The great evil and foolishness that has infiltrated the church is that we are seeing God less and less as our God, and more and more as our friend. Even more so with Jesus, since He is the One who came down to earth, and took the form of a man. We see Jesus and refer to Him less and less as our Lord and Master, and more and more as our friend.

Now, it is true that a friendship seems more genuine, more loving, and even more affectionate than a God-to-creature or a Master-to-slave relationship. However, allow me to counsel you that this is an extremely slippery slope which often leads to a great sin. It is the reason why NONE of the Apostles ever addressed our Lord Jesus that way, although He, Himself, called them His friends. No! Instead, they always referred to Him as Lord and Master and to themselves as servants or His slaves. And yet, they loved Him deeply! So love and a Master-to-servant relationship are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Matter of fact, this combination is precisely what Christianity is all about.

To be called by a superior a friend is a great honor. But to ever refer to that superior as your friend is pure foolishness and often arrogance. “The President is my friend!” Doesn’t that sound arrogant? Yes it does…because even if it is true, he is first and foremost your President. And your relationship with him is first dictated by that fact…that he is your President. And if you ever forget that fact, you will be reminded of it, whether gently or forcefully!

Now consider that fearing God, having the highest reverence toward God is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge. Not SOME of it! The fear of the Lord is the foundation of all wisdom and knowledge, and it is God Himself, who gives those things.

Proverbs 1:7The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 2:6…the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

Why would we therefore replace that relationship with friendship and miss on wisdom and knowledge, and be called fools? Reverence does not characterize a friendship relationship. Though friendship emphasizes closeness, it also refers to equality. Reverence is not the hallmark of a friendship. No, quite the opposite! A friendship is a relationship that is often casual, and devoid of protocols. A friendship is where we see each other as equal and therefore the other does not deserve any more respect, any more consideration than I do. Failing to honor your engagement in a friendship relationship does not carry the same severity as failing to do it in a Master-slave or God-creature relationship. Passages like the one below are all over the scriptures to remind us of this most solemn truth. He is OUR God! And Jesus is OUR Lord!

Ecclesiastes 5:1-3Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.

It is a grave sin not to render to God and Jesus the reverence that is due to them.

Matthew 22:21…render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.

Matthew 22:37,38You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.

Ecclesiastes 5:4,5When you vow a vow to God, do not delay paying it, for he has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you vow. It is better that you should not vow than you should vow and not pay.

As in many things we do which often appear to honor Jesus and yet dishonor Him, so it is when we consider Him less and less as Lord and more and more as friend.

Please dear brethren, let us no longer be guilty of such great a sin. JESUS IS LORD in heaven, and before Him, as men and women who count it the highest honor to be called his faithful servants, we bow.

LORD JESUS, may You receive our worship, and forgive us of this sin. For You are worthy of all Honor, for so it seemed good in the sight of Your Father, OUR God, that You be honored as He is.

In JESUS name. AMEN.

The Cost of False Hope

May the grace and mercy of God, and of His Son Jesus-Christ be upon you, as you read the lines of this letter. Today, allow me to share on the tragedy of relying on a false hope, a lie, which enslaves rather than frees the subject.

John 8:31,32So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

But what freedom was Jesus speaking of? Freedom from Sin, for Sin is a slave master

John 8:34,36Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.

False hope finds its origin in a lie. Lie of a better life coming! Lie of a better season in store for you in the upcoming year (Hebrews 13:5, Philippians 4:11). Lie that living in Sin, while not recommended, is still acceptable because of the atoning blood of Jesus (1 John 3:6). Lie that lusting after the nice things of life is in alignment with God’s desire to bless His children with a life that is abundant “in the things the individual desires” (1 Peter 2:2, James 4:1-3). Lie that suffering is not the hallmark of the true Christian Walk (Philippians 1:29).

AND ALL OF THOSE LIES ARE FOUND IN THE MOUTH OF THOSE WHO PROCLAIM TO BE THE SERVANTS OF GOD (2 Peter 2:19).

But consider the following statistics in the United States: 75% of Americans identify themselves as Christians (source). Yet, according to the CDC, the rates of suicide increased by 25% since 1996, representing one of the Top 10 cause of death and it is increasing  (source).  A recent report from Barna concluded that the Gen Z are consumed by personal achievement, are far less family oriented and do not nearly consider religion as central to their identity than older generations (source). And there are many more disturbing facts…

But if we just took the 3 above and loosely place them in a Venn Diagram, there is no denying that those three facts intersect! Many of those who commit suicide must be Christians. Many of those who value personal achievement above everything else must be Christians. Many who value personal achievement, AND will commit suicide ARE Christians!

 

PREACHERS OF THE WORD…WHAT ARE YOU DOING YOU SERVANTS OF THE LORD? Those of us who have been entrusted to teach the Gospel, and watch after the flock of God will have to answer to Him, for serving His people a lie rather than the truth. It is the power of sin that overcomes someone to the point of committing suicide. It is the power of sin that leads someone to value their personal ambitions rather than denying self as Christ commanded. Hence, how can we be free unless we are preached the TRUTH?!

Servants, why aren’t you serving the truth!? WHY AREN’T WE SEEING YOU CRYING ON THE PULPIT IN DESPERATION, AS THE PROPHETS OF OLD DID! Where is your urgency! Where is your desperation? Where is your intercession? Why aren’t you pleading with your church to repent? Why…why such a polished appearance, a choreographed service? Where are the tears! WHERE ARE THE TEARS OF ONE WHO IS AFRAID FOR THE FLOCK? Where is the truth, the Truth preached? Why can’t we hear it?

We are afraid to share the TRUTH of the Gospel, the source of true and lasting hope, perhaps for fear of not being loved by the people. For fear that they will no longer come to our Church. For fear that their donations will dwindle and kill our ministry. We promise them a new and better season coming for them, only feeding a hope which sooner (or worse, later) they will realize was based on a lie. We make them believe that they truly understand the scriptures and the grace of God while the fact is clearly the opposite!

PREACH THE WORD, PREACH THE WORD, you servants of the Lord! Every day, you are amassing for yourself the blood of God’s people.

Ezekiel 3:18 – “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.”

Yes, the individual has his own responsibility, but make no mistake, YOU, servant, will have to answer for your careless act. YOU will have to answer for your selfishness, slackness and hatred of the people! Feeding the flock…feeding the flock…feeding the flock…that is your duty! Would you spare your child vegetables because the child does not like the taste of it! Yet, this is what you are doing, and WORSE with the flock of Jesus!

Matthew 24:45-51“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. 47 Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 48 But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards; 50 the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, 51 and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

False hope is a tragedy! You, God’s people who are hearing this message…watch out for those unfaithful servants. Pray for yourself and your brethren! Go on your knees and beg the Father for your souls, that He may open your eyes to understand the scriptures, and send your way servants who are true to Him. For the truth is free for all who ask! Pray to receive the Holy Spirit in greater measure, and you shall know the truth, the source of true Hope, which shall free you from the power of Sin!

In the name above all names! JESUS, the CHRIST. AMEN

I Never Knew You: What Did Jesus Mean?

Dear friends;

May the grace and peace of God our Father, and of Jesus-Christ our Lord, be with you. One of the most famous, albeit controversial statement by Jesus is recorded in Matthew 7:21-23. The objective of this letter is to provide some light, by the grace of God, on what Jesus meant.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In this passage, Jesus gives in no uncertain terms the criteria for entering the Kingdom of Heaven. But if you think that you already know what those criteria (or that criterion) might be, then I plead with you that for a moment, you place that knowledge on the side, and meditate on this passage.

In the passage above, Jesus states that the only people who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven are those who are doing the Will of His Father (verse 22). This is as clear as a statement can ever come. But what is the Will of His Father?

If you look at the context, you will realize that Matthew 7:21-23 comes at the end of a long sermon that Jesus gave, commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount, which started two chapters earlier in Matthew 5:3. From Matthew 5 up to the passage above, Jesus taught the people precisely on the Will of His Father. He then confirmed, in his concluding remarks, that what He taught them is indeed the Will of His Father by stating.

Matthew 7:24Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock

One MUST hear the words of Jesus AND do them TO enter the Kingdom BECAUSE what Jesus says IS the Will of His Father. Do you see the link?

Now, Jesus did not stop there in Matthew 7:21-23. He also said “I never knew you”. How are we to understand that statement? I submit to you that the first error one should avoid is to take that statement in isolation. Instead, one should consider the whole statement.

Matthew 7:23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Consider the following: If Jesus professes that He never knew us, then how does He know that we worked iniquity? This paradox alone should tell us that when Jesus tells us that He never knew us, He is not meaning it in the literal sense of the word, and that is, because He clearly indicates that He knows something about us…that we work iniquity. Jesus knows us very well actually, all of us! Those of us who work iniquity are very well known by Jesus indeed.

Therefore, irrespective of whatever experience you’ve had in your life with Him, the only conclusion I believe we can reach is that when Jesus says “I never knew you”, He simply means that He only identifies, He only relates, with those who do NOT work iniquity.

Although He knows everyone – He is Jesus – He only identifies with those who do the Will of His Father. These are who His friends are, these are those He knows and spend time with, and these are those He will gladly present and acknowledge to His Father on that day. 

It should be also noteworthy from the passage that Jesus did not say that those people who made these claims of doing many wonderful works…IN HIS NAME by the way…were lying. No…what disqualify them is that iniquity will be found in them. 

In other words, your good works (even if they are legitimate) do not make up for your evil deeds. Your good works and praise of Jesus are not some credits that you can use as a pass to disobey God. We may infer therefore, that one is prohibited access to the Kingdom of Heaven not because of his lack of good works (although good works are expected), but because iniquity is found in him. One who will be found to be a worker of iniquity, yet who did things in Jesus’ name (as in this passage) will be guilty of attempting to serve two masters, something that Jesus warned about, right here in this sermon.

Matthew 6:24No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

It is a sobering realization that Jesus Himself says that many will be found in that situation, and therefore be denied access to the Kingdom. It is impossible to achieve “balance” between obeying God and serving the flesh.

A balance that makes us a “cool” Christian.

There is no balance with God. The flesh must die. God MUST be honored. The ONLY way to honor God is by obeying Him! Try to be a cool Christian, and you will find yourself denied access to the Kingdom.

Note as well that it is Christians who address Jesus as “Lord”. It is Christianity that acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus. Hence, many “Christians” will be denied access, because they were foolish into thinking that they could serve two masters.

Matthew 7:24,26Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock….26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand

How much more can Jesus warn you, my friend! How much more? When that day comes…where will you be? Let us strive to obey! To OBEY!

May the Lord Jesus work in our hearts, that we may obey His voice, to the Praise and Honor of His Father, the God of Heaven.

In Jesus’ Name. AMEN.