Thursday, December 3, 2015

By Divine Design – Part 1 - Born Again

John 3:3-7 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’

This week Michael writes that in Matthew 24:3, the disciples asked Jesus how they could recognize the signs of His second coming. When we look back through the perspective of human history, we must keep in mind His Story, the story of Jesus Christ from the heavenly perspective of the Word of God. The first point of the Gospel is that the nature of mankind is sinful, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23. We were born with the sinful nature that we inherited from Adam. God originally designed Adam according to His own spiritual nature. Adam’s spirit died the day that he disobeyed God by doubting God and eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The “fallen nature” of the flesh that we inherited from Adam is opposed to God’s spiritual nature. However, when we were “born again” by faith, God created within us a new spiritual nature in regeneration. The new nature of the regenerated spirit that we inherited when we were “born again” allows us to see heaven and to perceive the contrast between the “sinful nature” of the flesh and the “righteous nature” of the Spirit of God, in Christ, in us.  If we, believing and having been “born again”, don’t have eternity in our regenerated hearts by setting our affections on things above, we cannot understand God’s eternal perspective.

Ephesians 2:1-6 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the  kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - (born again) - it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

When the crisis comes and courage is required, God expects His children to have such confidence in Him that they will be the dependable ones. They will have the peace that passes all understanding and the joy that cannot be stolen.  They are the ones who are willing to sacrifice for the good of others. This is the example of our Lord Jesus Christ who looked evil in the face and acknowledged His mission that He came not to condemn the world but rather to shed his innocent blood that the world through him might be saved – John 3:17-18When Saint Thomas Moore was sentenced to death for his faithful stand, he said to his executioner, “Thank you for sending me to my Father.”  He understood the purpose for which God designed him.  As the Apostle Paul said, “I press toward the mark of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus” – Philippians 3:14  According to Micah 6:8, "But what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?"

The devil’s purpose is the exact opposite of God’s design for our lives. Jesus said, “The Thief comes not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy.  I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly” – John 10:10. Our adversary the devil was a murderer and a liar from the beginning – John 8:44. This is the nature of the adversary and the fallen nature that we inherited from Adam. The natural man cannot help but sin; it’s hard wired into the fallen nature of the flesh. Before we were “born again”, we were slaves to sin because we had no choice. We were held captive to the flesh and to the adversary’s destructive purposes.

Let's pick up Michael's message "By Divine Design" tomorrow.
In Christ, Brian

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