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Sunday, February 26, 2006

Word For The Week

There is one verse in the Bible that everybody knows, no matter what they believe about God - John 3:16. "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." As well-known as this verse is, it is almost always quoted out of context, completely divorced from the point that Jesus was making when He uttered those words - you must be born again.

Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin Council, came to Jesus (when nobody was looking) to confess that he believed in Jesus. For His forthright confession Jesus told Nicodemus plainly what He'd taught elsewhere through parables and sayings: you must be born again. Initially, Nicodemus thought that Jesus meant it literally, that a man must be physically born again. Jesus corrected him and let Him know that in order for a man to live in the Spirit he must be born of the Spirit - you must be born again.

The necessity of being born again is a concept that greatly offends postmodern peoples - it's as if they're not good enough as they are. Even some so-called Christians seem to be bothered by assertions that one has to believe in Jesus in order to be on-track with God. How dare anyone say anything about them that is not affirming and comforting, something that excludes anyone! But Jesus said, "Whoever believes in [God's one and only Son] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." I didn't say it - Jesus said it.

Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies"

Jesus said, "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. "

Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."

Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty."

Jesus said, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

One can argue with me all day long, but at the end of the day everybody has to deal with what Jesus said about Himself - no one come to the Father except through Him, you must be born again. Of course, if heaven is not your intended end then you need not concern yourself with Jesus' words - you'll make it to your Final Destination without Him. I didn't say it, Jesus said it: "Whoever believes in [Jesus] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." You must be born again.

The choice is yours.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to become His child,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

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