God gave me the right to become his child

Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny

But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become God’s children – children not born by human parents’ or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God. John 1.12-13

I am born by God. That is such an awesome thing. To think that the Creator of the universe takes such an interest in me. I am so small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but God gave me the right to become His child. Let it be noted that it is not something that I automatically have the right to become. He gives me the right. I have to receive what He gives. I have to believe in Him. To receive what He gives I have to obey Him. Many people have the belief that God wants me to be happy. It is true that He wants me to be happy, but not at the cost of doing something that will cause me to turn from Him. He knows better than I what will make me happy! God adds me to His family when I receive Him. What a remarkable thing!

#risingjoy #John #new-birth

Random Thoughts

I saw a news story this morning with the heading “Watch: Parliament Singing After New Zealand Legalizes Gay Marriage Will Make You Cry.” I didn’t watch the video but I still cried. Why? Because of the doom that the western culture is bringing upon itself. My article in this week’s bulletin is called “Cultural Meltdown” and it discusses how moral relativism has relatively supplanted any moral backbone in most western governments with wet spaghetti. It’ll probably be up on “Keltonburg Preacher” sometime next week. Here’s a link to a good article to read in the meantime.

Want to keep a great scripture in mind today? How about this one: “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33) This verse isn’t saying that a person can’t understand God’s will when it comes to being saved; in the context it’s talking about how God is able to use the obstinacy and vacancy of one heart to reign in and fill the hearts of others at the same time. That’s rich!

Did you know that Elvis’ copy of the Bible once sold at auction for $96,000!? That can rock your soul, huh? I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on that one.

We had a great night at Keltonburg this past Wednesday. One woman, named Shelia, who’s been visiting with us for quite sometime was baptized into Jesus! She was born again of the water and of the Spirit. This Sunday morning I’ll be in John 3:1-10 which includes the topic of the new birth. It can be so frustrating when people equate the water of John 3:3-5 with the “natural” birth of the earth instead of the new birth from Heaven. Never forget the context! Jesus was talking to a man who belonged to a group that had rejected John’s preaching and John’s baptism. By doing so they had rejected the birth that came by the will of God – they had rejected being born again through the water and the Spirit! We often times make things so much more complicated than what they are.

How often do you plan to smile today? How about pray? How help others? How about hug your children? How about hug your spouse? How about sing to God? How about letting God speak to you in His word? I guess we’ll all find out in about a second or two.

I don’t know the source but I remember hearing a quote quite a while back that went something like, “If you want to keep kids out of hot water then put some dishes in it.” How valuable is a good work ethic to children? I think honest work leads to good ethics and so it seems that the Bible agrees (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12).

#god, #homosexuality, #new-birth, #random-thoughts, #work-and-ethics

The New Birth

Some time back I received (or picked up) a tract by pastor Paul J. Levin; it was a tract the Central Baptist Church of Decatur passed out. The topic of the tract is the new birth.

The Scripture says with regard to the new birth: “Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5, ESV).

The Baptist preacher begins by telling us what the new birth is not. It is not religion, morality, or reformation. Second, he tells us what it is. It is a mystery one can’t explain and it is the work of God. Third, he tells us why the new birth is necessary: Jesus said so, we have a sinful nature, and one cannot save himself. Fourth (and last), he tells us how to be born again. He begins by saying it is not of blood, of the will of the flesh, of the will of man, but of God (John 1:11-13). He begins to bring his thoughts to a close by telling us: “The Lord Jesus said you must be born ‘of the SPIRIT.’ It is God’s work, not yours. It is a miracle.”

In order to receive the new birth he tells us we must receive Christ by faith, praying what is known as the “sinner’s prayer,” read Romans 10:13, and call on the Lord’s name. He closes by saying if one does this: “[t]hen He says you have eternal life!”

I find it interesting that in the whole tract there is not one mention of what Jesus said about “water.” He had a good deal to say about “Spirit”, but not water. He did not say anything for or against it.

Nicodemus may not have understood exactly what the Lord knew he should have, but he did understand enough to ask Him about it. I would like to ask the Baptist preacher about what Jesus meant with the use of the word “water.”

John the Baptist was preaching a baptism of repentance and people less educated than Nicodemus understood him clearly. When Peter and the apostles preached on Pentecost they preached the same message of John 3:3-5; the people understood when Peter answered the question they asked. “ Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.’ Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:36-38, ESV).

In these biblical illustrations we have biblical examples of what people did to be saved; there is no biblical teaching on the “sinner’s prayer” for salvation, much less an example. The correct doctrine relative to how a person is saved and the proper meaning of John 3:3-5 is an eternally important point, and one not to be missed. If one is wrong on that, then questions like that which Nicodemus had can’t be answered. Fortunately, the Lord did answer the question and for that I am grateful.  (Bulletin article for HCC, 11.18.2012)

#baptism, #new-birth

The Fourth!

Stephen Bradd called me just a moment ago. His wife delivered their fourth child, a little boy (Amos). He was born last evening at 9:30 (CDT), and Amos weighed in at 8lbs, 21 inches. No complications, and they expect to be home tomorrow. More to follow.

Congratulations to Stephen and his wife. another fifteen and they can have their own congregation! 🙂 .