Our message was John 3:1 – 21.
You have GOT TO READ IT. Oh, sure you know it. Well, you know the story about Nicodemus going to Jesus at night and getting told he needs to be born again. And you remember Jn3:16 That God so loves the world….that He gave his only begotten Son. Did you ever put them together,even?
This is what I noticed. Big revelation. Jesus said you can not SEE the Kingdom of Heaven unless you are born from above. Then he says you can not ENTER the Kingdom unless you are born of the Water and of the Spirit. Most people just lump these all together. Really, if pressed, they would have to say they just don’t know all that Jesus meant here. Some say that Baptism is part of being born again. Most are really strong that baptism doesn’t substitute for being born again, becoming a new creation; so, for this reason are really frightened by anything that sounds like “baptismal regeneration” like a ritual is enough without reality. However, We all agree that you SHOULD BE BAPTIZED. Most everyone thinks that “water” here means baptism and not “washing of water by the Word.” So?
Context for metoday is that Rodney Howard Brown told a story about a guy who answered the altar call/gave his life to the Lord/was saved, and was going to church, but just couldn’t understand stuff. Just struggling to be a Christian. Then he got baptized and everything became clear to him like an almost immediate revelation. Baptism made a huge huge huge difference. We all agree that we should be baptized, out of obedience. It is a symbol that we are dead with Christ. So we like to dunk people. Better symbolism. Count yourselves dead to sin, dead with Christ, and alive with him in His resurrection. Awesome.
Then, can’t enter into the Kingdom unless you are born of the Spirit? Oh gosh, I could teach a whole semester on various versions of explanations of Holy Spirit and when Holy Spirit enters into the life of the believer. Of course, you can’t be saved without the conviction and convincing of Holy Spirit. But, on the other hand, not everyone has been empowered. Not everyone moves in supernatural gifts– which are CLEARLY taught in the New Testament. (And given that something like 10 million people today do, it is pretty hard imagine that they ceased. LOL.) Oh, then, what about Jesus blowing on his disciples and saying “receive the Holy Spirit” versus the Holy Spirit apparently blowing in on the Day of Pentecost? I think I can pretty well explain “in, with,and on” another time but that is not nearly as important as the point here in John 3. You can not ENTER into the Kingdom unless you have been born ***of the Spirit.***
So we can all agree we want to be born from above, born of the water and born of the Spirit, right? Of course, we want to see and enter the Kingdom of God? Of course. Right. Sure. Yes. Amen.
We are definitely going to agree on being born again, as a heart work, of turning your heart to the Lord, of believing that Jesus rose from the dead, of accepting Him as savior. We believe in our heart and make public confession. Romans 10. Yes.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Then, we all agree that we should be baptized. Good. Rom_6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Col_2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
And then we all must agree that we should be being filled with the Holy Spirit. Act 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Eph_5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
So, we all agree that Christian life, walking IN the Kingdom would be one of being filled with the Holy Spirit. (And being filled will mean, we will see many places, speaking the Word boldly, being empowered to witness, and moving in supernatural manifestations otherwise called “gifts of the Spirit.”) Fine.
Now, one of the objections to the classical Pentecostal teaching of a second definite work is that charism (or gifting of the Holy Spirit) is supposed to come in baptism. So, imagine an Anglican or a Presbyterian arguing that a baby gets everything he or she needs in baby baptism. No matter how well ensconced in ancient theology that idea may be, modern personal reflection just reels. (I don’t think you can come up with a single example of anything working that way. For instance, Augustine, John Wesley, and Johnathan Edwards all had salvation experiences, even though they believed in baby baptism.) Now, however, here is a new way of putting that together. Why can’t a newly saved (justified) believer, who gets baptized, come out speaking in tongues? LOL. Why not go for the gusto and get it all at once? Why wait until you are sanctified, ossified, or backslidden? ROFL! That is not the way I was taught, but from recently pastoral experience, looks like maybe a good goal. While I surely understand why the Pentecostals formulated things they way they did — and actually think they have the best formulation overall — why wait? Why not bet saved, baptized and filled to overflowing with Holy Spirit all at once? Sound good to me.
And surely, this would spur growth. This is what we want. This is our focus.
And by the way, many congratulations to J.C. who got baptized today! HalleluJah! We rejoice with you.
So it is all about getting showered with God’s love. No need to wait for each step. Let’s just receive it all. Maybe this will end up with a better result: more and quicker understanding. Less fooling around. Less offense over obviously true basic teachings. Like little child who has a tummy ache, and mommy says, “Honey, when you steal a bunch of green apples and eat them all at once, then your tummy will ache.” And Junior gets mad at mum. And says “You bad mommy.” And slams the door to his bedroom. Or, worse, teen, stuffs herself with …. some red dye sugary concoction full of chemicals and won’t eat food.” Then Dad says, “Daughter, you are showing signs of obesity and we are worried about diabetes for you.” Then youngster says, “Oh, you just don’t love me. I am running away from home.” Then she does. Only to meet worse fate. God wants good for you… just like good parents. Pastors often want a crowd and stable budget. Nevertheless, the Lord wants the best for you. That is why there is a laid out path. Not to mention it to the kids would be neglect.
Yes, of course,the youngsters have some duty to make decisions. Maybe the more we can get them showered in God’s love, having radical experience3d, then the more they will understand… and grow up quick.
(Just like you learn better if your tummy isn’t hurting or your brain is not foggy from too much red sugary chemically concoction? And if you realize you are in the best house in the country, you won’t want to run away?) Welcome to the family of God. Welcome to the Father of all. Welcome to our little group willing to read, hear, study, grow, and serve together.
*****Many congratulations to J.C. who got baptized today! HalleluJah! We rejoice with you. ****
We talked about Holy Spirit on Pentecost, but not so much the Baptism of the Holy Spirit because we have a different crowd than expected. But, please, do ask, if you are not already moving in supernatural gifts.