“Born from above,” “Born again” John 3:7 I’ve always been amazed at how we say this and “Jesus is in my heart” without any questions or considerations as to how it sounds to a non-believer. This is the starting point into “seeing the kingdom of God” and being “in Christ” and as we are asking the question, “what does it take to be a member of SCC”, this is the entry point, “you must be born from above”.
How does that happen? Nicodemus struggled to understand what Jesus meant because naturally it does sound peculiar. Jesus told him that it was a work of the Spirit. That’s good to know as it takes the pressure off you and me! It is His work. He, the Holy Spirit, “will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). This calls for a response from us to either believe in Jesus or not. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, explained to the people who Jesus was and why He had come to earth in terms they could understand. Because they understood the message, and the Holy Spirit was working in them, they responded by asking, “what must we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) This is what makes you a member of the body of Christ.
Does that mean you can’t be a member of SCC if you are not “born from above?” That is correct. However, anyone is more than welcome to come along to all the things we do. It is an honour to be a member of the body of Christ but it does require something of us. In Luke 17:18 we see the story of the rich young ruler that wanted to know what it took to inherit eternal life. As you read the story you see that the young ruler complied with condition 1 but then failed condition 2. Condition 2 was total surrender to Jesus as Lord of his life.
In the word on Sunday we examined some of the implications of total surrender to Jesus. A new believer, as they surrender, learns obedience by becoming a disciple. It’s when we’ve been around for a while that surrender is harder because we do have it all figured out and surrender isn’t needed anymore. NOT! This is not unusual, as we see it often in scripture. God has a plan and it doesn’t always fit the religious community’s plan (Acts 10). That’s why total “surrender” has to become an everyday occurrence or we, in our “having it all figured out”, will miss what He wants to do. Best response: stay surrendered.
So, being “born from above” is a spiritual experience, that begins when the Holy Spirit comes to live inside us, but it becomes an everyday life experience that continues on throughout our life. Jesus said you couldn’t see the Kingdom of God unless you are “born from above”. Being “born from above” not only gives us eternal life but also opens the door for us to see and hear what God wants to do on His earth. His mission becomes clear to us, and in participating with Him we find great fulfilment in every area of our lives.