Oneness ‘in Christ’

April 28, 2015

“Is Christ divided?”   (1 Corinthians 1:13)

In the great prayer our Lord prayed for His Church in the Gospel of John, Chapter 17, Jesus asked His Father five times that we all might be one.  In light of this great prayer priority of our Lord, is it not evidence of the work of the evil one when we consider all the “sects and insects and isms and spasms” claiming to be His true Church today?

The risen, living Christ can be known by His followers.  The authors of the New Testament identify authentic followers of Jesus when they refer to them as being “in Christ.”  When the church in Corinth was hopelessly divided the Apostle Paul asked a very appropriate question: “Is Christ divided?”

If thinking people really track with the authors of the New Testament would they not think it strange if people who profess to be in Christ cannot agree on anything?  There is, however, a supernatural oneness and agreement among people who are truly in Christ today.

Decades ago when African American believers petitioned white churches in the southern part of our country to integrate I discovered that it didn’t matter whether the people in my church were born in the northern or southern United States.  What mattered in my congregation was whether or not they were born again.  Christ does not feel more than one way about civil rights.  Neither will we if we are born again and in Christ.

Paul concludes the second chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians by claiming that we have the mind of Christ.  If we in fact do have the mind of Christ we will agree.

Dick Woodward, 25 April 2012

Why Marvel?

January 29, 2013

  “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”  (John 3:7)

When Jesus declared that we should not marvel because He told us we must be born again, He meant that we should not marvel as if the new birth were unnecessary. Jesus explained that flesh gives birth to flesh and only the Spirit gives birth to spiritual people.  When the Bible uses the word, “flesh,” it means “Human nature unaided by God.” History tells us human nature unaided by God is a monster.  So, Jesus said we should marvel not as if the new birth were unnecessary.

Jesus also told us we should not marvel as if the new birth were impossible.  God can work a miracle of creation in the life of a human being.  David prayed: “Create in me a pure heart, O God…” (Psalm 51:10).  The apostles refer to the new birth as if it were the answer to David’s prayer (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We should not marvel as if the new birth were incomprehensible.  We do not see electricity.  But we believe in electricity because we see the effects of electricity.  When we see trees bending and objects flying we say, “Look at that wind!” But we do not see the wind.  We only see the effects of the wind. It is that way with the new birth.  We cannot see the Spirit.  We only see the effects of the Spirit in the life of someone who is being born again.  But as we believe in other things we cannot see – like the wind and electricity – we can believe in the new birth.

And finally, Jesus meant you should not marvel as if the new birth could not happen to you.

Believe Jesus and it will happen to you!

Why You Must Be Born Again

January 25, 2013

“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again…  no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.” (John 3: 3, 5)

John Wesley preached so often on the text “You must be born again” that people asked him, “Mr. Wesley, why do you preach so often that we must be born again?”  His answer was always the same: “Because you must be born again!” In the two quotes from Jesus above it is almost as if someone has asked Jesus why we must be born again.

Jesus gives us two answers to our question. Without being born again we cannot see the Kingdom of God and we cannot enter the Kingdom of God without being born again.  The Kingdom of God is therefore the end to which the new birth is the means.

People have misinterpreted and misapplied these two answers of Jesus.  They replace the concept of the Kingdom of God with the concept of heaven.  They would answer our question by telling us we cannot see heaven or enter heaven unless we are born again.

Jesus was not talking about heaven after we die.  The Kingdom of God is the concept that God is a King and He wants to make us His subjects.  To see that concept and enter into that relationship with God whereby He truly is our King and we are His subjects we must be born again.

Have you ever seen that truth?  Have you entered into a relationship with God where He truly is your King?  If you have not seen that truth or entered into that kind of relationship with God then you simply must be born again!

A Formula for Regeneration

November 14, 2011

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory. And his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11 NLT)

An allegory is a story in which people, places and things have a deeper meaning.  In addition to being the record of a supernatural miracle the story of Jesus turning water into wine is a beautiful allegory that shows us how to be born again.  Carefully and prayerfully read the story.

A first step is expressed in the words of Mary when she tells Jesus they have no wine.  Wine is a symbol of joy in the Bible.  This statement of Mary is like a confession.  Our first step in being born again is to confess that we have no wine (joy) and we need to be born again.

A second step in this formula is when Jesus tells the servants to fill the huge thirty gallon jars with water.  The Scripture is sometimes symbolized by water because of the way it cleanses.  A devotional application here could therefore be that our second step toward regeneration would be to fill our human vessel with the Word of God.

A third step is pictured when Mary tells the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them to do.  While we are filling our vessel with the Word we must do what it tells us to do.

The fourth step is when Jesus tells the servants to draw out what they had just poured into the huge jars and serve it as wine.  Precisely, when did the water become wine?  I’m convinced it was when the servants had the faith to serve the water as wine.  We are born again when we believe Jesus can turn our water into wine and show His glory through us.