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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pastor Nelda’s Notes: Being Born Again

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Unless one is born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. Jesus? reply to Nicodemus shattered the Jewish assumption that their racial identity ? their old birth ? assured them a place in God?s Kingdom. {{more:? continue …}}Jesus made it plain that a man?s first birth does not assure him of the kingdom; only being born again gives this assurance.
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It was taught widely among the Jews at that time that since they descended from Abraham, they were automatically assured of heaven. Most Jews of that time looked for the Messiah to bring in a new world, in which Israel and the Jewish people would be pre-eminent. But Jesus came to bring new life, in which He would be preeminent.
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Nicodemus addressed Jesus as a rabbi and teacher; Jesus responded to him as the one who announced new life. ?Our Lord replies, It is not learning, but life that is wanted in the Messiah?s Kingdom; and life must begin by birth.?
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Born again, can be also translated ?from above.? This is the sense in which John used this word in John 3:31 and in John 19:11 and 19:23. Either way, the meaning is essentially the same. To be born from above is to be born again.
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This means to have new life. A theological term for this is regeneration. It isn?t simply a

moral or religious reform, but the bringing of new life. ?To belong to the heavenly kingdom, one must be born into it.?
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Jesus clearly states that without this ? that unless one is born again ? he cannot enter or be part of (see) the kingdom of God. Moral or religious reform isn?t enough. One must be born again.

This isn?t something that we can do to ourselves. If Jesus had said, ?Unless you are washed, you cannot see the kingdom of God? then we might think, ?I can wash myself.? A man might wash himself; but he could never birth himself.
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Notice that God does not ask the world if it wishes to be the recipient of God’s love. God just goes ahead and loves, and not only loves but gives the world God’s only beloved Son over to death. John makes that clear. God’s love , surprising, all encompassing, unasked for and undeserved, is also given unconditionally. God loves us, whether we like it or not. In the face of that kind of love, we will likely either yield to God’s love or run away screaming, for no one can remain neutral to such extravagance.
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God loves this world, even the God-hating world that crucified the Lord of glory. At this place in our Lenten journey, we would do well to pray that by the gift of the untamed Spirit we might see in Jesus’ cross, God’s redemptive act and be drawn into fellowship with all who dare believe in Jesus and, indeed, the whole world that God loves so much!
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Please join us for worship on Sunday!

“I don’t know how, but I know WHO!”
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Peace,

Pastor Nelda
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Kennedale First United Methodist Church is located at 229 W 4th St, Kennedale, TX 76060. Find out more @ The Mission Store and @ First United Methodist Church Facebook ?

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