Saturday Morning: 12 Jan 2019 – John 3:1-21 ~ You must be born again.

Saturday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (Collect for Purity)

Almighty God: to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid; cleanse the thoughts of my heart through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that I may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name, through Christ my Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – John 3:1-21 (NLT)

There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.”

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?”

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”

“How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked.

Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.”
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Morning Reflection:

“You need the new birth
so that you can understand and respond to spiritual truth.”
Steven J. Cole

In today’s reading, two words jumped out at me – “see” (vs 3), and “enter” (vs 5). As much as Nicodemus may want to know Jesus and the Kingdom, he remains blind to both, and is prevented from understanding, or entering, the Kingdom of God because he has not yet been “born again.”

Why? Because there is a fundamental divide between physical birth and spiritual birth. And that divide is only spanned when we are “born again,” i.e. by believing and accepting Jesus (John 1:12-13). That’s when we become “children of God”; and that’s when we become citizens of the Kingdom of God, with concurrent privileges and responsibilities.

I have sometimes quipped: “I sat in church for years, but it wasn’t until I surrendered my life to Christ that the preaching improved.” That’s when I began to understand what I was hearing and was hungry for more. That’s when I became a new creation through the power of God’s Word and Spirit.

Questions for Consideration:

+ Have you experienced new birth in Christ? If so, what has changed in your life? If not, why not? What’s preventing you? (Check out the website PeaceWithGod.net)

+ Do you have loved ones and friends who just don’t understand spiritual truths? God loves them and Jesus died for them; will you pray for them? List your top three and ask the Holy Spirit to make them new creations in Jesus Christ.
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Morning Prayer:

Heavenly Father: Pour out your Spirit on us today. Continue to unfold your eternal truths to us – your unfailing love, your endless mercy, your transforming power. Open our eyes that we might recognize the reality of your Kingdom presence around us. And transform us into worthy citizens and ambassadors.

We pray today for family and friends who can’t see or understand the wonder of your love for them expressed in the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. (If someone comes to mind, mention them by name.) Have mercy on them and open their hearts to the life-giving power of your Word and Spirit.

Shine the light of your truth and grace on our lives, that we might continue to repent of our residual sins and receive your gracious forgiveness. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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“God So Loved the World” – The Choir of Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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