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Summary: I dislike the term “born again”; being asked regularly; I mean, just how do you answer this question? I personally find it intimidating and off putting, but I don’t disagree with the logic nor the reasons why it is done, and I will now tell you why.

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Word Count: 2655

Genesis 12:1-4a Romans 4:1-5, 13-17 John 3:1-17 Psalm 121

Prayer. In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit let these words bring honour to you so that your will may be known and understood. Amen.

Summary: I dislike the term “born again”; being asked regularly; I mean, just how do you answer this question? I personally find it intimidating and off putting, but I don’t disagree with the logic nor the reasons why it is done, and I will now tell you why.

This sermon was delivered to the congregation in St Oswald’s in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 20th March 2011: by Gordon McCulloch (A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).

Introduction:

Today’s gospel reading is a very familiar passage to the Pentecostal or Charismatic movement. Every member of that movement can recite this passage, particularly verse 3 which says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, that unless a man (or woman) is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven”

Now I must admit that I did not like this expression; I did not disagree with it; I just somehow do not like how it can be forced upon someone who struggles to understand it.

I have been on the receiving end of this, in a church of all places, with someone saying “are you born again”? I mean, just how do you answer that question like that?

I personally find it intimidating and off putting, but I don’t disagree with the logic nor the reasons why it is done and I will tell you why.

Let us start with our Old and New Testament readings, which focused on the faith of the Israelites, which gave birth to Christianity itself. It all started with the call of Abraham, and without knowing where this would take him, Abraham listened to and obeyed God, and God truly blessed him.

This relationship grew, and God guided Abraham and his descendants with his Laws and Prophets, and the teachings through the centuries, and finally, promised them a Messiah who will deliver them from the hands of their enemies.

So you must ask, “If God had truly blessed and guided them, why did he promise a Messiah”? There are many answers to this question, but the one I want to focus on is that God needed to send a messiah because what God had given them was not enough. God wanted to give his people more, but to do so, he needed to send his own son in order to clean them up and be presentable before Him.

This came from the Book of Job, the oldest book in the Old Testament; where Job had just been horrendously afflicted, losing everything including his family said, and I paraphrase “Who can stand before God and defend himself”?

Later in Job’s subsequent arguments, he came up with three points.

1. “Job could not contend (or compete) with God” (9:1–13)

2. “Job could not answer God” (9:14–35)

3. “Job could not understand God” (10:1–22)

Why, because of the barrier called SIN. God hates sin, but the bible tells us that God truly loves us and wants to communicate with us just like he did with Adam and Eve; but this SIN thing seriously gets in the way.


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