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Summary: TODAY I WISH TO TALK WITH YOU ABOUT WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE THE CRUCIAL BIBLICAL TEACHING FOR PEOPLE TODAY. THIS IS AN AREA WHERE THERE ARE NO OPTIONS. TODAY, WE TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BORN AGAIN.

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BORN AGAIN

JOHN 3:1-18

WE HAVE BEEN TAKING TIME TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE BASIC THEOLOGICAL BELIEFS THAT WE FOLLOW AS CHRISTIANS. I WANT TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THESE ARE DENOMINATIONAL BELIEFS AS WELL, BUT FIRST AND FOREMOST THEY ARE CHRISTIAN BELIEFS, FORMED ON THE SECURE FOUNDATION OF THE WORD OF GOD.

LAST WEEK WE TALKED ABOUT THE ORDINANCE OF “THE LORD’S SUPPER” OR AS IT IS MORE COMMONLY KNOWN “COMMUNION.”

TODAY I WISH TO TALK WITH YOU ABOUT WHAT I CONSIDER TO BE THE CRUCIAL BIBLICAL TEACHING FOR PEOPLE TODAY. THIS IS AN AREA WHERE THERE ARE NO OPTIONS, NO ROOM FOR DIVERSITY OR ALLOWANCES FOR DIFFERENT BELIEFS OR DIFFERENT RELIGIONS. TODAY, WE TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN.

THE PASSAGE THAT WE ARE LOOKING AT TODAY, HAS TO BE ONE OF THE MOST WELL KNOWN PASSAGES OF SCRIPTURE IN THE BIBLE. JESUS DISCUSSION WITH NICODEMUS IS WELL DOCUMENTED, AND CONTAINS THE BASIC THEOLOGY TO BE BORN AGAIN. WE WILL ALSO BE LOOKING AT PAUL’S TEACHING TO THE ROMANS, AND ALSO THE ORIGIN OF SIN AND IT’S CONSEQUENCES.

I WANT TO BEGIN BY POINTING OUT THE NECESSITY OF A “BORN-AGAIN” RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST. THE TERM “CHRISTIAN” HAS BEEN OVER-DEFINED TO THE POINT THAT IT’S REALLY DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT ACTUALLY MEANS. I HAVE FOUND SOME RECURRING THEMES IN DICTOIONARY DEFINITIONS OF CHRISTIAN.

1. ONE WHO POSSESSES BELIEF IN THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS CHRIST.

2. PROFESSING CHRISTIANITY (A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY, AN AFFIRM-

ATION)

3. CONFORMS TO CHRISTIAN ETHICS

4. COMMENABLY DECENT OR GENEROUS PERSON

5. A PERSON PROFESSING BELIEF IN JESUS AS THE CHRIST, OR IN THE RELIGION BASED ON THE TEACHINGS OF JESUS.

6. A PERSONAL NAME, CHRISTIAN OR CHRIS, CHRISTINA OR CHRISTINE).

HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF THE USE OF THE WORD “CHRISTIAN”.

1. CANADA (IS OR WAS) A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY.

2. MANY OF MY FRIENDS ARE CHRISTIAN.

3. FRED SHOWS A CHRISTIAN CONCERN FOR OTHERS.

4. JANE IS A CHRISTIAN. SHE BELIEVES THAT JESUS IS WHO HE SAYS HE IS, AND CARRIES HER BIBLE WITH HER ALWAYS.

5. JOHN HAD A GOOD CHRISTIAN BURIAL.

THE AVERAGE VIEWPOINT THOUGH IS THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DEFINE “CHRISTIAN”, BECAUSE THE FEELING IS THAT IT IS RELATIVE TO THE PERSON OR THE GROUP THEY ARE WITH.

THE OTHER PROBLEM WITH DEFINING THIS TERM IS THAT WHEN YOU START FROM A RELATIVE FOUNDATION, YOU ARE ONLY GOING TO REACH RELATIVE CONCLUSIONS.

TODAY WE ARE GOING TO USE THE BIBLE AS OUR OBJECTIVE FOUNDATION IN DEFINING “CHRISTIAN”. AS WE DO SO, WE ARE GOING TO BE LED TO THE POINT WHERE WE MUST AND WE WILL MAKE A DECISION CONCERNING CHRIST.

CONTEXT:

JOHN GOES INTO MUCH DETAIL CONCERNING THE CONVERSATION JESUS HAS WITH NICODEMUS IN CHAPTER THREE.

WE ARE TOLD THAT NICODEMUS WAS A VERY POWERFUL MAN. HE WAS A PHARISEE, AND A MEMBER OF THE SANHEDRIN. THIS MEANT THAT HE WWOULD BE AN EDUCATED PERSON, AND TRAINED IN THE JEWISH RELIGION. HE WOULD BE A LEADER OF PEOPLE, AND SO HIS ACTIONS WOULD BE SCRUTINIZED TO A GREAT EXTENT.

FOR NOCODEMUS TO HAVE A SERIOUS CONVERSATION WITH JESUS, IT WOULD REQUIRE SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES. HE COULD NOT LOSE FACE IN THE EYES OF THE PEOPLE, OR HIS COLLEAGUES, BY ALLOWING THEM TO SEE HIM HAVING A SERIOUS CONVERSATION WITH JESUS.


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