Summary: Entrance into a saving relationship with Jesus must involve a re-birth
We have a few expectant mommies in our church family right now. They’re going through a lot of preparation and anticipation, so I wanted to share a little excerpt from a Dave Barry article to help us get started out this morning…
From “The Pain of Childbirth”:
The key to avoiding drugs, according to the natural-childbirth people, is for the woman to breathe deeply. Really. The theory is that if she breathes deeply, she’ll get all relaxed and won’t notice that she’s in a hospital delivery room wearing a truly perverted garment and having a baby. I’m not sure who came up with this theory. Whoever it was evidently believed that men have very small brains. So, in childbirth classes, we spent a lot of time sprawled out on little mats with our pillows while the women pretended to have contractions and the men squatted around with stopwatches and pretended to time them. The swank couples didn’t care for this part. They were not into squatting. After a couple of classes, they started bringing little backgammon sets and playing backgammon when they were supposed to be practicing breathing. I imagine they had a rough time In actual childbirth.
Anyway, my wife and I traipsed along for months, breathing and timing, respectively. We had no problems whatsoever. We were a terrific team. We had a swell time. Really.
The actual delivery was slightly more difficult. I don’t want to name names, but I held up my end. I had my stopwatch in good working order, and I told my wife to breathe.
“Don’t forget to breathe.” I’d say, or. ‘You should breathe, you know.” She, on the other hand, was unusually cranky. For example, she didn’t want me to use my stopwatch. Can you imagine? All that practice, all that squatting on the natural-childbirth classroom floor, and she suddenly gets in this big snit about stopwatches. Also, she almost completely lost her sense of humor. At one point, I made an especially amusing remark, and she tried to hit me. She usually has an excellent sense of humor.
Nonetheless, the baby came out all right, or at least all right for newborn babies, which is actually pretty awful unless you’re a big fan of slime. I thought I had held up well for the whole thing when the doctor, who up to then had behaved like a perfectly rational person, said, ‘Would you like to see the placenta?’ Now, let’s face it. That is like asking. ‘Would you like me to pour hot tar into your nostrils?’ Nobody would like to see a placenta. If anything, it would be a form of punishment.
Jury: We find the defendant guilty of stealing from the old and the crippled.
Judge: I sentence the defendant to look at three placentas.
But without waiting for an answer, the doctor held up the placenta, not unlike the way you might hold up a bowling trophy. I bet he wouldn’t have tried that with people who have matching pillowcases.
The placenta aside, everything worked out fine. We ended up with an extremely healthy, organic, natural baby, who immediately demanded to be put back in the uterus.
All in all, I’d say it’s not a bad way to reproduce, although I understand that some members of the flatworm family simply divide themselves into two.
Sure, becoming a Christian is easy. You just have to be born again. Really? There has never been anything really easy about being born. Why should the idea of re-birth be any more appealing? Wasn’t the first one bad enough?
Then there’s the plight of trying to sell the idea of someone who’s skeptical of what it means to follow Jesus. We sometimes back away from that phrase “born again.” After all, it gets associated with those, you know, radical, obnoxious, Christians. “Born again Christians.”
Here’s the deal: there isn’t some other kind!
Besides giving us this phrase “born again,” John 3 gives us some really important information about becoming a part of God’s Kingdom. It’s more than just an interesting look into the life of a changing Religious leader. It’s Jesus sharing what must happen for someone to enter the Kingdom - to be saved - to go to heaven! It’s a challenge to everyone about the necessity of a change and what must take place in our lives in order to be right with God. Beyond that, it gives us words that we really need to help us share this with other people too. Born again. Rebirth.
We need to reexamine the rebirth that makes us the children of God -- to not shy away from the phrase "born again.” It’s not just for obnoxious people. It turns out that it’s for everyone.
The Rebirth is:
I. Our Great Need
Nicodemus was a member of the sect called the Pharisees - their name means “separatists,” because they separated themselves from the common man by their personal righteousness. They were the conservative Jewish theologians of his day. They have the Law down pat. All you had to do was keep the list of rules, complete with loopholes, and you were in. Like most Jews, Nicodemus was interested in the Messianic kingdom. Only, he wasn’t coming to Jesus to try to trap Him in His words in front of a crowd. He came at night with some honest interest about Jesus and what He intends to do.