Study 1: New Beginnings
Let us see how we start with God, the way Jesus said.
We all are looking for the meaning to our life and life in general. When we hear this sentence “You must be born again” we react, ‘that it is too simple’, or ‘not for us’, because we have so many preconceived ideas of what is involved especially all the ‘do nots’. Here is the situation spelled out very clearly.
God created all things, Genesis 1:1. He has set standards which we must reach if we are to have fellowship with Him. As we are all sinners, both by birth and practice (Romans 3:23), none of us could ever reach that standard, yet we were made for God, Colossians 1:16.
Jesus is the Son of God (Romans 1:3-4), Himself divine. He left the Father’s side and became a man like us (Hebrews 2:14), though without sin, Hebrews 4:15. During His earthly life He did meet God’s standards, John 17:4. He offered Himself on the Cross as a sacrifice to God, taking the punishment that our sins deserved, 2 Corinthians 5:21. He was raised from the dead and ascended back to the Father (Ephesians 1:20), from where He will return, Acts 1:11.
So we can see why Peter could say “And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved”. Acts 4:12 Amp.
Jesus declared “With all the earnestness I possess I tell you this: Unless you are born again, you can never get into the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3.
Jesus answered “What I am telling you so earnestly is this: Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. Men can only reproduce human life, but the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven;” John 3:5-6.
How can I become a Christian?
What Jesus told Nicodemus is so relevant to us today, we need to be born into the family of God through faith, by believing in the sacrifice that Jesus Christ has made on the Cross, on our behalf. We see this in John 1:12-13 which says “Yet to all who have received Him, to those who believe in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, not of human decision, or a husband’s will, but born of God.” We become children of the only, amazing God as a Free gift.
We can see, then, that we are not Christians because:
* We were christened or baptised as a baby.
* We were born in a “Christian” country, Colossians 1:13.
* We do our best and live a good life, Ephesians 2:8-9.
* We have Christian parents, John 3:6.
* We go through some ritual or share in a sacrament, Galatians 6:15; Hebrews 10:11-14.
* We join a church, Luke 18:9-14.
None of these things are effective. We need to be “born again”. This is an inward, spiritual experience, and an encounter with Jesus Christ, which puts us into a right relationship with God as His children.
People sometimes refer to it as “being saved”, “getting converted” or being “born again”. To have had such an experience is the most vital thing in the world for you as an individual. There are two parts to it: “repentance to God, and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” Acts 20:21.
How do we get this free gift?
You receive this free gift when:
1. You realise that Jesus is the only way of salvation.
2. You recognise that trusting Him means submitting your life totally to Him as your Lord.
3. You see sin as the hindrance to being right with God.
4. You determine with God’s help to forsake your sin (repentance).
5. You recognise the futility of your own efforts to win God’s favour.
6. You receive Him personally, by faith, as your Rescuer and Lord.
Now you have Eternal Life!
You are saved!
You are born again!
You are in God’s family!
This is all by faith in what God has promised, it is irrelevant how you feel, 2 Peter 1:3-4.
What happens at the New Birth?
There are many wonderful things that happen.
1. Born of God – John 1:11-13.
2. A new creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17.
3. A New Kingdom love belong to – Colossians 1:13.
4. Passed from living death to real life – John 5:24.
5. Redeemed (bought back) – 1 Peter 1:18-19 Amp. “You must know (recognise) that you were redeemed (ransomed) from the useless, fruitless way of living inherited by tradition from your forefathers, not with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but you were purchased with the precious blood of Christ the Messiah, like that of a sacrificial lamb without blemish or spot.”
6. Saved from sin, Matthew 1:21; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:13-14.
7. The Word of God becomes real and alive.
8. Fellowship with God and His children – 1 John 1:3 Amp. “What we have seen and ourselves heard we are also telling you, so that you too may realise and enjoy fellowship as partners and partakers with us, and this fellowship that we have which is a distinguishing mark of Christians, is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, the Messiah.”
9. Peace and joy even in difficult circumstances.
Now you have been presented with what happens to anyone who decides to turn their whole life over to the one true God, you have a decision to make. No one else can do it for you. If you now have an understanding with your head of what a real Christian is, and if the desire in your heart is to have a living, growing relationship with your Heavenly Father, then you can use these words to help you talk to Him.
“Heavenly Father I come to you in the Name of Jesus Christ your Son who died on the Cross to wash away my sins. I am so sorry for doing my own thing. Now I want to turn my whole life over to You forever, please take me and do whatever You want to do with me. I declare Jesus is my Lord and all old things have passed away. I am a new creature in Him, in right standing with You, and Your own child. Holy Spirit make Jesus real to me.”
01 Living with Jesus – Challenge Questions
1. Are there any points about ‘we are not Christians because’ that you really believed? What does the Bible say about your misconception?
2. Read the first section on ‘how we start with God’ Write out three verses from the brackets, which explain all about being ‘born again’.
3. Are there any other things not in the notes that you believed made you a Christian, that you now realise are not God’s way.
4. Write out and consider the following Bible verses:
5. Do you know anyone who has told you they are born again? Have they encouraged you or put you off?
6. Do you think there is any good reason in God’s sight for you not to be one of His children? Does He have favourites?
7. If you are a Christian do you still find yourself working for God to earn your place in Heaven?
Write out Ephesians 2:8-9 Learn and meditate.
8. Do you see salvation as a free gift from God? Explain your answer?
9. Out of all the things that happen to you when you are born again, which do you find most exciting?