Ye Must Be Born Again

Jesus said that the only way to be saved is to be born again. What does this mean? The new birth is not any of the following: baptism, church membership, partaking of communion, reforming one’s life, prayer, or good works. The new birth is a change of heart. God gives us the new birth when we turn to Him with remorse for our sinful life and repent. God sees when we are ready for the new birth. We will know when we are born again. We will have a free conscience, a desire to do right, and an assurance of a home in heaven.

Jesus tells us that the gates of heaven are closed to us unless we are born again. Therefore, we ask: Friend, are you born again? Church member, are you born again? If not, then you are lost. For Jesus says, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

You may ask, “What is being born again?” Today there are a lot of misconceptions about the new birth. It is not baptism, for some were baptized and yet not born again (Acts 8:18-25). It is not joining the church, for some slipped in unawares (Galatians 2:4). It is not eating of the Lord’s table, for some ate unworthily and it brought condemnation (1 Corinthians 11:29). It is not reform or trying to live better, “for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24). It is not praying, for Jesus says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).

Someone may say if I try and do all I can: giving to the poor, visiting the sick, and being as good as I can every day, then surely I am born again (Matthew 25:41-45). No, we cannot be what we are not: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). We must have a change of heart. For God by the prophet says, “A new heart also will I give you” (Ezekiel 36:26).

Complete text of: Ye Must Be Born Again

“Then what is the new birth?” The new birth consists of a change of the heart from a life of serving self to one of serving the Lord. This comes when we feel remorse for our sinfulness and in faith look to Jesus for forgiveness. When a child is born, a new life comes forth, a new person in the flesh. So likewise, when we are born again, a new life in Christ Jesus after the Spirit comes forth. Therefore, it is called a birth—a new life in Christ Jesus. “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

“When may I expect to be born again?” The Scripture says, “To day if ye will hear his voice” (Hebrews 3:7). That means at any age, time, or place, if you hear the call and respond, you can be born again by the Spirit.

“How long will it take? Must I not grow into the new birth?” No, we are born into the kingdom of God and that makes us children and heirs. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). This may take place the moment you surrender all and come to Jesus for pardon.

“How and when do we receive it?” God, who looks on the heart, sees your sincerity. He comes to you through the power of the Holy Ghost and creates within you a right spirit (Psalm 51:10). Thus, you are born again—a new creature in Christ Jesus by faith in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Finally: “How may I know that I am born again?” Paul in Romans 8:1-10 teaches; “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The Bible teaches that the lost are dead in sin, condemned, and have an evil conscience. They are carnally minded, without hope, disobedient, and without God in the world. But a born-again Christian is a child of God, alive in Christ, saved, without condemnation, and has a good conscience. He is also spiritually minded, filled with the Holy Ghost and faith, and has a hope of everlasting life. His sins are blotted out by the blood of Jesus. His heart is filled with love and the peace of God which passes understanding. He loves, desires, and has the power to do the Lord’s will. He cherishes a hope beyond the grave and the promise of a home in heaven. Could anyone go through such a change and not realize it? Hardly, for “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” (Romans 8:16).

If you have not had this experience with the peace and joy it brings to the soul, do not rest, for you are trifling with God and your own soul. You must be born again.

Teach Us To Pray

Prayer is a humble plea directed to God the Father in the name of Jesus. Prayer is expressing ourselves to a loving father in heaven. In prayer our spirit communicates with God either through words spoken or even in our thoughts. God wants us to speak with Him. We may come to Him with our thankfulness, requests, and disappointments.

Upon praying for the first time, some people say they feel strange, as if they are speaking to nothing. This is what Satan wants us to believe, that we will not pray again. The truth is that the Bible assures us that, wherever we are and whatever hour it may be, God hears our sincere request. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1 John 5:14).

Prayer is talking to God. Speak directly to Him in a frank and sincere manner, telling Him all that you feel and need. If you do not understand why you feel as you do, tell God about it. The Bible says, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). When you are frustrated and discouraged or happy and thankful, express yourself to God. It is important to be honest in prayer. God wants to hear how we really feel down deep inside.

Listen to what God may have to tell you. He speaks to us by giving impressions and thoughts. These may come while we are praying. Even the words that we pray can be the result of impressions given by God. God wants to communicate His will to us. He may do this during prayer or afterward. He speaks through His Spirit, through the Bible, and through His servants.

When we pray, we need to shut out the distractions of the world around us and concentrate on our communion with God. While we can pray in any place and in any position, we need a quiet place if possible. As we close our eyes and kneel in reverence to God we are better able to meditate. Our attention needs to be focused on God (Matthew 6:6).

Complete text of: Teach Us To Pray

Some people say, “But I do not know what words to use or how to express myself to God.” It may be that we say this because we imagine that we need to use a different vocabulary so God will hear us. We may think that we must use many words and speak in a beautiful and elegant manner in order to get His attention. In reality, the Bible gives us various examples of prayer which are very short and simple, and God respected them. For example, a certain man who was a sinner prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). Another sinner, broken and contrite, prayed, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Luke 23:42). God does not require a special form of speech for prayer. The Bible contains many prayers of men from various backgrounds with no two prayers being alike.

For our prayers to be effective we must come in humility before the Lord. In 2 Chronicles 7:14 we read, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” To become better acquainted with the Lord, we must respond to the directions we receive-especially in regard to turning away from sin.

As we communicate daily with the Lord, He gives us vision, stabilizes our lives, and grants our petitions. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

Pray in the name of Jesus. He said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do” (John 14:13). We have no merit of our own; we can only come to God in prayer through Jesus Christ.

Pray often. Listen for and to His voice when He speaks. Obey those inner promptings that He so graciously gives. “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9).

Peace, Freedom, and Happiness

Have you ever thought, “If I could be perfectly free, I would be happy; I would have peace”? Many people have sought complete freedom in order to have happiness and peace. People desire to be free of all restraints, somehow believing that if they could do just as they please, this would bring happiness. Does it?

The laughter and carefree atmosphere prevalent in today’s society seem to offer the promise of happiness. The party life is so attractive to many. People with alcohol and all night to indulge with their companions feel assured of happiness. These settings do not provide the peace and happiness people are seeking.

Recreational drugs promise wonderful highs. One would think surely these would bring happiness, and with that happiness, peace. Do they?

Modern music, which penetrates mind and body, works together with alcohol and drugs to bring more highs. This does not bring real happiness either.

Complete text of: Peace, Freedom, and Happiness

Indulging sexually to the fullest extent of human lust, with no thought of self-restraint, offers promise of fulfillment. It only brings an emptiness and disappointment. No, happiness is not found there.

In our time many are promoting the thought that in these and other areas, one should be completely free to do just as he pleases. They believe that there should be no law, no stigma, and no ill feelings for the one who indulges in these gratifications in his pursuit of happiness and peace. It is thought that total freedom ought to bring peace and happiness. Happiness is always to be found, they advocate, in yet another indulgence, another high of some kind. People think that if they are only seeking personal happiness, they will not be held responsible for their actions. They feel that they are entitled to their fair share of “happiness.”

If happiness is to be found in these ways, why the lonely feeling in the crowded bar? Why the low after the high? Why the uneasy feeling after the indulgence? Why the letdown feeling after the intimate relationship breaks off? If indulgence brings happiness and peace, why do they always seem to be just beyond our grasp? Why are there so many problems, and why does life seem so empty?

Many people are driven to succeed financially. Others excel in sports. Some strive to become famous. Even if these goals are achieved, an unsettled feeling lingers. One may find happiness for a short time, but lasting peace and happiness remain elusive. 

Self-indulgence is not true freedom. It will never bring happiness or peace. Self-indulgence is sin because it is service to self instead of service to God.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-29, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

How is it with you? Do you feel uneasy and troubled? Do the problems in the world and in your relationships cause you anxiety, guilt, and fear? Do you sometimes wonder if anybody really loves and cares for you?

Be assured God does love you. He is keenly interested that you find peace, freedom, and happiness. True peace comes not in indulging more, but in giving up yourself. Yielding yourself to God and trusting Him brings rest to your souls. Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you” (John 14:27).

Answer Jesus’s invitation. Come unto Him with all your heart. Give to Him your past, present, and future. Turn from the empty, wasted life you have been living. Then you will find true freedom, true happiness, true peace, and true love. You will have hope for the future and the promise of eternal life if you will remain faithful. May God bless you as you seek and find peace and rest.