lørdag 16. august 2008

A new baby in the family?


“You must be born again”.
This is what Jesus told Nicodemus, the Jewish leader who had come to him at night to talk with him. We find the story in the gospel of John, chapter 3. We sometimes use the term “born again” in the sense of being a bit fanatic, like a “born-again football fan” or a Christian who is a bit over-enthusiastic about his faith. But what does Jesus really mean when he says that “no-one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” and that “no-one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit”?
Just as a baby can’t decide to make his own entrance into the world, but has to be born by his mother, in the same way you can’t understand anything about God unless God reveals it to you. You can’t decide to become a spiritual person. God has to do something with you. He has to make you into a new creation. This is what we call the new birth.

God is the father of everything he has created. God created us to be one human family. But because of the fall and rebellion of the first human beings, we no longer have that father-child relationship he intended for us. We must be born again into the new family of God that Jesus Christ started. The world-wide church, in all her varieties and denominations, is the family of God. We are born into this family when we are “born of water and the Spirit”. The Holy Spirit gives birth to our faith in Jesus Christ, and baptism confirms and seals this new birth by the symbolic cleansing with water.

Taking care of the baby
Can you imagine a hospital where the children are born, and then they are carried out through the hospital doors and put down on the street, and the nurses say, ‘bye bye, take good care of yourself!’? Of course you can’t.

Well, just as we need to take care of a newborn baby, we need to take care of each other as well, especially when there is a new spiritual birth in the family. We must make sure that the new child of God is breathing properly, that he or she gets the right nourishment, and is learning to walk.

For the next few weeks we are going to look at these practical things together here in Bergen International Church. So whether you feel like a newborn baby or you care for some new believers, I believe it is going to be fruitful for us to see what the Bible teaches us about these things. For the breathing of the child can be compared to prayer, the nourishment is the word of God, and learning to walk has to do with learning what God wants for our life.

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