Sunday, June 11, 2023

Darkness, Light, and to be Born Again

 “America has been gradually abandoning the moral and spiritual precepts that have long informed our nation with God’s objective truth. Now apparently we can no longer discern the difference between men and women, and have come up with a category called transgender to describe something that doesn’t even exist. We have allowed the LGBTQ lobby to forcefully cram their ungodly agenda down the throats of the most innocent–young children. And an entire political party has staked their claim on the right of women to murder their own children in the womb.” (Franklin Graham)


“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).


“Although they know God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21).


“You should no longer walk as rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart” (Ephesians 4: 17-18).


“And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).


Darkness:

Worldly solutions will not work. 

The darkness will not retreat with more education. 

The darkness will not retreat with more financial programs.

The darkness won’t retreat with more political power. 

The darkness will not retreat with scientific advancement. 

Spiritual darkness and dominion of Satan go hand and hand

The devil has an anchor in the souls of men, the greater the moral darkness


Light:

Never give the devil a corner of your life!

Believers are called to be light

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify you Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

We are called to  “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness in the HIs marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

Proclaim the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world

Bring the light of Jesus Christ into every dark corner of your towns, schools, and communities.

Every soul that is saved becomes yet another living testimony to the Light of the World

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5).


“To turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18).


“The only hope for a people or a nation is to turn to the Light of the World, the Lord Jesus Christ, who opens the hearts of the blind and dead men and women to repent of sin and receive the gift of salvation.” (Franklin Graham)


What does it mean to be born again? By Greg Laurie


Misguided:

-28% Christians believe that Jesus committed sins like other people while he lived on Earth

-⅓ of those claiming to be born again also believed that if someone is good enough, they can earn a place in Heaven

-may respect Jesus as a historical figure

-people believe that God is a killjoy out to ruin lives 


Jesus said, “You must be born again” (John 3:7).

-He calls us to follow Him

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you…thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).

-there is no middle ground with Jesus

“You’re either for Me, or you are against Me”

-His plans for you are better than any plans you have every thought of for yourself


Jesus

-he saved some of His most scathing words for the scribes and Pharisees

-Pharisees were worldly admired due to their solemn vow before 3 witnesses to devote every moment of their lives to obeying the Ten Commandments

-He doesn’t want to just be admired, but look at his radical claims, wonderful promises, and life-changing statements-all to challenge, contemplate, think, and respond to Him

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Nicodemus

-a Pharisee, devout man, leader, well educated, and deeply religious

-He went in the cover of night to meet with Jesus

-He was afraid to be seen with Jesus

-He was afraid of what others would think of him 

-John’s Gospel states that Nicodemus had great respect for Jesus

“Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him” (John 3:2).


Born Again

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

-the term “born again” has been pirated, emptied of its meaning, dragged through the gutter, and given back to us minus the power


Jesus explains to Nicodemus

-your religious beliefs are not enough

-religion means nothing

-religion cannot bring you closer to Heaven


Nicodemus

-grappled with this concept

“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? (John 3:4).

Jesus explains to Nicodemus

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God…The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3: 5, 8).


Belief

-people only believe if they see it, but blessed are those who believe without seeing

-We can’t say “hey look, here is God” but we can show other the effect of God’s work

-there is evidence all around us in those who have had their lives transformed by Jesus Christ

-think about what God thinks of you because one day you will stand before Him



Nicodemus needed clarification

-he needed to break the process down as he asked “How can these things be?” (John 3:9)


Jesus clarifies:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in HIm should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

-The gospel in a nutshell

-commit your life to Him and discover what He has for you


Salvation

-salvation is accomplished only through the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ

-Bible uses words like: faith, repentance, gift, believe, confess, call and receive to describe this transformation

-is God’s gift to sinful man made possible only because of Jesus, received by faith and trust, and granted through God’s sovereign grace in the past, at the present, and for the future

-past affirms Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross in Jerusalem

“Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

-salvation present is the avenue by which all sinners acknowledge their sin to Jes (Confession), turn from their sin (Repentance), and believe (Trust) that God raised Jesus from the dead

-salvation future is God’s guarantee of being able to live out the Christ life, despite being trapped in human flesh

“For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

-Earthly salvation is being guaranteed by God’s gift of grace, our eternal salvation is also guaranteed because God raised Jesus from the dead. 

Paul stated “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord '' (2 Corinthians 5:8).



Believe

-Latin root word is cred, from which we would get our understanding of “giving credence to someone or something said.”

-the person who receives something said or given accepts it without cause for question

-Jesus invites us to believe in HIm

-Jesus invites us to simply trust who He is and what He has done for us


Faith & Trust

-the active ingredients of our beliefs in Christ

-salvation comes when a sinner recognizes his sin

-confess it to God and turn away from sin

-put trust in Jesus as Savior

-inextricably intertwined into the whole meaning and application of salvation


Holy Spirit

-exclusively does the work of conviction

-draws us toward placing our faith and trust in Jesus

Paul said “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).


References to this cult ideology:

“Having a social-sexually coded identity means that you, as a baby, can start to be taught about sexual behaviors and awareness,” said Paul Rossi, a former math teacher at Grace Church School.


Now with Vertex Partnership Academies, a charter school in the Bronx, Rossi explained, “The core assumption is children are sexual from birth, and this goes to the heart [of] what is driving this. I have seen teacher trainings where they say that explicitly.”




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