Stephen shared the second sermon in his latest series this Sunday and encouraged us to think about the second birth Jesus described to Nicodemus in John 3:1-6.
"Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.’ Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.’ ‘How can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!’ Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit."
We learnt that the second, "spiritual birth" Christ offers is for everyone even for those who live a good, moral even religious life. Stephen also touched on the "already, but not yet" aspect of our faith and our new identity as children of God. Second birth comes through repentance and trust in Christ based on His finished work for us and not by our own efforts.
“I laboured diligently and anxiously as to how to understand Paul’s word in Romans 1: 17 … where he says that the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel. Finally I grasped that the righteousness of God is that righteousness which through grace and sheer mercy God gives us by faith. Thereupon I felt myself to be reborn and to have gone through open doors into paradise … When I saw the difference, that law is one thing and the gospel is another, I broke through.” (Martin Luther)
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