Back to the Basics

Perhaps you have heard the story about the famous football team that had been on a ten year long losing streak. It is said, that the owners hired a new coach who began to inspire and train the team. One day during a practice game he became so frustrated at what was going on, he blew the whistle and called them all together. Then he held up a football and said, "Lets go back to the basics, THIS IS A FOOTBALL. These are the yard markers. I am the coach, you are the players".

Please hold up your Bibles and repeat after me, THIS IS A BIBLE. It holds the words of life.

In this teaching, I am the coach and you are the players.

Now take a pen and paper and write down these words. I am a spirit, I live in a body, I have a soul which is the seat of my mind, my will, and my emotions.

Let me tell you some of the things I know about this Bible. I know that there are sixty six books in total. Thirty nine in the old testament and twenty seven in the new. I am able to divide all of them up into neat little categories. The first five books are called by several names, the Books of Moses, the Books of the Law, the Pentateuch or the Torah. The first book is Genesis. The word Genesis means beginnings. This book has fifty chapters and ends with the words "in a coffin in Egypt." The second book is called Exodus which means way out, contains the first giving of the ten commandments and has forty chapters. Leviticus contains the laws for diet and worship and civil matters and has twenty seven chapters.

Then comes Numbers where we hear that we may be sure our sin will find us out and that no mumbling, no grumbling are good things.  Followed by Deuteronomy the second giving of the commandments, the mountain of blessing and the mountain of cursing.

Next there is the division of the twelve books of history, followed by the five poetical books, followed by seventeen prophetical books (five major, twelve minor).  I am able to name them all and tell you the general theme of each of them, in addition to quoting some verses. I have all this knowledge in my head and much more.

QUESTION? Does knowing all this make me a child of God? Of course not.

SAY OUT LOUD! I am a spirit, I live in a body, I have a soul. 1 Thessalonians 5:23

I am also able to name all of the books of the New Testament, know how many chapters are in them, quote many verses and talk many more. I can tell you where to find the fruits and gifts of the Spirit and name all of them. I am able to explain substitutionary atonement and transubstantiation. I am also able to define words like propitiation, justification, sanctification, Hamartiology, Ecclesiology, and Eschatology (spelling them is harder than explaining them.)

QUESTION? Does knowing all this make me a child of God? Of course not.

All of the things mentioned above pertain to the soul.  A knowledge of Scripture is to be prized but not over estimated. It is not enough to be well versed in the Bible nor to have a clear understanding of the doctrines of Christianity. If our hearts (spirits) are not affected, we are no better off than starving people with cook books in our hands.

Head knowledge without heart knowledge will not save us.

SAY OUT LOUD! I am a spirit, I live in a body, I have a soul.

I have been going to church for forty seven years. I remember when revival meetings sometimes lasted over six weeks (seven day weeks, twice on Sunday) held until 10:30 or 11:00 PM and people frowned at you if you didnít make it to every meeting. Children went to sleep on the pews or on the floor and adults wished they could too. I used to think of them as survival meetings instead of revival meetings. I have been pastor of churches, taught every age group from 6 months to age ninety nine, prayed for the sick, visited jails, given to the poor, made midnight calls to minister to the ill, attended more meeting than I can count, scrubbed the church restroom, mopped the floors, shared in lots of excellent pot-luck dinners, conducted weddings, baptisms and funerals. I have been faithful to my mate, I do not cuss, smoke, chew, spit, or drink alcohol.

QUESTION?  Does knowing all this make me a child of God?  Of course not.

SAY OUT LOUD! I am a spirit, I live in a body and I have a soul.

None of the things written above are bad, in fact I recommend them, but they will not save us.  They all belong to acts of the body.   Natural birth is our mode of entrance into the world and gives us the equipment to deal with our environment.  To be born again of the Spirit transforms and outfits us to live in the heavenly kingdom.  To belong to the heavenly kingdom, you must be born again.

The following verses are from the Amplified version.

John 3:1-10 NOW THERE was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (a leader, an authority) among the Jews, 

2 Who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know {and} are certain that You have come from God [as] a Teacher; for no one can do these signs (these wonderworks, these miracles--and produce the proofs) that You do unless God is with him.  

3 Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.  

4 Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother's womb again and be born? 

5 Jesus answered, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a man is born of water and [even] the Spirit, he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God.          

6 What is born of [from] the flesh is flesh [of the physical is physical]; and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.          

7  Marvel not [do not be surprised, astonished] at My telling you, You must all be born anew (from above).     

8 The wind blows (breathes) where it wills; and though you hear its sound, yet you neither know where it comes from nor where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. 

9 Nicodemus answered by asking, How can all this be possible? 

10 Jesus replied, Are you the teacher of Israel, and yet do not know {nor} understand these things? [Are they strange to you?]

Jesus was speaking to a man of education and religious training. The Pharisees were the strictest of the two ruling sects in Israel. They didnít cuss, chew, spit or get drunk. They spent most of their days memorizing the old Testament, they tithed, wore the proper garments, observed the required feasts and the Sabbath. Nicodemus was from an upper class family and probably had attended the best religious schools. As a Pharisee and a member of the Sanhedrin he believed in the phrase,  "The Lord our God is one God, ruler of heaven and earth." He also believed in life after death of the body. BUT he did not know that he was a spirit who lived in a body and possessed a soul. He had a head full of knowledge and a moral life but his spirit had not been born again. The only thing that came to his mind was how could it be possible to enter his motherís womb and be born again.

Jesus said, "The time is coming when they that worship me will worship me in spirit and truth." That is not possible unless your spirit is born anew unto God.

SAY OUT LOUD! I am a spirit, I live in a body, I have a soul.

Maybe you are one of those who has always believed that there is one true God and that He has a Son named Jesus. Perhaps you have gone to church, given, served and memorized facts and scriptures. Thatís good, but not good enough.  You must be born again.

  Eating is a necessary fact in our lives. If we are to maintain body strength we must ingest food. It is not enough to look at it, admire it, analyze the caloric value and speak of itís beauty. If we are to benefit from food we must eat it. The same is true of the word of God, it will do us no eternal good unless we receive it into our hearts. You must be born again.

I was once in a prayer meeting with two monks, (brown robes, rope belts and sandals) who had spent many years in a monastery studying Godís word, when they suddenly realized that they were not born again. The change that came over their faces when they accepted the work of Jesus, as done for them, was beautiful to behold. We must make sure that nothing is substituted for Jesus.  Not baptism, communion, church, or minister. It must be Jesus alive in your spirit. External contact with the things of God is not enough. You must be born again. Those monks were well versed in theology and theoretical knowledge. They had been hanging around the holy place doing itís work for years but until that prayer meeting they had never had a vision of the Holy One.  This pertains to the spirit of man.

Nicodemus ask, how?  This is how you do it.

First, you admit you can never be good enough in yourself.

God says that there is a way that seems right unto man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death, and that all your self righteousness is like filthy rags. He called the most self righteous people in Israel whited tombs filled with dead menís bones. You must have the righteousness that comes by faith in the Son of God. The Bible says that what-so-ever is not of faith is sin and the wages of sin is death. Jesus died in your place, He took your place on the cross. He accepted what you had earned so He could give you the gift of God. A brand new spirit, one that is alive unto God and eternal life.

Second, you admit that you have done wrong and that you regret it.

Third, you ask Him to forgive you.

Fourth, you believe He has done it and you say thank you Jesus, because he has now forgiven you as you requested.

Ezek 36:25-28 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleanness; and from all your idols will I cleanse you. 

26 A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 

27 And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you shall heed My ordinances and do them. 

28 And you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God.

Our promised land is when the promises of the Bible becomes facts in our lives.

Dear friends, if there is even the slightest doubt, I urge you to examine yourself and make sure that your salvation is not based on your works.  When your spirit is born anew,  your learning and doing become acts of gratitude instead of an attempt to earn your  way into heaven.

John 3:16-18 For God so greatly loved {and} dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting life).

17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation {and} be made safe {and} sound through Him. 

18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in {and} trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]

When you face God and He asks you, "Why should I let you into heaven?" Let your answer be, BECAUSE I HAVE TRUSTED IN JESUS AND WHAT HE DID FOR ME!!!