What is re-birth?

With the notes that follow we want to deal with the above question.

When we give the short answer to this question we can say that re-birth is about commitment to our Maker. It is a commitment that speaks of a complete surrender to Jehovah, a complete surrender with all that we are.
Our hearts, our minds, our bodies. When we listen to the words of Jesus:

Mat 22:36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?

Mat 22:37 And he said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

Mat 22:38 This is the great and first commandment.

The above words were spoken by Jesus, the only begotten of the Father, the one who was full of grace and truth. He was the one that gave what we know as the great commission.

When we look at the words of Jesus then we find words that are always centered around the heart.

Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Mat 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, where moth and rust consume, and where thieves break through and steal:

Mat 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

Mat 6:21 for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.

Luk 6:45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth that which is evil: for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

Luk 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

Many more verses could be given to show that when Jesus talked about the person of God and the person of the world it always centered around the heart. The heart is always “the heart” of the gospel, “the heart” of the words of Jesus.

The heart of the gospel message is the human heart coming to God in full surrende

When Jesus spoke specifically about being reborn He talked about the heart.

Luk 8:11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

Luk 8:12 And those by the way side are they that have heard; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.

Luk 8:13 And those on the rock are they who, when they have heard, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

Luk 8:14 And that which fell among the thorns, these are they that have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

Luk 8:15 And that in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience.

In these verses we see that the re-birth centers around the heart. The seed is the word of God, what is sown by the way side is the seed that cannot find root in the heart. The seed that is sown on the rock is the one that received the word with joy, but there is no root. After a while when temptation comes this one falls away. The seed the is sown among the thorns ar the ones that also has fruit, however when the cares and riches of the world come and when the pleasures of this life comes it brings no fruit to perfection. Seed in good and honest hearts will bring forth fruit with patience. So we see that it all centers aroung the heart.

When we look at the book of Proverbs we see in chapter 4: 23

Pro 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; For out of it are the issues of life.

It is all about the heart.

Listen to Paul in Romans 10

Rom 10:9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved:

Rom 10:10 for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be put to shame.

With the heart man believeth unto righteousness.
This is the teaching of Bible.
It is always about faith and about the heart.

Many who have been raised within the church have heard from an early age that baptism is essential to the re-birth and every word of that is true. Nothing can be taken away from that.
Many sermons are taught about the right view of baptism. However, in the effort to teach the right view of baptism, other parts of the re-birth at times are snowed under.

So, people come forward and request baptism, they are asked whether they believe in God and when they answer that question it the affirmative they are baptized.
Is this right??
When we truly want to restore New Testament Christianity do we not have to teach that re-birth is more then simply being baptized upon faith in God. When we truly want to restore New Testament Christianity we need to tell the full story about the re-birth.

Re-birth is not only about a right baptism, it is also about a true faith and repentance.

In the beginning of the restoration movement there was a trend in which many religious groups totally disregarded baptim for the remission of sin as the Bible clearly teaches. The restoration movement rightly told them that they were wrong. They were wrong.
Have we focused so much on baptism that it is only about baptism??

1. Believe with the whole heart.

When the Eunuch had been taught about the great Christ he requested baptism.
When he asked that question Philip ask him whether he believed with all of his heart in the Christ, the only begotten son of God. And he answered yes, so he could be baptized.

Act 8:35 And Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture, preached unto him Jesus.

Act 8:36 And as they went on the way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch saith, Behold, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

Act 8:37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thy heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

This shows that a person can request baptism but that he is not ready to do so.

When baptism is requested we need to ask about one's faith in Him.

What is faith in Him? Faith in Him shows itself in seeking Him with our whole heart, our whole life.

Hebrews 11: 6 teaches us that when we come to God we must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them the diligently seek Him. This shows that faith as an important element of the re-birth. And that faith in Him is also a diligent one.

The word “diligent”. G1567

Thayer Definition:

1) to seek out, search for

2) to seek out, i.e. investigate, scrutinise

3) to seek out for one’s self, beg, crave

4) to demand back, require

This word “diligent” means that we seek Him in all earnesty, we seek out for Him in all that we do.
God needs to be the center of our lives.

The diligence of our commitment to Him is shown by Luke.

Luk 9:59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

Luk 9:60 But he said unto him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but go thou and publish abroad the kingdom of God.

Luk 9:61 And another also said, I will follow thee, Lord; but first suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house.

Luk 9:62 But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

In these verses we see that when we seek God we cannot look back, we always look forward to God. There is a change in direction, and this change is a change that speaks of commitment, not to look back.

Faith in God is a commitment, it is a continual looking up to Him, it is a withdrawal from the word and a complete turning to Him in all that we do.

So, if the person who desires baptism does not have this faith in God, he or she cannot be baptized.
But there is more.

Faith is the bed-rock of our salvation. There needs to be a true faith living and dwelling within our heart, it becomes our life-line with Him.
Faith becomes our bridge towards God.

2. What about repentance?

Acts 2: 28 teaches us important truth's.

Act 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?

Act 2:38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In this passage we learn important things about the truth about re-birth.

When the Jews on the day of Pentecost were pricked in their hearts they asked the question; What shall we do.

Two things are said in answer to this question namely, repentance and be baptized unto the remission of sins.

Let us think about repentance. What is it?

Repentance is best shown when we look at 2 Cor. 7

2Co 7:8 For though I made you sorry with my epistle, I do not regret it: though I did regret it (for I see that that epistle made you sorry, though but for a season),

2Co 7:9 I now rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye were made sorry unto repentance; for ye were made sorry after a godly sort, that ye might suffer loss by us in nothing.

2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation, a repentance which bringeth no regret: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

2Co 7:11 For behold, this selfsame thing, that ye were made sorry after a godly sort, what earnest care it wrought in you, yea what clearing of yourselves, yea what indignation, yea what fear, yea what longing, yea what zeal, yea what avenging! In everything ye approved yourselves to be pure in the matter.

In these verses we see what repentance is, Biblical repentance has fruits.

What are the fruits of repentance:

  1. It brings earnest care.
  2. Clearing of self.
  3. Indignation.
  4. Longing.
  5. Zeal.
  6. Avenging.

All these things speak of a change in thinking and a change in behaviour.

We can say then that when folks are baptized upon their belief in God, it should not only be upon their belief, but also upon their repentance.

Repentance is not easy. Repentance is a hard thing to do.
It means to change our thinking and changing our ways.

It means that we turn our lives, our everything over to Him.
Repentance means that we tell God that our own thinking is wrong and that we allow His truth to rule our hearts.
It means that it brings an “earnest care” to do these things that are right. It brought an earnestness to strive for these things that are excellent, a striving for these things that God calls right.

It also brings a “clearing of ourselves”, these words mean that we apologize for the wrong. It means that we are sorry for the things we have done wrong and that it will lead us to these things that are in according to His will.

It also brings “indignation”, this word means a vexation, an irritation. This word shows us that the new life in Christ becomes very serious to us. The new life stands in total contrast to our old life.

There is an irritation and a vexation to these things that are wrong and not in accordance with His will.

This irritation and vexation lead us to a pure “longing” to do the will of Him who called us into His glory. This new life becomes full of longing for these things that are right.
This longing goes with “zeal” a zeal to do these things that are right.
So, there is not only longing but a longing with zeal.
The word zeal is a word that speaks of embracing the new life, embracing the new life in Christ.

This new life also brings an “avenging”, it brings a vindication. It brings a revenge on those things that are wrong.

So in all these words we see that it becomes a total commitment to these things that are right.

We read in Acts 2 that the new believers on the day of Pentecost: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers”.

Much more could be written, but in all this we see the total change of life and life-style when it comes to the re-birth.

These new believers were stedfastly in the teaching of the Apostles. They were steadfast in their new way of life.
Folks, we need to take serious that which the Bible teaches on the re-birth.
It is to essential to our true life in Him.

When we talk about repentance we talk about a complete turning.

Without repentance we can never be pleasing to Him.
We can believe in Him and be baptized, but if it is without repentance then we have a baptism that is void of the forgiveness of sin.

3. Turn with our whole heart.

When we look at Gods revelation to us we see that God has always desired a complete turning.

Deu 30:9 And Jehovah thy God will make thee plenteous in all the work of thy hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, for good: for Jehovah will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers;

Deu 30:10 if thou shalt obey the voice of Jehovah thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law; if thou turn unto Jehovah thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.

Deu 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off.

God wants to give all to us but we need to turn with our whole heart and with all of our soul.

We find that God is a God who wants us completely.
He wants to bless us bountifully, however He can only do that as we turn to Him with all that we are.

In the same chapter we then find the words that if we turn away, with our hearts, then we shall perish and our days cannot be prolonged.

Deu 30:17 But if thy heart turn away, and thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

Deu 30:18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish; ye shall not prolong your days in the land, whither thou passest over the Jordan to go in to possess it.

Yes, these words were written to the Jewish nation of old. However these things have happened for our examples.
(1 Cor. 10)

When we turn with our whole heart then He can bless us.

The words of Jesus rang here as well.

Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The first recorded words from Jesus are words that speak of becoming empty and a complete turning to Him.

Our spirits needs to become empty of ourselves and full of God.
Our own thinking needs to die and Gods thinking needs to become alive within our hearts.

4. What about baptism?

Baptism has an important role in the re-birth.
Baptism is for the remission of sin.

Act 2:38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Act 22:16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on his name.

Many more verses could be cited to show that baptism is for the remission of sin.
When faith is there, when repentance is there, the process needs to go on to the waters of baptism. But only if the baptism is preceded by true faith in Him who is our life and a true life-changing repentance.

The re-birth is not just a simple faith in Him and a baptism.
It certainly includes it, but more is needed.

When we teach folks about the re-birth we do not only teach about faith and baptism. We need to teach about all the elements of the re-birth and these are a true faith, followed by a repentance and a baptism that is for the forgiveness of sin.

Jam 1:21 Wherefore putting away all filthiness and overflowing of wickedness, receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

Have you received His word with meekness?

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