Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning we ponder our lives as seek to understand the “born again experience.”
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Born Again Experience, Part One.
Jesus said,“ Verily, verily I say unto you, except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God. " John, Chapter 36, Verse 3.
Brothers and sisters, in today’s broadcast, we explore the born again experience. In foretelling this marvelous spiritual experience the prophet, Joel, in the 2nd Chapter, 28-29 verses uttered, "It shall come to pass after this that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even upon the servants and the maids, I will, in those days pour out my spirit."
All will be free to experience and comprehend divine truth directly without any kind of intermediary. Man will be free to approach the loving and merciful Father for himself, and as himself. The values and meanings revealed by the spirit will be glorious. And they shall be known as sons and daughters of the everlasting Father. They shall be a thing of beauty and joy forever, friends of the heavenly Father. And no one shall take their revelation of love away from them, for they shall become the sons and daughters of love.
In proclaiming the One who would bring all this about, the prophet, Isaiah in Chapter 61, 1-2 verses cried, "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the humble; he has sent me to heal the broken hearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who moan.”
And in the 40th chapter of Isaiah, 3-5 verses, he utters these words: "A voice is calling, clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness, make straight in the desert a highway for God. Every valley must be filled up; every ridge must be cut down, the crooked turns must be straightened, and all rough spots made smooth. The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it."
And in the fullness of time, He appeared, yes, God appearing as man, and man appearing as God. Of Him, John wrote in his 1st epistle, 1-7, "We are writing to you about the Word of Life: He was from the beginning. We have heard him; we have seen him with our eyes; we have looked at Him, and our hands have touched Him. Yes, the life has been revealed and we have seen and are witnessing and are announcing to you the eternal life who existed with the Father and has been revealed to us. We saw him and we heard him and are telling you, so that you too may enjoy fellowship along with us. And this fellowship of ours is with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. This, we are writing you so that our joy may be complete. The message we heard from Him and announce to you is this: God is light and in Him there is no darkness whatever. If we say we enjoy fellowship while we are walking in the dark, we are lying and not practicing the truth. If however we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, then we enjoy fellowship with one another."
Speaking of His coming Kingdom, John the Baptist writes in Matthew, Chapter 3, verse 2, "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near." And of him, he said in the same chapter, but verse 11, "Whereas I baptize you with water for repentance, the One who comes after me is so far superior to me that I am not fit to carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." In this context, the word "fire" symbolizes purification and cleansing of the soul. The Holy Spirit purifies the faith and the heart of man, and endows him with a desire to live solely for the glorification of the heavenly Father, to dedicate himself supremely to doing the Father's will.
When He did arrive, He made it clear what He expected of men and women. Listen to these life giving and merciful words in Matthew, Chapter 5, 48 verse: "You then are to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." This is a command invitation to man. When God gives a command, it will certainly come to pass. But since man is a free will creature, he can elect to accept this command or reject it. If he accepts it, he ascends to perfection in the fullness of time. If he chooses to reject the command, then he descends to total destruction in the fullness of time. The difference is between mercy and justice, mercy in the former, justice in the latter.
In further speaking of his Father and his Kingdom in Matthew Chapter 11, 26-30 verses, He speaks these further words of hope and comfort: "Yes, Father, for it thus was pleasing in Thy sight. Everything has been handed over to me from my Father, and no one really knows the Son except the Father, nor does any one understand the Father except the Son, and to whom the Son wishes to reveal Him. Come to me all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and humble of heart, and you will find rest for your souls, for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Life in the Kingdom of Heaven is free from the internal stresses that are the sure consequences of having divided loyalties, of being dedicated to temporal and material realities. Here in the Kingdom of Heaven is found rest from the struggles of living, and renewed energy for the struggle of perfection. The struggle is to love our brothers and sisters, even as Jesus loves them. All who enter the Kingdom of Heaven are brothers and sisters, for did not Jesus say in Chapter 12, verse 50 of Matthew, "... whoever does the will of my Heavenly Father is My brother and sister...."
But what is the Kingdom of Heaven? What is the nature of it? The Kingdom of heaven is a spiritual brotherhood whereby the reborn sons of God delight in the doing of the Father's will, that is they delight in bearing the fruit of the spirit. The Father rules supremely in their hearts. Their greatest pleasure is in obeying the law of love, to love others as they have been loved by God. But words can not adequately describe this spiritual experience, but nevertheless what may not be described may be implied. Let us listen to the Master as he describes the nature of it in parables: In Matthew 13 Chapter, 24-52 verses, Jesus says "the kingdom of Heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while men were asleep the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. When the blade shot up, and the wheat headed, the weeds appeared too. The owner's slaves went to him and said, 'was not that good seed, sir, that you sowed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from? He said to them, 'an enemy has done this.' They asked him, 'would you then like to have us go and weed them out? But he said, no, for in gathering up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. But let them grow side by side until harvest time, and at harvest time, I shall direct the reapers to collect the weeds first, bundle them up and burn them, but bring the grain into my barn." There is good and evil in every soul. During the mortal life they grow together. At death God separates the two. God resurrects the good, but not the evil.
Another parable He presented to them: The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds but when grown up, it is bigger than any plant and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and roost in its branches." He also told them another parable: "The Kingdom of Heaven is like yeast which a woman took and buried in a bushel of flour until it was raised." Jesus said all this to the crowds in parables and never spoke to them except in parables so that the saying of the prophet was fulfilled: "I will open my mouth in parables; I will express what has been hidden since the creation of the world."
Again the "Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man conceals after finding it. Then out of sheer gladness, he goes out and sells everything he has and buys the field. Again the Kingdom is like a merchant looking for beautiful pearls. Having found the one pearl of exceptional value, he went out and sold all he possessed and bought it. Once more the Kingdom of Heaven is like a net cast in the sea that collected every kind of fish. When it was full they drew it to shore and sitting down, they put the good ones into baskets and threw out the bad ones. Every teacher versed in the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his store room new things and old." The Kingdom of Heaven contains the old values and meanings that are true as well as the new meanings and values that are true.
And thus it was that Jesus instructed the multitudes concerning the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven. He taught in this way because, first it would confuse his enemies; furthermore those true of heart would comprehend the truth in their hearts, and their hearts would cleave towards these saving truths. It requires the soul to be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven, to comprehend the spiritual meanings and values of those parables, for the Kingdom of Heaven is a spiritual experience that takes place within the soul of the individual. Parables describe the relationship of the Father to His sons, and the relationship of His sons to Him which is the Kingdom of Heaven.
This concludes part one of today’s message on the born again experience. Tune in next week for final part of the born again experience. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about while you go about your day. Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry.