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 Two.
And now we continue part two of the born again experience. 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.
But the very desire to comprehend the parables, that is the desire to comprehend divine truth, not the comprehension of facts leads to the new birth experience. The comprehension of truth is not dependent upon anything material, neither educational status, economic status, or intellectual skills. The comprehension of truth is determined solely by the desire for truth.
The impossibility of comprehending the meanings and values of the Kingdom of God without first being born again is disclosed in John Chapter 3, 1-10 verses as follows: "Rabbi we know that you are a teacher who comes from God, for no one can work the signs you work unless God is with him. 'Jesus answered him, "Truly I assure you, unless a person is born from above, he can not see (comprehend) the Kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother's womb a second time and be born? Jesus replied, "Truly I assure you, unless one's birth is through the water and the Spirit, he can not enter the Kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised because I told you, all of you need to be born from above. The wind blows where it pleases, and though you hear the sound of it, you neither know whence it comes, nor where it goes. It is the same with everyone who is born of the Spirit. In response, Nicodemus asked Him, "How is that possible?" Jesus replied, "You are a teacher of Israel and ignorant of this?" Jesus response to Nicodemus question doomed the hope of all who seek to enter the Kingdom of Heaven with the logic of the mind. There is a logic to entering the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is spiritual logic, logic of the heart.
To illustrate the great difference between the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Kingdom of Man, Jesus said in response to the question who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven in Matthew Chapter 18, 1-4 verses "..who really excels in the Kingdom of Heaven? Calling a little child, He stood in the midst of them, and said, 'I assure you, unless you are converted (born again) and become like little children, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever then humbles himself like this little child, he excels in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Humility is indeed a very strange word to those who have not entered the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Kingdom of man, man becomes great not by being humble, but by being proud, aggressive, and powerful. He becomes great by advancing his cause by material force.
But not so in the Kingdom of Heaven. In the Kingdom of Heaven, one becomes great by serving all others. One advances in the Kingdom of Heaven by the pursuit of truth, beauty, and goodness. The wheat of goodness is allowed to grow along side the weeds of evil until harvest time when the Reaper of Truth separates the good from the evil. The good is resurrected while the evil is not.
The spiritual growth of the soul is insignificant at first, hardly more than a faint glimmer of hope and faith, but it soon grows to such size and strength that it is able to bear the burdens of other lost souls, and is so strong and secure in the hope of faith that it gladly returns good for evil. The goodness of truth and love is so great that its influence affects all within its moral range, causing a quickening, a leavening it you will of all other spiritual growth. The goodness of love and the truth of beauty is the leaven of spiritual power that transforms the flour of evil as it rises to become the rolls of goodness.
In the Kingdom of Heaven, truth is buried in the fields of goodness; so valuable is this treasure of truth that one gives all that one has, even his soul to God by dedicating his will to the doing of the divine will, to secure the field of goodness with its priceless treasures of truth. The Kingdom of Heaven is like the pearl of great beauty, so beautiful that one spares nothing to acquire it, even the pearls of selfishness are given up. In the Kingdom of Heaven, all are given a chance to enter, the fish of good as well as the fish of evil. After an adequate period of love, patience, mercy, and forgiveness-divine goodness, the good fish of righteousness are kept while the evil fish of selfishness and unrighteousness are thrown back into the sea of justice and rejected mercy.
But if the logic of the head does not reveal this marvelous state of being where sojourners enjoy a peace that passes all understanding, and a joy in spite of temporal and material sorrows, how can one comprehend the Kingdom of Heaven? Listen with your spiritual ears, and see with your eyes of faith to these merciful words of life, and visions of divine mercy: In John Chapter 10, 1-18 verses, it clearly shows who reveals the Kingdom of Heaven. "Truly, I assure you, he who does not enter the sheepfold through the door but climbs up from elsewhere is a thief and a robber. But he who enters through the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the door keeper opens and the sheep listen to his voice; he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has led out all the sheep that belong to him, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice: They will not follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers."
Jesus used this figure of speech for them, but they did not catch the meaning of what He said to them. So Jesus spoke to them, "Truly I assure you, I am the Door. Whoever comes in through me will be saved; he will go in and find pasture. The thief's only purpose in coming is to steal, to slaughter and destroy. I have come so they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired man who is not the Shepherd, does not own the sheep, deserts the sheep and runs when he sees the wolf coming; then the wolf scatters them. The hired man runs away because he is a hired man and does not care about the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd and I know my own. My own in turn knows Me, just as the Father knows Me and I know My Father, and I lay down My life on behalf of the sheep. I have other sheep also that are not of this fold; those I must lead as well, and they will listen to My call, so that there will be one flock, one Shepherd, for this reason, My Father loves Me because I lay down my life in order that I may take it up again. No one snatches it from Me, but I voluntarily lay it down. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. I received this command from My Father."
In further clarifying His role in the Kingdom of heaven, Jesus said in John Chapter 15, 1-17 verses, " I am the true vine, and My Father is the Vine dresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit, He prunes away, and whatever bears fruit, He prunes so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean through the word that I have spoken to you. Remain in me and I in you. Just as the branch can not bear fruit by itself without staying on the vine, so you can not do anything without remaining in me. I am the vine; you are the branch. He who remains in me and I in him bears much fruit." And the fruit of the spirit is love, faith, goodness, gentleness, meekness, temperance, longsuffering, joy, and peace as is stated in Galatians Chapter 5, 22-24 verses.
"Apart from me, you can do nothing. Whoever does not remain in me is thrown away as a branch and withers; people gather such branches, throw them in the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you may ask what you will and it will be done for you. My Father is honored in this that you produce much fruit, then you will be my disciples. Just as the Father has loved me so have I loved you; continue in this love of mine. You will remain in my love if you keep my commands, just as I keep my Father's command and remain in His love. I have talked these matters over with you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy may be complete.
And this is my command: That you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, for a slave does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends because I have acquainted you with everything I heard from my Father. You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you and appointed you to go out and produce fruit, and that your fruit should be permanent so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, he may grant you. This is my command to you: Love one another." And all who are born of the spirit will unfailingly display the fruit of the spirit and enjoy living in the kingdom of heaven where there is joy, peace, and righteousness and eternal life.
This concludes part two of today’s message on 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.