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Life Begins at Reception

(John 1:10-13; 3:5-8, 14-18 & 36)

Source of New Birth (John 1:10-13)

The world failed to (Ginosko, gk. To recognize, know, understand or pursue and
active relationship with) Him

What “world”(s) are we talking about here? In, made, not recognized by
All use Kosmos gk.

Sons of God = Freedom from “Elemental Things” (Stoicheion, gk.


rudimentary, lower, base things) of this world (Kosmos gk ) (Gal. 4:3)
This is the condition of “fallen mankind”.

He was sent to his own, “the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (John 1:11; Matt.
15:24; Acts 3:26)

But they would not recognize His authority nor receive the free gift of
salvation through Him (Isa. 53:3; John 1:11; Luke 19:14; Acts 3:46)

Those who (Lambano, gk. = chose to lay claim to or accept His free gift) He
(exousia, gk. = empowered) to become sons of God.

We are made Sons of God through faith (Gal. 3:26)

Sons of God = Freedom from “Elemental Things” (Stoicheion, gk. rudimentary,


lower, base) of this world (Gal. 4:3; Col. 2:8 & 20)

Sons of God = Joint Heirs with Christ (Gal. 4:7; Rom. 8:17)

Every real Christian becomes such by a special exertion of Almighty power to


change his heart (Rom. 8:14-16; Gal. 4:6)

Not by blood = not by being born a Jew (see Matt. 3:9)

Not by will (or works) (Rom. 10:3, Titus 3:5)

Agent of New Birth (John 3:5-8)

Regeneration = Spiritual Rebirth; “Born Again” (Ezek. 36:26-27; John 3:3-5; 2


Cor. 5:17, 1 John 5:1) of the (pneuma, gk. =Holy, life-giving Spirit)

“Born of Water”? Is Baptism necessary for this regeneration? (No. Rom. 10:9)

Baptism is not regeneration, it is merely and outward sign


“Born of Water” = Repentant (Matt. 3:11)

Initiator of New Birth (John 3:14-17)

To look at the uplifted serpent = life of sinner being spared (Num. 21:7-9)

To acknowledge/accept to Jesus = the same (John 6:40)

Why did Christ come?

Because of God’s great love for “the world” (Kosmos, gk.) (for fallen
mankind)

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world
through him might be saved.” (John 3:17)

The word condemn means to declare a person guilty and worthy of


punishment.

Do you think we condemn too quickly, too often and too easily, instead of
seeking to save? (see John 8:3-11)

Some 12 years ago, Anne started attending what she calls, "this funky little
church" or "the church in the wild hood." According to her, she "did not
mean to be a Christian," but Jesus wore her out. "I was tired and
vulnerable and he won. I let Him in," she says. As a young Christian she
got pregnant, but the father of her soon to be born son wasn’t interested in
having a family and she had no money. Although she had been attending
the little church in the wild hood for a few weeks, she was not sure how
they would respond to her news. She says "When I announced during
worship that I was pregnant, people cheered. All these old people, raised
in fundamentalist houses in the Deep South, cheered. It was so amazing.
they set about providing for us. They brought clothes, they brought
furniture, they brought me soul-food casseroles to keep in the freezer, and
they brought me assurance that he was going to be a part of this family.
And they began slipping me money. Now, a number of the older black
women live pretty close to the bone financially, on small Social Security
checks. But routinely they sidled up to me and slipped bills in my pocket:
10’s and 20’s. It was always done so stealthily, so surreptitiously, that you
might have thought that they were slipping me bundles of cocaine, or
blueprints for [a top secret] submarine. One of the most consistent donors
was a very old woman named Mary Williams, who is in her mid-80s now,
so beautiful in her crushed hats and hallelujahs, who always slipped me
plastic baggies full of dimes, noosed with little wire twists. Eventually
Sam was born. I brought him to church when he was five days old, and
they all passed him around, from one set of arms to the next. They very
politely pretended to care how I was doing but were mostly killing time
until it was their turn to hold Sam again. They called him "our baby" or
sometimes "my baby." "Bring me my baby!" they’d insist. "Bring me my
baby now!" I believe that they came to see me as Sam’s driver, or roadie,
or sherpa, the person who brought him and his gear back to them every
Sunday. Mary Williams always sat (and still sits) in the very back by the
door, and during the service she praises God in a non-stop burble, a
glistening dark brook. She says, "Oh, yes." "Uh-huh." "My sweet Lord."
After 12 years of attending the little church in the wild hood, Anne says
just when I think we’ve all grown out of the ritual, she [Mary Williams]
brings us another stash [of dimes]. She doesn’t know that I am semi-
famous now, even semi-affluent, and no longer really need people to slip
me money. But what’s so dazzling to me, what’s so painful and poignant,
is that she doesn’t bother with what I think she knows or doesn’t know
about my financial life. She just knows we need another bag of dimes.
And this is why I make Sam go to Church. Anne Lamott, Why Sam Goes
to Church, Leadership, Vol. XXIV, Number 1, pages 89-92.

Instead of declaring Anne to be guilty of sin and worthy of punishment,


instead of ostracizing her, instead of refusing her the love she had been
experiencing, the little church in the wild hood just kept on loving and
accepting her. Instead of being confirmed in her sin she says, "I was
usually filled with a sense of something like shame, or dereliction." The
unconditional love of the Church in the wild hood cleared her vision so
she could see Christ unhindered.

You Must Believe (John 3:18 & 36)