There are statements in the New Testament that don't seem like a command at first glance. However, when we look at the verse in lite of the complete gospel message it is clear that it is not only a command but a necessity for life. The Scriptures in Jn.3:3-7 is not just a command, but the very essence of the Christian life.
2. COMMAND #2: YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
John 3:3-7 ESV Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." (4) Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" (5) Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (7) Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
There is no command within Scriptures more important than this one. We must be born again! When our Lord started a statement with verily, verily or truly, truly He is affirming something that is of great importance which He is addressing. In this case He is addressing the importance and need for all men to be born of the Spirit.
We can be church members without being born again.
We can get baptized without being born again.
We can give tithes and offerings without being born again.
We can read our Bibles without being born again.
We can pray without being born again.
We can love our spouse and children without being born again.
We can become more moral without being born again.
However, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God, become God's children, and spend eternity with the Father in His kingdom without being born again.
My first birth was of the flesh and took place in 1954 in the small community of Craigsville, Virginia. I was one of four siblings having one brother and two sisters.
My second birth was of the Spirit and took place in 1974 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. I am one of millions and millions of brothers and sisters throughout time that has given their lives over to the Lord Jesus Christ and was radically born again.
There are many things which we can do that are important in life, but none as important as asking the Lord Jesus Christ to take control of our life, forgive us of our sins, and give us His life in exchange for ours. Being born again, having the life of God within us is the most logical, intelligent, and beneficial thing a person could ever do in their lifetime.
There is great joy in knowing that the Father has forgiven my sin and the guilt of my sin:
One of the key elements for a Christian to have victory over sin is to have the right mindset about sin. I have met too many believers who are still chained to their past sins and really bad decisions. Instead of walking as a free Spirit-filled believer, they walk as a guilt-driven, I'm not worthy of forgiveness, flesh-filled, stinking thinking, defeated Christian.
We need to raise the standard of our living. This means that we need to see ourselves as children of the King, confess that we are children of the King, walk like the children of the King, and behave accordingly. When we live a "what's the use" attitude we expect to sin and are surprised when we don't. Instead, we should expect to walk a Spirit-filled, Holy Spirit empowered holy life and be surprised when we don't.
True Christian love does not come forth from a guilt-ridden heart. True Christian love comes forth from a heart that is pure and having a good conscience and a sincere faith. This means I am not walking around chained with guilt from my past.
1 Timothy 1:5 ESV The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
If we don't walk in faith and a good conscience we stand the possibility of having our faith shipwrecked.
1 Timothy 1:19 ESV holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith,
The first Covenant, the Covenant of the Law, could cover our sins but it could not give me a pure conscience.
Hebrews 9:9 ESV (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper,
The New Covenant, the Covenant of grace, the Covenant of the cross, the Covenant of our Lord Jesus Christ, frees me from the guilt of sin and gives me a pure conscience.
Hebrews 9:13-14 ESV For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, (14) how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
If you have read the introduction in Part 1 then you know that I am seeking to list some of the 1,050 commands from God to believers to obey. In doing this I am reading the 4 Gospels in a harmony of the Gospels so that I get the chronological order of the commands we are to follow.
COMMAND # 1: DON'T MAKE GOD'S HOUSE (YOUR BODY) A DEN OF THIEVES.
The first command is seen in John 2:13-18. Our Lord had already been baptized by John the Baptist and He done His first miracle in Cana at the wedding. Our Lord entered Jerusalem and it was the Feast of Passover. Our Lord knew that three years from this date He would be crucified outside of the very city He just entered.
John 2:13 ESV The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
When He entered the Temple area there where those who exchanged money and sold animals for sacrifice offerings. He made a whip and chased the money changers and animals out of the Temple area and then turned their tables over.
John 2:14-15 ESV In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. (15) And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.
Our Lord then made a proclamation concerning the house of the Lord which is a quote from Ps.69:9.
John 2:16-17 ESV And he told those who sold the pigeons, "Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade." (17) His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me."
How is this a command and what does it say to us today?
God's house is no longer a Temple in Jerusalem. His house is built within every believer. We as believers are the Temple of the Most High. We are set apart by God for God and therefore we are not to allow money changers to by and sell through us. We re not hirelings that would sell out, (Read John 10). We are called to holiness and God's zeal for us still burns.
Far to many Christians today have sold out their lives to the world and worldly pleasures. But that is not the worst of the sin being committed. The reason the money changers where in the Temple with the animals was because people were commanded to bring a sacrifice offering for their sins to the Temple. They had to travel many miles and some for many days and weeks to get to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover.
Instead of bringing their FIRSTFRUIT offering and giving it as their sacrifice, they made the trip without animals, making the trip easier. Then they would purchase a far less quality of animal from the money changers and give it as their sacrifice at the Temple.
They took the path of least resistance to bring a sacrifice that cost them the least amount. We see this in the body of Christ today. People want to bring something to Christ and to the Father but end up bringing that which costs them the least in time, money and effort.
Many us know that the process of salvation is in three stages.
1. JUSTIFICATION: I am saved
2. SANCTIFICATION: I am being saved
3. GLORIFICATION: I will be saved
1. JUSTIFICATION: I am saved from the penalty of sin
2. SANCTIFICATION: I am being saved from the power of sin
3. GLORIFICATION: I will be saved from the presence of sin
Romans 7:23-24 ESV but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. (24) Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Sin is a thing or a spirit that can exist at a place at a certain time. Paul spoke of a law of sin at work in the members of his body. Paul exclaimed that in his mind he was a slave to God but in his flesh he was still a slave to the law of sin. The chemical makeup of the physical body is morally neutral, meaning that my arm or foot knows no morals and can be neither good or bad. Therefore, the nature of sin and the act of sin must be regarded as something foreign in a Christian that can be removed.
Sin is a nature and condition of transgressing against the commands and character of God. James says that sin starts with the lust of the heart. Now when we say heart we do not mean the beating muscle that lies in the middle of your chest wall. It is the soulish man, made up of the thoughts, the emotions and the will of man.
James 1:13-15 ESV Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. (14) But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. (15) Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
The Lamb of God has come in order to take away the sin of the world. He does this by forgiving the guilt, then by giving the believer the ability to subdue it, and finally by removing its very penalty, power and presence.
I know that it is difficult even to imagine walking without the presence of sin. It would be a thought that could never happen until God the Father establishes His kingdom with the new earth and new heaven. God is going to make an end of unrighteousness. The Word says that everything that offends God will be cast into the lake of fire.
Daniel 9:24 ESV "Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.
WOW! “To put an end to sin.” Hallelujah!
God is beginning with the victorious saints the work of putting an end to sin. One day all of creation shall be freed from sin and shall be in total subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ. At present Jesus is waiting until every enemy has been made His footstool.
There appears to be confusion in Christian thinking concerning the conviction and guilt of sin versus the urge or desire to sin. When the Bible speaks of Christ taking away our sin we usually think of our Lord Jesus Christ just forgiving our sin. True that He forgives those things which deals with the conviction and guilt of sin and gives us a clean conscience. When we confess He is faithful to cleanse.
1 John 1:9 ESV If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
However, when our Lord gives us victory over sin it is more than forgiveness. He has given us the power to change which means taking away the urge or desire to sin, being a slave to sin, and being in bondage of sin.
This is the introduction of what is going to be a long, long, long series. What sparked this series? After preaching for over 40 years now I have heard a lot of excuses from people for not being obedient to the Word of God. One excuse has been posted over and over on facebook and frankly I felt strongly that it was time to say something to set the record straight.
USING THE WORD "LEGALISM" AS A LICENSE TO DISOBEY:
I see a lot of posts on facebook attacking Christians who are classified as being legalistic. I hear a lot of believers using the term "legalistic" as though they are spiritual giants obeying God in every way. Most of the time when I hear believers speaking about legalism they are using it to justify their own misuse and abuse of God's grace and Christian freedom.
These same Christians make comments like "There are only 2 commandments in the New Testament. Love God and love your neighbor as yourselves. They get these from Matt.22:35-40. Our Lord Jesus said that on these 2 Commandments hang the Law and the prophets. However He did not say that these were the only commands of the walk of grace for a believer.
Matthew 22:40 ESV On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."
The New Testament is filled with commands for us to obey. What? God, are you being legalistic? And God would say NO. He is exercising His right to be HOLY and demand holiness and Christ-likeness from His children. By the way, being Christ-like is far more than just calling ourselves Christian.
After we are saved the Father desires for us to be Christ-like is word, deed, and thought. In doing so there are 1,050 commands in the New Testament. 1,050 commands that God told us to do or not to do.
Why did God command us to love one another? Because we are more prone not to do so.
Why did God command us to be cheerful givers? Because we are more prone not to do so.
Why did God command us not to provoke our children to anger? Because we are more prone to do so.
This was just three quick examples of the commands in the New Testament which we will cover in detail. Seriously, what are we going to do with these? We should think on these New Testament commands the next time we are tempted to throw the "legalistic" word around or think that just because we have been born again, and forgiven, we have arrived. Now we just sit on our blessed assurance until Jesus returns.
I have decided to list the commands of the New Testament in chronological order as best as I can determine it to be. I will not give them all, just a few to get us all started. If you have ever made the statement, "I don't know what God wants me to do", hold on, I am about to start you on a journey of 1,050 commands the Father wants you to do.
I asked myself, " How can a New World Order come about?" What can happen that will cause the majority of Americans to willfully give up their National pride, their guns, and their American freedom for a globalization government under one leader? Then I got it.
Americans as a whole over the years have accepted anything that will crease strife and division against another group except Christianity. It is the doctrine of tolerance for the sake of unity in diversity and false peace.
Just a few years ago, all we saw and heard was the atrocities committed by the radical Muslims. The beheadings, the killings, and the tortures. We slowly became desensitized to the people committing the violence and seeing them more as the victims. We as a nation are doing whatever it takes to stop the violence by way of appeasement and compromise. In this we think that we are building a safe fence around our little world.
Compromise? One might say, "no way, not me." Well some American Christians are having joint services in their Christian churches with Muslims. However, I dare you to walk into a Muslim Mosque carrying a Bible or praying to Jesus.
War is coming soon. It is recorded in the Bible that it will happen. We as Americans will be so sick of the violence, the killings, the threats within the boarders of our own towns and cities, the wars and rumors of wars, that we as Americans will do anything and follow anyone who can bring PEACE. This is why and how we as Americans will give up our rights, our weapons, and our freedom. We actually believe that we will receive a greater good in globalization and a New World Order.
Here are some statements from Henry Kissinger's book released in 2014 called "WORLD ORDER." His agenda over the last 60 years was to see a New World Order for world-wide peace.
Henry Kissinger offers in World Order a deep meditation on the roots of international harmony and global disorder. Drawing on his experience as one of the foremost statesmen of the modern era—advising presidents, traveling the world, observing and shaping the central foreign policy events of recent decades—Kissinger now reveals his analysis of the ultimate challenge for the twenty-first century: how to build a shared international order in a world of divergent historical perspectives, violent conflict, proliferating technology, and ideological extremism.
There has never been a true “world order,” Kissinger observes. For most of history, civilizations defined their own concepts of order. Each considered itself the center of the world and envisioned its distinct principles as universally relevant. China conceived of a global cultural hierarchy with the Emperor at its pinnacle. In Europe, Rome imagined itself surrounded by barbarians; when Rome fragmented, European peoples refined a concept of an equilibrium of sovereign states and sought to export it across the world. Islam, in its early centuries, considered itself the world’s sole legitimate political unit, destined to expand indefinitely until the world was brought into harmony by religious principles. The United States was born of a conviction about the universal applicability of democracy—a conviction that has guided its policies ever since.
Now international affairs take place on a global basis, and these historical concepts of world order are meeting. Every region participates in questions of high policy in every other, often instantaneously. Yet there is no consensus among the major actors about the rules and limits guiding this process, or its ultimate destination. The result is mounting tension. According to the Word of God, it will and must happen. We as believers should NOT be a part of it because we are of another world and another kingdom.
HOLINESS: AM I HOLY AT SALVATION OR DO I MATURE INTO HOLINESS?
Well, both are true.
When I was saved the Holy Spirit invaded my spirit-man, (my inner most man), and took up residence and ownership. In my spirit-man holiness is not personal character slowly attained over years of self-denial. Holiness was a result of that instant spiritual union with the Lord Jesus Christ at the point of salvation.
In my spirit-man I do not have to climb a long spiritual mountain of painful denial to ascend the heights of holiness. When we received by faith the gift of salvation from our Lord Jesus Christ all the holiness of God the Father filled us and lifted us up to be able to sit in heavenly places with our Lord filled with His grace. The Holy Spirit dwelling in our spirit-men is HOLY. We have the righteousness of Christ at the moment of salvation.
We come as we are to Christ and to the work of the cross without our self-righteous works. Our part is not to struggle to attain holiness by our own methods and works but to receive Him. In so doing, His own character, the character of the Father, floods our inner-most man and declares us to be HOLY. In the spirit-man I am as holy as my Lord Jesus Christ is holy because at the point of salvation I was robed with His righteousness and His holiness.
Now let's speak about our soulish-man. The soul is the inner man. I am a spirit, I have a soul and I dwell in a body. My soulish man is my mind or thoughts, my heart or emotions, and my will or choices. Years after salvation, I am still filled with STINKING THINKING, DYSFUNCTIONAL EMOTIONS, and ROTTEN CHOICES. In my soulish man, I am commanded to be holy as He is holy. It is a personal daily walk filled with choices to walk in the Spirit and not to fulfill the desires of the flesh.
THE GAP is the difference between who I am in my spirit-man and how I live in word, deed, and thought in my soulish man. As I grow in Christlikeness I close that gap, whereby it truly is less of me and more of Him until there is none of me and all of Him. Therefore, I am holy and I am being made holy. Both are true.
KEY: The prayer of faith will move the Father to do what He otherwise would not do.
Don’t ask other people if a man can be supernaturally healed. That would be opinion getting concerning the Word of God. The answer about healing must come from the Word of God itself.
Some say this about healing. “God can do anything He wants to do.” Well let’s see if that is true. God wants every believer to give his offering because everything belongs to God anyway. But God is not going to make believers give.
It is the desire of God that every man be saved, but every man will not receive the free gift of grace the Father has given.
There are many things within the realm of the kingdom of God that the Father wants for us but they are tied to and initiated by the faith of the receiver. In other words, the Father wants to give it to us more than we want to receive it, but He has established the means of receiving as a prayer of faith. The prayer of faith will move the Father to do what He otherwise would not do.
Sometimes it is hard to follow an unseen teacher like the Person of the Holy Spirit. But this is the life God wants for us if we are to pray the PRAYER OF FAITH. What about the woman with the issue of blood? Her faith made her whole.
Look at her confession in Mark 5:28.
Mark 5:28 ESV For she said, "If I touch even his garments, I will be made well."
Look at her confession in Mark 5:33.
Mark 5:33 ESV But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth.
There was no doubt that she had been healed. It an act of faith and not just a positive confession with no results. The one preaching faith did not have to convince her that she was whole, she knew she had received a touch of the Master's hand.
Let's exchange the ministry of manipulation that is seen so much in our churches and on TV back to the position of the ministry of faith in what God can and wants to do, ifonly we believe.
Remember the object of our prayers: We are not to put faith in a man or ministry. We are not to put faith in our faith. WE ARE to put faith in GOD, in His WORD, in His HOLY SPIRIT which is active in us, and in the WORK OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS and His RESURRECTION.
There has been a great attack on the person, ministry, and deity of the Lord Jesus Christ as of late, even within the church.
I had a church member that stated it was not important to believe that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin and that He was God to be saved, as long as we believed He was a good person that died for our sins.
There is another quote "Christian group" that holds to the doctrine that God would have never demanded a blood sacrifice and that Jesus went to the cross in vain. That would say that we are saved from His moral life example and by His death. They see His death as a useless event.
Well, for those who embrace the Word of God as true, this is our confession:
We believe in the Lord Jesus Christ: Our confession of FAITH
• The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of Mary when she was a virgin, very God and very Man. Jesus was both 100% God and 100% human. God was His Father, and Mary was his mother. He was the Son of God, however, at no time was He ever less than God.
• The Lord Jesus Christ lived His life without sin. If He sinned in any way He would not have been God, and His blood would not have been qualified to be poured on the mercy seat in heaven. The Scriptures say that there can be no remission of sin without the shedding of blood.
• Jesus' death was for the sins of the world. My sin and your sin caused His death. Christ our Savior died for our sins, was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures and appeared to His disciples.
• Jesus was raised from the dead. This signified His supreme Lordship over death and the grave. Our physical and spiritual death was the natural result of our separation from God through sin.
• We believe in the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven, His exaltation as Lord to the right hand of the Father, and His literal, physical return the second time for a glorious Church. Jesus now reigns as the immortal, invisible King who will one day establish His rule on earth at the appointed time of the Father.
Titus 2:11-12 ESV For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, (12) training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
The new covenant includes the grace that will help us overcome sin and become the slave of righteous behavior.
Romans 6:22 ESV But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.
Romans 6:22 reveals that eternal life is a result of freedom from sin, becoming a slave to God, and practical holiness of personality and behavior. This is different from what is commonly taught in churches today?
I hear comments from Christians and Pastors like, "Well, we are human." We use this as so to justify certain sinful lusts and behavior that is not like the character of the Father. Then the most common statement is "well, no one is perfect." This is true, however we are commanded to be perfect as God is perfect. We cannot use cute little clichés to excuse behavior which opposes the God-called life of holiness.
Matthew 5:48 ESV You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
1 Peter 1:15-16 ESV but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."
The new covenant includes all the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. These are to be obeyed until the eternal moral law of God is inscribed on our mind and heart. There are approximately 1,050 New Testament Commands. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand that we cannot live a Christian life. It takes Christ in us to live the Christian life. We cannot will-power ourselves into obeying 1,050 commands. No man could obey the 10 Commandments much less 1,050 commands. It takes Christ in us to do so. We choose to die to self and live the Christ-life. In so doing He writes His Word on our hearts.
Hebrews 8:10 ESV For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
The end result of obeying all of the New Testament commandments is deliverance from sin and the growth of Christ in us.
Many Christian churches in America are in a state of lawlessness. This is because we do not realize the goal is to overcome sin and grow in the image of Christ. Instead, we as Pastors allow our churches to be filled with sin and we excuse it for the sake of numbers and money. As a result, when we do not eat from the right tree, we eat and encourage others to eat from the wrong tree.
We are called to eat from the tree of life. We are not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life is the righteousness of Christ. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is morality. The good on the tree of knowledge is just as evil as the evil on the tree of knowledge. God did not call us to be good or moral, He called us to be righteous. In fact, the Word teaching there is no one good but God.
One of the main emphasis of the Gospels, the Epistles, and the Book of Revelation is on the behavior in word, deed and thought of God’s people. This seems to be the one area that is neglected today in favor of novelties and entertainment. We call someone who comes to church more than once a week committed and dedicated. What are they committed and dedicated to? It is a life of righteousness or is it to a Pastor or church building?
We need to escape being deceived by the false spirits and false doctrines of man that are at work in our day and make a Biblical choice. WE DON'T HAVE TO SIN.
Charles Morris. Founder and Senior Pastor of RSIM USA.