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What it means to be Born Again (2 of 4)

Shane Willard

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What it means to be Born Again (2 of 4) View salvation in a whole new light, as Shane unlocks Hebraic understanding, and what Jesus was trying to communicate to others, on what it truly means to be born again.
1 John 4:7 – “Beloved, let us love one another - for love is of God; and everyone that loves, is born of God.”

People are fickle - they'll say “Hosanna, Hosanna” one minute, and the next minute they're nailing you to a cross! That's just people okay, but here's what I know:

If the church worldwide could ever get back to the point where it has a worldwide reputation for being loving - you couldn't stop it! We're made in the image of God - that's in love - and we're made in the image.

We naturally seek out the environments of those we're made in the image of. Before anybody gets too critical - we are getting better. Yeah, 500 or 600 years ago, we were chopping people's heads off, for disagreeing with us about statues and sanctuaries. We're getting better, historically! Now we just gossip at lunch...

But if we ever get back to the point we have a worldwide reputation for being loving, you couldn't stop us. It says: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone that loves is born of God.

1 John 5:1 – “Anyone who believes that: Jesus is the Christ, is born of God”

Christianity is not English. It's not New Zealand; Australian; American; Fijian - it's not any of those things. Christianity (in its base) has Hebraic culture in its thought; and this idea of being ‘born of God’ is found throughout the Bible; but in the New Testament, it's primarily stitched with the writings of John. In 1 Peter it says: “we're born again of an incorruptible, indestructible seed of the word of God” - but they're primarily stitched with this writer John - and I think it's because of an encounter with a man named Nicodemus.

It’s Sunday, so all across the world today, there's going to be pastors standing on stages, saying something like: “You need to be born again”. That's a great thing to say (and we ought to say that); but in Jesus' whole life - 3 and 1/2 years of ministry – He only said ‘born again’ one time. One time; to one man; at one moment at one time.

He said: no, no, no, you need to be born again! Everywhere else He said: repent and believe in Me. Who do you say that I am? Repent, believe in Me. But to one man, at one moment at one time, He said: no, no, no, no, no! You sir need to be born again. Why? What was so important about that man? What was going on there?

In a First Century Hebrew culture, there are only two types of people: firstborns; and second-borns. If we're going to be a First Century Hebrew culture this morning, we need to identify who our firstborns are. If you're the firstborn child of your family - I want you to raise your hand. I'm one. Everybody look around - those are the ‘church of firstborns’ okay. Just realise: these people are in trouble man!

The only other type of people is second-borns. If you're not a firstborn, you're a second born. If you're a 9th born - that means you're a second born. Everybody look around - these people are spoiled! Anybody not raise their hand? Okay - these people are deaf!

So we've got firstborns and we've got second-borns. Now in ancient Hebrew culture, firstborns always get justice okay. Firstborns get Justice! In Hebrew culture, second-borns get mercy. Firstborns get Justice; Second-borns get Mercy.

Has anybody ever read the Old Testament, and you saw this thing that the firstborns get called a ‘double-portion’? Anybody besides me ever prayed for it?

Nobody wanted a double portion - nobody did; because to get a double-portion meant you had to be a firstborn; and to be a firstborn - you had to get justice. The double portion was a compensation for all the responsibility that the firstborn had to do.