EVERYDAY, somewhere in the world, someone comes back from the
dead. But what's even more amazing is that these people didn't even know
they were dead to begin with. In fact, for many of them, their "coming back" took
place almost simultaneously with the realization that they were dead.
Confused? You're not the first one!
In the Gospel of John, as found in the Bible, we read about a man who was also
confused when confronted with the idea of coming back from the dead. His
name was Nicodemus. He was a Pharisee, a religious leader of the Jews, who
lived around 30 A.D. Nicodemus met Jesus Christ, whom at that time was going
around and teaching that a person can come back from the dead. Starting in John,
Chapter Three, we pick up the conversation . . .
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the
Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know
that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles
that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him,
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see
the kingdom of God." John 3:1-3
Nicodemus, confused by the term "born again," made the following statement:
"Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he
enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?" John 3:4
Nicodemus was thinking of a physical rebirth, whereas Jesus was referring to a
different kind of birth altogether--He was talking about a spiritual birth. Jesus
went on to explain:
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the
Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born
again." John 3:6-7
The term "born again" is one of the most misunderstood terms heard today. Many
have used it to describe a "revitalizing" of one's life. However, Jesus Christ, who
originated the term, wasn't talking about an emotional revitalization. He was
describing a spiritual enlivening, a coming back from being spiritually dead!
But who is SPIRITUALLY DEAD to begin with . . . ?
. . . EVERYONE!
Let's start from the beginning. The Bible says that: "And God said, Let us make
man in our image, after our likeness.... So God created man
in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female
created he them." Gen. 1:26-27
We were originally created in God's image. That means we both share the same
range of emotions, and thus can interact with one another in a relationship. Contrary
to popular thought, God is not some impersonal force. We are made in his likeness,
so if you want to learn how personable God can be, just look in the mirror!
There is, yet, another way in which we resemble God. God is a trinity, A
TRIUNE BEING, one God manifested in three persons. "the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). Thus, man was also created as
a triune being, consisting of "spirit and soul and body" (1 Thess. 5:23).
The Bible teaches that when God created man He: "formed man of the dust of
the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became
a living soul." (Gen. 2:7) The SOUL is us, our personality; it provides "self-
awareness." However, a soul by itself cannot interact with the physical realm.
That's why God gave man a BODY with five senses that act as windows, enabling
him to know the world around him. The body provides "physical- awareness."
However, a soul inside a body is still not enough. To have a personal relationship
with God, man needs a spirit, since, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship
him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
So, man was also given a SPIRIT to enable him to know God; to perceive the
spiritual realm in much the same way that his body enables him to perceive the
physical world. Man's spirit provides "spiritual-awareness." Thus, everything was
in place for a perfect relationship between God and man, until:
MAN DIED, SPIRITUALLY!
The first man, Adam, and his wife Eve, rebelled against God and died spiritually,
therefore losing their spiritual connection with God (Genesis 3:1-24). This spiritual
death has been passed down to every generation (Genesis 5:3; Romans 5:12),
causing mankind to grope around in spiritual blindness searching for God.
With only a "physical-awareness" to go by, man tends to need a physical prop
to focus on when trying to worship something spiritual. For instance, the average
church goer expects a church to LOOK a certain way: Candles, stain glass, statues,
ritual acts, minister wearing a religious robe, etc. These visual aids help them FEEL
spiritual. Others will seek a place where they can have an experience through their
five senses: Tongues, faith healing, miracles, "feeling the spirit move them," etc.
The Buddhist, among others, seek to FEEL a state of nirvana, a peaceful and
blissful state, an altered sense of reality . . .
We can go on, but the point is, the average person tries to worship God in the flesh,
through his five senses. He has no other choice, he's spiritually dead. He
can't just KNOW God with the same sense of assurance that he knows the world.
God is not as REAL to him as the world is. It requires a spiritual birth to discern
the things of God. The Bible says: "But the natural [spiritually dead] man
receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto
him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14
Without this spiritual discernment the Bible is hard to understand. Its teachings
will seem foolish and outdated; difficult to simply accept as written without
feeling compelled to have to intellectualize and modify it. "For what man
knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so
the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have
received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we
might know the things that are freely given to us of God." 1 Cor. 2:11-12
Surely, some may disagree with what they've just read. But all they have to do is
be honest with themselves. When the religious "atmosphere" of the church is gone,
how often do they think about God? Is He real to them the other six days of the week?
The fact that many view religion as something better left for Sundays shows that
there is no real relationship with God taking place. God doesn't exist only on
Sundays. He's alive and well the rest of the time. He's just as real whether you're
sitting in church or sitting on a deserted island.
SO, ASK YOURSELF: how real is God to me? How often do I think about Him?
Do I need religious props in order to get religious or can I worship God in the spirit,
by myself, in a dark room, without using any of my five senses? Have I been born
again or am I still spiritually dead? Jesus said, "Marvel not that I said unto thee,
Ye must be born again." (John 3:7) The Apostle Paul reminded those
who had been born again that: "you hath he quickened [brought back to life],
who were dead in trespasses and sins;" Eph. 2:1.
Friend, have you come back from the dead?
To learn how, read the back [below].
IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven? The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).
BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God," Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;" Romans 3:23.
SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." Eph. 2:8-9 Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he [Christ] saved
us," Titus 3:5.
THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ. He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me." (John 14:6) THAT'S
WHY: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." (Rom. 5:8-9).
THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
mind); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself. And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you. "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus [REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart [TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
saved." Romans 10:9
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