"HOW WE ARE BORN AGAIN"
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit"-John 3:8
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, has come to Jesus by night making his confession, "We know that thou art a teacher come from God." He came at night, fearing his privileged position among his Jewish brethren. He preferred his seat in the synagogue above fellowship with Christ. But a confused teacher we find him to be concerning how we are born again, "How can these things be?"
Every expression that we find in the Bible concerning the new birth reveals God's sovereign act of mercy when one is born again. They depict man as passive, dead in sin, unable to make a spiritual movement until the Lord comes with healing in His wings. In our scripture today, Jesus uses "Born again". Paul uses quickened(Ephesians 2:1), regeneration(Titus 3:5); and translated(Col. 1:13). Peter also uses born again(I Peter 1:23). All of these terms are used to express the same experience as one who is dead in trespasses and in sin is made alive in Christ Jesus and He take up His abode in the heart.
As Jesus explained to Nicodemus "How we are born again", He used a simple illustration that could be easily understood by all: the wind. From His words we learn about God's sovereignty and His power over the Devil and fallen man.
Jesus said, "The wind bloweth where it listeth". The word "listeth" means pleases. The wind is very discriminating. I have seen a tornado lift a roof off of a building and bypass a pot of flowers. Such is God's Spirit. It is sovereign concerning where it will blow and upon whom it will blow. It blows effectively upon the objects of His grace and brings them from darkness to light as they are translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His dear Son. Surely, this is a beautiful picture of God's love and grace. It struck Saul of Tarsus down upon the road to Damascus and changed his heart from hateful to helpful; it changed the heart and conversation of the thief on the cross; and in his mother's womb, John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost. These examples were given us to reveal God's sovereignty. Man was not present; there were no sermons; no tracts; no ordinances performed. Jesus did it all!
Little needs to be said to the people of this area concerning the power of the wind. Over the past few years this power has been demonstrated more than once by several tornadoes. Here, Jesus reminds us of the Spirit's power over man. Man can feel the effects of the wind; he can observe the effect of wind upon other objects; but that is all he can do. He has absolutely no power over the wind. He can not command it to come, nor can he resist it when it does blow. Jesus has the power to enter the heart when and where that He pleases.
Man can not fathom the power that it must take to regenerate fallen man! It takes more than a preachers voice; a sinners response; or participation in a particular ordinance. According to Jesus, it takes the same power to regenerate as it does to resurrect(John 5:25-29).
Jesus also said that you can hear the wind, "thou hearest the sound thereof". The wind can make a lot of noise as it exerts its powerful force. So does God's spirit. Though the wind makes and audible noise, God's spirit is spoken of as a "small still voice." But how effective is this voice! It tells us that we are sinners and we need a Saviour; the heart becomes repentant and when we hear of Jesus, there is an affection for His person; we want to call upon His name; and there is a hope that swells in our heart for better things and a better place. Has this spirit blown upon you? Then you have great evidence that Christ has died for you and you shall spend eternity with Him in glory!
The experience of Nicodemus was given us for an example. An example of those children of God who are born of God's Spirit but do not understand HOW. If He abides in you heart, let credit be given to whom it is due. Let us cast our crowns at the feet of Jesus!
Come and worship with us at Harmony Primitive Baptist Church, in Donaldson, where God is sovereign, and salvation is by His abundant and amazing grace. Services begin at 10:30 each Sunday morning.
By His mercy and grace,
Neil Phelan, Jr., Pastor