narrow path

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Born Again?

God's Plan of Salvation

The Bible says there is only one way to Heaven
Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me." (John 14:6)
Good works cannot save you.
"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." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Trust Jesus Christ today! Here's what you must do:
Admit you are a sinner.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23)
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" (Romans 5:12)
"If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1 John 1:10)
Be willing to turn from sin (repent).
Jesus said: "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." (Luke 13:5)
"And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:" (Acts 17:30)
Believe that Jesus Christ died for you, was buried, and rose from the dead.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners. Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8)
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." (Romans 10:9)
Through prayer, invite Jesus into your life to become your personal Saviour.
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:10)
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)
What to pray:Dear God, I am a sinner and need forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ shed His precious blood and died for my sin. I am willing to turn from sin. I now invite Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal Saviour.
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" (John 1:12)
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)
If you have received Jesus Christ as your Saviour, as a Christian you should:
Read your Bible every day to get to know Christ better.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Psalms 119:105)
Talk to God in prayer every day.
"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6)
Be baptized, worship, fellowship, and serve with other Christians in a church where Christ is preached and the Bible is the final authority.
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" (Matthew 28:19)
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:" (2 Timothy 3:16)
Tell others about Christ.
"And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)
"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16)
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Romans 1:16)
The Sacrament of Baptism
The Sacrament of Baptism... to be "Born Again"Free, by grace, by faith... to do "good works"!How can you be Born Again? Faith... a born again experienceDo you want to have a "born again experience" now?

The Sacrament of Baptism... to be "Born Again":
"Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above". Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot reenter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?". Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." (John 3:3-5)
This Born Again issue is mentioned 7 times in Jn.3, and it is an absolute necessity, as Jesus puts it: "Very truly, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit" (Jn.:5)… no one can even "see" the kingdom! without being born from above, says in Jn.3:3 (Tit.3:5).
A person becomes Born Again by the Sacrament of Baptism, which is the Sacrament of spiritual rebirth. By Baptism, a person is cleansed of all his sins and incorporated into Christ. He becomes a member of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, and Christ lives in him, receiving the graces of the supernatural life. The person before Baptism is in sin, at least the original sin, and a slave of the devil; after Baptism, becomes a saint, with Jesus in his heart.
This Sacrament can be receibed only once, because only once you can be born again in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the glory of the Father, for our own good, and for the good of the Church... and nobody can be baptized by himself, a member of the Churh has to baptize you!.
Thus, by Baptism, you become a Christian, and it gives me vertigo just to think what a Christian is: It is not just to imitate Jesus, which is very good, it is even more than a heart transplant, it is a new creature in Christ, not just a new heart, but a totally new creature!. The body and spirit of the person remains the same, with the same nose and hands and memory and intellect and will, and the same emotions and concupiscence and bad habits… but his soul is new!… now, as a whole, he is a new creature, becomes holy, pure, immaculate, a "child of God", a brother of Jesus, with the same inheritance than Jesus Christ himself, and the Holy Trinity living in him… he is now a tabernacle of Jesus, a dwelling of God the Father and the Holy Spirit, a Temple of God himself!.. and all of these, here, on planet hearth, right now! (Jn.14:23, 1Cor.3:16, 6:19, 2Cor.5:17).And he continues being the same "person": He is not a robot now, nor an animal with only instinct, he continues to be the same human person with free will. He still can love or hate, he can do his will or the will of God, he still can live with faith in Christ or live trusting in himself, the greatest sin of them all, worse than drugs or abortion or murder! (Rom.14:23).But if the Christian is faithful, in grace, with Christ in him, his hands and feet and heart and brain become those of Christ, so Jesus can teach the people, heal the sick, cast out the devil, feed the hungry of bread and love, give water to the thirsty, visit the sick and those in prison, cloth the naked... (Mk.16:17-18, Matt.25:31-46)... a most glorious adventure in Christ... and it is not I, but it is Christ who lives in me (Gal.2:20).
The baptized becomes a member of the Mystical Body of Christ, with the three distinctions of being a prophet, a priest, and a king, just like Jesus Christ!: A "prophet", to speak to men about God. A "priest", to talk to God about men. A "king", with power to cast out the devil and to heal the sick.
There are then two things involved in Baptism:1- The immersion into water means the cleansing of all sins... we have died to sin, crucified and died with Christ, says Romans 6:1-8.2- The coming out of the water means to be resurrected with Christ, to live with Him too, to live the life of Christ within ourselves (Romans 6:1-8), a most glorious adventure!.
Baptism is the fulfillment of the Scriptures: "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesess, and from your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart if stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances" (Ezek.36:25-27).
This is the greatest difference between Christianity and any other religion, including Judaism: In the Old Testament God was with the people, guiding them, but in the New Testament God is within the people, inside the heart of every Christian. The Hindus work very hard to get in touch with the Absolute, who is already in the heart of any baptized child . The Muslims want to surrender their lives to God, Lord of the Universe, the Compassionate, the Merciful, and the Christians are already living in that God, and that God in them, praise the Lord
The Baptism imprints an invisible but indelible spiritual mark, the Baptismal Character, and for this reason, the Sacrament can not be repeated (Ef.4:5).
It is all free, by grace, by faith... but to do good works!:It is like being a "Prince": A person is not a Prince because he did very good works, or because he is very strong or handsome, he is a Prince free, by grace, just because his father is the King. But once he is a Prince, he has to do good works, he has lots of opportunities to do them, and if he does not do good works, or if he does bad works, he is a bad Prince. The same is a Christian: He is a Christian not because he is a good person, or because he has done good works, but simply because he has been born of God by Baptism, freely, by grace, only through faith... but once he is a Christian, he has to do good works in Christ, and if he does not do good works, or if he does bad works, he is a bad Christian, and he will go to Hell, instead of Heaven.St Paul puts it clearly in Ephesians 2:8-10, but some Christians always forget to mention the verse 10: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life"... by grace, by faith... but to do good works!.In fact, in the Last Judgment, the King, Jesus, will not ask us if we were Christians or Jews or Muslims, but he will say: Come in to Heaven because I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you gave me clothing... or he will say: Depart from me to Hell, you accursed, because I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, sick and in prison and you did not visit me... please read it in full in Matthew 25:31-46. St. Paul explains it also in the Letter to the Romans, the Cathedral of Faith: "For God will repay according to each one's deeds... For God shows no partiality" (Rom.2:6,11). Read also 2Cor.5:10, Rev.20:11-15, Jn.5:29.God will not judge us for the gifts he gave us, but for the fruits we did with those gifts: He will not bring us to Heaven because he had giving us a beautiful face or strong hands or a good voice, but for what we did with that face and hands and voice... he will not bring us to Heaven for the gift of being a Christian saved from sin and the devil, or for the gift of the Bible or the Church, but for the good works we did with those gifts. And if we did bad works, having such wonderful gifts, he will send us to Hell... and I may add, to a much worse Hell that a pagan who never had such wonderful gifts.God shows no partiality: He will use the same measure to judge Abraham or David or a Christian or a Muslim... the works he did with the gifts God gave him!.
How can you be Born Again?
It is very simple: Just get baptized in the Church of Christ! ( Matt.28:19, Act.2:38, Jn.3:3,5, Tit.3:5).
Some Christians refer as "Born Again" to an experience of admitting being a sinner, repentance, believing in Jesus, and receiving Him by faith to come in and control their life through the Holy Spirit… and this is not the "Born Again" fact, but an actualization of it, an experience of it. These 4 steps are the acts of faith that every Christian should repeat and live more every day from faith to faith… but the real and unique "Born Again" fact is done once in a life time, and with Baptism… the faith experience of a Pentecostal, or Charismatic, or Cursillista, is not the Born Again fact of John 3, but an experience of it, and they are very important to live the glorious fact of being Born Again.
Baptism is so important and necessary, that in an urgency, any person can do it, a layman, or even a heretic, and it is licit and valid, as far as he does it with the spirit and form of the Church of Christ. The only person that can not baptize you is yourself, someone else has to baptize you!. Baptism can be performed by immersion or by pouring or sprinkling water in the head, as mentioned in the above quotation of Ezekiel 36:25, while pronouncing the baptismal words of Matthew 28:19: "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit".
Children can and should be baptized with the faith in the Church. Jesus included children when he ordered the disciples, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt.28:19). The disciples acted accordingly, when they baptized the whole "household", including the children (Act.16:15,33, 18:8, 1Cor.1:16). Baptism is the greatest gift the parents can give to their children, and the most biblical time to do it is 8 days after birth, because "circumcision" was done 8 days after birth, and it was replaced by Christian Baptism (Luk.2:21, Col.2:11).
If your church can not baptize children, it is a church without power, it is not the Church of Christ, where there is power to baptize children… the most beloved persons to Jesus!
Can a non-baptized person receive the Holy Spirit?:Oh yes. The Holy Spirit is like the wind, working constantly in every person, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Atheist, Pagan, Heretic... at the house of the pagan Roman Cornelius they had the same experience of Pentecost before they were baptized, and afterwards they were all baptized in the Church of Christ. That's why this Pentecost is called the "Pentecost of the Gentiles", because for the first time gentiles were baptized, before this only Jews were baptized (Acts 10:44-48).
Faith in Jesus: A "born again" experience:
Faith is essential to be born again, to become a Christian, which is free, by grace, only by faith, without any good work or merit from our part (Ef.2:8-9)...
... And it does not end there, faith is essential to live every minute of this life on earth. If Christ is with you, in you!, you have to be in this life full of enthusiasm and joy and love, no matter what happens. But you have to be aware of it and actualize it, trusting in Him, in every occasion or circumstance of your life... in everything, just do your best, and then, trust in God all the way, it is the formula that never fails, the one given by God to Joshua (Jos.1).
If you ever fill sad or worried, it is because at that moment you are in sin, with the devil in you, or you forgot that Jesus is with you. In fact the greatest sin in the Bible is "not to trust in God": In the Old Testament it is called "prostitution against God", St. Paul says, "whatever does not proceed from faith is sin" (Is.1:21, Jer.2:20, Rom.14:23). To trust in power or money or our abilities, instead of trusting in God, is a prostitution against God, it is to throw ourselves in the hands of other, trusting in that other, and that's prostitution!. And this is the worse sin, and the one we usually do not confess.
It is so important to live in faith every minute of this life, that in this chapter 3 St. John repeats it 9 times: "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life... Those who believe in the Son are not condemned, but those who do not believe are condemned already"... and ends up saying: "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him" (Jn.3:16, 18, 36)... It is a matter of life or wrath, now!, in this life on earth, and for all eternity.In fact, John mentions "faith" or "believe" 98 times in his Gospel. John is called the Apostle of love, but his Gospel is the Gospel of faith, because only you can love if you have God in you, and the only way to have God is by faith... faith in God in the Old Testament, faith in Christ in the New.
A "Christian", is a person who lives in Christ, in his Church, and Christ lives in him... he lives inside God, and God lives inside him... "it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me" (Gal.2:20). It gives me vertigo just to think on it!… Jesus is with you, in you!, right now, but you have to live every moment with faith, aware of this fact, and in every minute of this life… A Christian is "another Christ", to live on earth the glorious adventure of love, being humble and meek like Jesus, doing the same work of Jesus, casting out devils and healing the sick, going about doing good, helping people to go to eternal Heaven, by being like Jesus "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world", to take away all bad karma of people, would say the Hindus... teaching and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom with his words and good deeds... and it is not I, but Jesus who lives in me!.
... And all of this with fear to nobody and to nothing, because a Christian does not trust in power or money, but lives this present mortal life "by faith in Christ"... and if God is within me, I am not afraid of anybody, because God takes care of me... and I am afraid of nothing, because Jesus is the Lord of the winds and of the tempests and of the hurricanes, and he lives in me!... and if the Antichrist comes, let him do!, Jesus in me is more powerful than 1000 Antichrists!… and a Christian who is "poor", is a millionaire, like the child who has nothing in his pocket, but has everything in his father who loves him... and God, my Father, is "the multimillionaire", the owner of all the money in the world, and of all the cars and houses, and the Lord of health and power and honor... and he has everything for me!, just as anything I have is for my child!. - One day someone asked me: How come if my Father is the multimillionaire he lets me go around with my old Chevy instead of giving me a new Cadillac?... of course, I don't know the answer, but God knows... may be God knows that with a Cadillac at hand you may end up in Hell, and for sure he wants to see you in Heaven with the old Chevy and not in Hell with a new Cadillac...
Jesus tells us that we have to trust God our Father as the birds or the lilies of the field, as little children trust in their father (Matt.6:25-33, Matt.18:3)... a child has nothing, but he has everything in his father that loves him. Never ever a child thinks his father is going to forget to get his meals or dresses or toys... he trust his father!, it is the main characteristic of a child... and a Christian, since Baptism, becomes a child of God, a brother of Jesus, with the same inheritance that Jesus Christ himself (Rom.8:17)... God loves us and cares so much about us that even all the hairs of our head has well counted (Matt.10:30)... anything and everything in our lives are for the good of us!, including sickness, hurricanes, failures, problems in the family or at work... everything is a gift of God for us, planned with care and love by God himself for us (Rom.8:28).If you ever fail on any project because lack of money, start another one a thousand times more expensive!... your Father is the multimillionaire!... if you failed, it was not for lack of money, it was because God your Father did not wanted you to succeed, may be it was not good for you, or will bring you to Hell, He knows better!... you and I are like little children compared with our Father, like birds or the grass of the field... He knows!... and he loves and cares for you!.
A Christian is got to be a very happy person, even in death!... because death is the glorious door to enter Heaven. And by the way, we celebrate the feast of the Saints on the day they died, the greatest day of their lives!.Suffering must also be a source of happiness for a Christian, because every affliction has a glorious double edge:1- It is like an injection that God uses to purify him... I am a Medical Doctor and people pays me to give them injections, they may hurt a little, but they are meant to heal a lot. (Read Heb.12).2- Every pain or sorrow is an individual cross, the best weapon to help relatives and friends to go to Heaven. Jesus did not redeem us with his beautiful sermons, nor with his miracles, but with his cross!... and our daily cross is our best way to be evangelists, co-redeemers with Christ, as Paul puts it: "I am now rejoicing in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am completing what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, the church" (Colos.1:24).A Crippled old Christian lady at home is not a burden for the family, but the best treasure of that home... she is another Christ helping all her relatives and friends to go to Heaven... and Heaven is our home!.An unhappy person is a bad Christian. He is a Christian without faith, without trust in his Father!. He is worse off than a pagan.
Do you want to have a "born again experience" right now?: Follow these 4 steps:
This is not the way to be "born again", to become a Christian, which is by Baptism, but an actualization of our faith, an experience of the greatness of the born again reality, and it can be done by anyone, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, pagans... in the house of Cornelius, pagans received the Holy Spirit as in Pentecost (Act.10:44-48).
1- God loves you:- "For God so loved the world, you!, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (Jn.3:16).- "I have come that they may have life, and they may have it more abundantly" (Jn.10:10).God in person loves you right now the way you are, but He loves you too much to let you stay that way. Think about that. He is your Father, yours!, the way you are now. He cares for you so much that even the hairs of your head has well counted, right now! (Matt.10:30).
2- The Problem: The separation from God… sin!… Repent of your sins, right now!. - "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom.3:23).- For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ our Lord" (Rom.6:23)."Sin" is the only evil of a Christian, and of a pagan!. The repentance is got to be not like the one of Judas, but like the one of Peter, with tears, with sorrow, with the strong desire not to do it ever again. Thinking in the truth, that every sin is to reproduce the whole passion and crucifixion of Jesus (Heb.6:6). Look at Judas and Peter on Matt.27:3-5, 26:75: A big difference was that Peter trusted in Jesus, and Judas not, the sin against the Holy Spirit!.If you are a Catholic, promise to go to Confession as soon as possible.
3- The solution: The Cross of Jesus Christ:- "For Christ died for our sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (1Pet.3:18).- "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8).- "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ" (!Tim.2:5).It is done!... Jesus already paid for all your sins and mine!... it is done!... our worse attitude against God, is not to trust in Him, it is to count the work of Jesus as nothing!... to let it go!... not to appreciate and use it... it can be the difference for you and me to be happy or sad on earth, and even more, to go to eternal Heaven or Hell!... and with us we may bring our relatives and friends, because the children pay for the sins of the parents, and God blesses the children of those who love and trust in Him... Do you love your children or grandchildren?... do you want to do something good for them?... the best thing you can do is to accept the work of Christ on the Cross for you!: Read it in Exodus 20:5-6.
4- Your response: Believe in Jesus Christ, and receive Him in your heart, right now!.- To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (Jn.1:12).- "That if you confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord", and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the death, you will be saved" (Rom.10:9).- Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Rev.3:20). Believe in Jesus right now, and you will be saved!, right now!... it is easy!, that's the way to receive Him, to believe in His name!... so easy!... "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:31).
Lord Jesus: I am a sinner, and I repent of my sins. I believe in You. You are the Messiah, my Savior, who died on a Cross for me, and resurrected to come to my heart. I receive you Jesus. Thank you, my Lord and my God, I adore you and I praise your most holy name. Amen.
If you are not a Christian, get Baptized in the Church of Christ, the greatest gift and glory you can ever get on earth!... and in Heaven! (Acts 2:38).


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