MARK: When you hear the phrase "Born Again", your first reaction is to say "I get it." It's a phrase that's so ingrained in our culture that it has lost its original meaning. For someone who isn't a Christian, the response might even be "I get it - I'm not interested." That was exactly the sentiment our producer Howard Benson had before he even heard it. He didn't want to record "that kind of song". We pushed him to listen to the song, and we ended up recording it for Revelation. "Born Again" is a real moment on the record. Mac did a great job of getting past the cliche of the phrase "Born Again" and getting to the heart of what it really means. When Jesus first said that a man must be "born again" this had to be a radical thought for the time. When we truly give our lives over to Jesus, everything changes. In the context of this song there's the sense of everything being different than you expected, and feeling like you're finally living for the first time.
This was probably the most difficult song to record for “Revelation”. When Mac first played a rough version of the tune for us, we all knew we had something special on our hands. After recording it, though, we didn't feel like we'd done the idea justice. So we actually went back in and re-recorded the drums and added some more guitar parts. Lacey Mosley added a vocal to "Born Again", and the track really came alive. It was amazing to hear a different side of her vocal from what we're used to hearing from her.
MAC: Often I like to put a spin on a familiar phrase or story so that people look at it differently, think about it in a fresh way and discover something new. So with “Born Again” I really wanted to remind people about the original term, where it comes from and what it means. The phrase has become a cliché, but like most clichés that has happened because it is true! So I wanted to remind people and be reminded myself of the real meaning behind the phrase "born again". That when Christ has come into your life and you have faith, there is a new start, a new beginning and a new direction; your trials and burdens won’t necessarily disappear but you now have the strength and the hope to cope with them.
For you have been born again. Your new life did not come from your earthly parents because the life they gave you will end in death. But this new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God (1 Peter 1:23, NLT)
Just like the word "revelation," the phrase "born again" is often misunderstood. Oftentimes it is used to describe what observers assume are an eccentric, hardcore, fanatical bunch of Christians, as opposed to the more acceptable, less visible, quiet majority of church-goers. Yet the Bible is very clear: you can’t divide the followers of Jesus, Christians, believers, disciples, whatever you want to call yourself, into those who are born again and those who haven’t had that experience. Christians are born again; otherwise, they aren’t Christians! Being "born again" is the spiritual process that enables us to move from spiritual death to spiritual life, from being separated from God to being part of His family, from living each day for ourselves to being part of God’s redemption plan for mankind, from facing an eternity without God to living with Him forever. For some people, their experience of being born again is dramatic and sudden, for others it may be more of a process than a crisis, and less dramatic. Yet one thing is for certain—"you must be born again" (John 3:7).
All honor to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is by his boundless mercy that God has given us the privilege of being born again. Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead (1 Peter 1:3, NLT)
NICODEMUS MEETS JESUS
Read the story of this encounter in John 3:1-21
Nicodemus was an influential member of the strict Jewish sect called the Pharisees, and he would have been very conservative in his religious thinking. Yet he had seen, or at least heard about, the miracles that Jesus had performed and this prompted him to find out more about this new teacher who had come from God. So right from the start of the story we discover that Nicodemus recognized Jesus as a great teacher, knew he had been sent from God, was interested in his miracles, and seemed ready to receive a fresh revelation. Jesus very quickly establishes that no amount of "information" will give anyone access to the things of God:
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" (John 3:3, NIV).
Jesus answer points to the spiritual re-birth, the new start in life that is the real revelation needed. To enter God’ kingdom, Jesus says you have to be born into it- not as a result of your earthly birth into a family but as a result of a new birth. Nicodemus speaks out with skepticism and perhaps deliberate misunderstanding. In his opinion, it is impossible to be re-born when you are old—certainly physically he is correct, but perhaps he is also intimating that he believes even God cannot spiritually change anyone either. How wrong he is. Jesus continues to explain to Nicodemus that for new life and transformation to start, a person must be born of water and the Holy Spirit. Even more confusing? Not really, because water represents the baptismal process which signifies repentance and the desire to begin a new life, whilst the Holy Spirit is the agent of transformation and new life.
You can’t become part of God’s family just by outward actions and lifestyle, it has to be an inner transformation and new start that can only come from God. Nicodemus becomes confused at this moment, he’d never heard anything like this in all his "religious" experience and ask Jesus "How can this be?" The religion of Nicodemus was based on being a descendant of Abraham—it was his birthright. In his reply, Jesus speaks out two of the most famous, powerful and significant verse in the Bible:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:16-17 NIV).
No longer would a person’s physical birth be adequate for salvation and for relationship with God. Instead, a spiritual re-birth and a trust in Jesus as savior was the only way to eternal life.
THE MOST IMPORTANT REVELATION—WHO IS JESUS?
Read Matthew 16:13-17 when Peter confesses Christ.
One day Jesus asked the disciples who people were saying He was.
After various replies, Jesus challenged them to answer the question personally. It’s the most important question any of us will ever face. If Jesus were standing in front of you now, looking you straight in the eye, and asking you the question ‘who do you say I am?’ what would your answer be? The options of a good teacher, or a prophet, simply weren’t good enough answers, and it was Peter who spoke up from the heart:
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16, NIV)
If you have never come to the place in life of recognizing Jesus as Lord and Savior then you can do that now. You will enter from spiritual death to spiritual life, your past mistakes will be forgiven and wiped out, and you will start a new life as part of God’s family.
To begin this journey, you must come honestly before God and speak out these three simple words with all your heart:
SORRY — Humbly ask God to forgive you for living life your own way and for the mistakes you have made. Ask God to forgive you for shutting Him out of your life so far.
THANK YOU — Give thanks to Jesus for his death on the cross that paid the punishment you deserved for your selfishness. Thank God that His grace and mercy towards you was displayed by the life and death of Jesus.
PLEASE — Ask Jesus to be Lord of your life, and to live in you by the Holy Spirit. Tell God that you want to be a part of His family. Trust that the same power of God that raised Jesus from the dead, is now given to you to help you become the person God wants you to be.
If you have genuinely prayed this prayer, then tell someone about it—a trusted Christian friend, a pastor or church leader, and get connected with the body of Christ—the local church—as soon as possible.
Old School Third Day—Listen to "Thief" from Third Day (the "bus" album), or from Offerings, or from Chronology Vol. 1
Written by Pastor Nigel James
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