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In the Birthing Ward

In the Birthing Ward
Words of Faith 9-21-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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John 3
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. [2] He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."
[3] In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
[4] "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"
[5] Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. [6] Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. [7] You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' [8] The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

Not all of the religious leaders in Jerusalem were corrupt. Some were looking for the Messiah in earnest.
Nicodemus was a Pharisee and part of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish ruling body. Nicodemus came to Jesus after hearing of His miracles. Perhaps he came under cover of night so as not to attract attention. We know that Nicodemus became a secretive disciple of Jesus who eventually cared for His body along with Joseph of Arimathea (John 38-42). In this conversation, Jesus revealed some of the most important spiritual truths in the entire Gospel.
The key truth here is that we are born spiritually into the Kingdom of God. Entering the Kingdom is not the result of our religious efforts. It is not a reasoned choice we make any more than a baby decides to be born. We do not earn our way into the Kingdom through a religious journey or Spiritual quest. Our Spiritual life is a birthing of the Spirit.
This work of the Spirit is like the wind. We cannot control the wind or even predict its behavior. We can hear its sound but we cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. We cannot predict or control or induce the actions of the Holy Spirit. He may act in a life when we least expect it as in the case of Saul of Tarsus. He may tarry at times when we think He surely should act. He alone acts at the timing and sovereign plan of the Father in the lives of people. The fact that someone like Nicodemus is asking spiritual questions is often an indication that this birth is occurring or soon to occur.
Every birth is different. In physical birth, the labor may be a matter of minutes or days. Birth may come with great ease or great difficulty. Birth may require significant help or may arrive virtually unaided. Birth may be premature or long overdue.
Just as every physical birth is different so it is with spiritual birth. Saul’s dramatic spiritual birth on the road to Damascus was quite different from that of Timothy who was raised by a Christian mother and grandmother.
One would never question the validity of a physical birth based on a short uncomplicated labor, but this is sometimes the case with spiritual birth. Why? Spiritual birth is not measured by the number of tears shed or the wretchedness of one’s prior life. Spiritual birth is measured simply by the question “Are you alive in Christ?”
We don’t know just when Nicodemus was born again spiritually but we suspect that at the very least the birthing pains were going on during this conversation. Jesus was helping him to see that God was at work to bring him from death to life.
Are you born again? Your rebirth may not have been traumatic at all or it may have come after tremendous labor and trauma. It does not matter. All that matters is that you are alive in Christ. Are there birth pangs going on in your life? Are you asking questions you had never before considered? Perhaps it is time to talk to someone and face those questions squarely.

Father I give thanks for Your sovereign plan. I give thanks for the re-birth through Your Spirit. I rejoice in the life of Christ that is in me. In Jesus’ name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2002, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.