First is the Worst, Second is the Best
John 3:3-10 “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. 4 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? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 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. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”
Gen 2:17 “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
Adam and Eve didn’t die physically immediately. After they ate the fruit, they didn’t die right away. Yet, evil entered into the world and their thoughts. They couldn’t push it out.
God walked in the garden and looked for them. God knew where they were, but He wanted them to know where they were. Something had died inside of them.
1 Cor 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”
Jesus is the second Adam. We must be born of Jesus. Our father can’t be Adam anymore. Our new Father must be Jesus.
Scripture says that man wasn’t just a physical body, man is multi-dimensional. God formed man with His own hands and then blew into his nostrils and man became a living soul. There is a spiritual life and a natural life.
In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. A man was beaten up and robbed and left on the road half dead.
Luke 10:30 “And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.”
‘Half dead’ is the story of mankind. After the fall, man is left half dead. The thief is the devil. He doesn’t just steal, he beats and robs, and leaves half dead. People are walking around today half dead.
‘Unless a man is resurrected from half-dead, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’
After the fall, Cain and Abel are born. Cain was first, Abel second. The time came for sacrifice and Cain’s offering wasn’t accepted. Abel offered the best of his flock. God had respect for that offering. God said, ‘Abel, good job! Cain, what’s the matter with you?’ Cain was angry and killed his brother. God heard Abel’s blood crying out. The spirit of Cain is still here today.
1 John 3:12 “Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.”
Heb 11:4 “By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.”
There was still a voice speaking, even though Abel was dead.
Nicodemus should have known this stuff.
Abraham had a promise of a son from God. He left his family and land to follow after God. Ten years passed and it got hard to keep trusting, so Abraham and Sarah took matters into his own hands. Getting impatient causes doubt to creep in. So, Abraham had a child with Sarah’s servant Hagar. God honored that child because of the pattern He was setting. Ishmael, a wild man, was born. Ishmael was 15 years when Sarah (according to God’s promise) became pregnant and had Isaac. Strife happened. Ishmael and Isaac had problems.
Gal 4:24-29 “Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. 27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”
Then, Isaac married Rebecca who had twins, Esau and Jacob, but the birthright and blessing went to the second son, Jacob. God rejected Esau (and his working after his own flesh) and loved Jacob. God showed the world that the second born would master the firstborn. This was all symbolic of the second birth. Yet, Jacob was carnal. So, God intervened in Jacob’s life in order to change his nature. God was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob understood the concept and principle of the second birth. When it came time to bless Joseph’s sons, Jacob switched his hands and blessed the second born over the firstborn.
The right hand of blessing goes on the second born. There is something about your first birth that must be subdued. God wants to give you a divine nature and a second birth. This is the best of who you are. It’s not in you, it’s in Him. This must get in you from Him.
It wasn’t just ‘two nations’ it was ‘two natures’ in Rebecca.
Rom 9:4-8 “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; 5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. 6 Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: 7 Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. 8That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
Some people have a problem with gambling, others have a problem with lying. Some people are so sweet, but they believe that they were born an alcoholic or a failure or ‘not good enough.’ You may have been born a certain way, be born again and walk in that truth. God will deliver you.
1 Cor 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
You were and now you are NOT!
2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
Jesus said, ‘I’m here with you, but I’m going to be in you.’
Peter saw so many miracles, the dead brought back to life, blind seeing. He walked on water! He had crazy courage. Yet, he lost his faith.
Luke 22:31-32 “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.”
When strength comes to you, strengthen others. When Peter was ‘converted’ and experienced that second birth, he walked in boldness and in the power of Jesus.
Rom 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Jesus said, ‘you must be born again.’ Don’t condemn people for stuff that Jesus didn’t say, ‘you must.’
You can’t make it to heaven on your own works. Yet, works can keep you from heaven. It’s not your works that get you into heaven, it’s His work.
‘I am crucified with Christ.’ We’ve got to walk with Jesus and let that something inside of us die and let that new man inside of us live. The new birth experience gives you ‘Jesus on the inside, working on the outside, oh, what a change in my life.’
It’s not about emotionalism or sensationalism, it’s about a new life inside because of Jesus. Joy and love and peace and hope are for you. Purpose and encouragement inside. It’s still there. Jesus won’t leave you. He will fill you to overflowing and you’ll be able to bless others. Jesus causes you to be your own well. The water of Jesus has come to you. He gives a brand new life.
When you got it, nobody can take it away.
More Questions for Personal or Group Study:
- How have you been encouraged by this sermon and the truths found in the Bible?
- How have you been challenged by this sermon and the truths found in the Bible?
- Read Proverbs 3:5-8. How can you apply these verses to your life now? What needs to change? What needs to be ‘crucified’ in your life/mind? What does the Lord promise if you follow these instructions?
- As you allow God’s Spirit to flow through you, with whom can you share these truths with? How can you be a greater blessing to everyone around you, at home, at work, and everywhere you go?
Excerpted from a sermon preached by Pastor Anthony LoCascio.
For the full YouTube audio/video, click here.