Unlocking the Legacy: A Frest, New Start
*** Image: White cloth
The American Red Cross was gathering supplies, medicine, clothing, food, and the like, for the suffering people of Biafra. Inside one of the boxes that showed up at the collecting depot one day was a letter. It said, “we have recently been converted and because of our conversion we want to try to help. We won’t ever need these again. Can you use them for something?” Inside the box were several Ku Klux Klan sheets. The sheets were cut down to strips and eventually used to bandage the wounds of black men and women and children in Africa.
It could hardly be more dramatic—from symbols of hatred to bandages of love because of the new creation.
What causes this kind of change in a person? What makes makes the miser generous, gives the addict a new lease on life, takes broken people and makes them whole, turns wrecked marriages into something beautiful, gives the man or woman who thinks there’s nothing left to live for meaning and purpose and even joy?
John 3:3 (NRSV)
Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” [The phrases “born from above” and “born again” are identical.]
*** Image: Newborn. “To be born again, is to be inwardly changed from all sinfulness to all holiness. It is fitly so called, because as great as change then passes on the soul, as passes on the body, when it is born into the world.”
Wesley, J. (1818). Explanatory Notes upon the New Testament (Fourth American Edition, p. 225). J. Soule and T. Mason.
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.
*** N/S: Notice the contrast here between flesh/Spirit.
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
*** Image: Ezekiel. Long before had offered a prophecy: Eze 36.25-27
I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all 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 of 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.
You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
*** Image: Jesus reaching out.