**BORN AGAIN** Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a man…
Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, a man of high repute and of good standing in the ruling council of the Pharisees came to our beloved Lord Jesus at night and said **John 3**“Rabbi we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do the miracles that you do unless God is with him”. Jesus Christ discerned to know that Nicodemus did not just come at such hour in the night to acknowledge Him as a teacher come from God and works miracles which suggests that God is with Him, so Christ treated the statement as a question. Indeed it was a question Nicodemus wanted to ask
Christ displayed that He was indeed a teacher come from God by His answer. Nicodemus knew it was a question, so he did not say I was only acknowledging you by your works. This is because Nicodemus sought to understand what born again meant. His quest to understand the terminology born again suggests that he knew exactly the question he was asking.
If Christ was not on point, Nicodemus would have told Christ that this not what I meant but the fact that he sought to know how to become born again suggests that he knew it was a question.
Many people teach born again as believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and confessing same by word of mouth but I disagree with this position. I know countless number of people who said this confessional prayer yet they cannot see the kingdom of God nor enter into it. In fact they don’t know what the kingdom of God is.
***If we can know what the kingdom of God is, if we can know how to seek it, if we can know what it means to see the kingdom of God and what it means to enter into it, we will know what is born again.***
Our teaching will be to answer these needs, once we are able to know that the kingdom of God is, how to seek it, know what it means to see it and what it means to enter into it, we know what born again is. This is because Christ said unless you are born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God and you cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Another way to determine what the kingdom of God is, is to know how to be born of the Spirit and what it means to be born of the flesh, once we know these we can know what born again is
**WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD**
We are blessed to have Christ as our Lord; our teacher. He has left a lot of examples of scriptural evidence of the kingdom of God to us and I shall use these evidences to teach what the kingdom of God is.
Christ painted pictures of the kingdom of God with many parables for us. We can use His parables to determine what the kingdom of God is. In Mathew 13, Christ started a parable. As He taught in parables for a while, His disciples came to ask Him why He taught the multitude in parables. Christ answered them that to them it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom and not to the multitude. His answer suggested that, He was teaching about the kingdom of God. If so then the narrative should tell us exactly what Christ meant by the phrase kingdom of God.
In His parable, the seeds that fell on the way are people who heard the word but did not understand it so the evil one came and snatched the word a way. We know that human beings are not in heaven; Christ is not teaching them in heaven, the evil one is not in heaven snatching the word of God from the heart of people. This makes the kingdom of God and earthly thing and not heaven as many try to teach.
Again the seed that fell on rocks, Christ interpreted them as those who heard the word of God and received it with joy but when tribulation and persecution arise because of the word, they immediately stumbled. We know here again that the Devil is not in heaven, people are not in heaven the word is not preached to them in heaven and those who receive the word with joy are not persecuted in heaven.
The third group of people is those who heard the word but the cares of this world and deceitfulness of riches choke the word and they did not bear fruits. Now the phrase the “cares of this world’’ answers it all that the parable is about the world and not heaven. Again riches are not pursued in heaven, so the kingdom of God cannot be heaven
The summary of the parables of Christ, that He started with the phrase ‘the kingdom of God paint pictures of how God works, how the Devil reacts to God’s work, how people on the side of God react to His works, the phases they go through to bear fruit, the challenges they face etc. In totality, the parables talk about the gospel.
In **Luke 9:2**, our beloved Lord sent His disciples to go and preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. First of all , He cannot sent them to teach about something they do not know. If heaven is the kingdom of God, these disciples do not know about heaven, they cannot go out there to teach about it. The expectation however will be that they will teach what Christ taught them.
Here again we know for fact that Christ never taught about heaven but He just made mention some excepts. He only gave brief comments about heaven. Those brief comments are not enough to send people to go and preach. We also know for fact that disciples also never taught about heaven in all their teachings. Luke the writer understood very well what he was writing, so he said and they departed and preached the gospel and healed the sick **Luke 9:6**. So whiles Christ sent them to go and preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick, they went to preach the gospel and healed the sick. Now if they had not carried out their assignment well, Christ would have said to them why is it that I sent you to preach the kingdom of God and you went to preach the gospel. Don’t you know we don’t add to it or subtract from it **Rev 22:18**? But Christ said none of this.
In **Mathew 10**, Christ sent this time the seventy disciples and not the twelve as **Luke 9:2**. He instructed them on how to go about our Father’s business. He told them that after carrying out the assignment, they should tell the people what they have done is the kingdom of God that they brought near to them but if they reject them, they should go to the street and wipe away the dust from their feet and say they have brought the kingdom of God to them but they have rejected it. It means the job of the disciples of Christ; preaching or teaching, casting out demons, healing the sick and working miracles such as are needed are the kingdom of God
In **Mathew 12:28,**Christ said, if He cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. We call the same act today casting out of demons, deliverance or ministration. So what we call ministration, casting out of demons or deliverance is what Christ called the kingdom of God has come. What this suggests is that when Christ said we should pray in the Lord’s prayer that the kingdom of God should come on earth, He meant that the gospel should be preached by the Holy Spirit, demons should be cast out be the Holy Spirit, the sick should be healed by the Holy Spirit.
Now the last thing that Christ taught to be the kingdom of God came be found in **Mark 9:1**. Christ said to His audience that there are some of them standing there who will not taste death, until the kingdom of God comes upon them with power. Christ taught in Mathew 6:33 that we seek for the kingdom of God, if He said there are some of them standing there who will not taste death until the kingdom of God comes upon them with power, then it means only those in the multitude seeking the kingdom of God will receive it.
In **Acts 1:8,** we know that Christ told His disciples not to depart from Jerusalem but they should wait for the promise of the Father; they shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and they shall witness Him in all Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and all the outer most part of the earth. Now what came upon them with power is the Holy Spirit. Even up to date we all know that it is the Holy Spirit that comes with power. So when Christ said the kingdom of God will come upon you with power, what He meant is the Holy Spirit will come upon you with power.
The kingdom of God therefore has two legs on which it stands: the gospel and the Holy Spirit. The gospel talks about how the Holy Spirit works. If the Holy Spirit works, then the kingdom of God has come. This means the kingdom of God comes upon those who seek it with power and the kingdom of God comes upon those who needs it works as teachings, signs and wonders. If you seek it, it will come upon you with power but if you need it works, it will come upon you as teachings or signs and wonders
**HOW TO SEEK THE KINGDOM OF GOD**
Christ said we should seek yea first the kingdom of God and all the other things will be added unto it for us **Mathew 6:33**. Now that we know what the kingdom of God is, it is imperative to know how to seek it.
We have a case **in Luke 9:62-63** where a certain young man came to Christ and said Lord I will follow you to wherever you go but Christ should permit him to go bid his household farewell. The answer Christ gave Him teaches us how to seek the kingdom of God. Christ said to him that he who puts his hands to the plow (plowing of a farm land) and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God. Christ’s answer suggests that the young man has started seeking the kingdom of God and wants to look back. ***It means following Christ to go and fish for men is the way we seek the kingdom of God***.
We are not told if the young man heeded to the advice of Christ and continued to follow Him. Now we know that if the young man did, he would be a disciple like Peter, Andrews, James, John etc. He would also be learning the same thing they learn and he would receive the same Spirit that they received. Now we learn earlier than the gospel and the Holy Spirit is the kingdom of God. This agrees with the reason why the disciples were following Christ.
Christ promised them that they should follow Him and He will make them fishers of men. They will use the gospel to fish for men and they will preach the gospel by the Holy Spirit. So we seek the kingdom of God by following Christ to learn the trade of fishing for men.
**SEEING THE KINGDOM OF GOD**
In **Mathew 13,** when Christ was teaching in parables and His disciples asked Him why He taught them in parables, Christ answered them by saying to you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God but to them it is not given. He continued to say the multitudes have eyes but they cannot see, they have ears but they cannot hear. In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that seeing they see but will not see, hearing they hear but will not hear for the heart of this people have grown dull, lest they repent and He heals them. All that it means is that the disciples are seeking the kingdom of God but the multitude are not seeking. So those who are seeking the kingdom of God, it is given them to know it’s mysteries but those who are not seeking, it is not given them to know its mysteries.
Here Christ classified His disciples as people who have repented and are being healed and the others as having not repented so He is waiting for them to repent to be healed. Repentance here is regarded as coming to seeking the kingdom of God. Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand simple means repent and seek the gospel and the Holy Spirit. It does not mean repent from fornication, adultery, idolatry, murder, false witness, covetousness, blasphemies etc, a twist many preachers give to repent for the kingdom of God is at hand. You can repent of fornication, adultery, idolatry, false witnessing, blasphemies etc but you may not be seeking the kingdom of God
Now in **Mathew 13:16**Christ said bless are your eyes for they see. What do their eyes see? It is not visions but because they understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God. ***Understanding the gospel therefore means you see the kingdom of God.***
In the Bible if you understand scriptures, you are said to see. This was the case for the born blind man who Christ healed on the Sabbath day. The Pharisees wanted him to confess that Christ is a sinner because He works miracles on Sabbath day. The blind man said whether Christ is a sinner or not he does not know, all he knows is that once he was blind, now he can see.
He was not satisfied with his answer so he continued and said to the Pharisees that they know that since the world has begun, it has never been heard that a born blind has been healed before. But they know from their Law that if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God hears him, so why do they say Christ is a sinner if God has heard Him.
The Pharisees know this Law and they were in the position to understand it better than the born blind man, but because they failed to accept it, Christ said they were blind but the young man sees. Both of them have their eyes open physically but because the former born blind man uses scriptures to know that Christ is not a sinner but a worshiper of God who does God’s will, Christ said he sees.
***Seeing the kingdom of God therefore understands the gospel***
**SEEING THE KINGDOM OF GOD**
We must understand that the terminology the kingdom of God was used only in the Bible by Christ or was first used by Christ, so the way He uses it is the best way we can understand it. A certain young man came to Christ to inquire what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Christ told him to go and obey the Ten Commandments. He wanted to know which one can give eternal life if obeyed. Christ divided the Law into the two pillar perspective and He itemized the last six of the Ten Commandment to him. The man said he has obeyed the last six since his youth. Christ said that is not all, you are left with one. He should go and sell all his possessions and give proceed to the poor. After that he should come, he has a cross for him. He should come and pick up his cross and follow Him to go fish for men. Many people say because he could not obey the last six Christ gave him that suggestion. Well I don’t share that view because when Christ said he lacked one thing, He did not paraphrase the same things to him. Christ suggestions were different from the first. Selling all his possessions has nothing to do with the last six Ten Commandments. Carrying his cross to follow Christ in search of the lost sheep of Israel also has nothing to do with the last six of the Ten Commandments. Others also say Christ requirement for him will make him obey the last six well because he trusted in riches. Well even though it is partly true, their understanding of it is not exactly the case. The part that I agree with them is this, if you say Christ said that because he trusted in riches, then it suggests that selling once all possessions and giving the proceed to the poor is the test kit for testing if one does not trust in riches. In that case those who say this should also sell their possessions to prove that they don’t trust in riches.
But all Christ was telling him was not new. He said same to His disciples in another way. Let us look at what Christ said. In **Mathew 16:24** Christ published the entry requirements into His Academy of fishing for men. The requirements are self-denial and the carriage of the cross. Selling all his possessions and give the proceed to the poor explains self-denial. Carrying his cross to follow Him is self-indicative and needs no explanations in this context except that one needs the meaning of the cross.
Now when the rich young ruler failed to meet Christ entry requirements, Christ said how difficult it is for those who trusted in riches to enter into the kingdom of God. This suggests that the man’s quest to inherit eternal life is the same as seeking to enter the kingdom of God. If the man had listened to Christ, he would have joined the likes of those seeking the kingdom of God (the gospel and the Holy Spirit), he would see the kingdom of God and he will enter into it.
This man will learn the gospel through fishing for men which we saw as seeking the kingdom of God. He will understanding it which we saw as seeing the kingdom of God and he will enter into it which is inheriting eternal life.
Now Christ said in **John 6:63** that it is the Holy Spirit that gives life. We saw that the Holy Spirit is the second leg of the kingdom of God, which means we seek the Holy Spirit (kingdom of God with power) by following Christ to learn how to fish for men.
When we receive the Holy Spirit, the life that He will cause us to live is eternal life because Christ said it is the Spirit that gives life. Living the life of the Holy Spirit therefore is entry into the kingdom of God or entering into life and this life is preaching the gospel, prophesying, casting out demons, healing the sick, working needed miracles etc.
Entering into the kingdom of God therefore is working with the Holy Spirit. The religious name for working with the Holy Spirit is priesthood.
Now what all these means is that Christ was essentially telling Nicodemus to seek the kingdom of God like the young man in **Luke 9:62-63,** see the kingdom of God like the disciples in **Mathew 13:11-16**and enter into the kingdom of God as suggested to the rich young ruler in **Mark 10:17-30.**
Born again therefore is the same as seeking the kingdom of God and it is the same as following Christ to fish for men. All Christ was telling Nicodemus was that, he should deny-himself, take up his cross and follow Him to fish for men.
***He was not telling him to confess Him as the Lord and personal savior and to ask that his name should be written in the book of life***
Christ was telling Nicodemus he should follow Him and he will be seeking the kingdom of God, he will see the kingdom of God and he will enter into it.
If Nicodemus had listened to Christ to seek the kingdom of God, to see it and enter into it, from all indications he will also be a teacher come from God, working miracles that suggests that God is with him. That will meet his question which he presented as statement of acknowledgement but Christ understood as question. Born again is therefore the quest to be a teacher come from God, working miracles that no man can work unless God is with him. If you are a priest from Bible school, seminary or from a church and you represent the believe of that institution, and you want a change to be a teacher come from God, your answer is to be born again.
We get the Holy Spirit baptism from this process, this accounts for the reason why only Christ disciples received the Holy Spirit. You can only get the Holy Spirit baptism through following this process. It is the same process call salvation. We are saved when we receive the Holy Spirit baptism. This was the case for Nicodemus in **Acts 10. **He labored for God in a gentile land, raise disciples, give alms, fast and pray for them but lacked knowledge of what to do, so the need for Christ to come and tell him what to do.
All the baptism we talk about is this; baptism of fire is discipleship and baptism of the Holy Spirit is self-indicative. Receiving the Holy Spirit without self-denial, carriage of the cross to fish for men is therefore misleading. If
Nicodemus was already a teacher of the Law from the sect of the Pharisees. He belong to another kingdom of priesthood modeled along the flesh. Because of that he and the Pharisees understand scriptures in the flesh and cannot work signs to suggest that God was with him or with them. Born again was peculiar to him because he was a priest. Christ couldn’t use born again to His disciples because they did not belong to any priestly kingdom
**THE GREATEST CONFUSION ABOUT RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT**
When Paul met Christ and was directed to Ananias, Ananias prayed for Paul to receive the Holy Spirit. Paul also walked in same understanding in his ministry.
Paul did not receive the Holy Spirit baptism from that instance. It was when the Lord said they should separate Paul and Banabas to Him for the work that He sent them was when they received the Holy Spirit baptism. We have the Holy Spirit with you through discipleship and Holy Spirit in you by commissioning to serve. When you are commissioned to serve, then you have the Holy Spirit baptism but when you are fishing for men to learn scriptures, you have the Holy Spirit with you.