First Thing First
You Must Be Born Again

The First Step - BE BORN AGAIN

When preparing the way for Jesus in Mark 1:15 (AMP), John the Baptist said by the Holy Spirit, “The [appointed period of] time is fulfilled (completed), and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent (have a change of mind which issues in regret for past sins and in change of conduct for the better) and believe (trust in, rely on, and adhere to) the good news (the Gospel).” As in the past, so it is today that there is something that you must do. You must (1)repent of your past sins and (2)change your conduct, and (3)trust in, rely on, and adhere to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; the good news that He died for your sins and rose from the dead so that you who believe will have salvation from your sins. For as John 3:16(AMP) says, “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.” All this is called being Born Again. For Jesus said, “that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.” John 3:3(AMP) The Kingdom of God is our goal!

So Grace, the free gift from God, requires action from you before you can claim it! Any gift that you receive has to be accepted by you in order for you to have it. To accept this Gift from God you have to believe; trust in, cling to, and rely on the Gospel of Jesus Christ! This faith is a dynamic, always in flux, a constantly recurring action on your part, just as the Church is a dynamic organism; made up of living souls, not an institution. For example, Paul says it this way, “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:1,2 (NASV) So you must “examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” 2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

The Second Step - BE BAPTIZED

Once you accept the free gift you need to be baptized in water as the Bible says (Matt. 28:19). It is a command. Romans 6:3-5 (AMP) tells you why; “Are you ignorant of the fact that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by the baptism into death, so that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious [power] of the Father, so we too might [habitually] live and behave in newness of life. For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].”

You also need to mature; to grow up in the Lord. Read the Bible. Study the Bible. Do what the Bible says: “And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who disobeyed [who had not listened to His word and who refused to be compliant or be persuaded]?” Hebrews 3:18 (AMP)

The Third Step - BE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT

Ask God to fill you to overflowing with His Holy Spirit. It is not something you automatically receive when you are Born Again. “And he asked them (disciples), Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed [on Jesus as the Christ]? And they said, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Acts 19:1,2 (AMP) “When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:14-17 (NIV).

I think Mel Tari in his book Like a Mighty Wind says it well, “We read in John 3:16 that ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.’ God gave his Son to the whole world. Even so, it doesn’t mean that all people in the world will go to heaven. Though He gave His Son to the world, every person who will go to heaven must come to the Son for salvation. The same is true for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has given the Holy Spirit to everyone who has accepted Jesus as his own personal Savior and has become a member of the body of Christ. However, he still must come to the end of himself and have a personal experience with Jesus for the infilling of the Holy Ghost. This doesn’t come automatically. Everyone must respond personally."

Speaking in tongues is a weapon God offers his children. It is your choice whether you use it or not, but I, for one, don’t know why you would not accept what He offers you. Jesus called it power from on high (Matt. 24:49). Why would you not want His power from on high? Paul said, “I should indeed like you all to speak with tongues” 1 Cor.14:5 (Phillips).

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