This week we were looking at the encounter Nicodemus had with Jesus. We were discussing the fact that Nicodemus truly believed with all his heart that he knew what it meant to know God. He really believed he could achieve right standing with the HOLY Father through knowledge, "righteous" living and religious tradition. As I was teaching on Nicodemus' misconception of what it meant to be born again, the question was raised "Is there anything that we must DO to be born again?" One of our younger girls (14 or 15) said that in order to be born again you had to be baptized by the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. One of the things we emphasize at The Pathway is that everything we believe is founded in Scripture. So I asked Shawndrea... "Where does the Bible tell you that?" She really impressed me by saying, "Acts 2:34... I think." Well, she didn't have the verse just right but she did take us to the appropriate chapter. So, we all turned to Acts 2 and read.
After finishing the section about the Holy Spirit coming down and the Apostles speaking in different "tongues," I asked the question, "Does this passage tell us that we have to speak in tongues to be born again?" Shawndrea, along with all the rest, some of whom profess to speak in tongues, said "well, no!" Shawndrea said that was the passage she was taught proved that all believers will speak in tongues. We had a great opportunity to briefly share a correct biblical interpretation in Acts but we also learned 2 important lessons.
1) Never be afraid to go back to Scripture and allow it to teach you truth, even if it's not what you thought was true before.
2) Jesus teaches that being born again is "spiritual." It is about faith and is contrary to what Nicodemus... and many Americans... believe to be true.
We ended the night challenged, thinking, learning and growing in the knowledge of God's Holy Word. I would challenge you to take a look at your convictions just as Nicodemus did 2000 years ago and just as Shawndrea did 3 days ago. Are your beliefs completely founded in Scripture or are they simply sacred traditions handed down to you by well-intentioned believers?
Pray for us this Thursday night as we have our first "Family Night" at Tyler Square. We have 7 people outside our leadership team signed up to help. Pray that the Gospel is shared and relationships are built!