Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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by John D. Clark, Sr.
The phrase, “You must be born again,” came from Jesus himself. The Lord made that statement to Nicodemus, a respected elder of Israel. Jesus made it clear to his night-time visitor that he was speaking of the nation of Israel as a whole when he told him, “You must be born again.” They were already God’s people by virtue of being born as Jews, yet there was a change coming that would require them to be born again – spiritually – in order to remain God’s people.
Jesus compared the new birth to the wind blowing. He said, “The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear its sound. . . . So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Jn. 3:8). These words are of the greatest importance, for in them, Jesus described an element of the new birth that applies to “everyone who is born of the Spirit.” In other words, Jesus has given us a sign which lets us know who is born again and who is not.
This sign, the one consistent element in every new birth experience, is a sound. This sound of the Spirit caused quite a stir in Jerusalem when the disciples were born again: “They were all filled with holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit moved them to speak” (Acts 2:4). When the holy Ghost is received, some may weep; some may laugh; some may jump for joy; some may fall prostrate on the floor; some may be overcome with the power of God; and some may be dealt with gently by the Spirit. But the one invariable evidence of receiving the Spirit is a sound the Spirit makes.
The sound of the Spirit confessing Christ through the one who has received him (cf. 1Jn. 4:1–3) is the testimony Jesus said the Spirit would give when it came (Jn. 15:26–27). God gave this witness concerning His Son (1Jn. 5:10), and it is the means by which men call on the name of the Lord (Zeph. 3:9). One can easily understand why Paul was motivated to say that no one could say Jesus is Lord without the holy Ghost (1Cor. 12:1–3), for it is the holy Ghost that empowers men to be living witnesses to his glory (Acts 1:8).
The disciples were born again on the day of Pentecost when the sound of God's holy wind blew down from heaven upon them, and its sound was heard by the crowd in Jerusalem – a sound coming from the disciples’ own mouths! In amazement, the multitude beheld the disciples stagger as drunk men under the mighty power of God as they spoke in languages they had never learned. That was the day the disciples were born again, and it happened just as Jesus said it would. The Spirit made a sound through everyone who received it. And the Spirit still makes its holy sound today through everyone who receives it!
“They will hear Jezreel.” (Hos. 2:22)
Isaiah prophesied that those who trusted in Christ Jesus would be called “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord” (Isa. 61:3). Using this same metaphor, Jesus said, “Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted.” Then, if we are to have a place in the kingdom of God, we must be planted, or sown, into the kingdom of God by God Himself. “Jezreel” was the name of an ancient Israelite city, and it means, “God will sow”, or “the sowing of God”. When God said through Hosea, “They will hear Jezreel. For I will sow her for me in the land,” he was prophesying of what happened in Acts 2:4, when the seed of God was sown into the hearts of Jesus’ disciples. They were “filled with holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit moved them to speak,” and the people heard them. They heard the sowing of God, planting men and women into His kingdom.
That prophecy of hearing God’s seed being sown is similar to how Jesus’ described the new birth in John 3:8. According to Jesus, the one consistent feature involved in every “new birth” experience is the sound of it. He said, “The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear its sound. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The disciples experienced this on the day of Pentecost, and it fulfilled what Hosea said: “They will hear Jezreel [the sowing of God].”
That is the “sound” Jesus said would accompany every new birth. It is the “baptism of the holy Ghost” which was poured out on Pentecost morning. It is the “stammering lips” of Isaiah 28:11. It is the “pure language” of Zephaniah 3:9. It is Paul’s cry of “Abba, Father” and the “groanings beyond words.” It is Peter’s “answer of a clear conscience”. It is David’s “joyful sound”, which wise men recognize when they hear it. It is John’s “confession that Jesus Christ has come into a person.” It is the “voice from the temple” of God in heaven, the “sound of the Lord rendering recompense to His enemies.” It is the “deep” that “is calling to deep in the sound of [God’s] waterspouts.” It is the “fountain of water springing up into eternal life”. It is the speaking that comes because of believing, foretold in Psalm 116:10. It is the voice of the Son, declaring the name of his Father “in the midst of the congregation” (Ps. 22:22). It is the Spirit “making intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” It is the “testimony of the Lord”, the “blessing of the Lord”, the “sign to unbelievers”, the “manifestation of the Spirit” which is given to every believer “for the common good.” It is the Father “knowing them that are His” and setting them apart as His peculiar people. This is Jezreel, “the sowing of God”! And it is no wonder the prophet was moved to exclaim, “Great is the day of Jezreel!”
by John D. Clark, Sr.
I’ve never seen a beauty queen
upon a gilded stage,
with painted grin, parade for men,
to earn a handsome wage.
True beauty’s test is not the flesh,
bedecked with earthly treasure.
But godly living, selfless giving,
is beauty’s truest measure.
For beauty true is what we do
in Christ for one another.
And, oh, the queen that I have seen
at home, in my dear mother.
While others pranced
and sang and danced
and strained to be a star,
how quietly humility
shined through her deeds afar.
So, plaudits raise upon the stage;
that beauty’s not the thing.
Of holiness and gentleness
and kindness will I sing.
Oh, beauty’s face is filled with grace.
It took some time for me,
But when I saw, did I in awe
my mother’s beauty see.
by George C. Clark
It was at the Mizpeh conference
Held in Canaan long ago,
That the house of Israel clamored
For a king to fight their foe.
God, we know had fought their battles,
With a strong and mighty hand,
From the days of Egypt’s bondage
To the blessed promised land.
They were given seats of honor
On the soil made free for them.
There they made their strange petition
To be ruled like other men.
How ungrateful to the Master,
Who had saved them by His grace!
Samuel, grieved for all this evil,
Prayed to God upon his face.
“And the Lord said unto Samuel,”
Hearken thou unto their plea.
Let them have a human master,
Since they are not pleased with Me.
Samuel then, with God’s permission,
Poured the oil upon young Saul.
Well he knew it meant disaster,
Yet he hearkened to their call.
When the kings of Israel ended
All their reigning long ago,
Israel was quite in bondage
To the Romans, as we know.
And the King that Samuel hoped for
Came at last to save his own,
Leaving heaven and the angels
Kneeling at the Father’s throne .
But poor Israel refused him
As the King that God should send;
So He took the kingdom from them,
Giving it to other men.
Ah! sweet Israel, my people!
Children of such righteous men!
Glad the day you bow to Jesus!
Glad the day you own him king!