by Jim Easterly

Ecclesiastes 3:1 addresses the timing of important events that befall mankind in the course of this life. It is clear that a specific time span is allotted for certain things to occur. The writer of Hebrews, chapter four, definitely conveys a sense of urgency when discussing entering God’s rest. Entering God’s rest is impossible without experiencing the new birth.

For any building to stand, for any work to succeed, there must be a proper foundation. The only foundation for all that follows in the life of the Christian is the new birth. The new birth must precede any success in living any aspect of the Christian life. Jesus stated this unequivocally in His conversation with Nicodemus. (John 3:3-7).

Beloved, the critical need in this hour is for the elect to be born again. The time is short, the hour is late and it is time to be about the Master’s business. This is the hour Paul referred to when speaking to the elders at Ephesus. He stressed how important it was for them to take heed to themselves and to the flock. For an individual to carry out such a charge, the new birth must have already occurred in this person’s life.

Discernment is of the utmost importance in this hour. This is not only true for the leadership but for every member of every church where Christ is indeed head. Jesus said “if any man will do His will (God’s will) he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself.” For any human being to be able to “do His will” that human being must have experienced the new birth. I am not speaking of a certain way of life. I am not speaking of joining the church. I am referring specifically to having been born again in the sense Jesus referred to when speaking to Nicodemus. It was made very clear at that time by our Lord that the new birth is basic and foundational to everything else that pertains to the Kingdom of God.

Brother Thomas has often referred to the point in time that salvation occurs in a person’s life, as the point in time when that individual simply surrenders his own will to God’s will. The new birth does not occur without genuine surrender and repentance. Old things are put off or discarded and all things become new. A change has occurred that does not constitute an improvement or an enhancement, but a new life. This entails new thought processes, and as we progress, this entails an entirely new way of looking at everything that we encounter. Eventually, such a change causes us to judge every thought, every word, every desire and every plan differently than we ever have before.

As human beings we will do almost anything to avoid laying down our life. In many cases we will pursue a path which is much more difficult than the actual path of surrender. This is specifically what Jesus meant in Matthew 11:28-30. If you are of the elect, it would behoove you to cease from your own works, be born again and enter into His rest (Hebrews 4:10) without further delay.

The parable of the ten virgins depicts a type of people who manifest all the outward evidence of the bride without ever having gone through genuine repentance and surrender, without ever having been born again. Remember that Nicodemus was a master in Israel, but Jesus told him that he needed to experience the new birth. The new birth has never been the result of a complicated, difficult, manmade program or plan (see Romans 10). You do not need to find an organization or group that is undertaking to ascend into heaven with all the financing, planning, management and labor which that would involve. You do not need to undertake to find a group that is planning to bring Christ again from the dead. “The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart; that is the word of faith, which we preach.” (Romans 10:8). The only plan that you need to be involved in, as a Christian, is God’s plan, and it is very accessible to His Elect.

As this is being written there is a group in Israel who believe that they had to travel there prior to the end of the year 1999 and they had to physically accomplish a number of specific things so that Jesus could return. If anything in God’s plan truly depended on man’s accomplishments, man’s strength to do things, it would never be done. All man can do is learn to flow with the Lord and cooperate with Him in His Will, and this can only be done subsequent to having experienced the new birth.

Mixed Multitude
People become an integral part of church work in various ways today. Some attach themselves to the body, some marry into the church, and many are simply born naturally to parents who attend a church and grow up there. If the person progresses naturally and begins to participate in church activities often little thought is really given to the individual’s true spiritual condition. This is especially true in cases that involve people who are talented, wealthy or related to those who already hold leadership positions. We continue, as human beings, to look on the outward man. Unfortunately, this results in all kinds (actually a mixed multitude) being present in a church. This is not a new concept. Our Lord referred to this very thing when discussing the wheat and the tares. Tares are planted in subtle and successful ways. If this were not true they would not exist and grow side by side with the wheat. Only when fruit is examined in the light of God’s Word and revelation does it become apparent that not all of those who profess to be Christians are actually born again. Not all that actively participate and progress in the church hierarchy have actually experienced the new birth.

You are aware in your innermost being whether or not you are pretending to live the Christian life. The couple who died in front of the Apostle Peter was aware that they had not truly surrendered all, that they were withholding a portion of something dear to them. In Hebrews 4, verses 9 through 13 a great compound truth is detailed for us. The same Word that enables us to enter into “that rest” works actively to manifest and display the innermost workings of our hearts and spirits, ascertaining for a certainty whether or not this entering into rest has actually occurred. I will simply quote the scripture:

“There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”

The new birth is the vital difference between Christians and all others. Simply observing with the eye and hearing with the ear do not give a true indication of an individual’s standing with God. We have all listened to and observed people with all the correct answers, a vast knowledge of scripture, and all kinds of great works to their credit who did not possess eternal life. There are large numbers who on the day of judgment will refer to many truly outstanding works, works that many Christians have not performed, who will be told to depart because the Lord never knew them. What was missing here? The new birth is what was missing.

When Israel was faced with the critical task of sending spies into the promised land, men who were leaders, men who were rulers, wise men, men of understanding and of good character and reputation were chosen for the job. Again, outward observation was not up to the task of performing God’s will. It is made clear again and again that only with the presence of the Spirit of God can a person accomplish His will.

Critical Task
We, as God’s people in this hour, are facing a critical task. That task is discerning His will and hearing the Voice of the Lord. Will we heap to ourselves teachers and speakers who are pleasing to us, or will we humble ourselves under the hand of God and hear Him? Will we follow those who generate vast programs, the accomplishment of which makes us feel good about ourselves, or will we settle for nothing less than the whole counsel of God? The only way to successfully accomplish this task in your own life is, first of all, to be born again. Only those who are truly born again can know of the doctrine, whether it is of God or of some other origin. Receiving discernment of this nature is a vital part of God’s covenant with His people. This important aspect of God’s covenant only becomes functional in a person’s life following the new birth. The natural unregenerate man in his best state is incapable of telling right from wrong, good from evil. Only those who have experienced the new birth can have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

The Church, the Body of Christ, in this hour is growing and being exercised in many ways to enable us to successfully accomplish God’s will and purpose. For many years we have been a most blessed people to be privileged to hear the anointed Word of the Living God. This Word has not been like various other forms of information made available to mankind from different sources. This Word has been full of life and grace. It has actually performed spiritual surgery on those exercised by it. It has produced growth, life, discernment, humility and an ability to function as a many-membered body. There is now, at this present time, a true haven in the Body of Christ. We currently experience a form of protection that the true believer must have and cannot live without. The subtleties of Satan are recognized and dealt with. Vain philosophies are identified. Those that cause division are marked and the elect are able to worship God in Spirit and in truth, growing daily. Every member is learning to receive the correction given in love that enables us to be fitly framed together and grow in grace and knowledge. If ever we needed to be identified, not just with a church, but with the Body of Christ, it is in this hour. Only after the new birth is it really possible for an individual to begin to function in his or her place as a member of Christ’s Body.

Works will not allow any human being to enter heaven. Man’s works no matter how effective, no matter how successful, no matter how well intentioned or seemingly inspired do not accomplish the will of God. When the books were opened in Revelation, another book was referred to. After all was said and all was done, only those names appearing in the book referred to as “another book” were saved and entered into everlasting joy. This is also referred to as the “Lamb’s book of life.” These people are those who have experienced the new birth.

The hour in which we live is not an hour to play around with truth. There is indeed a famine for the hearing of the Word. If you have experienced and recognized the presence of God, it is time to respond. Only by way of the new birth can we enter into the things that God has for us. We can access these things no other way. We can stand on no other foundation than the Rock of Ages. Our feet can only be firmly placed on that Rock when we surrender our life. When this occurs, what a joyous moment for us! As we move forward from that point in our walk with our merciful Lord, things only get better and better! No longer do we have to labor and be heavy laden.

For the first time in our lives we can enter into true heartfelt and spiritually discerned Rest. Peace that passes all understanding now keeps our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We find ourselves ready for whatever comes our way due to the fact that He is now with us and in us. While the battle still has to be fought, we are now fully provisioned and are fighting under the General who can only win every battle and never lose a war. The hardship and suffering that are part and parcel of this earthly walk can be faced with resolve, patience and an inner strength that we had heard about before, but now possess ourselves. What a different outlook we now have on life! Additionally, we no longer find ourselves alone when we face bitter trials. We find brothers and sisters beside us in a manner that allows the wisdom, strength, protection and love of God to be worked into our lives in a practical sense. Only in this way do we eventually find ourselves able in truth to confess that “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.”

You may ask how you can believe that you are among that elect remnant. Beloved, the fact that you are reading this, the fact that your heart has been pricked and you have been challenged, is a good indication that there is fertile ground for the seed of the Word. There are no accidents in the Kingdom of God. It is no accident that you have been brought into contact with His people. Every Christian, looking back at his life, can see the hand of the Lord at every juncture. If you sense unrest in your life, if you hunger for that rest and peace with all your heart, there is hope for you in this message. The scripture states that you will find Him when you search for Him with all your heart. God has never turned faith away. Call on Him while He is near. Truly, today is the Day of Salvation.

Medical science has proven that faith in anything can help in some things. Paul spoke of an entirely different life and faith in Galatians 2:20, when he said “and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” This faith, the faith “of the Son of God,” is not something based on what you believe, although it involves cooperation and belief on your part. This faith actually entails the Spirit of Christ being resident in you. This faith involves more than what you believe. This faith enables, inspires, encourages, empowers and basically provides for the state referred to as being “complete in Him.” This faith is the result of the new birth and only the new birth can bring it into your life. Only in this way are you enabled to patiently wait, rise up and fight, get, lose, live or die with the joy and power of God evident on every hand. Examples of this abound in the Scriptures. Reiterating, the new birth and only the new birth is the basis and foundation for all that follows in the life of the Christian.

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