“Jesus answered: Verily, verily, I say unto thee – except a man be born of water and of the Spirit – he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” “There is therefore now – no condemnation – to them which are in Christ Jesus – who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus – hath made me free — from the law of sin and death.(3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh – and for sin – condemned sin in the flesh (4) that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us – who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” [Jn.3:5; Ro.8:1-4]
The reason these two texts are referenced together is because there is a cohesive connection between them. Jn.3:5 comes to us from the conversation of Nicodemus and Jesus. Jesus declares salvation to Nicodemus, “a master/teacher of Israel” (3:10). And, this is the very first context that the expression “born again” (3:3) is used; and, it is significant that it is first used by none other than Christ. The term, “born” means: to be regenerated; whereas, the word used for “again” can be more accurately translated as: from above. We all are (or, at least, we all ought to be) very interested in just exactly what this truly means. The Lord says without this birth occuring in our personal lives – we can neither “see” (or perceive, 3:3), nor “enter”, the Kingdom of God!
Jesus specifically tells Nicodemus from Jn.3:5 that being born again (or, more lit., born from above) means to be born “of water and of the Spirit”. “Water” is scripturally related to the Holy Word of God in Eph.5:26 where the gospel is proclaimed by relating how Christ so loved “the Church” that He gave Himself for it – “that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water (lit.) in the Word”. Additionally, Jesus from Jn.17:2 says of all His saved ones: “Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.” It is no wonder that the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle Paul to write what is written in Titus 3:5-6: “not by (or, not out of) works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy – He saved us – by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit (6) which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior.” And, also, James – by the same Holy Spirit – writes from Jas.1:18: “Of His own will – He begat us (or, He caused us be born again) with the Word of Truth”.
But, how do we know that this all important “born from above” – genuine spiritual experience – has indeed happened to us? We know – by the same means that we have been referring to: by the Holy Spirit and the holy Word of God. Jesus, the only begotten, dearly beloved, eternal Son of God – is the living Word of God! When Jesus announced that He (and God the Father) would send to us the Holy Spirit to specifically fulfill the revealing unto us the things concerning Himself i.e. the eternal accomplishments of Christ as the only sovereign, Savior, substitute that there ever was, is or ever will be – He told us: “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of me” “He shall glorify me – for He shall receive of mine – and shall show it (or, shall announce it; shall reveal it) unto you. (15) All things that the Father hath are mine – therefore said I – that He shall take of mine and shall show it unto you.” [Jn.14:36; 16:14-15.
And, the things that the Holy Spirit will reveal unto us – are the more-than-marvelous things that are declared in Ro.8:1-4! These are things that pertain to our walk through this fallen world. You can read of them for yourselves. May the Spirit lead you to do so. May He teach you what great things are being said here. More than that, may you also realize the living truth of them. Amen.
For Christ’s Glory Only!
Praises and Prayer Requests
Well, dear friends and family in Christ, we have completed yet another very blessed summer camp season here at Del-Haven. Our last older girls camp was a remarkable testimony of our Lord’s presence. Around the last campfire, several of the girls stated that their favorite time at camp was learning about the Lord at the Bible study time. Each year we give all the campers brand new Bibles. In fact, it’s safe to say that the two most mentioned favorite things are the food and the Bible studies…or, the physical meals and the spiritual meals. They all declared that they wanted to come back! Please continue to faithfully lift all the children up in your prayers.
Please remember to seek the Lord with us concerning additional male help to be added on our staff for next year. It would be great to have five mature — dedicated to serve the Lord — young men on our staff for next summer. We need them for four camp sessions that would run from Monday through Thursday. Two for our camps for age 6 to 8 year old boys, and two for our camps for age 9 to 12 year old boys. Please pray with us concerning this matter. If you know of any young men – let’s say 14 years old, or older – that might like to do this – we would love to talk to them! Please give us a call: 816-690-8465, or 277-7071.
On Saturday, the 18th – we had a wonderful “thank-you-celebration” for the men and women of First Baptist Church of Oak Grove – plus others — whom the Lord chose to help us with the renovation of our kitchen and restrooms, et. al. We had a blessed time of fellowship over hot dogs, hamburgers and ribs along with Theresa’s famous baked beans (well, they’re famous as far as I’m concerned) and her wonderful potato salad. It is a taste of heaven to sit around a feast table with, and among, the family of God! Thank you, Lord, for granting to us such good times!
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints (16) cease not to give thanks for you — making mention of you – in my prayers; (17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him (18) the eyes of your understanding being enlightened – that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what (are) the riches of His glory of the inheritance in the saints. (19) And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe- – according to the working of His mighty power (20) which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places (21) far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this world, but also in that which is to come (22) and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, (23) which is His body – the fulness of Him that filleth all in all!” [Eph.1:15-23]
This section of scripture, among other things, gives unto us the true method, message and maintenance of genuine and Holy Spirit effective evangelism. The method is the bold heralding forth of the announcement of the pure truth of the everlasting gospel of God’s great grace (Rev.14:6). Once evidence is seen that the message has been favorably received – genuine evangelism follows up with Spirit led prayer. The first chapter of the epistle of Ephesians – from verses 3 through 14 — succinctly describes the pure truth concerning God’s message of eternal salvation by God’s grace, alone, through the person and work, alone, of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is dogmatically declared to be “according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace…” (vs.5-6); and, again, from vs.7 – it is descriptively declared that our eternal redemption is entirely “according to the riches of His grace”. And, because the apostle Paul had heard that God’s grace had been effectually bestowed upon the Ephesians – resulting in their truly believing in the Lord Jesus, and which in turn resulted in the love that they were displaying unto all the saints – he did not, nor could not – cease to lift them up to the Lord God in his earnest prayers! This is the Holy Spirit-led maintenance that descriptively marks a vital part of the true evangelistic process. And, just exactly what is it that Paul was specifically led to pray that God would do for them?
He prayed that God – the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ — the incarnated eternal Son of God – would give unto the grace-blessed Ephesian believers the Holy Spirit of “wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him”. “Wisdom”, to walk through the maze of trials in this fallen-in-sin world (Col.3:15); “Revelation” whereby they would consistently realize the relationship with Christ that they have on a daily, step by step basis (1Jn.1:7); and, “Knowledge” – the full knowledge of our Lord and Savior that we continually grow into according to the sovereign will of God (2Pe.3:18).
Next, Paul’s Spirit-led prayer addresses the illumination of the eyes of their understanding – so that they may know what is the hope of God’s calling into the riches of His holy glorious inheritance in His saints (Col.1:12). As well as, for them to understand what is the exceeding greatness of the power of God’s grace that is bestowed upon us who truly do believe. It is the same glorious and gracious power that God the Father exercised upon His Beloved Son – our blessed Savior – “when He raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand in heavenly places – far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion – and every name that is named – not only in this world, but also in that which is to come – and hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church – which is His body – the fulness of Him that filleth all and in all!” Amen! Praise His Name! If it’s not all Christ – then it’s all wrong!
For Christ’s Glory Only! -John Carpenter
Praises and Prayer Requests – July
Well, dear friends, we continue to rejoice and give thanks unto our Lord for His continual answers to our prayers. We just wrapped up an older boys camp – that we didn’t even think would take place just a little over a week ago! You see we had come up shy of enough male staff to accommodate having any of the campers that we had on our list that wanted to come to camp! But, the Lord provided – and we were able to fill two cabins full of boys and have a fun and spiritually beneficial week after all. It was another wonderful time! They learned their verses. They sang the gospel songs (all the way back to the city). They were – by God’s grace – providentially delivered into the proclamation of the gospel! Praise the Name of the Lord! It is such a grand thing to witness the testimony of God’s presence and provision. Please continue to pray for us as we continue to press on for the glory of Christ!
Please do not forget to pray for the staff and children that are scheduled for the rest of this camp season. These hot blistering days can be tough to endure! Your prayers are a source of strength and comfort so we can get through it.
A double wide mobile home has been delivered to Del-Haven for the family of Jeff Hall. Please pray with us for Jeff – and the men that are busy working — to get his new home completely ready for him and his family to move in. This is yet another new chapter in the history of Del-Haven! A lot has been done – and is getting done — but there is still a whole lot that needs to be done. Nothing is too hard – or, too wonderful – for our great Savior. Jeff definitely needs your prayers – and whatever help you can give him. He will be a wonderful asset to have on the camp premises!
“God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things – may abound to every good work. (9) As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad – He hath given to the poor! His righteousness remaineth forever.” [2Cor.9:8-9]
“…my God shall supply all your need – according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (20) Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever!” [Phil.4:19-20]
These precious words of gospel truth are comparable with one another. They point out the ever abiding presence and fellowship of an all-governing – all-gracious — eternally loving, guiding and providing Savior. These verses substantiate the words of our Lord Jesus from Jn.16:33 from where He tells us, “These things I have spoken unto you – that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer – I have overcome the world.” Praise His Name!
Only the God of all grace is able to do this for us! Especially, while we are in this weak and ever vulnerable – fallen-in-sin worldly condition. We are so completely dependent upon our Lord and Savior at all times, for all things – and all that we need, in this adverse and affliction-filled world! Yet — He is so completely dependable unto us no matter what we have to face – no matter what we have to go through in this world in order to enter the all-glorious reality of the “Kingdom of God”. We are ever reminded of Ac.14:22, which says: “…confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith – and that – we must through much tribulation – enter into the Kingdom of God.” While “much tribulation” is a fact of life in this world – it is also an eternal gospel truth that our faithful God is able to make all grace to abound into the time of our trials so that nothing can detour nor delay our being able to enter into the eternal safety of His eternal Kingdom and glory! What good work that He has ordained for us to fulfill – His all sufficient enabling grace will see that it gets accomplished!
In order for any true believer to successfully and safely get through this fallen and cursed world, the sovereign grace of God is absolutely necessary! In order for us to even be able to repent for our sins – we need God’s enabling grace. In Ac.5:30-31, the scripture says that God raised up Jesus and exalted Him with His right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, “for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” In 2Ti.2:24-25, the scripture once again tells us that, “the servant of the Lord must not strive – but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (25) in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves – if God peradventure – will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth…”. True saving repentance is a grace that only God can – and does – give – bestow — upon each of His eternally loved, chosen and saved children!
In fact, true saving faith is also obviously a grace! Eph.2:8-9 clearly states: “For by grace are ye saved through faith – and that not of yourselves! It is the gift of God. (9) Not of works – lest any man should boast.” Jesus, Himself, explicitly declared from Jn.6:29 “This is the work of God – that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.” All who truly and savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ are each one descriptively declared from Ac.13:48 in this manner: “…and as many as were ordained to eternal life – believed.”
The Lord Jesus is full of grace and truth. It is He who hath dispersed abroad and given His righteousness to the destitute. His righteousness endureth forever. His righteousness eternally justifies us!
For Christ’s Glory Only!
– John Carpenter