Oak Grove Community Church - (A Non-Denominational, Full Gospel Church)


I can Only Imagine
Mercy me
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History of Oak Grove Community Church
     The Oak Grove Community Church is so-called because of its location,  
surrounded by a beautiful grove of oak trees.  The Church is located in rural Madison County next to the Roseman Covered Bridge on the of the Middle River near Winterset, Iowa. Oak Grove Community Church is the oldest active Church in Madison County. The present Church building was built in 1889, however, the Church originated in the mid-1840's, and met in various schoolhouses and homes until the present building was constructed.

 Pastor Terry & wife Pam
       
This Weeks Message  
                                                       You Must be Born Again
 
 
 
  SCRIPTURES: Heb. 4:12; Jn. 3:1-15; Ro. 5:12; 2 Co. 5:17; Jn. 3:16-21, 14:6, 19:38-40
 

 Every once in a while Scripture confirms to me the truth of…
 Hebrews 4:12 ( NIV ) For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 
 
 For the word of God is living and active.
 Part of this life contained in the word of God is found in its ability to speak new things, new truths, new and fresh revelations to us out of verses that we may have known and studied for years.
 I had this experience a a while back as I was reading in the gospel of John chapter 3.
 This is probably one of the most read chapters in the New Testament.  Where Jesus tells Nicodemus how to attain eternal life…
 Let’s go to that portion of Scripture this morning…
 John 3:1-15 ( NIV ) Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
 
 To understand Jesus conversation with Nicodemus we have to first understand the context from which Jesus was speaking… The context is sin and the separation from God that sin has caused.
 The only reason that the born again experience, salvation, is needed is because of the separation from God that sin has caused.
 Let me read from John Wesley’s book Renew My Heart
 In Adam, all die! Romans 5:12 ( NIV ) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.
 In Adam, all die, all humankind, even those yet unborn.
The natural consequence of this is that everyone descended from Adam and has come into the world spiritually dead, dead to God, wholly dead in sin---entirely void of the life and the image of God and of the righteousness and holiness in which Adam was created.  Everyone born now bears the image of the devil in pride and self-will and the image of the beast in sensual appetites and desires.
 The foundation for, the need of, the new birth is this entire corruption of our nature. Having been born in sin we must be Born Again. (End quote)
 
 It has always amazed me that when Nicodemus came to Jesus that night he never actually started out by asking a question… He started out by making a statement..
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.
 
 Jesus starts out by answering a question that was never asked by Nicodemus!
 Well, not asked vocally anyway… But God looks at the heart and this must have been the real question on Nicodemus heart that drove him to come to Jesus that night.
 When Jesus says to Nicodemus: “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again” Nicodemus seems to have trouble understanding that statement for he says to Jesus.. “How can a man be born when he is old?” “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”
 It was not the term BORN AGAIN that puzzled Nicodemus.  What puzzled Nicodemus was when Jesus said YOU must be born again!
You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
 The term born again was not really new theology to Nicodemus or any of the Jewish people.
 The thought of being born again was not first used by Jesus in His conversation with Nicodemus.
 The principle was well know before that time and was already in common use among the Jews when the Lord first appeared among them. 
 When an adult heathen was convinced that the Jewish religion was of God and desired to join it, it was the custom to baptize him first before he was admitted to circumcision.
 When he was baptized, he was said to be “Born Again” . By this they meant that one who was before a child of the devil was now adopted into the family of God and accounted as one of His children.
 Jesus used this same expression, but in a stronger and more personal sense then Nicodemus was accustomed to.
 Nicodemus was accustomed to the term being used to describe someone converting to the Jewish faith but now Jesus was telling Nicodemus, a very leader of the Jewish faith that he must be born again!
 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
You see Nicodemus; in his Judaism thought that he had no need to be born again-- that was only for heathens coming into Judaism.
 Now Jesus tells him that if he ever expects to see the kingdom of God that he must be born again also.
 Jesus explains this born again experience that He is talking about to Nicodemus…
Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
 
 Jesus in using the wind as an example of what He is talking about tells Nicodemus that the wind blows where it wishes.
 Let me stop and ask a question this morning…
 How many of you have ever seen wind? Not what the wind may be carrying along with it like rain or dust or plastic fairway sacks but the wind itself?
 How many of you know where the wind originates or where the wind stops?
 Even with all of the high technology that we have today these questions remain un-answered. No one knows what wind looks like. No one knows where it starts or stops. No one knows what happens to the wind once it stops blowing…
 Now let me ask another question? How do you know that wind even exists?
Well, the answer is simple! I can feel it and sometimes even hear it! 
Jesus said:  The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
 You hear the sound of it (in other words you are assured that the wind does blow) but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going!
 So it is with everyone who is born of the spirit!  We may be as absolutely assured of our being born of the spirit, our being born again, as we are of the blowing of the wind…
 But the precise manner how it is done, how the Holy Spirit works this in the soul, neither we, nor the wisest men on the planet are able to fully explain..
 Yet we can know that we are born again and that the Spirit is at work within us the same way that we know that wind exists and has the power to do pretty some awesome things….
 
 Example: Aftermath of a Tornado---drives a piece of  straw through  a 2X4…
 Even though we can’t see the wind we can experience it through our senses…
 
 Jesus asserted that the entrance into the kingdom of God that Nicodemus desired could not be achieved by legalism or outward conformity. It requires an inner change.   Membership in the kingdom of God is not a prerogative of any particular race or culture, nor is it hereditary. It is given only by the direct act of God. The origin and the destination of the wind are unknown to the one who feels it and acknowledges its reality.
Likewise, the new life of the one born of the Spirit is unexplainable by ordinary reasoning; and its outcome is unpredictable, though it is actuality undeniable.
 
 Jesus uses two metaphors in describing the born again experience to Nicodemus …
  Water and Spirit and Wind and Spirit.
 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
 Jesus repeated his solemn declaration "I tell you the truth unless a man is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
 Various interpretations have been suggested for the water. Does it refer to natural birth, which is accompanied by watery fluid? Or is it a symbol of the Spirit (John 7:37-39) so that "water" and "Spirit" are merely two words referring to the same thing?
  Or is it a symbol of baptism?
   The best answer seems to be that if Jesus was attempting to clarify his teaching for Nicodemus, he would answer in familiar terms; and the author would want his readers to understand his phraseology.
 Since Jesus' ministry came shortly after that of John the Baptist, Jesus may have been referring to John's preaching, which dealt with the baptism of water, signifying repentance, and with the coming messenger of God who would endow men with the Holy Spirit.
  The new birth is conditioned on the repentance and confession of the individual in response to the appeal of God and by the transformation of life by the gift of the Holy Spirit.
 Thus one must be born of water…Baptism unto repentance.. And Born of Spirit—Filled with the Holy Spirit of God!
 
 The other analogy that Jesus spoke of to describe the Born Again experience was that of the wind and Spirit…
 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
 Jesus illustrated his point by a play on words that was applicable both in Hebrew and Greek. The word for "spirit" (Heb., ruah; Gr., pneuma) They are both the word for "wind" in both languages and can be translated either way, Spirit or Wind, depending on the context.
 Verse 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases-- could be equally rendered, "The Spirit breathes where he wills
 NIV and other translations are undoubtedly correct in using the word wind instead of spirit when it says The wind blows wherever it pleases, because of the allusion to sound in the second sentence, You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.  That would not make much sense in reference to the "spirit."
 But it does make sense in reference to the wind.
 Possibly the word play Jesus used was because Nicodemus called on Jesus at the time when the evening wind was blowing through the city so that it was a ready illustration for Nicodemus. But Nicodemus would have understood exactly what Jesus was saying…..
 That even he, a Jewish religious leader, needed to be born again if he was to ever see the kingdom of God!
 
 The evidence of the Born Again experience is the same for us today as it was for those in the time of Nicodemus. The evidence is change! A Change in life!
 Have you ever really thought through those words, Born again?
   Before a child is born he has eyes, but does not see; he has ears but does not hear. He has an imperfect use of all other senses. He has no knowledge or natural understanding of any of the things of the world. As soon as he is born, he begins to see the light and the objects around him, His ears are opened and he hears the sounds which strike upon them. At the same time all the other organs of sense begin to be exercised upon their proper objects. Now he lives and breathes in a manner totally different then from before he was born.
 Paul talks about this change of the born again experience in:
2 Corinthians 5:17 ( NIV ) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 
 
 This is the evidence of the born again experience!
 The old nature is progressively decreasing while the new nature is progressively increasing!
 This newness of nature or change in life is the result of the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing in our life.
 
 Example: man at jail called himself Chief  —Pastor I am born again. Yet by his words and conduct there was no evidence of a change in life.
 
 Jesus continues His talk with Nicodemus by telling Nicodemus how one becomes born again…..
 John 3:16-21 ( NIV )“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 
 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
 
 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”
 
 Later on in Johns Gospel Jesus says this:
John 14:6 ( NIV ) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

 But whoever lives by the truth!
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 
 Jesus was telling Nicodemus that He was the only way to God and the new life that Nicodemus was searching for. That He was the only way to the Kingdom of Heaven.
How did Nicodemus respond? Was he ever born again? We can't know for certain but
 I believe there is some  Scriptural evidence suggesting that he was…
John 19:38-40 ( NIV ) Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jews. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 
 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.   Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. 
 
 In this final act of love and kindness toward Jesus I believe we see the wind of the Holy Spirit blowing in the life of Nicodemus…..
 But whether Nicodemus was ever actually ever born again or not is not really all that important to us.
 What is important to us is if we have ever had that experience in our own lives…
 Have we been born again? Have we truly come to God with repentant hearts seeking His forgiveness and allowed the Holy Spirit to blow His life into us?
 If we have then it will be known by us!  Just as we know the reality of the wind as it blows upon our face we can know we are born again by the wind that blows within our heart!
 A wind that is effecting change! The old is becoming new!
 I think that Paul wrote a litmus test for the Christian when he said: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 
 
 This morning, are you experiencing this transformation in your life where the old has gone and the new has come?
 
 Are you experiencing that miraculous transformation of becoming more and more like Jesus with each passing day?
 
 If you haven’t had that experience or if you find that the experience that you once had has seemed to stall out then know that God is hear today and wants you to experience the fullness of His wind, His Spirit blowing in and through your life…
 
 
 
 
                                    Have a wonderful and Christ filled week,
                                                    Pastor Terry Kerr 


   

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                                  THE WAY OF SALVATION

  Romans 10:8-10(NIV)That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.  

  Today, if you don't have the assurance of Salvation, the assurance of going to Heaven when you die, than just know that God wants you to have that assurance.   The above verse tells us how we do that. We do it by coming to Jesus asking for forgiveness for our sins and then giving Jesus Lordship (supremacy) over our life, believing in and on Him and Him alone for our salvation. 
  If the Holy Spirit has touched your heart today then I would encourage you to Yield your heart to Him right now and pray this simple prayer:  Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner as my sins are always before me. Lord, I am sorry for my sin and ask You to forgive me of all my sins. I now surrender my heart, my life to you and invite You into my heart to be the Lord and Savior of my life.  I thank you Lord for now saving me. Amen.  
   If you have just prayed this prayer than I encourage you to share your decision with a friend or relative (confess with your mouth) and find a Church fellowship to become involved in, and most importantly, commit yourself to daily prayerfully reading the Word of God asking Him to reveal Himself more fully to you.
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                                    SPREADING THE GOSPEL
  Our most important duty as a Christian is spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in our world. Oak Grove Community Church is a Missions minded Church that supports  Missionaries in various countries and the USA.
 If you would like to be a part of our missions outreach you can contribute to our Missions Program using the PayPal link below. All Money contributed through this website goes to our missions program.

 
 Visit our missions page for more details about our Missions Program






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You are my all in all
Maranatha
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