By Betty Edmondson - (August 23, 2001)
John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:7 - Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again. 1 Peter 1:23 - Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Of myself, I can do nothing. I am in prayer that the Holy
Spirit within you draw out the truth that you wish to know.
It is only after we have climbed a mountain that we can look back and see the path we have traveled. It is a way we have not been before, and each bend in the road brings startling surprises.
I do believe the majority of the church world has “strained out the gnat and swallowed the camel” so to speak, for liberty eludes them and they keep slipping back under rules and regulations, standards and commandments.
As men have tenaciously dug their heels in the ground to maintain their right to rule and reign over the earth, over every other nation, every other church, every woman, child and animal... they have blinded themselves to the simplicity of the gospel and made it a burdensome kingdom of short-sighted priests who are much like the Pharisees, having a FORM of godliness, but denying the power thereof. I believe the following scripture has been misunderstood by the ministry and has not been given its rightful place as our foundation:
KJV: Hebrews 5:12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one TEACH YOU AGAIN which be the FIRST PRINCIPLES of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
NIV: Hebrews 5:12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
KJV: Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
NIV: Hebrews 6:1 Therefore let us leave the ELEMENTARY TEACHINGS about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,
In these two scriptures above, (I copied both the King James and New International versions), the writer (presumably Paul) had been TEACHING the First Principles of the doctrine of Christ. He emphasized that the hearers should already know these principles and be ready to go on to learn about the maturity that grows from this principle foundation.
These people, being under the law, were hard of hearing, slow to learn.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot SEE the kingdom of God.
The first principle Jesus taught is YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN... of SPIRIT.
How light we have made of that principle. Just confess that you believe Jesus existed and you’re born again. Devils KNEW Jesus existed and knew who he was. But they were not born again.
There cannot be a birth without a living seed planted. In that holy seed (within us) lies all our potential for completion and all our hope. The old cast off individual self that we used to be, is overcome by the new life that is planted in us by the Holy Spirit. It is like a tiny dewdrop that finally finds its way back to its source and joins at last with the wholeness of the ocean. We lose nothing when we lay our individual self aside and put on the Mind of Christ, the Life of Christ.
Here is my testimony (so far) : )
I came from at least four generations of preachers on my biological father’s side. They were evangelists, who rode circuit through the hills of Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. I grew up in church and it was an integral part of our everyday life. I heard the scriptures from the time I could first tune in to sounds. .
I was fifteen years old and was living in Drumright, Oklahoma. Since I wasn't sixteen yet, I was not allowed to date, but I could "associate" with friends and go to church or for walks in the park. This particular night, I was with my older brother Sherman and his girlfriend Lavina. Lavina's dad was holding a meeting in an old theater on Main Street. I was there because I wanted to be out and about. I don't remember anything that was preached or said that night, but I do remember my frame of mind as I knelt to pray at the old-fashioned alter call. I remember being totally yielded to God and just being thankful, wanting to be near Him. Suddenly, I was on my feet dancing and singing in tongues. As I danced in and around and among those theater seats, I had my arms lifted and my eyes closed, and I never touched a piece of furniture. I felt like my feet were not touching the floor. My brother told me later he didn't see how on earth I could do that. I couldn't have. That's what made it so real and so wonderful, knowing I could never have put on something like that, nor would I have wanted to. I didn't even expect anything to happen to me, so my joy ran over and over. That is one of the greatest events of my life, and it has never left me through all these years. If I did not have that witness now, I would NEVER be able to recognize Jesus as the Christ.
I, along with millions of others, thought this was the ultimate.
When I was sixteen, I married a sailor boy (22) and left home. He was not into religion, and I didn’t go to church much for several years. We had a son (Joey) and two little girls. I always taught my children about the Lord, and started taking them to Sunday School when they were a little older.
When my firstborn son was struck by a car and killed instantly when he was eight years old, it was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. It brought me to the realization that what I had up to that time WAS NOT ENOUGH. I knew the letter of the Word, and I had received the Holy Ghost, but I could not find the consolation, the peace, the joy that was promised. This was the turning point in my life that forced me to make a choice. Either I would prove the truth, or I would give up religion totally. I laid it on the line. (A year later, we had another son, and two years after that, another daughter. These babies filled my time and my life and the pain of losing Joey sort of went underground into hiding.)
But the desire and drive for truth never left me. I studied everything that came into my path. It was during this time that I studied with the Witnesses three years. I studied with the Baptists, the Pentecostals. I studied ancient religions. I just wanted something that lived up to what it promised. Every time somebody would quote something from the Bible, I’d say, “Show me!” I want to SEE it work. My attitude confounded people, who accused me of having no faith.
1 Cor. 2:4-5 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:  That YOUR FAITH SHOULD NOT STAND IN THE WISDOM OF MEN, but IN THE POWER OF GOD.
I didn’t work outside my home when my children were
small, but I took in ironing. Someone gave me a reel-to-reel tape player, and I
would listen to messages while I ironed. I was insatiable for the truth. I
dragged my four children to church some place at least twice a week. Nothing
measured up. It just wasn’t REAL to me. While I was studying all about the
Egyptian and Babylonian religions, I got to the point where I was ready to
throw the Bible into the trash because I saw so much idolatry in it.
I sat at my kitchen table one morning while I was
completely alone, and I remember my shoulders being slumped because of all the
weight I was carrying in my soul. I felt like I had been carrying around a big
burlap sack of quilt scraps and I didn’t know how they all fit together. I
remembered my vow to God a few years before when I promised to find the truth
or shuck the whole thing. Right there, I decided to shuck the whole thing. I
visualized taking that big sack off my back and tossing all the pieces, one by
one, into an imaginary burn barrel. I just couldn’t carry the load any longer.
When I was finished, I felt clean and empty. The only REAL thing that remained
was the Holy Spirit.
Then suddenly, like a bolt of lightening, I was on my feet with my arms in the air and it felt like something burst from my heart like a living sprout. UP through the top of my head and into my total awareness came the witness: “I AM HE that lives... and was dead... and am alive forever more.”
In that instant that Holy Spirit that was conceived in my soul fifteen years earlier as a promised seed, burst forth in my awareness as my NEW LIFE, my new SELF. That Spirit MERGED, united with my life and “I” was changed in an instant forever. Since that day, I have never been the same finite self that I was before. I MUST emphasize earnestly that this was not another personality or some kind of dissociation. It was a union. It was a merger. When that Life appeared, my old self (as I thought myself to be) passed away. “I” and my Father... are of ONE BEING.
This new self was birthed as a little child who began to lead me. I had to learn how to be a citizen in a new kingdom, and I am still learning. Here, we are not bound by commandments of men or by time or space. The Spirit within us goes where it will... and we follow on to KNOW the Lord. We recognize that life in one another and have a love that is not possible outside Christ.
I thought that was the ultimate.
I am almost 65 now (in natural years), and I can see back over the path I have come. I have experienced the conception and the birth. I have within me a living being that has the potential to become a mature son of God. We all do.
Ephes. 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT MAN, unto the MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF THE FULNESS OF CHRIST.
That child I have conceived into my heart (soul) longs to grow up to its full capacity. I desire to come to the finished completion of my part. I want to be a hundred percent of what I AM born to be. It is the new life we become in Christ that is called, justified, and has the potential to come to the full measure of the stature of Christ. The “old man” that we used to think we were, can never approach the vision that is inherent in that Christ seed.
The thing we all need to realize is that we are called to edify one another, to build one another up in love. We need to draw Christ out of one another, and pour out to one another to receive the nourishment we need daily. When each part of that great body comes to its fullness, then will Christ be fully visible in the earth.
Man is created in three dimensions: Body, Soul and Spirit. He is three-dimensional. He is capable of BEING, KNOWING and DOING.
When we first learn the letter of the word, it is with the physical senses, the seeing of the eye and the hearing of the ear. When we receive the Holy Spirit, we receive Jesus into our soul or emotional dimension as a seed. When that child is birthed, he is birthed into our dimension of BEING and begins his unfoldment there, working His way outward into our experiences.
John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
Mark 4:28-32 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.
 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?  It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth:  But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it.
Jesus was the promised seed that fell into the earth and died. He was glorified, magnified, multiplied on the Day of Pentecost when he entered into the hearts of his followers. He still lives today. We walk in heavenly places with him every day. When our being merges with God’s being, we are given His NAME, and the NEW NAME of Jesus. When we say, “I AM...” through the life of God that dwells in us, we are coming in His name. We are assembling our “SELF” together IN His Name.
I could go on and on and on and on, but I will stop here. I hope I have not made this burdensome for you to read, but I did pray that the Father do the work. Of ourselves, we can do nothing. It is the Father in us... He does the works. We cannot receive the Holy Ghost of ourself, and we cannot be born of ourself. This is where we really comprehend the mercy and grace of God and see how futile it is for us to try to make it any other way.
Philip. 4:19 But my GOD SHALL SUPPLY ALL YOUR NEED according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.