Trinity stands for our Triune God and Blessings we received by faith.
Hear and Listen to the Holy Spirit
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give fruit from the tree of life in the paradise of God.’
Each of the seven letters ends with the exhortation, Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. The words of the Spirit are the words of Christ. Note that all the letters were to be read to all the churches. Those who “hear” what is read should then “listen to the Spirit” in order to understand what the Spirit is saying and to know what should be done. Those who listen and do what the Spirit leads them to do will be victorious. These who are victorious will remain faithful to Christ no matter what the cost. Those victorious ones will eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God. The Garden of Eden contained the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (see Genesis 2:9). Eating from the tree of life brought eternal life with God; eating from the tree of knowledge brought the ability to discern good and evil and, therefore, to choose evil.
When Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge, they disobeyed God’s command. So they were excluded from Eden and barred from eating from the tree of life. Eventually, evil will be destroyed, and believers will be brought into a restored paradise. In the new earth, everyone will eat from the tree of life and will live forever (see Revelation 22:2, 19). Eating from the tree of life pictures the gift of eternal life. In paradise God will restore the perfect fellowship that existed in the Garden of Eden before sin entered and ruined the relationship between people and God.
4 Then they went from town to town, instructing the believers to follow the decisions made by the apostles and elders in Jerusalem.5 So the churches were strengthened in their faith and grew larger every day.
At least one of the new items on the agenda of this trip was explaining the decision regarding the commandments that were to be obeyed, as had been decided by the apostles and elders at the Jerusalem council (Acts 15). The Jewish/Gentile issues that had been decided at the council would likely arise again in the largely Gentile areas where Paul was traveling. Rapid growth was important to this first part of the “Gentile” thrust of the Gospel. Critics of Paul’s Gentile-oriented ministry (especially the Jewish element) would be waiting greedily for an opening with which to shut Paul down or at least diminish his influence. Yet here, in the first real penetration of the Gospel into the Gentile world, the church thrived in exactly the same way the mostly Jewish church had in its early days.
About the Author
Elias A. Busuego, Jr., PhD , DTM is self-described as “proud of the only two women in my life – my wife and our daughter Christine Elisha with her husband Steve (one son). I am also proud of my three sons: John and his wife Kristin & their children (two sons & 1 daughter) , Christopher and his wife Taylor with one daughter, and Elias Jr. IV and his wife Sarah & their children, (one son and one daughter), who are all serving in the military.” The author states that he read the Bible back to back, and learned the history behind it, but did not understand its deeper spiritual perspective until he was born again.
Since he was born again on March 17, 1972, he started understanding the Scripture on John 3:5-7 NLT.
These are most of his favorite verses. In John 3:5-7 NLT says, “Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. 6 Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. 7 So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’
In John 3:5 – This statement has perplexed and divided commentators for many centuries. Some traditions have taught that the water denotes physical birth (referring to the “water” of amniotic fluid or even semen) and Spirit to spiritual birth – in which case our Lord Jesus Christ would be saying that a person has to have two births: one physical and the second, spiritual. This view builds upon the preceding context when Nicodemus referred to physical birth. It also points to the parallel our Lord Jesus Christ makes in verse 6. According to this position, our Lord Jesus Christ would have been granting the Pharisee’s point in order to highlight the nature of the second birth as spiritual. Two strengths of this interpretation are that it avoids making the physical act of water baptism a necessity and that it avoids bringing almost a “third birth” idea into the discussion. If water doesn’t refer to natural birth, say its defenders, then our Lord Jesus Christ seems to be saying that a person must be born of their parents, born of water, and born of the Spirit.
Other traditions have taught that the water refers to baptism and the Spirit to spiritual regeneration – thus, our Lord Jesus Christ would have been saying that a person must both be baptized and receive the Spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God. This view is at times influenced by the belief that the sacrament of baptism is itself a requirement for salvation.
A parallel view makes water refer to baptism but places the emphasis on teaching two steps of baptism; one by water, the other by the Spirit. For support, these views point to the larger context in John where John the Baptist and water baptism are mentioned just preceding the events in Cana and following this encounter with Nicodemus. They also rely on the tendency of previous generations of Christians to equate the mention of water with baptism. But in the first seven chapters of John, water appears in some way (naturally or symbolically) in each chapter. To associate water and baptism too closely makes baptism a higher priority than the Scriptures give it. Here, for instance, if our Lord Jesus Christ was speaking of two completely separate acts, two baptisms, it is odd that the rest of the discussion between our Lord Jesus Christ and Nicodemus never again refers to the subject but revolves entirely around the work of God’s Spirit.
Still other traditions have taught that our Lord Jesus’ reference to water is not physical in either the sense of birth or baptism. The term water is simply another description of the Spirit – or the Spirit’s activity of cleansing and giving life (see John 7:37-39).
In John 3:6 – Humans can produce only more human beings; this answers Nicodemus’s question in verse 4. Only God the Holy Spirit gives new life from heaven. At the same time God puts His Spirit into us, we are given a new regenerated human spirit. It is God’s Spirit, not our effort, that makes us children of God (John 1:12). Our Lord Jesus’ description corrects human hopes that we might somehow inherit goodness from parents or earn it by good behavior, church background, or correct associations. At some point we must be able to answer the question: Have I been born of the Spirit?
In John 3:7 – Our Lord Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus that evening has been heralded to all the world ever since. Both Jew and Gentile have heard the divine mandate: You must be born again. Without the new birth, one cannot see or enter into the Kingdom of God. In those words, millions have heard our Lord Jesus Christ speaking directly to their hearts and our hearts. Behind our Lord Jesus’ challenge is His invitation to each of us – ”You must be born again; allow me to do that for you.”
Since he was born again on March 17, 1972, he started also understanding the Scripture on Romans 12:2 NLT.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
When Elias offered his entire self to God, a change happened in his relation to the world. As one of Born-Again Christians, he believes we are called to a different lifestyle than what the world offers with its behavior and customs, which are usually selfish and often corrupting (Galatians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:14).
He commented that Born-Again Christians are to live as citizens of a future world. There will be pressure to conform, to continue living according to the script written by the world, but Born-Again Christian believers are forbidden to give in to that pressure.
But refusing to conform to this world’s values must go even deeper than the level of behavior and customs – it must go to the transforming of the way we think.
In Elias testimonies as a Born-Again Christian believer, he emphasized that born-again is an experience and he experienced a complete transformation from the inside out. And the change must begin in the mind, where all thoughts and actions begin. Much of the work is done by God’s Spirit in us, and the tool most frequently used is God’s Word. As we memorize and meditate upon God’s Word, our way of thinking changes. Our minds become first informed, and then conformed to the pattern of God, the pattern for which we were originally designed. When we as Born-Again Christian believers have had our minds transformed and are becoming more like our Lord Jesus Christ, we will know what God wants and we will want to do it for it is good, pleasing to God, and perfect for us.
It is from those gleanings that he was able to write this book.
The Home Fellowship Churches is committed to achieve the three main purposes: ENCOURAGE, ENLIGHTEN, and EMPOWER families to share the Great Commission, preach and teach the Gospel - the Good News - the love and forgiveness of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Loving Savior and Merciful Mighty God.