Being “born again” means starting over and coming into the world as something new, something different. It’s a total overhaul, an extreme makeover that gives us a complet
ely new outlook on life. It means a revolution of values
“Perhaps the best picture of what God’s church should look like is painted in Acts 4:32-36, where it tells of the followers of Jesus sharing everything in common. There were no needy among them. This is an absolutely remarkable statement because if we reflect on the Jewish society at that time, according to some scholars and depending on where you draw the line, at most only 5 percent of the people were classified as rich. Again, depending on where you draw the line, there were 10 to 15 percent considered middle class. On the other hand, 75 to 85 percent of the people were working poor or dirt poor. But the Spirit of the Lord moved so greatly on these people that the rich voluntarily sold their surplus land and houses. At least for a while, the power of the Spirit so moved God’s people that poverty was abolished within the church.” – John Perkins
In the Pentecostal condition that was the early Church it was simply understood that to be a follower of Jesus, to be a participant in the Community of the King was to live from Kingdom values, to care for the poor and the needy, to share the blessings God had given. This seems to be a direct result of both the modeling of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (which is the Spirit of Jesus) in Acts 2.
Today, as Christians fret over the spiritual condition of our nation and cry out to God for revival, I wonder if this is what we are seeking—if this is the picture we are desiring. My own past experience and the evidence that I see in many revival-seeking Christians points more toward a desire to see widespread repentance from the moral sins of our nation.
However, I wonder if rather than revival coming as a “sovereign act of God” or an “act of the Spirit,” that propels us into a more moral condition, it begins by Jesus Followers being “born again” in an old-fashioned sense—adopting Kingdom values and beginning to live by them. Isaiah 58 suggests that the the “then” of God’s presence is conditional upon the “if” of conformity to God’s heart for the poor and the needy.
I wonder if the experience of genuine, loving, caring, community—a Community in which every need is provided—correspondingly then creates an environment in which the “moral” sins are annulled. They are no longer craved, desired or “needed.” There is acceptance, security, peace and love and a desire for God’s very best—not only for oneself, but for each individual in the Community.
I wonder if we have the proverbial chicken before the egg. Well then, that would take us back to needing to be “born again.”