12/27/1998 6:00 PM
Jesus made one point very clear - A man must be born again. Until he receives this spiritual birth he cannot see the kingdom of God. He doesn't mean spending your whole life being born - spiritual things will not come through until the spiritual birth has taken place. A person still dead in sin cannot see spiritual things. There are things that will be incomprehensible in the Bible to a non-spiritual person. Nicodemus was a rabbi, a teacher of the Jews - yet Jesus said that he wouldn't understand until he had a new birth. Until someone is born again he won't see or understand or enter into the kingdom of God.
John 1:12, 13
The opportunity was provided that we might become the sons of God. The new birth is not a heritage/genetics or who your family is. Just because your family was good saints doesn't make you one. The desire and determination of man can't make you a part. You can't get saved any time you want to. People will get saved when God is dealing with them and at no other time. This is not just a decision to serve God. This is doing business with God, and if God is not there to talk to you, you won't get the new birth. The new birth is a change in the heart - a new life. God would have all men to be saved. Just bowing at an altar is not it, but it is meeting God on his terms and at his time. God can speak at any time. It is sad when people have reduced it to a form. We have to meet God on his terms.
God wanted to take out a people for his own name. The Israelites caused the name of God to be profaned and dragged down. He describes what is needed for people to honor and glorify him. It takes a new heart and spirit. It takes new affections. It takes an obedient spirit. We need a spirit that is willing to always submit to God's will. It takes a change in the being.
2 Corinthians 5:17
There has to be a change in the creature. It should be a new creature, not just a reformed old one. We're inviting people to come be what God would have you to be. We're not looking for reformations but new creations. The Israelites were not pleasing to God, but the disciples became new creatures worthy to bear the name.
Describes here "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; It doesn't speak of "the washing of forgiveness" because its not enough to be forgiven. You can be forgiven and never benefit from it. Forgiveness is good, but alone it is not the issue. A right relationship with God is important. Regeneration is the new birth - it begins a new life. Under the old law there was atonement for past sins, but no new life... there was forgiveness, but not regeneration. It left them in their sins. Regeneration brings newness of spirit. God heals not only the body, but the spirit as well. It's no more self-exaltation to praise God for healing of spirit than it is for you to praise him for healing your body.
1 Peter 1:22-25
"Being born again" - since we're born again. The word of God brings new birth. The word of God will endure. If you are built on the word of God your experience can stand the flower of success and the withering failure. The word of God is a lasting thing.
1 John 5:1, 2
"By this we know that the new birth is there - when we love God and keep his commandments All believers have the new birth, and without the new birth you are not a believer. They are inseparable facts. If you claim to be one without the other, you need to check what you believe. It is normal for the child of God to love the children of God. The new birth is not a complicated thing. People would like to talk about the Millennium and such without the prerequisite of the new birth. You'll never understand spiritual things without the spiritual birth.