Welcome to “Learning and Living the God-centered life” Carmel Baptist Church www.learningandlivingtheword.com February 1, 2009
Read John 2:23-3:10 As we have launched into 2009 I ask you to consider the following question that comes from Matthew 7:13-14; Are you on the broad road that leads to destruction or are you on the narrow way that leads to life? And in essence what I have done is to put up my hand and say before you answer that question allow me to ask you another question. Is the direction of your spiritual life being manifested in the ongoing obedience to God’s word?
And again holding up my hand before you answer I am asking you this question; Have you REPENTED and BELIEVED? By repent I mean to turn from sin, so that the sin that you used to enjoy and embrace you now hate and and are convicted when it occurs in your life. Believe in that you have cast your self on the mercy of the Christ and have received Him as Lord and Savior to the point where He is now your prize and treasure. This has now become the direction of your Christian life.
And yes with my hand still up I am asking you from John Chapter 3 based on the discussion that Jesus had with Nicodemus; Have you been born again? Because if a man has not been born again he can not enter the kingdom of God. Or you could say it in the following way Unless a man is born again he can’t and won’t repent and believe and therefore he will not live his life under the obedience of the word of God and therefore will remain on a broad road that leads to destruction.
Born again talk can be unsettling to people because this means it is not something that you do but must be something that is done to you. Therefore in the American evangelical world it means that we can’t plan, establish, make happen, control or bring it about by any man-made device. So as we conclude our launch into 2009 I want to teach on 5 points regarding “born again” or the “new birth” or the doctrine of regeneration.
Point #1 Regeneration is initiated and done by God alone. We see this in the word “born again” which could be translated born from above, according to the translator notes In both John 3:3 and John 3:7 the verb for born “gennao” is in the passive voice. The passive voice conveys the idea that the SUBJECT is being ACTED UPON by an OUTSIDE force or power. SUBJECT is the RECIPIENT or the RECEIVER of the verbal action or effect. Here are some other verses that will support this point that God initiates and alone is responsible for a person’s new birth.
<ul><li>John 1:12-13 - But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. </li></ul><ul><li>Ephesians 2:4-5 - But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), </li></ul><ul><li>1Pet. 1:3 ¶ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, </li></ul>
<ul><li>Point #2 </li></ul><ul><li>Regeneration is necessary because every man is part of the living dead until they are reborn. </li></ul><ul><li>This is exactly the problem that Jesus was explaining to Nicodemus in John 3:3 and John 3:7. </li></ul><ul><li>Remember the living dead person categories we established from last week? </li></ul><ul><li>Luke 9:60 </li></ul><ul><li>60 But He said to him, "Allow the dead to bury their own dead; but as for you, go and proclaim everywhere the kingdom of God." </li></ul><ul><li>Luke 15:32 </li></ul><ul><li>But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found. </li></ul>
Titus 3:3 For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. Titus 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, Titus 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Eph. 2:1 ¶ And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, Eph. 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Eph. 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Eph. 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, Eph. 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
<ul><li>You will see in the study of regeneration that the Bible uses 3 metaphors when teaching about this doctrine: </li></ul><ul><li>Creation (ex-nihilo) - something from nothing </li></ul><ul><li>Resurrection - bringing life where there was only death </li></ul><ul><li>Birth - creating birth where there was nothing </li></ul><ul><li>For example Abraham’s sons Ishmael and Isaac </li></ul><ul><li>Definition: </li></ul><ul><li>Regeneration is a secret act of God in which He imparts spiritual life to a person. </li></ul>
Point #3 Regeneration is accomplished by the Spirit in replacing a heart of stone with a heart of flesh. Turn to Ezekiel 36:24-28
24 " 'For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh . 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God.
Keep in mind that the Spirit is working in order to glorify the Son. John 16:13-14 - “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. “ He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. The Spirit reveals Christ to you through God’s word in order that you will have a passionate affection for and a treasuring of Him.
Point #4 Regeneration and justification are two sides of the same coin. The Spirit connects a person to Christ through the cleansing of sins and declaration of their righteousness before God through faith. From the perspective of the Spirit John 6:63 - It is the Spirit who gives life ; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. Again we can see from this statement that is telling us what we learned in John 3:6 and John 3:8 , that it is the Spirit who gives life. John 3:6 - That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:8 - The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit ."
From the perspective of Christ John 14:6 - Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 6:48 “I am the bread of life.” When we come to Jesus as the one who can satisfy our spiritual hunger, then He gives to us life. The theme for the gospel of John: John 20:31 - but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. If you are not connected to Christ then you will have NO life.
So the Spirit gives life and Christ gives life - right? Then how does this work from a Biblical point of view? The Spirit works in a way that causes a believer to be connected to the vine (Christ - John 15) Therefore we could say that the Spirit via supernatural surgery unites the believer to Christ and then the life starts to flow. And how is it that we experience this at the conscious level in our lives? Answer - it is by faith! If there is no faith present then there is no life present.
Point #5 Regeneration is rooted or grounded in the mercy and kindness of God Eph. 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, Titus 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,