THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-12-03
LESSON TITLE: "THE NEW BIRTH"
Thank you for joining us this morning, let me welcome you to the program. The Living Word is a work of our Lord, dedicated to doing God's Will in His Way! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. In these acts of worship, may we all be encouraged, but ultimately may we each praise God according to the sacrifices to offer toward His Throne. It will also be our honor this morning to speak with God through prayer. Will you bow with me as we talk to our creator?
How blessed we are to have the privilege of laboring in the Kingdom of God. In fact, one of the greatest opportunities we have is to be proclaimers of God's saving message. Our first song this morning talks about the wondrous Gospel of Christ which we are to take to the entire world. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Ring Out The Message!"
(SONG # 1)
In John 17:18-19, Jesus made the following statement, "As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth." This verse reminds us that God the Father sent the Son into this world to do His Will. Furthermore, Jesus here says that He sent His followers into the world to teach others also - those things which pertain to the Fathers Will! But notice that He goes on further to say that He sanctified Himself.
As Christians we are to be imitators of Christ, thus we also need to be sanctified before our God. That is we are to be "set apart for sacred use," or consecrated before this world and our Creator. The good news is, Jesus tells us how this is possible in the same verse we read above! Again in verse 19 He said, "And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth." There we have it, we are sanctified by our knowledge of and obedience of the Truth!
You might wonder, but what is truth? Jesus proclaimed to be the way, the truth and the life, in John 14:6. He further added in that same verse that He is the only way to the Father. Now back to our text in chapter 17 of John, and in verse 17, the verse before those which we read earlier this morning. Notice there we read, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth." Jesus and His Word, which is from the Father, it is the Truth of God by which we are sanctified. The question is, are we responding to our knowledge of God's Word so that he might count us among the sanctified and call us His beloved Children?
I would like to end by looking at one final verse in John 8:32! Here Jesus confirms the great importance of this truth which is able to sanctify us, when He said, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Have you found freedom from this Word and sin through your knowledge and obedience of the Truth? If not, Choose today to do those things which will prove that you are faithful and obedient child of our redeemer.
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. From time to time, I like to take a week to focus on those things which bring one into an obedient relationship with the Son of God. So today we would like to consider those things we must do, which lead us to salvation! The title of our lesson will be, "The New Birth." So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our next song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Did You think to Pray."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
"For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace as in all the churches of the saints." Here we find Paul talking to the Corinthian brethren in chapter 14 and verse 33 of that book and here he clarifies for us that God does not desire there to be confusion. The things that he has taught us certainly are clear. They are understandable. They are able to be taken in by our minds, calculated and understood clearly so that we might follow His Will.
You might also look in the same book back at 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and if you'll look with me in verse 10 again there Paul pleads with the brethren by the name of Christ, he says, "that they all speak the same thing," and he says, "that there be no division among you but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." There again showing that same concept that God has never desired that there be confusion among His people. He doesn't want there to be division or problems. Rather, what does He want? He wants us to speak the same things. He wants us to have the same mind, the same judgment as the verse says so that we are united and we work together. Now in light of these things, isn't it strange today how divided the religious world is in the name of Christ and how that many religions try to say that the divisive nature is okay with God and it doesn't matter that we are all teaching and preaching different things as long as we are all heading to the same Jesus, they try to claim that a division, the separation is somehow okay.
The Bible shows us quite the opposite. Doesn't it? God has never wanted a division. He has always wanted peace. He wants His people to work together and to speak those same things, having the same mind and the same judgment. The only way that we can do that my friends and brethren, is by doing it God's way. Not my way. Not what I think or the group that I attend with, not the way that the group that you attend with or maybe the way you think or the way that those who are over you tell you that it should be. The way that we can be the same, having the same mind and judgment is only in God and giving Him and His Word the final authority. That's why when we look around the religious world and we see the confusion that we've mentioned and we see that confusion that is there rather than the peace that God says that He wants in relationship to so many doctrinal teachings of God then certainly we can know that God is not pleased.
Now in conjunction to that, today as I've already said, we are going to look at the New Birth. We're going to discuss what does it really take according to God's plan, not what I say or you say or some church or some group or some council. What is it that God says one did in the New Testament to be born again, to follow God and to do those things that God had asked to be added by Him to His church? Not by me to the church or by you to the church. You didn't die for the church. I didn't die for the church. What does God say that it takes for Him to add a man or a woman to the church. What does one have to do to be saved? Oh what an important question. A question that has been begged and pleaded for centuries by those who have wanted to know what truly is it that I must do before my God to be righteous, to be proper according to His Will?
Well our main text today that we'll be looking at is in John chapter 3, and we're going to be looking at the first part of that book in just a moment, that book, chapter 3 and then the first part of chapter 3 that is. But then if you look first of all, you'll be very familiar with this chapter because it is there where probably the most familiar verse ever, ever known to mankind throughout the world is found, in John 3:16 that "God so loved the world that He..." did what? "He gave His only begotten son..." Why? "So that whoever believes won't perish, but will have everlasting life." Showing us that there are two decisions that we can make. To follow God, eternal life. Not follow God and perish. There is an outcome either way and we choose it by the things that we do. I want you to further see that because as you look at the context and you read here how he continues to say that "if you believe and follow God will reward you. If you don't, you will perish." Even in verse 21 of chapter 3 there of John, he goes on to say, "But he who does the truth comes to light that his deeds may be clearly seen that they have been done in God." Notice what he says here. He refers to that truth that we talked about earlier. God says we can know that truth and that truth makes us free. That tells me that if God is a truthful being and He doesn't lie, there is a truth to be known, a singular truth, a truth that is His, not mine, not yours, but what He wants and I can know that truth enough to have freedom. Here again he says, "The one who does the truth." We see that knowing the truth is an active thing. It's something that after we understand what the truth is, we must act on it as we are in the light it says here and that our deeds show forth that truth.
Now the reason I bring these things up is because there's something we have to do for anything in life. There's something we have to do to be saved. The question is will we do it God's way or the way that I say or the way that you say, or the way some group or some church? But they said, "What does God say?" That's the question today. What is the new birth that Jesus speaks about Himself as He was questioned by Nicodemus there in John chapter 3?
Well before we see the question by Nicodemus and we see what Jesus' answer was to that question, I want you to go with me to the book of Colossians briefly and find out why this topic is so important. Obviously, you and I know and are well aware that man sins and that man does things by sinning that separates Him from God. We're doing things contrary to the Will of God. In Colossians chapter 1, verse 13 it talks there about being delivered and how that we can be delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of His dear son, something that can happen he says here, something that has happened. There was a kingdom that we can be put in to get out of the darkness and the sin of the world that we were so pulled down in outside of Christ and how do we do it? Verse 14 says, "Through the blood of Christ." The blood that gives forgiveness of sins. You see, as sinners, we have to meet the blood and the blood of Christ reconciles us to God the Father and takes us out of sin in the world and places us into the kingdom of His dear son." The kingdom.
Now what is it then that it takes in my life as I am striving to become saved especially if the first part of salvation...? What is it that I must do so that God will accept me and acknowledge me as a child and consider me as a part of the kingdom? Well I think even before the church began that is the very concept in the discussion that was taking place here again in John 3 with Nicodemus because Nicodemus here being a godly man comes to Jesus and he said, "Look, there's no way that you could do the things that you do without being from God, without being of God." He showed his faith. He believed. And notice the first thing that Nicodemus was told by Jesus. He was told there in verse 3, "Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." He was telling Nicodemus, who was a Jew, that you must be born again if you want to see the kingdom of God, if you want to see that kingdom that you've been waiting for, that spiritual kingdom. You must be born again. He was confused. He said, "Well, how do I do that? As a Jew, how do I do that? Do I enter my mother's womb again and am an infant again and I grow up in a different way?" "No," Jesus said. But in verse 5, He said, "Most assuredly I say to you unless one is born of the water and of the spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God."
Now think about the things we read. Out of darkness. Into the kingdom. Of God. Here he says, "If you want to be in the kingdom, Nicodemus, you're a Jew, there's something you've got to do. You've got to be born of the water and you've got to be born of the spirit."
Now I want you to go over to Acts chapter 2 with me because in Acts chapter 2 on the day of Pentecost, we find for the first time the great question again resounding after the gospel had been preached of "what must I do to be saved?" In fact, as we look there actually let's look at Acts chapter 2 and verse 38 where Peter begins to give the answer. But backing up in verse 37 they said, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" They were cut to the heart. Peter just told them, he said, "You have murdered the son of God." Then they said, "Well, what must we do to be saved?" The same thing Nicodemus asked, "Do I be born again by entering my mother's womb? How do we be born again? How do we become followers of this Christ that we have just crucified who was the son of God?" Peter said, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for remission of sins and now hear it for you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. When you repent," he says, "when you're baptized, you'll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to be born of..." the what? "the water and the spirit." Doesn't it make sense? Nicodemus was being told to do it to get into the kingdom of God and here again on the day of Pentecost, they were saying, "Look, you must repent. Turn from the old and turn to the new, leaving sin, coming new in Christ and doing as it says here, repenting and being baptized to be forgiven of sins..." and then as it says here, "to receive the Holy Spirit." Born of the water and of the Spirit.
Then notice the result of these actions. In verse 47, it goes on to say that "they were praising God." But why? Because "the Lord was adding to the church daily those that were being saved." To the church He was adding them.
If you go back to Colossians chapter 1, verse 13 we read earlier, "translated out of the kingdom of His dear son." Verse 18 goes on to say down there, "which is the church, His body." The kingdom. The church. To be translated into the body of Christ. That's what I want from my God, from my Jesus. I want to obey Him. I want to do it His way and I want to know that when I've done it, that I've done it in accordance to what He wants, not what man says, not what someone else has told me or a church has confirmed.
Why isn't it enough for us or anyone in the religious world to do simply what God has said?
Another clear verse, I think, that helps us to see this is in Mark chapter 16. In Mark chapter 16, you know the Great Commission was given there in verse 15 to "Go to all the world..." and do what? "preach the gospel to every creature." Preach what? The gospel. That which pertains to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and all the will that is required for one to follow. "Teaching them to observe all things," as Matthew puts it in Matthew 28.
But notice what it says in verse 16. "When you preach the gospel, results will come." What are those results? It says there in verse 16, "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. "But the one who does not believe..." he goes on to say, "will be condemned."
Now if you'll go on over to Matthew chapter 28, verses 18-20, we see the same commission given. But there later, he says that "when they were told to be baptized, it was in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. Being born of the water, and being born of the Spirit."
I think one of the best examples of conversion that we find is again found in Acts. IN Acts chapter 8 where the eunuch was seen to be a sincere man of God. Why? We know that because he sent Philip by the spirit to help him to know things more clearly. And he comes up to the eunuch and the chariot and he stops and he says, "You understand what you're reading?" And the eunuch says, "How can I unless somebody tells me?" He comes into the chariot and he begins to preach even from Isaiah about the prophecy of Christ and he says that "Christ would come and He would be like a lamb put before the sheerer and crucified and as he preached these things, he said, 'I believe.'" He says, "What hinders me to be baptized?" Why did the eunuch ask about baptism if it were not required? Out of all the things repentance and confession that I know that he did, he says, "Here's water." Well what do we see that Philip does? "If you believe with all of your heart you may." What does the eunuch do? He says, "I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ is the son of God." And they both went down in the water and Philip baptized him. Now when they came up, it says that "the spirit took away Philip and the eunuch also came up with the spirit." He had been born again of the water and of the spirit.
My encouragement for us today again is to be born again, to receive the new birth that will cause us to be added by God to His church. But my greater encouragement is that we not be hindered by what man says, but that we always look to God, the author of peace, not confusion, and do things His way so that in the end we might truly receive the reward of eternal life.
(SONG # 3 - "Hold To God's Unchanging Hand!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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Have you done those things required of God to be added to the saved? If not, choose today - that this will be the day of your salvation!