THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 12-26-10
LESSON TITLE: “BEHOLD ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW: A NEW BIRTH”
Happy Holidays and good morning! Can you believe that we are only a few days away from a new Year? Well, we are glad to have you with us this morning. And let me say thanks for joining us in this last program of 2010!
Won’t you consider how blessed we are this morning? We have assembled together before the very throne of God. Furthermore, let me remind us again this day of the privilege we will have together to Praise our God in song, through prayer, as well as in the study of His Word. How blessed we are to be Children of the King!
So, as we begin our offering to God on this first day of the week, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer!
Let’s join right in our song of praise this morning. Won’t you join in our first hymn of the day, its name, “Is Thy Heart Right with God?”
(SONG # 1)
As I said earlier, it is hard to believe that 2011 is only a few days away. I do hope you had a great holiday season. I so enjoy the many opportunities we all have during the holidays to be with family and friends. Therefore, I hope we have all made the most of the holidays in a secular sense and spent the time we could with those that we love.
However, let me also remind us all of the great privilege we have to celebrate our Lord and Savior ever first day of the week throughout the entire year! Not just during some man made holiday started in the 300’s AD! Certainly our God is worth more than a once in a year remembrance. Furthermore, I would always say that God’s plan and pattern are better than man’s!
This morning, I would like us to take a few minutes to consider these words of Jesus. In Matthew 19:30, Jesus said, “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Consider this thought for a moment. How many of us like to be seen of others? How many of us like to be on top or to sit in the best place? The fact is, a true child of God is not interested in being first or in being on top, he/she is simply interested in putting God and others first.
To understand this idea even better, we will consider our third passage of the morning. In Philippians 2:8 we read, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Here we read that Jesus humbled Himself! But how far was He willing to go to show His humility? Even to death. We all know that Jesus left His home in heaven to come to the earth as a mere man. Furthermore, He lived, suffered and even endured temptation as He was on this earth. Then finally, He was willing to even go to the cross and bear the ultimate pain and anguish - so that you and I could have forgiveness of sins and be saved. Now that’s true humility!
So I might ask you to consider at this time, just what type of humility you demonstrate in your daily life? Are you willing to humble yourself to the extent that Christ did? Are you willing to give of yourself fully, to God and others? So how about it, will you be first and thus last, or will you choose to be last and thus first?
As far as our topic of the day, this morning we will conclude our series entitled, “Behold All Things Have Become New.” Our specific lesson of the day will focus on the, “A New Birth.” So please stay with us and I will be leading us in this study after our next song together.
Now it’s time to return to our songs of praise. So won’t you join in our second song of the morning, the name of the hymn, “Jesus Calls Us?”
(BREAK FOR SONG # 2)
By: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us now as we go to God’s Word.
In our discussion, we will go now to John chapter 3. Here we learn of a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Nicodemus was one of the rulers of the Jews. In fact, he seemed to be one who was a fairly high ranking Jew in the system of Judaism. It’s also interesting to note that in this text Jesus speaks with him, that Jesus Himself is also a Jew, and is adhering to the laws of Judaism. So here we find an interesting discussion between a Pharisee who is a Jewish leader and Jesus who now is a man who had now been speaking about the fact that He is about to replace Judaism with a better, greater and higher law and covenant. In fact, that is exactly the interest that Nicodemus and others seemed to have at Him at times. Not only the great power and the miracles that confirmed what He would say, but the fact that new things were coming, that the Messiah had come and that the great promise of God was now being fulfilled in the Son Jesus Christ.
Within that discussion there, we find an interesting thing said by Jesus in response to the question asked by Nicodemus, a very respectful question in the fact that he calls Him “Rabbi” or “Teacher”. But then he says, “You are a teacher from God. (Why?) Because there is no way you could do the things that you do unless you be from God. But then, there in verse 3, Jesus said, “Most assuredly I say to you, ‘Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”
Today, we want to talk about the New Birth. The New Birth is an idea that we find really throughout the religious world and throughout denominationalism it seems to vary somewhat at some people claim the New Birth is. But as we go here to the text, what is it saying that one is to be born again, that is to have a re-birth or a new birth? Well that’s the question Nicodemus was asking. We know that Jesus when He came preaching the gospel, even throughout the great Sermon on the Mount and throughout all of these gospel accounts that we have for us, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that He has established well now those things that are about to be imparted and really accomplished through His death and the blood that would be shed.
In fact, it is this same text that is very familiar to us, John 3:16, stating that, “God so loved the world that He gave His (what?) Only Begotten Son.” What? How did He do that? He allowed Him to die on the cross to shed His blood for you and me. So Jesus is talking about things that He is about to enact in this new covenant, this new kingdom that is about to be established there as we know in Acts chapter 2 on the Day of Pentecost.
Now what is it that he says? Well Nicodemus immediately in verse 4 says, “How can a man who is an adult enter back into the womb of the mother and be born again? Is that possible?” Jesus said, “You are misunderstanding, Nicodemus.” Here is the point. Verse 5, “Most assuredly I say to you unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” What was the problem in the mind of Nicodemus? What was the confusion of the Jews in relationship to these things? I believe the next verse goes on to help him with that.
Verse 6 says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.”
When we back all the way up even to the beginning, God created man with a physical form, that is flesh as well as a spiritual form. The book of 1 Corinthians 15 talks about a man of God on the one hand. On the other hand, a man of the earth or flesh. The fact is that that man of God, the spiritual, is God’s part and the flesh is made of the earth and some day as we well know, after death, will return to dust. All of that having been said, what is he trying to tell Nicodemus? Well Judaism had become a law based on the flesh. It was a law that was entrenched in, “If I follow the Ten Commandments, God owes me salvation. I am owed by God those things that I have got coming because I have done my part and now God has to do His part.” God was trying to re-establish this concept of how a man’s heart must be more involved about how more love and more interest, a response to the love that God had and that I would do it because I love Him, not because I want something or because I have been forced to. What good is it if we force our children to do everything that they do and nothing they do is out of love, and at the end of the day they don’t love us? Well, the fact is it would be no greater for God. So it says, “It is not about the flesh Nicodemus. It is not about you being the leader of the Jews. It’s not about the old Jewish Law. It’s not about the old Jewish worship. It’s not about the temple. It’s not about the arc of the covenant. It’s not about any of those things. It is about the spiritual.
Now how did He really accomplish that? Well prophetically we find throughout the Old Testament, but even in the New Testament, for instance the gospel of Luke chapter 24, Jesus begins to talk to the disciples, the apostles specifically and tell them to wait in Jerusalem for the promise. Of what? The power, the Holy Spirit! We can actually turn over in the book of Acts, chapter 1, and we see the same promise reiterated in chapter 1, verse 8. Then in chapter 2 when they were assembled on the Day of Pentecost, it says that, “The Holy Spirit came in and they were as cloven tongues of fire over the apostles and they spoke in tongues,” languages that individuals could hear in their own mother tongue. We see the power for the spirit for the first time in that measure. In fact, after that, we see the apostles having a full measure of doing all wondrous gifts like Jesus had including the concepts of even raising the dead and healing the sick and making the lame walk and those deaf to hear. They did all manners of wonder to confirm the precious Word of God.
But do you know what happened on the Day of Pentecost when that power came? The Spirit was there. “Unless a man is born of the water and the Spirit…”
And do you know what one of the promises is of one who obeys Jesus? Look at verse 38. After they were pricked in their hearts and they said, “What must we do?” Peter says in verse 38, “Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Born of the Spirit!
How can I be born of the Spirit? Peter said, “Repent and be baptized.” How can I come into that relationship with the Spirit? Repentance and baptism! Is it not that act that again that allows me to be added by God to His kingdom? Verse 47 says, “Those that were being saved were added to the church.” Verse 41 says, Three thousand that day were baptized and thus were added to the numbers of the disciples.” So what were they doing? Repenting! What were they receiving? Remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Then we go over and find in other places the same concept of Christians who have that seal or promise of the Holy Spirit, much different wording than anything we find in the Old Testament for all believers because if you’ll remember under the Old Law, they were led by the leaders of the Fathers and we don’t learn about ladies or women having really the gifts of God or such and we don’t read a lot about maybe your average children or sons or even sometimes the descendants of a man. Sometimes it was only through the patriarch that God worked. Well here in Ephesians chapter 1, the Bible says that, “We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit and that the Holy Spirit is our guarantee.” So you see again that need that we have to believe that the Spirit is a part of what we receive under the New Covenant which was not available until the blood of Jesus Christ was shed. And so what was Jesus telling Nicodemus? You must be born again! You must die to the old, and you must rise to the new. You must put away the past and you must look to the future. Why? “Because I will die,” Jesus was saying, “I will shed My blood, enact a New Covenant and in so doing, you then will have the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.”
Now we know that the Spirit given in Acts chapter 2 must have been different from even the miraculous element. That means that everyone who was baptized, who repented and was baptized after confessing belief was given the Holy Spirit because later in chapter 8 we learn that it required the laying on of hands by the apostles before other disciples could actually do wondrous, miraculous gifts, in other words like healing and such. And so the gift of the Holy Spirit has been something that has been the promise of God through His Son from the beginning. No longer of looking to the law or the letter of the law, but looking to the Son, Jesus, knowing that although God wants me to obey what the Bible says, it is only by His love, mercy and grace that I can be saved. I cannot save myself by the flesh or the deeds of the flesh. I am not justified by my works although I am needing to do works and works are essential for one who loves God. I am not justified by them, as it says there in Ephesians 2 and verses 8-10, but I must be one who understands my part of faith and God’s response to the saving grace that he has offered.
The other element that we find there is not only born of the Spirit, but the water. They are so closely connected because as we see the element that the Spirit would be given that He would come, that would be given to all believers who obeyed; it is the element of the water that was a part of the same plan to give one the Spirit. In fact, we’ve already mentioned in Acts 2:38 the need of baptism and it was because of repentance and baptism that one received remission of sins and secondly, the gift of the Holy Spirit. But notice some other things about that act. We find for instance over in the book of Peter if you will look there in 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 21, after mentioning Noah, the Bible says, “There is an anti-type which now saves us, baptism.”
Then it goes on interestingly enough to say, “Not the removal of the fifth of the flesh.” I am not washing my body. What am I doing? I am washing my Spirit. I am cleansing myself as a new creation.
Still not convinced? Look over to Romans chapter 6. It is there that we have this picturesque idea of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and it actually says, “That as many of you as were baptized into Christ,” have done what? “… Have been baptized into His death,” (Verse 3). Look at verse 4. “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father even so we should walk in (what?) Newness of life for if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, so shall we also be united together in the likeness of His resurrection that knowing this that our old man was crucified, (our old man), and (what?) the body of sin was done away with.”
What moment is it that I put off the old man, that I put off those old deeds and I put on a new man? It says, ”Baptism,” when I in a figurative way die in that watery grave and rise again as a new creation having been washed of the filth of the world to put on what? The Spirit of God!
There we even learn in Colossians chapter 3 for instance the need there to put on the new man in verse 10, but in putting on the new man guess what verse 9 says. “We have put off the old man.” We put away all those old deeds and those things that would have kept us from God and we’ve put away the concept that somehow I can go to a law and somehow be justified by that law because of myself or my own deeds or my own works or the works of someone else or of the fathers. It says to me now, “I am responsible! You are responsible! We each will stand before the judgment seat of Christ ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:10) and we will answer for ourselves for what we have done in the body whether it be good or whether it be bad.
Then after we think of the thought again of Jesus saying there that we “must be born again of the water and the Spirit.” Let’s go back to our main text of this whole series, the theme of this series, if you will. Do you remember what we read there in 2 Corinthians chapter 5? Do you remember what was said there in relationship to verse 17? “Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.” A new creation! A new creature! How is that? “Old things have passed away and behold all things have become new.” Did you hear that? All things have become new! How? When? When I learned of my God and believe and am willing to make the great confession and repent and be baptized, at that moment I cleansed myself and I have been born again in and through the water and the obedience that I have had to do what God says that He might cleanse me through His blood and that He might add me to the church and then that I, having put away the old man, have died to transgressions (verse 19 of that text says) that I might reconcile myself through Jesus Christ to the Father in Heaven. So put off the what? The old man and his deeds! How? Becoming a new man, a new creation having those things that have passed away, being left and (inaudible), but yet taking on those things that are new in Jesus Christ knowing thus that we are born of the water and through the water and in the Spirit.
Brethren, I hope that everyone this day will think about these things that are so important. But not just our brethren as we teach others and live that life, but also those who have not yet obeyed the command given by Jesus for those who would believe after His death. The fact is one must be born again! One must die to the old man! One must put away the things of the world and flesh knowing that it will pass! In order to do that, we must be born of the water, baptism unto eternal life and forgiveness, but also that baptism sealing the gift of the Spirit and the guarantee of the Holy Spirit.
What better way to start a new year than to be baptized after doing those things required unto salvation proving your faith, knowing that God will add you to His church and as a part of that church some day will come back to take His kingdom back and give it to the Father?
(SONG # 3 - “It Is Well With My Soul!”)
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Have you been born again as God ascribes? If not, choose today to get your life right with God and to truly give yourself to Him by being born of the water and the spirit!