Born Again

Text: John 3:3, 7

The Lord Jesus Christ here speaking to a religious man, a religious leader no less, named Nicodemus.  And what the Lord says is one of the most profound theological truths.  He said in order for you to have heavenly vision, you need heavenly eyes that come from a heavenly birth.

It is not that you are not religious enough.  More religion does not change your birth.

It is not that you need to be true to yourself.  True to yourself will have no affect on your birth.

It is not that you need to turn over a new leaf.  You may turn over as many leaves as you like, but it will have no impact on your birth.

Then the Lord Jesus Christ says, Marvel not.  Don’t be surprised that I said this to you.  Nicodemus wonders what born again means and I imagine some of you here wonder that same thing.  Nicodemus asks if it means for his mother to birth him again.  Jesus explains that being born again has nothing to do with repeating the same physical process.

First birth was NATURAL and you need a SPIRITUAL birth

  • Natural in the sense that it was biological; flesh and blood.
  • Natural in your five senses.  Your first birth gave you the ability to experience this world, but not the ability to experience glory with God.
    • Eyes to see around you, but not eyes to see heaven.
    • The natural man receiveth not the things of God.
  • Your affections are natural, not spiritual.
    • So much of this world you are attracted to and drawn to.  The sights, the sounds, the money.  But spiritual things don’t hold that kind of attraction.
    • How much time have you spent in the last week with your Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, in prayer; in reading his word and listening to him?  Compare that to how much time you’ve spent with the things of this world.
    • Your affections and my affections are natural affections, not spiritual.
    • Many of you were invited to church this morning.  I won’t ask for a show of hands, but how many of you prefer to spend your Sunday mornings at home, away from any preaching of the words of God.  Many of you here were invited because your natural desire is to be away from God.
    • Can I confess to you that my natural affections are exactly the same?  I wake up some Sunday mornings and say, Do I have to do this?
  • Your impulses are natural, not spiritual.
    • Let me illustrate.  You never had to be taught how to lie.  That came naturally.  You never had to be taught how to look at things you shouldn’t, that came naturally.  You never had to be taught to say things you shouldn’t, that came naturally.  In your natural state, sin comes natural.  It is a part of who you are.
    • Do you know why children have to be taught to obey?  Because obedience is not natural.
  • The devil has an advantage over God in this world and that is that the devil can use you just the way you are, but God has to change you.
  • I’ve heard people say, “I was born a Christian.”  The Lord Jesus Christ just told a religious leader no one is born a Christian.
  • So you’re saying I need to change my attitude about spiritual things.  No.  I’m saying even if you did, your first birth is still wrong.  Jesus Christ said, ye must be born again.

First birth was SINFUL and you need a HOLY birth

  • Are you a good person?  Better asked do you consider yourself a good person?
    • And if someone stole from you, what would call them? A thief.Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.
    • Have you ever told a lie?
      • Yes.  And if someone told you a lie what would you call that person?  A liar.
      • Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
    • Have you ever stolen something, even very small?
    •  Have you ever used the Lord’s name in vain?
      • What do you call someone who takes God’s name in vain? A blasphemer.
      • Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
    • Have you ever disobeyed your parents?
      • What do you call someone who disobeys their parents?
      • Matthew 15:4
  • The law expressly exposes sin – I had not known sin, but by the law
    • In a very quick a precise way, the Lord spoke words that acted like flood lights on a criminal.  There was immediate exposure.
    • God gave His law like a doctor would order an x-ray.  To show you the problems inside.  An x-ray doesn’t solve anything, it simply shows you the problem.
  • The law also awakens sin – sin, taking occasion by the law
    • Because of sin’s nature, that it has no “white flag” and any appearance of a surrender is only to gain the advantage.  Sin has no ability to surrender.
    • That’s the temptation to touch when you’re told not to.  When children are told don’t touch and they give you the look to see what you’ll do, you’re looking at sin working.
    • sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.
  • Sin had to be exposed because it is so deceptive
    • Law is holy, just, and good.  It isn’t the cop’s fault the criminal’s life is ruined.
    • But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.
    • If you and I could just see how sin is working to destroy your life, destroy others around, destroy your family, and drag you down into a grave, then those decisions made to satisfy the flesh would become bitter as they should.
    • The Lord Jesus Christ ups the ante.  He says it’s not a matter of look but don’t touch, it’s a matter of don’t look.
  • God shows you His standard and we can now see what His judgment will be of you.  
  • Revelation 21:8.
    • Sinners die with sin in them.  Sin never enters heaven.
  • 1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

 First birth is CORRUPTIBLE and you need an INCORRUPTIBLE birth

  • Jesus says I’m not talking about repeating the same process.  Your first birth ends up in a grave.  You were born in Beeville, TX, or Corpus Christi, TX, or Houston, TX or somewhere on this earth you were born.  And that birth ends in a grave.  Your first birth is corrupt.
  • 1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
  • No matter how good you think you are, the end of your life is in a grave.
  • You say, But I’ve turned over a new leaf.  Great, but that doesn’t change the destination of this life.
  • You say, But I had this experience.  Wonderful, but that doesn’t change the destination of this life.

First birth is TEMPORARY LIFE and you need ETERNAL LIFE

  • The average lifespan of an American is 72.  That means it will come to an end.  It does not last.
  • In heaven there are no graveyards because the citizens of heaven never die.
  • You need eternal life.

First birth is an act of MAN and you need to be born of GOD

  • Nicodemus doesn’t need a religious reformation, or to turn over a new leaf, or to promise God he’s going to change his life, or to give his heart to God.  You can change the behavior of your flesh, but you can’t change your nature.  And you can’t change sin’s effect on your body.  And you can’t change the limitations or your fleshly frame.  It’s not in your power to do those things.
  • That kind of life and power is only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

First birth is EARTHLY and you need a HEAVENLY birth

  • You and I don’t need an earthly citizenship.  We need a heavenly citizenship.
  • Astronauts have to take earth with them in order to go up.  We don’t have the ability to go up the way we are.  We need to be born from above.

Conclusion

  • So you say, OK, I understand the difference between my first birth and I understand that I have to be born again.  And being born again isn’t something I can do.  So how is it done?
  • John 1:10-13
  • Jesus Christ says to you this morning your first birth ends in death, death of the flesh and then death of the soul in a fire.  Not because God is mean, but because you are a sinner by choice and by nature.  Jesus Christ offers you this morning an opportunity to trust him to take away your sin and to make you a child of God forever.
  • John 1:10-13
    • No religion could take away sin and change your birth.
    • No good deed could take away your sin and change your birth.
    • The Lord Jesus Christ offers to take away your sin and make you a holy child of God.