By Evangelist Paul J. Levin
John Wesley was asked why he preached so often on, “Ye must be born again.” He answered, “Because ye must be born again.” Have YOU been born again? Without it, you have no hope of escaping the terrors of hell or enjoying the glories of heaven. The Lord Jesus said, “Ye must be born again,” (John 3:7).
I. WHAT THE NEW BIRTH IS NOT
1. It is not religion. Nicodemus was a Pharisee, a very strict religionist. He celebrated the Passover, paid tithes, said prayers, brought sacrifices and tried to keep the Law. To HIM the Lord Jesus said, “Ye must be born again.” Lawkeeping, joining church, being baptized or living up to a religious creed will not save you. There will be many in hell who did all of these things. Will you? Ye MUST be born again.
2. It is not morality. You may try to keep the golden rule, pay your bills, be a good neighbor, keep out of jail, and live a clean moral life, but that won’t save you. It is not recorded that our Lord said, “Ye must be born again,” to cowardly, vacillating Pilate, or to two-faced, hypocritical Judas. Why? Because you would say, “I know miserable hypocrites like Judas, and men like Pilate need to be born again, but I’m not like them. I wouldn’t betray Christ with a kiss after professing to be His friend. I wouldn’t order Jesus to be beaten and then turn Him over to a howling blood-thirsty mob to be crucified. Gangsters, thugs, adulterers, whoremongers, liars, drunkards and gamblers need to be born again, but not I. I’m all right.” My friend, do you realize that God’s Son spoke these words on the new birth to a man who was doing his best to gain heaven? Without a doubt, he was neither a crook, drunkard, nor
gambler. He was a true husband, a good neighbor, a man of clean morals, and religious. If he needed to be born again, so do you. How do you expect to make it to heaven without being born again if Nicodemus couldn’t? 3. It is not reformation. Even if you would quit all your meanness, that would not be the new birth. Your trouble is not on the outside, but on the inside. You don’t need exterior decoration, but interior regeneration. Satan wants you to rest in a false peace. We warn you in Jesus’ name, don’t be satisfied unless you have been born again.
II. WHAT THE NEW BIRTH IS
1. It is a mystery you cannot explain, but a reality no man can explain away. “The wind bloweth where it listeth (pleaseth), and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit,” (John 3:8). Just as Nicodemus could not understand or explain the wind, so no man can understand or explain the new birth.
But the wind is a reality no man can explain away. Only a fool would say, “I don’t believe in the wind because I have never seen it and I can’t understand it.”
See the wind move the big limbs of an oak. Watch the wind tear a house to splinters. You cannot deny the reality of wind! You cannot see the Holy Spirit. You cannot explain Him. But see His mighty power make the harlot pure, the liar honest, the drunkard sober, the blasphemer pray, and then try to deny the reality of it.
2. It is the work of God by which a poor, lost, guilty, hell- deserving sinner who receives the Lord Jesus receives a new nature, becomes a child of God and begins a new life. It is a second birth, a
Physical life begins by birth. Spiritual life begins the same way-not by joining church and becoming religious. You cannot JOIN the family of God, you must be BORN into it. Someone has said, “You can’t make a Christian out of anybody.” True, Christians are not made, they are born.
A birth is the coming into being of a new life which has the nature of its parents. When you were born the first time, you were made a partaker of the old nature, the sinful nature we all received from Adam. When you are born again, you become a partaker of the divine nature (II Peter 1:4). Is this true of you? DO YOU have the divine nature?
No matter what kind of a religious profession you have made, no matter how good a person you may be morally, unless you have been made the partaker of the divine nature, you are not saved. God gives you this new nature the moment you receive His Son. It is instantaneous. You can no more be born again by degrees than you can shoot a firecracker by degrees.
When you are born again, you begin living a new life. That is what happened when you were born the first time; you began living a life you had never lived before.
Some think they are going to heaven just because they went forward in a meeting. Be sure you are born again. There may be a more spectacular change in the life of one who is a drunken, railing blasphemer, but even in you who have not been down deep in sin, there is bound to be a change when you are born again. There will be a new attitude towards the Lord Jesus Christ, His Word, and His people.
Are you SURE you have been born again? You may not know the exact day or hour you trusted Christ, but you should be able to say, “I know NOW I am born again.” If you are not certain about this most solemn matter, I beg of you to tell the Lord Jesus that you receive Him now. Then read John 3:36 and believe it. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.”
III. WHY YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
1. Because the Lord Jesus Christ said so. That ought to settle it.
2. Because you have a sinful nature. The nature we all receive from Adam is fallen, corrupt and totally depraved. God says the heart of man is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. With this old nature you could not enjoy yourself in heaven. If you can’t find any pleasure in a prayer meeting
now, how can you expect to enjoy heaven hereafter? Heaven is a holy place. When you are born again, God gives you a holy nature that you might enjoy yourself in heaven, a holy place.
3. Because you cannot save yourself. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Eph. 2:8, 9). “Not by works
of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,” (Titus 3:5). Now don’t skip lightly over these two quotations from God’s Holy Word. Read them again and again until the truth grips you. You cannot save yourself-you MUST be born again.
IV. HOW TO BE BORN AGAIN
“He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” (John 1:11-13).
1. It is not of blood. You are not a Christian just because your parents may be. You do not inherit salvation from your parents. Even though your folks may be saved, if you have not been born again, you are lost.
2. Nor of the will of the flesh. It is not by your own efforts and will power. You will fail. So why not stop trying? Instead of trying, trust, receive, depend upon the One who died and rose again.
If I’d ask some of you if you were a child of God, you would say, “I don’t know for sure, but I’m trying to be, in my poor, weak way.” Now suppose you ask Johnny Jones if he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jones and he’d answer, “I’m not certain, but I’m trying to be, in my poor, weak way.” How silly. He is not their son because he tries to be, but because he was born into their home. If you are a child of God, it is not because you are trying to be, but because you have been born into His family.
3. Nor of the will of man. It is not brought about by any of man’s religious creeds, systems, or ceremonies. No man or organization can do anything to you that will make you a child of God. Join what you will, go through ceremony after ceremony, memorize creeds, and try to keep the rules and
regulations of man-made systems, but it will not save you.
I heard a man testify, “I have been the president of the men’s Bible class in our church for the past two years, but I didn’t get saved until just two months ago.” For twenty-two months the president of the men’s Bible class, a member of the church, believing in God and the Bible, but lost, because he
had never been born again.
4. But of God. The Lord Jesus said you must be born “of the SPIRIT.” It is God’s work, not yours. It is a miracle. Only God can perform it. If God has not done a work in your life, you are not born again. Your part is to believe God’s record about you, that you are lost and in need of Christ, and receive Him as your Lord and personal Saviour. He died at Calvary, satisfying the righteousness and justice of God, that He might take your sins and punishment upon Himself. He arose! and is seated today as God’s Man at the right hand of the Majesty on high (see Heb. 1:3), and He is offered to you as God’s salvation. When you receive HIM, you will be saved, for Paul says we are “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” (Gal.3:26).
You do not receive Christ by taking communion. You receive Christ by faith. Just tell Him that you receive Him as your personal Saviour.
A personal friend of mine, a preacher of the Gospel, told me that he was a Sunday School superintendent before he was saved. A lady told me she was a church member 38 years before she was saved. Before it is eternally too late, I beg of you again for your sake, your family’s sake, for Jesus’ sake, do not trifle with this thing. Bow at the feet of the risen Lord and tell Him you receive Him now. “He that hath the SON hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life,” (I John 5:12).
Just bow your head and say: Lord, I am a guilty, lost helpless sinner. I believe You suffered on the cross for my sins and died in my place to pay the penalty for my sins, and that You rose again. I call on You to forgive my sins and give me eternal life.
Now read Romans 10:13: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Did you call upon Him? Then He says you are saved!
See John 6:47: “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.” Did you believe on Him-that is, did you receive Him and trust Him for salvation? Then He says you have eternal life!
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