Preached at the Fundamentalist Baptist Tabernacle in Los Angeles, CA, on the morning of January 6, 2002.

"THE MIRACLE OF THE NEW BIRTH"

John 3.7

INTRODUCTION:

1. Turn in your Bible to John 3.7. Thatís page 1117 in your Scofield Reference Bible. Jesus said, "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

2. I want to speak to those of you who have "trusted" Christ, only you didnít get saved. You sat under Bible preaching and came to the realization that you needed to be saved, so you prayed and asked Jesus to save you. Only you didnít get saved.

3. As well, I want to speak to you folks who have been convicted of your sins, have truly felt your need of the salvation which only Jesus gives, but you donít know how to get saved.

4. Oh, I know that some decisionist would tell you that you just need to pray this prayer in order to get saved. But I didnít pray at all when I got saved. Dr. Hymers didnít pray when he got saved. The apostle Paul didnít pray when he got saved. The Philippian jailor wasnít instructed by Paul to pray in order to get saved. And praying isnít how a sinner gets saved.

5. A sinner gets saved by coming to Jesus by faith. A sinner gets saved by trusting Christ. A sinner gets saved by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. But how do you do that? The Bible does not explain that. You are taught in Godís Word that justification is by faith in Christ, but nowhere are you taught in the Bible how to lay hold of Jesus by faith.

6. So, for you who have prayed, and for you who have come forward in some Church, and for you who have done this or that or the other thing without getting truly saved, and also for those of you who are lost and have never gone through any motions such as praying or going forward, because you know that those things donít necessarily involve saving faith . . . to you this sermon is directed.

7. Hereís what you need. You donít need to pray, you need to be born again. You donít need instructions on how to come to Jesus, you need to be born again. You donít need an answer to your question of "Pastor, how do I come to Jesus?" You need to be born again.

8. How do I know you need to be born again? How do I know you need the birth that comes after physical birth, the birth which would make you born of the Spirit? I know that you need to be born again because Jesus said, 0 "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again."

9. My friend, the reason you are not saved is because you have not experienced the miracle of the new birth. The reason you ask me how to come to Jesus instead of just coming to Jesus is because you have not yet experienced the miracle of the new birth. The reason you prayed to receive Jesus and did not get saved is because you did not experience the miracle of the new birth.

10. The so-called "Gospel" ministry of modern day so-called "Christianity" has for so long been primarily a manipulation game, whereby everyone who goes forward supposedly gets saved, and everyone who prays for salvation supposedly gets converted, that people have effectively forgotten that the new birth is a miracle!

11. It takes a miracle from God for a person to be born again. And unless a miracle from God occurs no sinner is going to get born again, no matter what you do. After all, John 1.13 does declare "Which were born (meaning born again), not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Amen?

12. These things said, I want to call to your attention to three things about this miracle of the new birth, without which no one can possibly get saved and be prepared for heaven.

1A. First, THE MIRACLE OF THE NEW BIRTH IS SURPRISING

1B. Could anyone have been more surprised than Nicodemus on that night so long ago? Here is a seasoned old Bible teacher whose curiosity has been aroused by this unconventional newcomer on the scene named Jesus. So he decides to go visit him one night after work. But after he pays Jesus a few compliments the conversation takes a surprising turn.

2B. He paid this young man from Nazareth a few compliments, and he expected him to be flattered, to be a bit awed by him (after all, he was the master of Israel). But instead of being flattered, instead of being awed by Nicodemus, the Lord Jesus Christ rocks him with a series of spiritual broadsides in the form of some authoritative pronouncements.

3B. To paraphrase: "Unless a man is born again he will not see the kingdom. Unless a man is born of water and of the Spirit he will not enter the kingdom. And donít be surprised, you must be born again." My, how this self righteous old spiritual fraud named Nicodemus was shocked, was amazed. and he was surprised that he needed to be born again.

4B. But you shouldnít be as surprised as Nicodemus was. After all, youíre not as good a man as he was. He was a meticulous keeper of the Law. Are you? He had never violated the Sabbath, but you have missed church services without number. And using what lame excuse to justify yourself?

5B. Another thing: Nicodemus was a man who was hoodwinked. He was genuinely fooled into thinking that he was right with God, thinking he was ready to enter in. So, he had good reason to be surprised when the Lord Jesus told him he needed to be born again.

6B. What about you? You sit in church week after week, as well you should. But instead of really listening to the preaching, some of you are just biding your time until you get out of college so you can get a job to be on your own. Youíre just waiting until the day when you wonít ever have to go to church again with your parents. But even for you, though you may very well die in your sins and go to Hell, the miracle of the new birth will make for some interesting surprises for you.

7B. Hereís how the miracle of the new birth may surprise you, in two different ways:

1C. First, there will come a day when someone who you honestly think is saved will show himself or herself to be undeniably lost. Not just some Church member who flakes out. Iím talking about someone you are convinced is born again. "Pastor Waldrip, I canít be fooled by anyone anymore." Oh, Yeah? Paul was fooled by Demas and the other Apostles were fooled by Judas Iscariot. So donít say you wonít ever be surprised by someone falling away.

2C. Then, there will also come a day when someone you knew would never become a Christian . . . gets born again, miraculously! What a wonderful shock! What a delightful surprise! And maybe youíll be surprised because the reason you never really listened to the sermons, the reason you never really took Christianity seriously, was because he didnít, and you wanted to be like him. But then you find out that he has been miraculously born again. You never would have thought it. What a surprise. Yes, the miracle of the new birth is surprising.

3C. Could there be yet a third surprise associated with the miracle of the new birth? Yes. It could be that you who are so sure that you will be born again, after youíve committed the sins you anticipate committing someday, will not get born again. You will in Hell be surprised by the fact that you never got saved.

4C. Or, so much better, it could be that you who cannot imagine yourselves a Christian will be surprised by the miracle of the new birth happening to you. What a delightful surprise that would be, should it happen to you. But, since most people do not get saved, itís not likely. But it might happen. And I do want you to be born again.

2A. Second, THE MIRACLE OF THE NEW BIRTH IS SAVING

1B. The word "save" is frequently used by people who never stop to think what the word means. Salvation and getting saved refers to being delivered from danger, to being rescued from destruction, to being preserved from harm.

2B. In John 3.14 a parallel is drawn between being born again and some serpents in the wilderness. Let me explain. Back in the book of Numbers, chapter 21, we read of the children of Israel speaking against God and against Moses. God responded to their sin by sending fiery serpents into their midst to bite them. The bites from the snakes were lethal. But God provided the remedy of a bronze serpent for the children of Israel to deliver them from certain death by poisoning. Important for you to understand is that being born again is much like the deliverance those Israelites received from certain death. Doom was certain. Personal destruction was imminent. But they were miraculously saved. Note that they were miraculously saved. Nothing but a miracle would have done them any good. Short of a miracle they would have died.

3B. And does not the new birth resemble that deliverance in Mosesí day? Oh, I know that the people were poisoned by venomous snakes, but have you not been poisoned by the venom of sin that was introduced to the human blood stream in the Garden of Eden by the serpent? And I know that the Israelites were dying of snake venom, but are you not already dead from sin venom? Does not the Bible declare that you are dead in trespasses and sins? So, as the remedy in Mosesí day rescued the afflicted ones from physically dying, the miracle of the new birth rescues the sinful ones from spiritual death.

4B. This is why you need to be born again. You see, you are dead where you sit. There is no life in you. Look at you. You have no love for God. You harbor secret sins. You love the things of this world; the nasty movies, the silly games, the wicked activities, the materialistic lifestyle, the corrupt values. "Whatís wrong with what I do?" Whatís wrong with it? You ask whatís wrong with it? You were created to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. But you love only yourself. And because of that the wrath of God hangs over you.

5B. Godís judgment is about to fall on you. His pent up rage and fury increases in intensity with each passing moment. God has commanded men everywhere to repent, but you have not turned from your sins, and you will not turn from your sins. So, you are in the place of great danger and you sit where you are in need of rescue, in need of deliverance, in need of salvation. You need to be born again. But that requires a miracle, the miracle of the new birth.

3A. Finally, THE MIRACLE OF THE NEW BIRTH IS SOVEREIGN

1B. Sovereignty has to do with Godís absolute, independent right of disposing of His creatures according to His purpose. Sovereignty is unconstrained as God acts according to His good pleasure. And His sovereignty is without obligation because God has independent rights toward every one of His creatures. He can do what He pleases.

2B. Now, the implication of these rights is that God may bestow or withhold salvation without prejudice to any of His attributes. If God is bound by anything He is only bound by those covenants and promises that He has sovereignly chosen to make. Therefore, Godís sovereignty may be exercised without in any way compromising His justice, His mercy, His majesty, or His truth, in saving or in not saving anyone He chooses.

3B. But what does this have to do with the miracle of the new birth? The new birth is sovereign. Consider:

1C. If the new birth is somewhat like the physical birth, and it must be or Jesus would not have told Nicodemus he needed to be born again, let me ask you a question. What did you have to do with being born the first time? Nothing? Ah, then what do you think you have to do with being born . . . again?

2C. Look at John 3.8: "The wind bloweth where it listeth . . . so is every one that is born of the Spirit." What control do you have over the blowing of the wind? None whatsoever? And what control do you have over being born of the Spirit? None whatsoever.

4B. Folks, Nicodemus was shocked and horrified to find out that he needed to be born again, because being born again was beyond his control. And being born again is something thatís also entirely beyond your ability to control or influence. In a word, itís sovereign.

5B. The miracle of the new birth. Arenít all miracles sovereign? Isnít it entirely up to God whether or not He will work a miracle? Can anyone make God work a miracle? No. So is the miracle of the new birth.

CONCLUSION:

1. Jesus said, "Ye must be born again." And you surely must be born again.

2. Without the new birth your sins will remain unforgiven, your soul will remain damned, your destiny will remain the lake of fire, and your enemy will still be God, Who is a consuming fire.

3. However, if you are born again you will become a child of God, your sins will be cleansed in the blood of Jesus Christ, and you will be born by the Spirit of God.

4. But wait! The new birth is a miracle, and no one makes God perform miracles. It takes a miracle to be born again, and no one can coerce God into working a miracle.

5. So, unless and until God works a miracle for you, unless and until God works a miracle on you, you can pray as many sinnerís prayers as you want, you can place your faith in Jesus as sincerely as you want to, but it will result in the same believing in vain Paul talked about in First Corinthians 15.2.

6. So, there you sit, a sinner condemned in the sight of God and in desperate need of something only God can provide . . . a miracle, a miracle called the new birth.

7. What is there to do? There is only one thing to do. God cannot be coerced into performing this miracle. God cannot be bribed into performing this miracle. But God can be begged to perform this miracle. He can be prayed to and humbly asked to perform this miracle. And you can place yourself where this miracle is most frequently performed, by coming to Church every time the doors are open.

8. So, come back to Church this evening. And come to Church for every service. Perhaps someday, under the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in this Church you will come to Jesus and experience the miracle of the new birth.

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