You Must Be Born Again!
I was saved in 1994. That was when I received Jesus Christ as my personal Lord & Savior & was BORN AGAIN.
& back in the 90s and in the 80s, even before I was saved, I remember preachers saying things like: “If you have not been BORN AGAIN, you CANNOT enter into the Kingdom of God!”
I’d hear that from almost every pulpit across America …
… & from every true Christian believer that I would meet in the highways and hedges …
… I’d hear it as I walked through college campuses,
I’d read about it in Gospel tracts that were handed to me …
… it was even in the mouth of TELEVANGELISTS.
IF YOU HAVE NOT BORN AGAIN, YOU CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF GOD!
But I don’t hear PREACHERS using that phrase as much as I once did!
& let me clarify, BEING BORN is the RESULT of TRUE SALVATION.
It’s not how you get saved, it’s what happens to you when you get saved.
It’s the consequence of admitting that you’re a sinner in the hands of a holy & righteous God, and putting your faith on JESUS CHRIST and no other gods!
But emphasis on the NEW BIRTH has been greatly diminished in today’s preaching!
INSTEAD, preachers are crying out with all their hearts that you better turn from your sins & abandon your former sinful lifestyle if you want to be accepted into the Kingdom!
Instead of telling sinners to COME AS YOU ARE and put your faith on Jesus and be BORN AGAIN …
…. crying, weeping false teachers like PAUL WASHER will plead with you in a production of manufactured tears …
… to live a holy and spotless life before God, or they’ll claim that you’re a false convert!
• But there’s 2 possibilities when it comes to preachers like Paul Washer.
(1) He was either once saved, he was born again, and then he fell into great deception and apostasy & started to preach – not a Christian Gospel – but an anti-Christian gospel of works salvation!
But I don’t believe that!
(2) I believe that more likely … he was never saved to begin with, he was never born again! He was never one of us!
& Like everyone, as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. He’s going to face Jesus with all of his fake tears &
And he’s going to say to Jesus:
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then Jesus will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Now, I don’t know the man personally, I can only judge based on the record & testimony of his words.
But his msg is clear: you have to have works in 1 form or another or you’re not really saved!
And he himself will say it’s the Holy Spirit doing the work of repentance unto salvation, because he’s Calvinist in his theology.
That the Holy Spirit enables him to forsake sins and get right with God for salvation!
But that’s still saying you have to produce works to be saved!
And, that my friend, no matter how you word it, is another Gospel that teaches works salvation, instead of faith!
No matter how you want to hide it in obscure language or man-made theology, whether it’s the Holy Spirit or yourself or something else …
… he’s saying that you have to have works, that you have to turn from your sins to be saved!
But the Bible teaches: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Acts 16:30-31: “What Must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved and thy house.”
Ephesians 2:8-9: “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.”
That’s how we’re BORN AGAIN! By Grace through Faith!
And this might not be new information for some of you, but that’s why this topic important today.
I want to revive & encouraged preachers to preach that you have to be BORN AGAIN to enter the kingdom of God!
Because Jesus Himself preached it in the Gospel of John!
& Because there are fake Christians out there … who think they’re saved …
… who think they belong to Jesus …
… who think they’ll enter the Kingdom of God …
… who are out there right now showing off their filthy rags before the whole world …
… deceiving themselves into thinking they are doing some great work for God’s Kingdom …
… but who will inevitably fade as a leaf.
Maybe they grew up in church, but have a dead form of religion …
Maybe they were raised in a Christian home or their Daddy was a pastor!
Some have an outward knowledge of the Scriptures, but deny the power thereof.
The choice for salvation has to be made individually, by each generation of man, by every man, woman, boy or girl …
So I’d like to answer 3 questions today:
(1) What does it mean to be BORN AGAIN?
(2) What must you do to be BORN AGAIN?
(3) Is a closely related topic: Can Christians continue in a sinful lifestyle once they’ve been BORN AGAIN?
2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
So can the “new creature” who has been born of God, continue to live in habitual sin?
Many professing Christians today, who themselves have not been born again, will say that if you’re continuing in sin, if you have not forsaken your old patterns, then you’re not really saved!
That if you’re continuing in fornication & immorality after salvation or that if you’re a drunkard or live worldly, then that’s evidence that you’re not saved!
People who preach such are either extremely confused or where never saved to begin with, because they don’t understand the true Gospel!
& Don’t get me wrong: please forsake your sin & COMMIT yourself to Jesus Christ!
Paul says in Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you place the FLESH in subjection to the SPIRIT and walk worthy of a child of God!
But what about the Christian is BORN AGAIN and understands all this, but continues to live worldly?
& For the answers, let’s turn to the GOSPEL OF JOHN, CHAPTER 3:
1-2: We see first, that Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. So he was among the ruling class, the successful elite.
But he came to Jesus not by the light of day, but in the cover of darkness by night.
And notice that in v. 2 he says, “WE know that that thou art a teacher come from God …”
WE … so Nicodemus was representing a faction of the Pharisees and the Jews …
He wasn’t alone. He came as an ambassador, a representative of a group, who at least acknowledged that Jesus was sent from God.
But look at Jesus’ response in v. 3.
Jesus practically ignores Nicodemus initial discourse & gets right to the heart of the matter!
READ V. 3
Jesus gets right to the point!
Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
READ v. 4
Nicodemus takes Jesus too literally here.
… Which is something Pharisees (both modern day and ancient) are really, very good at doing.
They’ll read the Word or hear the Word, and completely miss the Spirit and the real intent of what’s being said.
Jesus was speaking of a spiritual birth, Nicodemus only saw the literal & the physical.
READ V. 5-6
Now some people mistake the meaning of this.
They claim that being born of water and of the Spirit means that they must be water baptized and baptized by the Spirit to be saved.
But that’s not at all what this passage is saying.
BEING BORN OF WATER is the FIRST BIRTH, the natural birth, the physical birth.
When we are shapen in our mother’s womb, we are covered & LIVING in water.
We are BORN OF WATER.
That’s the natural birth.
But in order to be saved, in order to see the kingdom of God, we must also be BORN OF THE SPIRIT.
We must have a 2nd birth of the Spirit.
The NATURAL MAN cannot inherit the kingdom of God.
The NATURAL MAN forfeited that right when he ate of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil …
… and purchased death for himself and his heirs.
Psalm 51:5: says: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
This is a direct verse confirming the doctrine of original sin.
And so we all are shapen in iniquity, we come out of our mother’s womb contaminated by the sin nature!
But we all bear our own responsibility before God.
Mark 7:21-23 says:
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
Romans 3:23 puts it simply: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
And so the NATURAL MAN is CARNAL in the flesh.
7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
Our natural man cannot abide by the perfect nature of God’s Law, because we’re inherently sinful.
Job 25:4: “How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?”
By the very fact that we are born naturally, and heirs of the sin nature, we are condemned to an eternity in Hell.
“ … we are by nature,” Says Ephesians 2:3, “… children of wrath”.
… and worse, without Jesus, God has prepared a place for us in the lowest depths of the earth …
…. a place where He says the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched …
… where there is neither rest night nor day …
a place where the fearful and the unbelieving and the abominable go …
& all who tell a single lie!
That is our natural condition without Jesus, & the 1st step in understanding salvation.
That is the status of the NATURAL MAN, the man who has been born once OF WATER …
… but has not been BORN AGAIN by the SPIRIT.
2 Corinthians 2:14 says: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
And Nicodemus was still a NATURAL MAN.
His natural mind could not comprehend the things of the Spirit of God.
Jesus tried to explain it to him, but he appealed to reason, logic, & the literal, empirical knowledge of his mind.
In these verses Jesus tells Nicodemus that the NEW BIRTH is accomplished by the work of the Holy Spirit.
The same creative power that hovered over the waters in Genesis during Creation …
… gives birth to the new man who has put his faith on Jesus Christ for salvation.
And that SALVATION is dependent solely upon coming to Christ exactly AS YOU ARE and receiving Him as Lord & Savior!
• That’s another phrase I used to always hear preached from the pulpits: “COME, JUST AS YOU ARE!”
Jesus doesn’t expect us to go and change and become holy & righteous before we can come to meet Him.
You come to Him as you are, put your trust in Him, get saved, get born again …
… and then let the Holy Spirit do His miraculous work of sanctification in you!
In the same Gospel, John Chapter 1:12-13:
12 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:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
The new birth is not natural, it’s supernatural.
The regeneration of our spirit is wrought in God.
Titus 3:5: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
1 PETER 1:23 says that we are born again by the WORD OF GOD: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
That’s why when we preach the Gospel we preach the WORD OF GOD …
… We are BORN AGAIN when we receive the WORD OF GOD.
1 John 5:1 says: “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.”
And so that answers the 1st question: What is being born again?
• But Nicodemus did not yet understand these things.
And Jesus subtly rebuked Nicodemus.
Remember, Nicodemus had come to Jesus by cover of darkness at night.
He was too afraid or too ashamed to come to Jesus out in the open during the day.
During his encounter with Nicodemus, Jesus said, in John 3:19-21:
19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
And so every indication in The Gospel of John, chapter 3, is that Nicodemus was not born again; at least not as recorded in John 3.
• So let’s answer the 2nd question: HOW IS ONE BORN AGAIN?
We’ve already covered the 1st STEP: understanding your natural, sinful condition means that you’re destined for Hell …
… unless you put your faith in Jesus as your personal Savior.
& It really does come down to KNOWING Jesus personally, and understanding what He did for you.
& I’ve heard some preachers recently downplay the idea of a personal relationship with Jesus, but the Bible is clear.
John 17:3: “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”
To know someone takes intimate, personal knowledge of someone.
Salvation is not just intellectual head knowledge of God; it’s not just changing your MIND about GOD.
It’s changing your MIND and YOUR HEART.
It’s turning to God full-heartedly and believing the Gospel.
Romans 10:10 says: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
AND THROUGH THE NEW BIRTH, your old nature passes away and you are now a new creation in Christ!
• So we come to the 3rd question that I mentioned in the beginning.
There is a lot of confusion today about the dominion of sin in the Christian’s natural life.
& This question raises 2 points:
(1) Whether we have to stop sinning to be saved
(2) Whether we stop sinning as Christians once we are saved.
# 1 deals w/ before salvation, # 2 deals w/ after salvation.
First, for Salvation:
It’s very simple: we come to Jesus in our present sinful condition … we come to Him as we are …
& Jesus becomes our SUBSTITUTE & STANDS in our place at the judgment.
And when God looks at us, He doesn’t see us as we are …
He doesn’t see the filthy, sinful, wicked, lying, deceiving, cheating, lustful, hateful, murdering, soul that stands before him!
He sees the righteousness of His own Son Jesus Christ.
This is called SUBSTITUTIONARY ATONEMENT.
In order to satisfy God’s wrath, Jesus takes what WE deserve in our stead. Instead of us …
• But when God looks at the non-believer …
He sees their sin, their wickedness, their immorality, their fornication, their lies, their murder, their deceit, their unbelief …
He sees it all!
He sees them for WHO THEY ARE.
… & because the unbending, unchanging, & perfect LAW OF GOD must be upheld in totality …
& since God is JUST …
… God must condemn them by His own standards to everlasting punishment in Hell.
• But then some say that the evidence of being saved is that you no longer sin, or that you will no longer live a lifestyle of sin.
That you will forsake your habitual, repetitive patterns of sins and turn to Christ!
… & that that’s the evidence of being born again!
Then they are undermining the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ, because they are saying LOOK AT ME!
Instead of LOOK AT CHRIST!
And these people go around calling themselves “fruit inspectors” …
… claiming it is their responsbility to judge the works of believers to determine the verity of their salvation!
But they’re taking a few verses out of context, including:
Matthew 7:16 says: “Ye shall know them by their fruits …”
And they’ll say, the Bible says you’ll know Christians by their fruit! By the works that they do!
But back up 1 verse to VERSE 15: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
So this isn’t talking about judging the works of Christians for salvation, but judging the fruit of prophets to see if they are true.
• When I test someone’s salvation, I’m not looking at their works.
What I’m looking at is their beliefs.
Do they believe that Jesus Christ is their substitutionary atonement for sins?
Have they called on the name of Jesus for salvation?
Do they understand that Jesus is God made flesh, that He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world?
That He was crucified, buried, and rose again?
Are they trusting in their works or by faith alone?
This is how I know if someone has been BORN AGAIN!
I don’t have to examine their works to know! Mother Teresa did great works, but based on her professed beliefs she’s in burning in Hell today.
The Catholic church does good works, but they preach works for salvation!
The Mormons do good works! So do the Freemasons!
But we know these are Satanic in nature!
• The fact is, we continue to struggle w/ sin, even though we’re NEW CREATIONS IN CHRIST.
And if anyone tells you otherwise, they’re lying!
1 John 1:8 says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
But then we have verses like 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.”
1 John 5:18 also says: “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.”
So how do we reconcile this?
People will take these verses and say that if you’re a Christian, you will stop sinning or at least stop living a lifestyle of habitual sin!
Or that if you’re a drunkard or living in fornication, it’s evidence that you are a false convert!
& you’ll hear that from preachers like Paul Washer, that we talked about in the beginning.
Here’s a direct quote from Paul Washer: “… If you profess to have gone through the narrow gate, and yet you live in the broad way … just like all the other people who are carnal and wicked … the Bible wants you to know that you should be terribly, terribly afraid — you know not God.”
Preachers like John MacArthur also join him in saying: “It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it’s the fruit of actions, not intentions. There’s no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile…The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny … Don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy to become a Christian. Salvation for sinners cost God His own Son; it cost God’s Son His life, and it’ll cost you the same thing …”
But how can 1 John 1 say that we are LIARS if we say we don’t sin, and then 2 chapters later in 1 John 3, the Bible says that: “whoever is born of God doth not commit sin …” and “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not …”
DOES THE BIBLE CONTRADICT ITSELF?
Of course not!
You see, our spirit has been BORN AGAIN and no longer sins or desires to sin!
Our spirit has been born of God.
It has been redeemed and regenerated.
It is perfect, unblemished and without sin.
This is the NEW MAN.
But our flesh has not yet been redeemed.
Our flesh continues to sin & is corrupt still & wicked!
This is the OLD MAN.
& PHYSICAL BODIES will not be redeemed until we die!
And that sin dwells within us!
& so the SPIRIT BATTLES AGAINST THE FLESH!
ONLY AFTER WE DIE, only then will our bodies be redeemed also, & THE BATTLE WILL CEASE!
Only then will our unredeemed flesh be BORN AGAIN & we will receive glorified, resurrected bodies that cannot sin!
Only then will there be no more sin!
Until then, the battle will continue! And the war must be waged on!
Galatians 5:17: “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”
Paul explained this in Romans 8:21-23:
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
BUT PAUL WASHER will say that you are a CARNAL CHRISTIAN!
He goes around telling saved Christians that if they’re sinning and worldly, they’re not saved!
And this confuses believers & puts doubt from the devil himself inside of them!
& he bars the way for non-believers to receive the real Gospel!
He compasses sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, he makes him twofold more the child of hell than himself!
Even Paul the apostle struggled with habitual sin and called himself carnal!
Look at ROMANS 7:14-25.
Does this mean that we should ignore sin & continue to sin?
OF COURSE NOT!
It’s called a BATTLE for a reason!
You need to fight to tame the flesh and put it under subjection to the SPIRIT.
But realize it’s a lifelong process.
Paul explains in Ephesians 4:21-32 that we should put off the “old man” and put on the “new man”.
And most of all, we should love one another, as Christians, as exhibit Christ’s love for one another!
The Bible says in 1 John 4:7: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”
We went soul winning this week and it always astounds me how many people say that they don’t have time to hear the Gospel.
We always tell them to think about it, because it’s the most important decision that they can make in this life!
So I invite you, for anyone listening today, if you have not been BORN AGAIN, take that step of faith …
It is the most important thing that you can do in this life!
… Come to Jesus JUST AS YOU ARE, with all your sin & all your uncleanness & call out to Jesus for salvation & BE BORN AGAIN!