Digging up Bones- The truth of Regeneration

Overcoming Spiritual Depression   •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Digging up Bones
Text: 2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
* I want you to underline something else in verse 17 this morning- underline the phrase “Old things are passed away.” * As I was preparing this sermon earlier this week, I was considering the phrase “old things are passed away,” and a song from 1986, by Randy Travis came to mind.
* This song peaked at number one in both the United States and Canada.
* Ironically, the title of the album that this song was on was called “Storms of Life.”
* This words of this song paint a picture of a man, wallowing, in self-pity, in depressed state of mind looking at pictures and memories of a past relationship.
* I thought of how so many Christians waste their time looking back their past relationship with the old man that they were before they came to Christ.
* There are many Christians living in the same depressed, defeated frame of mind, as the man pictured in Randy Travis’s song “Diggin up Bones.”
* One of the tricks the Devil uses to make us into miserable, spiritually depressed Christians is to keep reminding us of our past.
*Satan keeps reminding us of the past- Past sins, past failures, past marriages, and so on. The Devil will bring up images and memories of past sins and will hound you with your past until you become so enamored with the past that you are no longer living in the present.
* You will be going along in your Christian life just fine, with no worries, and then, seemingly, out of nowhere, the Devil will remind you of some past sin. The Devil will keep reminding you over and over about this thing from the past until he has you convinced that you can’t get past this thing.
* At this point you become stuck in the Christian life, and you can’t go forward and grow as a Christian. The Devil has caused you to stall out.
* There are also those Christians who are pulled in the opposite direction by the Devil as well. Satan has made them so paranoid and afraid of the future, they are unable to function in the present.
* If the devil can deceive you into living in the past, or being constantly focused on the future, He will effectively defeat you and cause you to become a casualty of this spiritual warfare that we are engaged in.
* If you are living focused on the past, or the future either one, you are not living in reality. The past no longer exists and therefore is no longer reality. The future has never existed, and is therefore not reality. The only reality is in the present, ant that is where God intends for His people to live- in reality.
* If you are living either in the past, or the future, you are living in a dream world that the Devil has helped you to conjure up in your own mind.
* We are in a series of sermons about the problem of Spiritual depression. I submit to you this morning that one of the sources of Spiritual Depression is failing to realize that God does not want us live in the past, or the future, but in this present reality. * This morning, I will attempt introduce you to the Great Bible Doctrine of “Regeneration.” I am convinced, that If we would fully understand the truth of the great Bible doctrine of Regeneration, we would be strengthened against the temptation to live defeated in the past, or in fear of the future. The truth of regeneration will create in us faith that will shield us from the fiery darts of doubts and fear that the Devil will throw at us.
* The Devil will come to you and whisper in your ear “you are not like those other Christians. You can’t live the Christian life, there is something flawed with you. You are defective.
* The Devil want’s to deceive you into thinking that you are still the same person that you were before you believed this Gospel.
* Like the man grieving the past and looking through photographs of on memories, the Devil want’ you to believe that you are still in a relationship with the old man that you were before you got saved.
* The Bible teaches that when you came to Christ that old man our woman that you were in Adam was crucified with Christ! The old man is dead! You are not tied to the past by your memories anymore! You have been set free from that relationship this morning!
* When you fully stand in the truth of the doctrine of regeneration, you will put the devil to flight and overcome his attempt to take you down!
* God did not simply remodel you when you believed in Jesus; you didn’t just get an overhaul!
* Regeneration is not the improvement of the old nature that you were born with, but regeneration is the receiving of a brand new nature, a nature that is spiritually alive, not spiritually dead like the one that you we were born with. * Like the words in our text say this morning, God made you a new creation!
* If you find yourself in a depressed or discouraged state this morning, take the great Bible truth of regeneration this morning to yourself and apply its truth in faith.
* If you will trust this truth from the Bible this morning, you will defeat the Devil and begin once again to move forward and grow as a healthy Christian should. This is what we need this morning.
I. What is the doctrine of Regeneration?
* You are saying to yourself about now, “So what is this doctrine of Regeneration that you are speaking of this morning preacher?
* Well, I’m glad you asked, I was, just about to explain it to you!
* The definition of the term “regeneration” from the Bible Dictionary reads this way: “Regeneration refers to the radical renewal of a person’s inner being, or in other words. his spiritual soul, by the work of God’s Spirit.”
* Our text verse says that we are a new creation:
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
* In the Bible, The Holy Spirit is the member of the Trinity that is always associated with the power to create.
* Genesis 1: says that at the creation of the universe the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Right away in the Word of God, we see the creative power of the Holy Spirit.
* As John the Baptist was preaching he declared that he came to baptize with water, preparing the way of the Lord by repentance. This repentance was a work that had to do with the outside of a man.
* Then He said the following words recorded in Matthew 3:11:
Matthew 3:11 (KJV 1900)
11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
* We see here in Matthew 3:11 two things; the outward cleansing of repentance, what we call conversion, and then we see what John the Baptist calls being baptized with the Holy Ghost. Let’s deal with the first principle- repentance, or conversion. John here indicates that the outward repentance of a man is represented by John’s Baptism.
Matthew 3:3–6 (KJV 1900)
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
* We read in Malachi chapter 3 and verse 1 that these two, John the Baptist and Jesus, would come in the last days of the earth.
Malachi 3:1 (KJV 1900)
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, Even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.
* The preaching of John the Baptist was sufficient to prepare the heart and turn the heart toward God, but it was not able to save the hearers. This is what we call being converted, repenting of sin, or being converted alone does not save us’ it is only preparing the way for being saved.
* John then said that salvation could only come by one who will baptize with the creative power of the Holy Spirit.
Luke 3:16 (KJV 1900)
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
* You see here the order of events in our salvation. First comes an attitude of repentance of sin, which is what we call conversion, and then comes the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, what we refer to as “regeneration.” This is exactly what Jesus meant when the told Nicodemus in out text:
John 3:5 (KJV 1900)
Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
* In John chapter 1 and verses 12-13, we are told that this being “Baptized with the Holy Ghost” is being born again, not any longer as sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, but as sons and daughters of God.
* Listen to the words of John 1:12-13
John 1:12–13 (KJV 1900)
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 word regeneration is the word that we use to describe the process of making those who believe on Jesus into a new creature.
* The same creating power of the Spirit of God that created the physical universe in Genesis chapter 1, is the same creating power that creates in the believer a new heart. A heart created with the Devine nature of God. Within the heart of every saved person lives the very eternal life of God!
* The doctrine of regeneration is best explained for me in a prophetic Old Testament passage.
*Turn with me to Ezekiel chapter 11: and verse 19:
Ezekiel 11:19–20 (KJV 1900)
19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. * This prophecy is repeated again in chapter 36 and verse 25:
Ezekiel 36:25–29 (KJV 1900)
25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
* We see the actual fulfillment of that prophecy from the Book of Ezekiel in Acts chapter 4 and verse 32. Turn with me now to Acts chapter 4 and verse 32.
Acts 4:32 (KJV 1900)
32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.
* God had placed within these new believers a new heart, and what was on the inside was reflected by what they did on the outside- just like Ezekiel had prophesied- “19 And I will give them one heart,... * Ezekiel also went on to say in chapter 11 and verse 20: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. * then again he said in chapter 36 and verse 27: 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
* What the rules and laws of the Old Testament could not do- God is able to do by placing His Holy Spirit within us. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to live in such a way that we please God.
* Listen to the words of Romans chapter 8 and verses 1-4:
Romans 8:1–4 (KJV 1900)
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
* Ezekiel said “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean:”we find the fulfillment of that prophecy in Titus chapter 3 and verses 3-5:
Titus 3:3–5 (KJV 1900)
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;
* The word that is translated into the English word “Regeneration” in Titus 3:5, is a compound word. The first Greek word means “to be born” and the second Greek word means “again.”
* This is where the term “born again” comes from. In I Peter chapter 1 and verse 23, we see this same interpretation, but it is actually spelled out as the English phrase “born again.”
1 Peter 1:23 (KJV 1900)
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
John 1:12–13 (KJV 1900)
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.
* In 1 John 5:1 we read that “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.”
* So, then, the doctrine of regeneration is the doctrine of being “re-created” or “born again” with a new nature and a new heart within us, by the Holy Spirit. This is the being “baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire” that John the Baptist said Jesus came to do.
II. The Difference between Conversion and Regeneration.
* Let me clarify the difference between the repentance that John the Baptist Preached and “regeneration.”
* Conversion is a term that we use to describe the human act of turning toward God. Since conversion is a human act, we can turn to God and then later turn away from God, and then turn back to God again. * Because conversion is a human act, it can be repeated many times. An example of this is when Peter backslid, but then was converted back to God again and used by God in even a greater way than He was before he backslid.
Luke 22:31–32 (KJV 1900)
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.
* Regeneration is not a human act. Regeneration is a Devine act of God, which once it has been done cannot ever be undone. Because it cannot be undone, thus it can never be repeated again.
* Since your “regeneration,” or being made a “new creature” cannot ever be undone, therefore you can never “lose your salvation.”
* This is what Hebrews chapter 6 and verses 4-6 means
Hebrews 6:4–6 (KJV 1900)
4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
Ecclesiastes 3:14 (KJV 1900)
14 I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him.
* Conversion is an outward act of repentance that is generated by our human conscience. Conversion reflects our attitude toward God. It is an outward change. * Regeneration on the other hand, is a reflection of God’s attitude toward us. Regeneration is a Devine act of God on the soul of a man. * Conversion changes the outside of a man; regeneration changes the inside of a man.
* Alfred P. Gibbs in his book “The New Birth,” draw’s a visual picture of the difference between conversion and regeneration: Conversion is the putting on a new attitude toward God, like a new suit for the old man- Regeneration, on the other hand, is like a new man for the old suit.
* Religion tends to try to put a new suit on the old, corrupt nature of a man. Jesus pointed out the religious rulers and the Pharisees were like white washed graves. Their religion served only to cover up the rottenness of the nature of the old man that we all have inherited from Adam.
Matthew 23:24–28 (KJV 1900)
24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
* The person who is religious, but not born again, can be pictured like a man using his emotional experiences for wood, and his good works for nails, to build a ladder to reach up to Heaven.
* Religion is man’s attempt to build a ladder up to God. My friend your religion cannot save you. God despises your attempt to reach up to Him by being religious.
* When the men in the Book of Genesis attempted to build a tower, and a religion, in order to reach up to God- he looked down with disgust and confused their languages in utter contempt that a man would try to reach up to God by his own effort.
* There are many false Christians in the church who think that by going to church, or being religious in some way or another they will earn the respect of God and He will exempt them from His great wrath in an eternal Hell.
* My friend there will be many people who think that they are going to Heaven but the will be like the rich man and “wake up in the flames of Hell, being in torments.”
* In many so called “revivals” we see the difference between what we call being “converted” and being “regenerated.” Under the impact of the preaching of the Word of God consciences are stirred and a great number of people come forward and make some kind of decision to deal with their pricked conscience.
* As time goes on however, we begin to see that many of these so-called, converted people fail to separate themselves from their old life. Eventually we begin to see that they continue live under the control of sin and the Devil. These folks show no evidence of spiritual growth and show no desire for the things of God.
* This is evidence that there was a conversion, a “profession,” a human effort to turn to God, but “regeneration” has not taken place. They profess to have eternal life, but in reality they do not possess eternal life.
* Speaking of those who were at one time in the church, but later left the church, the apostle John illustrates that there are many in the church that have not been “regenerated.
1 John 2:18–20 (KJV 1900)
19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 20 But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
* John says the difference between those people who had left the church, and those who continued with the church, is that those who remained with the church possessed the Holy Spirit. Those who left did not have the Holy Spirit. They were only professors, not possesses. They had not been regenerated by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is an example of conversion without regeneration.
* Another example of conversion without regeneration is found in Acts chapter 19 where the Apostle Paul comes across 12 men who had been converted to God under the preaching of John the Baptist, but had never been born again, or “regenerated.”
Acts 19:1–7 (KJV 1900)
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. 4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. 7 And all the men were about twelve.
* You can clearly see now that, just because a person goes to church and claims to be a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she has been saved. As a matter of fact, most pastors believe the majority of people, who profess to be Christians, even in the church, have never been saved, or regenerated.
* It is possible even to have a deep emotional experience and yet not be saved. Our emotions are part of this corrupt, sinful body. Just because you had some emotional experience associated with religion, does not mean that you have been saved. Even the cults and false religions have these emotional experiences.
III. Fallen Man can be re-born, or born again, regenerated, but God alone can initiate this work.
* Although Nicodemus was a highly educated and religious man, Jesus told him that “ye must be born again.”
* Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to enter into the kingdom of heaven; he must be born again, speaking of what we are referring to the doctrine of regeneration.
* The entire human race this morning was born spiritually dead. The entire human race is spiritually blind and cannot understand spiritual truth.
1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV 1900)
14 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. * We see the perfect example of his in the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus:
John 3:1–8 (KJV 1900)
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. * The truth that Jesus was trying to communicate to Nicodemus is also found in I Corinthians chapter 15 and verse 50.
1 Corinthians 15:50 (KJV 1900)
50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
1 Corinthians 15:44–47 (KJV 1900)
There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
* Because of our fallen nature that we were born with God must initiate the process of regeneration himself. No one just decides that He is going to be regenerated.
* Listen to the words of Jesus in John chapter 6 and verse 44:
John 6:43–44 (KJV 1900)
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
* Jesus also said in John 12:32, speaking of His substitutionary death on the Cross for sinners, “If I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
* My friend the Devil, and the Freemasons and Oprah Winfrey, and the religions of this World, would have you believe that there are many roads that lead to God.
* The Bible, the Eternal Word of God, declares that there is only one road to God and that that road is a straight and a narrow road, and the there be few that find it! But the way to Hell is a broad and a wide way and there be many that enter the highway to Hell!
Matthew 7:13–15 (KJV 1900)
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. * Speaking of religion and religious people who try to reach up to God Jesus said in the next verse:
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
* Jesus also said in John chapter 10:
John 10:7–9 (KJV 1900)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved…
* In that same chapter Jesus said:
John 10:1 (KJV 1900)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
* Jesus went on to say in that same conversation:
Matthew 7:21–23 (KJV 1900)
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, 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? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
* The Bible declares that there is a way that seemeth right unto a man but the end thereof are the ways of death!
* The World says that all you have to do is be sincere in your heart, and love God, and your religion, whatever it is will lead you to God. But the Bible says that there is only one way to God, and only one way to heaven, and that way is not man’s effort to reach up to God, but God’s effort to reach down to man.
* God reached down to man in the person of His son Jesus Christ, and according to the Bible, God’s revelation of Himself.
* According to the Bible, the only Truth of God, the only way to God and Heaven is by believing in name of Jesus who shed his blood on the cross for the payment for sin.
Acts 4:11–12 (KJV 1900)
12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
* Romans chapter 3 and verses 10-18 deal with this very subject in detail:
Romans 3:10–18 (KJV 1900)
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
* Paul was quoting from Psalms chapter 14 where we read:
Psalm 14:title–3 (KJV 1900)
1 The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, There is none that doeth good. 2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: There is none that doeth good, no, not one.
* A man cannot reach up to God, this morning but God must reach down to man.
* Romans 5:8–9 tells us that God had to reach down to us in order to save us from His wrath- 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
* Religion is man’s attempt to reach up to God. My friend your religion cannot save you. God despises your attempt to reach up to Him by being religious.
* When the men in the Book of Genesis attempted to build a tower, and a religion, in order to reach up to God- he looked down with disgust and confused their languages in utter contempt that a man would try to reach up to God by his own effort.
* There are many false Christians in the church who think that by going to church, or being religious in some way or another they will earn the respect of God and He will exempt them from His great wrath in an eternal Hell.
* My friend there will be many people who thing that they are going to Heaven and will like the rich man wake up in the flames of Hell, being in torments.
* Now, in order to fully understand this doctrine of regeneration, we need to understand why we need to be “born” all over again. This is what we will now attempt to understand.
Sermon 2
I. The need for Regeneration
* During World War II, Between 1.1 and 1.5 million people - mainly Jews but also Soviets, political prisoners and gypsies - were exterminated at the hands men and women just like you and I.
* In 1945, American soldiers liberated Hitler’s concentration camps. * These American soldiers and their generals visibly recoiled in tears and rage as a result of the horrors they witnessed in those concentration camps. * Even the war hardened General Patton wept and vomited when he saw the horrors committed in these concentration camps. * General Gavin and his paratroopers wept at the unbelievable depravity of mankind that he saw when they entered the concentration camps. * President Eisenhower ordered wide media coverage of the horrors found in these concentration camps. Eisenhower, knowing the fallen nature of mankind, knew that men would soon try to change history and deny the horrors of the camps. Horrible things were done to men, women, and to innocent children at the hands of ordinary, everyday people. Even people with families of their own.
* I was doing some research a few months ago about the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries and I accidently came across a YouTube video of Muslim soldiers beheading 15 men.
* I watched in horror, as one by one, these men held them by the hair of their head and slowly sawed each man’s head off, not with a sword, or a guillotine, but a knife while the other men watched.
* I couldn’t believe that this horrible scene was right there for anyone to see. The next day I went back to try to save the video, but it had been blocked.
* Even right here in our own back yard, we witnessed the story play out in the news of the horrible torture and slaying of Shannon Christopher and Chris Newsom.
* This entire nation watched as the “batman” murderer walked into a movie theatre in Colorado, and in cold blood, fired a gun into the face of innocent people. While people ran to the doors to get away they were shot in the back.
* We look back across the span of history and we see the undeniable evidence that mankind has a depraved and fallen nature.
* Even Jesus was tortured and crucified at the hands of depraved and evil men.
* I could go on and on with recent news stories of violence, and torture, and death, that is happening all around us this very moment In our world.
* The human race this morning is in a terrible, terrible, condition. All around us we can see the depraved state of the heart and soul of mankind.
* God wants you to understand this morning that the human heart is filled with evil. The human heart, or soul of a man, is depraved and continuously spews out its sewage of perversion, corruption and violence.
Jeremiah 17:9 (KJV 1900)
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Genesis 6:5–6 (KJV 1900)
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
* Jesus described the deprived state of the heart of man in Matthew chapter 15 in verses 18-20:
Matthew 15:18–20 (KJV 1900)
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man…
* Jesus said that the deprived nature of the heart of man is what defiles, or corrupts mankind. James agreeing with Jesus goes so far as to say that all the wickedness of Hell is in the heart and soul of mankind! Listen to the words of James:
James 3:6 (AV)
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
* Ophra Winfree, and the world would have you believe the lie that we hear repeated over and over in books and in the media, that within every man there is a spark of Divinity or a spark of God.
* My friend that is not what the Bible says about the nature of mankind! The Bible says just the opposite! The Bible teaches that mankind is fallen and corrupt, and that our default state is that we are children of the Devil! The Bible says there is nothing of God within us!
* Twice in this recent election I heard the presidential candidates say that we are all the children of God. This is the Devils’ lie this morning! Don’t believe it!
John 8:43–44 (KJV 1900)
43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.
Ephesians 2:1–3 (KJV 1900)
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
* My friend, weather you realize it or not the fire of Hell already burns in your heart! According to the Bible the sinful nature that you were born with is ready to consume you!
* The ungodly lusts that lurk within the black depths of your wicked heart are ready to consume you like a raging fire! A fire kindled by the very fires of Hell!
* Look at the drunkard! Look at the person destroyed by meth! Look at the people all around you who have destroyed their lives by their ungodly sexual desires!
* You sinful heart is perched like a vulture ready to consume your body with drink and drugs and sex and a multitude of other perversions that proceed from a fallen and corrupt nature! * This corruption in the heart of man is caused by sin!
* The very act of committing sin reveals that the one doing the sin is under the power and authority of sin. * In Romans chapter 6 and verses 15-23 sin is personified as a cruel master that enslaves the heart of man, and seeks to destroy mankind from the inside out.
* Like a child playing with fire, you think you can control your sin. You think you are in charge! You think that you can flirt around with sin, have a little fun and not be harmed by it.
* The Devil has you deceived into thinking that you can just nibble around the edges of sin a little bit, but the Devil know that all it takes is a little taste and He will have you devour the whole thing! You are deceived, you only think you have sin under control.
* My friend the Bible warns us that sin in the heart of man is like a fire ready to flame up out of control and consume us at any moment!
Illustration: My brother and I playing with matches.
A. We Need to be re-generated because we are spiritually dead.
* Adam and Eve, the representatives of the entire human race brought spiritual death upon all mankind.
Ezekiel 18:4 (KJV 1900)
4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.
Genesis 3:1–5 (KJV 1900)
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
* Adam and Eve sinned and their nature was changed, just like the devil told them, but not for the good, but for the worse. Adam and Eve now have a fallen nature and can no longer approach God.
* Just as God said, their souls had died within them- they were now spiritually dead. We see the evidence of this fallen nature in the next few verses in Genesis 3 verses 8-10:
Genesis 3:8–10 (KJV 1900)
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. 9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
B. Because of Adam and Eve, the entire human race is now dead in trespasses and sins
Romans 5:12 (KJV 1900)
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5:14 (KJV 1900)
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
* Now the term federal is the term that Paul has in mind in Romans 5. * By nature, all of us are joined federally to Adam. God made Adam the representative of humanity. He is the federal head.
* Let me illustrate this truth. Let’s use the United States of America to illustrate this point. The United States consists of a number of different states and each state has its own legislature—its own government, in a sense—but then in addition to that there is what they call the federal government which includes them all.
* They are all related in this federal union. Now the teaching of the Scripture is that the whole of mankind is in that kind of federal union with Adam and, as we have seen, it was because of that, that Adam’s sin is imputed to us. * Because we are joined to Adam federally, in this legal sense, what he did applies to us. He sinned—we sinned; he fell—we fell. That is the doctrine of original sin and original guilt as taught in the Bible.
* I like to use the simple illustration with the children that when dogs have children they have puppies, when cats have children they have kittens, and when sinners have children they have sinners.
C. Because we were born under the headship of Adam we have inherited the wrath of God.
Ephesians 2:1–3 (KJV 1900)
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
* Since we have been declared by our fallen nature the children of God’s wrath, we are in bad state of trouble.
* My Friend, if you have not yet come to the Lord to be saved you are the object of the fierce wrath of God!
Psalm 7:11–13 (AV)
God is angry with the wicked every day. 12 If he turn not, he will whet his sword; he hath bent his bow, and made it ready. 13 He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death…
Jeremiah 46:10 (AV)
10 For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood…
* The bow of God’s fierce wrath is drawn back- - the bow strains with the pressure of the string
- and the arrow is ready on the string
- the arrow is pointed at your soul this morning
- nothing but the mere whim of God, and that of an ANGRY God, from being made drunk with your blood!
* The wrath of God is like a great ocean that is dammed up for the time being. The waters build up more and more and higher and higher. The longer the flow of God’s wrath is dammed up, the more force will be released when the dam breaks.
* The floods of God’s vengeance against your sin have been withheld temporarily. Your guilt in the meantime has been constantly increasing.
* You are every day treasuring up more and more of the wrath of God.
* If God were to let go of the flood gate, the fiery floods of the fierceness of God’s wrath would rush forth with terrible furry and would come upon you with all the power that God possesses!
* My friend, who are you to be able to withstand the fierceness of the wrath of God?
* The Bible teaches us this morning that because of the fallen nature of mankind, we cannot escape the wrath of God. We are in a terrible state!
* Before a man can ever escape his sinful nature and the consequences of his sins his sin nature must be destroyed! We cannot save ourselves!
* The human nature this morning is flawed! Our human nature has been corrupted by a terrible disease- the disease of sin! This is a terminal disease-
* Romans chapter 6 and verse 23 says 23 For the wages of sin is death! The result of this terrible disease that has corrupted our souls is the death of the body, and the death of the soul! II. There is hope for fallen mankind.
* If we stopped here, with this knowledge only, we would be without hope in the world this morning!
* But, thank God, this is not the end of the matter this morning! For the same verse in Romans chapter 6 that said that the result of our fallen nature is death, also says that there is hope for the fallen nature of mankind.
* Romans chapter 6 and verses 22 -23 gives hope to all mankind. Listen to the words: Romans 6:22–23 (KJV 1900)
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
* Listen to the words also in Ephesians chapter 2 and verses 12 and 13:
Ephesians 2:12–13 (KJV 1900)
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
* Now, let’s look at the other side of this Biblical truth.
Romans 6:23 (KJV 1900)
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
* We read in I Corinthians 15:21 and 22:
1 Corinthians 15:21–22 (KJV 1900)
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
* As those who were born after Adam with an earthly, fleshly, body, in the same manner the Bible teaches that we who are Christians are in precisely the same relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. * As we are federally related, or represented by Adam, the person who has believed on Jesus is now represented by Jesus. We are now federally related to Him. What does that mean? * It means that we have been crucified with Him. Romans 6:6 says that because I am joined to Christ federally, when He was crucified I was crucified!
Romans 6:6–8 (KJV 1900)
6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
* Beloved, it is given to us as a statement of fact here in the Bible, that when you were saved you entered into a spiritual union with Jesus Christ! God looks at it just like that! * We are told in Romans 6:5 that, ‘We have been planted together in the likeness of his death’— * In Romans 6:8 we are told that we are ‘dead with Christ’. We have died with Him. We are buried with him by baptism into Christ’s death that’s what Rom. 6:4 teaches to be a fact! * Romans 6:11 adds, ‘Reckon ye also yourselves to be … alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’
* Now all these things are true of all of us who are in Christ, because of this federal relationship with Him.
* This is what I preached about last Sunday morning when I preached about the union of the believer with Christ.
* We have been crucified with Him. In exactly the same way that when Adam sinned, I sinned, so when Christ was crucified, I was crucified. * Your old man in Adam died with Him! You were buried with Him! And we who were once spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, have arisen with Him and are now become a new creation, not made after the fleshly nature of Adam, but made spiritually alive! * Ephesians 2:6: says that Chris has “raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” * Now Paul was not talking here about something that is going to happen to us. * What Paul says there is that, federally, and because of this federal relationship, though we are still on earth, we who are Christians are in Christ seated with Him in the heavenly places now.
* We are told in Col. 2:10 that we are ‘complete in him, which is the head …’ Christ is our head meaning our federal representative. * So now we have looked at what regeneration is, why we need to be regenerated, and the hope that regeneration brings.
* We have laid the foundation for truth of this doctrine, now, let’s move on and examine this great Bible doctrine in detail.
IV. The outward effect of Regeneration
Ephesians 4:22–5:21 (KJV 1900)
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
5 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. 3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. 18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Colossians 3:5–17 (KJV 1900)
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Romans 12:1–2 (KJV 1900)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 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.
Some new things we receive with the new birth.
I. We have a new destiny.
II. We have a new standing or position.
III. We have new nature.
IV. We have a new family.
V. We have a new mission.
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