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How to Not Be Born Again | Fake Faith

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
March 16, 2022 3:00 am

How to Not Be Born Again | Fake Faith

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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March 16, 2022 3:00 am

We’ve all had experience putting our best foot forward. A first date. A job interview. We let people see the best side of ourselves. Is it who we are? Well, some version of who we are. But God knows all the versions of who we are. And we can’t fool Him when it comes to where we stand with His Son. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie urges us to consider the genuineness of our faith and walk with God. We’ll learn how to put our best foot forward toward eternity.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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You're listening to A New Beginning with Greg Laurie, a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Visit our website and learn more about Harvest Partners at The only way to be a Christian is being born again, where you choose to believe in Jesus. But you can't just say, from now on, I'm a Christian, and just sort of do Christian-y things without Christ. We've all had experience putting our best foot forward, a first date, a job interview. We let people see the best side of ourselves. Is it who we are?

Well, some version of who we are. But God knows all the versions of who we are, and we can't fool Him when it comes to where we stand with His Son. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie urges us to consider the genuineness of our faith and walk with God. We'll learn how to put our best foot forward toward eternity. Turn to the Gospel of John, and here's the title for my message, How Not To Be Born Again. Now, I didn't make a mistake. That is actually the title, How Not To Be Born Again.

I'll explain why I chose that title in a few moments. But John chapter one is where we're going to begin. So why did John write this Gospel? He actually tells us in John 20, 31. He said, These things were written that non-believers might believe.

These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name. Whenever I talk to someone who says they want to start reading the Bible, you might be surprised to find I don't say start in Genesis. Not that it's a bad thing to start in Genesis. But I often tell them to start in the Gospel of John. And the reason I say that is because it was specifically written so a non-believer could believe.

So I think it's a great place for a person to start, and of course a great place for anyone to start who wants to read through the Bible. And I'll tell them to pray something along the lines of, Say to God, if you're real, make yourself real to me as I read this Gospel. In 21 chapters, John proves that Jesus is the Son of God who should be followed. Number two, John's Gospel was written that we as believers might experience more of His life in us.

Let me say that again. John's Gospel was written that we as believers might experience more of His life in us because he says that believing you may have life in His name. So John wrote the Gospel for those who already believe because the word that he uses there for believing speaks of a continual action. In other words, John is saying the more we believe, the more life we will experience.

Thus John wrote to convince the skeptic but also to convince the believer in the commitment they've already made. So the Gospel of John and the way it begins is amazing because he goes way back before the little town of Bethlehem. He goes way back before Mary and Joseph. He goes way back even before the Garden of Eden.

He goes back to the solar system. He goes back to the beginning of the beginning. So that's where we're gonna start, John chapter one, starting in verse one.

We'll read verses one to five. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him, nothing was made that was made in Him was life.

And that life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. So we'll stop there. Now this is interesting because there's not a definite article before the word beginning, meaning you cannot pinpoint this moment in time where there was a beginning. So really when he says the beginning, we don't even know where that starts. But John is taking us back to eternity past, further back than the human mind can imagine. And that brings me to my first point about Jesus, if you're taking notes.

And here it is. Jesus is God. Jesus is God.

That's a really important thing to understand and believe for a Christian. Jesus is God. Before there was a world, before there was planets, before there was light or darkness, before there was matter, before anything else there was the Godhead, and there was Jesus. Jesus Christ, co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent with the Father and the Holy Spirit. The Word was with God. The Word was God. Jesus is God. That, by the way, is an essential for Christians.

There's no wiggle room here. If you don't believe Jesus is God, to be blunt, you can't be a Christian. Because who is He? Just a great man, a prophet, a guru, what? Jesus claimed to be God, and for us to be genuine Christians, we must believe that He is God. Jesus was fully God, but just as true as that is, this is also true. Jesus was fully man.

How's that possible? I'm not really sure, but He was fully God, and He was fully man. Verse 14 says, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

I mean, think about it. Jesus Christ, who had neither beginning nor end, who has always existed, came to this earth as a living, breathing human being. He who was larger than life, He who created the solar system, became an embryo. He went from the throne of heaven to a feeding trough. That's effectively where He was born, there in that manger or that cave. He went from the presence of angels to a cave filled with animals. I think it's hard for us to wrap our mind around the idea of deity and humanity in one person.

Well, a good example of this would be Jesus crossing the Sea of Galilee. He was tired from a day of ministry and fell asleep. And a radical storm came, pitching the boat back and forth, and they were waking Him up, saying, Lord, save us, or we will die.

So what could be more human than falling asleep, right? But then what could be more, as an illustration of deity, than the fact that He stood up after they woke Him up and calmed the storm, probably because He wanted to go back to His nap again. So I think people try to wrap their minds around God.

It's not an easy thing to do. They consider His attributes, that God is omniscient, that God is omnipotent, that God is omnipresent, that God is sovereign, that God is righteous, and God is holy. And those things are all true. But if you really want to know what God is like, just look at Jesus.

That's it. What's God like? Look at Jesus. What does God think of children? Look at Jesus.

Taking the children into His arms and blessing them. What does God think about that? Look at Jesus. He is God among us. Basically, He was God with skin on.

God had a face. Jesus became one of us without ceasing to be Himself. God, who became a man, shined His light on humanity.

Look at verse 4. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men, and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. I don't know about you, but before I was a Christian, I thought man was basically good. And that's why I was so confused about life. Because in the 17 years of my life on earth, I'd seen so many bad things. I'd seen things no young boy should ever see.

I was exposed to the worst underbelly of people and things they did. And I thought, well, if man's basically good, why do people do such awful things? And when I became a Christian and I realized man was not basically good, but he was sinful, everything started making sense, right?

And this is clearly what the Bible teaches. Because despite all of our advances, technological advances, scientific advances, and we can point to all these things, yet how much have we really changed? We've made no progress whatsoever in the basic ills of the human condition.

Crime, violence, war, injustice, racism. If we would just get back to what God said in His word and how to live our lives, things would change overnight. But we disregard these things. We even mock these things. We even persecute people that believe these things.

I'm not saying we do as Christians, but others do in our country. Verse 9. This is the true light that gives light to every man coming into this world. Now, this is important because this verse is sometimes misunderstood.

Sometimes I've heard it stated as follows. Well, there's a light in man. We all have the inner light. And that inner light is in every person.

And we need to discover the inner light and the inner Christ. And then we need to go to hot yoga together. I don't know what you're saying. Someone told me today, I couldn't believe this. They said, I'm going to go do yoga with goats. I'm not making this up.

Has anyone heard of this? I say, you're joking. No, I'm not yoga with goats.

How does that work? Well, we're doing yoga and the goats just walk around. Okay, have fun with those goats. But that's not what this verse is saying. It's not saying we all have an inner light. It's not speaking the light in man. It's talking about God's light shining on man.

And there's a big difference. Now, it is true that God has placed eternity in the heart of people. We're told that in Scripture. What that simply means is there is a sense in every man and woman that there's something more in life. And that's why we go on a search in life. But it's a search that hopefully will lead us to Christ. And the Bible tells us that we have a sense of conscience inside of us. In the book of Romans, it says our conscience will accuse or excuse us. Romans also tells us we have the testimony of nature all around us.

But ultimately, verse 9, this true light gives light to every man. So when you run into people that say, you know what? I'm seeking the truth and I want to know the truth.

Here's my thought. If they really want to know the truth, they'll find their way to Jesus. So they say, I want to know the truth and I'm seeking truth.

Hey, that's awesome. I know it's some truth. I have some truth right here. Jesus said, I'm going to put the Bible away. I don't believe in that, you bigoted narrow-minded.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. I thought you were seeking truth. I am. Put it away. Don't hold it up like that.

Put it away. See, they're not seeking truth. If they were seeking truth, they'd at least give a fair hearing to the Bible. But to reject it out of hand shows they're not seeking the truth. If a person is really seeking the truth and seeking God, they will find their way to Jesus. You say, but Greg, how do you know that? Because God says in Jeremiah 29, 13, if you seek me, you will find me when you search for me with all of your heart.

I will be found by you, says the Lord. Pastor Greg is bringing a message today called How to Not Be Born Again, and he'll explain why he chose that title in just a moment. It's such a blessing to hear that Pastor Greg's messages are touching lives. Pastor Greg, I grew up going to church, but stopped when I turned 18, mainly rebelling against my mom, who always forced me to go. I'm 52 now, and I'm back going to church after all these years.

I attend with my very religious girlfriend and have done so for the past year. I've also been doing a lot of reading and talking to people and listening to different things. One of them was your radio program, A New Beginning. As you were talking, Pastor Greg, you gave a prayer and asked if anyone would like to follow Christ and have their sins forgiven.

Well, it felt like the right thing to do, and I prayed the prayer to follow Christ. Thank you, Pastor Greg. Well, today Pastor Greg is presenting his kickoff message in a new series called Life. Let's continue now.

Now let's wrap this message up. I gave it the very odd title, How Not to Be Born Again. Let's conclude now with how not to be born again because we conclude with three ways in which you cannot become a child of God.

It's found right here in verses 12 to 13. As many as received Him, He gave them the right to become children of God to those who believe in His name, who are born not of blood, you might underline that, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. Here's how not to be born again. You cannot be born again of blood. What does that mean? It means if you're born into a Christian family, you're not automatically a Christian.

Some people don't know this, by the way. You say, are you a Christian? My great-grandfather was a preacher. Oh, well, there's some Christian blood somewhere, I think, I don't know. Or even my parents are Christians, and they took me to church.

That's great. Thank God for a godly heritage. Thank God for parents that took you to church.

But it's not a blood. You're not born a Christian. You may be born into a Christian family, but the only way to be a Christian is being born again. As I said, you must be born again, born all over again, born from above, technically. Nor is it the will of the flesh. New birth into God's family doesn't come to you just deciding it.

Now, there is an act of your will where you choose to believe in Jesus, but you can't just say, from now on, I'm a Christian, and just sort of do Christian-y things without Christ. Let me illustrate. You say, I am now a surfer, and I am a surfer because I bought a surfboard. People, when they buy surfboards and want to learn to surf, they always buy the wrong board to start with.

They buy some short little performance board, and they get their little wetsuit, and they've got the right wax, and they've got the stickers on the car, and they can't get up on their board, and they get discouraged, so they hang it on their wall, and that's the end, right? Or maybe you go down to the beach, and you're there with your board, and you're checking out the waves, but the thing is you never go out. So you're not really a surfer, but you have a surfboard, you have board shorts, you have wax, you have a wetsuit, but you don't surf. You're not a surfer. You're a poser. Or maybe you're smart because there's 15 great white sharks out there right now.

Then there's that. To be a surfer, even if you're not a great surfer, and I'm not a great surfer, but you have to surf. And to be a good surfer, you have to surf a lot. So to be a Christian, you have to come humbly before God and admit your sinfulness and turn from those sins and embrace Christ as your Savior and Lord. Nor is it from the will of man. It's not from the will of man.

It's not just determination. Someone can't do it for you. I can't make you a Christian.

I can't say, on the count of three, you're a Christian. A priest can't give you a sacrament and say, therefore your sins are forgiven. Or anybody else. No one can do this. It's not the will of man.

Someone can't do this for you. Only God can do this for you. That's how not to become a Christian. So how do I become a Christian? Verse 12. For as many as received him, he gave them the right to become children of God. So it's not by dissent, it's not by desire, and it's not by determination. So how was one born into God's family? By receiving Christ.

Not following a bunch of rules. From now on, I'm going to read the Bible. That's good. Do that. I'm going to go to church. That's good too.

Do that as well. But it starts with saying, God, I'm a sinner. Jesus, come into my life.

Forgive me of all of my sin. And then you read your Bible. Then you go to church. Then you do the things a growing Christian needs to know.

You just receive him. And this is not complex, by the way. This is so simple, a child can understand. You know, if you walk up to a child and say, here, I got this for you.

It's a toy. Oh, they get that really well. They'll grab that toy and they'll start playing with it. They might say thank you. But they receive the gift.

And that's what God says to us. Here's the gift. You can have it right now. Forgiveness of all of your sin.

Just believe in Jesus. And say, I want that gift. And the moment you receive it, it's yours. And you're born again.

And you're a child of God. You say, well, how long does this take? Years? Months?

Weeks? No, it doesn't even take hours. It can happen, I don't know, in seconds. It can happen in a flash.

Just immediately. In fact, listening to this message, it may have already happened to you. You came in here as a non-believer and I don't know what took place or what was said. Or when it transpired. But just somewhere during the course of this service, you believed. Just like that. You just went, I believe in this.

And it's hard to explain, isn't it? But it's like the lights went up. Now, when the lights go on and you realize something is true that doesn't make you a believer, you have to act on it. Because the Bible describes conversion as having your eyes opened. And then you turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.

So it's possible to have your eyes open and not respond appropriately. Because we've all met people that will say, I actually believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and God the Son. I actually believe the Bible is the Word of God. I actually believe there's a heaven and there's a hell.

I believe all those things but I don't want to follow Jesus right now. So their eyes were open but they haven't turned from darkness to light. And that's a really important thing to do. Let me restate that.

That is the most important thing you can do. Look, Jesus Christ is ready to forgive you of your sin. You say you're seeking truth.

The truth is here right now. It's Christ who's alive. Who rose from the grave and is with us in this place. And He is standing at the door of your life and He is knocking. And He's saying if you'll hear His voice and open the door, He'll come in.

Only you can do this. Remember, you're not born again by blood. Meaning you're not born into a Christian family making you a Christian.

You have to be born again when you say, alright Lord, I get this now. I want you as my Savior. I want you as my Lord. I want you as my friend. I want this relationship that can happen for you right here, right now. We're going to pray and I'm going to extend an invitation for you to believe in Jesus.

And if you've not made this commitment, if you've not asked Him in your life, respond, okay? Let's all pray. Everyone bow in your head. Father, thank You for loving us so much that You sent Jesus to die on the cross in our place. Lord Jesus, thank You for coming and dying, laying Your life down for us because You love us. And I pray for everyone here and everyone listening who does not yet know You.

Help them to see their need for You and help them to come to You now. We pray that Your Holy Spirit will convict and convince those that do not believe to believe. In Your mighty name I pray, amen. An important word of prayer from Pastor Greg Laurie. And if you'd like to make a change in your relationship with the Lord, before we go any further, Pastor Greg would like to lead you in one more word of prayer. Listen, as you've listened to this program today, maybe something's been happening inside of your heart where you're sensing, I need to do this personally, but how do I do it and what do I do?

Let me help you. This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. Just pray these words. Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, but I also know that You are the Savior because You died on the cross for my sin and You rose again from the dead. Jesus, come into my life and forgive me of every sin I've ever committed.

I choose to follow You from this moment forward. Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank you for answering this prayer, Lord. And I pray all of this in Jesus' name, amen.

Amen. And listen, if you have just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and have meant those words from your heart, well first of all, welcome to the family of God. And second, we'd like to offer some help as you get started as a Christian. We'd like to send you our New Believers Growth Packet.

Just get in touch and ask for it. We'll send it free of charge to those making a first-time commitment to the Lord today. Call us at 1-800-821-3300. We're here around the clock to take your call.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Or even make the arrangements online by going to and clicking on Know God. And then just a word of thanks to you if you've partnered with us so these daily studies can continue. It's only because of listener support that these programs reach out like they do. You're making a difference in people's lives through your generosity. And Pastor Greg, we really appreciate that partnership, don't we?

Yeah, that's right. Now I know that some of you can't give that much, so whatever you can do, it's appreciated. I know some of you can give a little more and some could possibly give a lot more. But whatever gift you send will be used to continue to bring this radio broadcast around the United States and around the world. You know our mission statement here at Harvest is knowing God and making Him known. Help us fulfill that mission statement and let's work together. And in advance, I want to say thanks for whatever you can do.

Yeah, that's right. And we want to thank you tangibly with an important new resource. It's a book called Don't Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table written by Pastor Louie Giglio. He points out we're in a battle for the control of our minds and our enemy is trying to push a narrative that will lead to defeat.

The subtitle is It's Time to Win the Battle of Your Mind. And we'll send you this book to thank you for your investment. You can make your donation online at or call us anytime around the clock at 1-800-821-3300.

That's 1-800-821-3300. Well, next time, Pastor Greg continues his study series simply called Life. We'll take an honest look at suffering and why God allows it. Join us here on A New Beginning with pastor and Bible teacher Greg Laurie. This is the day, the day when life begins. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-21 20:52:22 / 2023-05-21 21:02:35 / 10

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