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How to Not Be Born Again | Being a Genuine Christian

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2023 3:00 am

How to Not Be Born Again | Being a Genuine Christian

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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January 2, 2023 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 supported by Harvest Partners. For more ways to deepen and challenge your spiritual walk, enroll in Pastor Greg's free online courses.

Sign up at Let's say you said, I am now a surfer because I bought a surfboard. But you don't surf.

You're not a surfer. You're a poser. What we say or do may be a facade, a false front. Pastor Greg Laurie says, make sure your faith isn't a facade. 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 1 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 nonbelievers 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 nonbeliever 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 and 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 going to 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 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 or 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 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 four. 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 uh 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. Someone told me today I couldn't believe this. They said I'm gonna 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. Hey everybody what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. What is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place so you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home. Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Well today Pastor Greg is presenting one of his most requested messages of 2022. Let's listen.

So now let's wrap this message up. I gave it the very odd title how not to be born again. Okay so 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. And 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 were born not of blood.

You might underline that. Nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man but of God. Okay so 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.

Ah some people don't know this by the way. You know you say are you a Christian? My great-grandfather was a preacher. So? 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.

Right? Jesus 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 Christiany things without Christ. Let me illustrate. Let's say you said I am now a surfer. And I am a surfer because I bought a surfboard. And you know 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 you know 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 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. Okay 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 is 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 believe. Just like that.

You just went I believe you 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 all right 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. Thousands have done this over the years listening to our broadcast and the Lord has changed our lives and it can happen for you right now. This can be the moment where you change your eternal address literally from hell to heaven. I'll pray a simple prayer and I would just ask you to pray this prayer out loud if you like after me just pray these words. Lord Jesus I know that I'm a sinner but I know that you're the savior who died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Jesus I choose to follow you from this moment forward in your name I pray amen. Amen. Now listen if you have just prayed that prayer with Pastor Greg and 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 write a new beginning box 4 000 riverside california 92514 or even make the arrangements online by going to and clicking on know God well Pastor Greg we're so excited that your new film Jesus Revolution is coming out very soon of course it's the story of Greg and Kathy Laurie how the two of you met and began dating set against the backdrop of the Jesus movement of the late 60s and early 70s it's how you both came to the Lord yes it's a great opportunity to bring a friend who needs to meet Christ but as we invite a friend to come see Jesus Revolution what should we say to them do we need to prepare them you know tell them a little bit about the movie do we need to share the gospel with them beforehand or or do we just sort of take them in cold turkey as it were I just take them in cold turkey the movie does all the heavy lifting the movie unfolds in a powerful way and it's it doesn't feel like a typical Christian movie I'll put that in quotes because there are things that happen then you're thinking wow because it's a very honest movie it's based on a true story so it shows the search of a young Greg Laurie and Kathy Laurie young kids going looking for truth in all the wrong places looking to drugs other things not finding it the emptiness of all that and it shows it in real time and it unfolds the story it also tells the story of two unlikely people coming together a pastor of a church named Chuck Smith a hippie evangelist named Lonnie Frisbee and the result of them coming together resulted in a spiritual awakening called the Jesus movement but there's some real human emotions and powerful scenes that you will see were conflict and resolution of conflict Greg taking care of his mother who was an alcoholic and would go from bar to bar and pass out every night it shows the struggles of the young boy later searching for himself and not looking in the right places but ultimately finding his way to Jesus Christ and so I think that just let the movie do its thing to use 60s vernacular and and just take them to the film and and then afterwards you'll have some amazing conversations that's when you'd share the gospel all right well you know most of us have friends co-workers family members who would never go to church with us that's just a closed door but they would go to see a movie with us and what a great film to help them see the hope of the gospel in a whole new light you know what it's taken us over 30 years to reach six million people through our large-scale harvest crusades but this film is projected to be seen by some 10 million people this year alone it's such an important opportunity to share our faith and you know that's a responsibility God has given each one of us as believers so plan to take a friend with you to see Jesus revolution and if you can help us continue to reach out with the gospel we want to say thanks by sending you pastor Greg's book also called Jesus revolution the subtitle is how God transformed an unlikely generation and how he can do it again today that's our goal to see another spiritual awakening so get in touch with your donation and ask for the book Jesus revolution our number is 1-800-821-3300 we can take your call anytime again 1-800-821-3300 or write a new beginning box 4000 riverside california 92514 or go online to well next time pastor Greg brings another of his most requested messages we'll learn how to preserve harmony in the home insights from the creator of families join us here on a new beginning with pastor and bible teacher Greg Laurie this is the day the day when life begins thanks for listening to a new beginning with Greg Laurie a podcast made possible by harvest partners helping people everywhere know God sign up for daily devotions and learn how to become a harvest partner at
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-02 13:41:55 / 2023-01-02 13:52:09 / 10

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