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March 25, 2021 7:00 pm
Dr. Kerry McGonigal continues the series entitled “I Believe,” with a message titled “The New Birth,” from 1 Thessalonians 1:9.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University today were continuing a study series based on the green.
The students recited each day in chapel services, which is a summary of the doctrines of our Christian thing today. Sermon will be preached by Carrie McGonagle Prof. in the school of religion will be teaching us about the new birth when you heard of the 19th century British pastor who shepherded the Metropolitan Tabernacle Church in London for some 30 years.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon and Spurgeon was known as the prince of preachers. He was quite a communicator of the gospel of Jesus Christ came across an interesting narrative about his first convert Spurgeon actually written down in one of his sermon notebooks the name of his first convert. He had inscribed Mr. Charles Thomas Charles and Spurgeon indicated that Charles was really you know known as a troublemaker. He was, the ringleader of all that was bad. He said he was the terror of the neighborhood, he would be drunk for two or three weeks at a spell range like a madman. And yet Mr. Charles was converted and Spurgeon relates that that man came to hear me preach and I recollect the sensation that went through the little chapel. When he enters imagine somebody from your community that is known as a conspicuous sinner coming into the assembly. He sat there, listen to Spurgeon preach and Spurgeon relates that he became outwardly quite a changed character gave up drinking and swearing and was in many respects an exemplary individual so there was a rougher heavy manual labor be done at the church.
Mr. Charles was there. If there was a Sunday school be maintained even if it meant walking 67 miles. Charles was there scenery recently like they think wow what a great story conversion and yet, after nine months. Spurgeon's first recorded convert return to his former lifestyle and left the church and so as you can imagine, Spurgeon was just brokenhearted at this and he wrote he began to think.
Speaking of Mr. Charles to begin to think that he had been a little too fanatical. A little too earnest, he slunk up to the place of worship instead of coming boldly in the gradually forsook the weeknight service and then neglecting the Sabbath day, and though often more than often rebuked, he returned to his old habits and any thought of God or godliness that he had ever known seem to die away. Spurgeon says this before I left the district. I was afraid that there was no real work of grace in him, and perhaps you could multiply scenarios. Examples of this very kind of thing. Is it possible that someone sitting here today in this inventory him has said the sinners prayer has been baptized, claims to be a Christian goes the church lives in a nice, clean moral life and yet is thoroughly unconverted, unregenerate, you've never been born again will the answer to some of those questions has to do with her topic for this morning. The new birth through the regeneration by the Holy Spirit have a view of miss this on a creed quiz because of the wording this distance. The trip up a lot of students. The new birth through the regeneration by the holy spirit when his go ahead and give you the big idea and we just forewarn you it is a big idea okay so but I believe that there so you have time to chew on this your time to meditate on this statement is basically a definition or description of regeneration.
The new birth, so as I talked through certain passages and highlight certain themes in, connect the dots with with the statement. Here it is, regeneration or the new birth is the merciful work of God, the gracious work of God, and it's based on the past historical event of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead coming back to life and based on that resurrection of Christ that God grants to certain kinds of people. This new creation.
This creation of Christ granted to a spiritually incapable as were to see a spiritually insensitive sinner who by the work of the Holy Spirit turns in repentance and in faith trusting in Christ, resulting in a radically new orientation of life and we can summarize that his love for Christ.
So something happens fundamentally at the core that causes a person who was once spiritually insensitive to really have great deep, abiding affection for Jesus Christ and this new birth then commences a process of growth, likeness, the Christ, that will ultimately culminate in their final salvation, which is when were with Christ presence of Christ. The appearing of Christ.
Okay so is my my task is as a minister of the new covenant is a preacher of the gospel, not just the preach about the new birth as a doctrine, but the preach Christ you this morning. So that's why have those little insertions in there because all this has to do with Jesus.
He's the one that is is is responsible for this new creation. It's it's it's law for Christ and trust in Christ and likeness the Christ that were ultimately concerned about and we can't really discuss regeneration. The new birth, with all without also discussing conversion. So would you turn with me in your Bibles. The first Thessalonians chapter 1. First Thessalonians chapter 1 conversion I would say is the human side predominantly though to argue that there's also a divine component.
There is, is the human side of regeneration in the sense that it is the turning to God that includes both faith and repentance and regeneration. The new birth is the divine side is what God since the act of transformation. So conversion is the human act of turning and regeneration is the divine act of transformation of renewal. If you look with me at first Thessalonians chapter 1 verse nine Paul says of these Thessalonian believers. They themselves showed us what manner of entering and we had and to go when Paul came to this group of people and preach the gospel. This is the manner of entering these Thessalonians turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. So notice a couple things in that text ye turn hey that's conversion. Ye turned that notice. They turned to God.
That's the faith component from idols. That's the repentance component so in general conversion has to do with our orientation has to do with our fundamental disposition turning to God from idols so couple of observations about this number one conversion includes both both from repentance and the two conversion, diversity, faith. So what is repentance well one standard Greek lexicon defines the most common term used in the New Testament for repentance.
This way to change one's way of life. As a result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness. So take change of life stems from a change of thought, specifically regarding sin and righteousness, so you know Leslie you asked six of you guys asked the girl out for artist series and she said no. And here you are making her way out of the alumni building and you want to go to the dining common and you see her coming up across the bridge and all the sudden you just change the rate change orientation you medially turnaround you change your direction and you go the other way they that's repentance. That's repentance, so will know if these if we see some poor guy turning around the ridge this afternoon. What happened, what is faith well if you look at the way the Bible uses the words faith or believe you would find as one theologian put it, that faith is believing that and believing in the believing that is believing that something is true what God has revealed about the gospel. The facts of the gospel propositions of the Bible believing that those are true but also it is a believing in Jesus Christ. It is a commitment to someone if that's true, then how should we understand conversion. Knowing what is true and believing that it's true doesn't necessarily mean that you have biblical faith just to assent to the facts is one component, but there's also this trusting in Jesus, there's this commitment to him as part of this relationship and what is the relationship between these two repentance and faith.
I think you could argue that logically repentance would proceed faith because you start somewhere and then you move from that to something else.
So logically, repentance proceeds, faith, but in reality the two are inseparably linked like like if I wanted to turn to Dr. Pettit here by one of the turned to him right.
That necessarily means I have to turn away from you in order to do that but I can't.
I can't turn to him and also be oriented in your direction as well.
The two are inseparably linked to soap when you turn when something turns to Christ. They necessarily are turning from the other alternatives are turning away from sin and their turning toward righteousness.
Those who emphasize faith, to the exclusion of repentance, end up encouraging was be called an easy believe is or cheap grace that you they don't really need to turn from your idols, you can turn to Jesus, and you can take Jesus and you can get all that Jesus gives you could take eternal life, but you don't have to take you have the turn from your idols. And I don't know. I don't know anybody that actually says that out loud, but that's essentially what we do when were reducing conversion to note take these simple steps to fill out the paperwork and there you go. You have eternal life. Selena, reducing conversion, assaying a sinner's prayer and justice. Repeat after me say these words say the formula and will eternal life. I remember traveling in a ministry team for Bob Jones has an undergraduate student and we were in a Christian school where he ministered and after I preached the Christian school principal got out and he let all of the students in that assembly in the sinners prayer, so he and every individual young person in the elementary school say out loud the sinners prayer and then he essentially encouraged them that if they had said that prayer they have the assurance that they were to go to heaven when they died in a member.
My heart sank when I saw him do that. I'm not imputing the man's motives saying there were kids there who may have understood and cried out to Jesus in that moment and were saved. But I want you to think about what kind of approach you will what that kind of approach says about conversion is that really consistent with the Bible. Turning from idols to God's not surprising that people turn to Jesus if there's something in it for them by me that that's behind a lot of the health, wealth and prosperity gospel look at what you get when you come to Jesus, but separated and divorced from the idea repentance by me when I was in elementary school I I experience the conversion I converted from being up a a Raiders fan to being a Steelers fan and but I want to know that I was really a Raiders fan but but I converted for political expediency because I grew up in Pittsburgh here in the Pittsburgh area. Everybody was a Steelers fan everybody. My school was a Steelers fan, so I felt this immense pressure to be a Steelers fan so I became a closet Steelers didn't tell my parents about this just took it just took place school because there was obviously a lot of pressure to conform that situation made sense for me to be a Steelers fan at school and a Raiders fan at home. That's political expediency that's not conversion. We need to call people to repentance and faith right, not just a quick high-pressure emotional kinds of decisions. And God is used historically got accused crisis decisions and high-pressure approaches over the years to bring about true conversion and that may be your story, but these kinds of approaches have also produced numbers and scores of false converts. People who, in the words of one author are excited about heaven, but board by Christians in the local church. They think heaven will be great. Whether God is there or not. Like Jesus, they, like Jesus, but they didn't sign up for the rest, obedience, holiness, discipleship, and suffering. They can't tell the difference between obedience motivated by love and legalism there bothered by other people. Since more than their own in the whole grace.
She and their own comfort costly.
We set be careful that our methods of evangelism don't encourage those kinds of false conversions. Someone conversion includes both the from and the 22. Conversion is not a turning from hell to heaven. Conversion is not a turning from hell to heaven many well-intentioned Christians have distorted the gospel and presenting it in those terms.
It's a turning from idols to serve the living and true God. It's a re-orientation upward K. It is a heaven focus based on force the saloons one but notice they turn upward to wait notches for heaven but to wait for his son from heaven.
So what we make of professing Christians who read their Bible to go to church.
They do the right things and yet they have no apparent relationship with Jesus Christ. No apparent affection or love for Christ. American theologian Jonathan Edwards described a true Christian is someone who'd been given its haste for God experienced a sense of sweetness of knowing God.
Going back to Spurgeon in relationship to his own conversion. As you may know he was in a snowstorm and he ducked into a primitive Methodist Chapel and there was a substitute lay preacher preaching that day and he read his text, Isaiah 4522 look unto me and be saved. All the ends of the earth, for I am God and there is none else. And Spurgeon relates how he just kept on saying that an basically reiterating that at one point in the message. She looked to Spurgeon. He said that young man looks very miserable, and he shouted as sick primitive Methodist could do look look young man look now to Jesus and Spurgeon rights and then I had this vision not a vision to my eyes. But to my heart. I saw what a Savior. Christ was and now I can never tell you how it lies but no but I no sooner saw who I was the believe that. I also understood what it was to believe. I did believe in one moment that's the object that's the right object of faith turning from idols to God to Christ. The object of our faith is not our prayer. The object is not the date of that prayer.
The object is not the recollection that the the clarity of our recollection of the details of that prayer. The object of our faith is not her mother's reassurances and reminders is not the sincerity of our prayer is not are going down an island filling out a decision card. The object of our trust must be in Christ and Christ alone.
So question have you turned that he turned to Christ and turning to Christ. Have you abandon all other alternatives. All other forms of righteousness and your sin which keeps you from Christ my own testimony is that for numbers of years I had was making decisions on a regular basis to be saved and I would record those decisions in the flyleaf of my Bible every time I got saved. I will put the date in that top blank page at the beginning of my Bible.
I got to the point where I was scratching those dates, outputting new dates in that I started writing them in pencil because I assume that had to come back and erase it and put the new data tape. At that point, the object really of my assurance and trust was a particular date written in my Bible. It wasn't on Christ. It wasn't until I came here as a freshman and when my professors pointed out that believe in the New Testament is a present tense verb.
It is something that is focused on the object Christ that it finally made sense to me.
I'm not looking back and look looking down looking looking at Christ's precise and would you think of a guy who says he has a has a girlfriend because he's got a picture of her hidden under his pillow and see like so you know you guys get to hang out very much like now know it wouldn't really spend any time together. You know, we really, really don't get along that well together, but your boyfriend girlfriend yeah got this and get this picture. See the picture. Here's the proof of the relationship right after while you begin to question whether that was a true relationship. If there's any looking back in Scripture it's looking back and basing our trust in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead were three conversion is evidence of God's election, and gospel power in the work of the Holy Spirit. First Thessalonians chapter 1 verse four, to take the time to go into that but look at that passage and Paul will give evidences of the Thessalonians conversion specific evidences fruit manifestation evidence that there is true life that's conversion, that's the human side of turning in repentance and faith. Then there's regeneration that particular word occurs two times in the New Testament, but there are lots of concepts that are similar like John three born-again born of the spirit John one born of God.
Second Corinthians 5 new creation. Titus 35 renewing of the Holy Spirit, which give you a couple of observations quickly about regeneration. The new birth assumes that a change is necessary. The fact that we need to be born again assumes that a change is necessary. Why is that because the Bible describes us in very unflattering terms. The Bible describes us as being blind is being deaf as being dead or something wrong with us at the core and that's why it requires transformation at the core fundamental reorientation at the heart level for being an idolater to being a lover of Jesus Christ.
We need to be born again. That's exactly what Jesus says in John chapter 3, number two. Regeneration is a reversal of what we are by nature so it is a fundamental reorientation and we go from being dead in our trespasses and sins that having new sensitivities, new spiritual inclinations new spiritual affections, a love for Jesus Christ that wasn't there before.
Remember as a teenager, my idol was was baseball and I live for baseball love baseball pursued baseball and when I became a Christian when I was finally converted as a high school student. There was something that that change. There was there was a fundamental change in my disposition. My orientation so that those things that I love so much that work governing my life no longer held that power and sway something was broken. Something snapped conversion regeneration don't make nice people are good people. They make new people remember my freshman roommate when I was a sophomore in school, came from really good home.
He was actually ministry student love to study the Bible. He had all these theology books on a shelf and I'm talking him in the first couple of days. I realize this guy, this guy is not converted. This guy doesn't even know Christ and I talked about the gospel nine shared with him the good news and eat trusted Christ and was truly converted and now is no longer matter of theology and doctrine and morality.
Now it was a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Regeneration number three require supernatural divine transformation.
This isn't just self-help. This is a just personal reformation. This isn't just educating ourselves.
This is divine transformation and renewal at the core and in the referral regeneration is the beginning of a process of growth, it that it's the implanting of God's life in us that then begins his process of growth and development and so one of the ways that you know they really have experienced this conversion and this new birth is that there is life in you. So I wound up here today and say what you know some he said to me how you know you exist. But how do you know you're really in existence. I went in to look for a copy of my birth certificate and hold it up and say what I know I exist because I have this document have this certification of his piece of paper that says that I was born, none of us would do that we would look to the fact that work here and were living in were breathing their evidences of life and so one of the things that I want to do is just give you.
I know you can't really I do. Can't see the details of this kind of wanted to extend the sermon little bit and give you a Bible project. So if you're interested in in writing down maybe take a snapshot of that that short link there.
This is, this would be a Bible project from first Peter chapter 1 running through chapter 2 verse four which is really the text that I wanted to preach on this morning as knew I was going to have a get into it and I would like for you to take to consider taking that passage chapter 1 talks about the new birth two times and it also gives evidences of the new birth, how do you know you're alive in Jesus Christ because there are manifestations of life.
Like loving Christ like joy, like a desire for the word for the Scriptures and one of the things that we need to do as Paul tells us in second Corinthians 13 five is to examine ourselves to see whether we be in a faith test yourself, prove yourself and do that by looking at Scripture and what God actually says regeneration is the merciful work of God based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ to grant new life to spiritually capable spiritually insensitive centers whom, by the work of the Holy Spirit turn in repentance and faith and it results in this fundamental reorientation of life and is not toward religion and is not toward due Buddhism is not toward being nice it's it's toward Christ loving, committed relationship with Jesus Christ. That process of that that new birth begins his process of growth and course something grows, it can be in its seed form, it doesn't mean that every person is can have the full flower. But there's gotta be some evidence that there is the life of God in us and we gotta test ourselves and assess ourselves on that basis, you might need to have a conversation with someone that knows you well my niece, they do talk to God and spend some time in prayer and then this salvation will ultimately culminate in our being with Christ when he appears, that's can be a beautiful day and that's the thing we really want, not just have but Jesus father. We do ask that you would grant to us a greater understanding of this work that you have done in our hearts. And I pray for those in the student body that you would open up the eyes of any who are self deceived.
Open up the eyes of any who might be sensing that there's nothing going on in their hearts with that there is a spiritual insensitivity. There's a callousness the spiritual things that, at the very least ought to concern the very least ought to drive them to some conversations with others and with you and pray that that kind of thing would be happening on this campus today and that you would be merciful as you are a gracious to implant your life into those who turn to you in faith and repentance. We pray in Christ name you been listening to a sermon preached by Carrie McGonigal, a professor in the Bob Jones University school of religion. Join us again tomorrow as we continue this series summarizing the doctrines of our Christian faith here on The Daily Platform