Being Born Again, Part 2
We will continue with the series about being born again. We will talk about the death that actually takes place. In order for us to really have the faith, and to allow God to work within us the new life, we have to see exactly what happens in terms of death. What we really hope through all of this is that you will go back before God and humble yourself and allow him to do his work. He longs desperately to pour out to us the new life.
Genesis 2:15-17 – The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
The serpent said to the woman in Genesis 3:4, “You will not surely die,” and to this day men believe that they are not dead. What does God have to do most of the time with even his own children and especially with the world? Does he not have to spend most of his time convincing them that they are dead? Even for those of us who have walked a little bit in the Spirit and know the crucifixion of the flesh, much time has to be spent convincing us that we are wrong, that we need to change or that we are dead. We really do not believe that we will die or that we are dead. Even within the church, God comes along with his commands, his directions, and what he says should be done, but people do not believe they will die. They think they can escape the commandments of God and somehow still live. People really do not believe that they are dead. Even within the church today, people do not have the thought that they are really corrupt, vile and have need to change. Indeed the attitude seems to be that we can continue to do what we are doing and we will not die. There’s not humility and surrender there. There’s not even a desire for it. One of the first signs of the fact that you really are in sin is that you begin to protest that you are not guilty. Immediately after Adam and Eve sinned they tried to say they weren’t guilty and somebody else was to blame. We do not and are not willing to see just how corrupt we are.
When God looks at mankind and sees what we have become, scripture says that God is grieved that he made us. It says that he is filled with pain. So go home and take a long, hard look in the mirror and say, “When God looks at me it fills him with pain.” To even consider that he had to send Jesus Christ to die for us caused him a great deal of suffering.
Genesis 6:5-7 – The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, “I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth―men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air―for I am grieved that I have made them.”
We are a total regret. Yet people talk about Jesus dying for them as if it was really just a casual thing of heaven. They think that somehow God knew in the beginning that Jesus would have to come and die. All of that foreknowledge may be true but they talk about it as if it’s some kind of cold callused calculation on God’s part that he knew Jesus would have to die. It’s really the attitude of a wicked child toward his parent. You fix him meals, you take care of him and he thinks that’s what is expected of you. You’re required to do that. You have no choice in the matter. It’s just something you should do. So in the same way God knows he’s going to have to send Jesus Christ to die for man and scripture says he was grieved that he had made man and put him on the earth. He was filled with pain in his heart. He regretted the fact that he made you and brought you into life. That is how wicked and vile we have become. You almost get a sense from the passage that even God is amazed at how wicked and vile we have become. Even he was impressed with the depth to which we have sunk. Yet we don’t walk around with the attitude of realizing that we are indeed a regret. God regrets that he made me, that I exist, and that he took the time and the effort to even create me. If we really believed that we would give ourselves over more willingly to be corrected and to be given the new life. If we really realized how desperately evil we are, we would run to him and ask him to work the new life. We would surrender our will and let him begin to work that process in us. But we are not convinced of the fact. We really don’t believe it. We justify ourselves. We have excuses. The minute you begin to talk about the things that need to change in a person’s life, you will hear all kinds of justifications. If we do something right in Jesus Christ it really should be a shocking thing. Yet we protest every time God comes along with something small to correct us in. “What do you mean? You mean I would do something wrong? That wasn’t the motive of my heart. My inclination wasn’t to do evil. I wanted to do good.” We have all the protests there so we never get the new life. If a man wants the new life then he has to be willing to be corrected. He has to be willing to be shown that God regrets ever making him.
Romans 7:18 – I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
Paul says he knows and he is convinced. It is solid in his heart, mind and soul. He knows himself so well that he is thoroughly convinced and realizes that not one good thing dwells in him.
Psalms 51:5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
How many men do you know that are convinced that in the womb they were in sin? Who talks about the fact that they sinned way back then and were completely corrupt? God is grieved that I am being born and regrets that I exist. When I come forth out of the womb and I am born he is filled with pain. Nobody talks about those things. Men have to be convinced that they are wicked and we cannot embrace the new life if we will not see clearly who we are. If we will not see how corrupt and dead we really are why would we allow God to do his work? Isn’t that the problem of mankind and especially in the church? People will not admit just how dead they are therefore they will not allow the Spirit to do his work.
Psalms 51:5 – Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
We are not convinced of it and so when we deal with other people we are not convinced that they are utterly corrupt. Our spreading of the gospel is based on whitewash and compromise because we don’t approach people from an attitude of “you are completely corrupt. You fill God with pain. There isn’t one good thing that lives in you.” Because we are not convinced that it is true in us. Now don’t think that you can listen to this sermon and get this. This is something that God has to place in your heart. This is something that He has to pound and put within us, and we have to allow him to do that work. Now the problem is most of us won’t allow him to do the work. We’ll repeat the head knowledge and say, “Yeah, I need to change and become different.” But we will not allow him to do the work. Otherwise we would be filled with the pain and tears that come from heaven that really would produce life. Men don’t like the new life. They want the old life cleaned up. But God doesn’t come along to clean up the old life, he comes to give us brand new life. That is a new soul, a new spirit, and eventually a new body.
Let’s look at this death a little bit closer. Remember well that first of all our spirits died. We were separated from God, from life, and therefore every action that we do is evil and corrupt. From the most loving embrace of a child to the most wicked act that you can think of, everything is on an equal plane. When something is totally dead it doesn’t really matter. If there was a body in a casket, you couldn’t say, “The liver is fine but the brain is dead.” You wouldn’t say, “Well, at least he’s healthy in that part of his body, but he’s dead up here.” If the body is dead, the whole body is corrupt and it is of no value and no use. My goodness, when a body dies and we need parts for transplants they have to get it within moments of death because everything decays and falls apart. The body is of no use after several hours. Second of all, our souls died. That is, we were death alive. Our personalities are death. We are walking, living, breathing, death. Third, of course, our bodies are constantly dying. From the moment that you were born, your body is fighting off death. Have you ever heard of the death agony when somebody on the very edge of dying, is desperately trying to stay alive. Through the whole process of life what are we constantly doing? Our bodies are continuing to die and are under wrath.
Psalms 36:1 – An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin.
This is the core of the problem. We don’t get the new life because we flatter ourselves. We can’t even detect or see our sin. We can’t even notice that it’s there because we flatter ourselves. That doesn’t mean that you run around saying, “Oh gee, I’m God and I don’t do anything wrong,” but it means that there’s this justification and flattery about who we are so that we can not even detect it, let alone hate it. Therefore we don’t allow God to bring to us the new life. Just think about it for a moment. If you decided today that you will resolve to not lie to yourself and say “I can’t do anything right. I can’t think anything right, and everything about me is falling apart. I am in total decay and I am completely worthless. I fill God with pain.” You throw yourself with that attitude on the mercy seat, what do you think he’s going to pour out to you? Even if you’re wrong. Which of course, you’re not going to be wrong. But we don’t give ourselves over to him for that kind of life, so that we don’t have life. We don’t come to him clinging to the mercy seat. Who needs mercy if you can’t detect your sin? Who needs life if you think you are alive? Who goes up to a person that’s alive and says, “You need to live.” So God has to spend most of his time convincing us that we are just dead. Yes, it’s going to cost you tears. Literally, it’s going to cost you tears. You will feel that pain in your soul and your heart. But to the degree that you cry and weep on the mercy seat, will be the degree that you will receive and allow the new life to do its work.
Psalms 36:3 – The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful…
We lie! And we live a lie and justify ourselves.
Psalms 36:3 – …he has ceased to be wise and to do good.
We are completely and absolutely corrupt.
Psalms 36:4-5 – Even on his bed he plots evil; he commits himself to a sinful course and does not reject what is wrong. Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
If all we talk about is how corrupt and vile we are but we never see Jesus Christ and the mercy seat, then we are just in self-pity. And there are a lot of people in institutions that way. There are people going through therapy that way. They are all depressed saying they can’t do anything right because they will not cling to him who will give life. They would rather wallow in their death or who they are not or who they think they should be, rather than cling to Jesus Christ who will give them the new life. But the true Christian, the balanced Christian (whatever that term means) is one who sees fully that he fills God with pain. He knows he is totally corrupt, but then he turns to God with all that death and wickedness. He clings to the mercy seat as he proclaims “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” Now how can a man get to a place where he really believes that the faithfulness of God reaches to the heavens? How can we really get to a place where we have the faith to believe that God’s faithfulness reaches to the skies? Most of us have a feeling of God being faithful even in the smallest of things. Most of us have an idea or concept that God is faithful. We read Old Testament stories and we see how God was faithful to everyone and how he did many miracles. We have this general concept of faith. “Oh, I just need to trust the Lord with my day.” Or “I’m really irritable and I really need to trust him.” Our faith is about 3 inches tall. Why is it that we don’t have the faith to believe that his faithfulness and love reaches to heaven? Because we haven’t seen the depth of how dead we are. He who has been forgiven much, loves much. He who has humbled himself much, realizes how high God is. And the lower that I sink, the more I will see him who is in the heavens. If you want to have the joy that comes from heaven and the peace that flows from him to be able to say, “Lord, your love reaches to the heavens,” then you have to see how corrupt and wicked you are in his sight on a daily and hourly basis. Now is the time for that. But the more you justify and flatter yourself, the more you cannot detect your sin. Flattery keeps you from ever really saying, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens.” You cannot take it in or appreciate it. You’re not given the new life. It’s really that simple.
Psalms 36:6 – Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the great deep. O Lord, you preserve both man and beast.
Again, how can he say, “O Lord, your righteousness is like the mighty mountains?” How can David really feel this? How can he walk with the attitude on a daily basis of saying, “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains?” The only way he could do this was to realize how corrupt and defiled he really was and how deviant he really was and then God delivered and saved him from that. When a man really gains the righteousness of God in his life then he can say, “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains.” Do you want the new life? I know we say that we do. Well the only way to get it is to humble ourselves.
Psalms 36:7 – How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
How much do you walk in the shadow of his wings? How much do you really have of the new life? It all depends on how much pain you realize you’ve caused God. Of how much you grieve him by your actions, your thoughts, your spirit, and what your body is doing.
Psalms 36:7 – How priceless is your unfailing love!
Only a man who is convinced that nothing good lives in his sinful nature knows how priceless God’s love is. Only a man who is not only being convicted of his daily sins, but who can also say, “I sinned in my mother’s womb. I sinned when she first conceived me,” sees the truth about himself. Most of us don’t even bother to think about these things. In fact, we are told in the church today just to forget the past, aren’t we? Not so, with David. He sees who he is. He not only sees the sins that he committed in the last hour or the last week, but in terms of from the time his mother conceived him. So he is able to say, “How priceless is your unfailing love.” You sense that his whole heart is poured out to God. Why do we miss that? And why don’t we have it? Why don’t we walk with the same attitude and joy? Why are we so downcast all the time? Why don’t we have the new life? It is very simple. You will not humble yourself to let him communicate to you and show you in all the ways that he can, just how vile and dead you really are. Goodness, if your brothers and sisters find it difficult to point out sins to you, how much more difficult does God find it to be? If I have to spend hours and days convincing you that something is wicked, what does God have to do when it comes to the attitudes of your heart that I cannot see or the thoughts of your mind that I cannot hear? You miss the new life because you won’t admit how dead you are.
Psalms 36:8 – They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights.
Do we walk in this? This is what the new life is about. Has he not contrasted the life of the wicked? The life of the wicked is downcast and miserable. A wicked man cannot detect his sins. He does not have the river of delight. How much do we walk within the river of delight of the new life? How much day by day are we being filled up and saying, “Oh, Lord, your love is unfailing. I see my wickedness. I see who I am and how I fill you with pain, Oh Lord, despise not the work of your hand.” And then he pours out his love and mercy. All we can do is back up and say, “Oh, Lord, how precious is your unfailing love.” No, we want the joy and the peace of the world. We want rest right now. Yet we don’t realize that it’s his love that causes us to go through everything. It is his love that allows me to admit who I am. But we don’t want to detect our sin and so we flatter ourselves.
Psalms 36:9 – For with you is the fountain of life;
Remember man is separated from life. God is the fountain, he is the place where life begins. He is the river where it flows forth. When a man cuts himself off from that source, he is completely and absolutely dead. There is no life in him.
Psalms 36:9 – For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.
In his light we understand and see what light is. In other words, man has his own light. That light is darkness. Man has his own fires that he walks by and examines things through. But that leads to death. We don’t even understand what light is until we come into his light.
Psalms 36:10 – Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.
What did he just say in verse nine? You are a fountain of life. If we separate from God, that river of righteousness is cut off. It is choked and stopped. “Continue your love to those who know you, your righteousness to the upright in heart.” Do you want victory over sin? Do you want the new life and the joy that comes from him? Then you have to remain in that relationship with him. As you begin to stay in step with the Spirit you begin to value that relationship with him. Not whether or not you can justify or flatter yourself, but whether or not you are in communication with him. And when you begin to sense that his Spirit is going away and you are grieving the Holy Spirit, if it’s of value to you, you will back up and stop and ask, “Oh, Lord, what is happening?” You will say, “Continue your love. Don’t take rivers of delight from me. Don’t remove yourself from me.”
Psalms 36:11-12 – May the foot of the proud not come against me, nor the hand of the wicked drive me away. See how the evildoers lie fallen―thrown down, not able to rise!
We are given the opportunity for a new life where we rise up and fellowship with God if we continue on our course and allow other people to continue on their course. They will fall down at some point unable to rise. They are cut off from the foundation of life, they do not have life, and when they eventually fall they will never rise again.
John 4:14 – …but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
It will become in him a spring welling up and growing. Do we not see a growing process here? We have to understand very clearly that when it comes to the matter of the new life we are still in the womb. It remains to be seen how many of us will really come to gain the new life. Ephesians 4:17 reminds us that we died first of all spiritually. All the things we do are totally and completely corrupt. There isn’t one good thing that you do.
Ephesians 4:17 – So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord. . .
Why would he insist on it in the Lord? Because he’s convinced that nothing good lives in his sinful nature. He knows this to be true.
Ephesians 4:17-18 – So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God. . .
They are separated from the foundation again. The new life is a surrendered, empty life that allows God to pour his life through you. Many people pick up the things of scripture and mock those things as they live the “new life,” but it is not the new life that comes from a fountain. Read on to see why they do not have the new life. I want you to be convinced of this.
Ephesians 4:18 – They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Whenever you try to explain scripture to someone or try to get somebody to the cross to present new life to them and they do not understand, there is only one cause. That cause is a hard heart. That is what you need to explain to them. The reason they miss the new life and are not gaining it is because their hearts are hard.
Ephesians 4:19 – Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more.
If you don’t believe this, just watch somebody who is in love with sports. They never have enough. A continual lust for more. We have already seen in Genesis 6:5 that the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil all the time. Our souls died. We became wicked and evil continually, all the time. There wasn’t one thing that we did that was good and noble.
Our bodies are dying also, and what is the body but a reflection of what is in the heart. First we died spiritually, then our souls died and then our bodies saw decay. The whole reason that we reach a place of being in a casket is because we are dead spiritually. To the degree that a person is dead in a casket is the same degree that he’s dead spiritually apart from Jesus Christ. There is nothing there. We are complete death. It’s just a matter of time. When God said we would die indeed everything died.
1 Corinthians 15:56 – The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
What gives death its power but the fact that we sinned and our bodies are constantly decaying, constantly falling apart.
Genesis 6:3 – Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
God set a limit and said, “That’s it.” Because everything had died he cannot hold man together and will not continue to contend for man. He will not continue to show man that kind of mercy where he remains physically alive. He will let sin take its course. He will let us have what we wanted and what we wanted was death rather than Jesus Christ.
Psalms 90:8 – You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.
This is Moses talking.
Psalms 90:9 – All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
Men don’t believe this to be true, do they? In fact the people that believe it the least are people who claim to be Christians. They think they have the new life, everything is theirs and it’s all over with. Do we still not get the flu? Do Christians still not have to work? Does a woman still not have pain in childbirth? Does the ground still not produce weeds? Are we still not disciplined? Do we still not wake up with headaches or have pain in our bodies? Do we not continue every single day to walk under his wrath and his discipline? Is not all of this a result of sin? Does God not allow all these things to get man to repent?
Psalms 90:9 – All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan.
When we are done with this life, we are worn out. It’s only the young who think this world is grand.
Psalms 90:10 – The length of our days is seventy years―or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
Even now God is trying to convince man that he is utterly corrupt, but we won’t believe it. We trample all over the grace and new life that he has. We don’t let any of these things do their work. You hear people constantly say, “AIDS is not God’s judgment.” Every sickness, everything in this world that is not good is discipline and wrath. It is a foretaste of what is to come if we do not gain the new life. Even those of us who are Christians and given grace, even though his Spirit sustains us, we have to undergo this wrath. Because now is the time for us to be convinced that we need him. If he backed off and pulled those disciplines out of a Christian’s life, what would that person do? He would probably fall away from the Lord in an instant. Instead men are given thorns in the flesh. Instead we are put in situations and hardships so that we learn to be dependent upon God rather than our own selves. This is Moses who walked and fellowshipped with God and he says trouble and sorrow are what is our lot.
Psalms 90:11 – Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you.
Men don’t want to talk about the power of God’s anger. We don’t want to discuss God’s wrath. We are all saved and forgiven. We are all under his grace. We flatter ourselves too much to detect our sin. A man who realizes and is convinced that nothing good lives in his sinful nature will run and allow the new life to do its work. He then will fall in love with God and say, “Your unfailing love reaches to the heavens.” To the degree that you justify yourself on anything at all is the degree you rob yourself of the new life. Who knows the power of your anger, for your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you? How everyone underplays all of this.
Psalms 90:12 – Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Teach us to think about who we are. Teach us to think about the fact that we are under your discipline and wrath. Teach us to think about the misery that you are trying to work within our lives. Teach us to number our days and say, “Maybe I have 80 years. At tops I have 120. The odds are I have 70.” There should be a lot of discussion within the church about the day of death. When we are born again God doesn’t come along and just fix things up and make everything new. I want you to remember Psalm 90 because it’s going to become more important as we move on. Scripture says we are sown in dishonor and the more we allow the dishonor to do its work, the more we will be raised in a resurrection that has true life.
Hebrews 12:22-23 – But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect,
We are given a new spirit. It’s not like the old spirit is cleaned up. It’s not like God comes along and says, “We need to change a few things about you.” We have become utterly corrupt. Remember we fill him with pain, so the only thing he can do is crucify and get rid of our old spirit and give us a brand new one.
1 Peter 1:8-9 – Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Finally, the last thing that God works is a new body.
2 Corinthians 5:1-2 – Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,
Moses said we finish our years with a moan. We groan because of the discipline, because he’s trying to convince us that we need the new life. This occurs even among those who say they have the new life. So why is it that we physically have to die?
Romans 5:12-14 – Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned―for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
Remember well that we were made in the image of God. When we fell, each of us were made in the image of Adam. Jesus Christ came along and those who receive the new life are then going to be made in his image.
Romans 5:15-18 – But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
When Adam sinned we all fell because of his sin and our own. We were all in Adam’s image, that’s why David can say, “I was sinful from the time my mother conceived me.” He knew that was his beginning point. He was death just coming alive. In the same way, those who receive God’s new life are being made in his image and that birth process begins to take place unto a certain point when we are finally fully born again.
Romans 5:19-20 – For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
Why did God bring along the law to increase sin? What have we been seeing all along up to this point? Of what has God been trying to convince man? That he is dead. When God looks at man he is filled with pain. He regrets that he ever made us. The law comes along to convince us of the facts.
Romans 5:21 – …so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
In Hebrews 2:6 it tells us that right now we don’t see everything subject to Jesus Christ. This is why in scripture you will see, “You have become born again,” yet at the same time that work is not complete. In other words, if we continue to love God, if we continue to surrender and humble ourselves and let him do his work, we will receive that which he promised. So many Christians fall into all kinds of problems because they think they have overcome all this and have escaped the curse that is happening. Yet the curse must finish its work.
Hebrews 2:6 – But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?
Again, we are convinced of the fact that nothing good lives in us. Why would God even care about me? Yet men boast about the fact of how much God loves them and they were worthy enough for Jesus to die for. You are utterly worthless.
Hebrews 2:7-8 – You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor and put everything under his feet.” In putting everything under him, God left nothing that is not subject to him. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to him.
He has gained the victory. He says it is finished. Everything will be put under his feet yet we don’t see that happening yet. There’s a time lag between God’s finished work and our spiritual completion. The important thing to see is that your salvation, your new life is not something you can claim as yours. It is not completely finished. There is a process that is taking place. No woman who is pregnant with a baby claims to have given birth or offers to introduce you to her baby. She says she’s going to have a baby and the hope is that life will be full, normal, healthy, and alive.
Romans 8:17 – Now if we are children, then we are heirs―heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
There’s a big “if.” Do we want to share in his glory? Do we want to be made in his image? Do we really want to give up the image of Adam and gain the image of Jesus Christ? When he comes to bring this salvation, when we are found worthy for salvation, do we really want it? Do we want to allow him to do the work? The only way we have it is if we indeed share in his sufferings. There’s a lot of people running around saying they are Christians and are born again, but you don’t look at their life and see them sharing in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. This will all come together as we continue to study.
Revelation 3:1 – To the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
What is God trying to convince these Christians of? They are dead. Men do not allow God to work the humility and brokenness that comes from him. We are so right. We are so justified. We serve Jesus Christ and claim the blood of the lamb. We are in such a proper relationship. We are filled with the Holy Spirit. He answers our prayers. All the things a man has yet he will not allow God to deal with the sin in his life. You have a reputation of being alive. You think you are alive, but you are dead. To the degree that a man lives within the sufferings of Jesus Christ on a daily basis, and sees how dead and corrupt he is will be to the degree that he allows God to work the new life. It’s really that simple.
Revelation 3:2-3 – Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
The terminology “Come like a thief,” is applied to pagans. He is telling them they are about to die. He will come when we do not expect him. Paul says in Thessalonians that this day should not catch you by surprise.
Revelation 3:4 – Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.
Not everyone who is going through the process of being born again will be found worthy.
Revelation 3:5 – He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
Their name was in the book. They are Christians. They taste of the new life. What happens when you blot something out? For us today it’s called “white out.” You remove it. But people act like, “I’ve been born again.” Oh, yeah? You made it all the way to heaven, did you? You’ve already received the fullness of God’s salvation. You don’t finish your days with a moan. You are not learning anything from the discipline. You’ve made it and are alive. Nobody wants to talk about being found worthy. That’s “legalism” and salvation by works. It’s not “legalism,” it’s the truth. A man who will not humble himself and let God bring him the new life is not worthy of the new life. A man that will not allow God to humble, break and convince him that there’s not one good thing that lives in him (in his sinful nature) is not worthy. Remember everything is not yet at his feet, but it will be. That’s why you have to die.
Hebrews 9:27 -Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,
We are destined. It will happen.
Hebrews 9:28 – …so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
What is he going to do when he appears the second time? He is not coming to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. He will bring salvation with him? Yet everybody talks like, “I’ve got it. It’s mine. I have been born again. It is complete.” Jesus Christ is bringing salvation with him. It will be completed and death will be overcome. We will be completely reborn again and everything will be finished. The power is there. It is available. It is yours if you want it.” Now is the time to see whether we are worthy to walk with him. He will bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. But if you have an attitude or teach that salvation is yours and all you have to do is claim it, then who works out their salvation with fear and trembling? Why bother to let God convict and break you?
Romans 8:22 – We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.
What did Moses say? If all of creation is moaning, how much more are we who are under his discipline?
Romans 8:23 – Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
We are waiting for it. We are in the process of giving birth. The new life is beginning its process but it is not complete. We are waiting for it.
Romans 8:24 – For in this hope we were saved.
What is the hope? The hope is that I will be saved and the new life will be completed. But if you already have it and it’s complete then why give yourself over to God to cleanse you and make you clean? If you listen to the lying pastors who just tell you to claim it and it’s yours then you are not going to listen to any type of correction or purification that comes from God, are you? Of course not. Because they don’t have any reason to hope. It’s already fulfilled in them.
Romans 8:24 – For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?
Who hopes for what he already has? The evidence is overwhelming! We still have to die. I do not have the fullness of the new life. If I did I would not have to die. If I was born again and there was a completely finished work, this body would not decay. I would not get sick or have a headache. I wouldn’t have to work any more. The ground wouldn’t produce weeds. All of those things work for the good to humble a man, break him and bring him new life. But who hopes for what he already has? The reason men are not purified and the reason we don’t enjoy the new life is we don’t hope for it. We don’t sense our need for the new life. We don’t just sit down and say, “I am so weary of myself and the wickedness that dwells in me. I can’t wait for Jesus Christ to bring me salvation and bring this life to a close.” And so Christians love the world, they love the sin, they love the party because salvation is theirs. They believe they are complete. They have been lied to.
Romans 8:25 – But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you are mature and complete. Do you want to be mature and complete in Jesus Christ? Do you want the fullness of the new life? Do you want to walk with him dressed in white? Then begin to hope for what you don’t have. Begin to let the conviction sink in. Begin to see just how unspiritual we are and how much we need to change and run to the mercy seat. Walk with some humility and cry out. Hope and long for it because everyone who has this hope purifies himself.
2 Corinthians 4:16 – Therefore we do not lose heart.
As we have seen before he’s tempted to lose heart. All of mankind is under the discipline of God. Everybody has to work and labor, everybody experiences pain and death. But if you come along and give yourself to God he then begins an even more powerful work. He then begins the process of humility and brokenness in all the ways he works it.
2 Corinthians 4:16 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
How are you wasting away right now in Jesus Christ? In what way can you say you are about ready to lose heart because you are wasting away in Jesus? I’m finishing my days with a moan because I am wasting away outwardly. I sense more and more every single day as he begins to work his process of discipline and life within me that I am wasting, dying, and falling apart. I am becoming weaker and weaker. Most people are not given over enough to the work of the Lord to even know what he’s talking about, let alone allowing the Holy Spirit to bring this about.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
You will have to fix your eyes on Jesus or you’re going to lose heart. Because everything else will distract you. God comes along and begins to show you the pride of your heart and if you begin to waste away and see your pride you’re going to have to fix your eyes on Jesus. This is not minor discipline. He’s talking about dealing with the heart of man and working the new birth. The way the new birth comes about is by dying to self so he can bring the new life. That is a suffering process. You will say you are outwardly wasting away. You have given yourself to God, so he comes along and says he’s going to take your life. He will waste you. He will put you to death and deal with you. To the degree that you refuse that, object to it and complain about it and justify all the things he’s trying to show you, you will miss saying he has rivers of life and delight within him.
1 Corinthians 15:21-23 – For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.
Are you not in the process of being born again? Is that not what’s being said here? Is it yours? Is it complete? Do you hope for what you already have? Do you reckon it as, “Oh, well, it’s mine. There’s no need to allow God to do this process.” He’s trying to give birth.
1 Corinthians 15:22-26 – For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
Death has not been destroyed yet, but it will be. Death reigns in our bodies because sin has not totally been overthrown yet. We are in the process of being found worthy of eternal life. Those people will walk with him, fellowship with him and belong to him. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
1 Corinthians 15:27-30 – For he “has put everything under his feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ. When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all. Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them? And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?
Now look at this:
1 Corinthians 15:31 – I die every day―I mean that, brothers―just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.
How do you die every day? How can you turn to somebody that you are sharing the gospel with and say, “I die every day. I mean that.” When they ask how, and you will be able to tell them. Unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it has no life. Why do people think they have eternal life and forgiveness and it’s all complete, without falling to the ground and dying? Jesus said unless you deny yourself, come follow me and pick up your cross, you cannot be my disciple and walk with me. I die daily brother, and I mean it. Outwardly we are wasting away. It was through the body that we sinned. The fruit was pleasing to the eye. It was good fruit. It was through the body that sin entered in. In the same way, if God will deal with us and crucify us, what is he going to begin to work? “If indeed we share in the sufferings of Christ.” He will be begin to put this body through some sufferings in order to show us what’s in the heart and soul so that he might give us the new life and we might be willing to allow him to do it. How people love to talk doctrine and debate, but when is the last time you heard anybody say, “I die daily and I mean it.” When is the last time you were in a doctrinal debate with somebody and you said, “Hold it a minute. How do you die daily?” How we talk about all kinds of things in God! What was the sin in the garden of Eden―the tree of knowledge of good and evil. We talk about scripture but nobody ever stops to ask, “How do you die daily. How are you participating in the sufferings of Jesus Christ? How can I follow your example in this?” No, everybody has salvation that’s complete. They don’t bother to hope for it.
1 Corinthians 15:32-33 – If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Anyone who doesn’t die daily and claims to be a Christian, you should not be associating with.
1 Corinthians 15:34 – Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God―I say this to your shame.
Paul doesn’t say, “I don’t want to offend you. You’ve got all the spiritual gifts. You guys speak in tongues. You are really blessed of God. I don’t want you to take this personal or anything, but you know there are just some things you are ignorant of, in God. I know we all need to grow and all these things need to change.” He says, “I say this to your shame.” A man who is convinced that nothing good lives in him that is in his sinful nature, that he is beyond corruption, will be willing to accept whatever God has to bring and when God brings the shame he just simply says, “Yes, Lord,” and embraces the new life. He comes back to his senses.
1 Corinthians 15:35-36 – But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
How is it that all the Christians out there are claiming to have the new life, yet they don’t die? How is it that everybody is born again and has the new life, but when you examine their life you don’t see a dying process? How is that possible? How is that the gospel of Jesus Christ? I don’t get it. Paul says that unless you die there is no life. You can lay a seed on a window sill all day long and it’s not going to do anything. It has to die. It has to be buried.
1 Corinthians 15:36 – How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.
You have to die. You have to share in his sufferings. Peter says you have to suffer in your body to be rid of sin.
1 Corinthians 15:37-38 – When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.
Are you catching on to what’s happening now? God comes along and he says, “I’m going to give you the new life,” and you take that new life. You are born again. Conception begins. The process starts. You then begin to fall to the ground and you allow death to work its process. You waste away outwardly as you participate in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. You continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. You do all these things and allow God to work that. What is happening. You are in the process of being born again. You begin to hope for the completion of it and long for God to bring the salvation. Let’s get this over with, let’s get life, let’s get going. For a woman who is pregnant, nine months is a long time. She wants the life. She wants the baby. She wants to hold that child. Yes, being pregnant has its joys and glories. There is a joy and grace in all this, but you have to fall to the ground. You have to die. We are in the process of dying. The more that you die, the more that God will be able to finally bring about the new life that he has in mind. I don’t have a clue what you’ll be. This body, everything that we are is falling to the ground and dying. We have not the slightest clue of what we will gain in Jesus Christ. There may be a different body may be for each one of us.
1 Corinthians 15:38-40 – But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another. The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor.
What does this scripture say we will shine like when Jesus Christ returns and we have salvation? Like stars in the universe. I have no clue what you will be. The important thing for us to understand is that we are a seed being thrown to the ground. If we die and let him do the work, if he brings the water, he will raise you up and give you the completeness of the new life. What you will be you’ll discover then. But who of us in this world shine like stars in the universe? Who of us is completed and has the new life complete within us? Some seeds that you plant in the ground do not go on to die. They rot in the ground. There are a lot of people rotting in Jesus Christ and complaining about it, but not learning to die.
1 Corinthians 15:41-42 – The sun has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and star differs from star in splendor. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable;
When you are resurrected, when it’s complete, that’s when you can say, “I am born again. My hope is complete. It is finished. He has done the work. I have been found worthy. I walk with him. My robe is white, and I have the crown of life. I can drink from the river of life and eat from the tree of life.” Right now we waste away and finish our life with a groan. We are in the process of dying. Now is the time for tears. There are no tears in heaven. Now is your privilege and time to weep. Now is your time to be convinced of how corrupt you are in order that you may embrace the new life.
1 Corinthians 15:42-43 – So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;
How do I get the resurrected life? This body has to be sown in dishonor. What does that mean? It means to say, “I know that nothing good lives in my sinful nature.” It means that God comes along and whispers in our ear day in and day out, “Dishonor. Vile. You fill me with pain. That’s corrupt. This needs to change. This needs to die.” Do you understand he’s putting the seed in the ground and telling you that you must die? “This is your pride, it has to die. This is your lust, you have to deny it. This is what has to go. This has to be transformed.” All of this goes on day in and day out as long as we’re in the body. That’s why we groan. We long to get out of this body that has nothing but dishonor to it. We long to be clothed and not found naked. This is the process of being born again. This is what God is working. And a man that will not let God crucify him and share in the sufferings of Jesus Christ will not gain the new life. It is that simple because this body is sown in dishonor. Scripture says it is raised in glory. People who are without Jesus Christ and don’t allow this process to take place are continually in dishonor. Why do you think it’s a bottomless pit that wickedness increases constantly and it never stops? What does it say? It is sown in weakness, but it is raised in power. So Paul says, “Therefore, I do not lose heart. This happened so that we might depend upon God. We are weak in him but we will live to serve you.” A man who becomes weaker and weaker is on the verge of the new life. As I’m laying on my deathbed or wherever I die, that should be the weakest point of my life. That should be the very pinnacle of my dependence upon God. Since I have been taught and learned all through this life to be totally surrendered to Jesus Christ and the dying process finally takes place.
1 Corinthians 15:43-55 – …it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven. I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed―in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
When will this all be completed and the born again process end? When we have put on that which is immortal. When that which is perishable, corrupt and vile is gone, then we can say, “All things are at his feet. Death has been swallowed up.” But who hopes for what he already has? Who wants to walk around hoping they might be born again? It’s a little unsettling to have to say, “I hope I’m found worthy. I hope I’m born again.” Do you know what that hope produces? An unsettling dependence upon God that’s very lovely and precious. People who do not want it, don’t love God. They love the things they can get from Him. They are arrogant. The man who hopes for this sees his heart, and the corruption in his life yet runs to God and hangs on at all cost. Even if it costs him his pride, his flesh and his sin. He learns to be totally dependent on God and he no longer says, “I am God knowing good from evil.”
1 Corinthian 15:54-57 – …then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
People object to this message by saying, “How dare you question I’m born again, Jesus said it is finished and completed.” What this really means is if we give ourselves to God, continue to die to self and let him do the work in us, he will complete it, it will done. There is no excuse. No man can stand before God and say, “I wasn’t born again because you left something out. You didn’t give me the grace, the power.” It’s all there. It will happen. Life will take place. The only excuse of a man has for not being born again and not being found worthy is simply one thing―he didn’t want it.
1 Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you.
Don’t let every lie, whitewash, justification, false gospel and everybody saying, “Peace, peace,” move you from your course. You will be sown in dishonor. Don’t let anybody ever move you from that. You will be sown in weakness. Become weaker and weaker and let nobody move you from this course. Just because everyone else claims to be complete in Jesus Christ, don’t worry about it. Everybody else has all the blessings in Jesus Christ, and movements of the Spirit. Salvation is theirs. You hope that it’s yours and groan in that hope. Sow in weakness and allow it to take place. Let nobody move you, because they will try. You are a threat. So the question is will we fall and die? Are we even being sown? Can you really say that you die daily and I mean that? Are you even beginning the process? If not, don’t even begin to talk about being born again. Are you hating your own life? Are you becoming weaker and weaker but being renewed inside day by day? Do you understand the frustration a Christian goes through? Outside this body is warring against the soul. Inside a true Christian is becoming more and more righteous every day. He’s being renewed on the inside everyday but on the outside this body is dying and falling apart and demanding its way every single day. Our groaning begins to increase as we long to be clothed and made perfect. It says about Noah that he was tormented in his soul day after day because of the wickedness that surrounded him. There is power and victory in all of this. Inwardly you will be renewed day by day, but that body will be crucified. It will be sown in weakness and put to death. This is the new life and what God wants to bring.
Father make these things clear in our hearts that we might be fully dependent upon you. Show us, Father, the sufferings of Jesus Christ so that we might share also in his glory. And Father, may nothing move us from this path. May we always fix our eyes on Jesus so we don’t lose heart and just give up. We know, Father, that we finish our days with a moan but, Father, it is rich in hope. We know that this hope purifies and makes clean. Grant us your hope and love, Father. Let each of us be able to say that your faithfulness reaches to the skies and your righteousness is like the mighty mountains. Make us dependent upon you, O Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This transcription has been edited to a reader friendly format. Every effort has been made to be true to the speaker’s original message. Any mistranslations are unintentional.