Labor Day Weekend is always a challenge when it comes to attendance in churches. Well, this weekend was typical as far as attendance, but it was a great day nonetheless! God really spoke and we say several people respond to His prompting.
We are in a series called “AWAKE!” and we are focusing on revival and awakening in the church, our community, nation and the world. We have talked about what it truly means to be saved…a Christ Follower. How do we know? There will be evidence of it in our lives if we are. We will be…
- Repentant…which we talked about last week.
- Regenerate…which was this week’s topic. What does that mean?
It is a word that is only found two times in the NT but it is essential to salvation. What did Jesus say about it? He talked about regeneration to one of the religious leaders one night in one of the most familiar passages in the Bible in John 3:1-7…where He said you MUST be born again. That is what regeneration means. Quite simply it means “re-birth.” One place we see the word regeneration is in Titus 3:3-7:
3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. 4But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, 5he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, 6whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
It means a change of heart, the new life of the Believer. In the secular use of this word by the Greeks, it meant a return to the way things were…as in springtime. But here, it means not a return to the way things were, but it is a totally new life at a higher level than before.
If we live our lives unchanged and remain in bondage to sin, no matter what we claim, we have no true knowledge of Christ (1 John 3:6 No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.). Not that you won’t sin, but it will not be a habitual practice in my life.
I shared some evidences that the great Jonathan Edwards once said about regeneration. If we are regenerate, according to Edwards, there will be in the life of the Christ Follower…
- “…delight in the excellency of God, His holy character and His truth.” Proverbs says “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Do I delight in Him, His truth, His word, His holiness?
- “…a sense of one’s own utter insufficiency.” I will never in my own strength, wisdom, works, efforts be able to regenerate myself. I cannot apart from Christ be adequate. I will never be able to BE the new creation apart from the work of the HS in me. HE makes me adequate in God’s eyes. Ephesians 2:8-9
- “…the “hateful nature” of one’s own sin.” If I am truly repentant and regeneration, new birth is taking place in me, I will hate my sin.
- “…repentance.” we talked all about this last week. Turning away from my self and my sin and changing direction toward God.
- “…dependence on God’s provision of righteousness.” God alone makes me righteous…it is not anything I can do.
- “…change of nature.” …when I am dependant on God, HE changes my nature…I will be different…I may still sin and struggle with the pull of the old nature, but I will be characterized by a new nature…I WILL be different…because God’s word has promised that.
- “…creation of a new disposition in the likeness of Christ.” Romans 8:29
- “…fruit lived out in our daily life.” …what fruit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” the fruits of the Spirit…which only He can put in us through regeneration.
The Bottom line is that regeneration can only happen by God…we cannot do it ourselves. So, this all begs the question, “Are you born again? Are you regenerate…being made new?”
Jesus said you MUST be born again. He didn’t say you CAN be…as if there are other options…He said you MUST be born again.
12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:12-13
Are you truly born again? Not asking if you have been baptized, said a prayer, walked an aisle, had an emotiona experience…
Is the HS living in you making you new day by day? I fear that many who claim the name of Christ-follower are not. If I am truly a believer, if I am truly saved, I will be repentant and I will be regenerate..born again…by the HS and not by anything I can do. What would happen in our churches, if everyone who says they are Christian, really was born again? I don’t think we can even imagine the impact it would have on our world today. God wants to revive and regenerate the church. How will we respond?
Ridgers, don’t miss next Sunday as we look at the final element of knowing for sure that we are a Christ follower and the essentials of revival in the church, in part 4 of “AWAKE!”
ALSO…there is gonna be some BIG NEWS that we need to bring before the church to pray about. Don’t miss this Sunday! We need everyone there to hear this and to seek God together as HIS Church @ The Ridge.