Regeneration

June 6, 2009 Titus 3:5

 

Introduction

The English word “regeneration” simply means new birth, renewal or restoration. We find the word in Titus 3:5

Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

Do not allow the word “washing” to make you think of baptism, because regeneration, being born again, does not come through baptism.

Personal regeneration is the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the person who trusts Christ as his Savior.

Definition:  The word “regeneration” (born again) simply means the act of God by which new life is imparted to the person who trusts Christ as his Savior.

Regeneration does not simply put us back to where we would have been had Adam never sinned. Regeneration is birth into a brand-new life. If regeneration were only reformation, then the next time you sinned, you would have lost it. No, regeneration is the act of God whereby the very life of God is communicated to those who trust Christ as their Savior.

Lesson

The classic text on regeneration is John 3. There are several facts about regeneration and the new birth that need to be understood and they are given to us in this passage.

First:  We are confronted by the reality of the “New Birth”

The word “born” is used eight times in John 3:1-9.

  • Jesus is talking about a real experience – the reality of the new birth.
  • There are those who tell us that this experience of regeneration is psychological. They are incorrect.
  • They tell us that regeneration can be had by people even apart from faith in Jesus Christ. They are incorrect.
  • The new birth is a reality; it is as real as the experience as physical birth.
  • No one would deny his own physical birth, and we do not have to deny our spiritual birth.
  • Jesus said that the new birth is a reality.
  • If you would interview people who trusted Jesus, you would find out how real it is.

Peter: He knew what it was to trust in Jesus Christ and to experience this new birth. In his letters Peter tells us about this matter of being born again.

Matthew: Matthew was a publican and his life was radically changed because he trusted Christ and experienced the new birth.

The Thief on the Cross:  The thief turned to Jesus and said, “Remember me, Lord, when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:43). Because of his faith in Christ he was born again . Ask him whether or not it is a real experience.

Apostle Paul:  The leading young Jewish rabbi of his day, was persecuting the church when he met Jesus Christ. He put his faith in Jesus and he was born again.  It was a real experience.

  • When our Lord was ministering here on earth, everybody had some answers to the problems of life.
  • The Romans said the way to solve life’s problems is through the law, and you back up the law with the military.
  • The Greeks believed the way to solve life’s problems was with wisdom. People need schools, understanding and philosophy.
  • The Jews stated the way was with religion. You need sacrifices, a priesthood, and the temple.
  • Jesus of Nazareth said the answer was in your heart. The law will never change the heart; wisdom will never change the heart, religion will never change the heart, but regeneration will.
  • The reality of the new birth, the good news of the gospel, is this:

You can start all over again! You do not have to stay on the way you are; you can start over again.

  • Because there is such a thing as regeneration, you can be “born again.”

Second: The Simplicity of the New Birth

  • Jesus used birth as a simple illustration of what happens when a person is saved.
  • Nicodemus was a great teacher of Israel, yet he misunderstood what our Lord was talking about.
  • Read John 3:4

John 3:4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”

  • Nicodemus asked “how can a man be born when he old? Can he enter into his mother’s womb and be born?”
  • Jesus was talking about something spiritual but Nicodemus interpreted this as something physical.
  • Interpreting something as “physical” when the Lord was talking about something “spiritual” was an often seen error.
  • See John 4:10 & 14
  • Here Jesus offers water that will quench thirst forever, in a spiritual sense.
  • But the women at the well took Jesus literally see verse 11.
  • See John 6:51-56
  • Here Jesus is talking about eating the bread of life and feeding on His flesh and His blood
  • This offended the Jews.
  • But Jesus was not speaking about a literal bread, flesh or blood but a spiritual one.
  • Here in John 3 Jesus is explaining a spiritual rebirth not a physical one.
  • The new birth is a product of the Spirit of God and the Word of God.
  • The Spirit:

John 16:7-11 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

  • The Word

James 1:18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

  • The analogy has been used that the two, the Spirit and the Word, are two “spiritual parents” who in tandem to bring about our salvation.
  • It takes both for us to be born again.
  • How the Holy Spirit does His work can not understood but we can see the unmistakable evidence of His work.

John 3:7-8 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

  • The text acknowledges the mystery of the Spirits work.
  • Just as physical birth is a mystery (if not today then surely at the time the bible was written) spiritual birth is also mystery.
  • Yet just think of how simple it is:
  • Trust Jesus Christ, and you shall be born again.

 

Third: The Dignity of the New Birth

  • The word translated “born again” can be translated “born from above”
  • We are born children of the King, children of God.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

1 John 3:1See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

  • The dignity of the new birth is an amazing thing.
  • Children like to be proud of their parents.
  • If we have some relative who is somebody important, we like to talk about it, we drop their name.
  • There is a certain “pride” from being related to  someone important.
  • So it is with being part of God’s family. We share the dignity of the new birth;
  • We are children of God, the God who created the universe, the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We are family, we share His nature.
  • You have the nature of your biological parents and your children have your nature.
  • We all have the nature of God within because when have been born from above, and this new nature creates a new disposition.
  • When you are one of God’s children and you share God’s nature, you live the way God wants you to live.
  • God is love, so we live in a way that demonstrates love.
  • God is light so we walk as children
  • We share God’s nature and therefore live to emulate His life.
  • People can readily see a difference in our lives.

Fourth:  The Urgency of the New Birth

  • Jesus said in John 3:7

John 3:7 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

  • It is not a suggestion, it is a commandment.
  • It is not an idea that we can toy around with, it is absolutely urgent; we must be born again.
  • The new birth is instantaneous.
  • There may be a process of preparation.
  • But the new birth is instantaneous, supernatural and permanent.
  • Once you are born again, you can’t be unborn.
  • You may be disobedient
  • You many not grow as you should.
  • But you can be unborn
  • Our spiritual birth has an urgency to it.

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

  • The god of the word blinds those who do not believe.
  • Until you are born again you cannot see what you’re missing, you cannot see what your really are, you cannot see all that God has for you.
  • You must be born again not only to see the kingdom of God but to enter the kingdom of God

John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

  • When you are born the first time (we mean physically), you enter the kingdom of sin and Satan.
  • You lived according to the course of this world and you follow the dictates of Satan.
  • But when you enter the kingdom of God through regeneration, then you become a part of that kingdom which is wonderful, eternal and glorious.
  • The only way to escape eternal judgment is through faith in Christ.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

  • That verse begins with love, but it ends with perish: “should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
  • It is urgent that we all preach this message.

Conclusion

This might be an excellent time for you to ask if the Holy Spirit has been convicting one or more of your students.

No matter who they might be, new to the class or a long standing attendee of Faith, have they been regenerated?

The reality of the new birth is that you can change! God will change you when you trust Christ.

If someone is present who has never trusted Christ wouldn’t today be the day when they:

Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;

  1. Confessed Jesus as Lord
  2. Believed in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for their sin.

If God has been talking to them about regeneration, then they need to be encouraged to open their heart now to Jesus Christ.