. The Mystery of the New Birth (Part 2)




In the last sermon we looked at the analogy of the wind as an illustration of how the New Birth works. We saw that the wind blows where it wants to, we do see the evidence, but we do not know where it comes from or where it is going. The application of the analogy is that this is exactly how the Holy Spirit works with the New Birth. You and I can pray for the lost, we can witness to the lost, we can preach to the lost and we can be used by God as instruments in bringing the lost to Salvation or saving faith. But you and I have no control over it. We cannot organise it and we cannot schedule it. We don’t even always see it happening. With some people ‘being born again’ is a process, with others it is radical and instant. At times God will save people in spite of anything. But at all times the New Birth is a work of the Holy Spirit.


I remember that when I was in a church in Johannesburg area, the pastors there taught that even if you came to salvation in the week, then you had to still walk the isle on a Sunday because you need to profess the Lord publically. They believed that the front of the church building was the altar and that you needed to come to the altar and pray a sinner’s prayer. And unless you did that you were not born again. Jesus however does not teach that. It is a birth that takes place by the Holy Spirit and it can happen, anywhere, and in a way that you and I simply stand back in amazement as we could predict nothing. Oh, how I pray that the church of Christ will start having a bigger appreciation for the work of the Spirit in Salvation. If it is all of man, well, then man is glorified and the Spirit of God is grieved.


But however, and whenever, and through whatever means man is saved, Jesus through the analogy says that there is an evidence of the New Birth. We can see the effects of the New birth John 3:8 (ESV) 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” So there is evidence.

In the last sermon we saw the first evidence which is:


3.3.1 There is a belief in and a love for God.

So, in simple terms there is faith in God, which by the way is a gift. We have addressed this. But may I just remind us that we have seen the Glory of the Father in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ because of the New Birth, and now we can love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. But there is more:


3.3.2 There is a love for one another.


Now, we did a whole series on ‘what’s love gotta do with it’, so I am not going to say too much now. But, let’s look again at 1 John 5:1 (ESV) with which we ended last week:1 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him.” You cannot love God and at the same time hate your brothers, even if they are in another denomination.  John actually explains the same in another verse: 1 John 4:7 (ESV) 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.”

How do we know that the New Birth has occurred? Not only is there a right understanding of who Jesus is. Not only is there a love Him, but there is a love for all the other children who have been born of God. There is a love for the family of God, a love for the believers, a love for the Lord’s church. When someone says; ‘I have experienced the New Birth’ but they have no love for the Lord’s people, they are giving evidence that they have not really experienced the New Birth.


Someone who has experienced the New Birth does not just love the Father, but they love the children born from the Father. They don’t just love the Saviour, but they love all the brethren who have come to love the Saviour. There is a love for the church, a love for the family of God, the people of God. This is evidence of the New Birth, it is a product of the New Birth. It is supernaturally natural. I want to be around other people who love the same God, who love the same Saviour who love the same teaching which is the Word of God, I want to be around people like that because I’ve been changed. Now, let me just say this. Children of God in other denominations are our brothers and sisters, and even though we may disagree either on some peripheral issues or some radical issues, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ and we must love them. This sin of judging, slandering and shunning others just because they are not part of our fold is ungodly and unbiblical to say the least. Sure, that does not mean that we are not allowed to disagree, as long as in our disagreement we are seeking to grow and not to break down others. Remember I said it before, ‘we love our own immediate family because blood is thicker than water, but we need to love our fellow believers, because the blood of Christ that has bought us is much, much thicker than water.’


3.3.3 There is a love for righteousness.


Look at 1 John 3:9 (ESV) 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” So there is a love for God and a love for His church, but there has to be a love for righteousness. We saw this in our sermon a few weeks ago. We saw that those who are truly born again are those who call God Abba Father. They can do that because they are led by the Spirit, and we know they are led by the Spirit because they deal with sin in their lives.

Another way to say it positively is that there is a new love for obedience, or negatively that there is a new hatred for sin. I love what God loves and I hate what God hates. What happens after the New Birth is that my lifestyle actually changes. My thinking is changed, my heart is changed, my desires have changed, my will has been changed by the New Birth so that my lifestyle changes. And yes it is progressive and at times it seems painfully slow but there is progression. The issue here is not that as soon as I sin that I am no longer born again. Christians don’t fear hell as there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus even when we do sin, but you can mark it down that everyone who is born of God in the same verse cannot keep on sinning because they have been born of God.


So does this mean that believers do not sin? No. He is using present tense words here. He is talking about a lifestyle, he is talking about what characterises someone, and he is talking about their resolve, their direction, their pattern and the substance of their life.  Before we were saved it was one big ball of sinning, that is what we were, and now that we have been saved, there is this desire for obedience to God so that in the midst of sin that becomes the character, the flavour, the direction and the pattern of my life. We are now about obedience, not about sinning. Someone who lives a habitual lifestyle of sinning is someone who has never experienced the New Birth.


Let me give you an illustration that might be helpful on how this works and I realise with any illustration it falls down at some point. We all agree that breathing is natural, but holding your breath is not. Now if you gave me the word of God in an unconverted state and told me to keep its claims on my life, it would have been like holding my breath because it would be unnatural to me. To go and listen to the Word of God, to be at church with God’s people is like holding my breath, when I need to breath. For those who are not born again, sin is natural; it is their very breath of their life.  But since I’ve been saved, it has changed, now righteousness is my breathing and the sin I still do is like holding my breath, it is unnatural. A true believer can sin and might even for a time justify it and enjoy it, but it is like holding your breath as you come under conviction of the Spirit of God because it is not natural. To have things right and clean and pure is breathing. Why, because I have been saved, I have a new nature, other things are now natural to me because I am in the Kingdom. I have learned that things in this Kingdom that are now natural to me were like holding my breath in the Kingdom of darkness, and things that are now to me like holding my breath were natural to me in the previous kingdom. In this Kingdom obedience is the pattern and sin is the exception.


3.3.4 There is an overcoming of the world.


1 John 5:4 (ESV) 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”

What are the effects of the New Birth? You see someone who now overcomes the world. The world’s system has its ruler, the prince of darkness. So the thoughts and the attitudes and the motives and the treasures and the priorities and the standards or this world all reflect its prince.


Why do you think there is so much violence, and rapes and robberies and fighting and drunkenness and blatant ignorance of law and order in this world? It reflects the rule of Satan and darkness. It is natural to them; it is the very breath they breathe. The world is set to full opposition against everything the Kingdom of God stands for. To ask them to live righteously is to ask them to hold their breaths. Everything in the world is against the truth, against the church, against the gospel and against Godly living. We have two entirely different world views impacting one another on a daily basis when it comes to a believer and the world. I want to say to our young people here today. If you say you are born again, and you find yourself totally comfortable in the world breathing the breath they breathe you need to ask yourself if you really are in the faith.


If you are going to live for Christ, you are going to have to overcome the world; you have to soar above the world. You have to soar above the philosophies of the world, you have to soar above temporal values, you have to soar above selfish attitudes, you have to soar above impure motives, and you have to soar above man made standards, you have to soar above racism, you have to soar above corruption. Why would you love the world’s music better than Christian music, why would you love the world’s parties more than Christian gatherings? Is it because that is still your breathing? The Bible says that he, who is truly born again, overcomes all of that. You know what the power is that allows you to soar above all that. The Bible says; it is faith.


What has God done in the New Birth? He has produced a believer. It is someone who believes the Word of God when it says to us that heaven is more valuable than temporary things. It is someone who believes the Word of God when it says that the greatest treasures are heavenly treasures where moths and rust will not destroy.  It is someone who believes that despite all the pleasures this world has to offer there is greater pleasure and satisfaction in glorifying God. That’s how we overcome. It is by faith which we were given as a gift the moment New Birth took place.


So where there is a new birth there is a right belief about the Lord Jesus and a love for God, there is a love for the people of God, there is a love for righteousness, and there is an overcoming of the world that sets itself up in opposition to the Kingdom of God. There is one last effect.


3.3.5 The fruit of the Spirit is evident.


Let’s look at one of the well-known sections of scripture. In Galatians 5 Paul contrasts the new life with the old.  Paul contrasts the desires of the old life which is the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit. Now, the works of the flesh are obviously that which belongs to the old nature, and if you do such things Paul says in verse 21 that you would not inherit the kingdom of God. But, we have seen in John 3 that those who are born again, inherit the Kingdom of God as they see it with spiritual eyes and enter because they are born from above.  But what is the fruit, or the evidence that marks a Born Again believer? 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is (You can actually say, that the Fruit of the New Birth is, AS you are not born again if you are not in Christ, and you are not in Chris if the Spirit is not in you.) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus (who are born again) have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

There is evidence that they have really experienced the New Birth and these are the evidences. Yes we do not know where the wind comes from, we do not know where it is going and we cannot control it, but we can see the effects of the wind.




Let us examine ourselves to see if we exhibit the evidences that mark the New Birth.

Do you profess Jesus as Lord and Saviour?

Do you love God and do you love His people?

Is you one desire to live in righteousness, while standing in the righteousness of God?

Are you living for the world, or are you living for God’s Kingdom?

Is the fruit of the Spirit evident in your life?


So looking back at the analogy in John 3 again:

We don’t control the New Birth, we cannot say where it is going to happen and to whom it is going to happen, we cannot control any of that.

We cannot predict or anticipate the new birth because we do not know where it comes from and where it goes. Often we see a person who we think is so close to the Kingdom and in many cases they remain so stubborn, and then there is the person who is so stubborn and yet he sees and he enters. If we think we can control salvation, oh how we need a fresh dose of humility? Nicodemus seemed so close, he was religious, he kept the law, he was gifted, he was honest, but he was representative of those the Lord did not entrust Himself to because the wind did not blow as Christ knew what was in the heart of man. Is there then no hope for a man like Nicodemus? Well it seems that he might have been saved at least by John 19.


But, let me end this sermon with a story of another man just like Nicodemus. He was also a Pharisee, a member of the Sanhedrin but he was not seeking Christ, he did not come to Jesus at night, he made no positive claims about Christ and had no love for Christ or His people. On the contrary he hated Christ and wanted to destroy everyone who loved Christ, but suddenly the wind blew, the Spirit moved mysteriously and he was saved. Let him tell his story. Philippians 3:3-6 (ESV) 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God (because we are born of the spirit), and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless.

We all know this man. Paul, a religious man, just like Nicodemus, but a man with a mission to destroy the church in Damascus, but suddenly he is born of God, he sees the light and by the grace of God he is saved. Why him, why in such a manner? Because 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Are you born again? If not then listen to the Word of God in Hebrews 3:15 (ESV) 15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” Run to Jesus. Repent, believe and receive in response to the light that the Spirit of God is pouring into your soul.


For me this sermon is humbling, because I know I cannot organise salvation for any man, but this sermon also encourages me because I see people that I think will never make it but man I take courage in the fact that I don’t know when the wind will blow, but it can, therefore I will keep on preaching, I will keep on loving sinners, I will keep on praying and keep on being an example with the trust that God will do the work from above and birth people through receiving and believing into the Kingdom of God. You might say, Nicki, it makes me afraid for my children’s sake that I have no control over these things. Good, let it humble us and let it encourage us that we need to depend on God. God is better able to deal with anybody who is dead, deviant, demonized, deranged, disobedient and damned, than what you and I can ever be. Let’s trust Him because salvation or saving faith is of the Lord who sits on the throne, it is a work of grace FROM BEGINNING TO END. He alone can put faith in your heart.



Soli Deo Gloria

Logos Community Church: 3 August 2014