Monday, October 31, 2011

How Does One Gain the New Birth? (Part 1)

Work #1 of God in the New Birth:
God ransomed us by the blood of Jesus.


"Eternal life isn't possible for enslaved sinners without a ransom being paid."

"knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot." (I Peter 1:18-19 ESV)


The wrath of God must be satisfied; God sent Jesus to do that.
"...by sending His own son..." (Romans 8:3)
"Christ redeemed us..." (Galatians 3:13)


The ransom is imperishable; it can never lose its redeeming power.



(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How Does One Gain the New Birth? (Introduction)

How does one gain the new birth?  First of all, something has to happen TO us.  John 3:3 says we must be born again.  We are dead and must be made alive.  So "the Spirit of God supernaturally gives us new spiritual life by connecting us with Jesus Christ through faith."  New birth and faith happen at the same time.

Although God makes us alive, we still play a part in it.  An example of this is found with Lazarus.  In John 11:43, Jesus tells Lazarus to rise from death, and he does!  The moment Christ commands him to rise, he does; the moment the Spirit produces faith in us, we do the believing.

There are three works of God involved in the new birth:
1) God ransomed us by the blood of Jesus.
2) God raised Jesus from the dead.
3) God called us into life through His living and abiding Word.

Over the next three days, we will unpack those three aspects.

(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Water

More thoughts on yesterday's post:

(borrowed from David Platt)
Seeking satisfaction from the wrong source (the world) is like drinking ocean water when you're thirsty; it will only make you MORE thirsty!  The salt is hidden from our view, but once we start to drink it, it becomes clear that this water will do more harm than good.

Things of this world may look good and feel good, but in reality, they are never, ever going to quench your thirst.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Springs

"Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit. 
Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord,for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jeremiah 2:11-13).

~~
The Lord accuses His people of two evils.  Two sins.  Two things that He abhors.  One, that they have left Him, their first love, the giver of all life.  And two, that they have replaced Him with things they've created themselves, things that can't hold water in the first place!  


C.S. Lewis quotes, in The Weight of Glory, that "We are half-hearted creatures, fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."


We think that all the lovely things this earthly existence offers us are enough.  After all, they provide temporary pleasure, and what more is there, really?  This skewed thinking comes because we've given up on finding the true satisfaction, glorifying Christ Jesus!


In John 4:15, a Samaritan woman has come to the well to draw water.  She says to Jesus, after they've been speaking for a bit, "Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water."  She asks for this special water (which she does not yet understand, by the way) because she doesn't want to have to keep coming back to the well only to become thirsty again later.  


Do you keep having to seek after more pleasure in the world because the water you're drinking isn't truly quenching your thirst?  "All my springs are in YOU" (Psalm 87:7).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Conversion

"Minimizing the importance of transformed feelings makes Christian conversion less supernatural and less radical.  It is humanly manageable to make decisions for the will of Christ.  No supernatural power is required to pray prayers, sign cards, walk aisles, or even stop sleeping around.  Those are good.  They just don't prove that anything spiritual has happened.  Christian conversion, on the other hand, is a supernatural, radical thing.  The heart is changed.  And the evidence of it is not just new decisions, but new affections, new feelings."
(Desiring God, p. 89, John Piper)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

American Jesus


“A nice, middle-class, American Jesus.  A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and who would never call us to give away everything we have.  A Jesus who would not expect us to forsake our closest relationships so that he receives all our affection.  A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts, because, after all, he loves us just the way we are.  A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who, for that matter, wants us to avoid danger altogether.  A Jesus who brings us comfort and prosperity as we live out our Christian spin on the American dream.  But do you and I realize what we are doing at this point?  We are molding Jesus into our image.  He is beginning to look a lot like us because, after all, that is whom we are most comfortable with.  And the danger now is that when we gather in our church buildings to sing and lift up our hands in worship, we may not actually be worshiping the Jesus of the Bible.  Instead we may be worshiping ourselves.” (p. 13- Radical- David Platt)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Why is New Birth Necessary? (Day 10)





Ephesians 2:4-5-- "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved."


Review:
Reason #1-
Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-2)
We cannot love/desire the things of God unless we are alive.
Reason #2-
Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3)
We are born with a horrible, sinful nature.
Reason #3-
Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20).
We naturally resist Christ.
Reason #4-
Apart from the new birth, our hearts are like stone (Ezekiel 36:26; Eph 4:18).
Resistance is our biggest problem.
Reason #5-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Rom. 8:7-8).
We are unable to please God.
Reason #6-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel (Eph 4:18, I Cor 2:14).
Our preferences for sin are so strong that we cannot choose good.
Reason #7-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to come to Christ or embrace Him as Lord (John 6:44, I Cor 12:3).
Without the new birth, we naturally prefer SELF.
Reason #8-
Apart from the new birth, we are slaves to sin (Rom 6:17).
"We were once so in love with sin that we could not leave it or kill it."
Reason #9-
Apart from the new birth, we are slaves of Satan (Eph. 2:1-2, 2 Tim 2:24-26).
Playing with fuzzy tarantulas in the dark... Remember?


Reason #10-
Apart from the new birth, no good thing dwells in us (Rom 7:18).
"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out" (Rom 7:18)"


There are many good things that humankind does.  Marriage, family, government- all of these are good.  BUT they are only good when used for the glory of God.  When we use these things for anything other than showing God's glory, we are prostituting God's creation.


The thing that is good in us after the new birth IS GOD.


Dead people can do NO good.


(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why is New Birth Necessary? (Day 9)





Ephesians 2:4-5-- "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved."


Review:
Reason #1-
Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-2)
We cannot love/desire the things of God unless we are alive.
Reason #2-
Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3)
We are born with a horrible, sinful nature.
Reason #3-
Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20).
We naturally resist Christ.
Reason #4-
Apart from the new birth, our hearts are like stone (Ezekiel 36:26; Eph 4:18).
Resistance is our biggest problem.
Reason #5-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Rom. 8:7-8).
We are unable to please God.
Reason #6-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel (Eph 4:18, I Cor 2:14).
Our preferences for sin are so strong that we cannot choose good.
Reason #7-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to come to Christ or embrace Him as Lord (John 6:44, I Cor 12:3).
Without the new birth, we naturally prefer SELF.
Reason #8-
Apart from the new birth, we are slaves to sin (Rom 6:17).
"We were once so in love with sin that we could not leave it or kill it."


Reason #9-
Apart from the new birth, we are slaves of Satan (Eph. 2:1-2, 2 Tim 2:24-26).
"And you were dead in the trespasses and sin in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience" (Eph 2:1-2).
"And the Lord's servanttmust not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will" (2 Tim 2:24-26).


"Our deadness is not unresponsive to the devil.  It is perfectly in tune with the devil."


Truth sets the prisoner free.


The new birth is "what happens when a person in the dark fondles an ebony brooch hanging around his neck, and then the lights go on and he sees it's not a brooch but a cockroach, and flings it away.  That's how people are set free from the devil.  And until God does that miracle of new birth, we stay in bondage to the father of lies because we love to be able to tell ourselves whatever we please.  We keep fondling smooth roaches and warm fuzzy tarantulas in the dark."


(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Why is New Birth Necessary? (Day 8)




Ephesians 2:4-5-- "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved."


Review:
Reason #1-
Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-2)
We cannot love/desire the things of God unless we are alive.
Reason #2-
Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3)
We are born with a horrible, sinful nature.
Reason #3-
Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20).
We naturally resist Christ.
Reason #4-
Apart from the new birth, our hearts are like stone (Ezekiel 36:26; Eph 4:18).
Resistance is our biggest problem.
Reason #5-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Rom. 8:7-8).
We are unable to please God.
Reason #6-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel (Eph 4:18, I Cor 2:14).
Our preferences for sin are so strong that we cannot choose good.
Reason #7-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to come to Christ or embrace Him as Lord (John 6:44, I Cor 12:3).
Without the new birth, we naturally prefer SELF.


Reason #8-
Apart from the new birth, we are slaves to sin (Rom 6:17).
"But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed..." (Rom 6:17)


"We were once so in love with sin that we could not leave it or kill it."


Paul thanks GOD for freeing us from slavery.  It's nothing we've done or can do.


God awakens us and gives us life that finds JOY in killing sin and being holy. Until then, we are SLAVES and CANNOT be free.


(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Why is New Birth Necessary? (Day 7)



Ephesians 2:4-5-- "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved."


Review:
Reason #1-
Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-2)
We cannot love/desire the things of God unless we are alive.
Reason #2-
Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3)
We are born with a horrible, sinful nature.
Reason #3-
Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20).
We naturally resist Christ.
Reason #4-
Apart from the new birth, our hearts are like stone (Ezekiel 36:26; Eph 4:18).
Resistance is our biggest problem.
Reason #5-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Rom. 8:7-8).
We are unable to please God.
Reason #6-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel (Eph 4:18, I Cor 2:14).
Our preferences for sin are so strong that we cannot choose good.


Reason #7-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to come to Christ or embrace Him as Lord (John 6:44, I Cor 12:3).
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44)
"Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says "Jesus is accursed!" and no one can say "Jesus is Lord" except in the Holy Spirit." (I Cor 12:3)


Nobody can say "Jesus is Lord" and mean it without the new birth that comes through Christ.  It's impossible.


The Father must draw His children.  Without this, we do not prefer to come to Him.  We naturally prefer self-reliance.  The new birth gives us new preference.


(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why is New Birth Necessary? (Day 6)



Ephesians 2:4-5-- "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved."


Review:
Reason #1-
Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-2)
We cannot love/desire the things of God unless we are alive.
Reason #2-
Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3)
We are born with a horrible, sinful nature.
Reason #3-
Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20).
We naturally resist Christ.
Reason #4-
Apart from the new birth, our hearts are like stone (Ezekiel 36:26; Eph 4:18).
Resistance is our biggest problem.
Reason #5-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Rom. 8:7-8).
We are unable to please God.


Reason #6-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to accept the gospel (Eph 4:18, I Cor 2:14).
"They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart." (Eph 4:18)
"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (I Cor 2:14)


The problem isn't that we are unable to intellectually understand the things of God; the problem is that they are folly (foolish) to us.


This is a moral "cannot" not a physical "cannot."


The rebellion is so complete that our hearts only see the things of God as foolish.  Our preferences for sin are so strong that we cannot choose good.  We will always choose terrible bondage.


(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why is New Birth Necessary? (Day 5)


Ephesians 2:4-5-- "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved."


Review:
Reason #1-
Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-2)
We cannot love/desire the things of God unless we are alive.
Reason #2-
Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3)
We are born with a horrible, sinful nature.
Reason #3-
Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20).
We naturally resist Christ.
Reason #4-
Apart from the new birth, our hearts are like stone (Ezekiel 36:26; Eph 4:18).
Resistance is our biggest problem.


Reason #5-
Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Rom. 8:7-8).
"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."


It's not only that we don't want to please God, we CAN'T.


We can't be controlled by the flesh (SELF) and the spirit (Christ) at the same time.  One or the other will win.


(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)












































(Adapted from Finally Alive by John Piper, available free on Desiring God)

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