Conversion and Regeneration – Roy Blizzard III @ Joppa Church, Bertram, Texas 9-7-2014

Conversion and Regeneration

Roy Blizzard III © 2014

Text : John 3:6-8

  • “That one born (through an act of flesh) is fleshly, and that which is born through (the power of) the Spirit is Spiritual.” {Bekhoroth 1:2} 7) “Do not be amazed about what I told you, “It is incumbent (necessary) upon You All to be reborn from above.” (by the Spirit of God) 8)“The wind (spirit), where ever it wills, there it blows; and you hear its voice, but you do not know from where it comes or where it goes. So it is for those born of the spirit.” (My Paraphrase – “I’m telling you that you don’t recognize and pay attention to the Holy Spirit because you don’t understand what it is for and where it comes from and how to get it”.) [Ezekiel 1:20] The Gospel of John, An Actual Translation – © 2012

 

Before we begin to get too deep in today’s message we need to get a good handle on our two terms we are going to discuss today, Conversion and Regeneration. For our purpose in looking at Jesus’ Kingdom here is how you need to understand these two terms; Conversion is the part that man plays in his own salvation and Regeneration is the part that God plays. Did you get that? Man is able to change something that is of the fleshly world but only God can create something anew!

We really need to get this concept down into our soul and into our minds. Man can’t create unless God is involved.

In the John 14:6 Jesus said, “…I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” The plain, unadulterated truth is this: No man is ever “saved” until God Almighty does something within that man that only God could ever do. There is No salvation without a miracle of a new life and a new birth that is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

A man can do a lot of turning around, a lot of wishing, a lot of crying, a lot of praying and a lot of talking and parading around but never, ever be born again. Until God does something miraculous in the life of a man he will forever still be a sinner and unregenerate. He may be a loving, kind individual, tenderhearted with animals and maybe even a well-meaning church goer, but in God’s book and eyes he is still just a sinner. He must be regenerated in order to be born again, in order to pass from death unto life.

Now don’t misunderstand me, Decision is the first step that WE have to make. God demands that every person exercise their free will, as man is never so helpless that they can’t choose. God demands that man make a choice, a choice between Good or Evil, between Heaven or Hell, between inward Holiness or Moral Filth, between Life and Death, between a book of truth and promises or a pack of lies. Man must make a choice because that is where real life begins.

John 1:12 says, “But, as many as did receive Him (the light and the Word) (as YHWH), unto them, He (Yeshua) gave power (ability) to become the sons of God (by inheritance) even to those also who (did not know Him in the flesh but) could only believe on His (Yeshua’s) name.” (and thereby contact His Power)

I never cease to thrill at the moment of a person’s decision wherever and whenever it occurs. It is a grand moment when a person says’ “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee…” Luke 15:18 That is the moment when I think that the angels want to stand and clap. That’s the moment a man turns around and says goodbye to the pigs and wallow and starts home. He may still be hungry, in rags and burdened by debt but he is still heading in the right direction. He has made the turn. That is what conversion means, turning around.

But it isn’t God who must turn around, sinner, it is you! It isn’t God who must change His mind, it’s you! Don’t let anyone tell you something different. God is facing towards you at this very moment. God had not turned His back on you. His grace is reaching out now towards you and He is waiting for you to turn around. The prophet Jeremiah in 32:33 said, “and they have turned unto me the back, and not the face:” That is the world’s tragedy today.

Our world has turned its back on God and that is your sin in this if you have not made a decision to turn to God. Conversion means turning around. That is something you must do. God will not do this for you. God will awaken your memories; God will speak to you; God will gain your attention; but He will not turn you around. That moment of decision is yours alone. No one else can do it for you. It is up to you to say today, “I’ve had enough. I don’t want to go to hell. My sins are wasting my life. I want to go home. I will reach out for God’s salvation.” God is awaiting That Moment in your life!

But this is not all. Paul speaking of this turning around said that it “worketh something.” In II Corinthians 7:9-11, he says, 9) “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10)  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11) For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge!…”

This work of salvation, this change in the sinners life, is something more than the turning over a new leaf. It is something more than expression of a wanting to be good. It is something more than coming down the aisle and giving the preacher your hand to be baptized and it is more than a person mouthing the words, “I’m going to keep company with this crowd instead of that crowd.” If that were all it takes then it could be our own resolutions that save us. We could be our own savior. But Jesus says, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh…” And it will always be flesh! It will never turn into something Christ-like by any amount of positive or wishful thinking. We must be reborn again of the Spirit, and this is the realm of action of the Holy Spirit. Something must come alive within man. Something God-like, something patterned after a different world, a spiritual world, the only world that is really real for the spirit that resides with our fleshly bodies.

Something eternal must quicken the man who has turned around. He must be brought into a Spiritual Family and a Spiritual Kingdom. He must acknowledge and be acknowledged by the Father. Old things must be put away and pass away and all things must be made new. When one is regenerated by the Spirit of God there is never any mistake about an experience like that. You will always know and remember when you were born again, just like you will always know and remember when you recovered from a serious illness or were delivered from a narrow escape of some sort.

The Bible in Ezekiel 36:26-27 describes it thusly, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27) And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Make no mistake about it, it take the miracle working power of God to deal with the fallen human nature and depravity of man.

Our sin is the result of our own doing. Our want, our hunger, our nakedness, our shame, our depravity, are all the result of having spent all our substance on fleshly existence not spiritual living. We have wasted all our own resources; we have nothing left to give to the Father but our repentance. God must furnish everything. The work of transformation and regeneration is His. He is the only one who knows how to turn a pauper into a Prince!

This is why we need more than a religious dog and pony show today. We need something more than organized sentiments and ceremony. We need more than marching and praying and crying. We need more than an education in religion. We must have the Power and Work of the Holy Spirit within the New Birth of our Spirit Man. Today, too many of us are trying to get along without the power and ministry of the Holy Spirit. We are afraid of it and think if we will just use some formulaic system in outreach to the unsaved that everything will work out for us and them. This is a recipe for disaster folks.

There’s a feeling rampant in our world today that all that is needed is some token of decision and man can be saved. Hear me when I tell you, on the authority of the Word of God, Man’s part is never complete without God’s part. Salvation is less than nothing without the miracle of the rebirth of the spirit man. There is No salvation in preachers, prophets, penance or prayers, but only in the Blood of Jesus. Jesus, Himself says in John 3:7, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” Jesus rests the entire matter on the word, “MUST”.

Service and sacraments, churches and charities, tears and treasure, ritual and reformation, all may be good, and all may serve a purpose, but not one of them has the power to save you! You must be born again.

This independence from God can only cause you to perish. Your religious pride will be your undoing. You may go to perdition inside the church instead of outside of it, but my friends, unless you yield to the work of the Holy Spirit and let God produce within you a new birth, you are as lost while serving or partaking of communion as you would be on skid row.

Where are your Fruit of the Spirit? Where is your love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. If these are not evident in your lives then you have not yet been reborn!

Men will readily take their part in church work and ceremonies while refusing to take their place as guilty sinners needing a sinner’s savior. Men are willing to believe in the doctrines of God’s Word, while refusing to believe into the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, whom He alone, through His Blood alone, can bestow the priceless gift of eternal life.

Friends, remember this, there is No fellowship with Jesus without a new birth. Jesus isn’t receiving men into His Kingdom on the basis of good intentions; Jesus said you must be born again, from the Spirit. This is how we pass into the Kingdom, the spiritual domain of our Lord and Master.

Here is the pattern: Faithfulness, Repentance, Confession, Baptism, and then…The Work of the Holy Spirit. Are you bearing fruit within the Kingdom of God? As surely as God changes the grubby caterpillar into a beautiful, translucent butterfly, He has a new birth for every sinner. Appetites, habits, desires, goals for living, all manner of fleshly things will be changed in the twinkling of an eye.

Peter believed into this experience. 1 Peter 1:23 says, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” If it was good for Peter then it should be good for you, so don’t stop your life short and fail to lay hold of the very thing that allows us to live within Jesus’ Kingdom. Don’t just come to church and warm a pew for Jesus. He doesn’t have need of warm pews as His Kingdom is outside of the four walls of the church. Pray to Jesus, run to Jesus, Shout to Jesus if you think you have to, but lay hold of the Holy Spirit and begin to exist within Jesus Kingdom and within His existence. Resign yourself now to Jesus’ will and His ways and be regenerated into Christ’s existence.

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