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07-04-19spec

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07-04-15.02                              vv                             07-04-20dev

Title:           “You must be born again…!”

FCF:            being dead in our sins

D-Theme:   The command to new birth

M-Thrust:   be born again

Comment:  everyone on the listening team said that it was excellent — that it really flowed and covered the five points — and Amy said afterward that she could really sense my passion

Subject:     new birth

Date:          FC2966B2B5C44C7CA0C6407D96B17454

Text:           John 3:7

7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’

•   You’ve just heard two testimonies…

•   From two different men with very different backgrounds…

•   One knew nothing of church…

•   …and cared little for church…

•   One grew up in church spending many Sunday’s in the pew…

•   …but was an adult before he came to saving faith…

•   As different as they are both men have something in common…

•   They love to ride… and they are born again…

•   I know that is one of those ‘churchy’ phrases…

•   …where we roll our eyes and say “O, please…!”

•   …been there—done that… heard it before…

•   There are two important things you need to know…

•   First, these men testified their lives have been transformed…

•   …they do not and will not regret being born again…

•   Second, it is not optional—Jesus commands it…

•   “You must be born again…”

•   You can have a future and a hope…

•   You can know freedom from fear—lasting peace…

•   Your lives can have purpose and meaning…

•   But “You must be born again…”

•   With the cover of darkness Nicodemus came to Jesus…

•  “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

3…“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4…“How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5…“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ [1]

•   How many…

•   …live without spiritual questions…?

•   …have no desire to look into matters of eternity…?

•   …aren’t motivated by wanting a sense of purpose…?

•   …aren’t desirous of having meaning in life…?

•   How many aren’t like Nicodemus…

•   …not sure we want to approach Jesus…

•   …afraid to express our ignorance…

•   …afraid of what happens to us after death…

•   Late-night talk show host David Letterman was interviewing extreme mountaineer Aron Ralston. Ralston had used a pocketknife to sever his lower right arm to free himself from being pinned under an 800-pound boulder in a remote Utah canyon after five days.

•   As he was explaining all of this… Letterman wondered out loud, ‘Could everybody have done this? Ralston replied, ‘If you had a choice to go through an hour of pain to live another 60 years, you’d do the same thing.’

•   Instead of a quip, Letterman leaned on his elbow, settled into his chair, peered at Ralston through his spectacles, and asked: ‘Is that what you know about life that I don’t know necessarily?’”

•   Some members of the audience tittered, unsure whether they’d just heard a joke or whether they had actually heard television’s most deeply serious funnyman ask the least funny question of them all. As in: What’s the meaning of life? What’s it all about? Why are we here and where are we going? You have some answers, Aron? You’ve been to the brink and back, so lemme have ‘em.” [2]

•   If one like Letterman has achieved such personal success…

•   And still lives with these fundamental questions…

•   It seems certain we would have the same questions…

•   Why are we here… what is our purpose…? Life’s meaning…?

•   That’s why we want to get our bikes blessed…

•   The possibility we might be ushered into eternity…

•   …in a moment—in a twinkling of an eye…

•   Into the presence of the One uniquely authorized…

•   …to say to Nicodemus… “You must be born again…!”

•   Into the presence of Jesus who has the answers…

•   …Who is the answer to our questions…

•   Where would Aron Ralston be today if he procrastinated…?

•   And what would he say if you asked him…

•   “Was it worth it all…?”

•   If you would ask Marty and Steve about their lives…

•   “Was it worth it all…?” what would their answer be…?

•   And where might they be if they procrastinated…?

•   And so the question is… “is the Christian faith worth it all…?”

•   Can I really have peace, purpose, meaning, and freedom…?

•   What is it going to cost me to become a Christian…?

•   But you have to ask yourself…

•   Do I have peace, purpose, meaning, and freedom now…?

•   What will it cost me if I don’t become a Christian…?

•   Jesus has given the command to new birth “be born again”

•   And since it is a command we must be able to obey…

•   We can say yes to Jesus…

•   We can respond to his invitation…

•   Marty’s experience is it is one he does not and will not regret…

•   Steve’s experience is it is one he does not and will not regret…

•   And I am sure it is one you won’t ever regret…


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[1]      John 3:3-7

[2]      Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois; source: Verne Gay, “Lights out on ‘Late Show’?” Chicago Tribune (9-1-03);

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