Born Again - What's Your Proof?
2014-08-12

A few years ago I was watching  the news as the results of the Presidential election began to pour in.  As they were breaking down the exit polls I noticed that many of the commentators were talking about a "born again" voting block.  It was curious to me to see a news network use such exclusively Christian language to describe a very wide range of belief systems.  I often hear Christians talk about what it means to be born again without much understanding.  

This past week, as part of our Grounded series, I preached a sermon around the subject of what it means to be "born again."  Few words in the Christian vocabulary are tossed around as much as this phrase and yet there is so much uncertainty around their meaning.  Jesus gives this phrase a lot of weight in John 3 when he says to Nicodemus, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."  Jesus takes a completely different path from the pluralism of our day when he makes this declaration.  Unless we are born again we cannot know God, we cannot be forgiven by God, and we cannot have any part of His kingdom.  

To be born again means that the Holy Spirit has implanted new life in you and has given you the ability to understand and believe the truth of the Gospel.  That is why Jesus says in John 3 that we must be born of  "water and of Spirit."  We must not only have a physical birth (born of water) but also a spiritual rebirth (born of the Spirit) if we are to call ourselves citizens of God's Kingdom.  Good works don't obtain citizenship.  Church membership doesn't do it.  Good theology doesn't save us either.  The Holy Spirit must be indwelling us if we are truly born again.  But how do we know that we "have the Spirit?"  

Today, many people believe that the path to God is incredibly wide and accessible by whatever means necessary.  Jesus says that the path is narrow and accessible to all only through him.  If Jesus said that the only way to have a relationship with God is to be "born again" don't you think it would be important for us to know what that means and to have proof that we actually have been born again?  Over the next couple of days I want to lay out four principles from Scripture that anyone claiming to be born again must see proof of in their life if they can lay claim to being born again.  

Proof 1:  If you are born again you must believe that Jesus is the Christ.  

In I John 4, the apostle John writes, "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God."  Knowing the Holy Spirit is not a subjective feeling.  There are many ways in which we can manufacture a good "spiritual" feeling that have nothing to do with whether or not the Holy Spirit is at work in us.  We cannot supplant the work of grace with fuzzy feelings.  The first proof of being born again is that we have confessed Jesus is fully God, fully man, and the Savior of the world.  John is basically saying that we must believe that Jesus is who he said he was and that he accomplished all that he said the Father had sent him to accomplish.  

There are many competing views about who Jesus was and the work he accomplished.  Sadly, these belief systems have been lumped into one political category of being "born again."  John is saying that any belief that does not coincide with what the Bible says about Jesus is not of the Spirit at all.  

What does the Bible say about Jesus Christ?  We are told that Jesus and God are one (John 10:31).  We are told that Jesus was fully human (Hebrews 10:7-10).  We are told that Jesus was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).  We are told that Jesus humbled himself to death for our sins (Philippians 2).  We are told that Jesus performed many miracles both recorded in the Gospels and unrecorded (John 20:30-31).  We are told that Jesus' sacrifice was once and for all for our forgiveness of sins (Romans 5).  There are so many more verses that we could work through that tell us who Jesus is and what he has done.

Our first question, "How can I know that I am born again?" becomes, "Who do you say Jesus is?"  Your answer to this question will be either the proof that you are born again or the proof that you are not a citizen of the Kingdom of God.   Your answer to this question is the proof as to whether or not you have the Holy Spirit.  If you have the Holy Spirit you have been born again.     

There are many popular answers today about who Jesus is.  Some believe he was a good teacher.  Some believe that he was a prophet.  Some believe that he was a good guy.  All of these answers are insufficient.  The Bible teaches that Jesus is fully God, fully man, the one Redeemer who came to earth, lived a perfect life satisfying God's Law, dying our death on the Cross as our representative, risen from the grave, ascended into heaven and is now ruling from His throne until the day He comes back to restore all things.  Who do you say that Jesus is?  This is the most important question you could ask yourself today.  

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