God's Word in you can produce the greatest miracle that any human being can ever experience-the new birth. Derek explains that God's Word is like a seed received into our hearts. The Holy Spirit brings forth out of that seed a completely new kind of life-imperishable, eternal, divine.
It’s good to be with you again. This week I’m sharing with you on the theme “What God’s Word Will Do for You.”
Yesterday I spoke to you about the first specific result that God’s Word will produce in you; that is, faith. I explained to you how faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. The three successive phases: first, God’s Word; secondly, you hear it; and thirdly, as you hear it and receive it, it imparts to you faith. I said that specifically at the beginning of this talk because I want you to bear it in mind today as you listen.
If you will listen in that attitude to what I have to say to you from the Word of God, faith will be imparted to you today. And you will experience for yourself the very things that I will be speaking about.
Today I’m going to describe the second specific result that God’s Word will produce and that is the New Birth.
There is one spiritual experience that is more important in our lives than any other. One miracle that we have to have if we’re ever going to know God and become what God desires.
Yesterday, I spoke about the miracle that happened when the Virgin Mary believed the message of the angel. She received with faith the Word that God sent her through the angel. And her faith released the miracle-working power of that word.
Today I’m going to speak about another kind of miracle that can happen in the lives of any person, anywhere in the world, who will receive God’s Word. This miracle is the new birth—being born again. And it is the most important thing that could ever happen in your life or in mine.
Listen to what Jesus says about in John 3:3:
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” (NAS)
The kingdom of God is closed to anyone who is not born again. The primary essential requirement for seeing and entering God’s kingdom is to be born again. Now the man that Jesus was talking to at that time, Nicodemus, did not understand that. He said, “How can a person be born again?” That is an important question. How can a person be born again?
I’m going to explain that to you. I’m going to show you how it comes, out of hearing the Word of God. In 1 Peter 1:22–23, Peter says this to Christians:
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again [notice that phrase ‘you have been born again’] not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.” (NAS)
So the seed that produces the new birth is the living Word of God.
As we receive this Word of God into our hearts by faith, through the Holy Spirit, life comes out of it. A completely new kind of life. A life that we can never achieve by religion or by good works or by our own efforts. A life that comes only from God.
There is a law that runs through the entire universe about seed and life. We may state the law this way: the nature of the seed determines the nature of the life that comes from it. If the seed is perishable, corruptible, the life that comes out of it will likewise be perishable, corruptible. But the seed of the Word of God is not perishable, it’s not corruptible. It’s divine, eternal, imperishable, incorruptible. And the new life in us that comes forth out of that seed is the same life that is in the seed. It’s divine, eternal, imperishable, incorruptible. That’s the kind of life that God wants you to receive. But it will come to you only as you receive by faith the seed of God’s Word.
Now I want to speak to you further about the kind of life that the seed of God’s Word will produce in us. In the first epistle of John 3:8–9, John says this:
“The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. [That’s very clear language, isn’t it? Anyone who practices sin, who regularly indulges in sin, is of the devil. Then he tells us why Jesus came. He says:] The Son of God appeared for this purpose, that He might destroy the works of the devil. [And, of course, the primary work that’s referred to there is sin. Jesus came to deal with the sin problem in our lives. Then John speaks about the results of the new birth. In the next verse, verse 9, he says:] No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed [that’s God’s seed] abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (NAS)
Now that is very strong language. But I think we need to see carefully exactly what John is saying.
I personally do not believe that John is saying a born again Christian can never commit sin. One reason why is because I’m a born-again Christian and I’m sorry to say that from time to time since I was born again, I have committed sin. Not many times, not deliberately, but I have done it. And yet I know I’m born again.
I believe what John is telling us in this verse is this. He’s speaking about the new nature that comes out of the seed of God. do you remember we said, “As is the seed, so is the life, so is the nature that comes out of it”? The seed is divine, eternal, imperishable, incorruptible. So is the life, so is the nature that comes out of it. Through the new birth there is born within every one of us a new life, a new nature. That’s the very life of God Himself. It’s divine, it’s eternal, it’s incorruptible. It’s incapable of sin. You notice why John says it’s incapable of sin? Because God’s seed abides in it. An imperishable seed, a holy seed, can never produce that which is imperishable or unholy.
Now the course of our lives as believers will be determined according to how much we let that new nature express itself and live itself out through us. There isn’t a guarantee that we’ll never sin. The guarantee is that the new nature in us will never sin. And if we let that new nature have its way then we can be assured that we will lead holy lives.
Now I want to take this one step further. We’ve talked about receiving the Word of God. But if we go on to the book of Revelation 19:13, we find that Jesus Himself is called the Word of God. So we have the Word in two forms. We have the word that’s written or spoken, the word that’s coming to you right now through my message. But we also have the living, personal Word, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now these two in a certain sense, are identical. I think that we can understand this from the analogy of the seed. You go to a store and you buy a package of seeds, maybe watermelon seeds. And inside is something small and black and shiny and hard and looks very lifeless in a certain sense and certainly has no beauty. But on the outside of that package quite likely you’ll see a picture of a full, ripe watermelon cut in half. You’ll see that red luscious flesh in there and your mouth begins to water. And you could easily say to yourself, “How can that beautiful, tempting, luscious fruit ever come out of that little black shiny hard thing that’s in the package.” Well, that’s the miracle of seed. A miracle that surrounds us everywhere in nature. And it’s an analogy, a pattern, of what God does for us when we receive the preached Word of God. The Word that’s brought to us whether it’s through a radio broadcast or however it may be. It’s like that little black shiny seed. It doesn’t appear to have tremendous beauty or power. But if we receive it in our hearts, it will bring forth in us a life that is beautiful and holy and eternal.
Just as different, in a certain sense, as the completed watermelon is from the seed out of which it came. It will actually bring forth in us the very life and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s the absolute purpose of God in sending His Word to us. It’s to reproduce Jesus in us out of the seed of the Word.
Now I’m nearly at the end of my time but I just want to tell you this: you, too, can be born again. If you will just receive the seed of God’s Word, the promise of the Word of God, it will bring forth in you that new life. John 1:12 says:
“As many as has received Him [Jesus] to them He gave the power [or the right] to become the sons of God.”
Then it says they were born of God. So you can be born of God, born again, if you would just open you heart and receive Jesus. Believe He died for your sins and rose again. Confess your sins. Ask Him to forgive you. Receive Him by faith into your heart and you can be born again. You can be born again even before this message of mine closes today.
Now our time is up. But I’ll be back with you tomorrow at this time. And I’ll continue with this theme of “What God’s Word Will Do for You.” I’ll be speaking about God’s Word as our spiritual food.