A SCRIPTURAL BIRTH MESSAGE INTRODUCTION Words carry power. When an…
A SCRIPTURAL BIRTH
Words carry power. When an idea is articulately expressed in words, it possesses the ability both to persuade and to call people to action. In fact, the well-known expression “the pen is mightier than the sword” is a tribute to the difference that words can make. History recounts how certain people, through passionate speeches or bold writings, have influenced the world around them in noteworthy ways. The Word of God, however, wields a power that is unrivalled by any form of human communication. As an account of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, the Bible calls its hearers and readers to faith. In this lecture, today we will discuss the significance of Scripture as the means the Holy Spirit uses to bring about the new birth.
Luke 8:5-15; John 3:1-3; Romans 10:17; 2 Corinthians 4:13; James 1:17-18;1 Peter 1:22-25
1. To introduce the role of the Bible in new birth.
2. To explain why the Bible is a necessary means of bringing about the new birth.
3. To identify teaching as an important part of the ministry of Jesus and of the
4. To examine passages in the Bible that speak about the Bible’s role in the new birth.
God makes the Word his instrument in the new birth, and the way the Word works in the new birth is by awakening faith.–John Piper
They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”
Q. It is through faith alone that we share in Christ and all his benefits: where then does that faith come from?
A. The Holy Spirit produces it in our hearts by the preaching of the holy gospel, and confirms it by the use of the holy sacraments.
–Heidelberg Catechism, Question & Answer 65
I. Introduction: The Personal Nature of the New Birth
A. In the physical realm, one person cannot be born on another’s behalf.
B. In the spiritual realm, birth also takes place on an individual basis.
II. The Word as Seed in Human Hearts
A. No one is born again independently of the Word of God.
i. The Word must be planted within the human soul.
ii. God must sovereignly tend that seed to bring forth life.
iii. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ”
B. Teaching the Word of God was an important part of Jesus’ ministry.
i. Nicodemus regarded Jesus primarily as a teacher, addressing him with the term “Rabbi” (John 3:2).
ii. As a teacher, Jesus sowed the seed of Scripture in the hearts of His listeners.
iii. In His words to Nicodemus, Jesus drew upon Old Testament imagery of ceremonial cleansing.
iv. Jesus’ statements to Nicodemus and others imparted truth about the kingdom of God, planting seeds that would be cultivated at a later time.
III.The Word as a Means of Regeneration
A. James 1:18
i. The will of God is the cause of regeneration.
ii. The Word of God is the means of regeneration.
iii. A harvest of human souls is the result of regeneration.
B. 1 Peter 1:23-25
i. Christians are not born from a perishable seed.
1. The new birth is not brought about by natural means.
2. No human, natural, or worldly seed that is sown into a person’s heart can produce the new birth.
ii. Christians are born from an imperishable seed.
1. People are born again through the living and enduring Word of God.
2. Only a supernatural book can be used by God to bring about the supernatural birth that is needed to breathe supernatural life into human souls.
3. Although the grass withers and the flower falls, the Word of the Lord endures forever.
C. Luke 8:5-15
i. Jesus sows the seed of His Word in human hearts.
ii. The seed that falls along the path is trampled underfoot and eaten by birds.
1. These listeners are hard-hearted or uninterested in spiritual matters.
2. The Gospel does not penetrate their hearts.
iii. The seed that falls upon rocky ground withers away.
1. These listeners respond enthusiastically but without becoming spiritually rooted.
2. They might at first appear to be converted, but there is not true conviction or commitment.
iv. The seed that falls among thorns is quickly choked out.
1. These listeners are entangled in a dense thicket of other concerns, activities, and priorities.
2. They do not make room in their lives for the Gospel to take root and produce fruit.
v. The seed that falls upon good soil grows and produces abundant fruit.
1. These listeners have been prepared by God to hear the Gospel.
2. They respond with faith, showing that they have been born again from above.
D. 1 Corinthians 4:15
i. The Gospel is the means by which God brings about new birth.
ii. The Gospel is, therefore, the means by which God’s elect are united with Christ and with one another.
1. No one is born again independently of the Word of God.
2. According to Romans 10:17, faith comes ______________.
a. Through prayer
b. After repentance
c. By works
d. By hearing
3. Nicodemus addressed Jesus as “Rabbi” because ______________.
a. Jesus told everyone to call him by that title
b. He regarded Jesus as a teacher who had come from God
c. Nicodemus believed Jesus to be the Messiah
d. It was a sign of respect for Jewish men to address one another in that way
4. Which of the following statements about regeneration is true?
a. Regeneration always results in a spiritual harvest.
b. A person’s positive response to the Gospel brings about regeneration.
c. The Word of God is the means by which regeneration takes place.
d. All of the above
e. A and C only
f. B and C only
5. In Luke 8:5-8, the seed that fell on rocky ground perished because it was trampled underfoot and devoured by birds.
BIBLE STUDY AND DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
1. What does it mean to say that the new birth is a Scriptural birth? Why is this
important to our understanding of regeneration?
2. Read Romans 10:14-17. Since God’s Word is the Holy Spirit’s means of bringing
about new birth, what is the means of bringing the lost into contact with God’s
Word? How should God’s people be involved in the process of new birth in the
lives of others?
3. How should we understand Jesus’ teaching about the rocky ground in Luke 8:6
and Luke 8:13? Is Jesus implying that Christians can be born again but lose their
salvation later? Why or why not?
4. What are ways that God works in advance to prepare the soil of a person’s heart
for the seed of the Gospel? Can you identify examples of this preparatory work in
your own life or in the lives of others?