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James Merritt - What Does Regeneration Mean?

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    James Merritt - What Does Regeneration Mean?

We're in a series that I'm gonna talk about in a moment, but I want you to think about something, Communication without clarification brings consternation. Now, if you're a parent with children you understand what I'm saying, communication without clarification brings consternation. Now, how many of you familiar with the comic strip peanuts or know something about the comic strip peanuts? Okay, well I love peanuts I just always has a great message and some of the best life lessons you'll ever learn come from Charlie Brown and Snoopy and Lucy and Linus, well I guess have our favorite episodes.

Let me tell you about one of mine, one of my favorite episodes is Lucy and Linus are staring out the window and they're watching this humongous thunderstorm pass by and the rain is coming down in sheets. Well, Lucy's just trembling in fear and she looks at Linus and she says, "Boy". she says, "Linus, look at it rain". she said, "What if it floods the whole world"? Linus looks at her with calmness and he says, "Lucy, it will never do that because in the ninth chapter of Genesis, God promise Noah, that would never happen and the sign of that promise is the rainbow". Lucy quits trembling, she has this big smile across her face. She turns back toward the window and she says, "Linus, you've taken a great load off of my mind". and Linus says, "Sound theology has a way of doing that".

Now we're living in a day where the church I believe, is in more desperate need of sound theology than ever before and there are certain doctrines and there are theological anchors that the church needs to know and the church needs to teach and the reason is because these are vital to really have a true relationship with God and there's not a more important doctrine that we can ever talk about every discuss every teach than one. We're gonna talk about as a matter of fact, I would make the case that this one doctrine is what the entire Bible is all about, if you wanna know what the Bible is all about in reality, I can really tell you in one doctrine word in fact, one of Jesus and disciples named John, he wrote one of the four gospels, I want you to listen to why he wrote this gospel, here's what he said. "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name".

John said, if you wanna know what the whole Gospel of John is about, it's about one thing, it's how you can have a relationship with God, how you can know God, it's all about salvation. Now, we talk a lot about salvation, but I don't even think even a lot of people understand what we mean and I'll tell you why salvation is a magnificent concept. But here's what I've learned and I've been safe for a long time, salvation's kind of like a kaleidoscope, you kids know what a kaleidoscope is, you know when you look at a kaleidoscope and you turn it, you see different shapes and different colors. Well, when you look at the kaleidoscope of salvation, you see different aspects, you see different virtues, you see different qualities, you see different colors and there are various theological words that are used to describe the process of salvation from beginning to end and yet, what's amazing both to believers and unbelievers, when you start throwing out these words and talking about these words, you get this glazed look over their, over their eyes, they'll say, "What do you mean by that"?

I'll give you an example. One of the words we're gonna be talking about and this says, I'll even tell you which one, it's not this one, but there's a word we're gonna be talking about in this series, I just kind of did a random unscientific survey. I asked two people that I know, strong believers, they have been Christians for a long time, one reads the Bible through twice every single year. One is just as devoted to Christian as I've ever known in my life and I said, "Hey, let me ask you a question, if somebody walked up to you and said, 'Hey, I heard this word in church the other day and I gave them the word, what does that word mean?'" they couldn't tell me, they were taking a stab, well I think it means this, no it doesn't mean that.

Well, I think it means that, well that's kind of close, but they really could not articulated it that's why we're beginning a series of messages we're calling Lost in Translation. Because what I wanna do is I want to take four big words that most Christians, if you were to throw those words out and say, "Can you give me a specific definition, what that means?" they really couldn't tell you. So we're gonna take four big words, we're gonna break them down and we're gonna bring them into a 21st century understanding and so today we're gonna begin with a word, which is actually where salvation begins. If you are a follower of Jesus, whether you're in the room you're watching right now, if you would say you're a follower of Jesus, your disciple of Jesus, you know Jesus, it all began with one word and it's the word that if I ask you what it meant, most of you couldn't tell me, it is the word regeneration. Now, the English word regeneration simply means new birth, it means renewal, it means restoration.

Now, in the Greek language, it comes from a word palingenesis, you don't need to remember this it's kind of interesting, I love the Greek language and because we get a lot of our words from it páli means, again, genesis means to begin, so it literally means to begin again. So simply put, here's what regeneration is, regeneration describes how God gives spiritual life to a spiritually dead person so that that person can see the truth with their eyes, they can hear the truth with their ears and they can respond to the truth with their heart.

Now, let me tell you why this is such a big deal for all of us, unless you experience regeneration, unless you experience the new birth, you can come to church, you can read your Bible, you can pray, you can give money to God's work, you can be baptized, you can do all kinds of good things for all kinds of good people. But unless you experience regeneration, Jesus said, "Not only will you never enter the kingdom of God, you will never know the God of the kingdom." it doesn't matter what else you do or how well you do it. I can preach every week the greatest sermons ever preached in the history of the church, but if I do not experience regeneration, I will never see the kingdom of God.

Well, where do you find this doctrine? Well, the clearest picture is found in the gospel of John and I wanna invite you to take God's word, there are four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, I want you to turn to the third chapter of John, Jesus has this fascinating conversation with a Pharisee named Nicodemus. Now, if you're not familiar with the story, let me tell you a couple interesting things, it is the only example in the Bible where there's a friendly dialogue between Jesus and the Pharisees. Okay, let me put it in perspective, this will help you 'cause we're about getting a football season, Jesus and the Pharisees got along about as well as a Georgia bulldog and a Florida Gator, that that'll kind of tell you the kind of relationship that they had, all right.

Now Jesus would of course would've been the bulldog just for clarification, but Jesus and the Pharisees, now Jesus, let me just be honest, He loved the Pharisees, He didn't like them. Well, they didn't love Him, aren't like Him, they didn't get along, this is the only time that there's a friendly dialogue between Jesus and a Pharisee and here's the other thing, it is the longest personal conversation that Jesus ever had with any religious leaders ever and in this conversation, Jesus is talking to this biblical scholar, this Old Testament scholar and he's telling him what regeneration is, why regeneration is important and who needs regeneration, so let me tell you what our sermons about today in one sentence, this is a thought I want you to get in your mind, To truly know the love of God, we must be born from above, that's exactly what Jesus is teaching.

Now the question is, so how does that happen? Because I thought about this this morning when I got up, I hope I'm not a prophet when I say this, but if I knew today would be the last sermon I'd ever preach and I'd go to be with the Lord and I'd again, I hope I'm not a prophet, but it could happen. If I knew today would be the last day I'd ever preach, this would be the sermon that I'd preach and I hope you'll find out why, three things I wanna share with you today. Number one, you wanna be born again, you wanna experience regeneration, number one we must perceive the reality of the new birth, we've got to perceive the reality of the new birth. Now is really important to understand who Jesus was talking to, we're in John chapter three.

Now, there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who is a member of the Jewish ruling Council. Now, there's a reason why John lets us know exactly who this guy is, because of all the people you would've known in Jerusalem in that day, of all the people you would've ever thought about, the last person you would've ever thought about that Jesus would've had this conversation with would've been Nicodemus. I mean if Jesus had been talking to a felon, to a convict, to a criminal, to a robber, to a thief, to an adulterer, to a murderer, you said, "Yeah, I get that". but he's talking to a man of faith and he is not talking to just an ordinary Jewish man, he was a Pharisee big deal. There were only 6,000 Pharisees in all Jerusalem, they were considered five star Jews and to be a Pharisee, you had to know the Old Testament from front to back, so he was a PhD, he was a biblical scholar, but they weren't just religious, I mean they had religion on steroids.

If you were a Pharisee, you went by the book, you kept all the rules, you never missed temple services, you tied to God's work. To put it very easily, they were the Eagle Scouts of the Jewish religion, everybody respected, everybody revered, everybody looked up to the Pharisees. Nobody had a bad word to say about them, but then John goes on he says, "By the way, not only was Nicodemus, not just your run of the mill Jew, he was a Pharisee, he wasn't even just your run of the mill Pharisee, he was a member of the Jewish ruling council, otherwise known as the Sanhedrin." so what was that? That would be like today it would be our supreme Court, there were 70 members, he was one of 70 members, he was on the Jewish Supreme Court.

So when you looked at Nicodemus, you thought to yourself, now there is a superstar Jew and if you had to bet on anybody being right with God, anybody knowing God, anybody good to go with God, you would've gone all in on Nicodemus. You would've said to your kids, you would've said to your neighbor, you'd have said all your buddies, see that guy over there, you see Nicodemus Now man, that guy, he knows God, he's right with God, he walks with God and then this amazing conversation begins, we read in verse two, "He came to Jesus at night". he says, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who's come from God for no one could perform the signs you're doing if God were not with him". Jesus replied, "Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again".

Now Nicodemus is doing something that every psychologist will tell you to do, if you want to get in good with somebody and you're trying to build a conversation, a relationship with somebody, brag on them, say something positive about them. Well, Nicodemus says, "Hey, by the way, I just want you to know, I know you are a teacher come from God, I know you are a great miracle worker, I know you came from God, I don't care what any of my buddies say, I know you came from God." and Nicodemus probably had a list of long theological questions that he wanted to ask Jesus, but he never gets to do it because Jesus blows his mind, He does the strangest thing, which Jesus does quite a bit. He's talking to this learned man, this biblical scholar, this PhD, He doesn't talk about anything of the Old Testament, He doesn't talk about Hebrew theology, He doesn't talk about the 23rd Psalm, He doesn't talk about the creation narrative, He doesn't talk about David and Goliath.

Nicodemus is way, I mean, he wants to drink from this faucet of this great theological man that everybody's talking about and you know what Jesus does? He starts talking about birthdays and I guarantee you, blue Nicodemus mind. He's talking to me about birthdays and one of the things I love about Jesus is Jesus never beats around the bush, typical Jesus, He gets right to the point. He says, "Nick, let me just stop you, I just need make sure you understand something. You think you're right with God because of your religion and your rules and your righteousness and your rituals and you think doing good works, keeping the law, going to church, paying your time, doing the best you can is all you need to do and you think you and God are good to go..."

And then Jesus drops the hammer and he says something Nicodemus never dreamed anybody would have the audacity to say to him. He said, "But it doesn't matter who you are, it doesn't matter what you've done, I'm talking to you Nicodemus, judge Nicodemus, chief justice Nicodemus, ruler Nicodemus, Pharisee Nicodemus, religious Nicodemus, righteous Nicodemus", He said something that shook him from his head to his toe, "you sir, must be born again". I'm telling you could have heard the proverbial pin drop, I believe if you had been there, you would've seen the blood drain out of Nick's face, sweat popped out on his forehead, his hands began to shake because he had gone to bed the night before thinking, you know what, if I die tonight, everything's okay, I'm right with God, He's okay, I'm okay, we're all okay and for the first time in his life he hears these words, Nicodemus your goodness will never be good enough for God, your best won't do your works don't work, your religion won't cut it and if you ever want to even see the kingdom of God, you must be born again.

In what Nicodemus will say to your Nicodemus was something he never dreamed was even possible, much less. He would never thought he'd hear that from the time that he came out of his mother's womb, he needed to be born again. Because see, there's something that's been true about every person since Adam and Eve. From the time you and I came out of our mother's womb, we didn't need a new start, we need a new heart and a lot of people don't understand that. A lot of people don't get that because you think about it, we all got here by birth, think about how we got here, we all got here by birth. Let me tell you something that's true about every one of us in this room, you didn't choose to be born, I didn't choose to be born, you didn't ask to be born, I didn't ask to be born, we didn't choose when we were born, we didn't choose where we were born, we didn't choose what family we were born to our birth is something that happened to us without any effort on our part whatsoever and what Jesus wants to Nicodemus to understand is, "Hey Nick, the same thing is true as spiritual birth, if we're going to come to God, if we're going to God, we must be given a new life and just because we were birthed in the physical world also means we've gotta be birthed into the physical world".

So what he wants Nicodemus to understand, first of all, first base is this, "Nick, do you understand the reality of the new birth, do you understand there's such a thing as a new birth and do you understand you better experience the new birth or you will never enter the kingdom of God". as step one, gotta perceive it, perceive the reality of it. Then step two, you've gotta believe the requirements of it, I mean, what does it mean? So Jesus gonna make something plain to Nicodemus He says, "Look, Nicodemus, let me just make something very plain, this is not an option, this is not an add-on, this is not an appendix, this is not an addendum, this is a requirement". He says to him in verse seven, 'cause I mean Nicodemus, his face gave him away, his mouth has dropped, you go me, "I gotta be born again". He said, "You should not be surprised at my saying you must be born again".

Now that word born again is very interesting word, it doesn't really mean again, it literally means from above to know the God of love, you must be born from above, He says you've gotta be born from a higher place. What did he mean by that, what he was saying was this, Nicodemus, the birth I'm talking about, you can't manufacture, you can't buy it, beg it, borrow or steal it, you can't earn it, it's something that comes from God, so here's the point that he's trying to make to Nicodemus. I wanna make to you, you wanna go to heaven, "Sure I wanna go to heaven". you gotta have a spiritual birth certificate and a spiritual birth certificate cannot be issued by the government, it can only be issued by God, 'cause a spiritual birth certificate is not for your body, it is for your spirit. A physical birth certificate is necessary for this world, but a spiritual birth certificate is necessary for the next world, a physical birth certificate is necessary for this life, but a spiritual birth certificate is necessary for the life to come and only God can give that certificate, so we must be born again because just like physical birth gets us into this life, spiritual birth gets us into a life to come.

Physical birth gets you into a life that one day is going to come to a close, it's going to stop, it's going to end. But a spiritual birth certificate gets you into a life that will never end, physical birth gives you a place on earth, spiritual birth gives you a place in heaven and spiritual birth can only come from heaven. I mean you think about it, how hard not only you don't remember coming into this world, but if you go back and look at it, how hard did you have to work to be born? I'll be honest, I didn't work it all, my mom did all the work, I just went along for the ride. I didn't do anything and what the point is spiritual birth doesn't come from below, you don't work it up, it only comes from above. Can't buy it, borrow it, beg and steal it, only God can give it to you and we must receive this birth from God and you say, well why? Here's how it works, justice this is a good anatomical lesson today, hope the kids are listening just like God is a trinity, God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, we are a trinity, we are body, we are soul and we are spirit.

Now with the body, we relate to the physical world, we see, we smell, we touch, we taste, we hear, we talk. With our soul we relate to the emotional and intellectual world, the soul is where the mind, the will, the emotions and the personality live, but it's with our spirit that we connect with God. It's with our spirit, we worship God, Jesus said, "If you wanna worship God, you must worship him in spirit, not just body, not just soul, you gotta worship him in spirit and in truth". but that's the problem. Because you go back to the Garden of Eden, if you remember the story, God says to Adam and Eve, he says, "I've got all this fruit, I've got all these trees and you eat all the fruit that you want to eat". But he says, "Do you see that tree or the tree of you know, a good and evil? Do not eat of the fruit of that tree, that's the one fruit you cannot eat." because he said, "In the day you eat that fruit, you will die".

But then you go read the narrative and Eve eats the fruit and Adam eats the fruit and they probably looked at each other and said, "Wow, we're we didn't die." oh yeah, you died. No, you didn't die on the outside, you died on the inside, you just can't see it, we all die ultimately in our body, but they died immediately in their spirit and ever since Adam and Eve, every baby born on this earth has been born, DOA spiritually dead on arrival, all of us. We don't need a new start, we need a new heart and there's only one thing a dead person needs and I want you to hear this, a dead person doesn't need religion, a dead person doesn't need church, a dead person doesn't need baptism. There's only one thing a dead person needs that starts with the word L, what is that word? He needs life, a dead person needs life and the life that only God can give and see this is where people miss the vote, regeneration is not reformation.

There's a man, I just found this out this past week and I want you to pray for him, buddy of mine called me two days ago, 68 years old, two weeks ago they were having dinner down in Florida, everything was great, everybody felt great, they were planning to go take a golf trip. Monday he stomach started hurting, it started hurting him worse and worse and worse, he goes to the doctor on Wednesday, two days ago he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, got a mass on his stomach, spots on his liver, doctor told him yesterday you may not have a year to live. You know what when this man said to him, when his man, it's his cousin, so when this friend of mine called him and they found, well he actually called him and he told him about his diagnosis and we'd already talked about it. He said, I'll just call him John so John, "Do you know the Lord?" and here was his answer, "You know, I haven't been to church in a long time." totally irrelevant because regeneration is not reformation.

You don't just need to become a better, you need to become a new you, so hopefully lemme put it this way, religion and reformation may keep you out of jail, but only regeneration will keep you out of hell, that's a good place for an amen. Reformation may keep you outta jail, but only regeneration will keep you out of hell, so lemme just make it this way. Having a relationship with God is not a matter of making a new start in life, it's receiving a new life to start with, so whatever else you believe or you wanna believe, you better believe the requirement of the new birth. Jesus says it to everybody, he didn't play any favors, you're a priest, you're a pastor, you're a professor, you're a prophet I don't care, you must be born again.

Third thing, you perceive the reality, I think it's a real thing and then you believe the requirements, I understand I've gotta be born again. Well, once you get that, then you have the chance to receive the results of the due birth. Now watch what happens, Nicodemus curiosity is sky rocketing, I mean his head is spinning, he's trying to get his mind ready, so he asks the question and it's a good question, he says in verse nine, "How can this be"? he's trying to understand the concept 'cause Keith, listen, let's give this guy a break, he's never heard this before, nobody had ever heard this before, nobody. And so this guy comes along, this prophet, this unbelievable man from God that's doing unbelievable things and he says, "You must be born again." he says, "What does that mean, how do you do that, how can it happen." when Nicodemus is starting to see this flicker of light, so he's asking the right question. He's saying, "Okay, if I can be born again, how can I be born again?" and so Jesus gives this very simple response.

See, listen to what he says He said, "Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know, we testified to what we seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony, I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things"? Now he's really joined Nicodemus and he said, "Nicodemus, let me tell you what your problem is 'cause it's not what you think it is, 'cause you thought, well maybe I need to try harder, maybe I need to work longer, maybe I need to do better". He says, Nicodemus has nothing to do with that. He said, "Nicodemus, your problem is not a lack of understanding, your problem is a lack of belief, that is your problem, because you not only have to believe that you must be born again, you must believe that you can be born again and you must believe that you should be born again," 'cause I want you to remember two words. Remember these, believe and receive all through the Bible, believe and receive.

Here's what Jesus said, "Nicodemus, listen you're a smart guy, once you perceive the new birth is a reality, do you believe there's such a thing as a new birth"? Yes I do and once you believe the new birth is required, do you understand you must be born again, it's not an option, it's not multiple choice, you've got to be born again, there's no other way to God, I get it. He said, "Then if you'll experience the new birth, you'll receive the results of the new birth". Well that raises a question, what are the results of the new birth? It's not that hard to figure out when a child is born, when a child is born, that child will bear the characteristics of two people, who are they? Mom and dad, child's born they'll bear the characteristics of two people, so he will have their nature, he will have their looks, his personality will be shaped and influenced by what they brought to him through conception.

Now, buckle your seatbelt, when you're born again and God becomes your father, you will look like your father, you will act like your father, you will talk like your father, you will live like your father, like father, like son, like father like daughter, you don't have to question whether or not a child comes from his mom or dad, you don't have to question that because he will bear their marks and so will a child of God and lemme tell you why I I say that, I wanna tell you this quick story, I love this story. I read about a husband one time who before he was supposedly born again, he used to berate his wife and pick on his wife and nag his wife and he was just really overly critical with his wife, she couldn't do anything right? Well finally he came home from church one day and supposedly told his wife and said, "I've been born again." but nothing changed. He kept the same behavior up, nagging, berating, criticizing, putting her down, one day she looked at him and she said, "I just gotta tell you something". She said, "I don't mind that you've been born again, I just wish you had not been born again as yourself".

I'm not trying to make anybody doubt anything, I'm trying to get us all to examine one thing. In 2 Corinthians 13:5, Paul makes a very attention getting statement he said, "Examine yourself to see whether or not you are truly in the faith". I'm nobody's judge and I wanna make something plain I've said to you five or six times, I can't judge anybody's salvation except my own. There's only one person in this world I know is saved and that's me, I don't know that Teresa saved, I believe all my heart she is, I don't know that she is. I don't know that you're saved, I believe all of my heart you're saved, I believe you're saved as much as I am, but I only know that I'm saved, I don't know who you're saved, you don't when I'm saved or not.

Dotson, I don't know if you're saved or not, I mean Florida Gators, I got my doubts, but I don't know if you're saved or not, I believe all of my heart you are we're best buds and I know you and I know you love Jesus with all your heart from all I can tell, but I don't know that you don't know that I'm safe., so I'm not such judge before I make a statement. But I've been a pastor for 45 years and I'm amazed at how so many people who say they're born again don't look like it and they don't act like it, don't live like, so I'm gonna repeat this in about four or five weeks in another way, so lemme just put it this way. I don't think you have to beg born again people to come to church, so where is everybody?

I don't think you have to beg born again people to financially support God's work, but 20% of our people give 80% of our money and some of you don't give a dime. I don't think you have to beg a born again person to wanna be in this Bible, I don't think you have to beg a born again person to pray, I don't think you have to beg a born again person to share Jesus and I'm just simply asking the question, you say you're born again. I'm just asking you to look in the mirror and say, "How much am I looking like my heavenly Father? How much do I act like my heavenly Father? How much do I talk like my heavenly Father? How much do I walk like my heavenly Father? How much do people see in me, my heavenly Father"? Because make no mistake according to Jesus, whether or not you see the kingdom of God and you enter the kingdom of God is an answer to this one question, so if you would like to know, if you're watching right now, you'd say, "Hey, how can I really know." you're going to heaven. I do, I know I'm going to heaven.

Well, how can I know that? Answer One question here's the question, "How many times have you been born"? that's the question. If you've only been born once, you're gonna die twice, you're going to die physically and you're going to die spiritually, you're gonna die first physically and then eternally spiritually. However, if you've been born twice at most, you're only going to die once and see, you can't even understand why Jesus came into this earth if you don't understand why you must be born again, so let me say it this way, I said it a thousand ways, let me try one more shot. Jesus was born physically for one big reason that we might be born again spiritually, He was born physically, that we might be born again spiritually and just as he entered into an earthly family by a physical birth, we can only enter his eternal family by a spiritual birth.

Sometimes the media, I love it they'll talk about born again Christians and I'll always kind of smile because that's a redundancy, that's like theological stuttering because if you're born again, you're a Christian, if you're a Christian, you're born again, there is no such thing as a non-born again Christian, is there any such thing as a born again non-Christian? So in other words, salvation comes through regeneration, say that with me, salvation comes through regeneration. If you want to know the god of love, you must be born from above, so lemme just kind of wrap this up we'll be done. Just curious, this is a whole nother sermon for a whole nother time, how many of you believe in miracles, how many of you believe in miracles? Lot of the world doesn't, scientific world doesn't buy it, but I do, I believe in miracles.

However, I'm also convinced that when I ask you do you believe in miracles, you think about what I think are minor miracles, so when I say do you believe in miracles first all we probably think, "Yeah, I believe that God heals people who should have died". or I believe God protected someone that should have been killed you know, we kind of think in those terms. Yeah, I believe in those miracles, but I don't think that's anywhere near the greatest miracle, I'm convinced after doing this for 45 years, that the greatest miracle of all miracles is the miracle of regeneration and I wanna tell you a story and it will be done, you never heard of this guy it's amazing. His name was Yvonne d'Oliveira Almeida, 66 years old diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm now and an aortic aneurysm occurs when it reaches four centimeters in size.

Okay, four centimeters in his case, his artery had enlarged to 12 centimeters, four times the normal size. His doctors told him, you have no choice, we have to operate or you may not live an hour, but listen to this. But we also must tell you, you have a 1% chance of surviving the operation, but it's your only chance. Now what I didn't tell everybody Yvonne was he was a confirmed atheist, so the doctors tell him that he's gonna go into surgery, the surgery lasted 12 hours. This may have been an atheist all of his life, he had no use for God, never went to church, never cracked open a bible. When the doctors told him, you either die within an hour and there's a 99% chance you're gonna die anyway, just before he underwent anesthesia, he asked all the doctors and all the nurses to clear the room, asked him just to leave the room for just a moment and for the first time in this man's 66 year old life, he cried out to God.

Here's what he said, "Lord Jesus Christ, I commend my body, my soul, my life to you, make of me what you will and then I turned myself to death because I knew I was going to die." but he lived. He wakes up in the recovery room, he looked around and at that moment the spirit of God convicted him and he surrendered his life in that bed to Jesus Christ as his Lord and to his savior and this is what he said and he goes around now all over Brazil, given his testimony, "Today I am a miracle of Jesus, believe in Jesus people give your life to him, He raises from the grave what is dead, I was an atheist and he has risen and I will speak of this miracle until the last second of my life".

Let me tell you something, the miracle that happened to that guy is not that he was restored physically, the miracle was he was regenerated spiritually, a man who all of his life said, "There is no God, I won't know God, I've got no use for God". Now says Jesus Christ is Lord, He is savior of the world, He can change you because he changed me. That is a miracle, there is no miracle greater than that miracle, I didn't know as a nine year old boy sitting that theater, the miracle that had come into my life, but I've told you a thousand times, all I knew was one thing, the kid that walked out was not the kid that walked in 'cause something had happened to me, I had been born from above.

So I'll just say this and we'll be done, you were born physically for one primary reason to be born again spiritually, some of you young people sitting here right now, some of you high schoolers, some of you college kids in here, let me tell you something. There are a lot of things as you're young, you think you really have to do that you really don't have to do, you don't have to succeed in business, you don't have to grow old, you don't have to get married, you don't have to have children, you don't have to make a lot of money, you don't have to get an education, you don't even have to own a home or a car, but if you want to have a relationship with God and you wanna see and enter the kingdom of God, you must be born again.

Would you pray with me right now with his bow and with eyes closed just for a moment, I want us to do something together, I love doing it, the more I think about it, to hear people pray together, we're gonna pray for in a moment, all of us together and one of two things is true, you've been born again or you haven't. Now, if you've been born again, I want you to pray with me, but there's some of you, I'm asking you this question, are you honest enough to admit to the Lord today, I've never been born again, I've never been born again and you need to be born again. Then we're going to include you in this prayer as well, so I want all of us right now, don't be uncomfortable with it, we're gonna talk to God together. I want you to pray with me right now, everybody out loud pray with me right now. Say:

Dear God, I thank you that we can be born again, I thank you that because Jesus was born physically we can be born again spiritually. Lord, I'm that person that's depended on everything else but a new birth to get me to heaven, but today I believe I must be born again, so today Lord Jesus, I give you my life, I repented of my sins, I turn away from my sins and I surrender my life to you, I trust you as my Lord and receive you as my savior.

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