Robert Morris — Spiritual Birth
I wanna share a message with you, entitled, "Spiritual Birth". And we're gonna look at what Jesus says about spiritual birth. I want you to know that all of you here have been born naturally. You're alive, you've been born naturally. I know that wasn't a big revelation. And if the Lord doesn't come back in your lifetime, you're gonna die naturally. So you've been born naturally. But have you been born spiritually? And it's very important to be born spiritually, or born from above, or born again. I'm going to ask you to examine your salvation experience today. Here's the reason. You're basing all eternity on it.
Now, listen to me very carefully. You're not basing eternity on that you attend church. There's nowhere in the Bible that says you go to Heaven if you attend church. It says you go to Heaven if you've been born again. If you've been born from above, would be a literal translation of that phrase, again, from above, or if you've been born spiritually. It is scriptural for you to examine your salvation experience. Even a person going to church. 2 Corinthians 13:5. Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, and said: "Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith". So I'm gonna ask every one of you to examine yourself, and I'm gonna tell you something right now. If you have a doubt, why wouldn't you nail it down? I mean, if there's any doubt in you about where you're gonna spend eternity, why don't you nail it down today?
So look at this. John 3 has always been the most amazing conversation in the Bible, to me. John 3:1. "There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, 'Rabbi,'" that simply means teacher: "'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.' Jesus answered, said to him, 'Thank you very much.'" I'm sorry. It's always kind of humorous to me that, you know, he paid Him this big compliment, and Jesus said, "You know you're going to hell, right"? In essence, that's what He says. "Jesus answered and said to him, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God'". Again, the word again could be translated from above. Born from above.
"Nicodemus said to Him," — now, these are great questions. "'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?' Jesus answered, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit,'" we're gonna talk about those — that phrase, in just a moment: "He cannot enter the Kingdom of God". He's not gonna go to Heaven, unless he's born of water and Spirit. "That which is born of flesh is flesh, that which is born of Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'"
Okay, so that's point number one is you must be born spiritually. Born again, born from above. You must be. Not you should be, not you ought to consider it, maybe think about it. This is for some people but not everyone. You must. If you wanna go to Heaven, you must be born again. Born from above. Born spiritually.
Now, I told you we'd look back at John 3:5. John 3:5 says: "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit," — okay. That's not water baptism there. The reason we know it's not water baptism is because of what we would call contextual exegesis. You can do it by contextualizing that passage, what's the context? You can do it by the historical exegesis, the revelational exegesis, even the geographical exegesis. But here's the point, let me do it contextually. Very easy way to see what a text says is see what the context says. In other words, read the verse before it, and read the verse after it.
So He says: "That which is born of water," — He said, "You have to be born of water and Spirit". Okay, The verse before, remember, look at John 3:4. Nicodemus says, "Can a man enter into his mother's womb"? He's talking about natural birth. Okay. That is a womb of water. When the water breaks, hopefully you're close to a hospital. Because the baby's coming, right? So the baby's in a womb of water. So he says the verse before, he's talking about natural birth. Jesus is talking about spiritual birth, Nicodemus is talking about natural birth. So then, John 3:5, He says: "You have to be born of water," that's natural birth, "And you have to be born of the Spirit".
And then, look at John 3:6, so we know for sure it's natural and spiritual birth. John 3:6 says: "That which is born of flesh is flesh, that which is born of Spirit is spirit". So John 3:5, it's not referring to water baptism. It's referring to natural birth. Let that sink in. He didn't say this to a person on the street. He said this to a person who went to church, who read the Bible, who prayed, who fasted, who tithed, who believed in God. And who even believes in Jesus. You say, "Wait, I thought you had to believe in Jesus"? Well, there's a little more to that simply just believing with your mind. You see, Satan believes, but he's not going to Heaven.
Let me say that again. The devil believes in Jesus, but he's not gonna go to Heaven. The reason is, is because he won't submit his will to the lordship of Christ. So Jesus is saying, "Nicodemus, listen. It's not enough that you just believe I'm who I say I am. Will you let Me be Lord in your life? Then you can be born from above, or born spiritually".
So you must be born again. Here's number two, born spiritually. Many people — I want you to notice the word many. Many people have not been born spiritually. Many people. They've been born naturally, they've not been born spiritually. Now, I told you, Matthew 7. If you'll look at Matthew 7 there, this is part of the sermon on the mount. Matthew 7:13. "Enter by the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction," — notice the word destruction. "And there are many," — notice the word Jesus uses to describe the amount of people on this road. "Many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it".
Okay. So many are going to destruction, few are going to life. Now, let me ask you some very simple questions. I'm not trying to trick you, okay? I'm letting you know that I'm not trying to trick you, 'cause I know preachers do trick people. I do it, too, 'cause it's fun, all right? But I'm not trying to trick you right now. All right? So. Many are going to destruction, few are going to life. Would destruction represent Heaven or hell? Hell. Would life represent Heaven or hell? Heaven. So many people are going to hell. You have to let that sink in. These words are in red. This is Jesus talking, so it can't be a lie. Can't be an exaggeration. Can't be a preacher that got carried away during his sermon. This is Jesus. Many people are on the road going to destruction. Few are on the road going to Heaven. That's Jesus.
All right, look on down. We read Matthew 7:13-14. Matthew 7, look at Matthew 7:21. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,'" — now, by the way, notice these are people who call on the name of Jesus. Now, I'm not trying to put down anyone else, but these aren't Buddhists or Muslims or Hindus. These are people who call Jesus Lord. "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven," — same words Jesus used when He talked to John — I mean, when He talked to Nicodemus in John. "Enter the Kingdom of Heaven". "But he who does the will of My Father in Heaven. Many," — there's the word again, many. More people are gonna say to this to Me. "Many people will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord,'" still calling Jesus Lord: "'Have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never,'" — please watch, look at the word never: "'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"
Now, let me just say something. If you believe people can fall away, if you believe that, and I'm not gonna talk about whether a person can or cannot, I'm not talking about that right now, but if you believe it, these are not people who fell away, because Jesus said, "I never knew you". Never. I never knew you. We've never met. These are people who have never been saved. Never. Many are gonna say — so I have a question for you. These people prophesied and did miracles in His name. In Jesus' name. Not someone else's name, in Jesus' name. They're actively engaged in the work of God. If many people actively engaged in the work of God are going to hell, how many more just attend church? How many more just attend special occasions? Easter or Christmas or things like that? Many people.
I mentioned James Robinson a moment ago. His wife, Betty, when she was a teenager, she taught her junior Sunday school class. She sang the special before the message, and then when the invitation was given, she came out of the choir, and accepted Jesus as her Savior. Have a whole lot of people actively involved in church that have never been saved. So why? Why is this? I can remember when I got saved, I got radically saved. But I'd grown up in church, and I'd walked down the aisle many times. I went down the aisle and signed the card and got baptized and all that stuff. But I lived like the devil. I got involved in drugs, and immorality, and all these things.
And when I got saved, I can remember wanting other people to be saved. I want you to be — I knew what it was to be born spiritually, to be spiritually alive, all of a sudden. But I'd hear all these testimonies, and they would be testimonies like this. "I got saved when I was eight, but I didn't understand everything, and I didn't grow, and I didn't read my Bible, so I fell away. And I got involved in so-and-so sin, and I was just miserable. I was miserable. And then, I sold out, re-dedicated, gave everything to God, and that's when the change came". You ever heard a testimony like that? There's one problem with that testimony. It is not in the Bible. It is nowhere in the Bible. See, the problem is that everyone talks about that the problem is growth after birth. A person got saved, but the person didn't grow.
Okay. I believe there's growth after birth. But let me submit something to you, maybe you've never thought of. There's actually growth before birth. I was reading through scripture one time, came to this verse. Hosea 9:11. "As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird —" it's an analogy of the glory of God leaving the church, and it says when this happens, in essence, there will be: "No birth," — now, watch now: "No pregnancy, and no conception"! Okay. Jesus is the One who likened salvation to birth. He's the One who said, "You have to be born again". So he likens it to birth. So we always say, well, the problem with that person is that he didn't grow after he got saved.
Hang on, let's just — let's wait a minute. Maybe the person didn't get saved yet. Because there is growth before birth. In the natural, is there growth before birth? Let me say that again. In the natural — let me say it this way. Has a baby ever been conceived and immediately it was born? Hold on. Let me ask the experts here. Ladies, has a baby ever been conceived and immediately, it was born? No. There's conception, there's birth. But there's a period in-between, usually about nine months, and what is that called? Pregnancy, right? Okay. I said that one time, and a lady said, "Hell". Well, okay. Well, let's just keep it to the medical definition there, okay? All right? But think about all these testimonies. "I was saved when I was eight". "I was saved when I was a kid, but I didn't live right, and I didn't grow, and I got into all this sin," and here's what they're saying, "And I was miserable. I was miserable. And then, I gave everything to God, and that's when the change came, and my life changed".
Okay, think about in the natural. There's a seed conceived, and then as that baby grows, toward the end, I know there's joy that there's a baby coming, but ladies, would miserable describe how you feel sometimes? Listen, I know, I've never been pregnant. But I've been married to a woman who's pregnant three times. And this woman changed. She's the sweetest, kindest person you've ever met, except when she's pregnant. I would come home, and I'd say, "Sugar, what's for dinner"? She'd say, "You wanna try cooking with a bowling ball on your stomach"? It was just something — it was just a totally different person lived with — in my house during that time. So I'd say, you know, "Let's just go out to eat, sugar. Let's do that, all right"? But it was miserable. Am I telling the truth? There's conception. There's growth, and it gets miserable toward the end, and then there's birth.
Think about all the testimonies. "I was saved when I was young, but I was miserable, and then I really gave my life to the Lord, gave Him full control, quit straddling the fence, one foot in the church, one foot out, and that's when the change came". Is it possible that that's birth? And that what happened to you as a child was a seed was conceived. But here's what I'm telling some of you listening to me right now, is you haven't had the birth yet. And that's why you're miserable. Because something's growing in you. The seed of the Word of God is growing in you, and you've accepted the ideology that Jesus is the Son of God, but you need to accept Jesus as the Son of God, and as your Lord.
So here's the third question, how can I know if I've been born spiritually? How can I know? Not think, or not sort of hopefully hope, but know. And you say, "Well, I'm not sure you can know". Read the Bible. 1 John 5:13. "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life," — okay, I know I have eternal life, 'cause I know what happened to me in a motel room, and I walked down the aisle many times before that, but in that motel room, I got saved, and I know I got saved.
Now, let's take away a misconception about salvation. People say, "Well, Pastor, do you have to know the date? Do you have to remember the date"? See, I know the date. February 16th, 1981. But I was 19-years-old, and I had lived a pretty bad life. My wife got saved at nine-years-old. She went to visit her grandmother, and her grandmother made her watch Billy Graham on television every night. And back then, we only had three channels, and she said Billy Graham would finish on one. She'd think, thank — finally, we can go play. And her grandmother would turn the channel, and Billy Graham would be on the other channel. And a few months later, her grandmother passed away from cancer. And Debbie thought, I wanna know the God of my grandmother. And she gave her life to Jesus Christ, but she doesn't remember the date.
So do you have to remember the date? No. You don't. So Jesus likens it to birth. Another place, the Bible likens it to marriage. So let's just use marriage as an analogy. Do you have to remember the date? Okay. You might forget the date you were married, once. You will probably never forget it again, but you might. But you don't forget that someone moved in with you, and someone's been living with you ever since. So if you get saved, I'm telling you, someone moves in, and that person lives with you.
I ask people sometimes, I say, "Are you saved"? And I get responses like this. "Well, I think I am". Okay, that's hard for me to hear. I don't understand that response. And then, I'll say, "Well, when did you get saved"? And again, I'm not saying you have to know the exact date, month, and day. I understand, but when did you get saved? And people will say something like this. "Well, that's always been a tough one for me. You know, it might've happened when I was eight. It might've been when I was 14 at youth camp, or 25. Eight, or 25. 25, or eight. 25. 14. 14 or eight, for sure. Eight. 25". Okay. So, just think about this.
Okay, so if you came up to me after the service and said, "Pastor Robert, are you married"? And I said, "Well, I think I am". What would you think? You'd think, he's getting older than we thought. And then, what if you said to me, "Well, when did you get married"? And I said, "Well, that's always been a tough one for me. It could've been when I was eight. Or when I was 14 at youth camp, or 25. I say eight or 14, or 25. 25. 25. I — or eight". Are y'all following me? This is the most important decision of your life, why don't you nail it down today? What you accept — say, "Today, I'm accepting Jesus as my Savior". Today, I'm gonna accept Jesus.
Okay, so, let me show you the illustration on the pen. Everyone likes the illustration on the pen. So if you've never seen this, let me explain this to you. So when we're born, this is how you know if you've been born again. This is how you know, right here. When we're born, we're going the wrong way. We're going toward hell. Every one of us are going toward hell. You don't have to teach your children to be bad. It will come naturally for them. So you have to teach 'em to be good, right? So I was born, going this way. But my parents, they'd gotten saved, they were going that way. So they were telling me, "You need to go this way. You need to go this way".
So I would try to be good, and so, I would put pressure on myself. I'm gonna be good. I'm gonna be good. I'm gonna be good. If I ever let the pressure off, boing. I just went right back to being bad. I'd go to youth camp, I'd walk down the aisle, I'd do all this stuff. And sometimes, I'd walk down the aisle and then go out and get high afterwards. 'Cause nothing changed in my heart. And in that motel room, I said to God, "God, I can't change". I cannot change. I have been trying to change. I cannot change, but I give You my life, and the Lord reached down from Heaven, and went — in my heart, like that.
Now, I want to do the right thing. He took the desire for drugs away immediately. I wanna go this way. Here's what I've found out, though. Since I've gotten saved, if I put pressure on myself, I can do the wrong thing now. Nope. I'm not forgiving Debbie. Nope. She does this all the time. No, I've — no. No, Lord, no. Boop. Okay, I forgive her. My default now is to do the right thing, but my default before was to do the wrong thing.
I've shared this message about four times now at Gateway in our 17 years, because many, many people have been saved under this message. The last time I shared this message was five years ago. Five years ago. Some dear friends of mine, they are good friends. Their son, they were away in a vacation spot, and when they're go away, they watch on the internet. They watch this message on the internet, their teenage son, young, teenage son, after the message said, "Mom, Dad, I need to tell you something. Today, I was born again. Today. I know I've walked down when I was young, but today, I gave my life to Jesus Christ". And they saw a change in him.
This past spring, that young man at 19-years-old, freshman in college, went to sleep, and didn't wake up. I preached his memorial service. It's one of the hardest services I've ever preached. Not on drugs. Nothing wrong. No explanation. But they told me after that memorial service about five years ago. They said, "We know that we know that we know that our son got born again, when he watched that message".
I'm asking you, why not nail it down today? Some of you have doubted for years. Sometimes, you stay in your seat when there's a message like this, and you pray a prayer like, "God, if I'm not saved, save me". Okay, that prayer doesn't work. That prayer doesn't work for a couple reasons. One reason is you've had to pray it more than once. But another reason it doesn't work is because you're saying to God, "God, if I do need You, then save me. But if I don't, don't worry about it".
When you come to Christ, you say, "I need You". "I need You". I am lost without You, and I'm nailing it down, I'm never gonna doubt it again. Today, I'm giving my life to Jesus Christ. I believe that you're watching today because the Holy Spirit drew you to watch today. And many of you have grown up in church, or known about the Lord, but you've never really given Him control of your life, and you're watching today because God loves you. He wants to not only change your life on this earth, but He wants to change your eternal destiny. Nail it down, today. Ask Jesus to come into your life, right now. Right now. Tell Him, "Lord, today I wanna be saved, I wanna be born again. I receive You as my Lord and my Savior".