"Every day counts when we are devoted to God!" -Elizabeth George (A Woman After God's Own Heart)
Jesus was forsaken so we would never be. -Dr. John Barnett

Daily Scripture Verse

"Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." -Psalm 55:22

Friday, March 16, 2007

Regeneration in the Church

This is a sermon by Dr. John Barrnett. He's the pastor of the church I attend. The sermon is long, but very good. I would encourage you all to read it time permiting.

We have seen that the gift of salvation has seven key elements; and have examined forgiveness and justification. This evening we come to regeneration. Regeneration is a word that is much wider than the Bible or Theology, it is a part of the everyday world around us.

re·gen·er·a·tion (rĭ-jĕn'ə-rā'shən) n.
1. The act or process of regenerating or the state of being regenerated.
2. Biology. Regrowth of lost or destroyed parts or organs.
3. Theology. Spiritual or moral revival or rebirth.
God must love regeneration because we see it throughout His creation.

REGENERATION IS ALL AROUND US
From the cycle of the seasons, to the water cycle, to the claws of crustaceans that grow back after loss. God is a God that loves to offer a way for life to begin again.
Regeneration is the process by which an animal restores a lost part of its body. Broadly defined, the term can include wound healing, tissue repair, and many kinds of restorative activities.
The best-known and most widely studied examples of regeneration are those involving epimorphosis, in which the lost structure is reproduced directly by a combination of cell proliferation and redifferentiation of new tissue.
For example, if part of the liver is cut away, the remaining portions increase in size to compensate for the missing tissue and to restore the normal functional capacity of the organ.
Of all vertebrates, amphibians have the most highly developed capacity for regeneration. Certain species have the ability to regenerate not only limbs and tails but also parts of the eye, lower jaw, intestine, and heart.
Most annelids, such as the earthworm, can readily regenerate segments after their removal: some species can regenerate whole organisms from any fragment.
The ability of certain echinoderms, such as starfish, to regenerate missing arms is well known. Cutting such an animal into several pieces results in each piece forming a new organism[1].
All living things are made up of cells. But nowhere is regeneration in the physical world more important than in our aging bodies.
In the space of area that would be inside of the letter o on the page of your Bible in front of you, about 40,000 cells could fit.[2] There are a nearly uncountable number of cells in our bodies estimated to be between 30 and 100 trillions cells of 200 different types.[3]
Each day your body replaces cells, you and I get regenerated physically by a continuous stream of nutrients and every so often every cell in your and my body is replaced. That is the regenerating power of the human body.
Every day humans will lose and replace 200 billion red blood cells. Remarkably, our bodies manufacture 2 million replacement cells in a split second. A single red blood cell will make an incredible journey, traveling 100 miles through a vast network of 60,000 miles of veins, capillaries, and arteries.
Consider this: your stomach lining and your small intestine replace themselves every five days, your skin replaces itself once a month, your liver replaces itself every six weeks, and your skeleton replaces itself about every seven years. It's pretty amazing.
Whether you are 7 or 77, your body replaces billions of cells every day. The sad news is that that amazing renewing process begins to slow and finally ends the older we get.

REGENERATION IS OUR GREATEST NEED
But the greatest example of regeneration is when God makes us His very own home; when God makes a human His habitation in the greatest miracle of all—salvation.
God's regenerating us literally means we live again, we have new life, a fresh start, renewal, a new beginning.
God has made provision for us to be born again, regenerated through the new birth—in order to give us His life living within.
But why would we the greatest and highest and most wonderful of all earth"s creatures—why would we need regeneration? Because a disaster each of us partakes of has rendered us uninhabitable by God.

WE ARE UNINHABITABLE
At 10:13 AM on April 26, 1986 in a Russian city called Chernobyl, the world witnessed the greatest known industrial accident.
The V.I. Lenin Memorial Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station Reactor 4 exploded and released over the next 9 days of intense fires—as much as 100 times more total radiation than was produced in both atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II.
Hundreds of thousands of Russians were evacuated and an area of 500 square miles was rendered completely uninhabitable. Even to this day humans can not live in close proximity to the encased reactor because of the radiation levels. Let me repeat that phrase 'rendered completely uninhabitable’ …
The key element of that disaster was the rendering of an area completely uninhabitable; no humans could live anywhere around that open source of deadly radiation. The solution was the immediate and prolonged massive airlift of materials to try to confine the deadly radiation. A mountain of material was dropped by helicopter, which totaled almost 10,000 tons of clay, lead, and dolomite onto the reactor; and later the building of a concrete tomb over the site. But all that did was to try to keep the deadly radiation inside an area that would be forever closed to human life.

You and I ARE BY NATURE UNINHABITABLE TO God.
We were born with a heart that was emitting a deadly radiant far worst than the gamma rays of that exploded reactor 4; we were producers of the element most hated by God in the Universe, which is called sin. The presence of sin within each of us made us completely uninhabitable to God. He could never live within us because He is holy and we are sinful.
Regeneration is when God comes down to the site of the worst disaster in the Universe—us sinners, and completely removes the deadly elements at the core of our being.
Biblically speaking we receive a new heart in regeneration. The first complete explanation of this process is in Ezekiel 36:26-27 when God says that He will give us who come to Him through Christ a "new heart”. The Scripture goes on to say that He takes away the bad heart we had and replaces it with a brand new one that He made that is just right for the Lord Himself to come and live within.
One of the greatest elements of our salvation is regeneration—when we entered God’s family, received a new heart, and became God’s habitation. We came alive, beginning to live the everlasting life—that forever separates us from the lost, who remain in forever death.
Regeneration is most important because it marks the dividing line between saved and lost, eternal life and eternal death, eternal sonship to God and eternal alienation from God.
That is the miracle of regeneration.

OUR REGENERATION IS MIRACULOUS
Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5). Regeneration occurs when God sovereignly acknowledges a person’s belief of the gospel[4].
Regeneration is the most dramatic change in a new believer; when we are “born again” we enter the family of God. (Re- means “again,” and generation means “birth.”)
Some argue that since a man dead in trespasses and sins cannot believe, God must first regenerate him in order that he may then believe. But, if that were true, that is, if he already had been regenerated and thus been given the gift of eternal life, then why would he need to believe? The two must be simultaneous[5].
All we have to do is unwrap and experience all that He has given to us.

UNOPENED PRESENTS
All of us who are saved, born again, and believers in Jesus Christ have received a gift—the greatest gift. But the question we need to answer is—are you opening and enjoying that gift? Salvation has seven key elements—each like a special present. Are you opening your presents?
These gifts are opened by faith one by one as we see who we have become in Christ. So the Christ of Christmas is the start of a lifetime of priceless treasures, given to us freely by God above.
Be sure you have opened your presents this Christmas, given by Jesus.

OPEN THE GIFT OF REGENERATION
Because of our sin—we are all dead in our trespasses and sin; so we need regeneration.
The Gift of Salvation is about Jesus who died to take us who are dead in our sins, bring us to life and welcome us as family members, full of endless life and brand new—that’s regeneration!
In Regeneration we go from spiritual deadness, and uninhabitable for God to life in His Spirit overflowing with His Presence.
We need to experience what the Scriptures often declare—God Himself has regenerated us. That means that He has sought us out in our dead and decaying condition, breathed eternal life into us, and brought us into His family by the new birth. Then He comes to live within us so we are forever having an abundant and overflowing, eternal life.
Regeneration transforms us in so many ways. We instantly become:
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name”. Because Jesus regenerated me—I am a Child of God.
Romans 8:2, 9- "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." Because Jesus regenerated me—I am a Free From All SLAVERY.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” Because Jesus regenerated me—I am a Temple of God.
1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually”. Because Jesus regenerated me—I am a member of Christ's Body.
2 Corinthians 1:21 “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God”. Because Jesus regenerated me—I am anointed and sealed by God.
Ephesians 2:1, 10 “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them”. Because Jesus regenerated me—I am a Divine work.
You have heard of a piece of art being an original “masterpiece” or actually painted or made by a master like Michelangelo or Da Vinci. Well—we who believe are God's Word masterpieces; we are even signed by the Author Himself!
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Because Jesus regenerated me—I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love”. Because Jesus regenerated me—I am a Citizens of Heaven.
Colossians 2:10 “…and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power”. Because Jesus regenerated me—I am complete in Christ.
Titus 3:5 “…not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” Because Jesus regenerated me—I am washed, given a fresh start, and new beginning.
1 John 5:18 “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him”. Because Jesus regenerated me—I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.

START A NEW SPIRITUAL EXERCISE
If you have never tried this I’d encourage you to start a new dimension of your spiritual life by opening your gifts. Let me share with you one of the more wonderful spiritual exercises you can ever do.
As you begin each day, each month, and as we come to the end of this month—as you begin a new year, one of our greatest privileges is to open and enjoy the gift of salvation God has given to us. By faith we please God when we believe what He's said about us. We need to not live by what others say or have said about us all your life.
Satan is the Accuser and wants us to only remember all the many times we have fallen; Satan delights in the days, weeks, or months he can keep us condemning ourselves for what we've done. That is his plan, so don’t fall for it. Resist Satan as you believe the truth; speak the truth; and preach the Gospel to yourself.
And when ever we fall down, God says to just turn back to Him and repent, confessing our sin immediately--and believe that what God has promised in His salvation. We are forgiven, justified, regenerated, reconciled, adopted, redeemed, and sanctified. That makes us precious in His sight, special in His plan.
One of the most powerful habits you could grow is to take this list of the ramifications of having received the only gift everyone really needs and rejoice by faith in your great salvation!
Keep this list in your Bible, at home, on your computer, put one on your mirror where you start your day, and in your car. Where ever you need to keep reminding yourself of what great things God has promised and done through Christ's death for us!
Slowly as you understand and lay hold on these truths a life-changing transformation take place in our minds, and then in our emotions, and finally throughout our entire life as we live each day based on God’s eternal truth.

OPEN THE GIFT OF JUSTIFICATION
Because of our sin—we are all guilty convicts in God’s sight; so we need justification.
Christmas is about Jesus who died to take guilty convicts and destroy any record that that ever committed a crime and takes their place in the punishment—that’s justification! A Sinner stands before God as accused and is declared righteous by His imputed righteousness.
In Justification we go from being accused and guilty before God to being righteous and with no record of wrongs!
We need to experience what the Scriptures often declare—God has once and for all through Christ's sacrifice justified us. That means that He has accused us, declared us guilty of sin and then made us righteous and forever deleted the record of all our wrongs.
Romans 8:33-34 “Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” I have been justified and by Christ justifying me and because the record has been erased —I am free forever from condemnation.
1 Corinthians 6:17 “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” By Christ justifying me—I am forever united with the Lord.
Ephesians 1:4 “… just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love”. By Christ justifying me—I was chosen by Jesus to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Ephesians 2:6 “…and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. By Christ justifying me—I am already seated with Christ in Heaven.
Ephesians 3:12 “… in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him”. By Christ justifying me—I can always approach God with confidence.
Colossians 3:3 “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”. By Christ justifying me—I am safely hidden with Christ in God.
Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” By Christ justifying me—I always have His grace and help.

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