The New You - What It Means To Be Born Again
Th New YouMon, Sep 17, 2023 110AM • 55:03SUMMARY KEYWORDSgod, gentile, lord, baptized, holy spirit, Christ, read, saul, paul, Cornelius, jewish, call, jesus, bible, peter, born, talking, Barnabas, church, jerusalem
That's just all sound really good today was the sound like, especially good. I was thinking as I was their worst being but also, you know, just trying to concentrate but it almost broke my concentration. I was thinking it sounds so especially good today.
Fellas, that's what you say when your wife's on the soundboard
down a few volunteers today, but that's okay.
So you're learning. I'm learning.
I'll get there.
If you're new My name is Gene I serve here at C3 church as your pastor and we're going to have some fun today. So
I heard a story about an elderly lady. And she had a neighbor who was a younger guy, old enough to have a house but the other guy didn't seem like he would always help her do anything. Right. So pulling the driveway groceries. He's there like a superhero, right? Take in the mail, whatever it is, right? The garbage cans, even mow the lawn, do the yard work everything. So finally, this prompted her to say, How did you turn out to be such a fine young man?
His answer surprised her.
Well, you see, so when I was young, I had a drug problem.
I cannot believe that. Not you? Yeah. Yeah, I had a drug problem. Every Sunday, my parents drugged me to church. Every Sunday evening, my parents drove me to church again on Wednesday nights for Bible study. They drugged me to church. Okay, sit not always good jokes. There's no, Dave, we don't advertise that on the website. Okay. But what you will hear what we did advertise is that we dig deep into the Bible. And so that's what we're going to do again today. Last week, very exciting. We looked at the birth of the early church, we looked at why we have those four points on the wall out there, how we model ourselves what we are about the business of doing
this week, we'll look at a different kind of birth, what it's like to be born again, what is it to be born again. And so just real quick, a lot of you are not new, but just saying it for the new people or the people watching online, lots of scriptures. Okay, so we are in this kind of Christian culture that got developed way later of reading the Bible, one sentence at a time, like randomly all over the place. Would you ever read any other book like that and expect to understand it? Know why a lot of Christians don't understand the Bible, right? So we're doing larger sections. But inside these sections, I'm going to summarize again. Alright, so that's not to be dismissive of the text. No, it's actually to encourage you to read your Bible, don't believe what I say, don't believe what anyone says, Read your Bible. That's the ultimate authority. Everyone makes mistakes. So I'm just going to kind of paraphrase through some of it and then we'll put the text up on the screen. For some of it kind of on this topic of being born again, we're going to be looking at that. So everything in the context of that we'll be looking at so let's just hop right in, it's we're going to do eight through 11. If you're kind of following along, X eight one Saul. So kind of going to jump back to last week a little bit. Just remember what was going on Stephen was martyred. Saul was one of the witnesses and he agreed completely with the killing of Stephen, a great wave of persecution began that day sweeping over the church in Jerusalem. And all the believers except the apostles were scattered through the regions of Judea and Samaria, some devout men came and buried Stephen with great mourning, but Saul was going everywhere to destroy the church, he went from house to house dragging out both men and women to throw them into prison. So really quick. This is Paul, we get to x 13. Saul called Paul. So it's like people can have two names, whatever maybe his Roman name is Jewish name. Could be that too. So this is the guy we're talking about saw also called Paul. So now what's going to happen? It's going to be like one of those movies that like, you know, there's three or four different things going on at the same time. And they just use cutscenes. And they cut away to a different thing. So cuts to fill up. Alright, so Philip, we're going to hear more about him later. But he goes to Samaria, and he preaches there. So all kinds of crazy things are happening, or people are coming to believe, because he's casting out demons. He's healing people. He's doing all this miraculous stuff, again, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Now, this is extremely significant. If you were a Jewish believer back then reading this, like, you go, what? Where's he going? No, that's totally crazy. Because now you got to remember go all the way back to Matthew 10. When he sending out the disciples at first, right? So he's like, look, just go to the lost sheep of Israel, not even Samaritans, don't go to the Samaritans and then Jesus will use Samaritans when he wants to slap the religious leadership in the face. He'll use Samaritans as ever here the Good Samaritan, there's a reason why Jewish people considered them
Half breeds so when the Assyrians invaded them, took them over scattered and dispersed them, they intermarried which Jewish people are not supposed to do according to the law of Moses, you can do that now. But some Jewish people wouldn't. Right? So it's very close circle. You're not supposed to remarry. They did. And so Jewish people considered them half breeds. It's not very nice. But that's basically it. We call them dogs all kinds of horrible name. So weird, right? So now they're getting it. What did Jesus say Matthew 28, right. Go to all the Ethany not just nations, not just bad. I told you in the past boundaries change, go to all the peoples ethnic and Greek ethnicities, there make disciples of all nations, right. So they, in the kind of slow to get it, you're going to see today, Peter hunt, you know, slow to get it, and now they're getting it. So Philip, very obedient, he goes, now go to them. And so we're going to see this, like massive conversion of all these different people, you're going to see the very first one like a fully Gentile one coming up. So this is a really big deal. Then we hear about Simon a sorcerer, he claims to be someone great. He's just doing his magic. And everyone's kind of like, Wow, he's so awesome. You just rounded but now, the people have Philip. They're doing real stuff, but the power of the Holy Spirit. So they start following Philip, instead of the Simon guy makes a note that Simon himself believed and was baptized. So he began following Phillip everywhere, everyone's astounded by these miracles that are going on. So when the apostles in Jerusalem, hear about it, they sent Peter and John there to go there. And soon as they arrived, they pray for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. And this is just very interesting, the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they'd only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. It's very interesting. Then Peter and John lay their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit. So it's not very common, like it's kind of obvious when you're reading like baptize them in the name of the Father. And if you're reading in Greek, and the name of the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that there's some kind of like Christians who believe like, it's just Jesus's name, and like, they're all named Jesus. No, there's a Father, Son, Holy Spirit. So if you ever hear anyone say that this is a great place to go. Because sometimes they'll just generally say, and they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, yes. But that's like kind of the new thing here, right? If you're Jewish, like you know about the Holy Spirit, you know about God, the Father, Jesus is kind of the new additions. That's why they're emphasizing that that's it. Just a side thing, just in case you hear anybody say that. So we go back to sign it. Acts 18 When Simon saw that the Spirit was given when the apostles laid their hands on people, he offered the money to buy this power. Let me have this power to explain so that when I lay my hands on people, they will receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter replied, may your money be destroyed with you for thinking God's gift can be bought. You can have no part in this. For your heart is not right with God, repent of your wickedness and pray the Lord, perhaps you will forgive your evil thoughts, for I can see that you're full of bitter jealousy and held captive by sin. Praise the Lord for me. So I'm going exclaimed, that these terrible things you said won't happen to me. So kind of see a false baptism there, don't you? So the Holy Spirit's The key here, right. So that's going to be like this motivating factor for your change. He doesn't have it clearly. So it's kind of not a genuine baptism. So interesting of note.
Peter and John, they returned to Jerusalem on their way back and makes another note that they stop in many Samaritan villages. This is a very big deal. It's now you have Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. So an angel The Lord tells filth go south, down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he started out and it depends on how your Bible kind of renders this. He meets the treasure of Ethiopian eunuch have great authority under the candidate, the queen of Ethiopia. So that's conduct is what you'd say. So the unit had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and he was now returning seated in a carriage so the Holy Spirit says a Philippi go near that carriage over there. So Phillip runs over and here's a reading from the prophet Isaiah. So Phillip asked you understand what you read it the Ethiopian responsible, how can I understand it let someone teaches me or someone shows me or instructs me. So filth comes up in the carriage. He's reading Isaiah 53, he was led like a sheep to the slaughter. And as a lamb is silent before this years, he did not open his mouth. He was humiliated and received no justice, who can speak of his descendants for his life was taken from the earth. Really quick, interesting note because we did it throughout this series. He's reading from the Greek version. Sometimes you'll do that maybe you've noticed, like, you'll note where it's from in the New Testament, and then it's different in the Old Testament just by a little bit not to like change anything but one of the words a little different. Strange. That's because most of our Bibles today are rendered from later, Hebrew texts, young
Your Hebrew texts, it's a whole big thing anyway, the apostle is the early church, they're reading from the Greek version of the Old Testament. That's what's going on here. So if you look very carefully, and you read all of your Bible, which includes the footnotes, it'll say on Greek version if it's a good translation,
nerd hat off back to regular preaching.
tell me what is the prophet talking about himself? Or someone else? So beginning with the same scripture, Philip told him the good news about Jesus these are all these prophecies is the road along they came across some water. Look, there's some water Why can't I be baptized? So you're the character stop. So Philip, baptize them when they come out of the water. The Spirit just misspelled the way he's gone. And, you know, if you're reading it, like, logically, maybe it'll cause you because the Ethiopian eunuch he, he just went away rejoicing. Like, basically imagine that someone baptized like I baptize you and then I disappear. You come out of the water, and you're like, yeah, yes. You know what I mean? Like, whatever what happens? You care? Maybe God took him. That's great. Right? So you just see those major contrast is really kind of struck me as funny. Like, wouldn't you say like, you know,
well, I guess it wasn't weird. Another note here to is like, within these kind of
humorous things, it doesn't matter who does the baptizing.
It doesn't matter, right? We can't prop up like differently. I got to get baptized by this person. You know, think about what Peter would say. Right? So no, no. Now, that's big. I'll explain a little bit more on that later. I just want to keep moving through the story like it goes. Meanwhile, it's like a cutscene. Next night, one saw was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord's followers. So he went to the high priests, he requested letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, asking for their cooperation the rest of any followers of the way he found them. He wanted to bring them both men and women back to Jerusalem and chains. As he was approaching Damascus, on his mission or this mission, a light from Heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? Why are you Lord Saul asked, and the voice replied, I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting. Now get up and go into the city. And you will be told what you must do. The man was assaulted speechless for the heard the sound of someone's voice, that they saw no one. So Paul picked himself up off the ground, but we opened his eyes. He was blind. So his companions led him by hand to Damascus, he remained there blind for three days and did not eat or drink. Okay. Couple things to explain here. The way right, so this is the Mandalorian that they're talking about.
Like two people got that anyway, whatever. But anyway, they called it away. It was initially a Jewish sect, the sect of the Nazarene, right? Because think again, so reading bigger sections, and you should be getting this right. Whoa, don't go to the Samaritan. So Right. It's a very Jewish clicky type of thing here. So it's a Jewish sect. So they're like a Jewish sect of the Pharisees. Sadducees. They're the sect of the Nazarene. Some people just call it the way this way right or a cult by some who hate them like salt. So what happens is there's a believer named Anand is and I kind of told a funny joke last week about Ananias and Sapphira. I remember the tithing thing, like you should tithe or die. Anyway. So and I was like, Don't name your kid that right? But here's the one good one. So there's three. Too bad. One. Good. So that's what's going on here. Here's the good and Annise Yes, Lord, so the Lord calls him and is, Yes, Lord replied, Go to straight streets out of town for Judas. It's not Judas. He's dead. The one everybody knows about when you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. That's where Saul slash Paul is from praying right now. And I've shown him basically a vision of you coming in an ISIS worried he's like Lord, heard many people talk about the terrible things just remember he's killing Christians, right? So he's like, really, like, I don't really want to go this guy. But the Lord says, Go for solves my chosen instrument, to take my message to the Gentiles and kings, as well as the people of Israel, and I will show him how much he must suffer from my namesake. So goes and finds him, Brother Saul, Lord Jesus, who appeared you on the road sent me that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Something immediately like scales falls from his eyes, he regains his sight, he got up and he was baptized. He ate some food, regained his strength. Paul will recount this later and give you just a little bit more information. But for now, we'll just stay right here in the text scale from the eyes. You can make some comparisons like Jonah, three days in the fish. It's actually not well at the sea creature, just kind of interesting. Tarshish, not Tarsus. But anyway, don't miss the point here. Right. So we'll talk about that in the application section. The point major conversion, so major that he's in Damascus, he starts preaching and so they're confused. They're like, this is the guy who's preaching Jesus, he's out to persecute us, but he's just right away out in the streets there. He's in Damascus. They want to murder him. So they're waiting at the gate to murder because that's where you go in that
The city right, waiting to get to kill him. So they have to lower him in a basket kind of sounds weird and funny, but whatever, like a basket and a large hole in the wall, so he has to escape. He goes to Jerusalem does the same thing there. Everybody wants to kill Paul. So what they end up doing?
Barnabas brings him in. And he explains like, look, this guy's good. He's preaching powerfully. Because the thing is, the believers are scared of them still, they're like, he's got a really different kind of plant. Right? You know what I mean? Is he a mole coming in here? So Barnabas explains what's going on. And they accept him. And what happens is, they end up just sending them through cesarean down to Tarsus to kind of send them back home, keep them safe for now. So it makes a note, the church had peace throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria, and it became stronger and stronger, and it's very interesting thing.
It became stronger and stronger as the believers lived in fear of the Lord. It's something Christians don't talk about nowadays, but the Bible does. And with the encouragement of the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers. Then we get a healing couple of healings. Ananias and Dorcas
Tabitha, so both things, they mean Gizelle in Aramaic and Greek Dorcas or Tabitha, right, so kind of a funny name today. And he is so he's a guy he's paralyzed for eight years, and he heals the power of the Holy Spirit Dorcas Tabitha, she's dead. And people love her because she used to make them all this nice stuff. So they're shown and the nice stuff they call for Peter he gets the other Shomrei stuff. He raises her from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. And so everything's growing here by these miraculous signs and wonders for the news spread throughout the whole town and many believed in the Lord and Peter stayed a long time in Joppa living with Simon tenor of heights so now we're going to get like a different Simon's if Simon Peters Simon the tanner Simon from before the magician, but this is important. Max 10. One
is ESRI other live the Roman army officer named Cornelius, who was a captain of the Italian regiment. He was devout, God fearing man as everyone was in his household. He gave generously the poor and prayed regularly to God. One afternoon about three o'clock he had a vision in which he saw an angel of God coming toward him. Cornelius, the angel said, Cornelia stared at him in terror. What is it, sir, he asked the angel. And the angel replied, your prayers and gifts to the poor have been received by God in his offering, as an offering now sends him into job and some of the men named Simon Peter, he is staying with Simon that's Anna of heights who lives near the seashore. As soon as the angel was gone, Cornelius called Two of his household servants and a devout soldier, one of his personal attendants, he told them what happened, and he sent them off to Joppa. So meanwhile, theater goes up to a rooftop as the messengers are getting there. And he sees a vision. It's something like a sheath being held by its four corners and all kinds of animals, reptiles, different animals, basically things that might be unclean for Jewish people to eat, and lowers down. And so Peters response.
God says, Get up here, kill and eat the
No Lord, I haven't eaten anything that has been unclean, or by our Jewish laws, determined to be impure or unclean. So we have these very strict Jewish food laws. There's a lot of stuff, it's very complicated. There's a lot of stuff they're not supposed to eat. So this is his initial, like, eat these things. What are you talking about? Now? Just sidenote Jewish food laws, we are not under those food laws, right? So Mark seven, Romans 14, you can read there for yourself? No for me, so. So God is saying that, but there's something else going on here. The voice replies, do not call something unclean. If God has made a clean,
the same vision was repeated three times, and the sheet was pulled up to heaven. So he's perplexed. What could this mean? And just then the men get there. They asked if Simon Peter was there. So he's puzzling over this vision in the meantime, but the Holy Spirit tells him these men have come looking for you go downstairs, and go with them without hesitation. Don't worry, I sent them. So they summarize what happened what they're told to do. So Peter invites them to stay for the night. The next day, he goes with them. With some other brothers from Java. They arrived in South Korea The following day, Cornelius, his first response is to worship Peter. We're going to see this throughout the Bible worship here, he's like, no, no, just get up. I'm a man just like you. So Peter notes, you know, it's against our laws for a Jewish man enter a Gentile home like the same Jews, Gentiles are associated with you. But thing Peter gets it. God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. Anyone. So I came without objection, as soon as I was sent for now, tell me why you sent me. Cornelius recaps as soon as Cornelius is done recapping x 1034. Then Peter replied, I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism in every nation. He accepts those who fear Him and interesting and doing his right. This is the message of the good news for the people of Israel, that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ who is Lord
We're all you know what happened throughout Judea beginning in Galilee after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth, the Holy Spirit with power than Jesus went around doing good and healing all who are oppressed by evil, for God was with him. And we apostles are witnesses, if you're paying attention over the last couple of weeks, witnesses, martyrs,
of all he did throughout Judea and Jerusalem, they put him to death by hanging Him on across our tree, but God raised into life on the third day, then God allowed him to appear not to the general public, but us whom God had been chosen in advance as to be witnesses.
We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. Remember that there was significance there to prove that he was raised in a real body. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be judge of all the living in it that he is the one all the prophets testified about saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through his name. So now, even as Peter speaking, the Holy Spirit comes on all these people, so it's like in the beginning of Acts for the Holy Spirit of massive outpouring speaking in tongues, all this crazy stuff happens. It happens there. So, Peter, like, can anyone object to their being baptized now that they've received the Holy Spirit? So he actually does the actual baptism there. And afterward, Cornelius says, Stay with us for a few days. Now, the news reaches the apostles and other believers in Judea, that the Gentiles have received this like that this is happening. So Peter arrived back and at first, this is their attitude. You entered a Gentile house and ate with them, like so. This is how bad the division is get it, right. You think they'd be like, Wow, everyone's converting like we do today? No, they're like, upset about it like this is our thing. So then Peter tells them exactly what happens. So he recounts again, so it gets a little long, so I can just skip that because we did it. And speed here, let them know here. As they began to speak, Peter continues, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as he fell on us at the beginning. Then I thought the Lord's words when he said John baptize with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit. And since God gave these Gentiles the same gift he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was on to stand in the way, x 1118. When the others heard this, they stopped objecting and began praising God. They said, We can see that God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of repenting of their sins and receiving eternal life.
Meanwhile, the believers who had been scattered during the persecution after Stephens death traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch of Syria, they preach the Word of God, but only to Jews. However, some of the believers who went to Antioch from Cyprus and Cyrene began preaching to the Gentiles about the largest. So even after as you see out still, there's like this divide. The power of the Lord was with them and a large number of these Gentiles believed in turn to the Lord. When the church at Jerusalem heard what happened they sent Barnabas to Antioch, remember him and encouraging guy and it says it again here. When they arrived and saw this evidence of God's blessing. He was filled with joy, and he encouraged the believers to stay true to the Lord Barnabas was a good man full of the Holy Spirit and strong and faith, and many people were brought to the Lord. So this section is going to end just noting Barnabas, he goes to look for Saul to find Psalm member, he stood up for him before, and both of them stayed in Antioch for a full year, it says, And this is an interesting note here, right here. It says it was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians. So there you go. This is when that name came about means baby Christ. I mean, you're supposed to, it's actually like an insult. In the beginning, you're supposed to be like Jesus, then it notes AGAMOUS. And we'll get into this later, but he's a prophet. And he's saying that there's going to be a fan, what happens is there's like some kind of grain shortage, and there's going to be a famine in the land. So he first predicts this happening, this will come up again, even today. It connects, it's kind of important. That's the reason for writing some of Paul's work here. So what do we see? Let's just take note, zoomed out, right. Let's zoom back in what are we looking? What was the point? When we look at this section? Right? What is God telling us here? What is he putting together? Well, the first thing I see is conversion. I see massive conversions. And not just massive, but like amazing, Paul, you out to get the church. Right. He's like, literally responsible for having Christians stoned to death, murdered,
and he flips.
That's insane. That is very, very powerful. Others. So just a reminder about the significance of this the Gentiles, the Samaritans, they're being accepted and they're converting member. It's not just that the Jews don't like them, right? They don't like the Jews, and they're converting, right so the Messiah is Jewish, you know, really like I'm going to accept it.
So the big thing here you
is now within it. These people are born again. They're born again. That's a funny phrase. A lot of people say it. But it was hard to understand even in the beginning, right, born again, what is that? And so I started thinking about it just practically, right. So when you teach stuff, and you're in deep, like sometimes you get in so deep that you forget what it's like not to know anything at all. And so I started thinking about that, like, what if someone comes in and they don't anything at all, like nothing? Okay, when's the first time I heard the term born again? And when I think when I heard it, so it was weird. Because so I have not always been a pastor. I wasn't raised as like a practicing Bible believing Christian. So I did a lot of crazy stuff. And so if you know my story, crazy things, and no, I'm not going to tell you a story about me doing crazy things.
I'm going to keep it short. Right? So I said, Hey, this is funny. Actually. I will. So
I never went to college, because I was not smart enough. I barely pass high school, like it was back in the day where like, teachers are just, like, let you do whatever you want, or whatever. Just I don't want to have him again next year. So if you were really bad, they just pass you through. Don't try that.
But anyways, I could not get into college, there was no way I was getting the call. But my band may have just I was in band rock band. My band meet did, right. So that meant I got to do all the fun stuff in college and none of the classes so it was kind of fun. That's what I that's what I did. So anyway, we partied a lot. And we did drugs. And what's not funny is, it was so bad. Just give you a picture. It was so bad that he got kicked out. I learned another term persona non grata. I'd never heard that term, but it means you're not allowed here. And that's how I learned it. Right? So the rd was like next time, put a wet towel under the door. And so you know, we got kicked out of them. You know, you kind of insinuate some of you left, some somebody didn't. But anyway, it was bad. It was really, really bad. And so his girlfriend would hang out with us all the time. And it was really bad. Like, we were just so crazy. What she did for a job. She worked at a strip club, and she didn't wait tables. So you know, it was we're all nuts. We're all like totally crazy, crazy times. And then they broke up. And I didn't notice her hanging out. But everyone would like stay in the circles and just trade girlfriends. Like, that's what you do. So it wasn't like, oh, they broke up. So she's not hanging out with us. No, she would be hanging out with us. And she wasn't. And so finally I'm like, where did she go? Like what happened? And the person said, she's born again. And I was like,
why wouldn't you want to do drugs and have fun with us anymore? Like, you know, like, I don't understand. So it was so incomprehensible to me. Like, I was just like,
This is awesome. You know, like, except in the morning, but like, why wouldn't you want to keep doing this? I couldn't believe it. Right. So but it was like a seed. It was just like a seed in there. Like, if you just stopped you're not partying anymore. We're but
it the seed was a seed of like it proved, anyone can change. Anyone I had not yet changed, right? Anyone can change it, put that seed in there, you know. So that's an important thing. Change.
We see a lot of things that you can call, you're going to think I mean, you guys have all been part of like, just imagine whatever group you're in a friends or whatever they like to just, that's it. I'm not hanging out with those guys anymore. Like, just totally change your societal identity. Done. Like that. Gone? No explanation. No, nothing was like, that's crazy, right? Your clicks, all these things are who you are the tribe you run with, right? That's a tribe you belong to? It's your identity. That's what you identify on. I do this and I hang out with these people. That that's it. That's a tribe you run with. Just imagine that's it. I just renounced that done.
now we'll see. It extends even to like these cultural identities or racial identities, if they're keeping us from other people, especially those who are Christians, right? It can change all of that.
So what is it to be born again? Nicodemus and Jesus, they have a conversation and it's not like the one you see on TV. He has like three lines total in the Bible. Alright, so the real Nicodemus, John three one, and I won't go on a rant about that I'm done. There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader, who was a Pharisee, after dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus rabbi, he said, we all know that God has sent you to teach us your miraculous signs or evidence that God is with you. Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, unless you are born again or born from above, you cannot see the kingdom of God. What do you mean? exclaimed Nicodemus, how can an old man go back into his mother's womb and be born again? Jesus replied, I assure you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life of the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. It says what is born of the Spirit of spirits, it just makes it easier to understand. So don't be surprised when I say you must be born again. The wind blows wherever it wants, just as you can hear the wind but you can't tell where it comes from or where it is going.
So you can't explain how people are born of the Spirit.
So I can't explain how people are born of the Spirit. But it's difficult, right. But we'll try a little bit. I don't know if that's disobedient. But just to understand, right, we are given
a new life, by the power of God, the Holy Spirit God.
God empowers us the same power that did all these miracles, all this amazing stuff lives right inside of you, if you are baptized.
Think about it. That very same power is in there. This is what causes the change. And so it brings us into a new life.
A new mindset changes just the way we think about everything. It gives us a new heart, it changes everything that was bad, but there's some good stuff in there. There's like this much in me right? And good, but changes all the bad stuff.
a new you.
And that is a very important thing to understand. Your identity is not in all those things anymore. If you're in Christ, your identity is in Christ. It's it, it changes everything. Now, that will mess.
What happens to
it becomes your message. We're going to see that. But that's the old view. It is what a lot of people have to understand. It's not the new you, you're talking about. When you that's the old me. So I'm going to tell the stories I used to I did that. It's not the new meet the thing a lot of people have to understand professing to be baptized.
If there's no new you,
there's no old view.
Right? So there has to be a new view, for there to be an old you to talk about. And that way, essentially, it should be evidenced by change. So we see that contrast.
Think about Simon,
the magician Simon. He hadn't changed. There was no evidence of change, and he got called out you still have sending you like that, right?
There's no change, we must see it. And so just very quickly, because I've taught on this a lot. Recently, you got to see like so putting together all put together what Jesus says with what Paul says Galatians five if you want to look it up, right. So you have fruit judge a tree by its fruit Jesus. Right. And it gives an example there's rotten fruit, there's good fruit, can a good tree produce bad fruit? No, it cannot. So you judge a tree by its fruit. So Paul extends that right? And he talks about the fruits of the Spirit. And this is what we should be seeing, at least in the beginning more of it than the bad fruit. So he goes, he talks about the flesh, the sin of the flesh is evident, right? And so that could be a lot like bad fruit that Jesus is talking about. And so when someone's saying, hey, look, I'm baptizing Jesus. Like Ethiopian eunuch. They're like, they don't even care. It's joy, love, just a fruit of the Spirit. What is it love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, self control, for the Spirit, if you seeing that, right.
So the flesh, divisiveness, outbursts of anger, things like these Galatians five. Now, is it never going to happen? No. Let's find we all mess up. But
more of the love joy, peace, patience, kindness, like you don't just I want that. Right? So the Holy Spirit will cause you to exhibit you to bear more fruit of the Spirit more good stuff. Now, this is really interesting, because this is something that sadly, I think,
isn't noted. And so I'm going to spend just a little time here just to point this out. Because it relates and when I say sadly not noted. I think for years scholars kind of just, like all skip over this and hear about the story of Ethiopian eunuch, but they won't mention a few details here. And they always jump to right like so x 10. Cornelius is the first Gentile convert is what you'll hear. And that's it, right? It's Cornelius. Let's talk about colonialism because Peter gets it. Wait a minute.
What about Philip?
He goes down this desert row. There's like nobody there. When do you think he'd go Convert? A lot of people know, the very snipers specific mission to this Ethiopian unit. Now, I'd studied this a lot. So I'm just going to go boil it down. I'll make some definitive statements. You'll see different things in commentaries. I've read them all. So here's really what it boils down to.
This Ethiopian unit is black, right? So to say African American things are like different Africa is not the way we think of Africa. In fact, Ethiopian is a term that's been used in Greek it's a little broader than it is now. He's probably Nubian. That's probably what he is. He's a very dark man or dark skin.
but also a unit? Well, you know, that's not fun. So, anyway, we won't talk about that anymore. So he doesn't have certain parts, right. And so this would exclude him. If you're reading the Old Testament from being like a full Jewish convert would not be allowed to do that you'd be excluded from the full assembly of Israel is also a Gentile, just call it like a proselyte. They have this type of baptism, just so you know, that's the kind of baptism like John's doing. Like, it's like, an insult to all the Jewish people, right? So it's like, no, you're not a Jew, like you got to do it again. So you could become somewhat Jewish, but he can't be fully Jewish. So we know that he's God fearing them. So they had like the Court of the Gentiles in the temple. And you can go in that part, but not in the other parts, right? So you'd be out with, this is not an insult or be a quarter, the women and the Gentile. So if you're out there with the women, and so not fully Jewish, but he's a Gentile, and he's a black man. And this is the first instance where we see a fully Gentile being converted to Christianity. He's black.
So if in today's world that doesn't speak into this whole thing, then you have the Samaritans and the Gentiles, they didn't like the Gentile.
Think about that. It cuts the racial divide. Now, I don't know about you, but I'm just going to be super real with you. Alright, so you always got to be careful on this subject, I'm going to be careful. But just bear with me, I'm just going to be real.
I was raised in a really racist household.
And my grandmother was a racist, that I just I cannot repeat some of the things that they said. So it's just in there, you know what I mean? Like, it just, it's, so I would consider myself through that period of my life, also, just a part of a family of racists. Right? I didn't, I don't think I can remember having any black friends in school, maybe two or three Hispanic people, right. And so just all kinds of the stupid jokes and things like that. We're just normative. But what the funny thing is, we didn't even know any black people. Just like crazy. My dad taught in like a rougher area. And so that's where those people were, you know, it's like, and he knew how to deal with them. You know, it's like this, it was just constantly like that, right? And the cultures, it was a lot of device, especially when I was a kid, it was long, long time ago,
it was more like acceptable, if that makes any sense to you, as crazy as it is. So
this can cause that to change to
this can cause that to change. I'll give you one identifying characteristic of someone who's a fix on Simon. If they're racist, they're Simon, they're fake Christian, you cannot be there's no such thing as no longer Jew, Gentile, male, female, we're all one in Christ, us. X 17. We are all from one man or one blood. That's why it's rendered like that. Think about it. All from one person. Racism and Christianity. They're completely just incompatible, just to say that, right? So. So it can change that in a person. It can change all of that. And a person literally, it's the solution, what we do, and it bothers me when Christians do this, but the outside world does this, the outside world just chasing symptoms. You don't I mean, like, doesn't get like to the root of anything. It just chases symptoms. That's what society is doing right now. The cure is Jesus, that's the cure.
We wouldn't have any problems if everybody was really a Christian. So when Christians do it, and they chase the symptoms, like Wow, I feel like this for the reviewers, right? You're not going to change anything. Nothing. You need to change the heart. That's it. That's it, we should be with love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, all that stuff. We should be preaching the gospel. That's it, we just love that's it.
And then, things might change. Right? So chasing symptom, and so as to cure to that you're not going to see anywhere. If everybody is really a Christian in the world, there's no racism, it's gone.
Don't imagine that, like, amazing, it'd be like this place.
That if the whole world was like this, but there'd be a lot of pizza in the world. There is. Alright, so can you get it in one time at least? Okay, so we're going to be doing something really exciting as we continue, we're going to be connecting some of Paul's letters with x. So like, if he's at a place an x, I'm going to bring that letter and it'll contextualize it for you really, really well. It'll make sense. Like, you'll go Oh, and then you'll be able to read those two things and say, Oh, that's where he was or what he was doing or how he met those people. And you'll see people connect names connected all start to make sense. So we're going to go to second Corinthians. I'll give you a little teaser into this and just look at something here.
A little teaser in Second Corinthians. So whenever something is written in the Bible, especially the letters that Paul writes, there's a context there's like an overlying reason for writing, right? He's not like, Hey, what's up? What are you doing?
There are people calling you that we're doing? And they're quiet. Why'd you call me?
I just called you. I work for a living. So anyway, but you know, Paul has a reason he's not just like, hey, guys, just want to say I love you. Right? That kind of thing. Not going to sing the song. So the reason for that
and Corinthians is, and two things going on. You have false teachers. And just as a quick side note, I'm not going to get into that in a couple of weeks, we'll do Galatians. If you know Galatians, it's going to be a blast. But we have this idea that like, everybody should be just like nice to another all the time and Christians. Pastors shouldn't call out other pastors have false teachings.
Have you read the Bible? Like literally, like, if you read all Paul's letters, it's like always these guys, even in Philippians, the nicest letter he ever wrote, he slipped in the false teachers and says all kinds of bad things about that. It's like, they talked about it a lot, man, you know, you're supposed to be talking about this. But anyway, Paul is railing them he's even being snarky, like people said keen, snarky. Well, he's calling these guys super apostles. He has like a nickname for him and everything. He's awesome. It's where I get all this stuff. So.
So the other reason for writing is another reason writing is this famine. They're taking the collection member. So we saw that, so the x 1129. So the believers on the screen in Antioch decided to send relief to the brothers and sisters in Judea, everyone was giving as much as they could. They did this and trusting the gifts to Barnabas and Saul, right to bring to them in Jerusalem. So this is what's going on. And they're being prodded because they're kind of dragging their feet on the offering. They're not giving. So Paul's trying and all kinds of crazy ways he does the fools most to get him to give, which is fantastic.
But anyway, in the midst of it, on today's topic, this is what he says Second Corinthians 511. Because we understand our there's that word again, fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. God knows we are sincere. And I hope you know this, too. Are we commending ourselves to you again? No, we're giving you a reason. Cross out proud to boast of us in Greece, a Greek coffee. My pride is always the same coffee mug boast of us. So you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart, the super apostles, it seems we are crazy. It is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. Either way Christ's love compels or controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all we also believe we have all died to our
old life He died for everyone says those who received this new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view, how differently we know him. Now, this means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person, the old life is gone, and the new life has begun. And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to Himself through Christ, and God has given us this task of reconciling people to him, for God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ's ambassadors. God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ, when we plead come back to God, for God made Christ who never sinned to be the offering for our sin, so that we can be made right with God through Christ. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation is a new person, the old one is gone.
Dead, a new life has become.
We also become ambassadors of Christ. Interesting. There's a new you and you have a new boss, you work for somebody new. We're no longer under the surface, or slavery of the world.
You know, freedom in Christ. And this is bringing these two ideas Connect. When you think about it, this idea of being new born again, a new creation, well, who we listening to well, his new boss, or ambassadors for him. And so that behavior correlates correct. And this is freeing. I think my good friend Ed once said this, like, he wants to be an ambassador, and I just wish he would just retire and stop taking jobs.
But anyway, people want it. He's awesome. Right? But ambassador, it's like on the list of like Java. Why? Because you're just speaking for someone else.
CZ, and they do shoot the messenger sometimes and no, Prophets don't have good retirement plans. But
you're speaking for Jesus. I was kind of joking about it last week, but it's kind of not not a joke. I'll say look, pastors out there. Right. You want to be not so nervous? No, that better? Be in it more often. There's another thing. I'll tell you what, and I'll say this, but it's hyperbole.
I don't care what you think. That's obvious, right? That's really apparent. But I care, right? Because I want you all to be saved and live a good life. But at the end of the day, I really don't. I'm like, I don't know. I'm just that. So there's more of the word and that's a key
I'm not speaking so many people I watched sermon on, like, just turn it off, because they're just speaking on their own behalf all the time. It's not enough of the word. And so of course, you're nervous. When there's too many of your own words in the sermon pastor, you better be nervous, right?
Should be more of God's word in the sermon. That's the key. So I'm speaking. That's it. I'm not worried. I'm like, and so it goes back to this thing. If you read First Samuel, it's interesting. Like, I laugh when people say is a Christian country? We'll get on that another time. No, it is not. If it was, it would be a theocracy. That is no precedent. We'd all be listening to God. And if people would read the Bible, they'd understand this concept that's taught very early on in your Bible.
God, that's the ideal. They just keep messing it up. Right? So finally, they want to King for Samuel, we want to be like other nations, we want to King sounds like they're going to tax you there. Why do you want that? But God tells me all the profit. They're not rejecting you. They're rejecting me.
And so this goes into not just pastors but your everyday lives.
Fear of rejection that seems like a root cause for like, all anger and all this stuff, fear of rejection, they're not rejecting you. They're rejecting God.
Don't worry about it.
And so, really quick, another window talked about Galatians is going to be fun. Look how it encapsulate these descriptors on the screen. This is what Paul says is really hard stuff. He calls them fools. He really doesn't care. He's just like, railing them we're going to get to it I will show you right now. And one thing just disclaimer, not talking about being narcissistic, or abusive, and neither one of those things are okay. Everyone understand that? That's not what I'm talking about. When I say I don't care like you guys have been here. You know, I love you. Right? So not talking about that. So Paul's not there's not advocating for abusive speech or anything. So Galatians 110 Obviously, he's saying crazy stuff. I'm not trying to win the approval people. But if God if pleasing people were my goal, I wouldn't be Christ servant. And cat last chapter Gleason 614. As for me, now I never boast about anything except the crosses are Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross. My interest in this world has been crucified. And the world's interest in me is also died.
Not codependent. Right? So this is how he in caps the letter.
We're over that stuff. The stuff the world used to care about, right? These credentials and all this stuff like no man, I just serve the most like the king of all kings. Like, that's it, God over everything. That's why sir, I don't need to put my resume out there. I don't care if you reject me. I just serve it in a messenger of God and ambassador of Christ, that's it. So if we put that first and our identity, being truly born again, everything else is like, whatever.
Whatever. Including all these titles in these themes, a person with a changed heart and Romans two, right seeks received praise from God, not people.
Specifically read Romans two. When we convert, we're done with all the things the institutions we talked about last week, all that stuff, we just want to see God glorified by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Not by us. It's not the way it works. So we're more interested in that. Talking about the old stuff as I draw close here. We'll feed you today, we'll talk I will say pizza again, but pizza, but you got to go upstairs to find out. It's going to be good. All right, so you're with me, I'm ending soon. So Paul warns about false teachers. And he's going to talk about the old him.
In Philippians, interesting. Philippians three, five, I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I'm a pure blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin, a real Hebrew, if there ever was one. I was a member of the Pharisees who demanded the strictest obedience to Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church as we saw as your righteousness I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought that these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for his sake, I have discarded everything else counting it all is garbage. He says kind of a quasi bad word there skeeve Allah, if you're Greek, so that I could gain Christ and obeying the law. And I'm sorry, you can be one of them. I no longer count my own righteousness through obeying the law rather I become righteous through faith in Christ, for God's way of making us right with Him depends on our faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with him.
Sharing in his death, so that one way or another, I will experience the resurrection from the dead paw is done with Saul.
He wants to die.
I, before this, he said, I'd rather just go home and be with the Lord. But for your sake church, I'm going to stick around. I think he's done.
Paul, he's done. This is very important. So as we come to closing, just want you to hear this, because a lot of people struggle with this, this is a big thing in the church, that I'm kind of noticing his struggle with the old stuff, the mess, right. And so they're kind of living in the rearview mirror. That's how you crash. Here's the biblical key. So it's not doing that Philippians 312. Paul continues, I don't mean to say that I've already achieved these things, the resurrection, or that have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. Know, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it. But I focus on this one thing, for getting the past. And looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us
in must press forward,
get out of the rearview mirror, stop looking in the past,
identify that old person, that's fine, that's
that that's just an example. It's not you anymore. So you don't have to have regrets about it.
You don't have to have shame about it.
The person is dead.
The sooner you come to understand that,
the more you will be able to experience the love, the joy, the peace, the patience, the kindness and the self control that can only come by the power of the Holy Spirit.
let yourself experience that find freedom in Christ realizing that the old you is dead,
dead, have a funeral for that person.
If it helps, it's dead.
Now, to those who haven't just some encouragement, if you're new here today, you're going to be told how you can connect with us, I encourage you to do that. Obviously, you know, we're just a family church, I speak to you guys like family. And so we want you to be a part of that and connected. And if you have not been baptized, just look, we would just love to show you how you can get on that path to finding the new you.
All right, and you My pleasure. Just really quick, we're going to have baptisms to Wednesdays from now. It's another 20th, but the 27th. So if you want to check it out, see what it's like. We're having that. So just for the announcements, our Lord's supper may change. I just don't know, we're going to do some baptism. But if you want to do that, please, please, please connect us. If you've been here for a while and you haven't done that. I just, it was just been my pleasure just to be an ambassador and just get you on that road to the new you so that you can experience again that love, the joy, the peace, the goodness, the kindness that comes just a new life, and our Lord Jesus Christ. Let me pray for you.
Well, I thank you for everyone that came I also pray for those that couldn't be here today for all those who are sick. Please, Lord, we ask that you make them well.
Largest thank you for this opportunity to share your gospel. And I just pray that it inspires others to do the same. But through love, joy, peace, patience, just make us vehicles of the Holy Spirit's fruit this week as we go out and interact with others. And let's be filled with that joy and that peace and that love. So that radiates out to everyone around us. I ask these things in Jesus name.