“It Made News In Heaven When…”

My First Reaction to My New Life in Christ Jesus.

I remember the experience well.  It was on a Wednesday evening at our house in August of 1972.  My wife and I were both sitting on our couch with a Baptist pastor sitting in between us.  He had just shared the 4 Spiritual Laws, a very popular way of sharing Jesus with someone in the 1970’s.

I remember his words as he asked us separately, “Do you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?”  Without hesitating, we both said”YES”, and after a short prayer in unison, pastor Hahn, ugly teeth and all smiled and said, “Welcome to the body of Christ.  You are born again!  You are now NEW BABIES in the kingdom”  We had known idea at that particular moment in time of our young lives (I was 30 and Dianne was 28), what it meant to be “born-again.”

After he left the house that night, we both looked at each other and I asked, “Do you feel any different from before we prayed that prayer?”  Both of us agreed that we didn’t feel any different.  TRUST wasn’t developed at that point in our Christian infancy.

Many years later, our oldest daughter told us that she had been lying on the hall floor, listening to everything that occurred that night in the front room.  That night, she too had accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior at the age of 8 yrs old.  We both knew later on she was a Christian, but weren’t sure, at what point her life had change; her “Nicodemus” moment.

THE “BORN-AGAIN” EXPERIENCE:

During the 70’s, the term “born again” swept across the USA like wildfire.  The catalyst for its popularity was large numbers of “baby boomers” were turning to God in search of the real purpose and meaning of life.  My wife and I were no exception.

Hollywood celebrities, well-known athletes , and politicians began distinguishing themselves as “born again Christians.”  Soon the true spiritual meaning of being born again, as taught by Jesus, became lost; as anyone and everyone began calling themselves “born again Christians.”

So substance, yielded to symbolism little by little; which then replaced the genuine experience of a new life in Jesus.

THE “NEW BIRTH” CAN BE UNSETTLING AT FIRST:

Why can it be unsettling?  Because we cannot cause the NEW BIRTH or the “born again” experience.  It becomes unsettling because it refers to something that is done to us and not something we do.

John 1:13 Emphasis:  “children born not of natural descent, nor human decision or a husband’s will [the will of man], but born of God”  (the NIV).

By the way, when you hear some people exclaim, “all people in the world are God’s children”, they are simply WRONG!  Their thinking doesn’t line up with God’s Word.

1 Peter 1:3-4:  “Praised (honored, blessed) be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)!  By His boundless mercy we have been born again to an ever-living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  [4] [Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you.”

We do not cause the new birth, God causes the new birth!  Any good thing that we do is the result of the new birth, not a cause of the new birth!

This means that the new birth is taken out of our hands; it’s not in our control.  So like a new-born infant (being born again in the spirit), the new birth confronts us with helplessness, our absolute dependence on Someone outside of ourselves.  “Oh No!  We have to deny SELF?”

Absolute Freedom of God Confronts Us.

A part from God, we are “spiritually dead” in our selfishness and rebellion.  We are by nature “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

Our rebellion is so deep, we can’t detect or desire the glory of Christ in the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4).  If we are going to be born again we must rely decisively and ultimately of God.  What we are doing as “spiritual corpses” won’t help God in His decision in making us alive.

What Happens in the New Birth (when we are “born again”)?

Turn in your Bibles if you have it close by, to the first three verses of John 3:

“NOW THERE was a certain man among the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler (a leader, an authority) among the Jews,  [2] Who came to Jesus at night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know and are certain that You have come from God [as] a Teacher; for no one can do these signs (these wonderworks, these miracles–and produce the proofs) that You do unless God is with him.  [3] Jesus answered him, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.”  (Amplified Bible)

SO WHAT HAPPENS IN THE NEW BIRTH?

I need to try to answer the question with three statements:

1.  What happens in the new birth is not getting new religion but a new life!

2.  What happens in the new birth is not merely a declaration of the supernatural in Jesus but it’s experiencing the supernatural IN yourself.

3.  What happens in the new birth is not the improvement of your old human nature but the creation of a new human nature–a nature that is really you; is forgiven and cleansed; a nature that is really new in being formed by the indwelling Holy Spirit.

THERE IS NO “LIFE” APART FROM JESUS:

There is no spiritual life–no eternal life–apart from connection with Jesus by FAITH:

“I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me”  (John 14:6).

In the new birth, when you were born again; SAVED, the Spirit of God unites us to Christ in a LIVING union.  Again, what happens in the new birth is the supernatural creation, the new spiritual life is created through union; a new relationship with Jesus Christ begins through the POWER of the Holy Spirit [symbolized as a DOVE]..

The Holy spirit brings us into a vital connection with Jesus who is “the way, the truth, and life.”  That is the objective reality of what happens in the new birth.  And from our side–in our experience, FAITH in Jesus is awakened in our hearts (mind, soul and spirit).  Spiritual life and faith in Jesus Christ comes into being together.  This new life makes the FAITH possible, and since spiritual life always awakens FAITH; expresses itself in FAITH, there is no LIFE without FAITH in Jesus.

NEVER SEPARATE THE NEW BIRTH AND FAITH IN JESUS:

“For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith”  (1 John 5:4).

Born of God–the KEY to victory.

FAITH–the KEY to victory.

Because FAITH is the way we experience “being born of God”!

Or listen how John says it:  “And this is the testimony (that evidence):  God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life”  (1 John 5:11-12).

Therefore, when Jesus says,  “It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever”  (John 6:63), and when He says, “You must be born (again) of the Spirit” in order to have life–He means: In the new birth, the Holy Spirit supernaturally gives us NEW SPIRITUAL LIFE, connecting us with Jesus through our FAITH in Him.  For Jesus is LIFE!

So never separate these two sayings of JESUS:

“…unless a person is born again…” ~ John 3:3,  AND  “And he who believes in (has FAITH in; clings to, relies on) the Son has (now possesses) eternal life”  (verse 36).

DON’T DEPEND UPON FEELINGS:

The PROMISE of God’s Word, not our feelings, is our authority.  The Christian lives by FAITH (trust) in the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Word.  This train diagram illustrates the relationship between FACT (God and His Word), FAITH (our trust in God and His Word), and FEELING (the result of our FAITH and obedience) (John 14:21).

“The train will run with or without the caboose.  However, it would be futile to attempt to pull the train by the caboose.  In the same way, we, as new Christians, do not depend on feelings or emotions, but place our FAITH (trust) in the trustworthiness of God and His PROMISES found in His Word” (courtesy of the FOUR SPIRITUAL LAWS from Campus Crusade for Christ Inc.).

“Straying Off” ETERNITY’S PATH:

If we were to take a poll of Christians, asking for their most popular Scripture passages in the Bible, they would most likely name the following:

1.  The 23rd Psalm.

2.  Romans 8.

3.  1 John 3.

I would like to add to this list, and one of my personal favorites is the passage in Luke 15. Let me point you to some key verses in the chapter out of The Message Bible.

“LOST SHEEP, LOST COINS, LOST WALLET AND LOST PRIDE!”

When found, you can be sure you would put it (the sheep) across your shoulders, rejoicing, 6  and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me!  I’ve found my lost sheep!’ 7  Count on it–there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue. “Or imagine a woman who has ten coins and loses one.  Won’t she light a lamp and scour the house, looking in every nook and cranny until she finds it? 9  And when she finds it you can be sure she’ll call her friends and neighbors: ‘Celebrate with me!  I found my lost coin! 10  Count on it–that’s the kind of party God’s angels throw every time one lost soul turns to God! 11  Then He said, “There was once a man who had two sons. 12  The younger said to his father, “Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.” 13  It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country.  There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. 14  After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through the country and he began to hurt. 15  He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs.”  (verses 5-15).

Celebration Time Comes After “Slopping The Pigs!”!

Oh by the way, in case you are not familiar with the conclusion of the story, lets look closely now at what happen to the younger son when after his repentance; how his father responded; his LOVE of his father upon him on his way back home:

[18]  “I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.” ~ REPENTANCE.

[20]  “So he got up and came to his [own] father.  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity and tenderness [for him]; and he ran and embraced him and kissed him [fervently].” ~ Your heaven Father sees you coming, even from a distance!

[21]  “And the son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight…” ~ The son can’t believe his father’s mercy and grace for his repenting!

[22]  “But the father said to his bond servants, Bring quickly the best robe…and give him a ring for his hand and sandals for his feet. [23]  And bring out what fattened calf and kill it; and let us revel and feast and be happy and make merry.” ~ Your Father in heaven has been waiting for your decision and is ready to feast and celebrate your return.  It’s PARTY TIME!

The Heavenly Celebration!

“It Made News In Heaven When…[you and I] Were SAVED!”

In 1976 there was a popular gospel song performed by The Harold Family; lyrics and music by Gorden Jensen.  At the time, I was singing with the Fischermen; a men gospel trio in Southern California.  The country gospel style and the lyrics fit in with our style of music, so we sang “It Made News In Heaven When I Got Saved” every time we had the opportunity.  We were celebrating our “born again” experiences in song:

Well it didn’t make the papers

In this world when I prayed through.

It didn’t seem to matter

To all but just a few.

But in the golden streets of glory

Celebration banners waved,

It made news in heaven

When I got saved.

CHORUS:

Angels were rejoicing

Hallelujah’s rang.

When Jesus touched my life

And I was changed.

Everyone in glory’s realm

Knew my name was written down.

It made news in heaven

When I got saved.

NOW THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED CHRIST–

The moment that you, as an act of faith, received Christ, many things happened, including the following:

1.  Christ came into your life (Revelation 3:20 and Colossians 1:27).

2.  Your sins were forgiven (Colossians 1:14).

3.  You became a child of God (John 1:12).

4.  You began the great adventure for which God created you (John 10:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Can you think of anything more wonderful that could happen to you than receiving Christ?  You have become a “living testimony” for those around you.

Spiritual Growth Will Come Next!

Spiritual growth results from trusting Jesus Christ.  “The righteous man shall live by faith” (Galatians 3:11).  A life of faith will enable you to trust God increasingly with every detail of your life, and to practice the following:

G  Go to god in prayer daily (John 15:7).

R  Read God’s Word daily (Acts 17:11–begin with the Gospel of John.

O  Obey God, moment by moment (John 14:21).

W  Witness for Christ by you life and words (Matthew 4:19; John 15:8).

T  Trust God for every detail of your life (1 Peter 5:7).

H  Holy Spirit–allow Him to control and empower your daily life and testimony (Galatians 5:16.17; Acts 1:8).

Now make this message personal.  Insert your name in the phrase, “It Made News In Heaven When I–insert your name–Got Saved.”

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!