Summary: What is the new birth?
What Does It Mean To Be Born Again?
I. Born Again Defined.
A. The strong assertion, “Except a man be born again.” The word “again” (anoôthen PWS: 80) has three different meanings in Greek. It means...
1. From the first: from the beginning or completely and fully
3. From above: from the top, which means from God (cp. John 19:11).
B. The point is this, a man must be “born again." He must be...
Born completely and fully, a complete and full change
2. Born all over again, in the sense of a second time.
3. Born from above, from God.
C. Jesus gave the nature of the new birth. It is spiritual, not physical and material.
D. John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
II. It means to begin with a change in one’s relationship with God.
A. JFB - be born again — begin life anew in relation to God
B. Before the new birth, man is totally alienated from God.
C. Ephesians 2:12 "That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"
D. Ephesians 2:13-15 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;"
E. John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:"
F. The egg’s no chick by falling from the hen, Nor man a Christian till he’s born again. - John Bunyan (1628-1688)
III. It involves a radical change of heart
A. Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
B. Ezekiel 18:30-32 "Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."
C. In his book, An Anthropologist on Mars, neurologist Oliver Sacks tells about Virgil, a man who had been blind from early childhood. When he was 50, Virgil underwent surgery and was given the gift of sight. But as he and Dr. Sacks found out, having the physical capacity for sight is not the same as seeing. Virgil’s first experiences with sight were confusing. He was able to make out colors and movements, but arranging them into a coherent picture was more difficult. Over time, he learned to identify various objects, but his habits--his behaviors--were still those of a blind man. Dr. Sacks asserts, "One must die as a blind person to be born again as a seeing person. It is the interim, the limbo . . . that is so terrible." To truly see Jesus and his truth means more than observing what he did or said, it means a change of identity.
D. The distance between the head and the heart is 18 inches. Unfortunately, a ’head’ (intellectual) knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, fully knowing and giving mental assent to the plan of salvation, without also a ’heart’ acceptance that brings the personal relationship that the Bible demands, avails nothing to any man. Christ wants your ’heart’, not just your head because "The Lord sees not as man sees; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." It is vitally important that you make sure it is not just head knowledge and mental assent you have given to Jesus Christ. He needs the complete surrender of your heart and life so that you may be truly born again. Eighteen inches can mean an eternity with Christ or an eternity with- out Christ. Are you sure of your personal relationship to Him? Why not settle the question in your heart once and for all right now?"
E. Psalms 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."
F. II Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new