Summary: Unless a person has a personal revelation of the Risen Lord Jesus, by faith, they will never see the need to be born again
Why... be Born Again? 14-04-02
Reading: Isaiah 5:18-25
18 Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,
19 to those who say, "Let God hurry, let him hasten his work so we may see it. Let it approach, let the plan of the Holy One of Israel come, so we may know it."
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.
24 Therefore, as tongues of fire lick up straw and as dry grass sinks down in the flames, so their roots will decay and their flowers blow away like dust; for they have rejected the law of the LORD Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 Therefore the Lord’s anger burns against his people; his hand is raised and he strikes them down. The mountains shake, and the dead bodies are like refuse in the streets. Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised.
We don’t hear that passage read very often in church. We usually stick to more uplifting passages of Scripture when we preach.
Isaiah is actually my favorite OT prophet But in this passage…
Isaiah sounds like a real fun guy.
But there’s a reason I selected this particular passage to be read today. I’ll tell you what the reason is in a few moments.
Today we look at the question – ‘why do we need to be born again?’
That’s what people say every time Lew Born comes out of retirement.
Billy Graham tells the story about a time when he arrived early for a crusade meeting so that he could finish a letter to a friend. When the letter was finished, he asked a young boy where the post office was located.
The boy gave him the directions and Billy Graham thanked him and said, ‘If you come to the meeting tonight, I’ll tell you all about being born again and how to get to heaven.
The boy said, ‘I won’t be coming then.’
The evangelist looked surprised and asked the boy why he wouldn’t be coming.
The boy looked the great man right in the eye and said, ‘you don’t even know how to get to the post office. What makes you think you know how to get to heaven?’
1. Why… be Born Again? (Baby Picture)
Why do we need to be born again?
When we ask the question this way it’s almost like we’re saying.
‘What’s in it for me?’ And that’s a very legitimate question.
I could answer that by saying that when you are born again, your sins are forgiven – but you might say, ‘I don’t have any sins.’
I could tell you that if you are born again, you have a fresh start. The old is passed away and all things become new.
You may answer, ‘But I like things the way they are, thanks all the same.’
So I reply, if you are born again, your relationship with God will be restored and you will go straight to heaven when you die. To which you could reply, ‘but how do I know God and heaven exist?’
And we can go round and round and not get very far at all.
Sometimes, as a preacher, I feel like (to put it in crude terms),
a salesman trying to sell something, trying to honestly answer the question, ‘Why do I need to be born again?’
‘What’s in it for me?’
So indulge me for a moment and let me pretend to be a salesman.
Now, I don’t have a product that I can place in your hands called ‘a born again experience’ to help convince you that you need it.
So what do I do?
2. The Life Insurance Pitch (coffin picture)
Story – Maybe I could try doing what a Life insurance salesman once told me – coffin on table.
Maybe I could use that routine on you – we’re all mortal and some day we’re all going to die.
Are you going to risk meeting your maker unprepared?
Story - It’s a bit like Clint Eastwood in one of his Dirty Harry movies.
Harry Callahan is involved in a big gun battle with some criminals. Finally Harry brings down the bad guy who’s lying in a doorway.
His hand slowly reaches for his gun.