Summary: The 5th in our series on the Baptist Faith and Message
Salvation: You Must Be Born Again (BFM pt. 5)
Text: John 3:1-18
By: Ken McKinley
Well we are on article 4 of the BFM, the article of salvation. Now we are going to spend some time on this because this is one of the most important points in the entire BFM, it may take me several Sunday’s to cover what we need to look at. Today we are just beginning and we are going to just kind of go over
So let me read to you quickly what the BFM says about salvation (Read article 4 Salvation from the BFM).
Now you notice the part there where it says, “Regeneration, or the new birth is the work of God’s grace…” Regeneration is not a word that is used too often today. Instead we often just say “saved.” I remember before I was a Christian a well meaning Christian approached me once and asked me, “Are you saved?” And I looked at him and said, “Saved from what?” I also vaguely remember former President Jimmy Carter stating that he was a “born again” Christian. Then we can look at statistics like the following: “Only 9% of evangelical Christians tithe regularly,” or “out of the 12,000 teenagers who were the first to take the “Love Waits” pledge, to wait until marriage, 80% broke their pledge by the time they were seniors in High School,” or “30% of born again Christians do not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.” I could go on and on with these kinds of statistics. And what they all say is that basically the church in America is not any different than the world.
I think the problem stems from a wrong usage of the words “Saved,” “born again” or “evangelical” or even “Christian.” We are not using those words or terms in the Biblical sense. Sure we think we are, but in reality we aren’t. I would even go so far to say that most of the people who would say that they are “born again,” or “saved,” or “evangelical” or even “Christian” say this because at some point in their life, they stood before a group of people, maybe at church, maybe at youth camp, maybe at a revival meeting or a Billy Graham crusade and they made a public profession of faith. So they’ve made a public profession and then associate themselves with Christianity. But Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to Me; Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven…” The New Testament however does give us another way to look at it, it gives us the proper definition and the proper view of what a Christian is.
1st John 2:29, “If you know that He is righteous, then you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of Him”
1st John 3:9, “Whoever has been born of God does not practice sin, for His seed remains in Him; and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”
1st John 5:4, “For whoever has been born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world – our faith.”
1st John 5:18, “We know that whoever has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him.”
What these Scriptures tell us and there are plenty of other Scriptures that we could use, but they tell us that Christians should not be like the world… they tell us that there is a distinction between the true Christian and the rest of the world. The Bible clearly teaches that Christians are not full of worldliness. So what the facts from George Barna and other groups that state things like Christians are just as worldly as anyone else, show us that the Church is full of people who aren’t born again.
So what does it mean to be “Born Again?” Well turn with me to 1st Peter 1:23-25 (read). When a person is born again it is done through the Word of God. The gospel that is preached.
In vs. 3 of our text Jesus said to Nicodemus that, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Now that applies to everyone. If you want to be saved, you must be born again. If you have family members that you want to be saved, then they must be born again. And this happens through the word of God. Your lost friends and family members, and my lost friends and family members are not going to be saved by osmosis… they are not going to be saved by wishful thinking. They aren’t even going to be saved by a good example. The Bible is clear that a person is only saved when they are born again through the word of God. We are saved by grace, through faith… faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.