Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Second Christmas Birth


A little boy asked his mother where he came from, and also where she had come from as a baby. His mother gave him a tall tale about a beautiful white-feathered bird. The boy asked his grandmother the same question and received a variation on the bird story. Outside to his playmate he said, "You know, there hasn't been a normal birth in our family for three generations."

INTRO: Outline on the back page of the bulletin

· As we heard on Christmas Eve, Christmas focuses on Jesus the Son of God being born as a human being to be our Savior.
· On this first Sunday of the Christmas season, we learn that Jesus was actually born so we could also experience a new kind of birth in our lives. We can call this the Second Christmas Birth.

11He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
· This greatest miracle of all is described in our word for today from the Word of God in John 1:12.
· It can help you understand exactly how spiritual birth really works.
· Speaking of Jesus Christ, God says, "To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God."
· Sometimes you'll hear people say, "We're all God's children." Well, that’s really not true according to the Bible.
· The Bible tells us we're all God's creation. Here in John 1, John tells us there is a difference between our flesh and blood physical birth and a spiritual birth from God.
· When we are physically born, we become a child of our father and mother—not the stork--going back to the story I started with, what a weird thing—telling kids a bird dropped us off…
· To be God’s child, the Bible says we must be born spiritually.
· In fact, Jesus said, "No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again" (John 3:3).
· That's actually where the words "born again" originated - with Jesus Himself.
· So being physically born is our first birth, but being born of God as John says is the second birth.
· So how does being born of God, or being born again a second time happen?
· Well let’s remember that John 1 is about Christmas. Jesus came into the world in the incarnation.
· His birth becomes the seed the conceives the second birth.
· As a result of Christmas, we all need to make a decision about the baby born in Bethlehem.
· Will we believe that he is the God the King of Heaven with us in human flesh to save his people from their sins like Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, and wise men did?
· Or will we reject him like King Herod who tried to destroy Jesus?
· John 1:12 tells us that you experience the second birth and become a child of God when you "receive Christ" and when you "believe in His name."
· Receiving Jesus as Savior means consciously welcoming Jesus Christ into your life, realizing who He is; realizing why He came.
· John also says we also need to believe in his name.
· Jesus, this name you have to believe in to become children of God, means "Jehovah saves."
· Just as there is a first and second birth, there is a first and second death.
· The first death is when our physical life ends. The second death is eternal conscious separation from God for eternity.
· So when you "believe in His name," you're telling Jesus that you acknowledge as truth that only he can be your personal Rescuer.
· Only he can save you from the second death penalty for your sins because He's the only One who died for them.
· Which brings us to the eternal life-or-death question: has there been a time when you've done that?
· If not, do you want there to be? Would you like to go to bed tonight being able to say, "I belong to Jesus. I am a child of God. I've been born into God's family.
· On the basis of the promise of God’s word I know I'm going to heaven when I die. I know I am."
· Then tell Jesus today that He's welcome to come in, that you're pinning all your hopes for heaven on Him.
· You've had one birthday obviously; that's why you're here. Today can be the day of your birth into the family of God. And that is why you'll be in heaven.
In the 1800s Scottish preacher Horatius Bonar asked 253 Christian friends at what ages they were converted. Here's what he discovered:

At What Age Were You Converted to Christ?

Total Population Surveyed

Age Converted

0-19 138 54.55%
20-30 85 33.60%
31-40 22 8.70%
41-50 4 1.58%
51-60 3 1.19%
61-69 1 0.40%
70 and up 0 0.00%

· In 2004, George Barna conducted a larger sample with the following data concerning the Probability of accepting Christ, segmented by age
Nearly half (43%) of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (2004) ABOUT THE SAME AS THE 19TH CENTURY
Two out of three born again Christians (64%) accept Jesus Christ as their savior before their 18th birthday. (2004) UP FROM THE 19TH CENTURY
One out of eight born again people (13%) made their profession of faith while 18 to 21 years old. (2004)
1. 88% of all Christians have been evangelized and converted by the time they are 30 years old.
2. Our evangelism efforts should focus on reaching children, youth, and younger adults in their twenties. This also means that reaching young families should be the target of our evangelistic efforts.
3. By age 40, 96% of those who will believe the Gospel have already done so.

Altar call--don't become a statistic later in life

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