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July 22, 2013

In the last two newsletters we have covered what the New Birth is, and have showed that God demands the New Birth for us. Starting this week we want to look as the results of the New Birth.


John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, repeatedly preached on the subject, “Ye must be born again.” On one occasion a listener approached this servant of God and said, “Don’t you know anything else except, ‘Ye must be born again?”‘ Wesley smiled and replied, “Certainly, but the reason I preached on John 3:7, Ye must be born again, so often is because Jesus said, Ye must be born again.”


Results of “The New Birth”


One can only be “born again” or “from above” if his theological concept of Christ is accurate. First John 5:1 states, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God…. What a power-filled statement.


“Why?” you ask.


Because Jesus means “Saviour” (see Matthew 1:21) and Christ means “Sent One.” Therefore, one must believe that the Saviour is the “Sent One” or a “born again” experience becomes impossible. Involved in the terminology, “Sent One,” is the eternal deity of Christ. One must believe that He always existed, yea was the preexistent God, the second member of the Trinity. One must believe that He was…from everlasting (Micah 5:2) and was “sent” to earth to inhabit a blood-filled body to die for sinners. That’s why Galatians 4:4 states, But when the fullness of time was come [the time for God’s plan to be enacted, see Revelation 13:81, God SENT [not created, but SENT] forth his Son…. If He sent Him, Christ preexisted, for one cannot be sent if he is nonexistent.


Now this “Sent One” came to Bethlehem’s manger to die upon Calvary’s tree. Yes, He took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:7, 8). No other Christ suffices. He must be the virgin born, blood covered; resurrected God-man or salvation is impossible. Believing this and receiving Him makes one “born of God.” This in turn produces three results.


Holiness


First, the birth by the Spirit produces holiness. First John 3:9 declares, Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Greek scholars teach that the word commit should be translated “practice.”This is so because a Christian may still slip or do wrong. Believers still have fleshly natures until the day of redemption. Then Christ “raptures” our old “vile bodies” into His presence (see Philippians 3:20).


Presently, this old nature is constantly at war with the newly produced nature received at salvation. Paul described the battle in Romans 7 and also in Galatians 5:17. He says . . . the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that [you] cannot do the thing that [you] would. However, victory through the indwelling Spirit is possible for verse 16 states, Walk in the Spirit, and [you] shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.


It must be obvious to all Christians that there is a constant battle to be fought. Paul wasn’t whistling in the wind when he said, I have fought a good fight… (2 Timothy 4:71. He knew the danger of egotistically shouting, “I could never do wrong.” for he again declared in 1 Corinthians 10:12. …let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.


We see, then, that it is possible for any child of God to commit sin but impossible for the genuine believer to live a life of sin. This is true because his seed [the Holy Spirit] remaineth in him: and he cannot [practice] sin, because he is BORN OF GOD (1 John 3:9). When one is truly saved, Christ and the Holy Spirit enter one’s heart and life simultaneously. That’s right … if any man have not the Spirit of Christ; he is none of [Christ’s] (Romans 8:9). This blessed Spirit, living within the believer, becomes “grieved” (see Ephesians 4:30) and “quenched” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19) when the smallest infraction of God’s commands occurs. The Spirit’s grief, in turn, becomes the believer’s heartache as he feels what the internally dwelling Spirit experiences. This elucidates our previously discussed text which says, Whosoever is BORN OF GOD doth not commit sin; for his seed [the Holy Spirit] remaineth in him: and he cannot [practice] sin, because he is born of God (1 John 3:9).


Let’s go a step farther. If one is miserable over sin but continues to walk in disobedience to God, the offender gets a spiritual spanking. Hebrews 12:5-8 declares, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth EVERY SON whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you, as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof ALL are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.


This spiritual spanking, administered to ‘every son” (verse 6), yea “all” disobedient ‘children” (verse 8), is for one purpose and one purpose only. …that we might be partakers of his HOLINESS (verse 10). We see, then, that it is God’s supreme desire that His children live holy lives. This is in accordance with their “new birth” experience. Salvation produces holiness. Second Timothy 1:9 states, [God] hath SAVED us, and CALLED us with an HOLY calling…. Again, .. .God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto HOLINESS (1 Thessalonians 4:7).


That’s why Romans 6:4 states that we have been raised unto …NEWNESS of life, and why 2 Corinthians 5:17 adds … if ANY MAN be in Christ, he is a NEW creature: old things are passed away; behold, ALL THINGS are become NEW. This is a direct result of receiving Christ. Let me explain this truth with an analogy of the physical birth. When one is born, he receives the nature of each parent. The mixture of the genes means that both parents’ traits are combined in their co-mingled product. The mean, grumpy nature comes from dad, and the “sugar and spice and everything nice” traits from mom-to hear some ladies tell it! Ha! The combining of the two natures within the finished product results from “human generation.”


Likewise, when one is ‘born from above,” or “born of the Spirit,” he receives God’s nature through REGENERATION (see Titus 3:5). As the child received the nature of his parents through generation, the believer receives the nature of God through regeneration. This is what makes holiness possible. Since one has become a partaker of the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4) and since God is holy (see 2 Peter 1:16), the nature of God within the newly formed “babe in Christ” is divine and holy.


It certainly does not take any ingenuity to see that God within produces holy living. HIS HOLINESS rubs off and must be reflected in His children. The Bible commands this holiness of life through conversion. …[you] shall be holy, for l am holy… (Leviticus 1:44)…. thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God… (Deuteronomy 7:6). They shall be called Thy holy people, The redeemed of the Lord… (Isaiah 62:12). Paul pleads with the people of God to walk according to their standing, saying, . . .yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness (Romans 6:19).


The Apostle was concerned because he wanted all of God’s people to share the joyous hour when Christ presents us holy and unblamable (see Colossians 1:22). Colossians 3:12 informs believers that they, as the election of God, are holy and beloved. They are …holy brethren… (Hebrews 3:1). Elected to such a high calling, we are to, Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14). One’s holy walk and talk proves that genuine salvation has occurred.


Strange, is it not, that denominations who push “election” the hardest are usually the cocktail-sipping, tobacco-sucking crowd. Beloved, election is unto holiness! He chose us …in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be HOLY… (Ephesians 1:4). Preaching and teaching about “predestination” and “election” is naught but empty platitudes and vain repetition if the life of holiness is missing. In other words-pardon my grammatical error-you ain’t got it! Why? Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.


Now back to the original premise. Genuine believers may slip and fall, but they do not remain in the mud of sin for months and years. The apostle John harmoniously ties the two teachings, already considered, together by saying, If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. However, He that [practices] sin is of the devil… (1 John 1:8 and 3:8). Make the distinction God does, and the pieces of the puzzle fit the picture.


In the light of what has just been discussed, let’s consider the outcome of practicing sin. Multitudes think that walking an aisle, signing a card, and sending one’s photograph for baptism constitutes a salvation experience. Soothed and salved by such religious pilgrimages to the altar or prayer room, they continue the practice of every abominable degradation known.


Regardless of their decadent lifestyle, all is well because once-upon-a time they made a beeline to the altar. Unfortunately, all they gained by it was “exercise,” not an “experience.” The “move” made, the practicing sinners rest in an unexperienced experience and they will die as unconverted converts. How deceived they are! How sad they will be at the judgment when Christ cries, I NEVER knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:23).


As I preach such convicting truth I realize that some sin-laden worldlings are angry. They are crying, Christian liberty, Christian liberty.” Ah, but Christian liberty is never a driver’s license to steer one’s life into the pathways of sin! Others lament, “We are under grace and thus are able to do anything and everything. “Ah, but grace does not allow for a lifetime of disgrace! The ‘Apostle of grace” dogmatically teaches this.


Strange as it may seem to some, Paul’s “grace message concerning sin is identical to John’s “legalistic” discourse about iniquity. Why not? God wrote all of the Bible. He used Paul, John, and others-even their personalities and vocabularies-but He guided every word into place (2 Peter 1:2 1). As a result, Paul, as well as John, makes it clear that one cannot love sin, desire sin chase sin, live in sin, and check into a sinless heaven. Though any Christian can commit any sin at any time, Paul nevertheless concludes that there must be evidence of a “new nature” constantly battling against an “old nature” if one has been born again. No evidence-no experience with God! It’s that simple.


This is so because the Spirit of God becomes “grieved” (see Ephesians 4:30) and “quenched” (see 1 Thessalonians 5:19) when believers sin. The believer, in turn, shares the grief produced by the indwelling Spirit. Then, if he continues in sin, he is “spanked” spiritually (see Hebrews 12:5) and may “die” prematurely (see 1 John 5:16), going home “ashamed” (see 1 John 2:28) and suffering the loss of all rewards-being saved …as by fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). It is foolish, therefore, to teach that Paul’s “grace” proclamation allows one to live in sin.


If, at this point, one is still unconvinced, Paul’s following warnings should settle it once, for all, and forever. Hear him in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not [SHALL NOT. That’s right, shall not!] inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators [premarital sex experimenters and “trial marriage” proponents] nor idolators. nor adulterers [extramarital flingers and swingers] nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals], Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards [social tipplers who tipple one too many], nor revilers. nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.


Paul again warns in Ephesians 5:3-7, But fornication [premarital sex], and all uncleanness, or covetousness [love of materialism and filthy lucre], let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints: Neither filthiness. Nor foolish talking. nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this [you] KNOW, that no whore monger [immoral sex practitioner], nor unclean person [smutty jokester] nor the covetous man, who is an idolater [money lover], hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. [None? None!] Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things [sins] cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. No doubt about it. Depraved, debauched, decadent practitioners of sin inhabit the lake of fire for all eternity (see Revelation 21:8).


One more judgmental alarm is sounded by Paul in Galatians 5:19-21. He says, Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past. that they which do such things SHALL NOT [What? SHALL NOT!] inherit the kingdom of God. Such grammar is so simplistic and understandable that further comment is unnecessary. It all convincingly says, He that practiceth sin is of the devil.


Does all this mean, then, that practicing sinners have no hope? Perish the thought! God loves sinners and sent His Son to Calvary’s cross to shed His blood for a world of wicked inhabitants. This blood, which flowed so freely from a love-filled Saviour, cleanseth from ALL sin (see 1 John 1:7). Because of it, a great number of Corinthians described in 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 as fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners were eternally forgiven as verse 11 proves. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus , and by the Spirit of our God. This is what the “second birth” did for them and will do for you today if you receive Christ. Remember, …whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13).



FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE


We want to continue this week looking and the remaining two truths from Psalm 139.


Cooperating with the Designer


A second truth from Psalm 139 is that God knows us. In fact, He knows everything that can be known about us. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The psalmist wrote:


O Lord, thou has searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou has beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it (verses 1-6).


One reason we, as human beings, are so concerned with externals is that much of what we can see of others is what shows from the outside. God, however is not so limited. The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Yes, God knows all the secrets of our hearts, all our thoughts, all our desires, and all our feelings. He knows some terrible things, doesn’t He? In addition, if we understand that God is holy and hates sin, the fact that He knows everything about us can become even more frightening, for all of us are guilty of sin. We cannot keep the deepest secrets of our hearts hidden from God-He knows them.


Nevertheless, despite our secret sins, God reaches out to us in love. The corruption of our hearts does not change His compassion and care for us. The wonderful truth is that He offers His forgiveness, continuing love, and salvation unconditionally to all those who will trust Him. He could deal with us as enemies, but He chooses to love us.


Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not believe that self-acceptance is the same as self-indulgence. True self-acceptance does not mean that we abandon ourselves to our faults or that we blind ourselves to our character flaws. Rather, it means that we recognize them for what they are-sin-confess them, and determine to cooperate with God’s work in conforming us to His image. Does that sound difficult? Then remember Dee Jepson’s statement that when we do this the responsibility transfers to God.


Notice the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17-Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [or creation]; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. What a blessed truth. We can be like the Lord because of His work within us!


Companionship that satisfies


A final truth from Psalm 139 is that God is with us. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee (verses 7-12).


How marvelous to know that God, having made us, did not simply abandon us to ourselves! What assurance there is in knowing that He didn’t just create the universe, set things in motion, then walk off and leave it to whatever fate lay ahead! God wants to be with us, fellowship with us, commune with us, know us, and have us know Him intimately. This, apart from anything else we say or do or become, gives each of us tremendous value.


Nothing gives me more confidence than the knowledge that God is with me. I could not have sung before thousands, travel as I have done, or appeared in front of the television cameras for an international weekly program without the knowledge that God is with me and that He has called me and is empowering me to do what I am doing.


Each of us, you see, is a bit like Moses, who had a definite self-image problem. Perhaps he had it because his first attempt to lead the Israelites ended in incredible failure-he killed a man, was publicly humiliated, had to give up his position of status and wealth, and spent forty years on the back side of the desert thinking about it. Talk about being baffled, bewildered, and befuddled! How miserable he must have been. Then God appeared to him in a burning bush and called him to confront Pharoah on behalf of the children of Israel.


Moses, his ego wounded from his previous failures, didn’t think he had what it would take to speak for the Lord. He protested, I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue (Exodus 4:10). God answered him, I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say (verse 12). What an incentive to service that must have been! God himself promised not only to be with Moses but to give him guidance and instruction as well. He promises the same to you and me.


Yes, the God who made us and knows all about us wants us to know Him in His fullness. That is why He has revealed himself through His Word. He wants us to walk with Him, to enjoy His presence, to draw on His strength, and to lean on Him in times of uncertainty and pain. His promise is, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).


In the early days of our ministry, there were times when I was very sick and weak. I can remember getting out of bed to sing in meetings and then, later, returning to bed with heavy medication. Sometimes the pain was so excruciating that I did not feel I could sing another note. Yet, when I was weak, the Lord sustained me. When I was tired, He strengthened me. When I hurt, He comforted me. I could never have done it in my own strength. Through those experiences, I learned the same truths Paul discovered during his ministry-God’s grace is sufficient. His strength is most powerful in the midst of our weaknesses.


Most of all, I learned that God made me the way He did for a purpose. If I had been given the opportunity to choose my characteristics as a minister’s wife, I probably would have asked for a tremendous amount of stamina and physical strength. I would have requested perfect health and unlimited abilities. God, in His infinite wisdom, did not make me that way. Instead, He has used my weaknesses to amplify His strength.


My heart aches for those who are not satisfied with themselves. I wish they knew the satisfaction of resting in the confidence that God made us, He knows everything about us, and He is with us. Ultimately, you see, the person who rejects himself is really rejecting the God who made him the way he is. For such a person, there is no hope of true satisfaction, but instead he will remain baffled, bewildered and befuddled.



CHANGED LIVES-one at a time


Thank you for both of your messages in this email this week. I read every word and felt compelled to pass this on to people I know and those I love. I am praying they will ALL read it. The explanation of the new birth was so well written and backed up by great scriptures, I was encouraged yet again to stand firm on the Word that I have believed. There are so many who scoff at this truth, it makes my heart ache. I plan to read and re-read this so I have it firmly in my head when opportunity arises to share the Truth. And Rexella’s message on God’s grace and self-acceptance was just what I needed to hear after praying about how I fall short by failing to have self-control over the flesh and asking God to help me. Thank you.


T. L.


 


Drs. Jack and Rexella Impe,


I’m thankful for your ministry. I especially appreciate your holy boldness in declaring God’s truth without compromise.


I’m thankful for God’s mercy, forgiveness, and grace. I can hardly begin to comprehend why anyone wouldn’t be absolutely joyful for the pardon of our many sins and the promise of eternal life through repentant faith in Jesus Christ.


Please pray for me to be continuously filled with the Holy Spirit so I always walk in The Spirit.

M. P.



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