Jesus said "Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." We, who are in Christ, sometimes get frustrated with unbelievers, as to why they cannot see the truth, and it is frustrating I agree, and God is just to punish them for their sin, but never forget we were dead in our trespasses and sins "but God." Just as a dead man cannot get up and walk, the spiritually dead cannot hear. The spiritually dead cannot chose to hear the word anymore than a dead man can chose to get up and walk, they must be born of God, transformed. It is all of God! (Ephesians 2:1-10)
What event occurred in your life that you had no control over and nothing to do with whatsoever? The answer; your birth! Do you not find it of up most interest that Jesus said you must be born again to see the kingdom of God? (John 3:3) We tell people in our proclamations of the gospel to "Repent and Believe" (Mark 1:15) and this is the biblical call to an unbeliever, but it is also something that is impossible for them to do unless they be born again; "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13 NASB)
I just spent this past weekend in Atlanta, GA preaching the gospel with several wonderful brothers in Christ. While there, I continued with my memorization of "The Gospel according to John." The verse that I happened to be meditating on while there was John 8:44, and I saw the reality of that passage played out in so many ways before me while there. The combination of this passage and all that was going on around me, The Lord used to bring to a deeper understanding the nature and heart of man, and man's total inability to repent of his sins, and trust alone in Jesus Christ. The only way a man in his natural state can turn from sin to God in Jesus Christ as if his nature is changed; he must be born again, born of the Spirit of God.
"You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies." (John 8:44 NASB)
We deserve the wrath of God for our sins; salvation is a gift of God granted by the grace of God through faith in the Holy One of God, Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24-25). This gift is not from birth right, this gift is not through religious works, this gift is not from our own will; it is by the grace of God through faith. Saving faith does not come from within a man, it is granted by God! (John 1:13) And it must be all of God, because man in his natural state is incapable of repentance, God grants repentance (1 Timothy 2:25).
Why is man incapable? Man is incapable of repentance because he is of his father the devil and wants to do the desires of his father (John 8:44). What are the desires of man? The lust of the eyes, getting all the things this world has to offer; money, cars, homes, vacations, coveting what is his neighbors and pursues obtaining those things in hopes of these things bringing him happiness. The lust of the flesh, which includes but not limited to; sexual desires, fornication's, adulteries, over eating, gluttony, drunkenness, drugs, and he peruses these to feel good physically. The pride of life; to be put up on a pedestal, to be well known, to be well thought of, to have people adore and worship you, to be a god. (1 John 2:16) In order to fulfill his desires man will dishonor mother and father, he will murder his neighbor physically like in abortion or it may be manifested in selling his neighbor out or walking across his neighbors back, he will lie, and he will steal.
This is not limited to what you would call large things, it can be found in what you might think of as the little things. Have you ever been angry with someone because they somehow interfered with you getting what you desire? This can be manifested in something as simple as a waitress getting your order wrong at a restaurant and what do you do? Think about the differing things that can occur from this scenario; you may just think evil of him or her in your mind, you might talk about him or her at the table with the other people, you may talk about him or her with the manager, you may not leave a tip (which is how wait staff are paid), or you may say something directly to him or her belittling them. Don’t forget what Jesus said; “You have heard that the ancients were told, ' You shall not commit murder ' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court. 'But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ' You good- for- nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” (Matthew 5:21-23 NASB)
This is just one example of many and I’m sure you can think of many others now that the door of understanding the human heart has been opened. Yes it is true; "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 1:9 NASB)
While in Atlanta I saw many different things all of which were sinful. Idolatry, many people worshiping a game, a team, and individuals, all the while ignoring the God who created them; as my brothers and I preached the word of God hundreds if not thousands walked by with disdain as the word of God was proclaimed, some mock worshiped, some blasphemed and insulted, but most ignored and laughed. The men that I was preaching with would read scripture and expositorily preach on the passage of the word of God that they were reading, and then follow that up with the heralding of the gospel. I had two different men on separate occasions come up while the glorious word of God was being proclaimed and say; “You know all you’re doing is driving people away. I’m a pastor and this is not how you do this.” So I said, “We are preaching the word of God, did Jesus not say to go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). At this point each man on differing occasion became angry and belligerent, so I said let us reason through the scriptures, neither was willing to open the word of God or hear the word of God; and we wonder why there are so many false converts in America when there are men with the title of pastor who hate the word of God. Next we had people nearby our assigned location who were all of condemnation, and I mean condemnation period. No word of God, no law, and no gospel; they held up signs that were purposely offensive, and meant to bring anger, and were condemning without any justification for condemnation, and without a gospel to save from condemnation. They did not preach, they did not open the word of God, they did not give the law or gospel, just hatred and condemnation.
Then there was Corey, the conversation I had with this young man Saturday evening wound up being the highlight of the time in Atlanta and at the time I didn’t even know it. Here is a picture of Corey and me talking while another brother, Adam Avila, read from the word of God and preached.
I saw Corey standing beside the blue pole in the picture; he had stopped and was texting someone on his phone. I was passing out gospel tracts while Adam preached and a thought entered my mind that I should go talk with this young man. I did not want to, I had already talked with several that day who blasphemed the Lord and I was tired; but as I kept handing out tracts he was not going anywhere so I knew I was being disobedient, so I repented and walked up to him, to speak with him. I don’t remember all the words of this conversation but a few highlights. I walked up to him, he is Jewish; you can see from the picture that he is wearing a Yarmulke Cap on his head. So as I walked up to him I wanted to acknowledge his Jewish heritage so I said to him; “Do you know Yeshua?” (The Hebrew word for Jesus). He answered; “Yea I know who He is, look you don’t want to talk to me about this, trust me you don’t.” I said; “Can I give you this?” He said; “What is it? I said; “It is a gospel tract, it speaks about justification for our sins.” He said; “No thanks, I don’t need that.” So I said; “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions to see if that is true?” He agreed to do so, and we talked about the Law of Moses, about sin, righteousness, and judgment; with salvation being in the blood of Jesus Christ through faith. He had no way of being justified before the Lord but was counting on his heritage (not of blood) and his overall goodness, that he was better than most (nor of the will of the flesh) to save him. We also talked about the Old Testament and the New Testament, about other religions as he brought them up in his attempt to cast aside salvation by faith in Christ alone, but we always returned back to sin, righteousness, and judgment; with salvation being in the blood of Jesus Christ through faith. I said to him; “Jesus said, ‘You must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.’” He said; “But no one is perfect.” I said; “Jesus is and He took our punishment on the cross and offers to us his righteousness before God through faith in Him.” It was at this time he decided he needed to leave; we shook hands and parted ways. I saw no contrition in him, no change of heart, or of mind. He appeared to be unchanged by the conversation except for some display of anger in his attitude as he departed.
I then walked up to the group with the condemning signs who were near us, while the majority walked by ignoring us or with disdain as we preached the word of God this group was drawing a very large crowd. While the messages on the signs were condemning and the people in the crowd were throwing out insults and cursing back at them, it was very worldly so the world was drawn to it. So I took the opportunity to walk amongst that crowd and distribute gospel tracts. I walked back to our corner and began to recite aloud the gospel according to John. I was very bothered by all that was going on around me and had a need to proclaim the word of God unstained by my words, so I did not talk about the word of God, I heralded the word of God as it was written from John. I prayed with another brother and then he preached, once he was done, the air was silent of the word of God so I prayed with a couple of brothers and then began to preach expositorily on Romans Chapter 3 and concluded.
By this time I was very tired and my voice was spent, I knew that I was done preaching for the day. I was tired and thirsty so I sat down and began to drink a bottle of water. Corey (the young man I had talked to earlier) came walking up with a grin on his face and said; “I have been thinking a lot about everything you said; can I have one of those cards that you tried to give me earlier?” So I grabbed one of the larger gospel tracts (I think it was the one that explains what it means to be born again, but I’m not sure) and he took it, and then thanked me for talking with him. He said; “I really enjoyed talking with you, and I’m going to keep thinking about these things and read.” I saw in him at this time a total shift in the way he acted and the things he had to say. He walked off and I sat there humbled, I thanked God, and prayed for Corey. What I had just witnessed, I knew was of God, I could do nothing to change that young man’s mind, “But God”. The Holy Spirit used the words of Christ and the gospel that I had spoken to change his mind. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) He had departed with anger and disdain in his heart and mind, but came back with a changed heart and mind. What had happened during the interim? God!
Now I don’t know if Corey has truly repented and believed in the gospel at this time, but I could see that God is working on Him through the Spirit, so I do believe that God maybe saving him. Jimmy Wilson, Bobby McCreery, Chris Blair (Chris preached for the first time that weekend), Debra Mehaffey, Bill Adams, and myself all prayed together to the Lord before starting to herald the word of God and gospel that weekend; our prayer was that the Lord would use the proclamation of His word to call His sheep out of this lost world. Glory to God!
Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ