Thursday, August 20, 2015

The New Birth: the doctrine of regeneration [eBook]. 23 articles.  Download the eBook.

The articles include:
  1. the meaning of the new birth
  2. the necessity of the new birth
  3. the impossibility of the new birth
  4. the glory of the new birth
  5. the sovereignty of the new birth
  6. the irresistibility of the new birth
  7. the cleansing of the new birth
  8. the availability of the new birth
  9. the need for the new birth
  10. the individuality of the new birth
  11. the humility of the new birth
  12. the producer of the new birth
  13. the miracle of the new birth
  14. the finality of the new birth
  15. the promise of the new birth
  16. the timing of the new birth
  17. the receiving of the new birth
  18. the transformation from the new birth
  19. the assurance from the new birth
  20. the proclamation of the new birth
  21. the preaching of the new birth
  22. the confidence in the new birth
  23. the doxology from the new birth
One excerpt:

"Perhaps the greatest act that brings glory to God is when a deadened sinner, hostile to God, a vile worm, a despicable rebel, an arrogant and self-worshiping and self-proclaiming person is radically regenerated by the supernatural Spirit so that divine life is given to a dead soul so that the stony, God-hating heart becomes a living, Christ-loving heart. And all this is done by God for God."

Friday, August 14, 2015

"I urge you, Madam, a nearer communion with Christ, and a growing communion. There are curtains to be opened in Christ that we have never seen before, and new layers of love in Him. I despair that I will ever make it to the far end of that love, there are so many layers in it. Therefore dig deep, and sweat, and labour. Take pains for Him, and set aside as much time as you can in each day for Him. Christ will be won with labour."
Samuel Rutherford  (a letter to Lady Kenmure, 1637).
This is part 18 of the ongoing blog-series on the New Birth.
The TRANSFORMATION from the New Birth
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

As God performs the work of the new birth in the soul of a man, that sinner never remains the same. In fact, that sinner, from that moment on, is eternally changed. When God works in a man he transforms that man. When God grants the new birth he changes the way of life. He is a newly transformed man — entirely. Or, to use Paul’s words: “he is a new creation” (2 Cor 5:17).

In speaking of the results of the new birth, I want to show how regeneration transforms a person. In a sense, this discussion on the transformation speaks of the sanctification process rather than the monergistic regeneration act of God. Nevertheless, the two always go together. When God regenerates a person, that inevitably leads to transformation, or, what we may call sanctification.

1) An INTERNAL transformation. Just as a surgery takes place on the inside of a person so the work of regeneration occurs on the inside of a person. Regeneration transforms the whole person. God’s life that He gives to dead souls happens on the inside of a man. It will, over time, inevitably affect his conduct [=sanctification] but it is an invisible, internal, soul-work.

2) A COMPLETE transformation. The new birth that comes from God transforms the soul entirely. God removes the entire old heart and replaces it with a radically new and spiritually alive heart. Salvation is not a partial work of God. Nor is it a potential offer. Regeneration completely transforms the person because God’s imparting of life is a complete, instantaneous, miraculous, supernatural, and effective act of sovereign grace.

3) An ETERNAL transformation. God gives life and never revokes that life. There has never been a person who has received the new birth who has lost that salvation. Regeneration always is one-sided. It takes a man from death to life. But never can a man, at a later point, go from life back to death. The transformation work of God to the soul is an eternal work. God has caused His people to be born again to a living hope (1 Pet 1:3) in order to “obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Pet 1:4). Peter affirms that this life that comes from God is as eternal as God Himself is. It is as protected as God is Himself trustworthy. None who truly have been born again can lose, forfeit, revoke, or fall from this regeneration state. It is an eternal and transforming work in the soul.

4) An EVIDENT transformation.
Regeneration is divine heart-surgery. He removes the old heart and replaces it with a new heart. It’s internal, invisible, supernatural and instantaneous. It will manifest itself as the believer carefully observes (obeys) God’s ordinances (Ezek 36:27).

5) A PROGRESSIVE transformation. The true work of God in salvation (regeneration/the new birth) will certainly and gloriously transform the person’s life. He will progressively grow in holiness, walk in Christlikeness. He is positionally in Christ and he’ll progressively mature in his practice of Christlikeness. The work of God on the soul of a man changes his life. Regeneration always produces sanctification. Sanctification is always the fruit of the new birth.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Pastor’s Priority:
“The Flock of God Needs My Personal Holiness”
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Robert Murray M’Cheyne once said: "The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness.” This axiom must redound in the shepherd’s heart continually. Many pursuits plague pastors today and busy them to such a degree that many shepherds have forgotten to keep the main thing the main thing. And O how easily business can distract us; even being busy with good matters! Yet the flock of God, more than anything else, needs my personal holiness. Dear man of God and leader who serves Christ’s flock, you must remember: the flock needs your personal holiness!

1) The priority of holiness.
Dear man of God: make the pursuit of holiness the driving ambition of your life. Don’t let anything deter you, distract you, sway you, or discourage you away from the primary goal of God’s election of you: holiness! O strive to be like Christ! Emulate Him! Seek Him. Commune with Him! Love Him! Savor Him. Diligently and determinatively drive toward holiness! If it’s not your priority, then it certainly won’t be that of your people’s. Prioritize it!

2) The necessity of holiness.
Dear man of God: listen to what God unambiguously declares: ‘without holiness no one will see the Lord’ (Heb 12:14). Let that truth ring in your ears daily. Rise early and pray that you’d be holy. As you go about your work, endeavor to excel at holiness. With your family, emulate holiness. As you lie down at night after a long (=trying, affliction-filled) day, resolve to be holy. Sir, if you are to enter heaven: be holy! Let your people see this in you.

3) The pursuit of holiness.
Dear man of God: as a male, you pursue what you love. You did it with your wife. You did it in that sport. You did it for that reward. Remember, precious soul, that you must pursue holiness. If your flock doesn’t see it in you, then they won’t know how to pursue it. Let them see you pray, hear you evangelize, watch you suffer, experience you lead your family, and observe you prioritize your marriage above everything. Pray hard. Pray much. Read tirelessly. Memorize faithfully. Meditate diligently. Pursue holiness and the flock will see it, emulate it, mature in it and grow in the same.

4) The community of holiness.
Dear man of God: kill individualism. It isn’t helpful. Even as a pastor, fellowship with men. Be vulnerable. Talk about your sins, struggles, battles, and welcome accountability. Live in community. Ask men to hold you accountable. Live not only for Christ’s people but also with them. Encourage one another as long as it is still called today so you aren’t hardened by sin (Hebrews 3:13). Don’t forget this. O man who leads: remember, a limb severed from the body won’t live long. It’ll soon die. Be a part of the flock. Model this. Be with God’s people. Benefit from it. Love it. Embrace it. Delight in it.

5) The joy of holiness.
Dear man of God: God’s kind of person who lives under His reign has the joy in the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is in fact the Spirit of holiness (Romans 1:4) and if the Spirit indwells you, then He makes you holy. As this happens, he pours joy in your soul (Romans 5:5). No greater joy can ever be found by a soul than the satisfying and ever-continuing pursuit of holiness and Christlikeness. For the glory of Christ and the joy of your soul: pursue holiness.

6) The accountability of holiness.
Dear man of God: if when you fail, embrace reproof. Accept accountability to accelerate your holiness. Don’t reject it. Mortify all pride and self-preservation. Welcome the man of God who worships his master enough to come to you and expose your sin and call you to repentance! O God is near to the humble, the broken, the penitent. He makes whole the bruised and beggars. Don’t hide. Seek accountability to stimulate your growth!

7) The example of holiness.
Dear man of God: exemplify holiness. Show the flock what it means to lead in prayer. Pray early. Pray often. Pray specifically. Pray watchfully. Pray fervently. Read, study, memorize, speak about and discuss God’s precious Word. Model for your people what it is to prioritize your marriage. Say no to people when you need to say yes to your wife. Love her. Ravish her. Satisfy her. Love her. Cherish her. Lead your family and children in regular family worship. Let people see you do this frequently and with diligence. Trust God to save your children and pray faithfully & fervently for their souls. Manage your time well. Don’t neglect the essentials for the innumerable good things. Shepherd your wife and family before your shepherd the flock. If you don’t, then the other husbands will also follow your lead and neglect their families for other things. Model this, O shepherd! Be sure to repent quickly of all known. Keep very short accounts with God. Let no sin remain and let no vice grow deep in the soil of your heart. Pluck it quickly, decisively, and completely. Annihilate that soiled weed! Mortify your sin. Have violence and take pains with killing your sin. And do it quickly before the roots spread and thicken. And keep your heart tender and warm toward Christ. Ravish your soul with His unspeakable delights for soon you’ll be round the Throne bowed down, looking at the hands that were pierced to win your soul! Love Him from the heart! Galaxies of joy, bankless oceans of delights, eternal mercies to study, and a sweet Savior living for you is worthy to follow. Exemplify this.

Download the pdf article.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

This is the next part in the ongoing series on The New Birth.
The RECEIVING of the New Birth
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

How does a dead sinner receive this new birth? How does it come to the depraved soul? How does a person gain new life?

In seeking to understand how the new birth is received, I will mention a few thoughts.

1) Personal. God gives the new birth to individuals that He has sovereignly elected. He does not save people generally; he regenerates individuals personally. The new birth is something that happens to me. It is a very personal, individual, God-given, sovereign, and glorious work to a soul.

2) Powerful. The new birth that comes from God is irresistibly powerful. It cannot be thwarted, resisted, rejected, or despised. Regeneration is God’s working. Regeneration must be received like this. If not, no soul would ever be saved for no sinner, engulfed in sin and living in darkness, would ever want Christ, seek after Him, and run to Him for eternal salvation! O how regeneration must come from the powerful, unconquerable strength of the God of Jacob! It comes from the mighty hand of God to the dead soul of a man. It is a divine, powerful, unstoppable miracle!

3) Permanent. When God rebirths a person the life endures permanently in his soul. He can never lose the new life. He cannot exchange it, lose it, or forfeit it. God’s working is permanent. Not only does God bring the new birth powerfully to dead sinners but he also permanently brings them new life. Dead sinners that come to life never die again. The life God gives is eternal.

4) Purifying. When God regenerates a soul he purifies and cleanses that soul. The life that God imparts to the deadened soul transforms the life from a stony heart to a beating heart. He changes that heart from a spiritually cold heart to a spiritually warm heart to the things of God. God regenerates and sanctifies. The new birth gives life and it purifies the soul by God’s grace!

5) Pleasurable. Nothing in all the vast universe can compare with the life-giving pleasures that assuredly come from God’s regenerative work. Nothing delights the soul like God’s gospel, like the sweetness of Christ, like the fellowship of the Spirit, like the preciousness of the Word. The new birth brings the ultimate delight, the unending pleasures, and the eternal blessings to undeserving sinners. God’s work in man’s soul is sweet and joyous and full of divine pleasures. This is so because Christ is revealed to the sinner and he now rejoices in Christ and loves Him!

6) Preeminent. Perhaps the ultimate act in the working of salvation is the instantaneous, miraculous, supernatural, monergistic, irresistible act of God in giving life to vile sinners. Salvation truly is ‘of the Lord’ (Psalm 3:8). And it is by God’s doing that believers are in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30). The first act — and the ultimate, preeminent action — of salvation is when God alone breathes life, by His sovereign will, by His perfect power, for His eternal glory to sinners. Out of all the peaks in the vast mountain range of the doctrine of salvation, that which towers high above all the rest is that of regeneration!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

This is the next blog in the ongoing series on the New Birth.
The PROMISE of the New Birth
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

In the discourse that the Lord Jesus had with Nicodemus, the topic of the new birth permeated the entire discussion. Nicodemus was not reborn and Jesus told Him that he must receive the new birth in order to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3). The new birth — a sovereign working of God, by His initiative, by His power, and for His glory — comes from God and comes to sinners! Only God can grant the new birth. Salvation is a monergistic act. God, and God alone, accomplishes all of the rebirth. None can help, contribute to, aid, or supplement the working of God in the soul of a man. There are some promises that exist in the discussion on the new birth. This essay will elaborate on a few of the promises of the new birth.

1) The PRESENTED promise. When Jesus spoke with Nicodemus, the teacher of Israel (John 3:10a) and one who knew the Hebrew Scriptures very well (implied in John 3:10b), Jesus presented Him with a promise. John 3:15 says that whoever believes will in Him [in Christ] have eternal life. Jesus presents Nicodemus with a promise, and it extends to everyone who would believe in Jesus Christ. The promise that Christ presented to Nicodemus was that whoever looks to the Son and beholds Him will certainly receive eternal life. None shall be turned away if they come to Jesus Christ by faith alone. The new birth is a working of God, by His grace and for His glory, and it is this that then permits a person’s eyes to be opened to see his sinful condition, his eternal condemnation, and the complete salvation found in the atoning work of Jesus Christ. But the promise remains, whoever believes will have eternal life. The promise of eternal life is presented to whoever would come to Christ and believe in His name.

2) A DIVINE promise. None other than the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, provided this promise to Nicodemus. Human promises may come to fruition, but they may not. But when God makes a promise, He always remains true to His Word. He cannot lie for He always is faithful. The promise that Christ makes to Nicodemus and to all who believe in Christ is that he will have eternal life. This is no mere human wish. This is a divine, bonafide, unbreakable promise. God Himself declares that whoever believes will in Christ have eternal life. Nothing can be more sure than the promises that come from Christ’s lips.

3) An ETERNAL promise. Jesus tells Nicodemus that whoever believes will have eternal life. This is not just life in this world and living it to the fullest, though it is! This is life eternal that begins at the moment of God’s supernatural and sovereign working in the person’s soul and continues even past the moment of physical death to endless eternities to come. Believing on Christ brings eternal life. The truest sense of life eternal, everlasting blessednesses, and unending joys in the immediate presence of the Triune God forever comes to the person who believes in Christ!

4) A SURE promise.
The conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus covered the spectrum of the new birth. It is God alone who accomplishes it and when a person believes in Christ, that sinner most certainly, most definitely, and most assuredly possesses eternal life. The word of God is sure, reliable, trustworthy, dependable and faithful. O the blessed promise of Jesus Christ!

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