Ye Must Be Born Again

TEXTJohn 3:1-5

INTRODUCTION:

A.      TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY – I HAVE TWO.

B.      THE SONG REMINDS US OF THE SECOND.

C.      BACKGROUND:

Words: William T. Sleeper, 1877.

Born: February 9, 1819, Danbury, New Hampshire.

Died: September 24, 1904, Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Sleeper attended PhillipsExeter Academy, the University of Vermont, and the Andover Theological Seminary. After ordination, he conducted home ministry work in Massachusetts and Maine. He later became pastor of the Summer Street Congregational Church in Worcester, Mass., where he served over 30 years. His works include the hymn “Jesus, I Come.”

Music: George C. Stebbins(1846-1945).

A native of New York, he was a musician who worked with Dwight Moody of Chicago, IL, and other revival evangelists as a song director and hymnbook editor.  Among his other well known melodies are those for Fanny Crosby's "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling" and "Saved By Grace," James Edmeston's "Savior, Breathe An Evening Blessing," James G. Small's "I've Found A Friend," Cecil Alexander's "There Is A Green Hill," William D. Longstaff's "Take Time To Be Holy," Edward Ufford's "Throw Out The Lifeline," Adelaide Pollard's "Have Thine Own Way, Lord," Charles C. Luther's "Must I Go And Empty Handed?", and Frances R. Havergal's "True-Hearted, Whole-Hearted."

This song was written while Stebbins was helping Dr. George Pentecost in evangelistic meetings in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Here is an exerpt from his description of events:

During those meetings, one of the subjects preached upon was the “New Birth.” While presenting the truth, enforcing it by referring to various passages of Scripture, Dr. Pentecost quoted our Lord’s words to Nicodemus, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, ye must be born again”…It occurred to me that by taking the line “Verily, verily, I say unto thee,” from the third verse, and putting it with the line, “Ye must be born again,” and by transferring the word “I” from the middle of the first line to the beginning, so it would read, “I verily, verily, say unto thee, Ye must be born again,” those passages would then fall into rhythmical form, and by the use of some repetitions could be made available for a musical setting, and also for a chorus to the hymn, if some suitable verses could be found…I spoke to Reverend…Sleeper, one of the pastors of the city who sometimes wrote hymns, of my impression and asked him if he would write me some verses on the subject. He acted at once on my suggestion and soon after came to me with the hymn…Before the meetings closed a musical setting was made.

- George Stebbins, Memoirs and Reminiscences

I.      THE GIST OF THE SONG.

A.      WORDS TRUE AND PLAIN.

A ruler once came to Jesus by night  To ask Him the way of salvation and light;

The Master made answer in words true and plain,  “Ye must be born again.”

          1.       Nicodemus is mentioned three time, but only in John.

                   a.       In John 3, he comes to inquire of Jesus (John 3:1-21).

                   b.       Has his word in the Sanhedrin counsel (John 7:45-53).

                   c.       Assisted in the burial of Jesus (John 19:39-42).

          2.       People criticize his timidity – Trad.: Baptized, cast out, left Jerusalem.

          3.       His observation concerning Jesus (John 3:1-2).

          4.       Jesus changed the subject with “words true and plain” – but not understood.

          5.       “Ye must be born again.”

    No Options!   

B.      ATTEND TO THE WORD.

Ye children of men, attend to the Word,  So solemnly uttered by Jesus the Lord;

And let not this message to you be in vain,  “Ye must be born again.”

          1.       We have been warned (Rom. 10:16-17).

          2.       But we also have been invited (Matt. 11:28) – All of us (Titus 2:11-12).

          3.       And let not this message to you be in vain (2 Cor. 6:1-2).

C.      DO YOU WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN?

O ye who would enter that glorious rest,  And sing with the ransomed the song of the blest,

The life everlasting if ye would obtain,  “Ye must be born again.”

          1.       It is up to us – an exercise of our will (Rev. 22:17;  Josh. 24:15).

          2.       But we must meet the condition (John 3:1).  Ye must be born again.”

          3.       The restful joy of life everlasting extolled (Matt. 11:28;  Rev. 13:14).

D.      THE FOURTH VERSE – NOT IN OUR NEW BOOK.

A dear one in heaven thy heart yearns to see,  At the beautiful gate may be watching for thee,

Then list to the note of this solemn refrain,  “Ye must be born again.”

          1.       We will see those who have fallen asleep (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

          2.       Changed in Sacred Selections - "The dear One in heaven thy heart yearns to see, At

                   the beautiful gate He is watching for thee." (1 Thess. 4:17).

 

 

 

II.     WHAT IS BORN AGAIN?” (John 3:3-5).

A.      THE RESULT OF BEING BEGOTTEN( 1 Pet. 1:3 ).

B.      THE "SEED"( 1 Pet. 1:22-23 ).

C.      JESUS & NICODEMUS - "WHAT IS THIS NEW BIRTH?"( John 3:3-5 ).

          1.       Jesus addresses Nicodemus’ questions

                                            NATURE                         MODE                     

     Nicodemus             Physical                        Mother’s womb           

     Jesus                          Spiritual                        Water - Baptism 

          2.       Evidence in the context( vs. 6-10 ).

                   a.       vs. 6.  fleshly birth – physical body.

                                      spiritual birth – the spirit, the inner man.

                   b.       vs. 7-8.  We don’t see the wind, but we see what it does.

                                      We don’t witness a spiritual birth, but we see it’s effect (2 Cor. 5:17).

                    c.       vs. 9-10.  An old teaching – Nicodemus should have known about this.

Repentance!

                   d.       Made possible by being set free (Rom. 6:5-6).

                   e.       Set free from sin in dying with Jesus (Rom. 6:7), When? (vs. 3-4).

D.      IT IS THE BEGINNING OF A "NEW LIFE"( Rom. 6:3-4, 17-18 ).

E.      IT IS THE NEW BIRTH THAT CREATES HOPE( 1 Pet. 1:3-5).

CONCLUSION:

Ye must be born againYe must be born again,

I verily, verily, say unto theeYe must be born again.”

A.      HAVE YOU BEEN BORN AGAIN?

B.      ARE YOU WALKING IN NEWNESS OF LIFE?