Darrell Stetler II
The New Birth - Sermon by John Wesley (Condensed Sermon)
This series is made up of condensed sermons from John Wesley's most famous sermons.
The New Birth – Sermon 45
Wesley's Text for the New Birth Sermon: "Ye must be born again." John 3:7
“If any doctrines within the whole compass of Christianity may be properly termed fundamental, they are doubtless these two, -- the doctrine of justification, and that of the new birth: The former relating to that great work which God does for us, in forgiving our sins; the latter, to the great work which God does in us, in renewing our fallen nature.”
Since this is so important, let us consider:
I. Why must we be born again?
1. Man was created in God’s image.
a. in his natural image, a picture of his own immortality; a spiritual being,
b. in his political image, the governor of this lower world, having "dominion”
c. chiefly in his moral image; which, according to the Apostle, is "righteousness and true holiness." (Eph. 4:24.) This means that man was, like God:
i. full of love; which was the sole principle of all his tempers, thoughts, words, and actions.
ii. full of justice, mercy, and truth;
iii. pure from every sinful blot;
iv. otherwise God could not have pronounced him, as well as all the other work of his hands, "very good" (Gen. 1:31.) This he could not have been, had he not been pure from sin, and filled with righteousness and true holiness.
2. “…man did not abide in honour: He fell from his high estate…By this wilful act of disobedience to his Creator… he openly declared that:
a. he would no longer have God to rule over him;
b. he would be governed by his own will, and not the will of Him that created him;
c. he would not seek his happiness in God, but in the world, in the works of his hands.
3. Man “…lost the life of God: He was separated from Him, in union with whom his spiritual life consisted.” This meant:
a. He had lost the love of God: “he was now under the power of servile fear, so that he fled from the presence of the Lord.”
b. He had lost the knowledge of God: “he endeavored to "hide himself from the Lord God among the trees of the garden:" (Gen. 3:8:)
c. He became unholy as well as unhappy.
d. he had sunk into pride and self-will, the very image of the devil;
e. This is what was meant by “thou shalt surely die”… spiritual death, the loss of the life and image of God.
4. And in Adam all died, all human kind, all the children of men who were then in Adam's loins.
5. This, then, is the foundation of the new birth, -- the entire corruption of our nature.
II. How must a man be born again?
1. We will never fully understand it.
2. Similar to the natural birth.
3. It is that great change which God works in the soul when he brings it into life; when he raises it from the death of sin to the life of righteousness.
4. it is that change whereby the earthly, sensual, devilish mind is turned into the "mind which was in Christ Jesus."
III. Why is it necessary that we should be born again?
1. To produce holiness: no less than the image of God stamped upon the heart.
2. For happiness: it is not possible, in the nature of things, that a man should be happy who is not holy.
IV. What can we conclude about what the new Birth is not?
1. Baptism is not the new birth:
2. The new birth… “does not always accompany baptism”
3. The new birth is not the same with sanctification, either.
"…Therefore, if you have not already experienced this inward work of God, be your continual prayer: "Lord, add this to all thy blessings, -- let me be born again! Deny whatever thou pleasest, but deny not this; let me be 'born from above!'”