A Most Extraordinary Birth
Text: 1 John 5: 1-5
Proposition: As extraordinary as the birth of a baby is, the most extraordinary birth is when we become born of God for this birth defeats both sin and death.
Introduction: There are so many miracles when you think about the birth of a child. Pregnancy in a woman’s womb starts as a single cell so small that it is literally invisible to the naked eye. Gradually the cell divides and multiplies and by the time the baby is actually born, there are two hundred million cells! The total weight of these 200 million cells is 6 billion times the weight of the egg that was fertilized. In a normal, physiological birth, the hormone adrenalin plays a crucial role by helping a woman in labor to birth her baby. But it also has a behavioral characteristic – that of dilating the baby’s eyes at the moment of birth so they can see their mother more clearly. Studies have concluded that during intrauterine life, the fetus keeps developing almost 50 thousand neurons every second and by the time of birth the baby will have a bank of 100 billion neurons ready to be used. The process of birth is extraordinary, the Scriptures own comment on it is heard in Psalm 139, “For You formed my inward parts. You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.” It is almost as if we cannot stop discovering the incredible design of God in the way He causes life to begin. That truth also applies to another kind of birth, another way that life is conceived and developed in us. It’s described by the Apostle John, have a look at 1 John 5:1-5.
I. To Be Born of God Begins From God To You, Awakening Belief In Him.
Look at how John begins this section, “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.” This doesn’t just refer to belief in the physical existence of Jesus of which we have abundant proof. The Encyclopedia Britannica uses 20,000 words to tell about Jesus, and never hints that He did not exist. This is more words than the Britannica allows for Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Cicero, Julius Caesar, or Napoleon Bonaparte. In fact the way that word ‘believe’ is used in the original Greek implies more than factual data, it implies a belief that goes deeper. It moves to the place of a belief that arrives at the conclusion that what the Scripture proclaims about Him is really true. His existence leads to what He said, what He said is confirmed by what He did, what He did leads to Who He is. That’s why John says that if you come to that place of belief that Jesus is the Christ, it will engage you at a level deeper than just a knowledge about Him, it will call you to trust in Him. The word ‘Christ’ is a title and not a name, like King is a title, President is a title, Lord is a title. The title ‘Christ’ means Messiah, the singular Messiah, the only One who could ever save to the utmost. The Messiah does something no human ever could, He saves you past death. The Messiah can only do that if He is greater than death, self-existent, eternal. The Messiah must be not only human and capable of rescue, He must also be God. Jesus the Christ is fully man and fully God. When you believe in Jesus as this Messiah it will invite you to take the critical step that leads you to being ‘born of God’. It will invite you to move from the objective, Jesus is the Messiah, to the subjective, Jesus be my Messiah, save me.
To be born of God implies a number of things. It is firstly ‘of God’, His action in you before it was ever your response to Him. To be born of God implies that there is something in you that gasps to life that up to this point has never breathed before. That part of you that gasps to life is your spirit. Ephesians 2 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins… For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God…”. To be born of God establishes a relationship between God and you, He is now your Father, He is all that the concept ‘father’ ever pointed to and ever promised. He is the satisfier of your soul and awakens you in spirit to reach out for Him. To be born of God will even cause you to see others around you who have gone through this very same birth canal of being saved by grace through faith, “everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.” There are many who have longed for your arrival, others who regard you as a brother or sister in Christ. John’s point is that the evidence of you being born of God is that you love them like family, you love them in a way that is brand new to you, you love them because you love God Who has begotten you.
II. Because You Have Been Born of God, Don’t Run With the Scissors.
Do remember your parents telling you that? What else did they tell you? Brush your teeth, eat your vegetables, don’t hit the dog, play well with others, don’t jump off the roof and don’t pick your… you get the idea. Look at what John says in verse 2, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments.” So follow the line of thought… you become born of God when you believe with a deep trust in Christ that He alone can save you, the evidence that you are in fact born of God is that you not only love God but those who also have been born of God, the evidence that you love others as He intends is that you keep His commandments which enables you to love others as He intends you to. So don’t run with the scissors, why? Because you could hurt yourself or your sister or get stuck to the door. In other words God’s commandments are there to protect you and others and to help you see that this Father loves you to death and back. It’s why John says what he does in verse 3, “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” That means that as the Father sees you doing what He commands, He loves you. He doesn’t love you because of what you did, He loves you because of why you did it! Your obedience says, ‘I trust you, I choose to obey you because I love you.’ In other words God loves you because of who you are as His child and because of why you do what you do in obeying Him. And what He asks is not a burden, which could be defined as something too heavy to carry very long or far. God as your heavenly Father does not ask you to carry more than you are able. He does not allow you to be tempted more than you are able. His commandments are not burdensome. In fact His commandments are there to show you where the edge is and to keep you safe, to bring you peace and to reveal and glorify God.
III. Because You Have Been Born of God, You Overcome the World.
That’s what John says in verse 4, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” You would almost expect to hear, ‘for whoever is born of God…’ not ‘whatever is born of God’. Why does he say that? It’s because he is describing something and not someone. He is describing how you became born of God, he’s talking about your faith or rather the gift of faith that has been given to you. God’s gift of faith to you becomes the means by which you believe in Him and are born of God. But then it goes on to be the means by which you trust Him and obey what He commends and then it goes through these to become that which enables you to get past the traps, the tar babies in life. That’s a phrase from an 1880 book of children’s stories written by Uncle Remus. In this story, Br'er Fox constructs a doll out of a lump of tar and dresses it with some clothes. When Br'er Rabbit comes along, he addresses the tar "baby" amiably, but receives no response. Br'er Rabbit becomes offended by what he perceives as the tar baby's lack of manners, punches it and, in doing so, becomes stuck. The more Br'er Rabbit punches and kicks the tar baby out of rage, the worse he gets stuck. In modern usage, tar baby refers to a problem situation that is only aggravated by pride and our desire to be heard, to be right, to win. Because you have been born of God you can overcome that trap, overcome your own emotions and thoughts taking them captive to the obedience of Christ. Look at verse 5, “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” It was during the last supper that Jesus said to His disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” It’s not by your stubbornness or cleverness that you overcome the world. It’s in Christ, in His power and truth and way and life.
Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ? Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Jesus once looked deep into the eyes of His disciples and asked, “Who do you say that I am?” To be born of God is to agree with God about our sin, our need of the Savior, our thirst for His love. Answer that question as Peter did, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Be born of God today. It is a most extraordinary birth!