You may be deceived!
by D.L Moody
I was twenty years old before I ever heard a sermon on regeneration. I was always told to be good, but you might as well tell a black man to be a white man as to tell him to be good without telling him how. You might as well tell a slave to be free, but that would not make him free. Christ not only tells us to be free but He frees us.
We are a bad lot, by nature. It is astonishing how the devil blinds us and makes us makes us think we are naturally good and angelic. We are naturally bad, all of us. The first man born of a woman was a murderer. Sin leaped into the world full grown, and the whole race has been bad all the way down.
Man is Naturally Bad
Man has lost the image of God. Take just one description that gives of the human heart: "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies; these are the things which defile a man." Matthew 15:19-20. Now I want to ask you, how can you get a pure stream when you have such an impure fountain? It isn't patching up the old man that is needed, but it is hewing down that tree and putting a new graft in. It is an entire change.
A New Creation
I have heard of reform, culture, education, until I am tired of the whole thing. It is regeneration by the power of God that we need. You may whitewash a pest house, but it will be a pest house still.
In India the swan is considered a sacred bird. They have a legend there that one day an old crane was out on the beach looking for snails, and down came a big white swan. The crane stretched out its great long neck, and said to the swan: "Where do you come from?"
The swan said, "From Heaven."
"Heaven," said the crane. "I never heard of that place. Is it far away?"
"Is it a good country?"
"Is it better than this?"
"Oh, far better," and the swan went on exclaiming about Heaven, about its lakes and rivers, and its fountains and its climate.
The old crane stood there listening, and when the swan finished, said, "Have they any snails there?"
The swan drew itself up and said, "No, vile things! They wouldn't have them in Heaven."
"Well then," said the crane, "you can have your Heaven. I don't want it. I want snails."
Don't you see a mighty truth wrapped up in the legend? I just as much believe that man has to be born from above before he wants to go to Heaven, as I believe that I exist. Take an unregenerated man, and put him under the shadow of the tree of life, and it would be hell to him. Take the carnal man, the natural man, and put him on the crystal pavements of Heaven and it would be hell to him.
A Solemn Statement
How solemn these words are: "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." John 3:3, much less inherit it. If this thing be true, it is a solemn thing, and you and I cannot afford to be deceived.Let us put the question here to ourselves: Have I really be born of the Spirit?
When I was born of my mother, I received a nature from my mother, and also my life from her, but in Boston, seventeen years afterward, I was born from above; I received life from God - a new life. I obtained a life that is as everlasting as God's life; a life to which there is no end, eternal life. How did I get it? By repenting and receiving Christ as Saviour; also by receiving the Word of God in my heart. Christ says, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63 There is life in His word. You may take the Word of God into your heart, and there is the germ, there is the life. If I should take my watch and plant it, I wouldn't get any little watches, would I? Why? Because the germ of life is not there.
If I should plant a bushel of gravel, I would not get any more gravel, would I? But let me plant a bushel of corn at the proper time, and put it in the ground in the month of May, and let the dews of Heaven come upon the land, and the rain and the sun, and out of the death of that corn will come new life. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." Then the Bible speaks in another place of the incorruptible Seed, which is the Word of God. (I Peter 1:23)
Oh man, woman, you may be deceived about ten thousand things, but do not be deceived on this one thing! Make sure you have been born from above, that you have a life that comes from God, distinct and separate from the natural life, a new creation. Repent and receive Christ as Saviour!
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16
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