By Pastor Paul Millermon
Titus 3:5
24 September 2000

INTRODUCTION

Lindsay Clegg, a London businessman told the story of a warehouse property he was selling. The building had been empty for months and needed repairs. Vandals had damaged the doors, smashed the windows, and strewn trash around the interior. As he showed a prospective buyer the property, Clegg took pains to say that he would replace the broken windows, bring in a crew to correct any structural damage, and clean out the garbage. "Forget about the repairs," the buyer said. "When I buy this place, Iím going to build something completely different. I donít want the building; I want the site." Compared with the renovation God has in mind, our efforts to improve our own lives are as trivial as sweeping a warehouse slated for the wrecking ball. When we become Godís, the old life is over. He makes all things new. All he wants is the site and the permission to build.

Before we become believers in Christ we didnít need reformation we needed regeneration. We need to experience two births. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says "Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." The washing of regeneration is when God makes us new creatures in Christ. God makes us new creations.

We have been looking at great words about our salvation. Those that we already spoke about are as follows:

Grace - It is the unmerited work of God to provide for our salvation.
Faith - Faith needs to be our response. It is to trust in that work, that is Christís death on the cross.
Repentance - It is our change of mind when we heard the Gospel and adjust or reverse our thinking.
Reconciliation - God brings people to himself by changing His enemies into His children. He does this by washing away their sin at salvation, thus removing the offense.
Redemption - This is the price that God paid to redeem us to Himself. It was a high price. (Faith and repentance are the only words here that speak of something we must do for salvation. The others are accomplished only by God.)

Today we will look at the great word regeneration. How do we receive the washing of regeneration?

God helps us to understand regeneration by calling it a "new birth". The use of the figure of new birth to describe the change of regeneration emphasizes two facts about it.

  1. The first emphasizes its decisiveness. The regenerate man has forever ceased to be the man he was; His old life is over and a new life has begun; he is a new creature in Christ, buried with him out of reach of condemnation and raised with him into a new life of righteousness.
  2. The second fact reminds us that this new birth is not of ourselves. It is due to the free, and to us, mysterious exercise of divine power. Infants do not induce or cooperate in their own procreation and birth; no more can those who are dead in trespasses and sins prompt the quickening operation of Godís Spirit within them.

But how do we obtain it for ourselves? Let us now took to the Bible for the answer.

  1. THE WASHING OF REGENERATION TITUS 3:5
    "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost."
    1. How does God save our souls as seem in Titus 3:5?
      1. He saves us by His mercy not by works. This is a statement like the truth found in Ephesians 2:8-9.
      2. He saves us by the washing of regeneration.
      3. He saves us by the renewing of the Holy Spirit.
    2. What is this washing of regeneration? The word in the original language is a compound word. It comes from the word meaning "generation" and the word meaning "again". So we have the word regeneration. As we mentioned already we can call this a new birth.
    3. We all need to experience this washing of regeneration and be born again. But how?
  2. THREE ACTIVE AGENTS OF REGENERATION
    1. We can not regenerate ourselves. As already mentioned we cannot accomplish our regeneration ourselves any more than we can bring about our first birth. We are not one of the active agents in regeneration. Regeneration is something that only God is able to do for us after we put our trust in Christ for salvation. Our part of salvation is faith and repentance. Then God takes over with His part - regeneration.
    2. It is a work of God the Father.
      1. 1 Peter 1:3 "Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
      2. God the Father in His mercy has caused us to be begotten again.
      3. The word begotten again here means to be born again or regenerated.
      4. This is a work of God the father who is an active agent in regeneration. He does this when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. It will produce in us a new life in Christ and a living hope about our eternal future.
      5. The first agent in regeneration is God the father. Now letís consider the second agent.
    3. It is through the seed of the Word of God. (The Bible)
      1. 1 Peter 1:23 "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
      2. We are born physically by means of the seed of our father. It caused conception and in about nine months, our birth.
      3. We are born spiritually by means of the seed of the word of God. Here is how it works. The word of God causes us to understand the truths of the gospel. The seed of the word is bringing about regeneration when...
        1. Godís word gives us the truth about ourselves - We are sinners - Romans 3:10 & 23
        2. Godís word gives us the truth about Christ - He is truly God who came in the flesh to save us from our sin. John 3:16
        3. Godís word gives us the truth about Christís work on the cross to save us. 1 Corinthians 15:3 "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures."
        4. Godís word tells us what we should do about these truths. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved..." Acts 16:31
        5. Godís word must be involved in this work. Romans 10:17 "So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." James 1:18 "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures."
      4. Two agents of regeneration are God the Father, and the word of God. Now one more agent is seen in scripture.
    4. It is a work of the Holy Spirit. John 3:3-7
      1. It is necessary that we be born again or regenerated.
        1. John 3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
        2. John 3:7 "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." Jesus has made it abundantly clear that the new birth or regeneration is necessary for salvation.
      2. It is by a work of the Holy Spirit. This makes it a spiritual birth which re-creates us spiritually. When He is finished we look the same physically, but we have been forever changed spiritually.
        1. When it was made clear to Nicodemus in John 3 that a person must be born again he had a serious question about it. John 3:4 "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his motherís womb and be born?" Nicodemus was thinking of a physical birth but Jesus was talking about a spiritual birth. In the following verses of the chapter Jesus explains.
        2. John 3:5-6 "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

          What does it mean to be born of water and the Spirit? The context helps us interpret this. He is contrasting the physical birth, which is the water birth, to the second birth, which is the spiritual birth. We must be born physically (of water) and spiritually (of the Holy Spirit). In verse 4 Nicodemus was speaking of the physical birth. In Verse 6 Jesus is speaking of the physical birth. We are able to use Jesus' statement in verse 6 ("That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit") as a commentary of His statement in verse 5. We are born of the flesh but now we need to be born of the Spirit if we have not already been. We all need two births! We all need to be regenerated.
        3. This second birth has God the Father actively involved (1 Peter 1:3). Godís word is involved (1 Peter 1:23), and the Holy Spirit is at work (John 3:5-6). The result is regeneration. We are made new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have been born again.

CONCLUSION

In 1954 at a Bible camp in California I trusted Christ as my Savior. I seemed to be the same person after that decision. But something began to happen to me that indicated that God had changed me. My bad language began to be absent from my conversations. I had a desire to read my Bible. I had tried that before but now I was really reading it and beginning to understand it. I began to have a desire to attend church and be with others that also had trusted Christ. God was changing me. More difficult sinful habits lingered longer, but God continued and continues to work in me. I have experienced what it means to be made a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). God has done this for millions of people in all countries and of all times. He can do it for you. You too can experience regeneration. This regeneration will change you. But its change is always an improvement.

When we stop trying to reform ourselves and turn to Christ, then He can cause us to experience the washing of regeneration.

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