The Gateway into the Kingdom
“Except a man be born again he cannot enter the Kingdom of God” -John 3:3.
THERE is no portion of the Word of God, perhaps, with which we are more familiar than this passage. I suppose if I were to ask those in any audience if they believed that Jesus Christ taught the doctrine of the New Birth, nine-tenths of them would say “Yes, I believe He did.”
The Doctrine of the New Birth Most Important
Now if the words of this text are true they embody one of the most solemn questions that can come before us. We can afford to be deceived about many things rather than about this one thing. Christ makes it very plain. He says,
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God”
-much less inherit it. This doctrine of the New Birth is therefore the foundation of all our hopes for the world to come. It is really the A B C of the Christian religion. My experience has been this- that if a man is unsound on this doctrine he will be unsound on almost every other fundamental doctrine in the Bible. A true understanding of this subject will help a man to solve a thousand difficulties that he may meet with in the Word of God. Things that before seemed very dark and mysterious will become very plain.
The doctrine of the New Birth upsets all false religion- all false views about the Bible and about God. A friend of mine once told me that in one of his after-meetings a man came to him with a long list of questions written out for him to answer. He said: “If you can answer these questions satisfactorily, I have made up my mind to become a Christian.” “Do you not think,” said my friend, “that you had better come to Christ first? Then you can look into these questions.” The man thought that perhaps he had better do so. After he had received Christ, he looked again at his list of questions; but then it seemed to him as if they had all been answered. Nicodemus came with his troubled mind and Christ said to him, “Ye must be born again.” He was treated altogether differently from what he expected; but I venture to say that was the most blessed night in all his life. To be “born again” is the greatest blessing that will ever come to us in this world.
Notice how the Scripture puts it.
“Except a man be born again” (John 3:3).
“born from above” (from the marginal reading of John 3:3).
“born of the Spirit” (John 3:6).
From amongst a number of other passages where we find this word “EXCEPT” I would just name three.
“Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3,5).
“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
“Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 5:20).
They all really mean the same thing.
I am so thankful that our Lord spoke of the New Birth to this ruler of the Jews, this doctor of the law, rather than to the woman at the well of Samaria, or to Matthew the publican, or to Zaccheus. If he had reserved His teaching on this great matter for these three, or such as these, people would have said: “Oh yes, these publicans and harlots need to be converted: but I am an upright man; I do not need to be converted.” I suppose Nicodemus was one of the best specimens of the people of Jerusalem: there was nothing on record against him.
I think it is scarcely necessary for me to prove that we need to be born again before we are meet for heaven. I venture to say that there is no candid man but would say he is not fit for the kingdom of God, until he is born of another Spirit. The Bible teaches us that man is lost and guilty, and our experience confirms this. We know also that the best and holiest man, when he turns away from God, falls into sin.
What Regeneration Is Not
Now, let me say what Regeneration is not. It is not going to church. Very often I see people, and ask them if they are Christians. “Yes, of course I am; at least, I think I am: I go to church every Sunday.” Ah, but this is not Regeneration. Others say, “I am trying to do what is right- am I not a Christian? Is not that a new birth?” No. What has that to do with being born again? There is yet another class- those who have “turned over a new leaf,” and think they are regenerated. No; forming a new resolution is not being born again.
Nor will being baptized do you any good. Yet you hear people say, “Why, I have been baptized; and I was born again when I was baptized.” They believe that because they were baptized into the church, they were baptized into the Kingdom of God. I tell you that it is utterly impossible. You may be baptized into the visible church, and yet not be baptized into the Son of God. Baptism is all right in its place. God forbid that I should say anything against it. But if you put that in the place of Regeneration- in the place of the New Birth- it is a terrible mistake. You cannot be baptized into the Kingdom of God. “Except a man be BORN AGAIN, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” If anyone reading this rests his hopes on anything else- on any other foundation- I pray that God may sweep it away.
Another class say, “I go to the Lord’s Supper; I partake uniformly of the Sacrament.” Blessed ordinance! Jesus hath said that as often as ye do it, ye commemorate His death. Yet, that is not being “born again;” that is not passing from death unto life. Jesus says plainly- and so plainly that there need not be any mistake about it- “Except a man be born of… the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” What has a sacrament to do with that? What has going to church to do with being born again?
Another man comes up and says, “I say my prayers regularly.” Still I say that is not being born of the Spirit. It is a very solemn question, then, that comes up before us; and oh that every reader would ask himself earnestly and. faithfully, “Have I been born again? Have I been born of the Spirit? Have I passed from death unto life?”
“We Do Not Need to Be Converted”
There is a class of men who say that special religious meetings are very good for a certain class of people. They would be very good if you could get the drunkard there, or get the gambler there, or get other vicious people there- that would do a great deal of good. But “we do not need to be converted.” To whom did Christ utter these words of wisdom? To Nicodemus. Who was Nicodemus? Was he a drunkard, a gambler, or a thief? No! No doubt he was one of the very best men in Jerusalem. He was an honorable Councillor; he belonged to the Sanhedrin; he held a very high position; he was an orthodox man; he was one of the very soundest men. And yet what did Christ say to him? “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
But I can imagine someone saying, “What am I to do? I cannot create life. I certainly cannot save myself.” You certainly cannot; and we do not claim that you can. We tell you it is utterly impossible to make a man better without Christ; but that is what men are trying to do. THERE MUST BE A NEW CREATION. Regeneration is a new creation; and if it is a new creation it must be the work of God. In the first chapter of Genesis man does not, appear. There is no one there but God. Man is not there to take part. When God created the earth He was alone. When Christ redeemed the world He was alone.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6).
The Ethiopian cannot change his skin, and the leopard cannot change his spots. You might as well try to make yourselves pure and holy without the help of God. It would be just as easy for you to do that as for the black man to wash himself white. A man might just as well try to leap over the moon as to serve God in the flesh. Therefore, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
How to Enter into the Kingdom of God
Now God tells us in this chapter how we are to get into His kingdom. We are not to work our way in- not but that salvation is worth working for. We admit all that. If there were rivers and mountains in the way, it would be well worth while to swim those rivers, and climb those mountains. There is no doubt that salvation is worth all that effort; but we do not obtain it by our works. It is
“to him that worketh not, but believeth” (Romans 4:5).
We work because we are saved; we do not, work to be saved. We work from the cross; but not toward it. It is written,
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12).
Why, you must have your salvation before you can work it out. Suppose I say to my little boy, “I want you to spend that hundred dollars carefully.” “Well,” he says, “let me have the hundred dollars; and I will be careful how I spend it.”
I remember when I first left home and went to Boston; I had spent all my money, and I went to the postoffice three times a day. I knew there was only one mail a day from home; but I thought by some possibility there might be a letter for me. At last I received a letter from my little sister; and oh, how glad I was to get it. She had heard that there were a great many pickpockets in Boston, and a large part of that letter was to urge me to be very careful not to let anybody pick my pocket. Now I required to have something in my pocket before I could have it picked. So you must have salvation before you can work it out.
When Christ cried out on Calvary, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), He meant what He said. All that men have to do now is just to accept of the work of Jesus Christ. There is no hope for a man or woman so long as they are trying to work out salvation for themselves. I can imagine there are some people who will say, as Nicodemus possibly did, “This is a very mysterious thing.” I see the scowl on that Pharisee’s brow as he says, “How can these things be?” It sounds very strange to his ear. “Born again; born of the Spirit! How can these things be?” A great many people say, “You must reason it out; but if you do not reason it out, do not ask us to believe it.” I can imagine a great many people saying that. When you ask me to reason it out, I tell you frankly I cannot do it.
“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth- so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
I do not understand everything about the wind. You ask me to reason it out. I cannot. It may blow due north here, and a hundred miles away due south. I may go up a few hundred feet, and find it blowing in an entirely opposite direction from what it is down here. You ask me to explain these currents of wind; but suppose that, because I cannot explain them, and do not understand them, I were to take my stand and assert, “Oh, there is no such thing as wind.” I can imagine some little girl saying, “I know more about it than that man does; often have I heard the wind, and felt it blowing against my face;” and she might say, “Did not the wind blow my umbrella out of my hands the other day? and did I not see it blow a man’s hat off in the street? Have I not seen it blow the trees in the forest, and the growing corn in the country?”
You might just as well tell me that there is no such thing as wind, as tell me there is no such thing as a man being born of the Spirit. I have felt the Spirit of God working in my heart, just as really and as truly as I have felt the wind blowing in my face. I cannot reason it out. There are a great many things I cannot reason out, but which I believe I never could reason out the creation. I can see the world, but I cannot tell how God made it out of nothing. But almost every man will admit there was a creative power.
Impossible to Explain Everything
There are a great many things that I cannot explain and cannot reason out, and yet that I believe. I heard a commercial traveler say that he had heard that the ministry and religion of Jesus Christ were matters of revelation and not of investigation.
“When it pleased God… to reveal His Son in me,” says Paul (Galatians 1:15-16).
There was a party of young men together, going up the country; and on their journey they made up their minds not to believe anything they could not reason out. An old man heard them and presently he said, “I heard you say you would not believe anything you could not reason out.”
“Yes,” they said, “that is so.”
“Well,” he said, “coming down on the train today, I noticed some geese, some sheep, some swine, and some cattle, all eating grass. Can you tell me by what process that same grass was turned into hair, feathers, bristles, and wool? Do you believe it is a fact?”
“Oh yes,” they said, “we cannot help believing that, though we fail to understand it.”
“Well,” said the old man, “I cannot help believing in Jesus Christ.”
And I cannot help believing in the regeneration of man, when I see men who have been reclaimed, when I see men who have been reformed. Have not some of the very worst men been regenerated- been picked up out of the pit, and had their feet set upon the Rock, and a new song put in their mouths? Their tongues were cursing and blaspheming; and, now are occupied in praising God. Old things have passed away, and all things have become new. They are not reformed only, but REGENERATED- new men in Christ Jesus.
Practical Results in Real Life
Down there in the dark alleys of one of our great cities is a poor drunkard. I think if you want to get near hell, you should go to a poor drunkard’s home. Go to the house of that poor miserable drunkard. Is there anything more like hell on earth? See the want and distress that reign there. But hark! A footstep is heard at the door, and the children run and hide themselves. The patient wife waits to meet the man. He has been her torment. Many a time she has borne about the marks of his blows for weeks. Many a time that strong right hand has been brought down on her defenseless head. And now she waits expecting to hear his oaths and suffer his brutal treatment. He comes in and says to her: “I have been to the Meeting; and I heard there that if I will I can be converted. I believe that God is able to save me.” Go down to that house again in a few weeks and what a change! As you approach you hear someone singing. It is not the song of a reveler, but. the strains of that good old hymn, “Rock of Ages.” The children are no longer afraid of the man, but cluster around his knee. His wife is near him, her face lit up with a happy glow. Is not that a picture of Regeneration? I can take you to many such homes, made happy by the regenerating power of the religion of Christ. What men want is the power to overcome temptation, the power to lead a right life.
The only way to get into the kingdom of God is to be “born” into it. The law in this country requires that the President should be born in this country. When foreigners come to our shores they have no right to complain against such a law, which forbids them from ever becoming Presidents. Now, has not God a right to make a law that all those who become heirs of eternal life must be “born” into His kingdom?
An unregenerated man would rather be in hell than in heaven. Take a man whose heart is full of corruption and wickedness and place him in heaven among the pure, the holy, and the redeemed; and he would not want to stay there. Certainly, if we are to be happy in heaven we must begin to make a heaven here on earth. Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. If a gambler or a blasphemer were taken out of the streets of New York and placed on the crystal pavement of Heaven and under the shadow of the tree of life he would say, “I do not want to stay here.” If men were taken to heaven just as they are by nature, without having their hearts regenerated, there would be another rebellion in heaven. Heaven is filled with a company of those who have been TWICE BORN.
In the 14th and 15th verses of this chapter we read:
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but Have eternal life.”
Mark that! Let me tell you who are unsaved what God has done for you. He has done everything that He could do toward your salvation. You need not wait for God to do anything more. In one place He asks the question, what more could He have done.
“What could have been done more to My vineyard, that I have not done in it?” (Isaiah 5:4).
He sent His prophets, and they killed them; then He sent His beloved Son, and they murdered Him. Now He has sent the Holy Spirit to convince us of sin and to show how we are to be saved.
In this chapter we are told how men are to be saved, namely, by Him who was lifted up on the cross. Just as Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:15). If you are lost,, it will not be on account of Adam’s sin.
The Case Illustrated
Let me illustrate this; and perhaps you will be better able to understand it. Suppose I am dying of consumption, which I inherited from my father or mother. I did not get the disease by any fault of my own, by any neglect of my health; I inherited it, let us suppose. A friend happens to come along he looks at me, and says, “Moody, you have consumption.”
I reply, “I know it very well; I do not want anyone to tell me that.”
“But,” he says, “there is a remedy.”
“But, sir, I do not believe it. I have tried the leading physicians in this country and in Europe; and they tell me there is no hope.”
“But you know me, Moody; you have known me for years.”
“Do you think, then I would tell you a falsehood?”
“Well, ten years ago I was as far gone. I was given up by the physicians to die; but I took this medicine and it cured, me. I am perfectly well. Look at me.”
I say that it is “a very strange case.”
“Yes, it may be strange; but it is a fact. The medicine cured me: take this medicine, and it will cure you. Although it has cost me a great deal, it shall not cost you anything. Do not make light of it, I beg of you.”
“Well,” I say, “I should like to believe you; but this is contrary to my reason.”
Hearing this, my friend goes away and returns with another friend, and that one testifies to the same thing. I am still disbelieving; so he goes away, and brings in another friend, and another, and another, and another; and they all testify to the same thing. They say they were as bad as myself; that they took the same medicine that has been offered to me; and that it has cured them. My friend then hands me the medicine. I dash it to the ground; I do not believe in its saving power; I die. The reason is then that I spurned the remedy. So, if you perish, it will not be because Adam fell; but because you spurned the remedy offered to save you. You will choose darkness rather than light. How then shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? There is no hope for you if you neglect the remedy. It does no good to look at the wound. If we had been in the Israelitish camp and had been bitten by one of the fiery serpents, it would have done us no good to look at the wound. Looking at a wound will never save anyone. What you must do is to look at the Remedy- look away to Him who hath power to save you from your sin.
Behold the camp of the Israelites; look at the scene that is pictured to your eyes! Many are dying because they neglect the remedy that is offered. In that arid desert is many a short and tiny grave; many a child has been bitten by the fiery serpents. Fathers and mothers are bearing away their children. Over yonder they are just burying a mother; a loved mother is about to be laid in the earth. All the family, weeping, gather around the beloved form. You hear the mournful cries; you see the bitter tears. The father is being borne away to his last resting place. There is wailing going up all over the camp. Tears are pouring down for thousands who have passed away; thousands more are dying; and the plague is raging from one end of the camp to the other.
Life in a Look
I see in one tent an Israelitish mother bending over the form of a beloved boy just coming into the bloom of life, just budding into manhood. She is wiping away the sweat of death that is gathering upon his brow. Yet a little while, and his eyes are fixed and glassy, for life is ebbing fast away. The mother’s heart-strings are torn and bleeding. All at once she hears a. noise in the camp. A great shout goes up. What does it mean? She goes to the door of the tent. “What is the noise in the camp?” she asks those passing by. And someone says:
“Why, my good woman have you not heard the good news that has come into the camp?”
“No,” says the woman, “Good news! What is it?”
“Why, have you not heard about it? God has provided a remedy.”
“What! for the bitten Israelites? Oh, tell me what the remedy is!”
“Why, God has instructed Moses to make a brazen serpent, and to put in on a pole in the middle of the camp; and He has declared that whosoever looks upon it shall live. The shout that you hear is the shout, of the people when they see the serpent lifted up.”
“And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Numbers 21:8,9).
The mother goes back into the tent, and she says” “My boy, I have good news to tell you. You need not die! My boy, my boy, I have come with good tidings; you can live!” He is already getting stupefied; he is so weak he cannot walk to the door of the tent. She puts her strong arms under him and lifts him up. “Look yonder; look right there under the hill!” But the boy does not see anything; he says:
“I do not see anything; what is it, mother?”
And she says: “Keep looking, and you will see it.”
At last he catches a glimpse of the glistening serpent; and lo, he is well! And thus it is with many a young convert. Some men say, “Oh, we do not believe in sudden conversions.” How long did it take to cure that boy? How long did it take to cure those serpent-bitten Israelites? It was just a look; and they were well.
That Hebrew boy is a young convert. I can fancy that, I see him now calling on all those who were with him to praise God. He sees another young man bitten as he was; and he runs up to him and tells him, “You need not die.”
“Oh,” the young man replies, “I cannot live; it is not possible. There is not a physician in Israel who can cure me.” He does not know that he need not die.
“Why, have you not heard the news? God has provided a remedy.”
“Why, God has told Moses to lift up a brazen serpent, and has said that none of those who look upon that serpent shall die.”
I can just imagine the young man. He may be what you call an intellectual young man. He says to the young convert- “You do not think I am going to believe anything like that? If the physicians in Israel cannot cure me, how do you think that an old brass serpent on a pole is going to cure me?”
“Why, sir, I was as bad as yourself!”
“You do not say so!”
“Yes, I do.”
“That is the most astonishing thing I ever heard,” says the young man. “I wish you would explain the philosophy of it.”
“I cannot. I only know that I looked at that serpent, and I was cured. That, did it.
I Just Looked; That is All
“My mother told me the reports that were being heard through the camp; and I just believed what my mother said, and I am perfectly well.”
“Well, I do not believe you were bitten as badly as I have been.”
The young man pulls up his sleeve. “Look there! That mark shows where I was bitten; and I tell you I was worse than you are.”
“Well, if I understood the philosophy of it I would look and get well.”
“Let your philosophy go: look and live.”
“But, sir, you ask me to do an unreasonable thing. If God had said, Take the brass and rub it into the wound, there might be something in the brass that would cure the bite. Young man, explain the philosophy of it.”
I have often seen people before me who have talked in that way. But the young man calls in another, and takes him into the tent, and says: “Just tell him how the Lord saved you;” and he tells just the same story; and he calls in others, and they all say the same thing.
The young man says it is a very strange thing. “If the Lord had told Moses to go and get some herbs, or roots, and stew them, and take the product as a medicine, there would be something in that. But it is so contrary to nature to do such a thing as look at the serpent, that I cannot do it.”
At length his mother, who has been out in the camp, comes in, and she says, “My boy, I have just the best news in the world for you. I was in the camp, and I saw hundreds who were very far gone, and they are all perfectly well now.”
The young man says: “I should like to get well; it is a very painful thought to die; I want to go into the promised land, and it is terrible to die here in this wilderness; but the fact is- I do not understand the remedy. It does not appeal to my reason. I cannot believe that I can get well in a moment.” And the young man dies in consequence of his own unbelief.
God’s Remedy for Sin
God provided a remedy for this bitten Israelite- “Look and live!” And there is eternal life for every poor sinner. Look, and you can be saved, my reader, this very hour. God has provided a remedy; and it is offered to all. The trouble is, a great many people are looking at the pole. Do not look at the pole; that is the church. You need not look at the church; the church is all right, but the church cannot save you. Look beyond the pole. Look at the Crucified One. Look to Calvary. Bear in mind, sinner, that Jesus died for all. You need not look at ministers; they are just God’s chosen instruments to hold up the Remedy, to hold up Christ. And so, my friend, take your eyes off from men; take your eyes off from the church. Lift them up to Jesus; who took away the sin of the world and there will be life for you from this hour.
Thank God, we do not require education to teach us how to look. That little girl, that little boy, only four years old, who cannot read, can look. When the father is coming home, the mother says to her little boy, “Look! look! look!” and the little child learns to look long before he is a year old. And that is the way to be saved. It is to look at
“the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29);
and there is life this moment for every one who is willing to look.
How to Be Saved
Some men say, “I wish I knew how to be saved.” Just take God at His word and trust His Son this very day- this very hour– this very moment. He will save you if you will trust Him. I imagine I hear someone saying, “I do not feel the bite as much as I wish I did. I know I am a sinner, and all that; but I do not feel the bite enough.” How much does God want you to feel it?
When I was in Belfast I knew a doctor who had a friend, a leading surgeon there; and he told me that the surgeon’s custom was, before performing any operation, to say to the patient, “Take a good look at the wound, and then fix your eyes on me; and do not take them off till I get through.” I thought at the time that was a good illustration. Sinner, take a good look at your wound; and then fix your eyes on Christ, and do not take them off. It is better to look at the Remedy than at the wound. See what a poor wretched sinner you are; and then look at “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He died for the ungodly and the sinner. Say “I will take Him!” And may God help you to lift your eye to the Man on Calvary. And as the Israelites looked upon the serpent and were healed, so may you look and live.
The Dying Soldier
After the battle of Pittsburgh Landing I was in a hospital at Murfreesboro. In the middle of the night I was aroused and told that a man in one of the wards wanted to see me. I went to him and he called me “chaplain”- I was not the chaplain- and said he wanted me to help him die.
And I said, “I would take you right up in my arms and carry you into the kingdom of God if I could; but I cannot do it. I cannot help you die!”
And he said, “Who can?”
I said, “The Lord Jesus Christ can- He came for that purpose.”
He shook his head, and said, “He cannot save me; I have sinned all my life.”
And I said, “But He came to save sinners.”
I thought of his mother in the north, and I was sure that she was anxious that he should die in peace; so I resolved I would stay with him. I prayed two or three times, and repeated all the promises I could; for it was evident that in a few hours he would be gone.
I said I wanted to read him a conversation that Christ had with a man who was anxious about his soul. I turned to the third chapter of John. His eyes were riveted on me; and when I came to the 14th and 15th verses- the passage before us- he caught up the words,
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
He stopped me and said, “Is that there?”
I said “Yes.” He asked me to read it again; and I did so.
He leaned his elbows on the cot, and clasping his hands together, said, “That’s good; won’t you read it again?”
I read it the third time; and then went on with the rest of the chapter. When I had finished, his eyes were closed, his hands were folded, and there was a smile on his face. Oh, how it was lit up! What a change had come over it! I saw his lips quivering, and leaning over him I heard in a faint whisper,
“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”
He opened his eyes and said, “That’s enough; don’t read any more.” He lingered a few hours, pillowing his head on those two verses; and then went up in one of Christ’s chariots to take his seat in the Kingdom of God.
Christ said to Nicodemus:
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
You may see many countries; but there is one country- the land of Beulah, which John Bunyan saw in vision- you shall never behold, unless you are born again- regenerated by Christ. You can look abroad and see many beautiful trees; but the tree of life you shall never behold unless your eyes are made clear by faith in the Saviour. You may see the beautiful rivers of the earth- you may ride upon their bosoms; but bear in mind that your eye will never rest upon the river which bursts out from the Throne of God and flows through the upper Kingdom, unless you are born again. God has said it; and not man. You will never see the kingdom of God except you are born again. You may see the kings and lords of the earth; but the King of kings and Lord of lords you will never see except you are born again. When you are in London you may go to the Tower and see the crown of England, which is worth thousands of dollars, and is guarded there by soldiers; but bear in mind that your eye will never rest upon the crown of life except you are born again.
What Those Not Born Again Shall Miss
You may hear the songs of Zion which are sung here; but one song- that of Moses and the Lamb- the uncircumcised ear shall never hear: its melody will only gladden the ear of those who have been born again. You may look upon the beautiful mansions of earth; but bear in mind that the mansions which Christ has gone to prepare you shall never see unless you are born again. It is God who says it. You may see ten thousand beautiful things in this world; but the city that Abraham caught a glimpse of- and from that time became a pilgrim and sojourner- you shall never see unless you are born again (Hebrews 11:8, 10-16). You may often be invited to marriage feasts here; but you will never attend the marriage supper of the Lamb except you are born again. It is God who says it, dear friend. You may be looking on the face of your sainted mother tonight, and feel that she is praying for you; but the time will come when you shall never see her anymore unless you are born again.
A Promise Made to Mother
The reader may be a young man or a young lady who has recently stood by the bedside of a dying mother; and she may have said, “Be sure and meet me in heaven,” and you made the promise. Ah! you shall never see her anymore, except you are born again. I believe Jesus of Nazareth sooner than those infidels who say you do not need to be born again. Parents, if you hope to see your children who have gone before, you must be born of the Spirit. Possibly you are a father or a mother who has recently borne a loved one to the grave; and how dark your home seems! Never again will you see your child, unless you are born again. If you wish to be reunited to your loved one, you must be born again.
I may be addressing a father or a mother who has a loved one up yonder. If you could hear that loved one’s voice, it would say, “Come this way.” Have you a sainted friend up yonder? Young man or young lady, have you not a mother in the world of light? If you could hear her speak, would not she say, “Come this way, my son,”- “Come this way, my daughter”? If you would ever see her anymore you must be born again.
We all have an Elder Brother there. Over nineteen hundred years ago He crossed over, and from the heavenly shores He is calling you to heaven. Let us turn our backs upon the world. Let us give a deaf ear to the world. Let us look to Jesus on the Cross and be saved. Then we shall one day see the King in His beauty, and we shall go no more out.