You Were, You Are
YOU WERE...YOU ARE
A. Introduction: It is vital that you and I learn what happened to us when we were born again, and then learn how to live in the light of it.
1. When you became a Christian, made Jesus the Lord of your life and were born again, something came into you that was not there before -- the life and nature of God.
2. What is that life? What did you receive when you were born again?
a. You received eternal life at the new birth. That does not mean you received something to make you live forever. You were going to live forever before you were born again. You were going to live in hell. Now, you're going to live in heaven.
b. Eternal life is the life and nature of God, the life that is in God -- ZOE. John 5:26; I John 5:11,12; II Pet 1:4
3. That life (ZOE) was given to you to accomplish God's plan in and for your life -- to make you His son or daughter, and then conform you to the image of Christ. Eph 1:4,5; Rom 8:29
a. God made you His literal son or daughter by putting His life (ZOE) in you at the new birth. You are literally born of God through your second birth. John 1:12,l3;
I John 5:1
b. Through that life in you, God makes you like Jesus. II Cor 3:18
4. When the Bible says “be like Jesus”, “be conformed to the image of Christ”, it does not mean we become Jesus.
a. It means we live on earth like Jesus lived. I John 4:17
b. Jesus lived by the life of the Father while He was on earth. John 6:57
c. This life gives us the same standing with the Father that Jesus had, as well as the same ability to live pleasing to the Father that Jesus had.
5. To be conformed to the image of Christ, to be like Jesus means:
a. To be a literal, actual, son of God because you have His life and nature in you. John 3:3,5; 1:12,13
b. To be righteous, right with God in nature (what you are) and action (what you do). I Cor 1:30; Rom 5:18,19
c. To be free from the dominion, rulership, of sin and death. Rom 6:8-10
d. To be like, live like, Jesus in your character (nature, what you are) and in your actions (what you do). I John 2:6; John 14:12
e. To reign in life as Jesus reigned. Rom 5:17; Phil 4:11
6. All of this is possible because of ZOE, the life we received when we were born again.
7. Often, in Christian circles, the emphasis of teaching is on manner of living (how you live) rather than on the life you received at the new birth.
a. The life you received when you were born again will enable you to live as God wants you to live if you will learn to depend on that life.
b. In this series of lessons, we are taking time to learn what happened to us at the new birth and how to live in the light of it.
8. In this lesson, we want to contrast what we were before the new birth with what we are now that we are born again in an effort to help the reality of it dawn on us.
B. Once again, we must begin with the fact that there are two sources of information available to us -- seen and unseen. II Cor 4:18
1. Seen = sense knowledge = all the information that comes to us through the physical senses; Unseen = revelation knowledge = the Bible, which tells us about unseen realities.
2. From the Bible we find out that man is a spirit who lives in a physical body and possesses a soul (mind, emotions, and will). I Thess 5:23
a. There is an unseen part of us -- the spirit. That is the part of us which has received the life and nature of God through the new birth. II Cor 5:17,18
b. You, the spirit man, can and will live independent of the physical body.
II Cor 5:6-8; Phil 1:22-24
c. There is a sense in which we cannot see the real you. Just because we can't see you does not mean you aren't real. Luke 16:19-31
d. It is God's plan that you, the spirit man who has received the life and nature of God, no longer be dominated by your soul or body. Rom 8:1,213; I Cor 9:27
3. When you were born again, the life of God came into the unseen part of you and changed you. It made you a new creature.
a. Just because you can't see or feel the changes doesn't mean they aren't real. They are real, and the Bible tells us about them = revelation knowledge.
b. We must find out about these changes, about what we are because we are born again, and begin to talk and act like what we are. Then, these unseen realities will change what we see and feel.
C. At this point, we must make some important comments about the Bible.
1. The Bible is God speaking to me now. It is no different than if Jesus stepped out of the unseen realm and spoke directly to me now.
a. The Bible is as authoritative and as reliable as if Jesus spoke to me because it is Jesus speaking to me -- the Living Word is revealed, speaks,, through the written
b. The Bible is not a collection of witty sayings. It is God's revelation of Himself. He has revealed Himself to us in it, through it.
c. God is not speaking poetically or symbolically. He is speaking to us literally. There are places where the Bible is symbolic, but those are obvious. Unless the
Bible is obviously speaking symbolically, take it as it is, literally.
d. You are what God says you are. You have what God says you have. You can do what God says you can do.
2. You do not need any special quickening from God to make the word real to you. God uses words the way we do -- to communicate, and to accomplish things.
a. It is our responsibility to take God's word, treat God's word, the way we would anyone in power and authority whom we trust. We know how to take a banker at
His word. We owe God the same consideration.
b. One reason Christians do not live this life in and with the victory God intends is because they do not take God's word as it is -- God speaking to me now.
D. We want to look at what God says about what we were before we were born again and about what we are now that the life of God has come into us.
1. Keep in mind, this is not sermon material. This is God talking to us, to you and me, about unseen realities.
a. God wants these things to be more than ink on paper to us. He wants these realities to dominate us, to affect the way we respond to life.
b. When that begins to happen, we'll begin to live life as Jesus lived it on earth.
2. Rom 5:19--Before we were Christians we (the unseen part of us) were by nature sinners.
a. We were not sinners because we sinned. We sinned because we were sinners. (made = constituted = the fundamental make-up of something)
b. By what Christ did for us through the Cross we have been made (constituted) righteous. We are now righteous. II Cor 5:21
c. Whatever is in the life of God is in me now, including the righteousness of God. Rom 3:26 (Just = righteous; Justifier = righteousness) I Cor 1:30
3. The church at Corinth was very carnal (sense ruled). They were acting like mere men instead of holy sons and daughters of God. I Cor 3:3
a. The Holy Spirit dealt with them by reminding them of what they were before the new birth and what they are now that they are born again, and then told them to act like what they are. I Cor 6:9-12
b. Sinners sin because they are sinners. God makes us righteous so we can live righteously.
4. II Cor 6:14-16--The Holy Spirit, through Paul, lists what we were as unbelievers and what we are as believers.
a. Unbelievers = unrighteousness (sin = I John 5:17); darkness; belial (satan =
I John 3:12; John 8:44); an infidel = faithless.
b. Believers = righteousness; light (I John 1:5); Christ (Acts 9:4; I Cor 12:27); one who believes.
c. These traits all refer to what we were and what we are now in the unseen part of us. Just because we can't see it doesn't mean it's not real.
5. Eph 2:1-3--The Holy Spirit, through Paul, reminds Christians what they (we) were before they (we) were born again.
a. They (we) were dead (separated from God, lacking the life of God in our spirits) before we became Christians.
b. They (we) were by nature objects of God's wrath because they (we) were sinners by nature, partaking of the nature of satan, their (our) spiritual father.
c. But, when Christ was raised to new life for us as us, we were made alive with Him. From the word AND in Eph 1:20 to verse 23 is a parenthesis, an insertion.
The verb for Eph 2:1 is in Eph 1:20.
d. We were given life when Jesus was made alive. The life that came into Jesus when He was raised from the dead has come into us.
6. Eph 5:8--We were darkness. Now we are light in the Lord.
a. Notice, we could still act like darkness -- the old us, the old man, what we were before we were born again. But God tells us not to do so. He says -- act like what you are.
b. Notice, there is a direct connection between knowing what you are and how you live your life.
c. That is why it is vital to take time to look into the mirror of God's word and find out what we are because we have the life of God in us.
d. Eph 4:24-32--We've been created in righteousness and holiness and can now live like Jesus. What a privilege! What a responsibility!
E. What is the point of talking about this? As Christians, we are to know ourselves, assess ourselves, according to unseen realities.
1. II Cor 5:16--Consequently, from now on we estimate and regard no one from a [purely] human point of view -- in terms of natural standards of value. [No] even though we once did estimate Christ from a human view point and as a man, yet now [we have such knowledge of Him that] we know Him no longer [in terms of the flesh]. (Amp)
a. We now know Christ according to unseen realties revealed to us in the Bible. He went to the Cross for us as us. He bore our sins and sicknesses on the Cross and died for us as us. Then, when the price for our sins was paid, He was raised to life for us as us.
b. He did all of this so that God could legally give to us the same life Jesus had in His earth walk.
c. We are now to know ourselves according to the unseen realties accomplished in us through the new birth, through the life (ZOE) that came into us.
2. God's life is in us to accomplish His plan and purpose in our lives -- make us His sons and daughters conformed to the image of Christ.
a. God has told us about it, not to make good Sunday school lessons, but because it is real and He wants us to live in the light of it.
b. You are an actual son or daughter of God now, and that life has given you the same stand with the Father Jesus had on earth, and It have given you the same
ability to live pleasing to the Father that Jesus had on earth.
3. You are a son of God because of your second birth, not because of your actions. However, your birth and the life you received at the new birth, can and should affect
a. Luke 15:11-32--The prodigal son was a son by birth, not by actions.
b. For a time, his actions contradicted his sonship, and he ended up living like a pig.
c. He didn't stop being a son, he stopped living as a son. Once he began to live as a son again, all the benefits of sonship were right there.
4. We must realize that the things God says about us now that we are born again are real.
a. Just because we can't see the new creation we have become with our physical eyes doesn't mean it's not real. It is real.
b. If we will speak out what we are and what we have through the new birth, despite what we see or feel, the Holy Spirit will make God's word good in our experience, in the seen realm.
c. He will cause that unseen, spiritual reality to change the seen physical body, circumstances, and world in which you live.
5. Talk and act like what you are -- a literal, holy son of God with the life and nature of God in you.