"THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BEING A CHRISTIAN" A Person Reborn INTRODUCTION 1. It is always exciting to see someone become a Christian... a. Even when an observer doesn't understand all that is involved, they often sense something meaningful is going on b. Especially as time goes on, and changes begin to occur in the person's life 2. But often the significance of becoming a Christian appears to be lost... a. Sometimes even Christians fail to appreciate the significance of being a Christian b. When this happens, Christians often fail to grow as they should 3. It never hurts for a Christian to reflect, and ask such questions as... a. What did I do? b. What have I received? c. What are the implications and consequences of what I've done? d. What has happened to me? e. What have I become? f. What is different about me? 4. To summarize these questions... a. What is the meaning, importance, and value of becoming a Christian? b. What am I now to do? -- Such are the questions we hope to answer in this series, "The Significance Of Being A Christian" [In this first lesson, we note that a Christian is "A Person Reborn". That is because in Christ one has become...] I. A NEW CREATION A. A CHRISTIAN IS A "NEW CREATION"... 1. A Christian rises out of the watery grave of baptism to newness of life - Ro 6:4-5 2. Old things have passed away, and new things have come - 2 Co 5:17 B. A NEW CREATION MADE POSSIBLE BY VIRTUE OF A NEW BIRTH... 1. A new birth produced by responding to the Word of God - Ja 1: 18; 1 Pe 1:22-23 2. A new birth produced by the working of the Spirit of God - Jn 3:3-5 ; Ti 3:5-7 C. THIS NEW CREATION EMBARKS ON A LIFE OF RENEWAL... 1. The inner man is to be renewed daily - 2 Co 4:16 2. This renewal is ongoing, involving the renewal of one's mind - Ro 12:2 [Because of the new creation which has occurred, and the renewing which continues to take place, the Christian can be said to have...] II. A NEW LIFE A. HAVING PASSED FROM DEATH TO LIFE... 1. As Jesus promised to those who hear His words - Jn 5:24-25 2. Once dead in sin, we are now made alive to God - Ep 2:1-5 ; Co 2:12-13 3. We now have the promise and prospect of life eternal, given through God's Son - 1 Jn 5:11-13 B. HAVING PASSED FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT... 1. Such is the objective of gospel preaching: to turn people from darkness to light a. So Jesus told Paul - Ac 26:18 b. So Peter wrote to Christians - 1 Pe 2:9-10 2. Though we once walked in darkness, we can now walk in the light a. As children of light - Ep 5:8 ; 1 Th 5:5 b. The metaphor of light representing goodness, righteousness, and truth - Ep 5:9 -- For which we should ever be thankful - cf. Co 1:12-13 [What makes such a new creation and a new life a reality? It is more than a mere obedience to some new doctrine. It is possible only when such obedience is the result of...] III. A NEW LOYALTY A. A CHRISTIAN IS A "CONVERTED" PERSON... 1. As exemplified by the Thessalonians - 1 Th 1:9 2. Conversion inherently involves change, particularly a change of loyalties a. From serving sin to serving God - Ro 6:16-18 b. From serving idols to serving God - e.g., 1 Th 1:9 B. A CHRISTIAN IS CONVERTED TO JESUS CHRIST... 1. He or she acknowledges the Lordship of Jesus Christ - cf. Ac 2:36 ; 1 Pe 3:15 2. Above family, life, and self, the Christian chooses to follow Jesus - cf. Mt 10:37-39 3. When one makes that choice, Christ will become the focus of that person's life - Ga 2:20 C. SUCH LOYALTY TO CHRIST RESULTS IN A NEW LIFE... 1. In which God blesses the individual through Jesus Christ - e.g., Ph 4:6-7 2. In which one finds strength to live the new life - e.g., Ph 4:13 CONCLUSION 1. A significant thing about a Christian, then, is that he or she... a. Experiences a new creation b. Enjoys a new life c. Entertains a new loyalty -- Such a individual is truly "A Person Reborn" 2. But not all professing Christians show evidence of this rebirth... Why is that? a. They may have not yet truly experienced the new creation 1) Obedience not rendered in faith will not produce the new birth - Mk 16:16 2) For God's power to be at work, we must submit in faith - Co 2:12-13 b. Though they may have been reborn and entered the new life, they may have gone back into sin a. Hardened by sin's deceitfulness, they have departed from God - cf. He 3:12-13 b. Entangled once again by the pollutions of the world - cf. 2 Pe 2:20 -- In either case, their loyalty is certainly not where it ought to be! May the promise of a new creation and a new life in Christ remind us of "The Significance Of Being A Christian", and challenge us to examine our loyalties if we do not see in our lives the evidence of "A Person Reborn".