7 Spiritual Birthday Gifts

– Please open your Bibles
to Ephesians, chapter one. And we’ll get to that in a moment. First I want to read another passage, and that’s in John chapter three. So keep your finger in Ephesians and I want to read a passage out of the gospel of John, chapter three beginning in verse three. It says “Jesus answered and said to him, “‘Truly, truly, I say
to you, unless one is “born again he cannot
see the kingdom of God.’ “Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man “be born when he is old? “He cannot enter a second time “into his mother’s womb
and be born, can he?’ “Jesus answered, ‘Truly,
truly, I say to you, “unless one is born of
water and the Spirit “he cannot enter into
the kingdom of God.'” You know, Christians are different from other people in many ways. But they’re different from other people when it comes to birthdays. Why I read out of John. John is talking about being born again, you know, your birth day. Because as Christians, we have two such occasions to celebrate. One is our physical birth, when we, you know, we receive well wishes and gifts to commemorate the happy day that we came into existence and we began our physical life, right? We’ve all been to birthdays, we’ve all had our own birthday. Wonderful time, wonderful celebration. But as Christians, we
have another birthday. The other birthday is
when we are, as John says, as I read previously, when we are born again of the water and the Spirit. And that I call our spiritual birthday. So we have our physical birthday, when we come from our mothers, come into this world as physical beings, that’s our physical birthday. And then we have our spiritual birthday, when we come out of the waters of baptism new creatures in Jesus Christ. Now the second birthday, as I said, takes place on the day of our baptism, when we become Christians and experience the second birth and entry into the spiritual life with Christ. Now, as you probably can tell, there’s a difference
between these two birthdays. On our physical birthday, we receive gifts that change from year to year. You know yesterday was one
of my grandsons’ birthday, Daxton, and he was five, and so he got all kinds of cool Batman stuff. Batman underwear, Batman socks, Batman Tshirts, Batman ball, you name it, he’s got, you know, the complete Batman
inventory, if you wish. Because he’s five. Of course, when he gets a little older, when he’ll be 15, he’ll probably want a bike, or he’ll want a phone or some other gadget, you know. I don’t think he’ll be
interested in Batman anymore. And that’s the way it works, isn’t it? We change, the gifts that we get, they’re different as we grow older. We have different tastes, different needs, and these, you know, the
stuff we get wears out. So we need to replace a tie,
or a, you know, whatever, a phone or other gadget,
because these things wear out. However, on our, on the day of our second, or our spiritual birth,
we also receive gifts. But we receive spiritual gifts, that we get to keep and enjoy forever and we never change them. So on our physical birthdays, we get different gifts from year to year. But on our spiritual birthday, we receive a set of gifts
that we always keep. That never wear out, that are new and enjoyable to us all the days of our lives. So this evening I’d
like to describe for you the seven gifts that we receive
on our spiritual birthday. And that’s why I asked
you to open Ephesians, to Ephesians chapter one
beginning in verse three. Because there, Paul the apostle explains that God blesses His children with gifts. And in verses four to 14 he describes seven spiritual birthday gifts. The first gift that he
talks about is purity. Verse four, he says “just as He chose us “in Him before the
foundation of the world, “that we would be holy
and blameless before Him.” First gift, purity. And I believe that one of the reasons that God chose baptism
as the response of faith is that water has always represented cleansing and purity. When we are born again, God purifies us. As Paul says, He makes
us holy and blameless. This is a wonderful gift because it means we can come into God’s presence without feeling ashamed. You know you’re wondering
where’s the gift? Where’s the thing? If I get $200 as a gift, I
know the value of that gift. I’ve got purchasing power for 200 bucks, I can go in and buy something. You know, I like to play golf, so maybe I’ll go in and
buy some golf equipment. I know how much I can spend. The value of that gift. But purity, what’s the value
of that holy and blame, what does that me? Why is it valuable? The answer to that question is it allows me to come into the presence of God without being ashamed,
without being afraid, without feeling guilty. I mean, imagine if
everything you ever thought and everything you ever
did were revealed publicly, let’s say to this congregation. I don’t know about you,
but I’d be embarrassed. Remember, everything you’ve ever thought and everything you’ve ever done? We get up here, we show the video. Then in 1972 she did this,
and then 1979 she did, you know, I mean, she
thought this just yesterday. I mean, at least you could say well, you know, I’m not perfect and the rest of the congregation
are not perfect you know, and that might calm your discomfort, you know who are you to judge me? You know what I’m saying? You probably thought things like that too. You know you can do that little game. But imagine coming before
the perfect and holy God. That’s a whole different
story, in this way. And so the first gift is the ability to come forward and be with God without embarrassment, without negative feelings of any kind, in other words, without feeling guilty, without feeling ashamed. Because we have been purified. We have been made free
from every sinful blemish in our past lives, in our entire life. So, that’s the first gift that God gives us on our spiritual birthday. Second gift is the gift of adoption. Paul continues to write,
“In love, He predestined “us to adoption as sons through
Jesus Christ to Himself.” Now, all people have been
created by God, right? All people have been created by God. They’re God’s creatures, all people. But only those who are born again can say that God is their Father. See the difference. Everybody can claim to
have been created by God. But not everybody can claim
that God is their Father. God’s plan was that those
who would be Christians would become, not his
servants, but his sons and his daughters through adoption. And so remember we said
what’s the gift here? Well the gift here is that we have a relationship with God, and one that gives us access to Him in an intimate way. You know, a person can
have a large company and have a lot people working for him and they see him as the boss, okay? And you know, maybe on friendly
terms with him, or her. But then all of the sudden, the boss’s son or daughter grows
up and finishes school and so on and so forth
and joins the company. Working for Dad. Yeah, that person is an employee, but that person also has a special relationship with the boss. Because that’s the boss’s son, or that’s the boss’s daughter. And those two people have
a working relationship but they also have an
intimate relationship because of who they are, because
this is the boss’s child. So as I said, not only can we come forward without embarrassment, but we can eagerly run forward, and if you wish, jump into his lap, so to speak, as beloved
sons and daughters of God. Romans chapter eight verse 15. And so purity, adoption. Number three, grace. Again, Paul writes “According
to the kind intention “of His will, to the praise
of the glory of His grace, “which He freely bestowed on us.” Grace, the word grace
means an unmerited favor. It means a lot of things,
but unmerited favor I think is a proper definition. You know, you receive
something you don’t deserve, that you didn’t earn. God’s grace refers to the merciful and kind way that God treats His children when they sin against Him
or when they doubt Him. This is the most precious gift in that no good deed or
amount of suffering we do has the power to force
God to offer us grace. Nothing we do can force
God to be merciful to us. We can’t stand on our heads, we can’t say 200 prayers in a row, we can’t you know, serve
the poor, give our, nothing we do can make Him offer us grace. He offers us grace because of what He is. Not because of who we are. He gives His grace freely to His children. Why, because He loves them, that’s why. Now all people, all
people, receive God’s grace in that they enjoy life and
they enjoy the blessings of life here on earth to one degree or another, you know there are plenty of people who don’t believe in God, nevermind they don’t
believe in Jesus Christ, who don’t even believe in God, period. They’re atheists, you know, forget about it, I don’t believe in God. And yet those people
find somebody to love. And many of them raise
children and have a happy home. And have successful
careers, they eat good food. They have enjoyment. They love opera, or they love sports and the sunshine, they get
a nice tan on the beach. They eat good food, they
live to a long life. That’s God’s grace. Being bestowed on those
people, their entire lives. On people who don’t believe Him, in Him, or give thanks to Him. But God’s children are special, because not only do they enjoy God’s grace here on earth, but they’re also treated with grace and
mercy at the judgment in the next world. You see, everyone else is dealt with according to the law. Romans chapter six verse 23. All those who sin are lost. All those who sin and disobey God are condemned by God. Christians, however, are saved, why? Because of their faith. They receive the grace of God. That promise of grace is received on your spiritual birthday. I tell people you are no more saved 50 years after your baptism as
on the day you were baptized. On the day you were
baptized, you get a saved, you receive the grace that
you’re going to receive, that you’re going to need. Now you grow, you mature, you
become more mature in Christ, and more knowledgeable
and all that business, but you’re not any more saved 50 years after your day of baptism. On that day, you get as saved
as you’re ever going to be. Why? Because on that day,
your spiritual birthday, God extends His grace to you. Number four, forgiveness. Forgiveness, spiritual birthday gift. Imagine opening up a present and seeing forgiveness as your birthday gift. Paul says “In Him we have
redemption through His blood, “the forgiveness of our
trespasses, according to “the riches of His grace
which He lavished upon us.” Notice, you know, one of the things that kind of, not upsets me, but makes me gives me a feeling of angst, is when I hear people
who have been Christians for a long long time talk
about their salvation as if they’re hanging
on by their fingernails. You know, how do you feel spiritually? Oh, not bad, I hope I make it. I hope I’m okay. And yet, you read this
passage here, right? I’ll read it again and I want you to see the adjectives that are used to describe what God is doing for us. It says “In Him we have
redemption through his blood.” That’s reference to the fact that Jesus Christ died to pay
the moral debt for our sins. Okay, through His blood, right? And then he says also what we receive the forgiveness of our trespasses. It doesn’t say a few of our trespasses, or the small ones, it
just, all of the trespass. All of the, the big ones, the little ones and the ones in between, all right? Now hear the words, according
to the riches of His grace. How rich do you think God is in grace? How deep is the well of God’s goodness? Do you see the point I’m trying to make? Paul is saying God extends His forgiveness and His mercy towards you and I at what rate, how does He do it? According to the depth of His goodness. According to the riches of His grace. How rich is He in grace? Unlimited. And then imagine, it says of His grace which He lavished on us. Not which He kind of sprinkled on us. Like you sprinkle just
a little bit of pepper, a little sprinkle. I’d be nervous if Paul said of His grace which he sprinkled on us. Ooh man, when you sprinkle
you can miss a spot. When I read this, and it says lavish, it’s like a bucket that’s you know into the well and woosh. He lavishes, He pours it on. He pours it on. In this sense, Paul explains
how God provides this gift. He says through redemption. Jesus buys back, He
redeems, He pays in full the price for all of our sins, and He does this by
offering His perfect life to pay off the life we owe to God because of our sinfulness. And why? Jesus does it for us because no matter how hard we try, we never
could do this for ourselves. So you’re wondering how deep is the love? How much does He pour it on? To what degree is it? To the degree that He offers His own son to pay the moral price our sins. That’s how much He loves us. Somebody who loves us that much, do you think He wants us
to live a life of faith where we’re just hanging
on by our fingernails? Or do you think that He wants us to be living a life of confidence? I am confident in my salvation. I go to sleep at night with no worry of where my soul will go if my heart happens to stop beating in
the middle of the night. We not only receive forgiveness at birth, but as His children,
we know our debt to sin is paid off in full and it’s
paid off in full forever. We will sin again, but we
will never owe for sin again. How’s that for a deal? How’s that for a blessing? So much, we just can’t, we can’t get our minds around it because
we’re not like that, are we? If you offend me, and I, you know, in my quote graciousness forgive me, but you offend me again at some point, I’m going to say hey enough,
you know, it’s enough. That’s me. But that’s not God. God forgives. God extends His mercy. God understands us according
to His mercy and His grace. Not according to ours. I don’t know about you, sometimes I get fed up
with one of you guys, and you get fed up with
me, but I’ll tell you, I get fed up with me a lot more than I ever get fed up with you. You know what I’m saying? I get tired of me, and my shenanigans. A lot more than I get
tired of somebody else. Thanks be to God, that
God, His well of patience and love and mercy is so far deeper than whatever I could muster in
that area of discipline. Forgiveness is a gift given
at our spiritual birthday. Number five, knowledge. Knowledge, Paul writes, again, “In all wisdom and insight
He made known to us “the mystery of His will,
according to His kind “intention which He
purposed in Him with a view “to an administration
suitable to the fullness “of the times, that is, the
summing up of all things “in Christ, things in the
heavens and things on the earth.” Now, natural learning is
a long and painful process and it’s without end, and
it’s always needing change. You’re always learning something new. No matter what you do, no matter what your discipline is in life,
your job, your profession, there’s always something new to learn. You keep on going. God’s children, on the other hand, receive an insight of the complete design of all of God’s purpose in creation and the history of mankind. We receive an insight. Not available through natural thinking, deductive thinking. God shows us something that we could not figure out for ourselves. God’s children know the
who, the why, and the what of God’s plan for mankind. And Jesus Christ is the key to all spiritual knowledge,
which is eternal knowledge. Once I know something from the Scripture, I know it forever. And it is true forever. It’s interesting in Marty’s
lesson this morning. You know, people, false
ideas and so on and so forth. Something that the Bible
declares as being false, will always be false. Something that the Bible declares sinful, will always be sinful. And something that the Bible declares God gives to us, we get to keep and always have forever. That’s the beauty of Bible study. Once you know it, you possess it forever. You can build on it, you
can see it more deeply, but it never, it never changes. Paul says that God’s ultimate plan for His creation is that it will all ultimately be under the
Lordship of Jesus Christ. And so by reading the
Word of God by faith, we understand and we gain this insight into God’s final plan. Something that we could
not figure out on our own no matter how many books we read. What a wonderful gift! To know the end of the story, to know the reason for it all, to know the goal towards which all events of human history are moving. You know, which way are we going? Where is the world heading? We know the answer. The world is heading to a point, where at some point in the future, everything will be under the
Lordship of Jesus Christ. That’s where we’re heading. You can have all kinds of prophets and prognosticators saying
what the future holds, and new inventions and
all that kind of stuff. And yes, you know,
technically we may change. We may be instead of having cars having mini aeroplanes
one day, I don’t know. You may have drones delivering
your stuff from Wal-mart. You know, yeah, that stuff changes. But that one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess
that Jesus Christ is the Lord. That is the certainty of the future. And all those, who before that time comes, submit to Him, have come in to the eternal will of the Father. And that will never, never change. And this marvelous knowledge of the end, we would never know if God did not reveal it to us through
Jesus Christ in His Word. It’s a gift because we could never have figured it out on our own. He gives us this insight. He didn’t have to. He didn’t have to include these passages, but He give us this insight as a gift. Number six, inheritance. Paul says “In Him also we
have obtained an inheritance, “having been predestined
according to His purpose who “works all things after the
counsel of His will, to the “end that we who were the
first to hope in Christ “would be to the praise of His glory.” Some gifts are to be opened now. And some gifts are to be opened later. Paul says that through
Christ the children of God will inherit what has been
originally set aside for them. An eternal life with God in heaven. The promise of heaven is a tangible gift even though it is and must remain wrapped until the return of Christ. You see what I’m saying? We’ve got the gift, but
we can’t unwrap it yet. Now we can, you know how you do with gifts under the Christmas tree a couple of days ahead, your name’s on it and you shake it, what’s
in there, what’s going on, what is it, is it heavy, is it light? We can shake and we can weigh this unopened gift to get some feel for what it might be like, in our regular Christmas gifts let’s say, and we can do the same with
this unopened gift here, this inheritance that we
have that is wrapped up. So the Bible says certain things about it. Here, let me show you. It says first of all that
we’ll be like angels. Intelligent, communicative,
powerful, ethical, Luke 20:36. The Bible says that that
life, that inheritance, no death there, no sin, no
illness, Revelation 7:9-12 It also, the Bible also tells us that we will be together, the saints, the believers will be together and there will be fellowship,
1 Thessalonians 4:17-18. The Bible says that we will experience joy and peace and love and
wisdom and other emotions. Ephesians 1:3. We will also be conscious of ourselves. Other people say you know, people ask me, will we know who we are in Heaven? I’m saying well why would it be Heaven if I didn’t know who I was? [chuckles] There’s no Heaven there. It’s only Heaven if I get there and I go yeah, so this is Heaven. So I’ll know who I am,
and I’ll know who you are. And you’ll know who I am, and you’ll say you made it here too? You know [congregation chuckles] The Bible also says that we will consciously be with God and Jesus. We will consciously be with Him. And it also says that
we’ll be doing something. Because in II Timothy 2:12 it says that we will reign with God. What does that mean? You know that, see what I’m saying? We have an an idea,
we’re shaking that gift, that inheritance gift,
and we’re weighing it. We’ve got some ideas of
what it will be like, but we haven’t been able to unwrap it yet. But one day, we’ll be
able to unwrap that gift. And clearly see, experience,
and know what it is. And then the seventh gift
we receive at our rebirth is the Holy Spirit. It says “In Him, you also,
after listening to the message “of truth”, what’s the message of truth? That Jesus Christ is the son of God, He died for you, and if you believe in Him and express that belief
in repentance and baptism, you’ll be saved, that’s the truth. So he says, so “after listening
to the message of truth, “the gospel of your
salvation-having also believe, “you were sealed in Him
with the Holy Spirit of “promise, who is given as a
pledge of our inheritance, “with a view to the redemption
of God’s own possession, “to the praise of His glory.” Now, you see the gifts
that we’ve talked about. They’re divided into categories. The first two are gifts of new positions that we have before God. We’re considered saints, and we’re considered as sons and daughters of God. The next two gifts are gifts of new attitude that God has towards us. He sees us with grace. He sees us as those who are forgiven. And then the last two are gifts of the new experience of God. We relate to Him now with knowledge, and we will also relate to him forever, unlike here we relate
to Him only temporarily. But the final gift that God gives is a person, not a thing. The Holy Spirit, who is God, is a gift in that He provides Christians with the power to enjoy and use all the other gifts that we have received. You see, without the Holy Spirit, all the other gifts cannot
be fully appreciated. Let me explain briefly. First of all, purity. The Holy Spirit is the one that intercedes for the saints before God and keeps their way pure, Romans 8:26. The second gift, adoption. It is through the Holy Spirit that the sons and daughters of God are able to cry out Abba,
Daddy, Romans eight verse 15. The gift of grace, it is
through the Holy Spirit that God manages the blessings of both the material world
and the life as we know it as Christians in the
kingdom, Genesis 1:2 and 1 Corinthians chapter 12 verse four. The gift of forgiveness. It was by the eternal
Spirit that Jesus offered himself as a redemptive sacrifice to obtain forgiveness, Hebrews 9:14. The gift of knowledge, it was through the direction of the Holy Spirit that men wrote down the revelation of God that gives us the wisdom and knowledge that we need in Christ, II Peter 1:20-21. And finally the gift of inheritance. It will be Holy Spirit
who will raise us up to dwell eternally with God in Heaven when Jesus comes again,
Romans chapter eight verse 11. The gift of the Holy Spirit, that you receive at your spiritual birth is your most precious gift because it is God
Himself guaranteeing that all these other ones will actually work. And they will work forever. What’s interesting to note is that in John chapter one, the gospel writer explains the great miracle of the incarnation. God, a divine being, takes on a human body and nature in order to save man. And then when you go to Acts chapter two, Luke explains the exact opposite. The final purpose of the incarnation is that man will now be able to receive the indwelling of the divine being and take on a Godly nature. So God takes on a human nature to save man so that man can then take on the divine nature and be like God. A perfect circle, completed. So I ask you a question. Do you have a spiritual birthday? Have you been born again? If you have, realize that God has showered you with incredible gifts that are beyond earthly
value or comparison. What do you think Jesus means when he says what would you give in
exchange for your soul? He’s referring to all the
things that God has given you. What are you going to trade for that? So if you have, realize that God has showered you with these marvelous gifts and they’re beyond earthly
value or comparison because your gifts come
from Heaven, not the mall. And your gifts are eternal. They never wear out, they
never go out of style. And your gifts are safe. No one can take them away from you. And your gifts are the same as every other child of God, everyone
receives the same gifts, so there’s no need for jealousy or envy. You know, I think we just don’t celebrate our spiritual birthday enough. So I want to teach you the Christian’s birthday song, that commemorates not your human birth,
but your spiritual birth. I mean, it’s sung to the
tune of Happy Birthday, but the words are in your sermon notes. You know that, we’ve sung it. ♪Happy Birthday to you♪ ♪To Jesus be true♪ ♪May God richly bless you♪ ♪Happy Birthday to you♪ I wish, I would hope that
you would sing this song to your children when they have birthdays. To begin preparing them for the day when they will receive the true, the true birthday gifts
that come from Heaven. If you could sing that song remembering your own
spiritual birth at baptism, these gifts are all yours, and they’re yours now and forever more. So, if you have not been born again, if you don’t have the spiritual gifts, please know that you don’t have
to be left out of the party. These gifts can be yours as well. And they can be yours today. We are going to sing another song tonight. This one is to invite
you to the birthday party so you can share the
wonderful spiritual gifts that God has prepared, ready and eager to give every single person who will come and be born again in
the waters of baptism. If you need that, please come forward now, as we stand and as we sing.

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