Description: There's a deep part of you made for eternity but it's dead. You must be born again; allow God's Spirit to come into you and regenerate your spirit.
A New Start – 1975
Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill
I think we all thank God for the gifts that he’s given to the whole body, but Colleen really has a
gift that Jesus has given her of writing songs, you know, and it’s just a blessing and I think you
feel the same. And I think we should trust Jesus to multiply that creative life among us. And he
respects us really, to produce a creativity that will bring to the world life. So, we need to trust
Jesus for that, for all of us, whatever our particular abilities are. Loved ones, trust Jesus to do
something new through you, you know, really do.
Many of us have come here Sunday-after-Sunday now for some years and probably most of us here
believe there is a God. And perhaps most of us believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God.
What I would like to do this morning, very simply, is to tell you what Jesus’ ideas are about your
life so that you may know what he thinks you should do. And then I would ask you just to do it at
the end of the service, really. So that’s it.
First of all, Jesus says you aren’t going to last long. You just aren’t made to last long. There
are millions of cells dying in your body during this present minute and there’ll be millions more
dying the next minute. So in a real sense, most of us here are at least at that stage in our lives
where there are more millions of cells dying than are being renewed, so in a real way loved ones,
all of us here in this auditorium, probably maybe the youngest might be what 15, 16, 17? All of us
in this auditorium are really dying me and women in that sense, you know.
The physical and mental life that we have will certainly not last much longer than at least our
grandparents, 70 or 80 years. And Jesus says that to us this morning. That which is born of the
flesh is flesh. The physical and the mental life that you have is just not going to last very long
and so in a real way your days are numbered. And secondly Jesus says you won’t believe that. You
won’t believe that. That’s the way he put it to some people who refused to believe him. He said,
“They will not believe. They don’t want to believe and therefore they will not believe.” He says,
you think you were made for more than that, for better things than that. You think you were made to
do more than to go out like a light after 70 years here on earth.” And he says, “That’s why you
keep trying to parlay the attributes of physical and mental life you have into the qualities of
infinity that you would like to have, because there’s something inside you that keeps saying, ‘All
this surely was not created just to end like that after 70 years in nothingness.’” And so you keep
trying to avoid the limitations of the created life that you have, and you keep trying to escape
from the bonds of this earthbound existence at catching at some of the equalities of infinity. And
you will not believe that what you’ve got at the moment is not going to take you beyond this finite
So really what you do is you feel you were made for stability and safety, and security. And isn’t
that true? There’s something inside all of us that makes us feel we were made for stability, we
ought to have stability. That’s why we’re so much in trouble at a time of depression or at a time
of war, we feel we were made for a secure, stable, safe life. And so what most of us are doing is
trying to use the cleverness, and the shrewdness of our minds to ensure that kind of life, and to
catch at that stability that is only possible in infinity. So we educate in order to survive, and
we get the education that will help us to survive, because that’s our first battle. Then we trade
in the degree for the best kind of financial reward we can get, and so we continue to live our
finite lives trying to produce the security and stability that we again, and again feel isn’t
So we keep trading up the cars, and trading up the houses with the thought in the back of our minds
that we can probably never trade them into absolute certainty but at least we should keep trying, we
should keep using the old mind to try and make ourselves secure and stable. And so we use our mind
at work to try to edge ourselves into a position of security in relationship to our colleagues or in
relationship to our rivals. And we keep trying to improve our investments to the point where we
somehow will get that security or stability. And we keep trying to build as cast iron life
insurance and medical insurance package as we possibly can. And yet all the time a fella like
Howard Hughes haunts us because there we see a fella that has built up more than we could possibly
ever hope to build up and yet he keeps himself in seclusion so that he can avoid the possibility of
any kind of disease or bacteria that would kill him.
And so we sense in the midst of all this using our minds to try and ensure the security, and
stability of infinite life, we still kind of feel like we can’t get it. And we kind of sense that
we were made for the serene peace and yet the overwhelming interest that you would be able to have,
in we always think of it as some fancy island which would be a combination of Walden Pond and the
Arabian Knights. And we kind of think, “Yeah, somewhere in this life we’re supposed to experience
not only complete serenity and peace because that in itself will be boring, but it’s supposed to be
combined with a tremendous exhilaration and excitement that would keep our lives continually
satisfying.” And we kind of feel yeah, we were made for that, and so of course we try to produce it
and we try to use every experience, and every relationship we possibly can to produce this
combination of serene peace and overwhelming excitement. And yet somehow, however many people we
use and however many circumstances we try to manipulate for our own purposes we find that we don’t
have that serene peace, or that overwhelming excitement.
In fact, in some ways we find that we’re utterly frustrated about those things. And again, and
again we experience not serene peace and overwhelming excitement but even times like Thanksgiving
day when we find ourselves with the dear ones that we want to be with most, we find often that there
comes a sense of loneliness or a sense of desolation, a sense of not all that conviviality and
excitement of that relationship you felt you should have throughout your life. And it’s the same
loved ones you know with really what Milton used to talk about. Milton used to say, “I am born for
some great purpose,” and I don’t know that there’s any of us here however ambitionless we are that
hasn’t felt at some time, “Yeah, we were born for something special. We were put here for some
special purpose. We weren’t put here just to have our name on a gravestone. We weren’t put here
just to pass like a ship in the night through this world and nobody noticed that we were ever here.
We weren’t put here just to be a number, we were put here to be significant in some way. Somebody,
some way, somewhere, somehow must know we’re here, must see that we’re achieving something. We’re
not just one of a mass of billions and billions of people.”
And so you know we work ourselves to death trying to will ourselves into some position of importance
and so we throw our weight around in the office, and we throw our weight around at home, and we
throw our weight around in school hoping that somehow we’ll will ourselves into a place where people
can’t just ignore us, they have to recognize us and appreciate us.” And yet at the end of the day
we’re just startled by the few people that remember Jack Benney, and he died just this past year.
And if it weren’t for the commission that keeps on bringing up the morbid business of how he died,
really how many think of John F. Kennedy? And we’re amazed at how the Picassos and the Roosevelt’s,
and the Jack Benney’s of this world can pass off the face of the earth and it’s amazing how few
people think of them afterwards.
And loved ones, Jesus says to us, “That’s because what is born of the flesh is flesh,” and what
you’re trying to do is take the finite, limited attributes of your created physical and mental life
and you’re trying to produce all the liberty of eternity, all the freedom of an infinite life even
though all that you’ve got is a limited finite life. A physical and mental life that can never
imitate anything but that life. And so Jesus says, “Really, you can never be anything different
from what you are because the life that you possess is what ties you down to that and all that
you’re becoming with all your efforts is a little monster because you’re trying to bring everything
and everybody to the place where you somehow can experience the infinite happiness, and serenity,
and peace, and exhilaration, the tremendous since of significance, the great sense of security and
stability, that you could only experience if you had an infinite life inside you. And you’re really
using everybody to try and create this and so you’re becoming a massive, hedonistic, manipulating,
domineering, ruling monster and that’s really what you’ve become.
An egotistical monster that is trying to manipulate all this created life around you so that somehow
you will experience some of the qualities of an infinite life and Jesus says it cannot be and yet he
really does bring us good news loved ones because he says those yearnings that you have inside you
for serenity and peace, for exhilaration and excitement, those yearnings that you have inside you to
have some eternal significance, those yearnings you have inside you to have at last a security, and
a stability that you don’t have to continually fight for. Those yearnings that you have to be
something other than a little wild animal in the forest looking around to see who’s going to attack
him next. Those yearnings that you have were put in you by your Creator because he actually made
you for that kind of life. But this is not it.
And loved ones, Jesus is just so strong in that. He just emphasizes repeatedly, “No, this life that
you have at the present time is not that life.” And he says, “The life that you’re trying to use is
that physical life there.” And at times when you try to manipulate your time by chemicals, or you
try to manipulate your emotions by stimulations, at times you even use a mental life in there. But
Jesus says, “There is within you another part that is deeper,” and it’s the part that will satisfy
all those yearnings, and it’s the part that is made for infinity.” But he says really to us, with
almost all of you, it’s absolutely dead. That part of you is dead. And until that part comes
alive, you’re going to experience continual frustration trying to do on this level and this level
what alone can be done in here by this infinite part of you.
And he says that part of you can only come alive if the maker who made you brings it to life through
the power of his own spirit life. Through the power of his own infinite eternal life that runs
through his own being. Only he can bring this part alive. That’s why Jesus said those words.
You’ve all been born once. You’ve all been born of the flesh and you got from your mum and dad
physical and a mental life. But you have to be born anew. You have to be born all over again. The
maker of the world never meant you to make do with that life. He intends you to be born again. And
that’s why Jesus said to that teacher Nicodemus, “Look, you have to be born anew all over again.”
You have to start all over again. You have to be born from above. And the only way you will be
born from above inside in your spirit is by God’s Holy Spirit coming in and regenerating, activating
your own spirit and making it alive.
Then when that happens, that spirit of life from your maker will begin to work out through every
part of your personality and it will impart to your mind here, a right perspective and a sense of
where you fit into God’s plan for developing the world. That spirit will pour out through your
emotions and will impart to you all the excitement, and the serenity, and the peace of an infinite
intercourse and friendship with the eternal being behind the universe, and will be utterly
satisfying to your emotions. The Holy Spirit will pour out through your will and will begin to
direct you as to what you should do in this life so that at last you’ll have a real sense of
significance because you can see where you fit into the Maker’s plan.
And loved ones, that was his plan, that you would allow his Spirit to bring you alive in your spirit
and then his lights would begin to pour out through you to the rest of the world. And the one great
obstacle to that is that this physical and mental personality of yours has become utterly unfitted
for that. This physical and mental personality has become a domineering, manipulating, egotistical,
self-gratifying, self-deifying monster. And all it does and all its been able to do for years is to
take in from the world, to take in from the world trying to create a sense of eternity within by
sponging from other people on the outside. And of course, while that personality remains like that
God dare not give you such an infinite power as the Holy Spirit.
This Holy Spirit is the person he used to make the ocean and the mountains. It’s this Holy Spirit
that holds all the protons and neutrons together here in our universe. It’s this Holy Spirit that
makes the whole universe work at this present time. It’s this Holy Spirit that keeps the pressure
right here on the surface of the earth so that we don’t cave in and we don’t blow up. It’s this
Holy Spirit that keeps the sun in the right position. God dare not give the power of that infinite
Holy Spirit to you with a personality that would use it only to gratify and deify itself, and to
dominate the rest of the universe.
And so loved ones, unless that personality of yours with all its selfishness, and all its
self-deification can be destroyed, God cannot give you the Holy Spirit. And yet, that’s what you
and I most need. We need this infinite spirit of life. It doesn’t matter how many drugs we take,
it doesn’t matter how much alcohol we take, it doesn’t matter how much money we amass in the bank
account, it doesn’t matter how fast a car we get, it doesn’t matter if we go on vacation every other
week, it doesn’t matter what we do, we are never going to satisfy the infinite yearnings that have
been planted inside of us. Loved ones, you’re demanding too much from your husband. You’re
demanding too much from your wife. You’re demanding too much from your employees or your employer,
they cannot produce in you these things that only the infinite spirit of God can produce and that
can only come into you if that personality is destroyed and that’s what happened in Jesus on
That’s what it means when the Bible says, “You’re old self, your whole personality was crucified
with Christ.” All that mess with all its domineering selfishness was destroyed in Jesus on Calvary
in a supra spacial supra temporal miracle. And the fact is because God is eternal and could destroy
you 1900 years ago even though you’re alive today, because he is infinite he is able to do this
today. That’s really what it means you see.
Maybe you’d look loved ones, at just some of the things that happened on Calvary. It’s Psalms
22:16. Psalm 22:16, this is one of those Psalms you know, that in an amazing prophetic way tell
what Jesus was saying in his own heart on the cross, “Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of
evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet—I can count all my bones—they stare and
gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots.” “They have
pierced my hands and feet.”
Loved ones, your hands have been used so often to gratify yourself that God could not entrust the
Holy Spirit to such hands. Your hands have been used so often to get your own way that those hands
cannot be used by this Spirit of God that is used only to express love and to give. That’s why your
hands were miraculously destroyed in Jesus. Loved ones, that’s the only reason God is able to even
consider giving you the Holy Spirit because your hands were pierced in Jesus’ hands. Those feet of
yours that have so often gone to the wrong place, those feet that have so often been used to get
what you wanted for you. Those feet could not be used by the Spirit of God.
That’s why when Jesus died you died. That’s why the Bible says, “We judge that if he died for all
then all died.” Your feet were destroyed in Jesus on Calvary. That’s what it means loved ones,
when the Bible says, “God made him to be sin who knew no sin.” God actually put all your
independence, and all your desire for self into Jesus and destroyed it there. And because of that,
he’s able to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who will receive that Holy Spirit. And so loved ones,
that’s really it.
God offers you, this morning, the Spirit of his own infinite life and if you want it you have to do
two things: you have to accept by faith the destruction of that inturned personality of yours, that
personality that has cared for itself for so long, that personality that wants its own way whatever
it costs anybody else, you need to accept the death of that old personality with Jesus; and you have
to be willing for that.
In other words, you have to stop living for yourself. You have to stop turning in on yourself. You
have to stop referring every event, and every situation, and every job opportunity, and everything
anybody asks you to do to yourself and whether it’s going to benefit you, whether it’s going to make
you happy, you have to once and for all say, “I’m finished with that. It’ll leave me nowhere
anyway, but above all God it’s against your will for me. So today I’m accepting that you destroyed
that inturned personality of mine on Jesus on Calvary and I accept that and I’m willing for that.”
Loved ones, you have to turn from self. You have to take self off the throne of your own life and
you have to give yourself to God and say, “Lord God, I’ve lived for myself these years and it’s a
mess. I’m prepared now to live for the purpose for which you made me, for you.” And secondly, you
have to receive the Holy Spirit by faith. You have to say, “Lord, you promised that you’d give the
Holy Spirit to those who ask. Jesus said that, ‘How much more will your heavenly Father give the
Holy Spirit to them who asked.’ Lord you promised that. I receive you Holy Spirit to be all that I
need in my present life, all that my Father wants me to have.” Loved ones, that’s it, that’s what
Jesus said and that’s what it is to be born of God if you do that, or to be born again.
It’s a lesser thing to call it becoming a Christian. Really, that’s our name for it these days.
Jesus would have said, “It’s entering into reality. It’s coming free at last. It’s being liberated
from yourself. It’s at last entering into all the aspirations that my Father planted inside your
heart. So loved ones, really it’s up to you, you know. I would ask you from my own experience, I
would ask you not to wait for some emotional experience, really. I didn’t have it. My wife didn’t
have it. Many of us here hadn’t a great emotional experience, if you understand what I’ve explained
to you about Jesus’ ideas for your life, then you should just take the step now.
Just in a minute or two I’ll say let us pray and you should just take the step. But you can see
what it means, it means turning from living for yourself and it means depending on this Holy Spirit
to produce in you the kind of life that your Maker wants you to have. And of course, anybody it
doesn’t matter whether you’re a skeptic or not, anybody here knows the one that knows how to run the
factory is the one that made the factory. It’s just common sense that the God who made you knows
the kind of life that will be fulfilling for you.
So loved ones you’ve got what I said now, if you’re not what people call a Christian, that name can
mean a lot of things but, if you’re not what people call a Christian but the big thing is you know.
You know because some of you have talked with me and you know where you are, if you haven’t taken
this step I say you should take it this morning. If you say to me, “Well pastor, why take a
definite step?” Loved ones, God answers only faith. Really.
I tried to get into it by osmosis, I tried to drift into it. You can’t. You have to take a
definite step, truly, truly. I think – I don’t know quite why it is, with me I think the old mind
was so much king that I think God wanted me to declare I’m going out on a limb here, it’s a
reasonable limb, but I’m going out on a limb expecting somebody else to do something. I felt so
much it was all in my own control in the past. Lord, as an expression of my trust in you I’m going
to trust you to do this thing I don’t even know what it is. I don’t even know if I’ll feel any
different. I don’t know what it is, but I know these things that you’ve spoken about this morning
are what I know in my life and I need and I’m going to take the step.
So loved ones, I’d really encourage you just to take a step today, this morning. I’ll help you in
the prayer if that’s of any use, but really if you’re real with God this morning yourself that’s all
you need it doesn’t matter what words you use. Let us pray.
Lord God, some of us here hardly know how to talk to you, or how to express this, but all of us
Lord, know what your son has said and it does ring in our own hearts because our own lives have not
been very satisfying, and we have tried to somehow wind these attributes that we have here on earth,
wind them up to the nth degree to try and produce some kind of satisfaction, or sense of infinity.
But Lord, we know that it has not worked. And Lord God, what your son Jesus has said makes sense to
us, that we were made for something other than our names to be put on a gravestone. We were made
for something other than few to remember us for a few years.
And Lord God, we want to get into the main stream of the plan that you have for our lives. So Lord,
we bring before you now our own selfish life. Lord, we bring before you all the things that we have
done to try and get satisfaction. We bring before you Lord, all the people that we have used. We
bring before you all the circumstances that we’ve tried to manipulate for our own good. Lord, we
see how we are like frightened little foxes in the forest, always on the lookout, always filled with
flight or fright. Lord God, we bring this selfish egotistical hedonistic life before you and Lord,
we don’t know how you bring about its death but we believe that Jesus did rise from the dead and we
believe that what he says did happen, that we were somehow in the infinity of eternity, crucified
Now Lord, we accept that and we’re willing to be made real now in us today. Lord, we ask you now to
make this real in us, to make real in us this death to self once and for all so that we’re finished
with this living for ourselves, so that it is as if we’re no longer alive. We’ve no longer
ourselves to look after. Lord, we want to let this self and all its parasitism be buried in the
tomb with Jesus, and Lord we want that stoned rolled over it today for good. Lord, we trust you
now, we know that you will roll that stone over if we will let you. So Lord, we confess to you all
the sin that fills our life. One-by-one we name them to you and we tell you that we’re finished
with them, we’re turning from that kind of existence. With or without the Holy Spirit Lord, we’re
determined to get finished with this kind of life that we’re living.
Lord, we’re putting the bank account into your hands, all these other things that we’ve held onto
and tried to multiply into some kind of goldmine, we’re putting it all into your hands Lord. We’re
letting this old self die. And now Father, you have promised that you’ll give the Holy Spirit to
them that ask. Father, it’s your life that we need so we ask you now for the Holy Spirit. Holy
Spirit, will you come in now and make us alive inside? There’s been a great hole in the center of
our lives that has been emptied for years, will you come in and make it alive?
We don’t even need to know that it’s alive Holy Spirit, we don’t even demand that we be conscious of
it, we are willing to trust you. Will you energize our spirits and make us alive with God’s life?
And will you live out through us God’s love, and God’s direction, and God’s rule? Holy Spirit, we
would take a step now and thank you for coming in. Thank you that you are faithful and that
tomorrow and Monday morning we can bank on you for direction as to what we should do at each moment.
We thank you.
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