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 Sermon on

Nine ways to tell if you are saved or lost

By Brian Pepper

There is only one way to get into the kingdom of Heaven and that is to be born into it. In John chapter 3 Jesus was talking to a university professor Dr Nicodemus. A doctor of the law, a man who was highly respected by both student and faculty alike. This man came to Jesus by night. You see, he was afraid that the people might see him and he would lose face. Just think of it! Dr Nicodemus, the very learned theologian, coming to see Jesus the humble Galilean. The amazing thing is that Jesus cut right through his opening remarks, and bypassing all formality made this sobering statement found in John 3:3, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

A man must be born again

Every individual that enters the kingdom of Heaven must be born again. There is no other way in. In Jeremiah 13:23, God puts this proposition, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?"

The answer is no. The only was a leopard can change its spots is to move from one spot to another. Under ordinary circumstances this is impossible and so the Lord concludes, "Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." (Jeremiah 13:23)

It is very hard for bad men to do good. It is harder still for a wicked man to do right. But the Lord, who put the spots on the leopard could change them if he wished to do so. The Lord, who gave man his skin, can change them if he wished to do so. The Lord can do the impossible; He can change a manís heart.  He has given the promise that He will do that very thing. A man must be born again if he expects to be saved. There is only one way to get into the kingdom of Heaven. Every soul that eventually inhabits that world of glory must be born into that kingdom.

A new creature

Do you know that there is only one way that a man can be president of the United States of America and that is to be born in America. They cannot import a man and make him president. No, he must be born in that country or he can never be the President of the United States. So an individual must be born into the kingdom of Heaven or else he will never walk those streets of gold. That is the reason that David cried out in desperation, seeing the hopelessness of the whole thing. "
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10) And St Paul added, "If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature." (2 Corinthians 5:17) That is a good word, isnít it? If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.

You know how people like to talk about the failings of others. A young man was asked if he would like to give his heart to Jesus. Immediately he started talking about somebody else. He said, "Do you know that woman who has never been attending those meetings conducted by the evangelist recently?" "Well", he continued, "she has a terrible reputation. No one likes her; she is so mean and nasty, everything she does irritates people, they have no time for her. But", he said, "she is not the same person any more, she is a completely different person now," and then he want on to say, "I have decided that if Christianity can do that for an individual, change them so much, I am interested in becoming a Christian too." It is exactly as St Paul says, "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature." (2 Cor. 5:17) He is not the same person any more.

You see, God is preparing a people to inhabit the world of glory and to enter that heavenly land a person must be born again. In the beginning God gave man a beautiful home. But man spoiled the picture. The Bible tells us that at one time there was war in Heaven. There was a controversy in heaven. Sin entered the world of glory; but never again for the promise is given in Nahum that iniquity will not rise up the second time. God is not going to take any chances with the individuals whom he takes into the kingdom: they must be pure people, they must be clean people. Every soul that enters the kingdom of Heaven must be born again.

Some people not suited for Heaven

You see it would be a risky thing for God to take certain people into Heaven the way they are. Sometime when no one was looking, they would start taking up the gold that paves the streets and carry it off to have a good time. God could not have people like that in the kingdom of Heaven.

There are others, if he took them into the Kingdom as they are would be most miserable. They would be going around the Angel choir saying, "Canít you sing a few jazz songs or rock and roll? Iím tired of all these hymns." Others would be sneaking around looking for a place of entertainment. The Lord has to be careful what kind of people he takes into the kingdom of Heaven. That is why He insists, "Ye must be born again."

A 'new man' is the work of God

It is very important that we remember that the making of a 'new man' is the work of God. It is a fearful thing for a man to take credit and say, "I converted somebody." No man can convert a soul. That is the work of God. Nicodemus became troubled about that very thing and he said, "Why Lord, it cannot be. A man cannot be born twice. He is born once; he goes through life once and he ends up in the grave and that is the end."

Jesus looked at him and said, "Professor Nicodemus, there is one thing that you will have to learn, you will have to become just like a little child." "You must be born again, or ye cannot see the kingdom of heaven."

Illustration of the power of the wind

Then Jesus used an illustration of the power of the wind; the mighty way, the amazing way that God works. When I was in Fiji, a great hurricane swept the island, and trees were ripped from the ground and carried for yards by that 120 mile per hour wind. Complete iron roofs were lifted bodily and carried for yards, sometimes 100 to 400 yards away. Despite the great destructive force of this great wind, no one saw the wind. They heard it, they saw the effect it was having, but no one saw this wind.

Jesus says, "Yes, Nicodemus, you know the wind, you have seen the way it acts! But you cannot see the wind itself." Just so, we can see the working of God in the lives of men and women by the results. We can only be born by the 'new birth' experience with the Spiritís inward prompting.

Some people like to talk as if they have had a great deal of learning. Some ask this question, "Have you ever seen God?" "No I have never seen God." "Have you ever seen Jesus?" "No I have never seen Jesus; but I still believe in Him." 

Now let me ask you a question, how many here today had a great, great grandfather? How did you know that you had a great, great grandfather? Why, you would say that you would not be here today if it were not for your great great grandfather. And you would not be here if it were not for God either. When people say there is no God it is just like a baby looking into itís motherís face and saying, "There is no mother."

Yes, you must be born again. You cannot see the wind, but you can see its activity. You cannot see the Holy Spirit, but you can surely see His work. And the greatest proof of all, of the existence of God and his Holy Spirit, is the way it changes manís hearts and lives.

First man fashioned from clay

Back in the Garden of Eden, God fashioned Adam out of the dust of the ground. I would have liked to have seen that sight, as Jesus fashioned that lifeless clay into the form of the first man. If you had been there watching, you would have noticed one thing I am sure, and that is that the being that was being created looked just like his Creator. For the Bible says that He made man in the image of God, in His Own likeness. Adam and Jesus looked alike. And that was Godís original plan that we should be made in His image and in His likeness. But sin spoiled the picture.

Harder for God to remake a man

Do you know that it is harder for God to remake a man than it is for Him to make him in the first place. Back in the beginning, God fashioned Adam out of the clay, and He did it in a short time. What was the secret? The secret was that the clay did not resist. If God comes along to you and says, "This is what I want you to do" and you do not rebel but you do just what he asks you to do; He will make a good man out of you, He will make a real man out of you.

"Ye must be born again, or ye cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." And the wonderful thing is, a man can be born again. I know that from personal experience. In New South Wales, Australia, in a large country town a leading businessman spent quite a lot of his time in hotels. He was rarely ever home and yet he had a very fine wife, a good Christian lady, besides some lovely children. When you looked in at that home, that outstanding feature that impressed you would be without question the bareness, hardly any furniture and yet this man was earning a large salary. An evangelist came to this town and conducted some special meetings. This man somehow or other was persuaded to attend and as the wonderful messages of Christ and His soon return were presented, a profound impression was made on his heart and mind. He surrendered his heart and life to the Saviour and a tremendous change came into his life, and in his home as well. The Spirit of God transformed that man and God remade another man.

Why do some people resist?

God can do a wonderful job if you will give him a chance. But some people resist when God tries to lead them back. Why do we fight to hang on to the old ways, the bad ways? The Lord of Heaven is trying to reshape our lives and make them new. Give him a chance! Do not resist and He will do a wonderful job of re-making you. And remember this, the only people that will be in heaven will be born again people. Now I ask you, how could a drunkard enjoy himself in Heaven? There will not be any breweries there and no hotels. That drunkard would have to have a new appetite, a new outlook, and a new nature. And when a man is born again it changes every part of that individual.

God can create a new heart

What is the first thing that a doctor does when he has a dangerous case brought to his attention? He goes right to the heart and begins listening. If a man has a good heart, the doctor has hopes for him. But if he has a bad heart there is not much else that can be done. If a manís heart is going to stop pumping there isnít very that you can do. It is the same with a man spiritually. In Ezekiel 11:19 we read, "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and I will give them an heart of flesh!"

Now isnít that wonderful? You can bring a man to God and you say, "Lord, I donít think there is much you can do, this fellow has a bad heart." I have heard people say, "He is just naturally bad; there is nothing good in that Fellow.Ē You take a man like that to the Lord and He listens to that manís heart and shakes His head and says, "He does have a bad heart, there is no doubt about that." But God does not give him up. The Lord of heaven performs a surgical operation. He cuts out that old stony heart, that old heart all callused in sin and he says, "I will tell you what I will do, I will take out that old heart and put a new heart, a heart of flesh." And he can do it. It is just as great a miracle as making Adam in the first place. I will give him a new heart. Then he is a new creature.

People concerned about the appearance

People are very particular about the appearance, they are very concerned about the skin. They powder it, paint it, and stretch it; they even put mud on it. I remember seeing some pictures in a magazine. I thought at first that it was a picture of a mummy. But I found that it was a woman covered by a mudpack. Why, if anyone had dipped her in the mud she would have been insulted, but she went and dipped her own face and body in the mud. Yes we are  all concerned about the face, the exterior. We do all kinds of things trying to improve the appearance. But God says, "Never mind about how you look, it is the heart that needs to be changed, that is what really counts."

Fighting the old nature

A man who is born again will have a new nature, that is a wonderful thing. In Romans 8:7 we are warned that with the old nature a man has a difficult time, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God; neither indeed can be." Man in his sinful nature hates the law of God. The Lord has to make a new man out of him. He has to give him a new nature. St Paul certainly knew what he was talking about he said it is just like a fight every day fighting self.

One person said, "I will tell you what I will do, I want to come back to God but I am going to move out of town to do it." The preacher said, "Friend, the first person that you will meet in your new location will be yourself."

It is self that we have the trouble with. The old nature, its always there; it is lying dormant. But God can bring it into subjection. St Paul says, "I am in constant struggle; my best wants to do right, but my body wants to do wrong."

Have you ever grown wearily of yourself? Have you ever come to the place where you felt like saying, "What is the use! I try, I am so tired of it all."

God has a way

St Paul felt that way and he was a mighty man of God. He said, "If I could only shake off all those inclinations toward sin. Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" But St Paul does not give up right there, you donít find him going down with a cry of despair like a lot of people do today and giving up. Instead he comes out triumphantly and cries out, "I thank God through Jesus Christ my Lord."

I am thankful that there is a way out, arenít you? It is wonderful that the Lord has a way out. It does not matter what your problem might be, from murderers to drug addicts. All can be set free through the amazing mercies of Jesus Christ. There is no limit to His power to save. So if the conflict goes hard with you, your case is not too difficult for Him and you can be assured of victory. 1 John 5:4 reads, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." 

A man that is born again is standing on the victory side. Now isnít that wonderful. We can be victorious in Jesus. Let us thank God that He can make us victorious.


The Bible in Song Sermons category is expected to be enlarged over time as hard copy sermon notes are scanned, typed and edited in webpage format. Visit Sermons Page for the complete list of sermons and Bible Commentaries

  PDF Sermon Files
Click image for sample. The Complete Sermon Collection is available at the Store Page. It includes 169 sermons which are listed on the Sermons Page, plus several audio visual sermonettes and a number of incomplete sermons. Original typed sermon notes have been scanned in PDF files on a DVD.


  PDF Revelation Files
Easy access to all the uploaded Revelation Bible Commentaries written by Brian Pepper. Also a CD of the complete Book of Revelation consisting of 22 PDF files scanned from original typed documents. These files can be downloaded by Adobe Acrobat to view on computer screen, or printed in booklet or other format.


  SDA Prophecy Chart
Bible in Song Sermons and Commentaries pages have exposed flaws in the "2300 day" prophecy chart most notably used by Seventh-day Adventists. Seventh-day Adventists in their biblical interpretation have favored the tradition of their founding fathers over Scripture and the "divine revelation" of their own prophet Ellen White. Read more.


Thank you for posting some of (Brian Pepper's) sermons. It's like reading the very words Jesus has spoken to me and is a great encouragement. I cannot say that about many Pastors but I can say that about (Pr Pepper). Thank you. Robert (USA) ... more testimonials.



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