Jesus Preached it. Jesus set out in John chapter 3 witnessing to Nicodemus saying, “you must be born again”. It may seem like a lame argument that if Jesus preached it then you should too, but I think it is a wonderful argument. Look at who Jesus said this to. He said this to a man who had, no doubt, put a lot of effort into his God commitment. He said this to a man that had a good degree of religious zeal. Nicodemus was “a man of the Pharisees”; he was not an atheist, but he “must be born again” (John 3:7). Keep preaching it! It is the message of Jesus.
Life is short.I remember Richard Baxter said somewhere in Reformed Pastor that we should go to visit a person as soon as we find out that they are sick. Essentially, his argument was that the person may die and the time to share the Gospel is precious when someone is on their deathbed. If you think that is not a big deal, wait until it is one of your loved ones in need of Jesus on their deathbed. What would you do to make sure they knew Christ? Truth is, life is so brief that we should always have an urgency about sharing the Gospel if we have given it any thought. If conversion (getting saved) is not essential, then why worry about the urgency of sharing the Gospel? Why did Jesus use the word “must” in John 3:7? Remember, “life is a vapor” (James 4:14).
The unconverted are many. I’m not going to quote statistics here, but when you leave your home on Sunday mornings to go to church, if you look out your window, you have no doubt noticed all the neighbors’ cars that remain in their driveways. Jesus said, “Broad is the way that leads to destruction” (Matt. 7:13), and I’m afraid many of us have forgotten that most of our neighbors are on the broad way without God. Maybe we’re not forgetful. Maybe we do not want to remember these truths. It is not time to give up on our neighbors now. Where is the urgency? Preach conversion!
Easy Believism is rampant.It seems that “adding a little Jesus” has become the modern version of conversion. The problem is, if someone has not actually changed and yet claims to be a new believer, we are not helping them by changing the meaning of conversion. Conversion means that we are “new creatures in Christ Jesus” (2Cor. 5:17). Being Christian does not mean we are the same people we were before (with the addition of a cross pendant necklace). Don’t get me wrong – we are still human, but there is a new principle at work in us. If it is a real thing to Jesus, why is it not a real change for many professing Christians? Their Christianity might be in their profession only. Listen, we are not trying to judge the degree of change but only saying that it should be real and make a real difference. If you are truly a Christian, then Jesus will call you to take up your cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23).
Sin is downplayed.Sin is not real to many Christians anymore, and if sin is not real, then neither is the need for conversion. More than that, the “bad news” must be preached before the “Good News” can have any real meaning. One of the things that George Whitefield was determined about when preaching the “New Birth” (also known as “Conversion”) was the necessity of teaching the need of conversion. Conversion says that we are sinners. Conversion says God has to do a major work in us to fix us and make us fit for Heaven. Have you read Romans 3:10-19 lately? What about Romans 8:1? Paul says, “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus”. This verse teaches us that humanity is under “condemnation” before we are converted. We are not in neutral; we are simply lost without Christ. We need to recover the bad news so we can truly appreciate and believe the Good News in Christ Jesus.
We are forgetful.We get accustomed to life as usual and forget that Conversion should be a priority. In a world swamped with “self-help” sermons, a regular preaching or application on being “born again” may be an unwelcome guest. Could many of the practical symptoms of continued sins in the life of the believer not be cured by a reminder of our conversion? Paul thinks so in 1 Corinthians 6. Maybe we are not forgetful. Maybe we don’t want to remember. Paul says, “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). He is reminding the Corinthians in order to wake them up and get them back on track. The saints need to hear about conversion as often as anyone else.
Gospel fruit.We should be hungry to see Gospel fruit in our ministries. Jesus said, “Look on the fields” (John 4:35). If we are going to get up on any given morning filled with faith that someone will receive the Gospel and be converted, we must be willing to actually share the Gospel. Look for fruit, but if you are not sharing the Gospel and the Gospel call to conversion, you should not expect anything. If we are sharing these truths daily, then we can truly be optimistic about future fruit. I like thinking about the harvest God is getting in now, and also, the final harvest when we all get home. Look toward the harvest!