Classic Christianity – Book of John p5 (10-22-18)
Bob George continues teaching truth from the book of John. Currently, he is teaching from John 3, where Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night, wanting to know more about him. Nicodemus was pondering in his heart: “Could this be the promised Messiah”? having seen or heard the miracles Jesus did that no man could do. Jesus came for one purpose, to restore lost humanity back in relationship with him. Do you know that those who are born again in Jesus Christ are now being trained and equipped by the indwelling Holy Spirit? Let us learn together, relying on the Holy Spirit to teach us from His word. And, if you are like Nicodemus, being darkened in understanding, listen to truth so you can be born again spiritually. So, how does the Holy Spirit train us as born again children of God? Are we not trained in truth, applying such truths to overcome fear and anxiety, to live different from the world, in a peace that surpasses understanding as we are being renewed in our minds. Who alone can teach you the things of the Spirit but the Spirit of God that dwells within you!
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Bob emphasized the importance of how to enter a relationship with Jesus Christ, to be born again spiritually, so as to live in new freedom and life, by God’s grace and power. The interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus provides a clear picture of what born again means, a phrase that Jesus used when explaining truth to Nicodemus. When one enters a relationship with Jesus Christ, that relationship means much more than coming to him as Lord and Savior. You come to Him to be your teacher, to be trained and equipped in truth for the unique work of ministry Jesus has called you. He has called you to be separate from this world, as those in this world but not of this world. To further bring this concept of being trained by the Holy Spirit, Bob provided a word picture of a person in the Navy being trained to work on naval vessels and those in the Army to be foot soldiers, each uniquely trained for a specific purpose. But one purpose all believers have in common is the ministry of reconciliation yet with unique gifts as God decided beforehand we should have.
All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”
2 Corinthians 5:18
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation
1 Corinthians 12:4-5,11
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. … All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
1 Corinthians 3:4-6
For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.
Are we to be people of integrity, honest in our interaction with others? Yes, of course! But do not think by striving to be good that you can earn eternal life! Why is that so? Ponder over these scriptures below and see what the Lord reveals to you.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath
Man was born in sin already, doomed to die. He cannot save himself because he is spiritually dead already and in need of life. No man – not Buddha, not Muhammad, not the pope, not Bob George – no man except Jesus Christ has life in His name to offer. God did not send His son to condemn, man was condemned already.
As one observes how natural man acts in this world, full of fear and anxiety, with no peace in his heart, an empty way of life, one sees how dead man really is. As believers, not knowing the truth, or new in our understanding in our walk with Christ, or at times walking in the flesh, we too can act in the same manner. Bob shares the story of a man who was greatly stressed in life, son addicted with drugs and other really stressful stuff, and to relieve the overwhelming stress he was experiencing he took the Prosaic drug. So, what is the common problem of man in this world? Can the natural man walk in the Spirit or even understand the things of the Spirit? No. He is dead to God, spiritually dead.
1 Corinthians 2:14
The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.
A man, born again in the Spirit, is not to instantly go to take drugs to relieve stress. Is it unusual not to be stressed? No! That is common to man and this fallen world we live in. But there is a new way to live that a man born again of the Spirit has available to him, the resurrection power of Christ, the mind of God to discern the things of God. Why would God say to a believer: “Do not be anxious” or “Do not fear”? Jesus Christ really is the solution to the heartache of man. He can calm the heart even in the most difficult of circumstances. The things of earth grow strangely dim as we look to Christ and consider him!
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
These truths are believed by faith, that a believer can meditate over and let the Spirit place what is in your head into your heart, so you truly walk by faith in His resurrection power. But a lost person cannot see truth and is bound up in the things of this world. The things of the Spirit sound foolish to him. He looks to all kinds of things – drugs, religion, new age – all kinds of strange ideas. He does not turn to Jesus Christ for life. Any man who fails to come to Christ will die in sin, already condemned by sin unto ultimate eternal death. The spirit of this world, Satan, lies to men and keeps people blind to truth. The condemnation of sin is death. Bob shares that just as the by-product of jumping out of an airplane is death so too is the by-product of sin is death.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
2 Corinthians 4:4
The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Knowing the sinful state of all men, why would a believer not be tenacious to share the message of Christ to a dying world? Every believer has the ministry of reconciliation, imploring men to be reconciled to God. God came to take away sin. He took away all the sins of the world when he died on the cross. All your sins were in the future when he died. Therefore, the sins of the entire world have already been forgiven. The price of death for sin was paid by Jesus shed blood. Even though the price for sin is paid, not all men are willing to believe and accept the truth. Therefore, the finished work of Christ has not been credited to them. If anyone fails to recognize that Jesus died for his sin personal and deny the consequences of death for his sin, how then will he even think to seek new life in Jesus Christ? He remains condemned to die, being condemned already!
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
So, when Jesus spoke to Nicodemus, Nicodemus was thinking as a natural man, devoid of the Spirit of God. When Jesus told him he must be born again to enter the kingdom of heaven, how did Nicodemus answer. “How can I enter my mother’s womb a second time?” But Jesus responded that one must be born of water and the spirit. This response by Jesus is so often misunderstood by many today.
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.
This is not a justification for water baptism to be saved, neither as an infant nor as an adult. Jesus is contrasting a physical birth by water, as when a pregnant woman breaks water, to that of a second spiritual birth that Nicodemus is not yet understanding. Clearly flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit, two distinct births, one physical and one spiritual. To further clarify that water baptism is not what Jesus is asking Nicodemus to do to be saved, Bob shares the following passage:
Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John — although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.
The Pharisees incorrectly thought Jesus was baptizing but he never baptized anyone. Only his disciples baptized people. If baptism were so important for salvation, how come Jesus never baptized anyone? But that baptism was a ceremonial washing. Bob shared a little background about the Essene’s, who diligently studied scriptures and through whom the dead sea scrolls were found today. They were a devout religious people who practiced ceremonially washing. Any ceremony is an outward expression of what is in a person’s heart, whether good or bad. Bob also shared a testimony of someone his wife knew who was into a practice of ceremonial washing before reading the bible or prayer. Again, all such practices do not save.
Bob continued to share the message concerning Christ and as great as forgiveness of sin is, man’s most basic problem is that he is dead and in need of life. Without the resurrection of Christ, man cannot receive new life. Only Jesus has come from heaven. Man is of the earth, was never in heaven, and never had a message of life. Jesus, having life in His name, being God in the flesh, came from heaven to bring life to man. He is the living word that came from heaven. This message is a message of life in His name. You have to be taught from above, truth and not error. The spirit of this world tells lies and distorts the truth. But Jesus tells the truth from heaven. The provision for life is the resurrection power of Jesus Christ. If there is no resurrection then we are to be pitied above all men. He rose from the dead so that he can place his Holy Spirit to dwell in men so we can understand the things of the Spirit.
The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.
1 Corinthians 15:2-4
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
1 Corinthians 15:16-19
For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
(But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise
So one is born again by faith in the work Jesus alone accomplished for you by his death, burial, and resurrection.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
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