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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Nicodemus...Lessons in Dimensions




John ... Chapter 3



...There was a Man
...A Pharisee










"There was a man 

of the Pharisees
named Nicodemus
a ruler of the Jews:
v.1
       "Pharisees"
       = #G5330 = religious sect of Jews 
                            ... Sanhedrin member
       = #G6567 = separate ... distinct
                         = scatter ... wound ... sting
                         = to show ... define

The primary importance to note ... indicated by first mention ... in this Word of God regarding Nicodemus ... is that he is a "Pharisee."

While Pharisees were looking for the Messiah ... and believed in the Torah ... as well as ... in judgment of good and evil deeds ... and that the law of God superceded man's law ... everything else they believed ... was based on a system of religion that perfectly opposed all Jesus Christ represented. 

Even their belief in the Torah/Word of God was undermined by manmade requirements that elevated their own oral tradition ... making their own words and opinions equal to the Word of God ... requiring their own system of theology to have mandatory authority ... thereby detracting from the supreme Preeminence of the Holy Word of God.

The religion of the Pharisees was clearly based on man's own efforts and beliefs ... which they supposed would achieve piety.  Because of this ... rituals involving washing, fasting, prayer, alms-giving, and numerous other self-determined "good works" were incorporated into their religious performance ... making them dependant on these physical acts ... in order to qualify for salvation.

Noted in the second Greek definition describing "Pharisees"  (#6567) ... we see that they were also separate and  distinct ... BUT ... by being agents that were known for scattering ... separating ... wounding ... stinging ... bringing pain ... God could use their behavior to define and expose this type of false religion ... "to show" us.  

So Jesus could use them ... to teach us these lessons.

Yes ... the Pharisees were bitter enemies of Christ ... but ... as a result ... became excellent examples of "what not to do" ... as well as providing  a perfect opportunity for Jesus to teach us the reality of the two dimensions in which we actually reside.


       "Nicodemus"

       = #G3530 = (overcomer) conqueror 
                            (destined to conquer)
       = #G3534 = victory ... triumph
                            utterly vanquish

The prophecy within the very name of "Nicodemus" is obvious. ... This man ... this Pharisee ... was destined to overcome his false religion of works and rituals ... to become a follower of the Lord Jesus ... BUT ... first he had to be taught that there was "more to life than meets the eye."

       "ruler"
       = #G758 = commander ... leader
       = #G757 = (one possessing power)

Here we have one of those seemingly "impossible" situations.  Jesus is encouraging us ... illustrating ... that it actually is possible for anyone to humbly come to the knowledge of the Truth and be saved from the wrath to come ... regardless of his elevated status in the world.  

If a Pharisee ... a high ranking Jewish leader ... can benefit from time spent listening to the Word of God ... anyone can. 

...Coming Out
...by
...Miracles












"The same 
[Nicodemus]
came to Jesus 
by night
and said unto him, 
Rabbi, 
we know 
that thou art a teacher 
come from God
for no man 
can do these miracles 
that thou doest, 
except God be with him.
v.2

Nicodemus was already separating himself out from his peers ... by visiting Jesus alone at night ... he was already taking a risk with the first step toward salvation ... God was already leading him to "come out from among them and be separate." (2 Cor.6:17)

. . .What thoughts were motivating Nicodemus? 

Nicodemus recognized that Jesus qualified as a true "Rabbi"... and teacher sent by God.  

. . .How did Nicodemus know this?

He said he had observed the miracles Jesus had done ... and concluded that they were genuine.  God had given Nicodemus "eyes to see."

. . .So ... What is the lesson ... for us ... today?

Some people in today's world are also going to be given "eyes to see" and will still be looking for "miracles" that serve as proof that God exists.

Wolves in sheep's clothing know this ... and are aware of how effective ... so called "miracles" ... can be in drawing a following and financial support. 

However ... while professing Christians rightfully denounce false "miracles"... on the other hand ... at the same time ... they fail to bring forth the real "fruit"... or "miracles" that should be taking place right in their own lives ... "miracles" ... called our "testimony."  

They don't understand that our testimony does not merely involve the account of how we came to know about Christ ... or is only about how we "received the gift of salvation" that Jesus is offering ... but ... more importantly ... about the "miracles" Jesus is actually doing in our lives everyday as we follow Him.  

They don't realize that they could actually fill thousands of notebooks with these testimonials ... and ... if they would share them with others ... many could come to believe in Jesus also.

What do we mean when we refer to "testimonies" and "miracles?". . .We mean. . .

"Let me tell you about:

. . .how God helped me to quit smoking/drinking."

. . .how I was homeless and God showed me how to build two businesses without any money invested."

. . .how a harsh enemy became a close friend in Christ."

. . .how God helped me earn enough money to buy a car ... without going out of the house."

. . .how God provided the information I needed to overcome a physical affliction I had for over 13 years."

. . .how my enemy tried to electrocute me and got electrocuted in the process himself."

. . .how I had nothing to eat and a stranger brought food to my door."

. . .how a person broke into my home ... intending to do harm ... then suddenly just left."

. . .how there was a blizzard ... no phone ... and there wasn't any wood for the furnace ... and a person ... I hardly knew ... who was not a Christian ... drove 40 miles through the blizzard ... to dump a truck load of wood into the ditch in front of my house.

. . .how I had a deep secret spiritual mystery to solve in order to avoid deception ... and the parent of my child's classmate ... that I hardly knew ... drove many miles to bring the proof I needed.

These are just a few ... real testimonies from real people ... and real "miracles" that any genuine Christian can experience today ... testimonials that have the power to draw unbelievers to the reality of God's intervention and involvement in the lives of His people today.

...Born Again...











"Jesus answered 
and said unto him, 
Verily, verily, I say unto thee, 
Except a man be born again
he cannot see 
the kingdom of God.
v.3


       "born" 

       = #G1080 = bring into existence
                            (new creation)
       = #G1085 = offspring ... same kind
                         = belonging to family
                             ... tribe                 
       "again"
        =  #G509 = a new from heaven
                         = over again from God
                             ... from higher place

The Word ..."born"... at first ... appears to carry the usual idea of someone coming into the world as a new creation ... an addition to an earthly family.

However ... we quickly discover that Jesus is describing something very different from an earthly birth.  This Word "again"... in the Greek ... specifies that this second birth is another (type of) birth ... from a higher place ... from God ... from Heaven.

This new birth has to do with a different realm ... different "dimension" ... as unmistakably recognized when we get to the Word, "kingdom."

       "cannot see"
       = #G1492 = perceive with senses
                         = discover ... notice
                         = discern ... know
                         = understand at all

       "kingdom"
        =  #G932 = God's Heavenly realm ...
                            ... dominion ... territory

If a person is not born again ... it is impossible to realize that this kingdom of God ... "realm" ... this "dimension" ... exists ... he cannot even "see" it ... discover it ... discern it ... know it ... or understand it at all.

The person may have heard that this "kingdom"exists ... but unless the person is genuinely born again ... it is impossible for him to realize the reality if it ... or correctly function in it.

This means that ... while the person may collect knowledge about the kingdom of God ... even fabricate testimony ... he will not be able to actually function in the Holy Spirit realm of the Word of God ... or genuinely interact with God ... because the person does not really have a spiritual relationship with God.           

"Nicodemus saith unto him, 
How can a man be born 
when he is old? 
can he enter the second time 
into his mother's womb, 
and be born?
v.4

Nicodemus makes the same mistake Peter often made.  He only considers circumstances from a physical ... earthly perspective.

However ... the whole purpose of Nicodemus' visit with Jesus is to learn that another dimension exists ... a realm that cannot be seen with his physical eyes.

Therefore ... Jesus uses the picture of physical birth to explain how a spiritual birth ... is required ... in order to understand this spiritual dimension where God resides ... waiting to teach us the truth regarding His kingdom.

...Born Again
...of 
...Spirit















"Jesus answered
Verily, verily, 
I say unto thee, 
Except a man 
be born of water 
and of the Spirit
he cannot enter 
into the kingdom of God.
v.5
       
While all humans are brought into the physical world via "water" ... amniotic fluid ... another means of entry is required to be brought into the spiritual world to understand and come into God's kingdom

The second birth ... involves a different kind of "Water"... not physical water ... but the "Water of the Word" which carries the Spirit of God into the heart ... thereby creating a miraculous change ... bringing a new child of God into an eternal existence and relationship with God ... teaching him how to correctly function in the Water of the Word ... the Holy Spirit instructing the child of God ... in this matter ... as a swimming coach would teach one how to swim in physical water ... if you will.

"So then faith cometh 
by hearing, 
and hearing 
by the word of God" 
-Rom.10:17


"Except a man be born of water and of the Spirithe cannot enter into the kingdom of God."


Jesus is teaching us that we actually exist in two different worlds ... the physical world ... and the spiritual world.

We must also carefully consider ... that if we are not born again into God's kingdom ... we are ... by default ... residing in another spiritual kingdom outside of God's kingdom ... which is the territory belonging to satan ... whether we realize it or not ... and whether we are consciously participating in it or not.

When we are truly "born again" ... of God's Spirit ... we are freed from satan's control ... then enabled to walk in the Word and Spirit of God.

"That which is born 
of the flesh is flesh
and that which is 
born of the Spirit 
is spirit.
v.6
"Now this I say, brethren, 
that flesh and blood 
cannot inherit 
the kingdom of God
neither doth corruption 
inherit incorruption."
-1Cor.15:50

Only the Spirit of God can provide what we need to enter the kingdom of God.

...Genuine Evidence
...of
...Holy Spirit















"Marvel not 
that I said unto thee, 
Ye must be born again.

The wind bloweth
where it listeth, 
and thou hearest 
the sound thereof, 
but canst not tell 
whence it cometh, 
and whither it goeth: 
so is every one 
that is born of the Spirit.
v.7-8

Jesus makes it very clear that everyone that desires to enter the kingdom of God must be genuinely born again of the Spirit of God.

How will we know that we have been genuinely born again?

Jesus tells us that it will be like the wind.  While the wind itself ... is not visible ... and we are not able to actually see it ... we will be able to see evidence of it ... moving in our life ... and the lives of others ... especially in the area of personal ... Holy Spirit filled ... Biblical comprehension.  

While every Christian will not understand all that is written in the Scriptures ... if one is not genuine ... he definitely will not be able to personally expound Scripture ... but instead ...  will view the Bible as merely another textbook ... depending on ... putting his trust in ... what others have said regarding what the Word of God says ... picking and choosing what he wants to believe ... what sounds good according to his own opinion ... and ... not concerned with maintaining purity of the Word or see the personal responsibility of discerning the spiritual origin of what is read and shared with others.

Also if one is not genuinely born again ... the evidence of a changed heart will not be there ... regardless how spiritually eloquent one speaks or how many religious works one does.

The "Spirit of God bears witness with our spirit" that we are actually the children of God ... and while socialization is possible with one who is not born again ... true fellowship is impossible because the Spirit that resides in the Word is not personally present in a person ... even though Scripture may be recited.

This true fellowship in the Word is an amazing reality and difficult to describe ... but is similar to an unspoken language ... a form of communication in which only genuine born again believers can participate ... based on the principles of the Word of God ... but does not always require communicating with words ... because the Holy Spirit is present to provide a lot of understanding ... even when very little is said.

"Therefore 

if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature

old things 
are passed away; 
behold, all things
are become new."
-2 Cor.5:17

"Nicodemus answered 
and said unto him, 
How can these things be?

Jesus answered 
and said unto him, 
Art thou a master of Israel, 
and knowest not 
these things?
v.9-10

Jesus confronts Nicodemus regarding his spiritual ignorance ... considering the religious position he holds ... reminding us that those holding "religious positions of authorty"... will be held to greater accountability.

...Word
...Testifies









"Verily, verily, 
I say unto thee, 
We speak 
[Father..Son..Holy Spirit]
that we do know, 
and testify 
that we have seen
and ye receive not 
our witness.
v.11

Jesus is using this discourse with Nicodemus to provide His personal example of what it means to be a "witness" to unbelievers.

Jesus is telling Nicodemus that He /Jesus is part of the Godhead ... introducing him to the Trinity ... as He speaks of "we."

What is actually taking place here?. . .

. . .Jesus is "witnessing" to Nicodemus about what Jesus knows and has seen concerning being born again ... but at this point ... Nicodemus is not receiving what Jesus is telling him.

"If I have told you 
earthly things
and ye believe not
how shall ye believe, 
if I tell you 
of heavenly things?
v.12

Jesus has just perfectly described His kingdom that exists in the spiritual realm ... inviting Nicodemus ... and all who read this account ... to consider what the precious Word of God is inviting us to do ... if we really desire to enter into the kingdom of God and live with Him forever.

To be sure you have been born again ... Scroll to the top of this page ... and click on the gift wrapped in gold ... in the left column ... and follow the directions with a sincere heart.

Then pray that the Holy Spirit will come to dwell within you ... provide evidence of His presence ... by His teaching and speaking to you ... through the written Holy Word of God ... alone ... bringing about an obvious change in your heart and life.

♡♡♡

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