John 3

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“For he is sent by God. He speaks God’s words, for God gives him the Spirit without limit” (John 3:34 NLT).

May 4, 2018

THE SPIRIT WITHOUT LIMIT
On the day he baptized Him, John the Baptist had witnessed the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus “like a dove” (John 1:32). He declared that Jesus was indeed the Messiah since that day. Here, he described the fulness of the Spirit that was given to Jesus. He was not only the One anointed by the Spirit (Both “Messiah” and “Christ” mean “Anointed One”). Jesus was given the Holy Spirit “without limit.” Throughout the Old Testament, men and women had been given the Spirit with limit. Some were given the Spirit to judge, some to lead, and some to prophesy. Even John the Baptist was given the Spirit in a limited way in order to “prepare the way of the Lord.” But Christ was given the Spirit without measure. For, as John went on to say, “the Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands” (John 3:35). That the Father had given even the Spirit into”His hands” shows both Christ’s complete possession, as well as His sole discretion, to give the Spirit to those who would place their faith in Him.

After Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead, He appeared to His disciples saying, “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:21-22). And so, the apostle Paul wrote instructing us to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18), and to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:18).

O how we endure needless pain and struggle while walking in the flesh, when we have available to us in Christ, the Spirit “without limit.”

“There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus” (John 3:1-2 NLT).

May 3, 2018

NIC AT NIGHT
Nicodemus came to speak with Jesus after dark. Perhaps he wanted a private conference, and night time was the only time Jesus wasn’t surrounded by crowds. Or perhaps it was because Nic didn’t want prying eyes from his sect to see him talking with the Galilean. Whatever the reason, this member of the Sanhedrin came to Jesus humbly and willing to listen, although he didn’t fully understand all of Christ’s teaching. One of the greatest verses in the Bible was given in this conversation between Nic and Jesus, as the Lord taught him of God’s love, God’s Son, faith and eternal life (see John 3:16).

In contrast to the Samaritan woman in John 4, to whom Jesus so gently revealed Himself, He was much harder on old Nic, saying, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things?” (John 3:10). But Jesus knew what was inside the human heart. And He revealed Himself in a way that was appropriate to the hearer.

The gospel of John is the only one of the four that wrote of Nicodemus. John mentions Nic on three occasions. There is the dialogue at night in John 3, Nicodemus urging his fellow members of the Sanhedrin to first hear Jesus themselves before judging Him (John 7:50-51), and his helping Joseph of Arimathea to prepare Christ’s body for burial after the crucifixion (John 19:39-42).

Nic may have started out with Jesus by the dark of night, but he came out into the light of day at the end. I think John included these stories in his gospel because old Nic ultimately believed in Jesus.

A Christmas Carol

December 11, 2016 | John 3:16-18 | christmas, movies, popular culture

Several movies and plays have been based on Charles Dickens’ book, which was first published in London in 1843. The most recent movie version was by Disney featuring the voice-over of Jim Carrey. We learn in this movie that Scrooge doesn’t know how to “keep” Christmas until several spirits visit him and bring about a change of heart. But does the book and movie miss what it means to keep Christmas?

‘John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven.'” (John 3:27 ESV)

May 4, 2016

When John’s followers worried that more people were going to follow Jesus than their leader, John rebuked them. He recognized that God determined spiritual results. And he also understood that his ministry was to prepare the way for Christ’s ministry. As John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). To be jealous of another’s ministry or blessing, is to accuse God of wrong. Having a competitive spirit towards other churches and ministries is to misunderstand God’s work in our cities and world. Instead, rejoice that God is blessing His work through whomever He will. Because after all, it is His work to bless, not yours. Our calling is not to make ourselves famous, but to make Jesus famous.

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:18 ESV)

May 3, 2016

All Adam’s children are “condemned already” because of sin and because of sin’s wage, which is death. Every member of the human race is born under the curse of sin. It was this curse, this condemnation that Jesus took upon His own body, so that the judgment that we had earned fell upon Him. As a result, those who “believe in Him are not condemned.” Why? Because there is no longer any condemnation left for those that are in Christ (Rom. 8:1). Jesus took it all upon Himself. But what of those who do not believe? They are “condemned already.” The condemnation of sin remains upon them. They have not afforded themselves of Christ’s payment. They will face judgment without Christ because of their unbelief. What you believe matters.

‘John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven”‘ (John 3:27 NKJV)

May 4, 2015

When John’s followers worried that more people were going to follow Jesus than to John, he rebuked them. He recognized that God determined spiritual results. And he also understood that his ministry was to prepare the way for Christ’s ministry. As John said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). To be jealous of another’s ministry or blessing, is to accuse God of wrong. Having a competitive spirit towards other churches and ministries is to misunderstand God’s work in our cities and world. Instead, rejoice that God is blessing His work through whomever He will. Because after all, it is His work to bless, not yours.

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17 NKJV)

May 3, 2015

The message concerning Jesus is the good news that God loves us and desires to save us through His Son. He was not sent to “condemn the world.” For the world has been under condemnation ever since Adam’s sin. Jesus came to rescue us from the condemnation that is already present upon us. Not everyone will recognize this. Some will prefer the darkness, blindly stumbling in sin’s chains towards judgment. However, a few will cry out to Jesus, finding themselves not only pardoned, but adopted into God’s family.

“And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment” (John 3:36 NLT)

May 4, 2014

This was John the Baptist’s confession concerning Jesus, “Anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life.” John said this in response to his own disciples who were concerned that more people were being baptized by Jesus than John. In fact, Jesus wasn’t baptizing. His disciples were. No matter. John rightly understood the point. His disciples were jealous of another’s ministry growth. John rebuked them. He recognized that his ministry wasn’t to build a following to himself, but to prepare the way for the Lord Jesus. He said, “I must decrease and He must increase.” If only more ministry leaders today understood this. Our ministries don’t exist to exalt ourselves. They exist to make Jesus famous! For Christ is the only One who can give us eternal life.

“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil” (John 3:19 NLT)

May 3, 2014

Some who know about the gospel, question how God can judge those who haven’t heard it. They offer this question as their own excuse for not believing. Yet, Jesus told Nicodemus that this attitude is based not on reason, but on their passion for darkness and sin. Those who hear the gospel about Jesus and reject it are already under God’s judgment. They have loved darkness and rejected the Light, so God has rejected them. What we do with Jesus has everything to do with what God does with us.

“If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?” (John 3:12 ESV)

May 3, 2013

Jesus tried to explain being born of the Spirit to Nicodemus by comparing the Spirit to the wind. But Nick didn’t get it. At least not at first. Jesus often used “earthly things” to help explain heavenly ones. Earthly things like: sheep, soil, weeds, wheat, chaff, farmers, sons, coins, fields, barns, houses, rocks, virgins, lamps, banquets, weddings, etc. These things represented greater things. Scientists describe things by subtraction, by autopsy they identify down to the inanimate and unintelligent parts. Earthly things lose their wonder on the mortician’s table. Yet, when Jesus speaks of earth and heaven, those of us who believe, become wide-eyed like a child at God’s creation again.