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February 12, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: Numbers 3 – Numbers 4
Audio: Numbers 3 – Numbers 4

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Memory Verse of the Week

“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life;
whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life,
but the wrath of God remains on him.”
(John 3:36 ESV)

John 3 (ESV)

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 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. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

22 After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing. 23 John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized 24 (for John had not yet been put in prison).

25 Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” 27 John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks in an earthly way. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony.33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

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This Post Has 8 Comments
  1. "Truly, truly"

    "When Jesus leads off with the words verily, verily [or truly, truly], He is not merely saying, “Believe me, this is true.” He is actually saying, “I know this is true firsthand.” Since many of these comments are on heavenly, spiritual, or godly issues, Jesus’ use of verily, verily is part of His consistent claim of divinity. Jesus is not merely aware of these truths: He is the One who originated them!" Quote from: https://www.gotquestions.org/verily-verily.html

    "Belief"

    John 3:15, "…that whoever believes in him may have eternal life."

    John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

    John 3:18 "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."

    What does it mean to "believe?" 

    There are many who misinterpret "believe" as simply acknowledging or agreeing that something is true. While it's accurate to say that this is part of or even the beginning of belief, it's not all that belief is. 

    James 2:19 says, "You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!"

    Demons believe that God is one. They believe in the reality of a Triune God – that God exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit but they don’t believe IN God. 

    Matthew 8:28-29 says, "And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29 And behold, they cried out, 'What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?'"

    They acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God and believe He has the power and authority to torment them. They even believe He WILL torment them but they ask Jesus if He will do it "before the time."

    How profound is this? There's a lot of believing going on here! But what kind of believing? 

    There is a difference, a big difference, in just believing something as fact and believing to receive it and to take possession of it. 

    John 1:12 says, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,"

    Receiving Jesus Christ is much more than believing that He existed. It's believing what He said about Himself is true, what He said about us is true and putting the full weight of our trust and faith in Him based on who He said He is and what He said He provides if we believe in Him for salvation by grace through faith. 

    Going a step further, John ends chapter 3 with an emphatic look at the results of real, saving belief in Jesus for salvation. 

    John 3:36 "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him."

    It's clear that true, saving belief in Jesus results in obedience. If you believe you "believe" in Him and yet know you do not desire to obey God, you have no interest in obeying Him and are not convicted when you disobey Him, then He is either not your Lord at all or you are in a state of rebellion that left unchanged, will result in Jesus saying, "Depart from me, I never knew you" (Matthew 7:23). 

    Jesus said, in John 14:15, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments."

    In John 14:21-24 "Jesus said, 'Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.' 22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, 'Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?' 23 Jesus answered him, 'If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me.'"

    I pray that as we consider John chapter 3, we look deeply into and beyond John 3:16 and realize that saying we love Jesus, saying we believe and paying God "lip service" will not save us. Our belief must result in a desire for obedience, a progression of obedience and end with God's sanctifying work in us bringing to completion Christ's perfection in our lives as we obey. 

    I wrote about what it means to be “born again” in a comment from October:
    https://loveandlight.church/john-3-born-again/#comment-158

  2. Nicodemus:
        ** Pharisee, ruler of Jews
        ** Came to Jesus at night. Some think that this is to avoid the eyes of his colleagues, but I wonder if it is because so many surround Jesus during the day that it is difficult to get a private audience with him?
        ** Address Jesus as 'Rabbi', meaning teacher.
        ** Acknowledges Jesus as from God, based on signs. We are not certain what signs Nicodemus references. It could be the cleansing of the temple. I don't think it is from Cana, because Jesus is now in Jerusalem following his Passover visit. Remember, John is selective on what he writes about. John 21:25 "Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written."
        ** Nicodemus doubles down on divine authority of Jesus "for no one can do these signs that you do UNLESS God is with him."

    Conversation Part1 (Jhn 3:3-8): 
        ** Jesus opens with a statement: "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
        ** Just like most would, this statement is understood physically, and Nicodemus is trying to wrap his head around the statement 'born again'. Christ certainly chose the words carefully, I speculate it was to help Nicodemus to dive a little deeper. Here is a learned scholar who has preconceptions and traditions that can be a stumbling block to belief. Also, understand, that 'seeing the kingdom of God' is something that Nicodemus would understand, that is his life. But I suspect that he would trust in his birth as a son of Abraham and his dedication to the Pharisaical law as the road to that kingdom. Jesus' statement would rock his world.

    There are times in my life where Jesus has to shake things up a bit to get me to dive a little deeper, to throw out old traditions and false concepts for the sake of the truth. 

        **     Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." (Jhn 3:5) I believe this is a reference to physical birth and then spiritual birth. The water, what we call placenta, is physical birth. This would address Nicodemus' dependence on his Jewish origin as the key path for the kingdom.
        ** That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. (Jhn 3:6 ) This verse reinforces my belief of 'water' being the physical birth. 
        ** Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' (Jhn 3:7) I wonder if Nicodemus is sitting there with his mouth open and head shaking as he continues to try to wrap his head around what Jesus is saying. (Jhn 3:9)
        ** The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (Jhn 3:8 ESV) We can see the result of the work of the Spirit, but not where it comes from or where it is going.

    1. There are times in my life where Jesus has to shake things up a bit to get me to dive a little deeper, to throw out old traditions and false concepts for the sake of the truth. 

      Great insight, Dan. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Recently at work a friend asked me if I'm "a born again Christian." I'm not sure anyone has ever asked me such a point-blank question about my faith in Jesus Christ. Excitedly, I responded, "Yeah! I'm absolutely born again!" What joy filled my heart as I publicly affirmed my new life in Christ, some 17+ years after the Holy Spirit ushered me into the kingdom of God through faith in Jesus. The joy I have now is as pronounced as it was then — but so much deeper. 

    This WAS me: "Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity." Ephesians 4:17-19

    But then I was born again by the spirit of God, and given NEW life in Christ!

    This IS me: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 

    What were the signs that I had been truly born again? So many! But the first one was a deep desire to put to death the sin that marked my old life. All of it. I simply longed to be all my heavenly Father deserves — to live my life for His glory alone — because of His great love for me. And ever since that day in September 2000, I've been filled with love for God. My life is His. 

    There is no greater joy than to be a child of God, to know the LOVE of God in Christ. None. 

     

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