Matthew, being a tax collector, dealt with numbers, columns, figures and exactness. He was a realist and called it as it was. To Matthew, the numbers had to add up. Luke, being a physician, was also interested in exactness and empirically looking for remedies in truth to cure the sick. He was trained to be an exact observer of events around him. It is thought by many scholars that Peter is actually the author of “The Gospel of Mark” and that Mark wrote what Peter related to him while in prison. Peter, the “denier” of Jesus, was determined to make sure the people understood that he knew who Jesus was. There was no more “denial” from Peter. He was going to write down the facts. These three books are not “personal” in their approach to the subject: Jesus. They simply wrote the events as they saw and understood them, or as in the case of Luke, as he was able to research and collect the truth as others saw it. They were very concerned in making sure the Jews and Gentiles knew who Jesus was and that He fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies of the temple services, ceremonies, feast days, sacrifices, rituals and righteousness relating to the Messiah. The first three Gospels were looking upon the outside of Jesus: His physical work.
On the other hand, we have John. John was younger than the other disciples. He was probably about sixteen years of age when Jesus called him and his older brother James. Because his family was “wealthy”, by the standards of the day, he was more pampered than most of the other disciples. He had a heart that looked into the lives of people - not at people. He loved to get close to people and share their emotions, sorrows, hopes, joys and disappointments.
Being so young and impressionable, he drew close to Jesus and hung on every word and act. He studied the life of Jesus like a child experiencing a caterpillar for the first time: the “ah” factor. He wanted to hold it, explore it, feel it, experience it and understand the transformation. He allowed his heart and emotions to be drawn out to Jesus. Therefore, when we read John, we see that John is not trying to prove “what” Jesus was, but “who” He was. He was trying to open a window into the heart of Jesus. Who was the “heart” of Jesus?
John 1:1 - John 4:3
In the beginning, the Word existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God.
In the beginning, Jesus spoke the “word” and the world came into existence. To a Jew, the “Word” was the Ten Commandments. They had been spoken by Jesus from the cloud hovering over Mt. Sinai to the whole Israelite nation. John is attempting to equate that spoken “Word” with the “Word” spoken by Jesus standing in their presence. He was eternal - from the beginning. Not only had He been with the Father God, but Jesus also had the “God” attributes and was no different than the Father. They have coexisted together from eternity.
Through him all things were made, and apart from him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life brought light to humanity.
There are three individuals with the “God title”. Three who have the attributes of “God”. Any one of them could have “created” the world, but in order to demonstrate order, responsibility and cooperation to the universe, different aspects of creation were delegated to different members who held the “God title”. The “God” attribute is not selfish. The Father took on the role of “Architect”. The “Son” became the “Builder”. The Holy Spirit was the “Inspector”. Therefore, John is correct, everything that was created was created through the “Son”: the “Word”. He spoke the word and it came into being. Genesis 1:3. Nothing that has been or ever will be “created” has or will ever be created outside of the “word” of Jesus. He brought life to humanity by breathing into Adam the breath of life. Genesis 2:7. He came to this dark and dying planet in human form to “breath” new Life into the lungs of a world that was dying. As He spoke “light” into existence in the beginning, so now He brought “Light” by coming to live the Light of the Law to humanity.
And the light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.
The devil has been working for over 6,000 years to put out that Light. He hates God and His Ten Commandments. Lucifer hates anything that has to do with obedience, duty and responsibility. All who hate the teachings of Jesus to be perfect, to stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get eternal life, are of the darkness.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify about the light, so that all might believe because of him.
God is always sending His people, His servants, as witnesses to testify about the Light. All who believe in and obey those servants’ witness will have that Light in themselves. This ministry was “sent from God” to witness to that Light. The Spirit was sent, dictated and directed the book “Change Your Life Biblically”. He is constantly dictating and directing the material this little ministry is putting out. God wants you to be filled with the Light of Life.
John was not the light, but he came to testify about the light.
No messenger of God, no church, is “the Light”. We are to be reflectors of that Light. Jesus keeps polishing the reflectors, as they get dirty from time to time, so they will reflect that Light ever clearer and brighter as the years pass on.
This was the true light that enlightens every person by his coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him. Yet the world did not recognize him. He came to his own creation, yet his own people did not receive him.
This concept brings sorrow to my heart. This ministry was called by God to bring “present” Light to God’s church, those who claim to be “The Remnant”, and yet the church refuses to receive His Light. How sad. The church prefers their darkness to the Light of Life. The world, the churches and those claiming to be His special people have rejected the Light. Few will be saved! They have substituted “church” light for the Light of Life. Churches today have become “Anti” Christ. “Anti” meaning “in place of”. If you stand “in place of” something, you are against that thing or person. So instead of going to Jesus we go to church. We treat church much as the church of the Israelites treated the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle.
“They had not realized that their faith was only a nominal faith, and had lost its power to prevail with God. The law of God, contained in the ark, was also a symbol of His presence; but they had cast contempt upon the commandments, had despised their requirements, and had grieved the Spirit of the Lord from among them. When the people obeyed the holy precepts, the Lord was with them to work for them by His infinite power; but when they looked upon the ark, and did not associate it with God, nor honor His revealed will by obedience to His law, it could avail them little more than a common box. They looked to the ark as the idolatrous nations looked to their gods, as if it possessed in itself the elements of power and salvation. They transgressed the law it contained; for their very worship of the ark led to formalism, hypocrisy, and idolatry. Their sin had separated them from God, and He could not give them the victory until they had repented of and forsaken their iniquity.
“It was not enough that the ark and the sanctuary were in the midst of Israel. It was not enough that the priests offered sacrifices, and that the people were called the children of God. The Lord does not regard the request of those who cherish iniquity in the heart; it is written that “he that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Proverbs 28:9”. PP 584.
Church members today, like the Jews of Christ’s day and the days of Eli, make their “common box” churches “formalism, hypocrisy, and idolatry”. Since church members go to church but keep on sinning, they have separated themselves from God. Their church-going, whether on Sunday or Saturday, is an abomination to the Lord. They refuse to live as Jesus commands: perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping lives.
However, to all who received him, those believing in his name, he gave authority to become God’s children, who were born, not merely in a genetic sense, nor from lust, nor from man’s desire, but from the will of God.
But those who are accepting the witness, the testimony of this little ministry, and are believing in His name, He is giving authority to become God’s children. Their belief isn’t just a nominal mental assent to the truth, or a sitting in church, but a rebirth, a living faith that is being put into action through obedience to that Light. They strive every day to live as Jesus commands: perfect, sinless and Commandment keeping. They want to reflect His heart to all around them.
The Word became flesh and lived among us. We gazed on his glory, the kind of glory that belongs to the Father’s unique Son, who is full of grace and truth.
That “Word” which created the universe, that “Word” which gave the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai, became a living human being; living and walking among men. That was true grace. He did not have to come and humble Himself to be a human and walk among us. We did not deserve anything but death. His grace, His love, His mercy for us, brought Him to reveal the glory and the truth of the Father to a lost human race. In order to receive that truth into our own lives, we need to be gazing upon it. If we are gazing upon our churches or this world, we will never see the glory, grace and truth of Jesus.
John told the truth about him when he cried out, “This is the person about whom I said, ‘The one who comes after me ranks higher than me, because he existed before me.’”
This ministry was called to tell “the truth about Him”. Even though John was born before Jesus, Jesus had existed before John the Baptist from all eternity.
We have all received one gracious gift after another from his abundance, because while the Law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus the Messiah.
God, in His great love and mercy, gave the Law physically to the world, through the Israelites, in order to bless the world with an abundance of gifts. But the breaking of that Law requires the death of the one who broke it and the relinquishing of those gifts. Therefore, only through the grace of God, in giving His only Son, could the lawbreaker be brought back into “atonement” (at-one-ment) with God through obedience to that Law. Oh, the love of God, how undeserving we poor humans are. Why do we refuse to come to Him and refuse to obey Him who loves us so much?
No one has ever seen God. The unique God, who is close to the Father’s side, has revealed him.
No one has ever seen God the Father. Since the fall of man Jesus has been the mediator, the “go-between”, the One to “reveal” the Father to humanity. It was Jesus who explained the plan of salvation to Adam and Eve after they sinned. Enoch walked with Jesus for 300 years. It was Jesus who spoke with Noah. It was Jesus whom Abraham talked with in the cool of the evening outside his tent. It was Jesus who talked with Jacob. It was Jesus whom Moses looked upon in the burning bush and on Mt. Sinai. Jesus came to reveal the Father to us. He is “Unique” in that God took on human nature in order for us to understand God. We are to be living examples of Jesus to the world; as He was a living example of His Father to us. As He was “unique” in having a “Divine-human” nature, so we are to be a “peculiar” people by being “partakers of the divine nature” revealing that “Divine-human” nature through us to the world. 2 Peter 1:4.
This was John’s testimony when the Jews sent priests and descendants of Levi to him from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He spoke openly and, remaining true to himself, admitted, “I am not the Messiah.” So they asked him, “Well then, are you Elijah?” John said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” “Who are you?” they asked him. “We must give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
How sad that the church who claimed to be of God, refused to accept those whom God was sending. The church became their god. Their church became their savior. It was all about their church. If those coming in the name of God did not promote their church, they refused to listen and accept the message from God.
He replied, “I am ‘...a voice crying out in the wilderness, “Prepare the Lord’s highway,”’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Oops, that was the wrong thing to say! The church leaders didn’t want to hear anything that didn’t come from their church. They refused to believe that God would work outside of their church. God set up the priesthood. He set up the Levites to do His work. He set up the temple and all its ceremonies and services. Would God bypass His divine plan? Of course not! If God had something to say, He would say it through His organized church and one of His Levites or priests.
Now those men had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why, then, are you baptizing if you are not the Messiah, or Elijah, or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I am baptizing with water, but among you stands a man whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal straps I am not worthy to untie.”
The church leaders were very jealous for their own power, fame and glory. How dare anyone baptize or teach anything outside of their church! And just think, he wasn’t even trying to bring glory or fame to himself. What kind of fool was this? How dare he point to anyone or anything except the church!
This happened in Bethany on the other side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing. The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
Ok, now we have a real problem! The church made money off the sacrifices of the lambs. The church made money off the feast days and festivals. The church leaders understood very well that if this person, whom John was testifying about, was real, then all their church activities would come to an end. And with that end, their profits and wealth would come to an end. No, they had to make sure the people understood that their sins could only be taken away by bringing a lamb to their church and paying all the fees that went with it. “Yep, our church is the only one from God.” How dare anyone suggest another plan!
This is the one about whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks above me, because he existed before me.’ I didn’t recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be revealed to Israel.” John also testified, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I didn’t recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The person on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen this and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
How humble. Even John didn’t recognize the Son of God. John recognized the church leaders because they came with such pride and arrogance. However, Jesus didn’t come with fanfare, expensive clothes, an entourage or a haughty spirit. John recognized Him because he saw the Spirit of God come to Him.
Unless we get out of our churches and go to the “wilderness”, we will never recognize the Son of God. We cannot hear the still small voice of the Spirit of God through the noise and commotion of church. John had to be in the wilderness to recognize Jesus and hear the still small voice and see the evidences of God’s moving. The church leaders came from their noisy congregations and worship services and were deaf to the voice of God. They saw and heard nothing of importance. All they saw was some poor, independent, wretched individual playing with water. They were satisfied that God was not with him. They returned to their wealthy church and continued their church services, ceremonies, rituals and traditions knowing for sure that God was in their church.
The next day John was standing there again with two of his disciples. As he watched Jesus walk by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!”
If this person were the “Lamb of God”, that was the end of the church system as they knew and understood it. He would bring an end to their wealth, influence and control over the people. That could not be tolerated. The church had to rise up against such “blasphemy” and destroy it before it destroyed their church.
When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus.
But the common people, those who saw the futility of the church system, those who were tired of the show, the entertainment of the church, were ready for a change. The church traditions and systems were not meeting the needs of the soul. They longed for something better. They were looking for a living experience, not a dead lamb experience. Here was a living “Lamb of God”.
But when Jesus turned around and saw them following, he asked them, “What are you looking for?” They asked him, “Rabbi,” (which is translated “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” He told them, “Come and see!” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
The common people were willing to give this “Lamb of God” an opportunity to reveal Himself. They were not, like the Pharisees, testing Him according to their church. They were listening to Him for truth. Truth as defined by Scriptures. Will you come and see?
Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and say to him, “We have found the Anointed One!” (which is translated “Messiah”). He led Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him intently and said, “You are Simon, John’s son. You will be called Cephas!” (which is translated “Peter”).
John did not point people to the church. He did not point people to church leaders or famous evangelists so full of ego, pride and arrogance. No, he pointed people to Jesus. They, in turn, brought others to Jesus. Why are you still in church? Why are you not out finding Jesus and then bringing people to Him? This ministry was called by God to point people to Jesus. I can do nothing else. Will you join me in uplifting Jesus, not church, and in bringing people to Jesus?
The next day Jesus decided to go away to Galilee, where he found Philip and told him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathaniel and told him, “We have found the man about whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets wrote—Jesus, the son of Joseph, from Nazareth.” Nathaniel asked him, “Out of Nazareth? Can anything good come from there?” Philip told him, “Come and see!”
Not even Jesus commanded people to go to “church”. He invited them to follow Him. In fact, Jesus turned away from the church and went into “pagan” territory to find His followers. Why are the churches of today standing as “Anti” Christ? They are all standing “in place of” Christ. They are all taking the eyes off of Jesus and putting them on the church, the pastor or the denomination. Why can’t we just point people to Jesus and His teachings? Like Nathaniel, many church people do not think that any good can come from one who is not belonging to the church. But if they will get out of their church and “come and see”, their lives would be touched by the power of God.
Jesus saw Nathaniel coming toward him and said about him, “Look, a genuine Israeli, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathaniel asked him, “How do you know me?" Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, while you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathaniel replied to him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus told him, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than that.” Then he told him, “Truly, I tell all of you with certainty, you will see heaven standing open and the angels of God going up and coming down to the Son of Man.”
It is interesting that Jesus did not go to church to find His followers. He knew there would be none in church to follow Him. Church members were too busy putting on a show and trying to attract the attention of the people. They were way too busy being involved in church. No, He went where the people were in their every-day lives. Nathaniel was where he was supposed to be, in the quiet of nature talking to God. Since he wasn’t in church, he could talk to God and listen to Him. His eyes and ears were not confused by the sights and sounds of church. He listened and believed. The church people were not able to see heaven open and the angels of God going up and coming down. No, only those who were out walking with God in the quiet of nature could see. And Jesus did not commend Nathaniel for being a church member. No, He commended him for having “no deceit”, unlike our churches that are full of deceit.
On the third day of that week there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother told him, “They don’t have any more wine.” “How does that concern us, dear lady?” Jesus asked her. “My time hasn’t come yet.” His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
It is interesting to note that the first miracle Jesus performed was not in His church. It wasn’t in front of the church or church leaders. It was at a simple family gathering to share in the joining of a man and woman in matrimony. Jesus was where He was supposed to be. When Jesus created man and woman, Jesus was the first “Father” of the bride. He “brought her to the man”. Genesis 2:22. So now, He was commemorating an event and concept He originated in the Old Testament - “A man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person”. Genesis 2:24.
The woman was to represent the church. She was to leave the world and be married to God. That is why unfaithfulness in a Christian is called adultery. The church members of Christ’s day had committed adultery. They had made the church their god and rejected their Husband. The same has happened today. All churches, according to Revelation, have become the “whores” of Babylon. Revelation 17:5.
Now standing there were six stone water jars used for the Jewish rites of purification, each one holding from 20 to 30 gallons. Jesus told the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the man in charge of the banquet.” So they did.
The stone jars started out with fresh, clear water. But as the guests came and “purified” themselves in the water, the water became contaminated and dirty. No one would want to drink from those contaminated jars. So with the church of God. It had become contaminated and dirty. But if the church would allow Jesus to refill it with the fresh water Jesus offered, it would become the most delicious drink ever tasted by man. The church could be healed and blessed, but only by letting Jesus heal the contaminated, dirty water, by refilling with the Water of Life. God wants to remove from us all those contaminated church services, rituals and traditions and fill us with His everlasting Water.
When the man in charge of the banquet tasted the water that had become wine (without knowing where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called for the bridegroom and told him, “Everyone serves the best wine first, and the cheap kind when people are drunk. But you have kept the best wine until now!”
The world and the church always put on a show, an entertainment, to keep the people drunk on excitement and emotions. The “best” is presented while the members are fresh and active. But when the excitement and the entertainment is done, there is a “cheap” feeling that pervades the soul. Since the churches have stopped drawing from the Fountain of Life, they have to keep manufacturing more show, more entertainment and excitement to keep the members active and motivated in “coming” to their church. But in those quiet moments after, the soul realizes that it hasn’t been refreshed, but only wearied.
Jesus offers the best at all times. By drawing from His Fountain of Life, the soul is constantly refreshed, soothed and energized. Jesus is the only answer to the cheap, dirty and contaminated activities of the world and the church.
Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee. He revealed his glory, and his disciples believed in him. After this, Jesus went down to Capernaum—he, his mother, his brothers, and his disciples—and they remained there for a few days.
They didn’t go out ringing doorbells, putting up posters or handing out flyers to show off the miracle of Jesus. Jesus works quietly, in the heart. His works are of a lasting nature, not a momentary show or entertainment. What He does will fill the soul and refresh the spirit.
The Jewish Passover was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, as well as moneychangers sitting at their tables.
Jesus cleansed the water and brought joy to a wedding celebration. Could he bring the same cleansing, joy and rejuvenation to His church? Looking upon His church, He saw how contaminated it was. It was all about money, pride and ego.
Look at your church. Do you sell DVD, books, cakes and other items to raise money for your church? No different than what the Jews were doing in their church. As long as it is for “My church”, not a problem. Must be sanctioned by God.
After making a whip out of cords, he drove all of them out of the Temple, including the sheep and the cattle. He scattered the coins of the moneychangers and knocked over their tables. Then he told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
The show, noise and commotion were preventing the Spirit of God from being heard and touching hearts. Jesus, making a whip out of cords, brought attention to His work. The symbolism of the whip brought fear to the hearts of the sinners. All was quiet. The power of God flashed through the human form of Jesus and brought terror to the wicked. Their unholy hearts were not able to stand before the purity of Christ. He was the Son of the Owner of the Temple. As such, He had authority to cleanse it. His voice thundered through the temple and cleared it.
What would Jesus find if He came to your church? You have driven Him out with your useless ceremonies, Catholic traditions and services that are monotonous and sleep inducing. The entertainment is for show and money. Since the Spirit of God has left, you must resort to worldly mechanisms to raise funds. The Spirit of God can no longer touch hearts in church. Those hearts are dead, contaminated and lifeless. Good only to be driven out.
Many have wondered why this little ministry doesn’t sell T-shirts, books, DVDs or hold bake sales. Because that is not of God. God’s way is to test the heart. Do you put money into your church for what you get out of it? Or do you support the cause of God because your heart is filled with the sacrificial Spirit of God? And of course, “the cause of God” can only be found by those who are teaching the teachings of God: to be perfect, stop sinning and keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life (2 John 1:8-11). God is waiting on hearts to support this ministry because it is His ministry and teaches His truth. God is testing hearts. How’s yours?
Then the Jews asked him, “What sign can you show us as authority for doing these things?”
How typical of church leaders. Their only thought is to defend their church. Church is all about authority, power and money. They do not care about God and what He wants, only what will enhance the power, fortune and glory of the church.
Jesus answered them, “Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will rebuild it.”
How they wanted to kill Jesus. Jesus knew their thoughts and let them know He read their thoughts and intents. He knew they were planning to kill Him. They had to deflect the truth from Jesus and put the attention on the church.
The Jews said, “This sanctuary has been under construction for 46 years, and you’re going to rebuild it in three days?” But the sanctuary he was speaking about was his own body.
They proudly exclaimed to the people how long it took to construct the temple. They wanted the people to think of Jesus as a madman. So today. The church leaders are constantly deflecting truth so as not to compromise their authority, power and wealth. But truth will be heard and revealed. Those who defend their churches will be destroyed.
After he had been raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this. So they believed the Scripture and the statement that Jesus had made.
There is a difference between accepting something because you have seen it, and understanding it because you have studied it. The disciples believed in Jesus when they saw Him after He had been raised. But they truly did not have the faith in the Old Testament that God wanted them to have until they saw Old Testament fulfilled. Then the Old Testament took on a whole new dimension in their lives. That is what we are missing in our churches today.
While Jesus was in Jerusalem for the Passover Festival, many people believed in him because they saw the signs that he was doing. Jesus, however, did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and didn’t need anyone to tell him what people were like, because he himself knew what was in every person.
There are lots of people going around performing “miracles” and putting on great entertainment which produces a “belief” in some people. But that “belief” isn’t founded on a solid foundation. It won’t last. Jesus wasn’t like those today whose self-worth is built on the number of followers they have. Jesus knew who He was, and He knew what was in the heart of man.
The world hates the truth. The churches hate the truth. As long as they can “serve God” their own way, all is fine. But when God reveals to them that their way will only bring death, they want to rise up in revolt and murder.
Now there was a man from the Pharisees, a leader of the Jews, whose name was Nicodemus. He came to Jesus at night and told him, “Rabbi, we know that you have come from God as a teacher, because no one can perform these signs that you are doing unless God is with him.”
Here was a true seeker after God. However, he had been brainwashed by his church. Therefore, when he came to Jesus, he would not do it openly during the day, that would be too humiliating. A member of the church might see him and report him to the church leaders. No, he would go under the secrecy of night. And of course, he will use flattery to manipulate Jesus. If possible, he wanted to heal the breach in the church and unite the parties. That would make him look like a hero to his church.
Jesus replied to him, “Truly, I tell you with certainty, unless a person is born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus was not prepared for such blunt, straight talk. To him, one could only “see the kingdom of God” through his church. Jesus didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear. Are you listening to the “blunt, straight talk” of Jesus for your life?
Nicodemus asked him, “How can a person be born when he is old? He can’t go back into his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?”
Using a bit of sarcasm, he thought he would show how foolish Jesus was in speaking as He did.
Jesus answered, “Truly, I tell you with certainty, unless a person is born of water and Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. Don’t be astonished that I told you, ‘All of you must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wants to. You hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. That’s the way it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Jesus let the sarcasm slide right by Him. He wasn’t there to enter into debate, argue or a shouting match. Jesus came to reveal truth. And so He did. More blunt, straight talk. While Nicodemus truly believed that all must be born of the church and accept the church Sabbath and beliefs, Jesus let it be known that only those who are born by the Spirit will enter the kingdom of God. Going to church, even on the Sabbath, would not get you into Heaven. The whole life must be changed. Every thought, action and intent of the heart must be renewed, not just given a makeover. While the church wanted to be the one to control its members with visible activity, Jesus let it be known that the Spirit of God is the only entity that is to change and control the soul.
Nicodemus asked him, “How can that be?” Jesus answered him, “You’re a teacher of Israel, and you can’t understand this?
Nicodemus was not too comfortable being asked why he, a teacher in the “church”, did not understand this concept. He was beginning to squirm in his seat. Jesus wanted to wake Nicodemus up. He did. Nicodemus was confused. This went totally against the church understanding of “entering” the kingdom of God. To Nicodemus, all you had to do was “believe” in certain facts, go through a couple of rituals and poof, you were considered a “child of Abraham” and saved eternally.
“Truly, I tell you with certainty, we know what we’re talking about, and we testify about what we’ve seen. Yet you people do not accept our testimony.”
Jesus knew exactly what He was talking about. Jesus knew Scripture, not church. While Nicodemus was uncertain, unsure and filled with church traditions, services and rituals, Jesus was filled with the Spirit of God that motivated every thought and action of His being.
“If I have told you people about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”
Jesus did not come to waste time talking about earthly things. He did not come to waste time with frivolous conversation. He came to talk about Heavenly truths. The church had fallen so far that God, the “Son of Man”, had to come down and set it straight. Would the church listen?
“Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
As Moses lifted up the bronze serpent for all who had been bitten by snakes, so Jesus had to be lifted up for all, who have been bitten by sin, to look upon and be saved. It wasn’t about going to church. It wasn’t about listening to your priest, pastor or denomination. It wasn’t about all the rituals, services and traditions of the church. No, to be saved you had to look to Jesus and believe He came from Heaven, then, that belief would motivate you into obedience to the words of Jesus. By believing and obeying, you would have eternal life.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his unique Son so that everyone who believes in him might not be lost but have eternal life. Because God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God’s unique Son.”
The church did nothing but condemn. That was its sole purpose. It had to “keep you straight” by constantly pointing out your church errors and condemning you. They had spies everywhere making sure “church members” remained pure and spotless for God. Of course, “sin” to the church was anything that went against the church manual. It wasn’t about living “righteously”, it was about living as the church commanded.
But God came not to condemn the world, but to demonstrate to the world how to live. The Father God sent His Son so that the world could see how to live pure and spotless by keeping the Ten Commandments perfectly. Purity, sinlessness and righteousness had nothing to do with going to church. Those who believed in Jesus would believe His words and live accordingly. They would follow the example of Jesus. Therefore, Jesus did not have to condemn their sins, they would condemn themselves by refusing to live in obedience to His words and example.
“And this is the basis for judgment: The light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light because their actions were evil. Everyone who practices wickedness hates the light and does not come to the light, so that his actions may not be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may become evident that his actions have God’s approval.”
And therein was the truth. By believing in Jesus, the believer would have righteous “actions” and “practices” as Jesus had. Those who refused to believe, or “believed” without obedience, their lives were filled with “actions” and “practices” that were evil and wicked. Therefore, their actions would be exposed for what they truly were, actions of evil because they loved darkness, their church, more than the Light. But those who “believed” in Jesus, came to the Light, took His words and put them into their hearts, putting those words into action in order to have “God’s approval”. A belief without actions, works and deeds is an empty, satanic belief that will do you no good in the judgment. Works of church-going are evil and “anti”, “in place of”, Christ. Works of keeping the Ten Commandments are of God.
After this, Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside. He spent some time there with them and began baptizing. John was also baptizing in Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. People kept coming and were being baptized, since John had not yet been thrown into prison.
Since the church would not accept the Light, Jesus left for the “unchurched”, those out in the “countryside”. There He was able to let the Light shine out and many accepted Him.
Then a controversy about ritual purification sprang up between a certain Jew and John’s disciples, so they went to John and told him, “Rabbi, the man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan, the one about whom you testified—look, he’s baptizing, and everyone is going to him!”
It just never fails. As soon as God begins a good work, the church feels it must step in and raise controversies about church rituals, activities, services and traditions. The church just refuses to let God work. If it isn’t through the church, it can’t be of God. The whole controversy was, should the church teach its “church” traditions, services and rituals for salvation, or go to Jesus? It is the same today. Where are you looking for your salvation?
John replied, “No one can receive anything unless it has been given to them from heaven.”
An interesting note here, “church” was not given from Heaven. The Ten Commandments were given from Heaven. We are not to receive anything that has not been given from Heaven. The church wanted them to receive what the church gave and commanded. John was not deceived by the church, he knew that we are only to receive what was given by God. Jesus was given from Heaven, yet He was not accepted. The people preferred their churches. Same today.
“You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ It is the bridegroom who gets the bride, yet the bridegroom’s friend, who merely stands by and listens for him, is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That’s why this joy of mine is now complete. He must become more important, but I must become less important.”
What a true “Christian” John was. How humble. He didn’t care about what the church said. He didn’t care to impress the church or church leaders. He didn’t care what man said, he only cared what God said. He lived to be obedient to the calling given him from Heaven. His job was “now complete”. He had pointed to the “Messiah” and paved the way. What God wanted for him was up to God, not him.
“The one who comes from above is superior to everything. The one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is superior to everything. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. The person who has accepted his testimony has acknowledged that God is truthful. The one whom God sent speaks the words of God, because God does not give the Spirit in limited measure to him.”
John already knew and understood that Jesus would not be accepted, any more than he was. He knew of the hate, griping and criticizing that would be directed toward Jesus. He knew that only those who were from above would accept the Words that came from above. Salvation did not come from the church, it comes from God who “does not give the Spirit in limited measure”. It is given to all who will accept, believe and obey the words of Jesus. Since the church is earthly, all it speaks about are earthly things. If you belong to church, you will die.
“The Father loves the Son and has put everything in his hands. The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who disobeys the Son will not see life. Instead, the wrath of God remains on him.”
Jesus said it very eloquently, those who believe in the Son, by being obedient to Him, have eternal life. But those who disobey the “Son will not see life”.
Now when Jesus realized that the Pharisees had heard he was making and baptizing more disciples than John— although it was not Jesus who did the baptizing but his disciples— he left Judea and went back to Galilee.
Jesus had to go even farther away from the “church” in order to find peace. The church hounded Him and bit at Him, hating every word and act that came from Him. Since He refused to acknowledge the church for salvation, they were bound and determined to destroy Him. What will you do? Will you accept the testimony, the witness of this little ministry as God is giving it? It comes from Heaven for you. Those who believe will have eternal life. Those who refuse will not see life.