JOHN - CHAPTER 3 - Light of the Kingdom Print E-mail

JOHN – CHAPTER 3 – Light of the Kingdom

Tuesday Morning Bible Study

February 21, 2017, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

 

John continues with his declaration of the divinity of Jesus Christ that He was in the Father from the beginning.  He continues to affirm Jesus’ super-natural pre-existence.   The link here with what has preceded is the demonstration that the Son of Man has divine understanding of men.  Also, John introduces being born again before man can enter into the Kingdom of God; and Jesus Christ as the promised “Light” of Isaiah 60:2:  Behold darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people; but the LORD shall arise upon you and his glory shall be seen upon you.

 

When Jesus was in Jerusalem during the feast, some of the people seemed to believe in His name, but their faith was not firm.  For a short while they gave heed to Him as a divinely inspired man, not as God.  Soon they lost even this weak faith.  The feebleness of their faith is made clear: 2:23…Jesus did not entrust Himself unto them, nor did He commit all His teachings to them, as He did to those who truly believed.  For He searched their hearts and knew what lay hidden there (Ps. 93:11).

 

  He still does!

 

John 3:21: But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been in God.

 

This fellowship with Christ requires a heart open to all spiritual truth, not an election of selections.  It is done In God, which separates.  John introduces us in this chapter to the “fellowship of His sealing” for those who receive His testimony. 

 

Christ is us is the hope of Glory; but when we are IN CHRIST, we are in the light of his glory.  He who does the truth comes to the Light.

 

In Chapter 2, John revealed the superiority of the Gospel of Jesus Christ over the Old Testament order of sacrifice and temple worship and that in Jesus the eternal purposes of God finds their fulfillment.

 

The link in chapter 3 demonstrates His divinity by His interview with Nicodemus. 

 

3:1-2: There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him.

 

Nicodemus had faith to believe Jesus was being used by God; but was not persuaded he was the Son of God.  On one occasion Nicodemus defended Jesus against the Jews, saying they should not condemn Him without first making a careful investigation.  After the crucifixion he diligently prepared the Lord’s body for burial, sparing no expense.

 

He came to Jesus by night (He did not come in the light of day that his deeds could be clearly seen). 

 

The Lord does not rebuke him.  Rather the Lord gladly converses with him about the exalted mysteries of God. 

 

3:3: Jesus answered and said to him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born from above, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.

 

I was pleased that Prophet Emmanuel Ssentongo preached on the Kingdom of God this past Sunday.  The Kingdom of God is the reign of God, where His will is supreme, whether in the individual heart or in the community of His people in this life or in Heaven.  Only God’s children understand what His will is---and there is the connection between the ‘new life’ and the kingdom of God. 

 

The Lord’s statement corrects the idea in Judaism that national ties alone were sufficient for entry into the kingdom.

 

Nicodemus could not understand because he had not yet been born from above.  That is if you have not undergone spiritual birth from God, but retain a carnal outlook, your knowledge of Christ is not spiritual, but material and human.

 

The birth which comes through Baptism enlightens the soul, and enables one to see the kingdom of God, which means to see and believe the Only-begotten Son.  Just as the Son is called the wisdom of God, so too is he the King of His Kingdom.

 

3: 4-5:  Nicodemus said to 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?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

 

Nicodemus was astounded by these words which transcend all human teaching.   Two things perplexed Nicodemus here and continues to perplex the carnal soul:  (1) Spiritual birth; (2) Kingdom of heaven.

 

Man is a three-fold being, consisting of soul, body and spirit.  The water of baptism cleanses the body; the Holy Spirit, invisibly working together with the water, regenerates the invisible soul.  Just as a human seed, which is watery is transformed into man.  As with human conception, so with Baptism---all by the grace of God.  Water is the visible element.  The Spirit imparts divine power to all.  The invocation pronounced through prayers manifests the presence of God.  The symbols and image of Christ’s burial and resurrection are enacted in this water.  The three immersions symbolize the three-day burial.  After the immersions the man rises up clad in the bright and radiant garment of incorruption, having drowned corruption in the water by faith.

 

3: 6-8: That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto you, You must be born from above.  The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell from where it comes, or where it goes; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

 

The newly baptized do not actually become a divine spirit; rather in the Spirit he/she is adopted as a son, and then receives the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

 

Nicodemus if you do not understand how and where the wind blows---this invisible presence apprehended by the senses---why do you question the regeneration that comes from the divine Spirit?  If the wind, which is part of nature, cannot be restrained, it is unthinkable that the grace of the Holy Spirit could ever be subject to the laws of nature.  If the wind blows where it wills, how much mores the Holy Spirit moves according to His own authority, and imparts His energy where and how He wills.

 

3: 9-12: Nicodemus answered and said unto Him, How can these things be?  Jesus answered and said to him, Are you a teacher of Israel and do not know these things?  Verily, verily, I say to you. We speak what We do know, and testify what we have seen; and you do not receive Our witness.  If I have told you earthly things, and you do not believe, how shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?

 

Jesus is the eternal Word.  He is pictured in every Old Testament book---the Law, the historical books, the poetical books, and the prophets.  Jesus is saying Nicodemus as a teacher of Israel, you should know these things.  Jesus Christ is the pre-incarnate “Wisdom” of God.  The New Testament record of Jesus’ eternal existence is mentioned by Luke, but is underscored by the Apostle John.  The Lamb of God is the pre-incarnate Word, the eternal Logos. 

 

3:13: No man has ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of man, Who is in heaven.

 

Jesus is saying, Nicodemus do not imagine that I am an earthly prophet sent by God?  I give you no choice.  Either you must believe I came from Heaven and was with God; or you do not believe at all.  Nicodemus I am not from the earth.  No prophet has ascended up to heaven.  Christ came to earth from heaven and entered the world through the Virgin.  Christ the man is Christ the Word.  I am walking as a man on earth, but I am co-enthroned in Heaven with the Father through my divine nature.

 

3: 14-15:  As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

 

Just as the suspended image of the serpent healed those bitten by the serpent, is the same way Jesus Christ was crucified by Satan, the noetic serpent.  Jesus Christ heals those wounded by Satan.  Christ was suspended on high that He, Who sanctified the earth by His foot steps might also sanctify the air.  Truly the cross became Christ’s exaltation and glory.  By that wood by which He appeared to be condemned, He in fact condemned the ruler of the world.  Therefore the cross is His exaltation and His glory.

 

3: 16-17: For God so loved the world, that He gave His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.

 

The Old Testament promised length of days in this earthly life to those who pleased God.  But the Gospel bestows, not any transitory existence, but life that is unending and beyond time.

 

The Lord at his first coming was not sent to condemn the world.  Had that been the reason for His coming, all mankind would have been condemned, for all have sinned.  He came the first time to save the world.  Only after some refused to believe, He judged those individuals.  In contrast, the chief purpose in giving the Mosaic Law was to rebuke sin and condemn transgressors.  No one was forgiven under the law; rather it called for punishment to be applied as soon as the sinner was identified.  The Lord’s first coming did not have judgment as its objective, though judgment fell upon those who rejected the Lord.  By their own unbelief they brought condemnation on themselves.  But at the second coming, the Lord’s explicit purpose is to judge all and render to each according to his deeds.

 

3:18: He that believes is Him is not condemned; but he that does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the Only-begotten Son of God.

 

To choose to remain outside the light is in and of itself the greatest punishment.  Every unbeliever is already condemned in this life because of the certainty of his future punishment.  He will not even be brought to judgment, in accordance with that saying, For this reason shall the ungodly not stand up in judgment (Ps. 1:5).  According to that scripture, the ungodly man no more deserves a reckoning of his deeds than does the devil.  Therefore he will not be resurrected for judgment, but for condemnation.  Thus the Lord declares that the prince of this world is judged already (Jn. 16:11) ---not only for his unbelief, but also for causing Judas to betray His Master, and for leading many others to perdition.

 

3: 19-21:  This is the condemnation, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than life, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that does evil hates the light neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.  But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

 

Here the Lord refers to the unbelievers, who have no excuse or defense.  He is saying; this is their condemnation that they did not seek out the light.  When the light came to them, they did not run to it.

 

Jer. 13:16: Give glory to the LORD YOUR God, before he cause darkness, and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while you look for light he turns it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness.

 

If the light had not come, men would have as an excuse that they were ignorant of the good.  But God the Word came and offered His divine words to enlighten them.  The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.  The Glorious Light of the Glory of God walked on earth and was crucified that we might walk in the Light of the glorious gospel of Christ.

 

Surely no one prefers darkness to light.  The LORD explains why men choose to live in darkness---because their deeds are evil.  The Christian faith requires from us not only right doctrines, but also a pure and holy way of life.  Those who do evil have chosen to wallow in the mire of sin.  This is why they are unwilling to come to the light of Christianity.

 

John 3:21: But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been in God.

 

3: 22-27: After these things came Jesus and His disciples into the land of Judea; and there He tarried with them, and baptized.  And John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there; and they came, and were baptized.  For John was not yet cast into prison.  Then there arose a question between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purifying.  They came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, He that was with you beyond Jordan, to whom you bare witness, behold, the same baptizes, and all men come to him.  John answered and said, a man can receive nothing, except it be given from heaven.

 

John is stating that baptism for the repentance of sin can only come through the Holy Spirit and is given from heaven.  Unless it were given to Him from above, Jesus would not be baptizing souls into His Kingdom  Be not dismayed that Christ’s deeds are more glorious than ours---it is the will of God.  Further, John’s ministry was to prepare the hearts of the people to receive Jesus Christ.   Our ministry is to reveal Jesus Christ and his glory to those to whom we are sent.   John’s ministry was to continue to direct people to Jesus.

 

3:28-30:  You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not Christ, but that I am sent before Him.  He that has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice; this my joy therefore is fulfilled.  He must increase, but I must decrease.

 

  John is continuing with His work of baptizing people into repentance of sin. 

 

John says he sees the work entrusted to him of escorting the Bride to the Bridegroom.   The Bridegroom of every soul is the Lord.  The Bridal chamber is the Church, since that is where the union of Baptism (sealing) takes place.

 

The Baptism of water is a sealing of the redeemed.  

 

C. R. Oliver in his book, Sealed Unto His Coming, uses the sealing of the marriage covenant to describe the “fellowship of the seal” through mutual commitment with Jesus. 

 

He who has (been sealed with) the bride is the bridegroom

 

3: 31-34:  He that comes from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthy, and speaks of the earth.  He that comes from heaven is above all.  What he has seen and heard, He testifies; and no man receives his testimony.  He that has received His testimony has set his seal that God is true.  For He Whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God does not give the Spirit by measure unto Him

 

As we continue in John, He interjects many scriptures about the seal.  Many verses are found which illustrate the power of the sealed life of Jesus.  One of the strongest is 3:34: He who has received the testimony of Jesus has set his seal that God is true.  When Jesus was baptized in the Spirit, He set the standard for all who would receive His baptism.  It would be without measure.  The sealed life possesses and is possessed by the Spirit without measure just like Jesus.

 

I have taught and preached Three Sealings of God:

 

  1. Baptism in Water
  2. Baptism in the Holy Spirit
  3. The Mind of Christ symbolized by the Plate of Pure Gold on the Priest’s Mitre.

 

I came into the revelation of the sealings of God because the Lord spoke to me many years ago that every where I went I was to seal the people of God.

 

However, C. R. Oliver in His book, Sealed Unto His Coming, takes the entire bible from Genesis to Revelation revealing those who are sealed, the revelation of the sealing of God, and the sealing of Christ Jesus.

 

John’s interjections added to the bank of scripture about the seal illustrates the power of the sealed life of Jesus. 

 

3: 35-36: The Father loves the Son, and has given all  things into His hand.  He that believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him..

 

The bond of unity between the Father and the Son expressed the bond of unity which must be the modicum for “being in the kingdom.”

 

The Father sealed Jesus.  Jesus sealed/seals those who are His.  It is that simple.

 

Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

www.eastgateministries.com

Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of Most Blessed Theophylact, The Holy Gospel According to John; and Sealed Unto His Coming by: C. R. Oliver.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.

 
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