Monday, March 29, 2010

John 3: Jesus As Savior, Bridegroom, And Witness

Theme: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (20:30-31).

1. Personal Persuasion
     B. Of Nicodemus (3)

This chapter presents Jesus as Savior (v1-21), Bridegroom (v22-30), and Witness (31-36).

Jesus as Savior

Nicodemus was a religious man. He was a member of the Jewish ruling council. Yet Jesus began by telling him he must be born again (v1-13). This means God the Holy Spirit has to give him spiritual life. 

Ephesians two tells us we're born spiritually dead in our sins. Psalm 51:5 says, "I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me." This spiritual death goes all the way back to the time Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told him that in the day he ate of it, he would surely die. Adam ate, and spiritually he died. This became evident from his broken fellowship with God. Whereas he formerly walked with God in the garden, now, he was afraid of God, and hid from him. Later, he died physically as well (Genesis 3ff). So it is with all men, "for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Since all men are born spiritually dead in sin, they need life from God. 

Nicodemus did not understand spiritual birth, so Jesus gave the illustration of wind. The wind blows wherever it pleases, yet people cannot see it. In the same way, the Spirit can give eternal life to spiritually dead sinners.  

Jesus next told Nicodemus how to be "born again". Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. In Numbers 21:5-9, the Israelites were bitten by poison snakes. God instructed Moses to raise the image of a serpent on a pole. Whoever looked upon it lived.  

In the same way, all men have been bitten by the serpent of sin. They were born sinners (Psalm 51:5), Adam's sin is put to their account (Romans 5), they commit personal acts of sin (Romans 3:23), and the Scripture has concluded they are sinners (Romans 11; Galatians 3). Men are spiritually dead towards God (cf. Ephesians 2), and are on their way to eternal separation from Him in the lake of fire (2 Thessalonians 1:8ff). 

But whoever looks to Christ's death on the cross as jos payment for sin will live. God gives all who trust in Jesus eternal life (v16). Whoever does not (those who will not come to the light, lest their evil deeds become exposed--v18-20), "stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." Jesus told Nicodemus he must rely on Jesus' payment for sin to be "born again".

Jesus as Bridegroom (v22-30) 

John the baptist was a prophet of the OT order. In fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3, he came before Christ to turn people to Him from their sin. John baptized people who believed his teaching. This was not a term for salvation, but an outward testimony that they were identified with his message. In the same way, Jesus' disciples baptized those who put their faith in Christ. This was an outward witness that they had been born again by the Spirit of God (cf. Romans 6). 

Some of John's disciples noticed that more and more people were coming to Jesus instead of John. John however, did not envy Christ. Jesus was increasing because God gave Him the increase (v27). John saw himself as the best man who rejoices in seeing the bride come to the bridegroom (cf. Ephesians 5:30ff). Christ must increase, John the baptist must decrease (v28-30). Jesus is the bridegroom who receives the bride (church) from God the Father (cf. John 6:37).

Jesus as Witness (v31-36)

John the disciple here shows why Jesus' testimony is true. He came from God (v31; cf. Philippians 2:6ff). Jesus personally saw and heard the things He taught. God loves and endorsed Jesus by giving Him the Spirit without limit. This was evident in the miracles He performed. As a result, whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects Him will not see life, but remains under the wrath of God (v36).  

John 3 presents Christ as Savior, Bridegroom, and Witness.

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The Gospel


Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).

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