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 Morning Meditation - 10/04/08

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PostSubject: Morning Meditation - 10/04/08   Sat Oct 04, 2008 11:33 pm

THE DOOR TO SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION
John 3:3

Verse 3 says, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Natural birth admits us into the realm of physical life in the kingdom of this world. Spiritual birth is the door of entrance into the Spiritual kingdom of God. This kingdom is a kingdom of grace. God’s Spiritual kingdom is what we might call the realm of grace. Because it is not only entered by grace it is where grace reigns (Rom. 5:21). Nicodemus was under the law as all religious Jews were and it had to do with works not grace.

Verse three is the Lord’s answer to Nicodemus’ initial approach as he came to Jesus by night. Some have suggested that Nicodemus was sent as an official representative of the Pharisees. Others believe that he came by night because he was interested in asking Jesus some questions and he didn’t want his brethren to know that he was doing it. The latter is what I believe. Time proved that he was open to what Jesus said and he was probably saved as a result of this interview. That cannot be proven and is strictly an opinion.

There are some things that we know about Nicodemus:

1. He was a Pharisee. The Pharisee’s were a group of Jews who believed the Bible was the Word of God and interpreted it literally though they emphasized the tradition of the fathers more than the Word of God itself. It is generally agreed that they were the fundamentalists of their day.

2. He was a ruler of the Jews. Gill comments: “a ruler of the Jews; not a civil magistrate; for the civil government was now in the hands of the Romans; but an ecclesiastical ruler; he was a member of the Sanhedrin, which consisted of the doctors, or wise men, and priests, Levites, and elders of the people; and so was a dignified person, and as afterwards called, a master in Israel.” (3:10).

3. He along with others believed Jesus was a teacher who came from God.

4. He believed what he did because of the miracles Jesus worked.

5. He came to Jesus by night.

6. He had no Spiritual understanding of truth; vs 4 & 6.

7. He reasoned from the flesh completely; vs 4.

8. He should have understood Spiritual matters being a “master
of Israel”; vs 10. Just like every member of the church should be saved and have Spiritual understanding.

Now let’s look at Jesus’ answer to this man. The word “answered” translates “apokrinomai” and means, “to give an answer to a question proposed.” It is an aorist middle indicative verb. The aorist tense suggests that His answer was immediate and complete. The middle voice is where the subject (Jesus) acts (answers) and participates in the result of the action (He came to give this message to the nation of Israel and there was fulfillment of that purpose in His answer).
The words “and said” translates “epo” and mean, “to speak, to say.” It is aorist active indicative verb which means that what follows took place at that same point of time. The words, “Verily, verily” translate “amen” and means, “firm” (it is in concrete, i.e., you can count on it). It is used, “at the beginning of a discourse-surely, truly, of a truth.” It is used, “at the end-so it is, so be it, may it be fulfilled. It was a custom, which passed over from the synagogues to the Christian assemblies, that when he who had read or discoursed, had offered up solemn prayer to God, the others responded Amen, and thus made the substance of what was uttered their own.”

Strong continues to comment on this word: “The word ‘amen’ is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the New Testament, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech. The word is directly related—in fact, almost identical—to the Hebrew word for “believe” (amam), or faithful. Thus, it came to mean ‘sure’ or ‘truly’, an expression of absolute trust and confidence.

The words “I say” translate “lego” and mean, “to say, to speak, to affirm, maintain, to teach, to exhort, advise, to command, to point out with words.” This is a present active indicative verb and is continuous action, i.e., “I keep on saying.” The personal pronoun “you” is present in the text which means that Jesus was not giving a general answer but a personal one to Nicodemus. The word “Except” translates “ean me” and means, “if not, unless, whoever...not.” This is a third class condition. It is, “if not,” maybe he will, maybe he won’t, but if he doesn’t. Robertson says in his Word Pictures, “Another condition of the third class, undetermined but with prospect of determination.” Jesus is not assuming that he will or won’t, but if he doesn’t, the consequences that follow apply.
T
he word “man” translates “tis” and means, “a certain one.” Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown say, “not a Jew merely; the necessity is a universal one.” So the use of this word speaks of the worldwide need of the New Birth. The words “be born” translate “gennao” and is used, “of men who fathered children.” It is an aorist passive indicative verb. The aorist tense refers to a point of time. A person is not gradually saved. He has a New Birth at a point of time. The passive voice means that he is not the cause of but the recipient of the action (the New Birth), i.e., it happens to him.

The New Birth is caused by an outside source (the process is described in Eph. 1:13).

The word “again” translates “anothen” meaning, “from above, from a higher place.”

This word is used, “of things which come from heaven or God; anew, over again.” It is obvious that Nicodemus’ immediate thought was one of confusion. He answered Jesus with a question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” He did not misunderstand the words Jesus used. He applied them the only way he knew to, i.e., the physical birth. But the Lord uses physical terms to describe Spiritual things. Jesus is talking about another birth, i.e., a Spiritual one. That is brought out in verse 6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” You will notice your King James Bible helps you at this point. The first word “Spirit” is in caps and the second one is not in caps. The first is speaking of the Holy Spirit and the second is referring to the human spirit. It is the spirit that is born again and therefore a saved man has had a second birth (and it is from above). See Eph. 4:24.
The words “he cannot” translates “dunamai” and means, “to be unable, have no power.” It is a present middle indicative verb. The present tense means that before a man is saved it is his continuous condition that he is unable. The middle voice is where the subject is unable (the verb is used with the negative which reverses the meaning) of himself to “see the kingdom of God.” The word “see” translates “eido” and means, “to see, to perceive with the eyes, to perceive by any of the senses.” This same root word is translated “know” in verse 2 where Nicodemus said, “we know that thou art a teacher . . .” The words “kingdom of God” refer to a spiritual kingdom that Jesus came to establish. The Jews were looking for a material kingdom which God had promised in the Old Testament and what we as Christians call the Millennium. They were not ready for a spiritual kingdom. They were occupied with material things and things that have to do with the flesh. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown say, “This blunt and curt reply was plainly meant to shake the whole edifice of the man’s religion, in order to lay a deeper and more enduring foundation. Nicodemus probably thought he had gone a long way, and expected, perhaps, to be complimented on his candor. Instead of this, he is virtually told that he has raised a question which he is not in a capacity to solve, and that before approaching it, his spiritual vision required to be rectified by an entire revolution on his inner man.”
Jesus said that in your present condition there is no way for you to receive an answer from me. The door to spiritual perception is the New Birth. You will have to be born again and be inhabited by the Holy Spirit before there is a dialog with God in Spiritual matters. Paul gives a good commentary on this truth in 1 Cor. 2:14-15: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” Nicodemus was a “natural man” and the natural man “receiveth not” the things of the Spirit. The

DOOR TO SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION is the New Birth.

What lessons do we learn from this? First, to attempt to train an unsaved man in the Word of God is futile. Second, for one to think he can, is to deny what Jesus said in this passage from a practical standpoint. Third, to try to train a carnal Christian in the Word of God is as futile as trying to train an unsaved person. The door to Spiritual perception is the New Birth and to continue in the condition of Spiritual perception is to operate according to the laws of the kingdom. The first law of the kingdom is to confess sin as it arises in the life (1 John 1:9). Sin is caused by yielding to the flesh instead of the Spirit. When one sins, it is necessary to deal with that sin or stay out of fellowship. When we are out of fellowship, we are called carnal and to be carnal is to lose our Spiritual perception. Sin must be confessed and cleansed. When sin is cleansed, we are restored to fellowship, and as a result we are using the capacity that we received by the New Birth to perceive Spiritual things. The carnal or backslidden Christian sits in a church pew for years without experiencing Spiritual growth. He has the capacity to understand Spiritual things but it is being blocked by unconfessed sin. Therefore he is walking AFTER the flesh and as Paul says in Romans 8:7, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

The door to Spiritual perception is the New Birth. Not only do we need to be born the second time (which is the door to Spiritual perception), we need to operate according to the laws (laws of grace not the ten commandments) of the kingdom so that our Spiritual perception allows us to grow and mature as believers.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.
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