Thursday, October 29, 2015

John 3:22-23

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

Verse 22: Jesus went into Judea and baptized. In John 4:2 we read "(Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)." When he got a reputation of baptizing more people than John, he left Judea and went into Galilee (John 4:1-3).

Jesus had come into Judea, which is said by John Gill and others to mean the countryside outside of the city of Jerusalem.

Verse 23: John was also baptizing in a place called Aenon near to Salem. Aenon was about half way up (north) from the Dead Sea going toward the Sea of Galilee on the west side of the Jordan River.

He was baptizing in Aenon "because there was much water there," which brings our thoughts to the idea that in order to baptize according to John's practice one must have "much water."

This infers the practice of immersion for baptism, which many of our Protestant friends deny. Many Protestants not only exercise the "sacrament of baptism" upon babies, but nowadays they only sprinkle water upon them or pour water upon their heads.

Baptists have always been known for immersing candidates in water for baptism, showing forth in a symbolic way the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the heart of the Gospel message.

Thus Baptists throughout the years have been called Dunkers, Drowners, Dippers, and other like names. We care not for those names, but we carry them with thanksgiving to God, who has shown us the way and has given us the grace to hold true to that biblical practice.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

John 3:18-21

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

Verse 18 is very simple: there is condemnation to anyone who does not believe in Christ, and there is NO condemnation to those who do believe in him. In other words, salvation is by faith alone by the grace of God.

Those who do not believe are "condemned already," because they have not believed, since faith alone will make us free from condemnation -- Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.   Jesus, of course, is the object of our faith: in the name of the only begotten Son of God, (18).

The condemnation is described in verse 19. It is that light has come into the world (Jesus), and men loved darkness (the world, blindness, wickedness, etc.) rather that the True Light. They love darkness, because their deeds (works) are evil, and they do not desire that light would reveal their deeds (20).

Believers "do" the truth, which means they come to the light (Jesus) by grace and believe in Jesus Christ. They desire their works be manifest in the light, because their works are wrought (produced, worked out) in God (21).

Notice Phil. 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  13  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

After repentance and faith, God works in the believer to bring about His good will. This is the desire of every saint of God. I pray it is your desire; for, if it is not, then you may still be in your sins.

Friday, October 16, 2015

John 3:9-16

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

After Jesus explained the new birth to Nicodemus, he asked the only question that a human being can ask: "How can these things be?"

Jesus' disciples were also astonished at the doctrine of the new birth, recorded in Mark 10:26-27  And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?  27  And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Certainly the new birth is impossible with man, thus Nicodemus could not understand it with his natural mind, which is enmity against God (Romans 8:7).

Jesus now tells Nicodemus of heavenly things (John 3:12-13). He speaks of the descending and ascending of Jesus, who is the only one who could and did both of these.  Note Romans 10:6-7  But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)  7  Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) It is this descending and ascending that is the basic message of the Gospel.

Jesus, then, puts the story in brief in verse 14 when he compares the lifting up by Moses of the serpent in the wilderness to the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. If an Israelite, after being bitten by a serpent, lifted up to view the brazen serpent on the pole, he would live; if not, he would die.

So it is that, if any man will look at Jesus on the cross and believe in His work of redemption, he will live; if not, he will die eternally (verse 15).

God brought redemption through His love for people, and those who come to him in repentance and faith will never perish but have everlasting life (verse 16).

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

John 3:7-8

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

We mostly marvel as Jesus tells Nicodemus "Marvel not." How could he not marvel at the marvelous, challenging, and deep teaching of these wonderful words of Jesus?

Nicodemus was a very important figure in Israel and, no doubt, a great and good teacher of the Jews; but he could not grasp the mystery of the new birth. That mystery brought him to Jesus by night.

Jesus commands him "Ye must be born again." These words are difficult for us to explain, though the explanation came easily for the Lord. Jesus gives an illustration of wind in verse 8.

The wind blows where it "listeth." This means that the wind blows where its intention is to blow, where the natural laws of God will guide it. We can hear the wind, but we cannot understand the wind. Even scientists, who know many particular things about wind, cannot give a full explanation of it.

Jesus is telling Nicodemus that he has no effort, direction, or intention concerning his own spiritual birth. He is without ability to birth himself. The wind (the new birth) comes to us, as the natural wind does. We cannot bring it or control it.

Remember this hard verse for some:  John 6:65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. This verse is so hard that in the next verse we find that many disciples went back and did not follow Jesus after that.

To reach a little beyond our text, we see in verse 12 that men cannot comprehend heavenly things, so the wind must blow. The only way it will blow, according to God's own restriction, is through the preaching of the Gospel.

1 Cor. 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Rom. 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.So, let us preach the Gospel to every creature, since it is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation -- Romans 1:16.

Friday, October 9, 2015

John 3:4-6

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

Jesus' answer to Nicodemus' question in verse four is divine and can be only divine. Nicodemus asked whether he would need to go back into his mother's womb and be born. I think he knew that was impossible, but he was entering into a dialogue with Jesus and thinking logically to see how Jesus would answer.

Jesus' answer was that he must be born of water and of the Spirit. The water birth, as we shall learn in the next verse (verse six), is the natural birth: "that which is flesh." The birth of the Spirit is the work of grace in our hearts that the Spirit of God brings about when he convicts us of our sins, grants us repentance, and gives us faith, and we turn from our sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

As a result of this new birth, we have an old man (that which is born of the flesh) and the new man (that which is born of the Spirit).

Thank God for the new birth, since without it we would still be completely in the flesh and not in the Spirit.

Notice this revealing verse:  Rom. 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

John 3:1-3

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

This section of Scripture is one of the most quoted passages in all the Bible (especially verse 3).  This man, Nicodemus, a ruler (teacher) of the Jews, was very knowledgeable and wise in regard to the Jewish law, but he was very ignorant of the truth of God.

He met Jesus by night, no doubt to meet in secret so that his equals in the Jewish society could not see him or know of his meeting with the Messiah.

He seemed to be desiring to be a part of the "Jesus Movement" of that day with a desire to be a part of the kingdom of God and the work that Jesus was doing. I do not know what his plans were, but I do know what Jesus' instructions were.

Jesus wasted no time getting right to the essence of the problem with Nicodemus. In order to see (the word see is Greek eida, which means "to perceive," not the normal word to see with the eyes) the kingdom of God. This impresses upon us the first chapter of John, when John instructed us that "the darkness comprehended (perceived) it not," that is, the Light. We cannot at this time see the kingdom of God with our eyes, but we can comprehend it through the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 2:9).

Jesus pertinently said to Nicodemus "except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." The essence to seeing the kingdom is the new birth "which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:13).

Have you been born again? "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 thee, Ye must be born again" (John 3:6-7).

We are born again by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-10; John 3:16; Acts 16:31).

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

John 2:23-25

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

After performing miracles (we do not know how many at this time), Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover. There many people professed to believe in Him and at least in their minds followed Him. They believed because they saw the miracles that Jesus had done.

But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew their hearts. It is not what we do or how we think in a physical or a carnal way; it is important that the heart be changed and we become new creatures in Christ. Jesus knew what was in man, and He knows your every thought as well as your every deed.

Our mind is carnal, so we can understand only carnal things: 1 Cor. 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. The carnal mind cannot know God:  Rom. 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Notice also Matt. 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

Has God revealed His Son to you? Have you heard of Jesus, the Messiah? Do you know that Jesus came from God, being God in essence, to save the lost? Do you know that Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life, died and resurrected from the dead? Do you know He was a substitute for sins for everyone who believes on Him?

Can you, will you believe on Him today?  Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Friday, October 2, 2015

John 2:18-21

Dr. Ronnie Wolfe

This section of Scripture tells us of the Jews' wanting a sign for Jesus' sayings. He gave one sign, the sign of the destruction of the temple, which He would raise up in three days.

This made no sense, as the Jews thought He spoke of the temple in Jerusalem, when actually He spoke of His body. His body would die, but it would rise again. It was not until after His resurrection that the disciples realized He was speaking of His body. This is a great mystery, but it is a great joy to believers.

After His resurrection, the disciples began to believe Scriptures that before his resurrection were a mystery. Now the mystery has been revealed, and we now know the Gospel and praise God for his finished work on Calvary, in the grave, and in His resurrection.