Saturday, July 28, 2007



The Fifth chapter of John is concerned almost entirely with the question of how a person can know that Jesus is God!. We live in an age today where news is being reported right as it happens. Instead of having to tune into the evening news to find out what happened in the world today, we can turn on the news at any time of day or night and find out, in many cases, just what’s going on right now. Areas of our society that for years have been off-limits to the television news crews are now appearing in our living rooms with increasing regularity. One of these areas has been the courtroom. In days past, we saw sketches by courtroom artists, but today we’re often looking at the plaintiffs and defendants themselves. This last week we have witnessed something a little different. We have not even gotten to court yet, and the terrorist charges laid against the Queensland Dr, detained terror suspect Mohamed Haneef have already been laid out to the world. There have been claims and counter claims against the Australian Federal Police in their manner of gathering evidence. At least, when its done in court, you know you are going to get most of the evidence laid out, and not just one side of the arguments.
I was struck by the thought, actually wondering, is everyone hearing the evidence concerning the claims that Jesus has made? After all, in John 5 alone, Jesus has claimed to be equal with God (verse 18), to be the giver of eternal life (verse 24), to be the source of life (verse 26), and to be the one who judges sin (verse 27); all claims showing that He truly is the Son of God. If Jesus’ claims had to be heard in the televised courtroom of today, what evidence would He present? What witnesses would He call to testify on His behalf? I think our passage today shows us what His reaction would be … because throughout John 5, Jesus is dealing with His accusers, the Jewish religious leaders, in the open-air public arena — the 1st Century equivalent of today’s televised courtroom. And so we start by seeing the first witness Jesus calls in the defense of His claims is …
A. Truth As Testimony Consider the failure of the scientific method in the study of history. The war between modernism and post modernism. The solution is understanding history as testimony.
Reliability is dependant upon Authority, authenticity, and sincerity.
The issue is great because of Jesus’ claims about Himself. Here in John 5 Jesus claims:
THAT HE IS EQUAL WITH GOD John 5:19 Then Jesus replied, “• I assure you: The Son is not able to do anything on His own, but only what He sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does these things in the same way. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him everything He is doing, and He will show Him greater works than these so that you will be amazed. THEY’RE BOTH ONE SUBSTANCE This is one of the great truths of the faith. Many of the early church fathers were persecuted, exiled, and even killed over this claim. One of the great theological debase of the early church was over whether Jesus was the same substance (homoousias) with the Father or only a similar substance (homoiousias) with the Father. If Jesus was not one substance with the Father than He couldn’t be fully God and He couldn’t have taken the punishment for our sins on the cross. The only difference between these words is one letter “i”, the Greek letter iota. So the next time you hear the phrase “it doesn’t matter one iota,” remember that it does matter, for Jesus is one substance with the Father And if all of that wasn’t enough to send the legalists over the edge, Jesus wraps up talking about His relationship with the Father by saying …
THAT HE IS THE LIFEGIVER John 5:21 And just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so the Son also gives life to anyone He wants to 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself.
THAT HE IS THE FINAL JUDGE John 5:22 The Father, in fact, judges no one but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. THEREFORE THEY’RE BOTH TO BE HONOURED. Therefore, to honor the Son is to honor the Father. As the Apostle Paul says in Philippians 2:10-11,“…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
THAT HE DETERMINES EVERYONE’S DESTINY 24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life. THEREFORE THEY’RE BOTH TO BE BELIEVED. Notice in verse 24 that Jesus doesn’t say, “whoever hears My Word and believes it.” Nor does He say, “whoever hears the Word of God and believes it.” But rather He says, “whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life.” The Father and the Son are so much a unity that Jesus speaks of hearing what He says and believing the Father. In other words, what He says is what the Father says. He’s talking about believing what God says, really believing it, with all our hearts and all our minds.
THAT HE WILL RAISE THE DEAD 25 “I assure you: An hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For just as the Father has life in Himself, so also He has granted to the Son to have life in Himself. 27 And He has granted Him the right to pass judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not be amazed at this, because a time is coming when all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come out—those who have done good things, to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked things, to the resurrection of judgment. Now these are pretty big orders. If someone walked up to you in the street and said, I am the Son of God, obey me from now on implicitly and worship me now as God” we would run away from Him. But this is what Jesus is saying! And we would want to know what the proof is for His claims. They wanted to know then, and we want to know now! “If Jesus Christ be God, and He died for me, then no sacrifice is too great for me to make for Him”
Now the Lord Jesus lays it out for us how we are to know that He is God.
1. God Speaks Through The Testimony Of v. 31-35: JOHN THE BAPTIST — THE 1 ST WITNESS 1
As He starts, Jesus knows that the Old Testament Law requires that there always be two or three witness to establish the truth. Deuteronomy 19:15, “A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.”
Funny enough were it not written so, then our view of history could be very shakey.
And so Jesus calls as His first witness John the Baptist. He tells the Pharisees in verse 33 that “You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.” Jesus is reminding them that the testimony they heard from John the Baptist was, first of all, given at their own initiative. If you remember back to chapter one it was the Pharisees themselves who went to John to question him. John the Baptist was a witness who had been called to the stand by the other side and He was still faithfully testifying to the truth about Jesus Christ. Jesus is telling the Pharisees, “If you won’t believe me, at least believe John, whom you questioned.” And remember, John testified publicly, look at John 1:29 where it says, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” And then John said, John 1:34, “And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Jesus then goes on to remind the Pharisees that it isn’t Him who needs John’s testimony, but rather it is they who need to hear from John. 34, “Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.” He doesn’t need to accept any man’s testimony, but they sure do. They’re not only able to hear and understand what John said, but they also should accept and believe what he said, for it will lead them to salvation. Jesus says, “I say these things so that you may be saved.” What he was saying f was for their benefit!
If the Pharisees really been paying attention and listened to what John had said, then they would have been able to appreciate the truth and they would have started in the right way. That had, in fact, happened to some of the disciples. They’d been among the followers of John the Baptist and had obeyed him when he told them to follow Jesus. Now Jesus is questioning why these religious leaders hadn’t done the same.
Isa 40:2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and announce to her that her time of servitude is over, her iniquity has been pardoned, and she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice of one crying out: Prepare the way of the Lord in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. 4 Every valley will be lifted up, and every mountain and hill will be leveled; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rough places a plain. 5 And the glory of the Lord will appear, and all humanity will see [it] together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
Malachi 4:2 But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings,
5Look, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome Day of the Lord comes.
2. God Speaks Through The Testimony Of v. 36:CHRIST’S OWN WORKS— THE 2 ND WITNESS
And here we see that the testimony of Christ’s own works is even greater than that of John the Baptist. What Christ does speaks volumes. And we know from Matthew 11 that it was this testimony that strengthened and encouraged John the Baptist when he was awaiting execution in prison. John was suffering in prison and so he sent some of his disciples to Jesus to verify that He was indeed the Messiah. Christ answered John’s concerns by testifying to His works. Matthew 11:4-6,“And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6And blessed is the one who is not offended by Me."
After all, the work that Jesus is doing has been given to Him by God the Father, and, as verse 36 says, “But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about Me that the Father has sent Me.”
Jesus says that He does only what He sees the Father doing. He does nothing by Himself, but works together with the Father. By His works, both His supernatural miracles and His ordinary actions, Jesus is proving to all those around Him that He is the One who has been sent by God. But the Jewish leaders don’t accept this now … and they won’t accept it later. In John 10, Jesus will get questioned again and, John 10:25, “Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name bear witness about Me.” The miracles.. funny enough, they don’t seem to do the job in causing conversion. In John 5 a healed man walks away from the Lord. In John 6 a whole crowd fed miraculously on 5 loaves and 2 fishes 5000, turn away! Miracles vindicate who Jesus was. He did the things none else could do. He fulfilled prophecies about Himself by doing these miracles. Isa 35: 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy, for water will gush in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
3. God Speaks Through The Testimony Of Scripture v. 37-38: GOD THE FATHER — THE 3RD WITNESS He says that not only is He sent by God the Father, but that, verse 37, “the Father who sent Me has Himself borne witness about Me.” He then gives the Pharisees three challenges, all alluding to the Old Testament, which they would have known so well. In the first challenge, He says, ““His voice you have never heard.” He’s referring here to Moses, who heard God’s voice in Exodus 33. And Jesus is saying that while they haven’t heard God’s voice like Moses did, they have had the opportunity since then, as John 3:34says, “For He whom God has sent utters the words of God, for He gives the Spirit without measure.” Jesus Himself is speaking the very words of God, but they’re not listening.
In the second challenge, Jesus says, “His form you have never seen.” He’s referring here to Jacob, who saw God’s form in Genesis 32. Jesus is saying that while they haven’t seen God’s form like Jacob did, they have had the opportunity since then, as John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, He has made Him known.” Jesus Himself is the very manifestation of God in Human form.
And in the third challenge Jesus says, verse 38, “and you do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe the One whom He has sent.” Here He’s probably referring to Joshua in Joshua 1 or possibly the Psalmist in Psalm 119, who both hid God’s Word in their hearts, meditating on it, learning not to sin against God, understanding that God’s blessing in their lives was dependent on the indwelling of God’s Word in their lives. Jesus is saying that they don’t have the Word of God in their hearts like Joshua or the Psalmist did, but they’ve had the opportunity since then, as Jesus Himself is the very Word of God, John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” They, the Pharisees, who are acting as the prosecution, have just received a triple indictment from Jesus, who is the defendant. He’s letting them know that God the Father has given them ample evidence, but they haven’t heard God, they haven’t seen God, and they don’t have God’s Word because they don’t believe in Christ. Jesus is clearly challenging them that … You can’t believe and obey the
Jesus calls as His next witness the Scriptures themselves. He says to the Pharisees in verses 39-40, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about Me, 40yet you refuse to come to Me that you may have life.” You study the Scriptures, you read them, you know them— And they testify about Christ. Still you refuse to come to Christ to receive that eternal life.
Romans 3:21-22,“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.”
Luke 24: 44 Then He told them, “These are My words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
The Pharisees boast of how well they know the teachings of Scripture but they’re missing the Messiah to whom the Scriptures point.
5. God Speaks Through The Testimony Of v. 45-47:MOSES— THE 5 TH WITNESS
Jesus has now turned the tables on the Pharisees. He has gone from being what He is not —the Defendant —to being what He really is — the Judge. And the Pharisees are no longer the prosecution, but they have become the defendants. Jesus tells them, starting in verse 45, “Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46If you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?”
Jesus is telling them that they don’t have to worry about Jesus accusing them … because Moses, whose words they profess, will be their accuser. They should have believed Christ because Moses was writing about Christ. Moses was pointing to the Messiah. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, you can’t believe what I say. You don’t believe Moses; therefore, you don’t believe Christ.
And as John 3:18 says, “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” Unbelief inevitably leads to condemnation.
CONCLUSION: The Lord, the prosecutor stands and says, well here is the evidence that confirms the truth. The truth is Jesus is God and you should worship Him, but the truth is, you cannot handle the truth. You can’t cope with it! You are not big enough to respond to the truth. Its like that prosecutor in the movie: You can’t handle the truth!
The truth is God became a man and stepped into our world to save us, and to judge the world!
This same Jesus calls you today to believe in Him! The testimonies are in. he had made His claims! What are you going to do about it?
These Truths are propositional truths. They are true truths. They happened in history and they are unalterable. God became a man to die for our sins! Here are clear unequivocal truths. But if its so clear why don’t people become Christians? Its not intellectual problems that keep people from Christ, its moral problems.
These truths are truths to be personally received. But we don’t want to do that.
Our self will says no! john 5:40 And you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
Our pride says no! “I do not accept glory from men, 42 but I know you—that you have no love for God within you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, yet you don’t accept Me. If someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe? While accepting glory from one another, you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God.
Our self love says no! We don’t want to handle the truth, BUT WE MUST!
Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall— Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all:
Hearken! What meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus?
Jesus is standing on trial still, You can be false to Him if you will,
You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus?
Will you, like Peter, your Lord deny? Or will you scorn from His foes to fly?
Daring for Jesus to live or die? What will you do with Jesus?
"Jesus, I give Thee my heart today! Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way,
Gladly obeying Thee!" will you say: "This will I do with Jesus!"
Refrain: What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be;
Someday your heart will be asking, "What will He do with me?"



- The following
is excerpted from the United Methodist News Service, Aug 13, 02: "An
oft-heard myth about the Methodist tradition is that founders John and
Charles Wesley used drinking and tavern songs as the melodies for hymns.
'The Wesleys did no such thing,' says Dean McIntyre, director of music
resources at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship in Nashville, Tenn.
'Given their aesthetic and theological sense, it would (have been)
unthinkable for them to do so.' ... McIntyre decided to set the record
straight after returning from this summer's jurisdictional and chapter
convocations of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship
Arts. At each event, someone referred to the 'long-held and oft-repeated
untruth that John and Charles Wesley made use of tavern or drinking songs as
tunes for their texts,' he says. He adds that some people have used the myth
as an excuse for importing secular influences into worship. McIntyre says
the legend began when a seminary or music student became confused over the
musical term 'bar tune' or 'bar form'--a medieval pattern for poetry
consisting of three or more stanzas--which became the pattern for

Someone with no knowledge of medieval poetry heard 'bar form' in connection
with John Wesley, and the songs became tavern songs, he says. ... 'In no
hymn book or other publication of the Wesleys can there be found any example
of or encouragement to use drinking songs to sing hymns,' he says. ...
'Rather, the issue is why Wesley did not use them.' Noting that Wesley found
drinking songs unacceptable, he asks if worshippers today should use music
from the local bar for worship. 'If Wesley's reasoning for the Methodists of
his time remains valid for our own, then the answer is no.' He suggests that
those who 'justify' the use of secular culture and influences in United
Methodist worship by repeating the Wesley legend 'should be called to

Thursday, July 26, 2007


2 Peter 1:1-11 Make Yourself Useful!

How many have heard the clear motivation to “Make yourself useful”. Usually we hear it as a child. The lazy person soon finds motivation by that phrase.
No one wants to be thought useless.
We want to be known as significant to others in this world. We want to know we are more than just a waste of space.
Being useful means we are secure in the knowledge that we are needed.
No ones wants to be thought useless!
2 Peter 1:8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Who among us tonight would like to be known as a failure in the Christian life? That's a pretty stupid question isn't it? After all, who wants to fail? The truth is, every one of us wants to be a successful Christian and we really want to bring glory and honor to God.
Well, you can have it either way you want it! After all, we read of men in the Bible who failed in their Christian experience.
Even today, we see it all around us. Some preacher will fall, or a good church member will get out of God's will. It happens all the time and far too often
Now, if I have my way about it, I don't want this to happen to me! My desire is to be the best that I can be for the glory of God. I would say that that is what you want as well.
Jesus said in John 10:10 " I have come that they may have life and that they might have it more abundantly. We can live our Christian life to it's fullest.
Add to your faith…
Peter has already spoken of the reality of our faith.
2 Peter 1:1 Simeon Peter, a slave and an apostle of Jesus Christ: To those who have obtained a faith of equal privilege with ours through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.
ESV : To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:
ESV 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith
make every effort to supplement ἐπιχορηγήσατε grew to mean not only to equip a chorus but to be responsible for any kind of equipment. It can mean to equip an army with all necessary provisions; it can mean to equip the soul with all the necessary virtues for life. But always at the back of it there is this idea of a lavish generosity in the equipment. So Peter urges his people to equip their lives with every virtue; and that equipment must not be simply a necessary minimum, but lavish and generous. The very word is an incitement to be content with nothing less than the loveliest and the most splendid life.
In the Christian life there must be steady moral advance. Moffatt quotes a saying that, "the Christian life must not be an initial spasm followed by a chronic inertia. Moral purity refers to every aspect of our lives. Physical, mental, spiritual purity must be maintained if we expect His blessings on our lives. Barclay
1. Virtue 1:5 ἀρετήν: Virtue ("Moral uprightness"; "Holiness") This word literally means "Excellent living. Fullfilment of a thing, Fulfilling the purpose for which it was created." In one word, God is telling you and me that if we will live by the Bible and live morally pure lives, then He will guarantee our success as Christians. Excelling in purity.
In 2 Maccabees we read of how Eleazar died rather than be false to the laws of God and his fathers; and the story ends by saying that he left his death for an example of noble courage (arete,) and a memorial of virtue, not only to young men, but also to all the nation (2Macc 6:31). Barclay
2. Knowledge 1:5 Gno-sis: primarily “a seeking” An inquiry, investigation primarily of spiritual truth. To develop an understanding of what you believe and why you believe it.
Gnosis is that knowledge which enables a man to decide rightly and to act honourably and efficiently in the day to day circumstances of life. So, then, to faith must be added courage and effectiveness; to courage and effectiveness must be added the practical wisdom to deal with life. Barclay
If you re not reading your Bible each day, you are not able to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ 2 Peter 3:18
3. Temperance 1:6 : ἐγκρατείᾳ “strengthen” Learning to yield my controlling power to the operation of the Holy Spirit. It follows knowledge; thus it suggests that what is learned requires to be put into practice. and knowledge with self-control,
Oscar Wilde, a writer/poet of the previous century, once said, "I can resist almost anything but temptation!" While he said it as a joke, it was a revealing remark. In fact, there were few temptations that he resisted. Oscar Wilde lived wildly, defying most every social convention of his time and his life ended in wreckage in 1895. Many of us, if pressed, might have to admit to far more temptation than appears on the surface of our lives. At times those temptations are like hurricane force winds that threaten our destruction. We need self control:
a. Our Tongues (Gossip and telling another person off) Some people are doubting their salvation, being unfruitful, falling into sin, and have no spiritual discernment because they cannot control their tongues!
b. Our Tempers (Flying off the handle, getting mad and getting even.) Some people fail in their Christian life because they cannot control their temper. Temper can get you into big trouble! (Eph. 4:26) (Never think that holding a grudge, or trying to get even will help you. When you do these things, you have assumed the place of God Rom. 12:19)
c. Our Temptations. Everyone is tempted 1 Cor. 10:13. However, not everyone falls into sin! The difference is self-control!
1 Corinthians 9::24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but [only] one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then [do it] to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified"
4. Patience 1:6 ὑπομονήν: cheerful endurance, constancy; an abiding under; The quality that does not surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.
and self-control with steadfastness,
The patient person is the one not swerved from his devotion to God even by the greatest of trials. Many are experiencing failure in their lives just because they allow the slightest little wind to blow them off course. The patient person is one who has endurance.
Chrysostom called hupomone "The Queen of the Virtues." In the King James Version it is usually translated patience; but patience is too passive a word. Hupomone , has always a background or courage. Cicero defines patientia, its Latin equivalent, as: "The voluntary and daily suffering of hard and difficult things, for the sake of honour and usefulness." Didymus of Alexandria writes on the temper of Job: "It is not that the righteous man must be without feeling, although he must patiently bear the things which afflict him; but it is true virtue when a man deeply feels the things he toils against, but nevertheless despises sorrows for the sake of God." Barclay
In May, 1940 the Nazi forces of Germany skirted around the ends of the French Maginot Line, broke through defensive positions and in a matter of days had swept to the English Channel. The British Forces in France were threatened with annihilation and fell back to the beaches of Dunkirk. An epic evacuation of 300,000 troops saved the armies. Under protection of the Royal Air Force, a thousand boats of every size and description left English shores to ferry the shattered armies of the Allies back to England. On June 4, Winston Churchill, England's Prime Minister, reported to Parliament the success of the evacuation. His description of the heroic effort and his call for courage, unity, and determination buoyed the spirits of the English people. It also stirred the resolution of Americans and one week later when Italy entered the war on the side of Germany, President Roosevelt committed our resources to the Allied cause. Mr. Churchill's gravely voice ground out these words that inspired the free world....
"We shall prove ourselves once again to defend our island home, to ride out the storms of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone..... the British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in cause and need, will defend to the death their native soil. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous states have fallen into the grip of the Gestapo and the odious apparatus of the Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend this island whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender....."
Dr. Raymond Edmond wrote an article called "Advice When In The Tunnel". He made some interesting comments about how trains operate and the attitudes of their passengers when the trains are in tunnels. He pointed out, first of all, that tunnels are always on the main line. You never find a siding in a tunnel. So, he says, when the pressures come, the periods of darkness, recognize that this is all a part of the plan, that you're still on the track, that you're moving in the right direction. Secondly, he says, recognize that you're making progress, because they always build tunnels in the mountains. You never find tunnels in the valley. Just know that this is a part of God's working in your life, that progress is being made thereby and this is something that is just necessary in order to yield further progress. Third, he says, recognize that tunnels always come to an end. When you're in them things seem bleak and dark, they seem interminable, but there is always an end. He says, "Don't stall out in the tunnel; just keep moving on." Now this is what Peter is talking about endurance, the ability to keep moving. to keep walking in obedience no matter how we may feel, no matter what our emotions or circumstances may tell us.
5. Godliness 1:6 εὐσεβείᾳ: piety - reverence for God or devout fulfillment of Christian obligations. To be like God, holiness, to do that which is well pleasing to Him.
and steadfastness with godliness,
Godliness This word literally means, "Walking in view of His greatness." It has reference to the person who has every action and attitude yielded to the fear of the Lord. This person spends his life in a state of "God-like-ness." He spends his days serving God and serving men. Interestingly, the Old Testament Hebrew word for "glory" is KABOD which is a cognate of the verb KABED meaning "to be heavy" or "to have weight." God's glory is the sheer punch of his holy presence, the sense of gravity and seriousness and weightiness you receive when God is near. Peter links this glory of God with ARETÉ. This may provide a clue that there is a connection between the moral and holy grandeur of God and the content of God's goodness. Excellence in Christ means living in such a way as to line up with God and with his excellent designs for how life in this creation is supposed to work.
1 Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

Many are in doubt, in sin, in trouble, because they reached a place in their walk with God where they just didn't care anymore what God thought about anything. They do what they please about church, the Bible, prayer, witnessing, sin, etc. Self is the motivation and not the fear of the Lord. These people have lost their fear of God. What a dangerous thing to do. Rev. 3:19)
The person who practices godliness is one who understands that God truly is an awesome God. He fears the Lord, and strives at every turn to please Him and Him alone,
Eccl. 12: 13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
As I grow older, my daughters often note phrases, gestures, and mannerisms of my Dad showing up in me. Why? Because he was a profound influence in my formative years. His ways were transferred into me without conscious indoctrination. Transference of values is the secret of good parenting. It requires modeling of the kinds of values you want your child to have and spending enough time with them to let them see those values at work in you
6. Brotherly Kindenss 1:6 philadelphia: fraternal affection in word and deed.
2Pe 1:7 and godliness with brotherly affection,
1 John 4:20-21 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? (21) And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
7. Love 1:6 to express the essential nature of God (I Jn. 4:8). Love can be known only from the actions it prompts. God’s love is seen in the gift of His Son (I Jn. 4:9-10).
and brotherly affection with love.

Why Should You Be Diligent About These Character Qualities Diligence: σπουδὴν: to use speed to make effort, to be prompt or earnest.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness
Thursday night just before the news, the Antique roadshow had a beautiful ornate French court table. The valuer valued it at 30,000 pounds. Then he said, “well look at it 30,000 pounds and its absolutely useless!” He was right! It was useless as a table. It was useless for any human usage! There was nothing you could do with it.
Costly, but useless!
You were costly too. You were redeemed at a price. The price was the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! And what about you. Are you useful at all to the Lord? If we develop these character qualities we make ourselves useful to the Lord. Its not great giftedness that God blesses. Its not great abilities that God blesses. It’s great likeness to Christ that God blesses. Will you become useful to God?

8 These Character Qualities Are essential For Your Fruitfulness
If "these things" are found in your life, then you will never be barren, but you will always be a fruitful branch for God's glory. This implies that you will be a witness and a soul winner for Jesus. Whatever "these things" are, they must be pretty great because they promise us that we will always bear fruit. This, after all, is the goal of our Heavenly Father John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper. 2 Every branch in Me that does not produce fruit He removes, and He prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit.
8 My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to beMy disciples.
16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you. I appointed you that you should go out and produce fruit and that your fruit should remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.

9a These Character Qualities Are Essential For Spiritual Discernment
Many people have absolutely no spiritual discernment. They are blind and easily lead astray, Eph. 4:14. But, when "these things" are active in our lives, we will be able to see the tricks, traps and temptations of the Devil. We will be able to see the needs of others and not be blinded by our own selfish interests. We won't ever be blind and in spiritual darkness ever again. I don't know about you, but whatever "these things" are, I want to know about them!

9b These Character Qualities Are Essential For Your Assurance Of Salvation -
Who among us hasn't doubted his/her salvation? We have all doubted from time to time! Many people are so over come with their doubts that are of no use to the Lord. Evidently, they lack "these things." Because, "these things" promise us that we can have assurance of salvation. They promise us that we can get to the place where we never doubt again! I tell you, "these things" must really be something! Whatever "these things" are, then I want to know them. I want to be secure in the knowledge that I am saved.

10 These Character Qualities Are Essential For Your Stability
This verse says plainly that "these things", if practiced in our lives, will ever keep us from falling. How many have fallen as a Christian? Every single one of us has fallen from time to time. But, "these things" promise us a fall free life. If I can get my hands on "these things" then I want them really bad because I never want to fall again. Whatever "these things" are, they are worth going after if they will do all this.


2 Peter 1 Preserved From Corruption

This epistle is written to help us be able to deal with false teachers, apostates and their heresies.
These false teachers have been around since the very beginning, as it were, attempting to damn souls to hell by beguiling them, by deceiving them with lies masquerading as spiritual divine saving truth. That is always the ploy of false teachers. They are the emissaries of Satan. They are liars who are basically motivated, moved by love of money, love of power, prestige, prominence and so forth but truly they are the pawns of spiritual entities, namely demons, who lead them to propagate Satanic lies to deceive souls who will then perish in hell and populate Satan's eternal domain.
Peter is an instrument of God to write this epistle as a warning letter. And it has as its purpose endeavoring to help us to be able to square up against this kind of deception which is so very prevalent. The letter is for the purpose of exposing, thwarting and defeating the invasion of false teachers in to the church. It suited that purpose when he wrote it, it still suits that purpose today. By the way, it is very similar to the epistle of Jude. In fact, a great portion of it is almost repetitive. Jude, too, then is another of those spiritual consumer protection advocates whose purpose is to make sure people don't fall victim to lies and damning heresies. Now Peter pulls no punches. It is a clear precise direct presentation.
Remember is a key word.
2 Peter 1:12, "Therefore I shall always be ready to remind you of these things even though you already know them and have been established in the truth which is present with you, and I consider it right as long as I am in this earthly dwelling to stir you up by way of reminder knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, so also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me." I'm not going to live very long and if there's one thing I want to do, it's make sure you remember these things. So I will remind you and remind you and remind you so that when I'm gone you'll have them in mind...these matters regarding false teachers and their deceiving lies.
Notice 2 Peter 3:1, This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
The first letter was 1 Peter and this is 2 Peter. In church history there had been a dispute as to whether this letter should have been included in the canon of Holy Scripture, Eusebius in the 4th century listed it as a disputed book, Jerome included it in his Latin Vulgate edition, but by 366 A.D. at the Council of Laodicea it had passed scrutiny and was everywhere affirmed.
Since it was written by Peter, its date of authorship was around 67 AD.
Probably 2 Peter is written from Rome as was 1 Peter and no more than a year later after 1 Peter. Nero died in 68 A.D. Peter died under Nero's persecution, tradition tells us. Peter probably died before Paul...since Paul wrote his final letter from Rome and Peter certainly wasn't there then. So he must have died already. First Peter around 64, Peter must have died before 68, 67 or so, or 66. And so this was likely penned in around 65, one year after 1 Peter. So it was a prison epistle. He was a prisoner. He was facing death. As I read earlier, chapter 1 verse 14, he says I know that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent. Tradition tells us he was crucified and he refused to be crucified like his Lord and he asked to be crucified upside down.
Peter will say there are a few things you need to know if you are going to keep your stability in an age of apostasy.
Chapter 1 :You must know the condition of your salvation, your relationship to God. You must know the Scripture. You Must know your Satanic adversary (chapter 2) Chapter 3 You Must Know The Second Coming Of Christ.
"knowledge" then is very prominent in these three chapters. In one form or another it appears 16 times...16 times. Six of those times is the intensive form epignosko, or epignosis. Gnosko, a common Greek word "to know," is made more intense with the addition of epi, epignosko and typically we've said to you through the years where you have a preposition added as a prefix to a verb it intensifies the meaning of the verb. So it is what we know that protects us.
Confidence in our salvation, its resources, the true knowledge of God through Jesus Christ with assurance is the first line of defense. This, beloved, is the helmet of salvation. When Satan comes at you wielding the sword of his false doctrine, wielding the sword that wants to strike a death blow against you, what insulates you and protects you from the fatality of that blow is the helmet of salvation, the protection or the defense of knowing you are saved, knowing you belong to God. Your defense begins with a clear confident comprehension of salvation relationship to God.
He wants them confident in their salvation. He wants them confident in the Scripture, the revelation of God. He wants them confident in the Second Coming so that they will live holy lives
And with that in view, Peter spends the opening section on the issue of salvation. We're going to look at it in verses 1 through 11. Here he wants to remove any doubt. He wants to remove any confusion from the believer who may be doubting or may be confused about his salvation.
"Simon Peter, a bondservant, and Apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours...or like precious the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord."
Simon is the Greek term, Simeon is the Hebrew. And in the ancient manuscripts that we have of 2 Peter, some have Simon and some have Simeon. It was a very common name. It was a name after Simeon who is the head of one of the tribes of Israel. Simeon or Simon, same name. For example, in the New Testament, nine people other than Peter are called Simon. So the second name is essential. . Simon was his name before he met Christ and Peter was his name after he met Christ. This combination, Simon Peter, occurs many times in the New Testament in referring to this man. In the early church among the Gentiles who spoke Greek he was commonly called Simon Peter.

The Corruption in our world is toxic
How can you cope in a toxic world?
You are not left on your own!

Remember the Power2 Peter 1:3
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

“I’ve got the power” said a girl on the Phillipousis show.. yuck!!
You do have the power in you.
It called you
It Converted you

Remember The PromisesAccording as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:

You have promises that work!
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Remember The Participation

that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The Holy Spirit dwells within you.
A young man, Danny Simpson took an old gun and robbed a bank of $6000. He was caught and the old gun recovered was found to be a colt .45 manufactured in 1918, and worth $100,000 at a collector’s auction. He didn’t know what he already had.
So often we are not aware of what we already have, a relationship where the Holy Spirit of God dwells in our hearts.

Remember The Preservation
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

You live in a toxic spiritual environment but you shall be preserved.
Gold at the bottom of the sea. Salt water corrodes everything, except gold.
Pirate movies have to have fake tarnished gold, otherwise no one would believe that the gold had been at the bottom of the sea for years. But real gold doesn’t tarnish.
You will be preserved.
That is God’s intention for you.
Trust Him to do that.

"Where wilt thou spend eternity?-
Nay, don’t tear down the bill;
The question means but good to thee,
And will be answered still;
To Shun the light or shut the sight,
Thy cup of wrath may fill,
Where wilt thou spend eternity?-
Don’t say, “I cannot tell”;
The life thou leadest now will end
In heaven – or else in hell,
Oh friend, bethink thee well.”
(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Friday, July 20, 2007


John 5 When You Meet Jesus You Could Get Worse!

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.
4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.
5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole?
7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
8 Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.
9 And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
10 The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed.
11 He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk.
12 Then asked they him, What man is that which said unto thee, Take up thy bed, and walk?
13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.
24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Over several months now, occasionally we have taken time to think about some of the great interviews and meetings the Lord Jesus had with various sorts of people as described in John’s Gospel.
We have tended to see the blessings people have experienced in meeting the Lord Jesus. Last week we saw the wonderful blessing of Nicodemus, who meeting the Lord Jesus was challenged about the necessity of being born again. I believe he was changed by this meeting.
However sometimes people are not changed for the better in meeting the Lord Jesus. Sometimes they are changed for the worse. The same sun that melts ice also hardens clay. Some clay hearts are hardened and not born again, by meeting the Lord Jesus. This morning we meet a man who was not helped but hardened by meeting the Lord Jesus.
For some of us here today this same could be true.
Your attendance here may actually have a negative effect on you. You may be hardened by meeting Jesus. The issue isn’t the Lord Jesus Christ, its you. Its your heart!
There once was an elderly gentleman whose failing eyesight resulted in the occasional inability to see or heed control signs. One day he was driving down the freeway when he received a call on his cell phone. His wife said, "Dear, be careful. I just heard a report on the news that a car is driving the wrong way down the freeway." "It’s not just one car," he replied. "It’s hundreds of them!"
Listen to what the book of Hebrews says:
Hebrews 3:7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: Today, if you hear His voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the desert, 9 where your fathers tested Me, tried [Me], and saw My works 10 for 40 years. Therefore I was provoked with this generation and said, “They always go astray in their hearts, and they have not known My ways.” 11 So I swore in My anger, “They will not enter My rest.” 12 Watch out, brothers, so that there won’t be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart that departs from the living God. 13 But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.
Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, while the promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear so that none of you should miss it. 2 For we also have received the good news just as they did; but the message they heard did not benefit them, since they were not united with those who heard it in faith
Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, became companions with the Holy Spirit, 5 tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age, 6 and who have fallen away, because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding Him up to contempt.
Some years ago there was a man in our community who associated himself with the ultra reformed Christian group. This man was a conservative of conservative Christians. He occasionally preached in their churches and ran bible studies. But there came a day, and you may remember reading his letter about this in the newspaper, the Newcastle Herald, where he had turned his back on all of that and has become one of the leading brothel owners in Newcastle. His letter was written as a letter of protest against Islington’s protests to the lack of action to stop prostitution outside Islington Baptist church.
What had happened? Had he been suddenly “un-born again?”
Occasionally we meet people who seem to make a good start in the Christian life, but then turn their back on Christ. They may have been good church folks for many years, but then they become apostate. How are we to understand this?
Mark 4 “Listen! Consider the sower who went out to sow. As he sowed, this occurred:

I. When You Meet Jesus You Might Be Resistant
Some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.
These are the ones along the path where the word is sown: when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word sown in them.
Jesus desired to impart the revelation of the Kingdom of God to the people. Some, whose hearts had grown hard were rejecting the plain teaching of that truth.
A married couple sits at the breakfast table. The man, reading the paper, says: "Honey, listen to this news item: A study was done that shows conclusively that women speak twice as many words as men!" Wife: "Well, we women always have to repeat ourselves because you men never hear us the first time we say something." Husband: "What did you say?"
* Verse 3: His first word to the crowds is, "Listen!"
* Verse 9: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
* Verse 23: "If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"
* Verse 24: "Consider carefully what you hear!"
* Verse 33: "Jesus spoke the word to them, [literally] as much as they could hear."
This man is never heard of again. John 5 is one of the most heart gripping passages of teaching. Yet of this man, we read, that when Jesus began to teach him John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed,
Sadly I have seen that happen. Someone’s child is cured after prayer, and, once the family have got what they want from God, they are gone! They don’t want to hear!

II. When You Meet Jesus You Might Be Shallow5 Other seed fell on rocky ground where it didn’t have much soil, and it sprang up right away, since it didn’t have deep soil. When the sun came up, it was scorched, and since it didn’t have a root, it withered.
16 And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: when they hear the word, immediately they receive it with joy. 17 But they have no root in themselves; they are short-lived. When affliction or persecution comes because of the word, they immediately stumble.
Note that this person hears the word and initially responds in exactly the same way as the seed that falls on the good soil: germination takes place. But as soon as there is any challenge to the word, as soon as obeying that word leads to any difficulty, this person forgets the word and reverts to what he was before.
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed,
This fellow was so taken up with life now, that the fact that Jesus had healed him was incidental. He was well. That was enough! He hadn’t considered Him who healed him. He was well! He had to get on with life. And life meant not rocking the boat with the Pharisees and scribes! After all , he was well! That was all that mattered.
This happens particularly with children who grow up in Christian homes, but fail to make their faith their own; when persecutions or hardships come because of Jesus, they reject the faith; it is not convenient to believe, and the faith is not really theirs anyway. Similarly, those who rely exclusively on one teacher who always gives all the answers can face this problem. Again, their faith is the faith of the teacher instead of their own. The teacher has developed a relationship with them, instead of developing their relationship to Christ through the word.
The principle of receptivity says that unless we are open and receptive to hear and do the word, we will never even hear it. We will never be tapped in to the secret things of God unless we are really willing to do His will. Hearing the word is not a function of our physical senses; nor is it even a function of our intellect. Rather, it is a function of the condition of our heart. If our heart is toward God, if our will is surrendered to Him, then we will hear the word. The truth isn’t intellectually discerned; it is morally discerned. When our hearts are right with God, God will impart His truth.

III. When You Meet Jesus You Might Be Selfish
7 Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it didn’t produce a crop.
18 Others are sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, 19 but the worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
Ears to hear are what we need to understand the spiritual truth necessary to live our lives. Not everyone has ears to hear. Our ears can become clogged by the wax of worldliness to the extent that we fail to hear what the Spirit is trying to communicate.
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed,
I wonder of that was this guys problem.
One of the saddest verses in the New Testament concerns Demas. Demas worked with Paul for some time; Paul forwards his greetings in the letters to Colosse and Philemon. But in 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul writes: Demas, having loved this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.
Desires for other things can present a barrier to our hearing the word -- even for someone who worked beside the Apostle Paul! If these desires tempted someone working with Paul, they certainly tempt us.

IV. When You Meet Jesus You Might Be Responsive
In Mark 4 Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." It is possible to hear with our physical ears and not hear with our ears of understanding. We’ve all experienced this in many ways. Sometimes it can be rather dangerous. For instance, when your wife informs you of an important event, and you grunt to acknowledge the sound reaching your ears, but never really heard, it can cause problems.
This man had ears to hear physically, but not spiritually. He had legs to walk now, and eyes to see Jesus. But he only saw Him physically. He didn’t really understand.
I believe the Lord Jesus was making that point in verse 24
v. 24b. "he who hears my words and believes Him who sent me" John 5:24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
What time is it? The clock on the back wall indicates it is 11:23 a. m.. What time it is can be controversial, particularly if the preacher goes too long. One person told me that after a sermon they had begun to have a particularly good understanding of Eternity!
Last week we had a visit from an ABC documentary crew who wish to make a documentary on the life of Arthur Stace, a friend of John G Ridley. John Ridley was a Baptist evangelist who preached here in the 30’s and 40’s. Arthur Stace was converted from a life of crime, and used to write on the streets of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong the one little word “Eternity!”
Believe it or not, there is a popular musical in London about Stace’s life, and as it comes out here later this year, the ABC want to do a documentary. Now in the Baptist Union of NSW’s wisdom they have sold off the Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle in Darlinghurst, and the only building with any vague similarity to the Burton Street Tabernacle is.. ours! So they wish to film here in August! Arthur Stace used to write that little word Eternity around the streets of Sydney, and that’s why, at the Millennial celebrations a few years back, the Sydney Harbour Bridge had emblazoned across it the word “Eternity” in beautiful copperplate lettering. Our cars have that word on the rear wind screens.
I believe we are already involved in Eternity. You either have eternal life or eternal death. It is possible to receive eternal life today. The Lord Jesus is saying something about how this lame man listened, how he heard, and how you should hear.
This word for hearing is the most often used term in the original Greek N.T. for hearing. However, it means more than just registering sound. It means understanding what you hear. In Mark 4:5 the word is translated 'listen' or 'hearken.' The last phrase of Luke 19:48 brings out what is meant by this word as it says "were very attentive to hear Him" or "they were hanging on His words."
Today as I try to explain as simply as I know how, you need to hear intently. The words can mean the difference of life and death. You need to hear and believe.
Hearing is a function of our inner attitude toward God. The words Jesus spoke up to this time to both the disciples and to the Scribes and Pharisees were the same. But what the disciples heard and what the Scribes and Pharisees heard was different. Each heard based on his attitude toward God, and we do the same.
This is a definite promise. It is interesting the way Jesus words what a person is to believe. We must hear the words of Jesus but believe on "Him who sent me." Why do we have to believe the Father who sent the Son? Because Jesus is not just a good teacher, prophet, or world leader. He is the Son of God. If you don't believe God sent Jesus for the redemption of mankind, you have not really heard the words of Jesus. He said, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." He also said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me."
If you hear the words of Jesus and believe, you have eternal life. The promise is definite. Your belief needs to be more than historical fact, it must be experienced. Having made a commitment of your life to Jesus, you experience Him and know He is your Lord and Savior.
Recently I heard Billy Graham say, "When I was 16 I hated church. I vowed I would quit when I was old enough." Then a revival crusade swept through his home town, and he was saved. He told his parents the preacher and church had sure changed since the revival crusade. His parents assured him that although the crusade had affected many people, the real difference was that he was hearing and participating as a saved person.
Have you heard the words of Jesus and believed? The promise of Jesus is a definite promise and you should be motivated by it to respond to His Lordship. Notice the next phrase.
This phrase of the scripture emphasizes eternal life to be a present possession. The word "has" is present, not future. The promise of eternal life is not something you say, "I hope I've got" or "I hope someday to get it." It is eternal life beginning when you meet the conditions laid down by Jesus.
Some say it is impossible to know. I simply ask, "do you believe in the Bible?" It says in I John 5:13 "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life." Romans 8:38-39 tells us "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor heights, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord." Can we believe the word of Jesus? He said "has eternal life." Notice also in your Bible John 3:16. It is a present possession.
If this possession is not obtained while you're here on this earth, it will not be gained after this life. This world is its only birthplace. All who enjoy it in heaven, began knowing it while on this earth. It begins by hearing and believing.
Eternal life is also a transforming possession. It changes a person's nature. You become one with a spiritual, rather than just a physical nature. It is clear from II Cor. 5:17 ". . .the old things pass away; behold, new things have come." The transformation is caused by hearing and believing. It changes a person's habits. We receive power to get rid of the garbage in our lives. It transforms a person's vision. They get a Christ-centered world view rather than a self-centered world view. One begins to have a desire to please God. You see the world as a place to minister.
Have you ever bumped into a mannequin and apologized? Most of us have. They look life like at a glance. However, on a careful look, they are obviously not real. Dead bodies also can be distinguished from living bodies. One of the most disturbing things I have had to do as a pastor was to go to a person’s home at 1 am to tell him whether or not I thought his wife had died in her sleep. So also the transformation that takes place in the receiving of eternal life is noticeable. It does make a change in a person.
This gold band I have on my finger is my wedding ring. I chose it and I think it is the best wedding ring I have ever seen. It would be silly for me to say I want a ring like this; I already have one. This watch I have on, I'm very pleased with its performance. You would question my knowledge if I said I hope I get one of these someday.
My point is this! Eternal life is a present possession. If you receive the words of Jesus and believe, you'll have eternal life. Don't hope for it, but receive it. If you have obeyed the teaching of Jesus to hear and believe, then you have eternal life! It is a transforming present possession. Consider the next phrase of scripture as it relates to eternal life.
". . .and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life."
It is a privilege to enjoy eternal life today. Anyone who hears and believes is free to serve out of love. They know they will not be judged concerning their eternal relationship with the Lord. It is a privilege to have a relationship with the Lord who wants us to know judgment for salvation is a past experience. It is settled for those in Christ. There is no fear of losing this eternal life.
Eternal life is also a privilege tomorrow. We can enjoy the sunlight of eternal life today, but tomorrow we can enjoy what we will evade. We will evade judgment because we have passed out of death into life. Eternal life had a battle with judgment and eternal life won. The score was settled on the cross and all who hear and believe have passed the test in Jesus.
In Christ judgment is passed. When you hear and believe, you receive eternal life. Are you one of those people who count it a privilege to know you have eternal life? If you have never acknowledged Jesus as Lord, then today hear and believe.
Eternal life is (1) A promise from Christ. (2) A present possession from Christ (3) A privilege for all who hear and believe.
This man didn’t hear so well.
He had been the recipient of a wonderful miracle, but he still had not come to believe.
The same may be true for you today.
You may have heard, but never taken it to heart.
You may have heard, but you have never heeded and believed on the Saviour.
We never hear of this man again in either Scripture or history. The last we see of him is
John 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. 15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

I guess a worse thing did befall him. He had heard, but he hadn’t believed. And so he was lost eternally!
28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


The Passing of "Mr. Eternity" By John G. Ridley MC

His real name was Arthur Stace but the Sydney Press gave him the honourable title of· “Mr. Eternity” and most people will remember the little man as such.

Yes. he was only a “little” fellow just clearing the five-foot mark· by two or three ·inches, and probably that was the reason why he was appointed to the perilous post of stretcher-bearer in World War 1. The writer recal1s another little handful of a fel1ow doing famous exploits in the same service in his own Battalion where he was known as "Little H ---".

Strange, then, that "little Stace" should have been introduced to wounds, dying and death in those distant days of warfare, long before his introduction to and association with that big and boundless word Eternity. Yet who can tell if stretcher-bearing did not, at odd times, bring before his mind the transient nature of this life and the trenchant mystery of the life to come.

The Dark Background

There is no virtue in veiling the grim fact that Arthur Stace had a very dark background. He was his own expositor in that shadowed realm. He frankly admitted that he was a cockatoo (a lookout against police) for two-up schools; a scout for brothels: a petty criminal and an alcoholic. In his own words: "I was always drunk; always broke; a derelict; a no-hoper". So steep was his descent into the waters of wickedness that, ere long, he found himself on the edge of insanity and near to the gates of a mental asylum.
On one occasion, he told how he had gone to the police station and asked to be put in gaol, to save himself from the pull of drink and methylated spirits; but the police refused. Said Arthur, as he staggered away: "'When I don't want them to put me in, they do it: now, when I want them to put me in, they shut me out”. So he stumbled on in his downward pathway; a wanderer in city streets and a scavenger among its rubbish bins.
Yet, surely. even in those hopeless days, eternal eyes of Love were upon him and a far Voice was calling to Arthur Stace:
"From the land of hunger, Fainting. famished, lone,
Come to love and gladness,
My son! My son!
"Far off thou has wandered;
Wilt thou farther roam?
Come, and all is pardoned, My son! My son!
"Thou art friendless, homeless, Hopeless, and undone;
Mine is love unchanging,
My son! My son!"
(Rev. H. Bonar, D.D.)

Depression and Deliverance
An old proverb tells us “It is an ill wind that blows no-one any good". A war has often awakened a sleeping soul to seek "'the Prince of Peace". A sudden death has sometimes stirred a mourner to seek eternal life from Him who is called "'the Prince of Life". Yea, and an economic depression may bring Divine deliverance to a defeated and desperate man.
On 6th August 1930, when Sydney was in the stranglehold of the depression which followed World War I. Arthur Stace made his way to St. Barnabas' Church, Broadway, where Archdeacon R. B. S. Hammond conducted a "'Meeting for Needy Men" to be followed by a cup of tea and a rock cake.
About three hundred men gathered that night, but our concern is only with "little Stace" the broken-down derelict near the end of his tether.
There is no record of the Archdeacon's sermon that night, but, knowing him as we did, it is safe to say he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His divine love in dying for the redemption of fallen mankind. Perhaps he mentioned the love of the Father for the sin-sick prodigal in "the far country", and His longing to meet the repenting man, with his cry: "Father, 1 have sinned against heaven, and before Thee", with a wondrous welcome.
Perhaps, on the other hand. he mentioned about Jesus Christ, as a "Rock in a weary land". smitten by the rod of Moses (the rod likened to the Cross) and then opening to give "a river of the water of life", freely. for thirsty souls who would "stoop down. and drink. and live", Then, maybe he gave forth the blessed invitation of the Lord Jesus, "If any man thirst. let him come unto me and drink", Archdeacon Hammond knew the thirst of needy men, Then, one wonders, if the service finished with the hymn:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee,
Let the water and the blood
From Thy riven side W'hich flowed, Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and power,"
What followed the service is somewhat uncertain. but one seems to recall Arthur telling this writer that there was a call made to come to Christ, there and then, and to kneel down in humble repentance and faith before Him, Yes. if memory fails not. Arthur spoke of being moved. and thinking: “I may as well give it a go, In any case. there is a cup of tea and a rock-cake to follow",
Later, he was to testify to many: "I went in to get a cup of tea and a rock-cake. but I met the Rock of Ages".
That very night, so the late Rev, Lisle M. Thompson tells us, in his excellent tract. "The Crooked Made Straight". Arthur Stace later entered, University Park and under an old fig tree. with tears of repentance, cried to the Lord
with the old-time plea of an ancient publican:
"God, be merciful to me, a sinner"
In the great grace of God. Arthur Stace found mercy. forgiveness and pardon via the Gospel of Christ that memorable night. In the depths of depression, "Little Stace" cried to God and the once-wounded hand of Jesus lifted him "from sinking sands (of sin) to plains of light" in the Lord,

When the Lord Jesus Christ lifts a sinking sinner from "an horrible pit (and) out of miry clay and sets his feet upon a rock", He goes further. and "establishes his goings". Yes, as He Himself has told us, He gave "authority to his servants. and to every man his work". Thus. General Booth's words “We are saved to serve.”
Arthur Stace was quick to tell others what the Lord had done for his soul. He witnessed at the Buckland Street Hostel for Men: he conducted an open-air meeting for many years at the corner of Bathurst and George Streets: he often gave his testimony at the Francis Street Night Refuge and carried the glad tidings of a Saviour's love to Callan Park and the Lazaret. He also attended various Churches and gave his telling testimony to many congregations. In his own home Church, Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle, he assisted in open-air work and led a Church prayer meeting,
As one who had been forgiven much. he tried to show his grateful love to the Lord Jesus by “much service" Lacking even a normal education. yet he did what he could to repay a debt of love
to his dear Redeemer; remembering, perhaps, what that brilliant scholar and saint of God. Dr. Andrew H, Bonar, once said: "God will take the service of a child, just as well as the service of an angel".

In the story of Arthur Stace, we venture to suggest that he had two dates of undying memory, The first and foremost would doubtless. be 6th August, 1930, when he wept his way to God. through Christ, under the old fig tree in University Park.
The other one, second, but little less vital in its issue, was 14th November, 1932, when he sat in Burton Street Tabernacle, listening spell-bound to a message on "The Echoes of Eternity", preached by an evangelist during a special evangelistic Crusade in that Church.
The solemn message was based on a Biblical gem in Isaiah 57: 15, "For thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
Stressing the word Eternity and its mighty meaning, the preacher suddenly raised his loud voice and cried: "Eternity! Eternity! I wish I could sound, or shout, that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. Eternity! You have got to meet it. Where will you spend Eternity?"
There was rapt attention from the large congregation, but no one was more stirred than Arthur Stace.
"Eternity went ringing through my brain", was his own statement, "and suddenly I began crying (as under the fig tree on August 6, 1930) and felt a powerful call from the Lord to write 'Eternity'. I had a piece of chalk in my pocket and, outside the Church, I bent down right there and wrote it ... The funny thing is, that before I wrote it I could hardly write my own name. I had no schooling and I couldn't have spelled 'eternity' for a hundred quid. But it came out smoothly, in a beautiful copperplate script. I couldn't understand it and I still can’t."
Such was the telling testimony from Arthur's own lips thirty-three years later: after he had been writing that wondrous word from God's Book on the pavements of Sydney and other cities, at his own estimated rate of "at least 50 times a day", and about "500,000 times" all told.

The Unique Witness Thus the call of the Lord, Arthur's Saviour, to give his own city a peculiar and unique witness as to the reality of Eternity was readily and faithfully answered.
For some years, the little man had a real battle to prevail against the warnings of the police on one hand and the wet-blankets of scoffers on the other, Once, in early days, a policeman apprehended him with, "What are you doing writing that word on the pavement?"
"Well", answered Arthur, "it is a word from the Bible, which I want the people to read, and don't forget that when you were sworn-in to the Police Force you placed your hand on that Book."
With that, the officer turned away and Arthur continued his silent, sacred ministry.
"I have been questioned 23 times" (by the police) he said in 1965. "but I’ve never been arrested .. The police have been very good to me. I know there's a rule about defacing the footpaths. but I’ve got permission from a higher Source".
The scoffers and mockers were more difficult to deal with. There was scornful laughter and. doubtless, some sought to wipe out the wonderful word of his witness.
At one time "a bloke". as Arthur called him. "was chasing me around writing 'm' in front of my “eternity"· so making it into ·meternity·. I couldn't have that. so tricked him by using the great big ·’E’.
So through three long decades and more "Little Stace" went on doing the thing the Lord had told him to do. His fame for faithfulness reached far and wide, so far, indeed, that when he passed away on 30th July, 1967, at the age of 83. the Press in tw0 cities at least, gave him honourable mention, and even in far-away Taiwan a correspondent in 'The China Post" paid rich tribute to the "One-Word Preacher”.
Mr. Ian Pratt opened his article with these warm words:
"Although only a handful of Sydney's two million people knew Arthur Stace, there is literally no one 0ver the age of six to whom he has not preached his one-word sermon. 'Eternity',"
Missionary friends in Taiwan were thrilled with delight to read Mr. Pratt's praiseful words.

The Wonderful Warning Word
Why did Arthur Stace cling to his one-word sermon, "Eternity", for 37 years?
Because from November 14, 1932, that same wonderful warning word clung to him and would not let him go. It kept on thril1ing his redeemed and rescued life day and night. The words "Saved for Eternity" must have pulsated through his soul and service thousands of times,
Asked by one, if he had ever thought of extending or changing his "sermon", he replied: "No. It's always been the same. I did write 'Obey God' sometimes, but not often. I think 'Eternity' gets the message across; it makes people stop and think",
How true' It makes people think high or think low. It brings before them the vast issues of "the life to come or the death that follows physical death-"the second death". (Rev 20: 14.)
"There is a death, whose pang
Outlives our fleeting breath;
Oh. What eternal horrors hang
Around man’s second death!"
Yes, it is indeed a word that makes some people stop and think.
About the year 1793, a young man in a state of irreligion and infidelity "calling good evil, and evil good"- was walking alone in a field near a forest in the United States, Suddenly, he was brought to a halt by what seemed an awful voice proclaiming tIle words " Eternity! Eternity ! Eternity!" Then, the wayward winds, the rustling leaves and the buzzing insects were all whispering,
and carolling, and then shouting the same wonderful word-"Eternity". As by a flash of lightning his inner eyes had caught a glimpse of a glorious world; as by a peal of thunder his sinful, slumbering soul had been awakened to "a gulf of everlasting destruction (which) seemed to yawn before him, and he in danger of falling into it."
Pierced to the depths of his whole being by that solemn, sword-like word, he cried out, "If there is no God, doubtless there is a hell." He now seemed to be in the midst of torment and for a long time it seemed as if the thundering proclamation of that awful voice was yet sounding in his ears-"Eternity! Eternity! Eternity!"
Swiftly his awakened heart turned to prayer, and then to the Bible, which, up to that time, he had never seen.
Ere long, he, who was overwhelmed by the thought of his sins, had found quiet rest and peace in Jesus Christ-"the Lamb of God. which taketh away the sin of the world".
Then came the words: "Stephen Grellet, proclaim to others what the Lord has done for your soul.”·· This he did, far and wide in the world, for upwards of forty years, as an evangelist of Eternity and Eternal Life through the Saviour.
Yes, "Little Stace" was right: "It makes people stop and think".
Who can tell how many have stopped and given thought at the sight of that majestic and measureless word "Eternity", in beautiful copperplate, on the pavements and pathways of Sydney, Melbourne and elsewhere?
On the day of Arthur Stace's funeral service,
Tuesday, 1st August, 1967, this writer noticed, near the Burton Street Tabernacle (where Arthur had heard his call and where his funeral service was to be held), a half-faded "Eternity" in his copperplate with two lines drawn through it. Why crossed Out? Perhaps to refer to the passing of "Mr. Eternity"; or perhaps to refute the royal truth of his one-word sermon to the city of Sydney.
Whatever was intended by the one who crossed out the word on the pavement, the truth still stands. Men and women have got to meet Eternity, do what they will: say what they wish. Every death-notice in the daily papers; every funeral cortege moving to the cemetery or crematorium; every fatal air or road disaster. sounds the solemn warning-"Eternity! You have got to face it." Sooner or later, we shall all be embraced in its ageless arms for weal or woe.
Oh, reading friend, stop and Think for a few moments! Eternity is drawing nigh for you. For woe. if like William Pope. the famous infidel, you must cry, as he did in life's latest hour: "I know the day of Grace is past-gone-gone never to return. Oh, eternity, eternity! To dwell forever with devils ... must be my portion, and that justly".
For weal. if, like the noble Andrew Fuller, great missionary pioneer and minister of God, you can testify in dying moments: "I have no other hope of salvation than through the Atonement of my Lord and Saviour. With this hope I can go into eternity with composure".
"Mr. Eternity", Arthur Stace, uneducated, from a dark, sinful background, wondrously saved by Jesus Christ, and called by Him to sound a solemn word of warning to his fellow-men, dared
to write "Eternity' some 500,000 times before the ever-inquiring eyes of his generation.
'Foolish'" did you say: "Only the action of a fanatic, lifted from the lowest strata of society".
No! Faithful to the Saviour Who had lifted him to forgiveness, life and glory: Who had told him to sound forth that Bible Word. ‘The lifetime of the Almighty”, Eternity-to all people.
Many years before Arthur Stace put his chalk to the ground to witness to Sydney, another man, well educated, from a godly background with the reputation of being the greatest preacher of his own generation or any other performed a similar humble ministry. Charles Haddon Spurgeon. of The Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England, when urging his people to do more to influence the neighbourhood for good, said, “I cannot go visiting, but I will try to do my share in another way”. He then read' some lines he had written, which were then printed on large posters and were to be put up wherever a suitable space could be found.
His message was akin to the one placarded before Sydney by "Mr. Eternity," who had he known it, was but treading in the illustrious steps of one of the greatest preachers and soul-winners of the Christian Era,

"Where wilt thou spend eternity?-
Nay, don’t tear down the bill;
The question means but good to thee,
And will be answered still;
To Shun the light or shut the sight,
Thy cup of wrath may fill,
Where wilt thou spend eternity?-
Don’t say, “I cannot tell”;
The life thou leadest now will end
In heaven – or else in hell,
Oh friend, bethink thee well.”
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Stephen Grcllet, great evangelist, Charles H. Spurgeon, "prince of preachers", and Arthur Stace, humble believer, have all passed into Eternity, counting upon their great Saviour, Jesus Christ. Whose word cannot be broken: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” John 3:36
Think well reading friend! Remember you cannot escape Eternity. It must be faced. In Christ, a saved and blessed Eternity! Out of Christ, a lost and baneful Eternity!
What will it be with you?

Monday, July 16, 2007


Nic At Night John 3

Gaolled Convicts were brought before the State Governor for himto determone who would get a rarely offered pardon. Many approached him telling him how they were innocent and unfairly imprisoned. One came before him and said, “Governor Neth I did what I was convicted of. I have served out a large proportion of my tme.” He was the one the Governor awarded the pardon. To benefit from a doctor one must admit one is sick.
Much of Bible given over to showing a man his need, so he will turn to the Saviour provided.
When You Meet Jesus You Will Be Challenged
John 3:1There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Him at night and said, “• Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one could perform these signs You do unless God were with him.” 3 Jesus replied, “• I assure you: Unless someone is born again,he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
John 2: 24 Jesus, however, would not entrust Himself to them, since He knew them all 25 and because He did not need anyone to testify about man; for He Himself knew what was in man.
Nic a representative man who had everything but was a failure spiritually because he had never found God.
You Will be challenged about your need. He was a “pharisee”.. (now a synonym for hypocrite, but then a chief exponent for ethical living, probably the best of all people in the country.. William Barclay.. about 6,000, a brotherhood of theological conservatives. The determined purpose of pharisees to keep the law. Those who seek the meaning of life in religion but do not find it. I.e. catholic presbyt lady at court.
You Will be challenged about your knowledge A scholar! Nic a greek name “one who conquers the people” a significant name back then. Most had hebrew or aramaic names, except those in the upper classes, a greek name as well as a hebrew one, he had a Greek education, and preferred to be known by his Greek name, read LXX and a highly educated man. Today most say that education is the solution to our problems. A High school education just to wash dishes. The problems are not solved, just smarter criminals. Education is not the answer to man’s spiritual unrest and longing. Nic was a politician a member of the Sanhedrin. The chief authority in Israel, conducting trials hearings and investigations. Exclusive governing body.
You Will be challenged about your Name Nic one of Elite families, Josephus mentions2x a family of Nic that is prominent that 70 BC a man named Nic was chosen by Aristobulus for an Ambassador to the court of Pompeii he chose a man named Nic, In Ad 66, 67 Jewish war In surrender of garrison at Jerusalem a man named Gorion was chosen the son of a man named Nic.
He came from one of the most distinguished families of the nation.
Isn’t this the kind of man that you would choose to represent you, or isn’t this a great image of a man? But inspite of it all Nic had a great need. He needed to know God, and therefore was lost and ill at ease, spiritually blind.
Phil 3:4 although I once had confidence in the flesh too. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law, a • Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, persecuting the church; as to the righteousness that is in the law, blameless. 7 But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. 8 More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ—the righteousness from God based on faith.
Rock of Ages cleft for me Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling,..

When You Meet Jesus You Will Be Changed. (John 3:3-7)
TWO important happenings in my life: I was born on January 13th, 1959 I was born-again on May 28thth, 1975 Without the first birth, I would never be on this earth; without the second birth, I would never enter into the kingdom of heaven. The only thing the first birth warrants is death (eternal separation from God in hell), due to our sin nature; in essence, every person born is physically alive yet spiritually dead. All who are spiritually dead have no concern for the kingdom of heaven, and, in all reality, would be very miserable in the kingdom of God. What does Jesus mean by "born again"?
A. You Will be Changed Spiritually
The idea is that of a spiritual birth. The new birth is the communication of spiritual life to that which is spiritually dead. The new birth is the commencement of something entirely new. It is a new life giving principle and therefore a second birth. It is a spiritual birth, or a new creation. It is something that
God alone can do. A. W. Pink said it well, The unregenerate sinner is in darkness, the darkness of spiritual death. The Holy Spirit moves upon, broods over, the conscience and heart of the one He is about to quicken. The Word of God goes forth in power. The result is "light"--the sinner is brought out of darkness into God's marvelous light. The Holy Spirit, then, is the One who produces the new birth.
The new birth is not a renovation of an old sinful life. It is not a reformation of social behavior. It is entirely the supernatural act of God giving spiritual life to a person in response to faith in Christ.
When we are born naturally, we receive natural or physical life; when we are born from above, we receive spiritual or eternal life.
The apostle Paul wrote about this spiritual birth. He said, "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). It is indeed a radical change. However, it is not something man can do. God alone can do it. Jesus said, "For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom He wishes" (John 5:21).
The new birth is also called spiritual "regeneration." It means the Holy Spirit originates eternal life, which comes into the believer in Christ at the very moment he believes on Christ. It is the instantaneous change from a state of spiritual death to a state of spiritual life. It is the creative work of God, specifically the Holy Spirit. The basic idea is that a believer who was formerly spiritually dead now has received eternal life. The believer is declared to be "alive from the dead" (Romans 6:13). "Even when we were dead in trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ (by grace you are saved), and raised up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:5-6). "Born again" believers in Christ have received by faith a new life in Christ. This new life is entirely a supernatural act of God in response to our faith.
J. I. Packer defines "Regeneration, or new birth, is an inner re-creating of fallen human nature by the gracious sovereign action of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8)
B. B. Warfield said our salvation is "a radical and complete transformation wrought in the soul (Rom.
12:2; Eph. 4:24) by God the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Eph. 4:24), by virtue of which we become 'new men' (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), no longer conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9), but in knowledge and holiness of the truth created after the image of God (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Rom. 12:2)."
When a person receives Christ by faith, he is born again and in the act of the new birth receives a new nature. This new nature is patterned after the nature of God. That is why it is described as being born from above, born again or regenerated. It is God's kind of life; therefore, the believer can experience true intimate fellowship with God.
B. You Will be Changed Significantly
John 3:17 "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
To reinforce his point Jesus restates verse 16 from the opposite perspective. Can you remember as a child in your class at school the feeling of panic as you heard the warning, "teacher is coming". You knew what that meant as the paper aeroplane you had just thrown was in full flight and was never going to land in time before she turned the corner. Condemnation. That's what the ancients thought must be the reason for God to have to come to earth. To punish his unruly children. But Jesus says, "God did not send his son to condemn the world." Just the reverse.
John Calvin put it this way, "The Son of God became the Son of man that the sinful sons of men might be made the sons of God." Have you ever wondered why we sing so much in Church? Because at the heart of the Gospel message there is joy. Praise either flows from joy in our hearts, or exposes its absence.
I took a wedding recently. We sung "Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me..." and "O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder..." Out of the congregation of may be 150 people I might not have been able to say which were Christians, but I could certainly tell you who were not. How? They had their mouths shut when we sung, "And when I think that God his son not sparing, sent him to die, I scarce can take it in, that on the cross my burden gladly bearing he bled and died to take away my sin...then sings my soul, my saviour God to thee, how great thou art, how great thou art..." That is when you can tell the difference. If its true for you how can you not feel like singing. There is deep seated eternal joy in our hearts once we come to realize that Jesus came to die in our place, to give us a new life, forgiveness for the past, certainty about the future. Jesus said once "there is more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 who don't think they need to."
Arthur Pink wrote:
An unregenerate man who has no relish at all for spiritual things, who is bored by the conversation of believers, who finds the Bible dull and dry, who is a stranger to the throne of grace, an unregenerated man would be wretched in heaven. Such a man could not spend eternity in the presence of God. Suppose a fish were taken out of the water, and laid upon a salver of gold; suppose further that the sweetest of flowers surrounded it, and that the air was filled with their fragrance; suppose, too, that the strains of most melodious music fell upon its ears, would that fish be happy and contented? Of course not. And why not? Because it would be out of harmony with its environment; because it would be lacking in capacity to appreciate its surroundings. Thus would it be with an unregenerate soul in heaven.
C. You Will be Changed Socially You change kingdoms. Col 1:13 He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves,
The kingdom of God in John 3 refers to the things of God, spiritual things, which are discerned and enjoyed by the regenerate here upon earth:

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