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Wednesday, October 4th, 2023
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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Bible Commentaries
John 3

Bell's Commentary on the BibleBell's Commentary

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Verses 1-15

  1. INTRO:
    1. Prayer: Good teacher, we come to You w/what we know not, teach us! We come to You w/what we are not, make us! We come to You w/what we have not, Give us!
    2. The year 1505, a young man named Martin returning home found himself caught in a violent storm. Terrified, he vowed to become a monk if he were allowed to live!
      1. Martin Luther made it through the storm & fulfilled his vow. He entered the Augustinian order of monks in Erfurt, Germany. By his own admission, he entered the monastery more out of constraint then commitment.
      2. In Wittenberg, he obsessively performed his religious tasks. His hard work, confessions, & penances never seemed enough. He wrestled with his own salvation. He hungered for acceptance by God. He realized his emptiness.
      3. On a trip to Rome, which he thought would earn him some form of spiritual merit, he climbed the steps of Pilate’s house on his knees. This is where many church historians believe Luther first gained a true understanding of the gospel. A verse came to mind that changed his life. Rom.1:17 “the righteous man shall live by faith.” Like a flash of lightening, it struck him, “It is faith that justifies...not works!” He said, “I felt myself to have been born again, & to have entered through open gates into paradise itself.”
      4. Luther had lived a rigorous religious life, pounding on heaven's door in the strength of his own works. Exhausted, he fell on his knees before that door & realized a liberating truth: Christ Himself is the door, & it opens to no human effort. Rather, the door swings on the well-oiled hinges of Christ’s righteousness…& opens by faith. (Chuck Swindoll pg.39,40)
    3. Here we have the first of Jesus’ 12 discourses in John.
      1. In ch’s 3 & 4 we eavesdrop into 2 private conversations Jesus had with a couple of Israel locals (1 man & 1 woman)
        1. The Man - a respected religious leader; a Jew; one people looked up to.
        2. The Woman - a not so respected woman; a Samaritan; looked down upon.
        3. Both took Jesus’ words too literally & miss the deeper meaning.
        4. Both were sincere inquirers.
        5. Both, Jesus works very patiently with & offers both eternal life.
    1. ​​​​​​​NIC AT NIGHT! (1,2)
    2. Jesus doesn’t condemn Nicodemus for coming at night so neither will I. (yes, all 3 x’s mention)
      1. It’s amazing he came to Jesus at all! - Better to come at night then not at all! :-)
      2. Jesus always accessible, to the one who comes!
        1. The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. Jn.6:37
    3. Nicodemus, what an impeccable resume!
      1. ​​​​​​​If heaven could be earned from one’s accomplishments, Nicodemus would have had change left over.
      2. Nicodemus at the top of the religious ladder, looking down. Yet now we see him stepping down from that ladder to walk the streets looking for answers!
    4. Three Facts about Nicodemus: “conqueror of the people” [he had power, prestige, & position]
    5. In spite of all he had, he wanted to know more about Jesus’ teaching.
      1. A Pharisee - “to be separated”, stood aloof from society in self-rt smugness. They were dedicated to preserving, interpreting, & defending Jewish Law; which they legalistically forced upon the people of Israel.
        1. E.g. These theological hair-splitters devoted 64 columns in the Talmud to Sabbath requirements; wrote 24 chapters in the Mishnah defining what qualified as work on the Sabbath.
      2. Member of Sanhedrin - court of 70 men, who had religious jurisdiction over every Jew in the world.
      3. The Teacher of Israel - indicates he had preeminent status in religious circles
    6. What we know of Nicodemus is only found in John’s gospel.
      1. Ch.3 he Desires Jesus; Ch.7 he Defends Jesus; Ch19 his Devotion to Jesus
    7. Religion attempts to turn over new leaves; Regeneration transforms lives.
      Religion is man’s effort to reach God; Regeneration is God’s effort to reach man.
    8. Man’s plan of salvation involves an external series of good works (church attendance, baptism, giving, benevolent deeds) God’s plan is an internal gift from Himself (impartation of new life by means of a sp. rebirth)
    9. It is not a change of my name, but a renewal of my nature, so that I am not the man I used to be, but a new man in Christ Jesus.
      1. To wash & dress a corpse is a far different thing from making it alive: man can do the one, God alone can do the other! (Spurgeon)
      2. To be unregenerate is to be unsaved, unpardoned, w/o God, & w/o hope.
    11. Most assuredly/truly truly - (vs.3,5,11)
      1. Jesus uses verily or truly 101 x’s in the 4 gospels.
      2. He uses the 2 words most assuredly/verily verily together 24 x’s in John alone.
      3. In the original the word is amen! ( ἀμήν ἀμήν Amen, Amen)
        1. Also translated “so be it”. It’s a word of finality - it is Jesus’ “last word.” No more can be said. Jesus said Amen to His promises & that settles it.
        2. Q: Do you need more from the Savior then His Amen?
    12. Little did Nicodemus realize, that when he met Jesus, he, the leading teacher of Israel, would be the one raising his hand as the student.
      1. Jesus doesn't go for the jugular, but for the heart, the heart of the matter & heart of His message!
      2. Instead of jots & tittle of the Law, He speaks about words of life.
    13. Nicodemus’ response was not a foolish question. He knew what it meant in his Jewish dictionary. He was not gynecologically challenged, he understood the whole birth process
      1. He understood a radical change was necessary. But HOW does it happen? (9)
      2. Listen to his heart cry; he desires a change; he wants to be different.
      3. Tennyson Poem:
        “And oh for a man to rise in me,
        That the man that I am may cease to be!”
      4. ​​​​​​​Q: Maybe you long for the same today?
    14. First Birth - born of water; born of the flesh.
    15. Second Birth - born from above; born again; born of the Spirit; reborn; regeneration(latin).
      1. Our first birth leads to death, but our second birth brings eternal life.
    16. Some think born of water refers to water baptism. I think context defines it, in comparison to born of flesh in next vs.6.
      1. Also, baptism speaks of death not life (Rom.6:3)
      2. The birth of the flesh coming in a sac of water.
      3. Flesh is flesh; spirit is spirit; a vegetable stays a veggy; a pig stays a piggy; there’s no evolution from flesh to spirit!
      4. Illustration: 2 men sought to prove to their king whether a person [a] had to be born a gentleman, or whether [b] he could become one by training, discipline, & ingrained habit. Time passed, 1 sitting gloomily at an inn, ordered a cup of chocolate. Much to his amazement, bring it out was the innkeepers cat. Trained to stand up on its hind legs, balancing a tray in its forepaws. He bought the feline & off he went.​​​​​​​
        The other man heard of this, discourage, then saw something in a window & purchased it, but kept it hidden, he showed up before the king.The 1 man showed his cat. The king applauded. Then the other pulled out his box & let a ½ dozen mice go…The cat forgot its training; It’s natural instinct surfaced, & off ran the cat!
        1. Like Nicodemus, a man in sin, is still a man in sin! - It is not training, discipline, or ingrained habit that will help; but to be reborn a gentleman!
    17. Faith that does not drastically change my behavior will never change my destiny! Redpath
    19. Hmm, Did a breeze kick up?
    20. Wind - this can also be translated the Spirit breaths where he chooses.
      1. Same word in both Hebrew & Greek, for both, wind & Spirit.
      2. Ruach(Heb) pneuma(Gk) both are governed by the context. [pneumatic wrench]
      3. 2 kinds of wind: man-produced, God-produced.
        1. Same way we must distinguish between spirit of man & Spirit of God.
        2. Only the Spirit of God can give power & it is a sovereign gift of grace.
        3. The H.S. produces power, the flesh produces only confusion. [The wind must turn the windmill, for the windmill cannot produce the wind]
      4. It’s like the man who tried to return his windmill because it didn’t make wind. The owner said, “well there wasn’t any wind”. He said, “why would I buy it if there was already wind!” - Foolish, yes, but no more foolish than to live a Christian life by your own efforts, w/o the power of the H.S.
      5. Like the Scriptures, we are living epistles that are God-breathed & energized.
    21. Just as you don’t know where the wind comes from or where it is going, so it is impossible to explain being born of the Spirit!
    22. JESUS, THE HEAVEN-MAN? (9-13)
    23. (13) No man has gained the heights of heaven. What Jesus spoke, came from the very secrets of heaven, that HE brought down.
    24. HOW IS JESUS LIKE A SNAKE? (14,15)
    25. Familiar story in Numb.21:4-9. Israel murmured against God & Moses, so He sent fiery/ poisonous serpents. The serpents killed a number of them, & made may others sick. As a remedy for their sin, God had Moses make a bronze serpent & raise it on a pole for all to see. If the people looked at the serpent with even a hint of faith in God’s provision, they were healed.
      1. All this was a striking foreshadow of Christ being lifted up on the cross to save those who were dying of sin & looked to Him in faith.
    26. Note 2 things: (1) The poisonous bite was terminal (2) Only one cure was provided!
    27. Look with faith! Not, concoct some remedy. Not fight the serpents. Not make an offering. Not pray. Not even look to Moses.
      1. All that was required was a simple look of faith.
      2. Didn’t even matter how many times they were bit or how infected they were!
        1. Jesus took our infected nature upon Himself, bore our venom, & imparts a new nature to us.
      3. Like the thief on the cross, who merely looked to Jesus & said, “Lord, remember me when You come into your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
    28. Q: Are you more religious than Nicodemus? And yet Jesus told him he was still missing heaven by 18” so to speak.
      1. 1. Christ had to die (14); Sinners have to believe (15).
    29. Q: Today, will you look to Jesus & receive His serum for your snake bite of sin?

Verses 16-21

  1. INTRO:
    1. Prayer: May we be lost on wonder, love, & praise.
    2. The Continental Divide of the Americas, or merely the Continental Divide or Great Divide, is the name given to the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas that separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems which drain into the Atlantic Ocean. [Starting in Alaska; running through Canada; through the center of the U.S.; through Mexico; then through South America]
      1. They say a house situated on top of this Great Divide determines whether a drop of rain fall will end up in the Pacific or Atlantic...determined by a fraction of an inch, on where it hits the peak of the roof. ∆
      2. In this portion of Scripture we are shown the Scriptures Great Divide.
        1. Those condemned/those saved; Those who believe/those who don’t believe; Those who love the light/those who love darkness; Those who will perish/those who will inherit eternal life.
    3. We have in this section the most familiar verse in all of scripture, and for good reason - Jn.3:16 presents the clearest, simplest statement of the good news of Jesus Christ.
    4. Outline: The Persons: The Father gave His Son; The Son will give His life. The Purpose: Is not to Condemn Sinners; Is to Convert Sinners.The People: Condemnation for those who Reject Christ; Salvation for those who Receive Christ
    1. THE PERSONS! (16)
    2. The Father gave His Son! (16a)
    3. For God - The initiation in all salvation lies w/God the Father!
      1. Bad theology that says, “the Father is mean, the Son is nice”.
      2. Listen to Paul in Eph.1:5,6 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself(Father), according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.
      3. It was with God the Father that this all started!
        1. God is Love! 1 Jn.4:8
    4. So loved - Love is the mainspring of God’s being.
      1. Not God so...manipulated the world; or so finally broke the world; or disciplined; or punished, or scourged the world...until they came to Him!
      2. No, it wasn’t a power-move acting for His sake, but a love-move acting for our sake!
        1. And that love will not be satisfied till every last sheep is brought into His fold!
    5. The world - not just a nation.
      1. Not just the elite, rich, powerful(by man’s standards) that He reached out to, but to unlovables(Lepers); the one’s that detest him(Manaseh); to the ones that are too busy for God(like Matthew the tax collector); to those too rich for God(Zachias); to those working against God(Saul).
      2. For God so loved a sinful world. Every race; rich & poor; powerful & powerless; male & female; those who stayed home from church to watch the Daytona 500 today, & those who didn’t :-0
    6. Mirror Story: Fort Hancock is on the farthest tip of Sandy Hook, which reaches out into the Atlantic on the New Jersey coast. During World War II it was a military training center. A civilian of the area was eager to bring the good news of Christ to the thousands of young men stationed there. The military authorities would not permit him to enter in person. Not to be denied, he asked a firm that specialized in novelties to make several thousand mirrors about 3” in diameter. On the back of each mirror he had printed the words of John 3:16. Beneath these words he had this direction, “If you want to see who it is that God loves, look on the other side.”
      1. Charles Wesley Hymn: Amazing love! How can it be That thou, my God, shouldest die for me?
    7. He gave - The measure of love is always its willingness to give; its capacity for sacrifice.
      1. If we would measure the love of God, we must measure it by Calvary.
      2. Someone wrote: Love ever gives, forgives, outlives; And ever stands with open hands; And while it lives it gives; For while it gives it lives; And this is Love’s prerogative - To give - and give - and give.
      3. We can never know the costliness of Calvary to God, nor can we ever measure the love that lay behind it.
        1. All we can do is fall back on that elastic particle “so”, God so loved!
        2. It’s not simply that God is love...because what if He never gave it away?
          1. ​​​​​​​The good news is that He didn’t keep it, He gives it away!
    8. Only begotten = unique, only one of His kind.
      1. Some translate it then, He gave His one & only Son.
      2. Some say, repent & believe seems so cheap. No! It was a costly rescue!
        1. (It cost pain, separation, blood, death)
    9. The Son will give His life! (16b)
    10. Whoever believes - Belief means far more than intellectual assent to the claims of Christ. It means placing one’s life & trust in complete surrender to the One in whom we believe.
      1. Popular story is told of a missionary having a difficult time finding the right word for “belief” in the native dialect. Finally one native ran into his hut, completely exhausted, after running for a long way, threw himself upon a nearby hammock, breathed a sigh, & uttered a word in his dialect. He asked the native what he said. He said, it is a word that means “I am resting all my weight here”. “This is just the word I need,” & finished his translation.
        1. Many today are trying to come up with the right feeling, or the right type of faith. They fail to realize that it is not faith but Christ who saves!
        2. The Devil makes them concentrate on their poor, weak faith, rather than on the object of that faith.
        3. Look at the native again. At the end of himself, he does nothing but just rests his all upon the hammock.
          1. So, too, believing is just casting one’s self unreservedly into the open arms of the Lord Jesus & saying, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief”. On You I rest my soul for all eternity!
    11. Not perish - If we believe on Him we’ll never perish.
    12. But have eternal life - When we believe we gain eternal life as our present possession have
      1. ​​​​​​​Not just quantity later, but quality now!
    13. THE PURPOSE! (17)
    14. It is not to Condemn sinners! (17a)
    15. Q: Why do we as Christians often think this was His, or is our mission?
      1. Jesus didn’t come into the world to Kill the world, but to Cure the world!
    16. It is to Convert sinners! (17b)
    17. More than 100,000 people die in the U.S. every year from preventable diseases.
      1. There are cures but for one reason or another people refuse to take the vaccines or medicines for their particular disease.
      2. More tragic are the 100’s & 1000’s who die uncured every year, of the worse disease of all..the spiritual disease of sin!
        1. ​​​​​​​We’ve been snake-bitten by sin & only Jesus provides the snake-bite kit!
        2. Read Jer. 30:12-17 - The incurable become curable.
    18. THE PEOPLE! (18-21)
    19. Here we have a theological postscript, explaining why some believe & others don’t.
    20. There are only 2 possible responses to Jesus: belief or unbelief. And, There are only 2 possible destinies to which those responses lead: eternal life or eternal death.
    21. Condemnation for those who Reject Christ! (18b-20)
    22. (19) Sinners not only live in darkness but love it, & refuse to come to the light where their sins will be exposed & can be forgiven.
    23. This is the condemnation- Here is the process of condemning, not the sentence of it.
    24. Men loved darkness rather than light –
      1. Why do men hate the light? It exposes(20) where we are & what we are!
      2. Loves darkness, What does he mean? - You know it well…
        1. It’s every lustful/desirous thought or picture, memory pulls up to dance with.
        2. It’s that adulterous affair you’ve carefully tucked away in the dungeon of your mind
        3. It’s the lies you’ve carefully hidden away in a dark dank corner.
        4. It’s those seething anger filed away in a black file cabinet, ready to be pulled up at will.
      3. Darkness has always been a “slow, subtle, brainwashing process” that gradually desensitizes all to evil.
        1. Like the Irishman who came over here, then his wife joined him a year later. She said, “they sure talk funny over here,” to which he responded, “you should of heard them a year ago!”
      4. Q: Are you more interested in how to live in the dark rather than how to walk in the light?
    25. Salvation for those who Receive Christ! (18a, 21)
    26. Comes to the light(21) - is allowing the H.S. to shine His Mag-light upon those dark crevices in our life. [Watch those rats & cockroaches run!]
    27. End: He gave His only begotten Son - Jesus is a GIFT!
      1. What is our normal response to a gift? Do we pay for it? Do we work for it? Do we beg for it? Do we work for it? [No. We just take it; & it is ours]
      2. Yesterday many asked Will you be mine? Today Jesus asks Will you be Mine?
      3. In 1983 I proposed to Kelly. It wasn’t much of a proposal. We pulled up in her parents driveway. I went & opened her door. I got down on my knee & asked, will you marry me? (God out did me!)
        1. Gods proposal to us...hanging on a cross; a bloody, beaten, body; asking, “Will you be mine?” - Will you accept God’s proposal today?
    28. God...The greatest Lover;
      So loved...The greatest degree;
      The world...The greatest number;
      That He gave...The greatest act;
      His only begotten Son...The greatest gift;
      That whoever...The greatest invitation;
      Believes...The greatest simplicity;
      In Him...The greatest Person;
      Should not perish...The greatest deliverance;
      But...The greatest difference;
      Have…The greatest certainty;
      Everlasting Life...The greatest possession;
    29. Spurgeon said, If we never had another gleam of love from God’s face again, we could live on this one text!
      1. Henry Morehouse said(after preaching for a week on Jn.3:16 in Moody’s pulpit), “I have been trying to tell you how much God loves you. Suppose I could borrow Jacob’s ladder. Suppose I could ascend that shining stairway until my feet stood on the sapphire pavements of the city of God. Suppose I could find Gabriel, the herald angel who stands in the presence of God. Suppose I could say, ‘tell me, Gabriel, how much does God love the world?’ I know what he would say. He would say, “Henry Morehouse, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Thats how much God loves the world.”
    30. Analogy, “The Electric Chair”: You’ve lived a life of sin. You’ve been tried, convicted, found guilty! The judge has pronounced the sentence…Death! Now you await execution. Knowing you’re deserving of this punishment, though repentant now, you know this is your consequence. Your strapped in the chair, & the switch is about to be thrown.

      Then, you hear footsteps…it’s the judge? He sets you free – you can’t believe it.

      As you’re walking away down the corridor you pass a man who is heading for the same chair. Who is that? you yell back out of curiosity. What did he do to deserve execution? Nothing at all! He’s a good man, the best I’ve known. I know this because He’s my Son!
      1. “For God so so Loved….”

Verses 22-36

  1. INTRO:
    1. After a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, the audience gave conductor Arturo Toscanini and the Orchestra a prolonged ovation. Toscanini, filled with emotion, turned to his musicians and whispered, “I am nothing, you are nothing.” Then, in almost adoring tones, Toscanini said, “But Beethoven is everything!”
      1. Likewise, we must recognize that Jesus is everything!
    2. When Jealousy knocks on your door do you open it? - How do you handle it?
  2. THE ARGUMENT! (22-26)
    1. (22) He remained with them - spent time with them(NIV) - [Meant: to rub hard or rub through]
      1. ​​​​​​​The idea is 1 of rubbing shoulders w/others long enough to get into their lives.
      2. Imperfect tense, Jesus keptspending time w/them & baptizing.”
    2. One of Jesus’ top priorities was discipling 12 men.
      1. This required time, & He took the time.
    3. (23) They came - “they kept on coming” Imperfect indicates.
    4. (25) A debate concerning which baptism is valid, Jesus’ or John’s?
    5. (26) All are coming to Him - Jealousy 101.
      1. They’re asking, What are you going to do about it John, the used to be, baptizer? [His ministry is growing & yours is shrinking, How come?]
      2. There was no real rivalry except in people’s minds.
      3. Understand both ministries were operating on the same turf!
        1. ​​​​​​​Mt.3:1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea
      4. Jesus ministry had been up in Galilee up to this time, now he moves into John’s domain.
        1. Reminds us of the strife between the herdsman of Abram & Lot in Gen.13.
          1. Abram said, Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.
  3. THE AFFIRMATION! (27-36)
    1. ​​​​​​​4 ways to keep from Jealousy: See the Big Picture; Be Secure in who you are; Have Joy to the Full; Have Pure humility.
    2. [1] SEE THE BIG PICTURE! (27)
    3. God is in charge, not man!
    4. A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. Quotes a proverb
      1. If someone is prospering or displaying gifts superior to yours its because God has given it to him/her.
      2. What a tragedy when God gives us something we are lusting for...that isn’t best for us. Ps.106:14,15(Numb.11) But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness (for meat), And tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request (quail), But sent leanness into their soul.
      3. Old German Proverb, “Jealousy eats nothing but its own heart!”
    5. Get the Big Picture...& the Big Picture is God gives each man his gifts...take it up with God if you have a problem!
      1. God’s in control of the blessing department!
      2. Recognize & accept what God has given to you; Recognize & accept what God has not given to you.
    6. John knew a teachable moment when he saw one. But, How to squelch jealousy?
      1. When Jealousy knocks on your door do you open it? How do you handle it?
      2. What if, like John, you are Outdone, Outclassed, or Eclipsed?
      3. What kept John from bitterness?
      4. He informed them you can only receive what is given to you from heaven!
        1. He knew he was from earth, but Jesus was from heaven.
          1. Earthling vs. Unearthly/Otherworldly
        2. If all ministry is from heaven, then do we have a right to be jealous of another man’s ministry, gifts, abilities, accomplishments? [Imp insight into John’s character]
    7. ​​​​​​​His response threw cold water on his inflamed disciples, quenching the conversation & their competitive spirit.
    8. So far: [1] See the Big Picture.
    9. [2] BE SECURE IN WHO YOU ARE! (28,29a)
    10. All work is significant, but only one is preeminent!
    11. Jesus = Word; John = Voice. Now, Jesus = Groom; John = Best man.
    12. So, why would you pick this guy as your Best Man?
      1. ​​​​​​​He wasn’t dressed for success w/camel hair & a leather girdle [that was so last century]
      2. He wasn’t your politically correct campaign manager (with his abusive rhetoric).
      3. He wasn’t going to make the next cooking show w/his strange diet, living off the land eating insects, locusts, & wild honey, like Bear Grylls of TV’s Man vs. Wild?
      4. He was an unconventional eccentric hermit living in the wilderness. Yet, had a uncompromising message of repentance to prepare peoples hearts for the Messiah.
        1. He was not chosen for outward fashion, but inward character.
      5. He was John the unsung hero, an enigma of a man, sent to:
        Clear the way; Prepare the way; then Get out of the way for Messiah
        1. Clear the way - to remove obstacles from minds & hearts so they’d be ready to receive Messiah.
        2. Prepare the way - to promote repentance on the part of the nation so He would be accepted.
        3. Get out of the way - to step aside once the Messiah had been introduced.
          1. This the toughest part of his job description, & undoubtedly the reason Jesus called him a great man.
          2. Mt.11:11a Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist.
        4. You might think, oh to be the Best Man!...No! to be the Bride of Christ!
          1. John couldn’t be bride, he died before Christ went to cross(he was OT)
          2. We are the Bride of Christ, not just the friend!
          3. Let’s finish Mt.11 not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
    13. So far: [1] See the Big Picture; [2] Be Secure in who you are.
    14. [3] HAVE JOY TO THE FULL! (29b)
    15. Joy comes from being obedient, not from getting glory!
    16. The friend of the bridegroom - Best man, a liaison between the bride & the bridegroom.
      1. He would arrange the details of the wedding. Send out invitations. Make the announcements. Preside over the wedding feast. His special duty...was to guard the bridal chamber.
      2. He would let no one into the bridal chamber except the bride, who would secretly slip away from the celebration (7 day feast) to join the groom.
      3. Sometime later when the union was consummated, the groom came out & announced the fact w/a shout.
      4. Key: Upon hearing the groom’s voice, the friend of the bridegroom would be happy & relieved. His job was done. His joy was full. He could now step out of the way! (William Barclay; Gospel of John; pg.143)
    17. This joy is fulfilled - rejoices greatly; my joy is filled to the full!
    18. So far: [1] See the Big Picture; [2] Be Secure in who you are; [3] Have Joy to the Full.
    19. [4] HAVE PURE HUMILITY! (30)
    20. Humility calls attention to Christ, not self!
    21. Moses dealt with the same thing in Numb.11:25-29 (read)
    22. The Asaph wrote(Ps.75:6,7) For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, And exalts another.
      1. Jealousy & Envy are often used interchangeably, but there’s a difference. (Charles Swindoll; Killing the Giants; pg.23)
        1. ​​​​​​​Envy begins w/empty hands, mourning for what it doesn’t have.
        2. Jealousy begins w/full hands, but is threatened by the loss of its plenty. (its the pain of losing what I have...to someone else)
        3. Envy is when: a peer is promoted; a newcomer passes you on the way up the corporate ladder; when you’re a senior sitting on the bench, & a sophomore is in the starting line-up; when a new business starts up & overshadows yours overnight
        4. Jealousy is when: loyalties shift; when close friends abandon us for others; when retirement comes & our authority is handed to a replacement.
      2. Jealousy & Envy are like muggers in a dark alley waiting to do us in; rob us of our joy; work us over; & leave our spiritual lives for dead.
      3. Are you going to let it happen to you? - Only way to stop it is to walk down another street, the well lit street of Humility, a street lit not by its own light, but by the light of another, whose sandal we are not worthy to untie!
    23. (30) Jesus must become greater & greater, while we must become less & less.
      1. Its what the Rev. Richard Baxter (1615–1691) said on his deathbed, when someone was remembering the good which many had received by his preaching and writings, Mr. Baxter replied, “I was but a pen in God’s hand, and what praise is due to a pen?”
      2. Pointer Illustration: Growing up, my teachers/nuns had a 3’ long wooden pointer (in Catholic school was used for others things, Smack!!!) . When a teacher used one(properly), you didn’t stare at the pointer, but at what it was pointing to.
        1. John was just the pointer, Jesus was what he was pointing to.
        2. The bible is just a pointer, pointing us to God.
    24. (36) John ends with an “alter call” that would shake even the most complacent off the proverbial fence!
    25. If baptism were necessary for salvation, then this is the place for the bible to say so; but nothing is said. Instead, the emphasis is on believing. (Warren Wiersbe; Outlines of the NT.)
    26. So, was this just a discussion about which baptism was right? No, John taught his disciples that their relation with God’s Son had eternal consequence.
      1. Those who believe & obey Jesus have eternal life; those who don’t are in sin & have the abiding wrath of God on them.
        1. Wrath (ὀργή orge´) - denotes God’s abiding opposition to sin.
    27. Wrath was removed on the cross...for those who believed.
      1. Wrath of God abides on those who do not believe - “you are not like a city ready to be attacked, you are a city already besieged.”
        1. You do not stand at the bar of justice awaiting your sentence; Your sentence is passed already, you are now this day condemned!
        2. BUT...he was believes in Him is NOT condemned!
    28. Every young student knows of Isaac Newton’s famed encounter with a falling apple. Newton discovered and introduced the laws of gravity in the 1600s, which revolutionized astronomical studies. But few know that if it weren’t for Edmund Halley, the world might never have learned from Newton. It was Halley who challenged Newton to think through his original notions. Halley corrected Newton’s mathematical errors and prepared geometrical figures to support his discoveries. Halley coaxed the hesitant Newton to write his great work, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Halley edited and supervised the publication, and actually financed its printing even though Newton was wealthier and easily could have afforded the printing costs. Historians call it one of the most selfless examples in the annals of science. Newton began almost immediately to reap the rewards of prominence; Halley received little credit.He did use the principles to predict the orbit and return of the comet that would later bear his name, but only AFTER his death did he receive any acclaim. And because the comet only returns every 76 years, the notice is rather infrequent. Halley remained a devoted scientist who didn’t care who received the credit as long as the cause was being advanced.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on John 3". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/john-3.html. 2017.
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