John Lesson 5
John Chapter 3:19-36
In last weeks lesson, we saw Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews coming to the Lord Jesus Christ at night. Jesus explained to this man who was seeking the truth that for anyone to see the kingdom of God, they must be born again. We covered exactly what that meant, and closed last week after reading a couple of the greatest verses in the Bible. John 3:16-18 where we see the love of God demonstrated in the simplest of terms, and find in the following verses that Jesus came not to condemn lost sinners, but to save them. Verse 18 pointed out that when we fail to believe in the record of Jesus Christ, we dont have to wait to see if we are condemned. The Bible says we are condemned already. John 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
I. Explanation of the Condemnation
John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
All through the Bible, we see the light typifying good while the darkness typifies evil. Jesus was the epitomy of the Light, he was the true light that came down from heaven.
You remember perhaps when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for the first time, and a very good and devout man named Simeon was there. He recognized Jesus as the light of the world.
Luke 2:25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
Luke 2:26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.
Luke 2:27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Luke 2:28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luke 2:29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
Luke 2:30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Luke 2:31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luke 2:32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Luke 2:33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
It is important to note that man in his sinful nature does not want to come to God, but rather loves his evil ways and hides from the light. The day that the world rejected Christ and crucified Him on that tree was the day that there was no doubt that man must be judged of God. God out of love, sent His only begotten son to pay our sin debt, and the people of that day rejected Him. And if He was here this morning, most likely the vast majority of the people would have nothing to do with Him. As they sometimes said in their actions in Jesus day.. "Luke 19:14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us." Jesus said that all that do evil hate the light, and will not come to it. Sometimes when we are on visitation, we see people actually turn and try to hide rather than talk with us about the Lord. Why is that? Because the sinful nature of man does not want to come to God. If you are saved, it is due to the Holy Spirit seeking you, and convicting your heart of your sins, and by faith in Christ, today you have a new nature. This is that second birth that Jesus spoke of to Nicodemus.
John 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
When will we do things of truth? Only after our nature has been changed. And even then, we have to battle this old sinful body. But our hearts are determined to serve God, and we are deeply convicted of our sins when we do wrong. And when our hearts are right with the Lord, we will bring those sins to the Lord, confess them, and have them forgiven so that we might restore our fellowship with God. Jesus told several of those Pharisees, those who felt self righteous and did not recognize their true sinful condition, that "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:32) This verse ended the conversation that Jesus had with Nicodemus.
II. The Testimony of John the Baptist
John 3:22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
John 3:23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
John 3:24 For John was not yet cast into prison.
Jesus takes his disciples into the land of Judea near the town of Aenon. Anenon was in the territory of the tribe of Manessah. It says there was much water there, due to the convergence of the river Jordan and the brook Jabbok. We see that at this time, prior to John being imprisoned, he was still able to preach ".. the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." (Matt. 3:2) It was not until after the Lord was tempted of Satan in the wilderness that John was imprisoned. That is not made clear in this account, but you can tell that from the other accounts as we find here in Matthew.
Mat 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
Mat 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.
Mat 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
Mat 4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee;
John 3:25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
John 3:26 And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him.
John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
We see some of Johns disciples come and question about the Lord. They see another group besides themselves baptizing, and this bothers them. We must guard against thinking that we are the only ones that God is using. The ones they question are actually with Jesus Christ. John Calvin commented that ignorance always makes people bold and presumptuous. If that is true, we must all guard against ignorance by constant study in the word of the Lord. John tells them that unless God does the blessing, no one could truly be saved. If is Jesus, and Jesus alone that saves us. Not our works, not our church affiliation, not any other ordinance or tradition.
John 3:28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
John 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
In his commentary on The Gospel of John, John Calvin said about verse 29 "The bride belongs to the bridegroom. Through this comparison John emphasizes that only Christ is elevated above the rank of ordinary people. A person who is about to marry does not call and invite his friends to the marriage so that they can make his wife a prostitute or, through giving up his own rights, allow them to share the bridal bed. Rather, the bridegroom invites his friends to the marriage so that it is honored by them and made more sacred. In the same way, Christ does not call his ministers to the teaching office so that by conquering the church they dominate it, but rather that Christ may use their faithful labors and unite them to himself. If it is important and splendid distinction that people are appointed to positions in the church where they can represent the person of the Son of God. So they are like the friends whom the "bridegroom" brings with him so that they can be made with him in celebrating the marriage. "
John had earlier told his disciples that there was one coming after him that he was not even qualified to tie his shoes. And how important was John? Jesus said that there was no greater born of woman than John the Baptist.
Luke 7:28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
Luke 3:15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
Luke 3:16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
When we serve the Lord, we worry not about pleasing man. But if our goal is to please man, we will make many mistakes. Here they question the matter of ceremonial washing, as the law laid down for the Jews as to how baptisms and washings should be carried out. They were really more concerned it seems of the outward appearance and maintaining John the Baptist as the baptizer than to really understanding doctrine. And while we can go to seed on doctrine, we had sure better know it or we will make many errors. John makes them understand that the one they question is the bridegroom himself. Perhaps these disciples of John felt that Christ should be inferior to John, when in reality it was Christ himself that gave reason for John to come as that witness and "voice crying in the wilderness." Nothing could be more absurd than to try and make Christ inferior to John, as Johns witness to Jesus was so strong. In verse 26, they made claim that "all men go to him" as if it was wrong that they were not coming to John. God help all of us to know that we are together in the work of the Lord, whether we preach here in Texas, or someone preaches the Gospel in Russia. We are all laborers for the Lord, and we should rejoice that others also are in the battle for the Lord.
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
John 3:31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.
Perhaps one of the most concise statements John ever uttered that we should all remember came in Verse 30. He must increase, but I must decrease. Look at any man or woman who has done much for the Lord, and you will see a humble individual not looking for self gratification, but a soul yearning to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. If God wants us to be a humble caretaker of the church, or the greatest evangelist of the world, it will behoove all of us to follow the example of John. Let God use you, and you will accomplish more with your talent than you could ever do on your own. As John so eloquently stated, Jesus is the one that came from above, and is above all. John saw himself as just a sinful mortal down here in his pilgrimage. But at the name of Jesus, the Bible says every knee will bow and every tongue profess that Jesus is Lord of All.
Phil 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Phil 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Phil 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Phil 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Phil 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Phil 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Phil 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
One final comment on he must increase.. J. Vernon McGee said it is very important that we realize where things are accomplished in this life. "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." Again and again this truth will come out. Jesus said, "No man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (John 6:65) It is important to think about how Johns ministry was almost over at this time.
John 3:32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
John 3:33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.
John 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
John 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
John 3:36 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.
What John said in verse 32 is so true. Jesus had brought and taught exactly what had been given him from the heavenly Father. John is simply stating that all things Jesus taught were things he was fully accredited to teach. What he had heard was from God himself. And there was never a greater love nor shall there ever be than the love of God to the Son. What a great, great promise in verse 36. All that believe on the Son hath everlasting life. I want you to notice this is present tense. And for anyone doubting that we have security in salvation, ask what does the word "everlasting" or "eternal" mean? It means forever. God is faithful to us, even if we are not faithful to Him. What instance in the Bible did Jesus ever do something halfway? Were blind people healed in one eye? No. Were lepers half cleansed of their leprosy? Did lame people healed still limp or need a cane? In every instance, the answer is a resounding "NO!" Jesus, who is the author of our salvation, is also the one who will keep us.
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
You and I can believe as the apostle Paul. He had confidence in Jesus and passed this on to the young pastor Timothy.
2 Tim 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.
Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge. The lessons may not be sold without consent. If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.
Prov 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.