Baptism or the new birth?...

John 3
"1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
"2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him."

A religious leader goes to Jesus 'at night' to talk about the Lord's miracles and how he believed that Jesus was a teacher sent from God...

John 3 (cont.)
"3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Jesus goes directly to the need of being born again... He doesn't focus on the miracles but on the real need of the inner man, the reason for the miracles.

John 3 (cont.)
"4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
"5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
"6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
"7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
"8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Nicodemus talks about his physical birth and wants to know how he can enter again into his mother's womb again. Jesus answers with being born of water (the physical birth), and being born of Spirit (the spiritual birth) and then emphasizes the NEED of the second birth. Jesus then compares the second birth, born of the Spirit to the wind. The wind comes from just about anywhere and goes anywhere at anytime AND so it is with everyone born of the Spirit. It can be just about anyplace, anytime, anywhere and we don't know when it can happed but we MUST answer the call... People see the effects of the wind and they WILL see or even feel the effects of his Spirit in their lives as he works, ministers, convicts, etc.

John 3 (cont.)
"9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
"10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
"11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
"12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?"

Nicodemus is confused. Jesus tells Nicodemus that he is a master in Israel and he doesn't understand these things and they are earthly (things that must occur while on earth) then he surely can't comprehend or understand the heavenly things.

John 3 (cont.)
"13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven."

This is a super interesting verse... and super complicated to me. A few thoughts... Jesus as the Son of God knows all things and the bible tells me in Eph. 2:6,
"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:"
In the mind of God, we are there now since he doesn't live in time.
If we who are born of God can be seated in heavenly places then certainly the Son of Man can be...

Paul said in II Cor. 12:1-5
"1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities."

So this "son of man" was caught up into "paradise", the third heaven. So we can be in heaven and still here, so to speak. (More later).

John 3 (cont.)
"14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
"15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
"16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
"17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
"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.
"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.
"20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
"21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

Here we see that those who looked to the serpent on the pole in the O.T. were delivered, healed, saved in the physical since the serpent was a type of Christ.

Going to Numbers 21:8,9
"8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.
"9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived."

Keep in mind that our God is a consuming fire (Ck. Heb. 12:29)
Those who won't look to Jesus Christ for salvation will experience the fiery wrath of God as those in Numbers experienced the fiery wrath of God by not looking to the serpent on the pole. Jesus then goes on to talk about the awesome love of God. How he came to a condemned world to set mankind free. Mankind loves evil, darkness. Whether it is the evil evil or the good evil. Mankind prefers his own way to God's way. So we need light to draw us out of darkness. (EXAMPLE: Bug killers... Bug killers draw bugs out of the darkness and then it kills them, that is what happens to us in the spiritual realm, we are convicted of our sins by the light of Jesus Christ, we come to him and he kills us and then raises us to a new life in Christ Jesus.) When you come to the light, be ready to die, that is the old sinful man and walk in the resurrection life of God. (CF. Gal. 2:20)

More comments: Also on vs. 20,21-- We all hated the light since he is the way, the truth, and the life then his way, his truth, his life bearing light brought us out of darknes so now we see whether our works, deeds, words are wought in God.

John 3 (cont.)
"22 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
"23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized.
"24 For John was not yet cast into prison.
"25 Then there arose a question between some of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying.
"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."

This is regarding baptism and purifying..
Baptism is a picture of what happened to us when we accepted Jesus Christ into our hearts as our Lord and Savior. Let's start with Colossians 2:12 and tie it with some more verses in God's word like I Peter 3:21. It starts out "The like figure" which makes it plain that it's a type or picture of something that has already happened. The ark on the flood waters is the type, our salvation in Christ (the true ark) is the antitype. The water simply cut off the righteous from the sin and sinner of that day. The ark alone saved. So baptism is for the saved, but itself cannot save, except as a picture (figure) of the saved candidate having been cut off from the sinner and their doom. Christ alone can save, and that because of His resurrection (see Romans 4:25). No external rite can save- 'not the putting away of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God.'(Check I Peter 3:21 used above) By the consciousness of sin removed by Christ's blood (Hebrews 9:14). Now let's go to John 3:23. John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament prophets (see Luke 16:16) was using types as every Old Testament prophet did before him. By the time that you get to John 3:30, John must have known that Jesus was issuing in the new covenant (testament) and God in human flesh was fixing to take the center stage of history. He wasn't going to baptize with water but with the Holy Ghost and fire (see Luke 3:16, John 1:33). Finally we come to Matthew 3:13-16 and if we go back to verse 11, it should help clear this one up too. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward change brought to pass by Christ and His shed blood. Even Paul said in I Corinthians 1:17-18, that he was not sent to baptize but to preach the Gospel (God's news) to a lost world. (Also read I Corinthians 15:3,4).
In conclusion for point #7, I would like to share the three modes of water baptism and why they are used.

(1) Immersion-the general use of bapto' and baptizo in Greek was largely used to express 'to dip or to immerse'. Verses like Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5, Acts 8:38 seem to point towards immersion. The New Testament teaches that believers are baptized into Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. This can be taken to express the true significance of baptism. Only immersion can properly and fully express what burial with Christ in His death means (Romans 6:3-5).

(2) Pouring- when water is poured upon the participant, it signifies the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon believers. Verses like Matthew 3:11 and Acts 1:5.

(3) Sprinkling- John the Baptist, as the forerunner of Christ and last of the Old Testament prophets, had to follow exactly the instructions given to Moses in the law for sacrifices and cleansing. The Old Testament cleansing were by sprinkling. Sprinkling teaches the washing away of sins by the blood of Christ. (Check
Leviticus 16:14-19, Numbers 8:7; Ezekiel 36:25- 27).

John 3 (cont.)
"27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."

This reminds me of John 19:10,11,which says,
"10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?
"11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin."

The power, the position that we have comes from God so we better rightly use that power, we are held accountable for what he has given us to work with...

John 3 (cont.)
28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him.
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.
30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

John made it plain that he was not the Christ but was sent to usher him in... All of the ones in the wedding watch and wait for the bridegroom... He must be the center of attention and he will exalt his bride to her rightful place.

John 3 (cont.)
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.
32 And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony.
33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.

Jesus is from above, he is the last Adam... He accomplished what Adam fell from... Jesus walked in perfect righteousness, purity, holiness, power, etc.

John 3 (cont.)
34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
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.

Remember what I said before... God will not give his glory to another... (Isa. 42:8) Jesus didn't say those who believe on the Father have everlasting life... He DID SAY those who believe on him...

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