September 30, 2018

Do You See What I See?

This Bible study addresses the questions below through our consideration of John 4.46-5.47. The Holy Spirit has, so far, defined “grace” (John 1.14-18), in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus about “signs”, as the works of the Spirit of God in His Kingdom in the lifestyles of Christians (John 2.23 {a “baffling wind”} contrasting John 3.2 {“supernatural” evidence}; Strong’s). Jesus told Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well of their need to accept Him as Messiah (John 4.25-26, 39-42) for entry into the Kingdom of God (John 3.3“see”, 5“enter”).

Both of these occurrences present the Kingdom of God as Jesus described it in John 3.8: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Bible; see Acts 2.2, also). Strong’s clarifies that the word “wind” in the Greek is the same word as “spirit”. Thus, Jesus describes the action which Paul writes about in Romans 8.14.

The two healings in John 4.46-5.17 continue this revelation of the grace of God (John 1.17-18) working in His Kingdom (Exodus 34.10). Before continuing with these illustrations, consider Jesus’ emphasis of the importance of the Kingdom of God, in Matthew 6.10a and 6.33. Our ‘behavior’ (verses 33 & 10b) should result from our ‘thinking’ (verse 10a) about the events of daily life from a ‘mindset’ of glorifying God (verse 9) in all that we say and do (our ‘behaviors’). Paul writes similarly in Colossians 3.17 & 23-24 and 1 Corinthians 10.31: do whatever we do in Jesus’ name, as an expression of worship of Him, for His glory!

So, why does Jesus complain about the father’s request in John 4.46-48? How does Jesus’ response to satan’s temptation about hunger, in Matthew 4.3-4, explain His complaint? Are both an illustration of the struggle for our thinking, expressed above? Would Jesus express the same complaint about us today? This is the struggle between the ‘mind’ (mindset) and ‘emotions’ (fleshy behaviors) for the ‘will’ (thinking) that we discussed in Twice Born (Painter, 180916).

How is the father’s request like Nicodemus’ inquiry, in John 3.2, and the Jews in John 2.18? His answer to the Jews in John 2.19 and Paul’s discussion of this issue in 1 Corinthians 1.20-25 lead us to what understanding? What light is shed upon this in John 4.23-23?

“After this there was a feast of the Jews…” (John 5.1), which may have been Shavuot or Pentecost, a celebration of first fruits of harvest, or Sukkoth or Booths, a celebration at the end of the Fall harvest, or, as John 6.4 suggests, the next Pesach or Passover. [Jesus celebrated His first as Messiah in John 2.13-23. This would mean that about a year has elapsed. Jesus has been at “work” (John 5.17).] Jesus’ encounter with the paralytic at Bethesda Pool in Jerusalem is the important context for seeing the Kingdom of God in action again. Remember from John 3.8, Jesus has been led to turn water into wine (John 2.6-11), to cast the merchants from the Temple (John 2.13-17), to teach Nicodemus about the Kingdom of God (John 3.1-8), to offer the Samaritan woman “living water” (John 4.7-15), and to heal the official’s son (John 4.46-54). The Spirit (John 3.8) now directs Jesus’ attention to one paralytic, among those invalid at the Pool (John 5.2-9).

How are the actions of the father (John 4.50) the same as the paralytic (John 5.9), although the father did not learn the result for 24 hours? How does Peter and John’s experience with the paralytic at the Temple gate provide an answer? See in Acts 3.1-16 & 4.12 this example of life in the Kingdom of God after Jesus’ ascension (Acts 1.8-9). What is the explanation of healing in each scenario? How were Jesus, Peter, and John fulfilling Matthew 10.7-8? How does Hebrews 11.6 explain Jesus’ statement to the paralytic in John 5.14 and complement our answers to these questions?

John 5.22-24 restates truths presented in John 3.16-21 and explain what reason the Jews wanted to kill Jesus (John 5.18)? What further insights are given in John 5.44, 8.44, and Mark 7.8-13? Are these reasons those offered by the lost today?

How do John 5.19-21 and John 5.36 explain John 3.8 regarding the Kingdom of God?

Could Jesus be inferring His name in John 5.24, “whoever hears my word…” (writer’s emphasis)? What insight does Jesus add in Mark 4.21-25? How is this related to Jesus’ principle in John 4.23? How does John 1.17 explain this?

Seeing “signs” as a “baffling wind” (Strong’s re John 2.23) versus just the “supernatural” (ibid, John 3.2) and as “living water” (John 4.10) requires that we see through not with the eye (Blake). Connect the stories of Jesus back to His purpose in coming; John 1.18. Remember that Jesus came to pay for our sins on the Cross AND to reveal the Kingdom of God to mankind (John 3.8; Matthew 10.7-8). Do you see what I see?

References
Bible.

English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Blake, William. Quotes. www.goodreads.com.

Strong’s. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.

Do You See What I See? 180923

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2018. www.sozoclass.com

September 16, 2018 Welling Up

Welling Up

We sometimes use this term to describe the filling to overflowing of our eyes with tears, in sorrow or with joy. This gradual filling may be illustrated by Solomon’s Proverbs 4.18 (Bible), where he pictures our righteousness as the light of dawn reaching its zenith about noon. Jesus uses this term in John 4.14 to describe our sanctification; that is, our increasing knowledge and faith, ideally, reaching His level, as Paul describes in Ephesians 4.13.

The context for this teaching is, perhaps, as unexpected as that with Nicodemus in Chapter Three of John’s gospel (Painter). Jesus explains His encounter with Nicodemus in John 3.8 as being directed by the Spirit of God. In Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman, in Chapter Four, we can infer the same Source of leadership, in John 4.1-7. We are, thus, reminded of the importance of our submission in Romans 8.14. Jesus’ encounter tells us why.

John MacArthur writes about the context of John 4.10: “Jesus used the woman’s need for physical water to sustain life in this arid region in order to serve as an object lesson for her need for spiritual transformation” (MacArthur). In verse 13, Jesus tells her that water from Jacob’s well is only a short-term satisfaction to her physical body. He continues the contrast by telling her that His “water” for her will never need replenishing. And, He says that the “water” from this “gift” can be hers by receiving Him as Messiah (John 1.12; 4.10, 25-26, 29-30, 39).

Jonathan Cahn helps us to understand this “gift”. He explains that, in ancient times, because the groom did not see his bride from the time of their engagement until the wedding day. However, he would send her a gift, called a mattan, between the dates “to assure her of his pledge, [as] a guarantee of his faithfulness, [and] a promise of things to come” (Cahn). Then, perhaps, he connects this to Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman and us: “The Spirit is the Mattan of the Bridegroom’s love for the bride [of Christ]” (ibid).

Jesus describes the giving of this “gift” in John 14.15-17. Notice there that the Spirit already “dwells with you”, as in John 3.8 evidencing the Kingdom of God, and “will be in you”, as in the coming Day of Pentecost (Acts 2.1-4). This Spirit of God is the “gift” of God and gives “living water” (John 4.10; 7.37-38).

Jesus tells her, “‘The water that I will give [to “‘whoever drinks of the water’”] will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (John 4.14). It is the Holy Spirit Who sanctifies us by teaching us God’s word (John 17.17; 1.17) and by reminding us what Jesus said and did (John 16.13-15; 14.26; 5.19-20; 12.49). This sanctification grows us into Jesus’ measure of knowledge and faith (Ephesians 4.13).

Jesus describes “welling up” in Matthew 13.52 as someone who remembers with joy past experiences of walking with the Holy Spirit in the Kingdom of God (John 3.8) and being led by Him into new experiences (Matthew 13.44-51; Romans 8.14; 1 Corinthians 12.1-11). After all, the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord” (Isaiah 11.2).

In His concluding comments to the woman, Jesus reminds us that true worship is with our spirits, not our bodies; John 4.23-24. The body simply follows the leading of the spirit in this dance of worship; as in John 6.63. And, Isaiah 66.2b reminds of Jesus’ emphasis on God’s word as truth in John 17.17(1.17). So, may our thinking be directed by a proper mindset and be evidenced through righteous behaviors (Romans 12.1-2).

References

Bible. The English Standard Version is used by the writer. www.olivetree.com.

Cahn, J. 2016. The Book of Mysteries. FrontLine. Lake Mary, FL.

MacArthur, J. MacArthur Study Notes. www.olivetree.com.

Painter, M. L. September 2 & 9, 2018. Twice Born. www.sozoclass.com.

Welling Up 180916
Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com.

 

September 9, 2018 Twice Born

Twice Born

The dialogue between Jesus and Nicodemus reveals God’s love for mankind and His expectations for Christian maturity. Both aspects are revealed in the closing verses of Chapter Two, John 2.23-25 (Bible). Verse 23reveals Omnipotent God expressing what He had stated earlier, in Exodus 34.10. The study question is: how do Jesus’ statements about experiencing the Kingdom of God relate to Nicodemus’ questions and this verse 23? The second aspect asks the same question about verses 24-25, which reveal the Omniscient God. Additionally, the Omnipresent God is there with Jesus.

John 3.16 is a, perhaps too, familiar verse to Christians. We may be inclined to consider it solely and/or to display it on placards without considering the context of verses before and after. So, please stop and read John 2.23-3.21 before proceeding with this study.

The Omniscient God

Considering this second aspect first will help to frame the other. Apostle Paul understood the struggle between the flesh and spirit to control our thinking. In 1 Thessalonians 5.23, he states that we are “spirit and soul and body” comprising one “whole” person. He properly places the soul between the opposing forces, spirit and body, for the soul, that is the mind, will, and emotions, is where the mindset struggles against the flesh, to dominate our thinking. His personal description of this struggle is his discussion in Romans 7.7-8.11.

Paul’s thoughts in Romans 7.21-23explain what Jesus understood in John 2.24-25. He would, later, discuss this dilemma in Matthew 13.18-22, revealing the schemes that satan uses to intimidate submission to the flesh. Jesus’ statement in John 5.44 regarding the Pharisees gives one illustration. Paul would add others later in Galatians 5.19-21.

So, with this background, we can appreciate Jesus getting right to the point with Nicodemus in John 3.3: you must be born again (John 3.5-6)! Perhaps, John 9.4-5 expresses Jesus’ sense of urgency expressed here. There is no time to waste!

Mankind needs reconciliation to God now (2 Corinthians 5.20)! Jesus may return for us at any moment, after which time there will be no acceptance of God’s Savior (Revelation 4.1-2). You notice, in Revelation 4.2, that John was “at once in the [Holy] Spirit’s power” (Amplified Bible).

Thus, Jesus continues to explain ‘twice born’ in John 3.16-21 and might, in our day, have turned the light switch off and on to explain His response to Nicodemus’ confession in John 3.2. Jesus understood the “we” to include all of the Sanhedrin. Their unwillingness to confess this, however, would lead Jesus, later in John 8.44, to inform them of their obvious choice of the flesh over the spirit. He makes a concluding statement of this in John 15.24; they hate both the Son and the Father — the definition of sin.

The Omnipotent God

What if, however, Jesus heard Nicodemus’ statement, “‘no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him’” (John 3.2), as a query about the “signs” mentioned in John 2.23, which he might have witnessed earlier that day? If a query about the “signs”, what does Jesus mean by “‘unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3.3)?

It is important for this understanding to note the difference in the Greek word “signs” used by Nicodemus (John 3.2) and “signs” used by the Holy Spirit through writer John in John 2.23. Nicodemus meant “indications”; that is, of Jesus’ divinity; similarly in 1 Corinthians 1.22 and Hebrews 2.4. But, John meant “a baffling wind”. And, the Greek word for “wind” is also used for “spirit”. Thus, Jesus answers Nicodemus by describing the Spirit of God in John 3.8. Luke describes similarly in Acts 2.2the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost: a “mighty rushing wind” that “filled the entire house where [the disciples] were sitting.”

Could Jesus’ discussion in John 3.5-13 frame His earlier “signs” as a result of “seeing” (verse 3, Greek for discern and Hebrew for experience) and
“entering” (verse 5, Greek for go into) the Kingdom of God? And, could the Kingdom of God simply be wherever God, the Spirit, directs us in our daily walk to do His will (verse 8, Isaiah 30.21, Romans 8.14)? This view seems supported by Matthew 10.7-8 and Luke 10.1-9, 17-19.

Jesus’ declaration in John 3.16 is, obviously, that new birth; i.e., the acceptance of Himself as the promised Messiah. This is our “access by faith into this grace [i.e., “gift” (Easton’s)] in which we stand”, as Paul states in Romans 5.2. Paul’s “into” is the same Greek word used by Jesus in Matthew 28.19: “baptizing them in [or into] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Note that Christians “stand” in the Kingdom of God now! Remember that Jesus said to pray for “Your kingdom come” in Matthew 6.9, perhaps more completely through us. Only as we surrender completely to Jesus can the Kingdom of God be seen more fully through us, as Paul pleads in Ephesians 5.1.

Jesus’ commentary to Nicodemus in John 3.16-21is both a declaration of God’s love for people and a contrast between people who receive Jesus as Messiah (John 1.12) and those who will not. People in the Kingdom of God have life (verse 16; John 1.4a) and light (verse 21; John 1.4b-5, 9) that contrasts those who have chosen to remain in darkness (verses 19-20). The latter are condemned, but the former are saved because they have “believed in the name of the only Son of God” (verse 18).

Have Christians become satisfied with the annual presents from being “born of water” (John 3.5) and are missing out on the “signs” (John 2.23) that are available to those who are born of “the Spirit” (John 3.5)? Acts 11.25-26 is the first occasion when persons of the Kingdom of God were called “Christians”, meaning “followers of Christ”. Was Jesus encouraging Nicodemus to become a “follower of Christ” and evidence this by “signs”?

Miracles are a revelation of God that draws unbelievers and believers to Him (John 1.18). This was Peter’s experience in Acts 3.1-16. This was Paul’s experience in Acts 14.8-18, 19.11-12, and 28.7-10. What would happen in your church if “signs” of the Kingdom of God became evidenced through you and other Christians in your community? Contrary to Nicodemus, you have been “born again” to “see” and to “enter” the Kingdom of God (John 3.3, 5-6).

Being partially in the power of the Kingdom of God is the struggle between the spirit and flesh for control of the soul (mind, will, and emotions) that Paul evidenced (Romans 7.7-8.11) and advocated for dominance by the spirit in 1 Thessalonians 5.23. Jesus knew that this was the struggle within every person (John 2.24-25). Are you missing out by giving in to the flesh?

It is the struggle that William Blake famously describes in the following:

“This life’s dim windows of the soul 
Distorts the heavens from pole to pole
And leads you to believe a lie
 When you see with, not through, the eye” (Blake).

References
 Bible.

English Standard Version. www.olivetree.com.

Blake, William. Quotes. www.goodreads.com.

Easton’s. Easton’s Bible Dictionary. www.olivetree.com.