A. These words were uttered in response to Nicodemus’ perplexity. JOH 3:1-10.
1. Jesus was expounding upon the spiritual nature of the kingdom of God.
a. The kingdom can only be seen or entered by being born again of the Spirit. vs. 3, 5.
b. Being born of the Spirit is distinct from being born of the flesh.
v. 6 c/w JOH 1:12-13.
c. The Spirit’s work is regeneration and washing. v. 5.
(1) Water is the Spirit’s symbol. JOH 7:37-39.
(2) Washing is the Spirit’s action. TIT 3:5.
d. The Spirit’s work is that of a free agent not controlled by man’s will and which is
only known by its effects in all circumstances. v. 8 c/w JOH 6:63.
2. Jesus used plain similes taken from earthly things.
a. Generation and birth are earthly things in which the individual is passive.
b. Wind is active and uncontrolled by human will, its power known only by the visible
effect it has on passive objects.
c. Nicodemus, though, translated the theme of human passiveness into human power
and activity (vs. 4, 9), a common error.
3. As a master in Israel, Nicodemus should have known about such spiritual things in which
God is active and man is passive. v. 10.
a. The O.T. spoke of God inwardly circumcising the heart. DEU 30:6.
b. The O.T. spoke of God putting a new spirit in man to empower for obedience.
c. The O.T. spoke of God writing His law inwardly, precluding man-to-man instruction. JER 31:33-34.
d. The O.T. spoke of God blowing life into the dead and cleansing them.
EZE 37:4-5, 23-24.
e. The O.T. spoke of the child of promise’s miraculous begetting.
GEN 17:15-17; 18:11-14 c/w GAL 4:28-29.
f. Theme: God changes men inwardly, God imparts knowledge inwardly, God makes alive by unseen wind, God cleanses from sin and forgives, God begets the children of promise miraculously, man is passive in all: “...the flesh profiteth nothing...” (JOH 6:63).
B. v. 11.
1. Jesus certified the validity of His knowledge of these things using the first person plural:
“...We speak...we do know...we have seen...our witness.”
2. Jesus was not speaking as a lone witness with some new outlandish doctrine.
3. John the Baptist was a master of Israel (rabbi = master) who knew that Jesus had been with
the Father and properly testified in accord with Him. JOH 3:26, 31-34.
a. Jesus often declared that He and the Father were concurring witnesses.
JOH 7:16; 8:17-18, 26, 38; 12:49-50; 14:23.
b. Christ is the faithful witness of the Father and His ways. REV 1:5.
c. Therefore, he who receives or rejects the Son receives or rejects the Father also.
JOH 12:44-48; 13:20; 2JO 1:9.
4. The Holy Ghost (Spirit) was also a concurring witness of Jesus’ teaching. HEB 10:15-17.
5. There are three that bear concurring record in heaven. 1JO 5:7.
6. Three heavenly witnesses are greater than any number of earthly witnesses.
1JO 5:9; ROM 3:4.
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C. v. 12.
1. earthly: Pertaining to the earth, terrestrial. Chiefly and now almost exclusively with
implied opposition to heavenly.
2. If teachings of the Spirit’s work in men and of the spiritual kingdom of God by means of
earthly terminology was unbelievable, then teaching heavenly things themselves would be futile.
a. The eternal counsel of God in predestinating unworthy sinners (Jew or Gentile)
unto eternal glory through Himself by grace would be futilely taught. EPH 1:3-11.
b. His creation of all things invisible, and reconciliation through His death of all
government in heaven and earth would be futilely taught. COL 1:16-20.
c. The heavenly Jerusalem and its intercourse with the church of believers on earth through the blood of God would be futilely taught. HEB 12:22-24; ACT 20:28.
d. The heavenly things of which the weak and temporary Mosaic order was only a pattern would be futilely taught. HEB 8:1-5; 9:23.
3. The glory of heaven and how sinners obtain it is only knowable because of the Spirit.
a. Without the Spirit’s regeneration, such knowledge is impossible. 1CO 2:14.
b. Without the Spirit’s apostolic revelation, such knowledge would have remained a
relatively unrevealed mystery. EPH 3:1-6.
c. Without the Spirit’s indwelling of, and teaching ministry in the church, even the
heavenly powers would be “in the dark” about God’s eternal purpose in Christ.
EPH 3:9-11 c/w 1PE 1:12.
D. v. 13.
1. All that Nicodemus could have known about heavenly things from Moses and the prophets
was according to what they wrote by divine inspiration, not of personal knowledge (like
Jesus had). 2PE 1:21 c/w JOH 1:18.
2. None had gone to heaven and personally witnessed the eternal counsels. But the Word of
God had been there before His incarnation, and still had intercourse with heaven.
JOH 1:1-3, 14.
3. Under the O.T., God’s favors to his people were expressed by such things as:
a. hearing from heaven. 2CH 7:14.
b. answering from heaven. 1CH 21:26.
c. looking from heaven. PSA 80:14.
d. speaking from heaven. NEH 9:13.
e. feeding from heaven. NEH 9:15.
f. sending from heaven. PSA 57:3.
4. But the Son of Man is God come down from heaven.
a. Christ is “...the Lord from heaven” (1CO 15:47), God manifest in the flesh.
b. No greater favor or witness could be imaginable. 1JO 5:9-11.
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