Can you believe spiritual things? The importance of spiritual development!
Recently I was reading a whitepaper that was evaluating a particular aspect of Christianity and the fight that has been going on for centuries over doctrines, opinions, divisions and all that horrible stuff. How the push started, particularly since Enlightenment, to move away from spiritual things and into the scientific, away from the Hebraic Jewish History of Christianity and into ‘it’s just about love and good work’s’.
A lot of these doctrines are now flourishing and the result has been that a lot of Christians are now into an earthlier type of faith than that which is heavenly. Jesus said a lot of very interesting things to Nicodemus about this in John 3.
Become a student of wisdom
Do you spend time thinking on these words? Do you think about the place this conversation took place? The time in history? Who Nicodemus was? What did Jesus mean? What did the original text say, not just the bible version you read? What other parts of the bible does this conversation refer to?
I want to provoke you to become a studier and researcher of the bible and history.
Because, going back to the whitepaper I was reading, one line in particular disturbed me a lot. It discussed the trend that from as far back the 18th century some theologians were leading Christians to lose faith in the authority of the Bible. They said that Jesus was not really the Messiah of the Hebrew Scriptures and that his claim to veneration lay in his promulgation of a religion of love and humanity. Dear God. Lies. Paul warned us this was coming. The wolves. The doctrines of devils. But to know it exists in all its subtle and not so subtle forms in the Western World since the 1700’s is horrifying.
What does the bible say?
So, let’s go biblical and take Jesus’s conversation with Nicodemus and look at it. Jesus talks for quite a long time with him, laying out the gospel in a way he has not done with others. He goes step by step for about 20 verses, and yet I’m betting the main one you hear on a regular basis is ‘FOR God so loved the world that He gave His only son….’. We do John 3 an injustice by only focusing on that one scripture. And also, not recognising that to start a sentence with the word ‘FOR’ means that something came before it that was contingent to that statement.
Nicodemus comes to Jesus because of the miracles he’s been hearing about:
‘for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with you’.
And how does Jesus reply?
‘EXCEPT a man be born again he cannot see the Kingdom of God’.
Jesus shifts the focus from the miracles to the purpose of His coming. Salvation.
There is no other way into the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus is super clear. Why is it in the modern world we do not really believe that? We think if we are good people, or we pray, go to church, just love one another and do good works, we’ll ‘go to heaven’ one day? Lies. A lot of people may never see heaven because they have not believed the scriptures but instead held onto some modern rational teaching.
And how does this process of being born again happen? According to Jesus,
‘The wind blows where it wills and you hear the sound, but cannot tell where it comes from, and where it goes; so is every one that is born of the Spirit’. (verse 8)
This spiritual development is beyond human logic
So, for the rational mind, it’s like WHAT THE? What do you mean? Don’t I just say the sinner’s prayer? Doesn’t my church membership vouch for me? What is this wind?
Nicodemus is left bewildered, ‘how can these things be?’. He just can’t seem to catch what Jesus is telling him. In fact, Jesus teases him a bit ‘you’re a master of Israel and know not these thing’s’?
And then he goes to say some very profound things.
‘We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen and you receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things and you believe not, how shall you believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?’.
What is Jesus saying? This stuff is heavenly. It is going to confound your earthly mind.
You can’t see (know, perceive, understand, be aware) the Kingdom of God unless you are born again. And to be born again, that wind of the Spirit must blow and make you alive in Christ.
The scriptures are veiled, it's called the 'mystery of the hidden wisdom'
And all of this was contingent on what Jesus came to do, which is what he told Nicodemus:
‘And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; That whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. FOR God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life….. He that believes on him is not condemned but he that believe not is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God’.
The term ‘lift up’ refers to hanging or to crucify. It is not praise, as some of the church songs like to say. To lift someone up was to execute them. And the frame of reference Jesus uses is Moses, who was told to lift up the brass serpent in the wilderness, and whoever looked at it in faith would be healed (Numbers 21).
So, Jesus is telling Nicodemus way ahead of time, that he is going to be ‘lifted up’ so that those that look at him and believe would have eternal life. And also, be able to ‘see’ the kingdom of God.
This is the gospel of God. No wonder Paul calls it the ‘mystery of the hidden wisdom’.
Even as far back as 600-500BC this spiritual world is highlighted
The kingdom of God has been coming, storming into existence since way back. Daniel prophesised:
‘And in the days of these kings (The Assyrian Empire, Babylonian Empire, Grecian Empire, Medes and Persians, and Roman Empire) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed’ (Daniel 2:44)
So clearly this Kingdom exists. God is well in charge. Jesus is the King and High Priest of this Kingdom. Our earthly thinking cannot build it, help it, extend it. It must be by the Spirit, by those who can ‘see’ the Kingdom of God and swear allegiance to that King with bended knee. It is not a church. It is not a denomination. It is not even a movement. It is God, possessor of Heaven and Earth, and His Kingdom over all.
True Christian holds the key to your success
What a gospel! What a God! What an awesome thing Christianity is when you take that bible, dig into it, think on it, believe it, live by it.
Believe the heavenly things. Believe the scriptures. Do not allow the rational, scientific, modern compromised, doubt filled, confused or ignorant influence you. Believe God. You are a Christian. There is nothing better than that and the heavenly things available to you!
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