HOW SHALL YE BELIEVE?
John 3:5 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. 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? 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 the Lord Jesus’ answer to the mindset of Nicodemus. The chapter division is unfortunate here, as it interrupts the verses which concern this religious leader and lawyer (Moses’ law), showing his awe of Christ’s miracles. Take time to read John 2:23 through John 3:2 without pausing. For he was one of the “men” to whom the Lord would not ‘commit’ (same word, “believed” in John 2:23) himself, because he knew what was in men’s hearts.
For Nicodemus was only looking at the ‘wrapping paper’ and not at the present inside! The miracles were given by God as proof that Jesus of Bethlehem was indeed, the eternal Son of God! Acts 2:22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
And as we realize that the Lord Jesus is the Head of the true church, we understand that he was Nicodemus’ spiritual master. Therefore the master was appalled that this “master of Israel” was without understanding of spiritual things. – And would not that also be a condemnation to the majority of orthodox religion in our land today? For even if we hear the scriptures included in a ‘sermon,’ it is only the dead letter of the law, and nothing of the spirit of the word. 2 Corinthians 3:6 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Therefore the Lord immediately instructs Nicodemus as what he needed in order to turn from his emotional excitement concerning miracles and be able to recognize the spiritual kingdom of God. – He needed the new birth! But even when he was told this, he could only relate to the physical birth, having no spiritual life with its insight. John 3:4 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? John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
And what is even more amazing is that the Lord Jesus considered the teaching of the new birth to only be one of the “earthly things.” So just what is an “earthly thing?” It is a spiritual thing revealed to the soul by understanding the purpose of the natural creation. But not one in a thousand church goers would have the slightest clue as to that which the following two verses mean. Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:
2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
In that Romans 1:20 verse we are most plainly instructed that the invisible character of God himself is “clearly seen” by the under-standing of the created order. In fact, it is stated that one can even see “his eternal power and Godhead” revealed. Then in that Corinthians verse we are told that the spiritual eyesight of the born again believer peers into the invisible, spiritual realm as he looks beyond the physical world around him.
For the true believer is said to be set in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That is, the believer has a heavenly and spiritual mindset. He judges things on earth by his ‘renewed mind.’ Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
One of those revealing, earthly things is clearly set forth in Jesus’ words to Nicodemus. For in verse eight he reveals to him that to understand the Holy Spirit and His work, you only have to hear the wind blow! Therefore we see that the Holy Spirit is said to be the ‘Wind’ or the ‘Breath’ of God! This was evidenced at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was sent from heaven unto the apostles. Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
And seeing heavenly things by understanding the purpose of God’s earthly things is given by God with the new birth. Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. (And one only becomes a ’babe’ by a birth!) 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
1 Corinthians 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
And one of the things that occurs to the true believers, even with ‘understanding’ given to them along with faith in Christ is that there are things beyond our ability to presently understand. For although the gift of faith in Christ has provided them insight not available to the unregenerate, the vastness of the mysteries of God are still beyond his awareness while still in this natural body. 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
2 Corinthians 12:2 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. 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
The major hinderance in mankind’s not knowing the things of God is that sin has rendered his heart corrupt. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; (Romans 10:10). Consider the following verses:
Proverbs 28:5 Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things. John 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
This corrupt heart is the reason for their ignorance. It is most certainly not because they were not told! All have been ‘informed’ by the book of the created realm. Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.
The verse from Romans 1:20 listed out in column three of page one of this article states that the things revealed by the natural creation renders all mankind “without excuse.” Therefore as both this Psalm 19 passage and that Romans verse clearly state, even if a person never heard a gospel message preached to them, the revelation of God through his marvelous creation is “speech” and “knowledge” enough to condemn all unbelievers! There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.
The problem lies not that the gospel has not been broadcast, but that it has not been believed and obeyed. Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 18 But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. 21 But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.
It is obedience to the word wherein the truth is known and sustained! John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. 2 Thessalonians 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
But above all this, we have not only the speech of the natural creation, but we have also been sent the very Person of the Word! For Jesus Christ is the Eternal Son and Word of the Father! John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
The only Being who was both with God and who was God, who was made flesh, and dwelt among us is the Incarnate Son of God – Jesus Christ! He was “sent down” from the Father to us. He was the son that was given, and therefore became the child that was born! Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. For had he not always been, from all eternity the Son, he could not have been the child who was born!
All things were made to reveal his Person! Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
All Scripture concerns Him! Luke 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
And His name is above every name throughout the universe! Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Pastor Gene Breed