The Gospel of John II - Lesson 4

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                                   The New Birth                                      John 3:1-36                                      (Continued)

  1. THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS (John 3:1-21) (Continued)
    1. The Nature of the New Birth (John 3:4-8) (Continued)
      1. The identity of the water (John 3:5) (Continued)
        1. In each of the above types, the meaning is easily identified by the context (try making all of them refer to water baptism). The context in John, chapter three, also identifies the meaning. (Continued)
          1. In order to do justice to the parallelism of this passage, the birth of water must be the first birth of the flesh.
            1. In order to enter the kingdom of God, it is not enough to be born (that is, of water). You must be born a second time of the Spirit. Though this may seem common sense to us today, the Jews thought that they would go to heaven because they were born of Abraham. One of the great teachings of the New Testament is to explain to these who were the people of God by natural birth that this was not enough for them to enter the kingdom of God (John 8:33, 37-39; Romans 3:28-29; Romans 9:7-8; cp. Matthew 8:11-12 with Matthew 13:38).
            2. Water is an appropriate picture of the physical birth since the infant is preserved in a sack of water in the womb.
            3. This is probably the meaning of water in 1 John 5:6.
      2. Wind as a type of the Holy Spirit (John 3:8)
        1. Wind, breath, and spirit are often interrelated in scripture.
          1. Wind and breath (Ezekiel 37:9)
          2. Wind and spirit (John 3:8)
          3. Breath and spirit (Job 33:4; Isaiah 42:5)
        2. This is borne out in the words for spirit.
          1. Respiration and inspiration are both based on the word spirit.
          2. Pneumonia and pneumatic drill are both based on the Greek word pneuma which means spirit or breath.
        3. The work of the Spirit as the wind
          1. The Holy Spirit, like the wind, is invisible in His ministry (John 3:8).
          2. The Holy Spirit, like the wind, is mysterious in His ministry (John 3:8).
          3. The Holy Spirit, like the wind, is powerful in His ministry (Luke 1:17; Luke 4:14; 1 Corinthians 2:4).
          4. The Holy Spirit, like the wind, is purifying in His ministry (Romans 1:4; 1 Peter 1:22).
      3. The agents used in the new birth
        1. The Spirit of God (John 3:5-8; John 6:63; John 16:7-11)
        2. The Word of God (John 5:39; James 1:18, 21; 1 Peter 1:23-25)
        3. The preaching of the gospel (Luke 4:18; Romans 10:13-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
      4. The doctrine of regeneration
        1. The word
          1. Means to be born again
          2. Used only two times in the Bible
            1. In Matthew 19:28, it refers to a period of time when the earth will in effect be born again and Jesus will sit upon the throne in Jerusalem.
            2. In Titus 3:5, it refers to the new birth that is a part of eternal salvation.
          3. Though the word is used only once in reference to salvation, the idea of being born again or born of God is found many times in the Bible (John 3:3-8; John 1:12-13; 1 Corinthians 4:15; Galatians 4:29; Philemon 1:10; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:3, 23-25; 1 John 5:1).
          4. There are many other scriptures, which speak of the believer being a son or a child of God. These verses for the most part go back to the doctrine of regeneration.
        2. Regeneration and faith: the proper order
          1. Calvinistic theology teaches that regeneration must precede faith. This is based on the logical assumption that a sinner must be given life from above before he will be able to believe in God. This removes any element of the individual will in receiving Christ by, in effect, making the person saved before they believe in Christ.
          2. However, the Bible teaches otherwise.
            1. John 1:12 teaches us that the power to become the sons of God is given to those that receive Jesus Christ. This places faith before regeneration.
            2. Ephesians 1:12-13 places the order as such: 1) hearing the word; 2) trusting or believing; 3) being sealed with the Holy Spirit. The sealing of the Holy Spirit is not exactly the same as regeneration. But the order is clear. There is no reason to teach that regeneration occurs before the sealing.
            3. John 3:16 teaches that the everlasting life (which is a product of regeneration) comes to those who believe in Jesus Christ.
            4. The belief of the sinner that leads to salvation does not have to be perfect. It only needs to be an honest and sincere response to the drawing of the Spirit. We believe to the best of our ability but our faith is completed by the perfect faith of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2:16; Romans 3:22; Philippians 3:9).
          3. Bible teaching concerning regeneration
            1. Regeneration imparts the eternal life of God to the believer (John 10:10; Romans 6:23).
            2. Regeneration makes us partakers of the very life and nature of God (2 Peter 1:3-4).
            3. Regeneration births the sinner into the family of God (John 1:12-13).
            4. Regeneration puts the believer into a relationship where he can go to God as his Father .
            5. Regeneration makes us heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ (Romans 8:16-17).
David Reagan

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 10:3

The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.