He That Came Down From Heaven…John 3 pt 7

And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.(John 3:13)

Nicodemus was a Religious leader, the ‘Rabbi of Israel’. But he was drawn to seek out the obvious wisdom of an ‘untrained’ itinerant rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth. It was the miracles of Jesus as well as his teaching , that  compelled Nicodemus  and other leading rabbis to acknowledge that God was with him.

Jesus wasted no time at all in the interview, informing Nicodemus that he would have to be born again to be able see or enter the Kingdom of God. Indeed the nation, Israel, was in need of the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy about the new heart that God would give them.

But as most people do, Nicodemus balked, he feigned ignorance. The proud heart of fallen man is loath to admit that he needs a new birth. Perhaps a little improvement here or there, but to become as a dependant child and start all over again? Maybe a prostitute or a swindling tax collector needs to be born again, but a proud Pharisee, noted for his piety?

Thus Jesus takes Nicodemus, and all of us, to the very heart of our problem; the very core of our false religion, even that very perversion of all that is ‘true religion’ but which so distorts it as to render it the very antithesis of that for which it was intended by God.

The problem is at foundation level. At the bottom of every false religion, is a false premise. The same false premise runs through Hinduism, Islam, The New Age movement, the secular religions such as Evolution, socialism, communism, and even the seed of false christianity.

The false premise is that man can rise up, from the earth,  by his efforts and become “as gods”, as the serpent promised our first Father and Mother. This belief is like an incurable spiritual disease, no matter how hellish the results, man cannot let go of this belief.

This premise is called  the “mystery of iniquity” ,in 2 Thessalonians 2,

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work…” and is described as being embodied by one final representative of all who across the world will finally embrace this dark belief.

He is the “man of sin” the champion of a world which has succumbed fully to this premise. His public demeanor is an ongoing illustration of this mystery,

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”( 2 Thess 2:3-7)

Look at the miserable “Utopias” of the last century! The new ‘Scientific’ Man was going to rise up and make his own earthly paradise, he was going to be more equitable, more merciful, and more just than God himself! This is the true principle underneath all of man’s religious history.

What are the Pyramids and ziggurats that have been built on every continent, but religious aspirations “steps to ascent” unto godhood, degrees of advancement in religion.Even the Judaism as it developed in the days of Nicodemus and the Rabbis and sages, contained this principle of advancement by good works, ascent to heaven for those at the top levels, never-ending toil in pursuit of the goal.

But Jesus rebukes this error of Nicodemus and most of the world by this simple but ultimate statement, “No man has ascended to Heaven…”. No one. Not even the greatest sage! Not Mother Teresa, not Ghandi, not the most benevolent philanthropist. Human religion cannot save anyone! There is none righteous ,no not one…by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified!

If the false religion, the  “mystery of iniquity” is the undying, rebellious faith that man can “become as gods”, what is the true spirituality?

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh…(I Timothy 3:16)

…but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man. (John 3:13)

No, man isn’t going to ‘rise up’ and become as little ‘gods’. Man is ruined. He is too spiritually and morally bankrupt, and is not fit for the kingdom of heaven. He is powerless, and impotent, he is blind, lame and “dead in his trespasses and sins”.

If man is going to be saved at all, God himself is going to have to come down to us, the Son of Man is going to have to descend, there is going to have to be an incarnation.

One of these spiritualities is very exalting to man, it promotes his sense of pride, independence and accomplishment. The other is very humiliating, for man must admit to his own impotence, he must confess his sin, it doesn’t boost his “self-esteem”.

Which one will be the ‘popular religion’? Which one will most of humanity embrace, other than an intervention of grace? Who wants to be a “wretch”( as in Amazing Grace) when you can “still believe in yourself?

 

 

 

 

 


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3 Responses to He That Came Down From Heaven…John 3 pt 7

  1. Wayne says:

    Thank you Bill for another excellent and insightful word addressing the very tragic reason why puny sinful man persists with the perversions of false religion when God has provided such a simple means of salvation for us all. The insightful context you present for us here must open up the overwhelmingly explicit significance of the scriptures as our only basis for faith and morals.

    I am moved once again to open my bible to the following scriptures and to meditate on their significance to our daily walk with our creator.

    Matthew 7:13-14
    King James Version (KJV)
    13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

    14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    The Great Apostasy committed bible believing christians are witnessing with horror causes me to wonder with considerable concern for those deluded individuals who have been falsely convinced that they are saved as to just how ‘few” will actually “find it.”

    Nobody is less likely to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ than those who falsely believe they are already saved.

    We must always remember however that it is our responsibility by the Grace of God to remain faithful to HIS Word for it is God Himself who has sent delusion to those who do not love the truth but have pleasure in unrighteousness.

  2. Phil Malone says:

    Thank you Pastor Bill. Man tries to rise up to heaven and fails miserably. All religions are trying to work their way to God. They are trying to make their own covering like Adam and Eve did. When people hear that I am a Christian they say ‘oh you are religious!’ My reply to them is that I am not religious and that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship with God. You mentioned ‘Amazing Grace’. Did you hear about the worship leader who took out the word ‘wretch’ because it was so negative and he didn’t see himself as a ‘wretch’. I wonder if he really knew the life changing event that inspired John Newton to write that Hymn? :

    “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me….
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Was blind, but now, I see.

    T’was Grace that taught…
    my heart to fear.
    And Grace, my fears relieved.
    How precious did that Grace appear…
    the hour I first believed.

    Through many dangers, toils and snares…
    we have already come.
    T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far…
    and Grace will lead us home.

    The Lord has promised good to me…
    His word my hope secures.
    He will my shield and portion be…
    as long as life endures.

    Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
    and mortal life shall cease,
    I shall possess within the veil,
    a life of joy and peace.

    When we’ve been here ten thousand years…
    bright shining as the sun.
    We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise…
    then when we’ve first begun.

    “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
    That saved a wretch like me….
    I once was lost but now am found,
    Was blind, but now, I see.

  3. Wayne says:

    The Greek word that we translate as righteous is dike (pronounced, dee-kay). Although the ancient Greek meaning was tendency, the use of this word in the Bible implies justice and conformance to established standards. Justice means doing the right thing; and conformance to established standards (in the Bible) refers to following the ways of God. So, the word righteous can also be translated as just, since righteousness is so closely tied to justice.

    2 Thessalonians 2

    3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

    4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

    5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

    6And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

    7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

    8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

    9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

    10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

    12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    13But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

    14Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    15Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

    16Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

    17Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

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