Author Topic: Nicodemus and the King of Kings  (Read 1525 times)

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Richard Myers

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Nicodemus and the King of Kings
« on: December 21, 2015, 10:49:01 AM »
Nicodemus desired to have a conversation with Jesus (under cover of darkness). That conversation reveals the principles of the kingdom of God. If prayerfully studied, great deceptions can be avoided.

What does it mean to be converted? Jesus made it very clear when He said to Nicodemus "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:6,7.

Here we see that when one is born of the flesh, he must be born again of the Spirit in order to be in a converted state. Not until one is converted, dead to self, and filled with the Spirit of God does he have eternal life, is justified.

Nicodemus was rather shocked that he being such a "good" man was not good enough to enter heaven, that he must be changed, he must be born again. Many have misunderstood what this  means, even if they understand they are not good enough when born  into this world. It is our fallen nature that condemns us. It is selfish. But, that is no excuse  for sin because Christ has provided at great expense a remedy for our evil nature. When  born of His Spirit, we become partakers of His divine nature and then escape the corruption in the  world and in us. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4.

As Paul said, we then keep the body (the fallen flesh)  under control. "But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:27. In and of  ourselves this is impossible. Our fallen  natures restrict our ability to do what is right because  it  is right. It requires the heart be changed, be renewed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is only when we are partakers of God's divine nature that we have power  to  keep  the evil flesh under control. It is the character of Christ that is seen in the life as long as we have the Spirit indwelling our hearts.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

tc

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Re: Nicodemus and the King of Kings
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2018, 07:21:51 PM »
Nicodemus desired to have a conversation with Jesus (under cover of darkness). That conversation reveals the principles of the kingdom of God. If prayerfully studied, great deceptions can be avoided.

What does it mean to be converted? Jesus made it very clear when He said to Nicodemus "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:6,7.

Here we see that when one is born of the flesh, he must be born again of the Spirit in order to be in a converted state. Not until one is converted, dead to self, and filled with the Spirit of God does he have eternal life, is justified.

Nicodemus was rather shocked that he being such a "good" man was not good enough to enter heaven, that he must be changed, he must be born again. Many have misunderstood what this  means, even if they understand they are not good enough when born  into this world. It is our fallen nature that condemns us. It is selfish. But, that is no excuse  for sin because Christ has provided at great expense a remedy for our evil nature. When  born of His Spirit, we become partakers of His divine nature and then escape the corruption in the  world and in us. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4.

As Paul said, we then keep the body (the fallen flesh)  under control. "But I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:27. In and of  ourselves this is impossible. Our fallen  natures restrict our ability to do what is right because  it  is right. It requires the heart be changed, be renewed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is only when we are partakers of God's divine nature that we have power  to  keep  the evil flesh under control. It is the character of Christ that is seen in the life as long as we have the Spirit indwelling our hearts.

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit [,] of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. Rom.8:1-2

The "law of the spirit" is "life in Christ Jesus!"  A life in Christ frees us from " the law of sin & death!"

Jesus said:   Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.John_15:4  (KJV)
 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Joh_15:7  (KJV)

How do we have a life that abides in Christ, & have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in our hearts?
tc

 "Buy the truth, and sell it not...." Pro 23:23

Richard Myers

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Re: Nicodemus and the King of Kings
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2018, 06:06:35 AM »
That is the all important question, tc. What must I do to be saved? The purpose of my post was to bring us to the point of asking and answering that question. The answer is what we need to know, then do in order to bring glory to God and be converted. The Bible tells us in so many ways. One place we find the answer is in what Jesus spoke to Nicodemus. Because you understand the underlying principle that we are saved by grace, where do we find the answer in Christ's words to Nicodemus?

Jesus was very blunt and pointed in telling this Laodicean leader in Israel he was lost. Jesus would not leave Nicodemus ignorant of what he must do in order to be born again of the Spirit. What must Nicodemus do in order to receive the grace that surrounded him as thick as the air he was breathing?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

tc

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Re: Nicodemus and the King of Kings
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2018, 08:44:21 PM »
Nicodemus  needed to surrender his heart & will to Christ! He thought he was being saved by his good works! He didn't think her had a sin problem! Jesus pointed him to his spiritual needs: He needed a new spiritual birth! He needed to believe in Jesus as the Savior from the penalty of sin (born of the blood) & he needed cleansing from sin & baptism (born of the water). Jesus striped away his spiritual pride & self assurance. He did it in a gentle way that spoke to his heart! Jesus planted a seed that would later produce a harvest! Nicodemus' eventual conversion is an illustration of the process of being born again.
tc

 "Buy the truth, and sell it not...." Pro 23:23

Glen McCluskey

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Re: Nicodemus and the King of Kings
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2018, 11:11:04 AM »
Nicodemus  needed to surrender his heart & will to Christ! He thought he was being saved by his good works! He didn't think her had a sin problem! Jesus pointed him to his spiritual needs: He needed a new spiritual birth! He needed to believe in Jesus as the Savior from the penalty of sin (born of the blood) & he needed cleansing from sin & baptism (born of the water). Jesus striped away his spiritual pride & self assurance. He did it in a gentle way that spoke to his heart! Jesus planted a seed that would later produce a harvest! Nicodemus' eventual conversion is an illustration of the process of being born again.

I often think about this in the context of the message to the seventh church (Revelation 3:14-22).

Revelation 3:20 says that the key is letting Christ into the heart.

It's possible to do many good works without yielding the heart, and these are often done in an ostentatious way.  Mark 12:41 is an example, and in a modern context, this approach is sometimes called "virtue signalling".

Good works are important, but at the same time meaningless if done without yielding the heart.

Richard Myers

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Re: Nicodemus and the King of Kings
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2018, 05:18:46 PM »
Amen, Glen. Both in His message to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rev 3, and in His instruction to Nicodemus tells us what we must do in order to be converted. What must we do in order that the heart will be surrendered?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Glen McCluskey

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Re: Nicodemus and the King of Kings
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2018, 06:22:59 PM »
Amen, Glen. Both in His message to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rev 3, and in His instruction to Nicodemus tells us what we must do in order to be converted. What must we do in order that the heart will be surrendered?

One answer to this question is found in the well-known quote from Steps to Christ.  I've also included a related quote from another SOP source.

Quote
Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.  {SC 47.1} 

Quote
Pure religion has to do with the will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or unto disobedience.  {5T 513.1} 

You are a young man of intelligence; you desire to make your life such as will fit you for heaven at last. You are often discouraged at finding yourself weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits and customs of your old life in sin. You find your emotional nature untrue to yourself, to your best resolutions, and to your most solemn pledges. Nothing seems real. Your own instability leads you to doubt the sincerity of those who would do you good. The more you struggle in doubt, the more unreal everything looks to you, until it seems that there is no solid ground for you anywhere. Your promises are like ropes of sand, and you regard in the same unreal light the words and works of those in whom you should trust.  {5T 513.2} 

You will be in constant peril until you understand the true force of the will. You may believe and promise all things, but your promises or your faith are of no value until you put your will on the side of faith and action. If you fight the fight of faith with all your will power, you will conquer. Your feelings, your impressions, your emotions, are not to be trusted, for they are not reliable, especially with your perverted ideas; and the knowledge of your broken promises and your forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in yourself, and the faith of others in you.  {5T 513.3}
 
But you need not despair. You must be determined to believe, although nothing seems true and real to you. I need not tell you it is you yourself that has brought you into this unenviable position. You must win back your confidence in God and in your brethren. It is for you to yield up your will to the will of Jesus Christ; and as you do this, God will immediately take possession and work in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. Your whole nature will then be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ, and even your thoughts will be subject to Him. You cannot control your impulses, your emotions, as you may desire; but you can control the will, and you can make an entire change in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, your life will be hid with Christ in God and allied to the power which is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from God that will hold you fast to His strength; and a new life, even the life of living faith, will be possible to you. But your will must co-operate with God's will, not with the will of associates through whom Satan is constantly working to ensnare and destroy you.  {5T 513.4} 

Will you not without delay place yourself in right relation to God? Will you not say, "I will give my will to Jesus, and I will do it now," and from this moment be wholly on the Lord's side? Disregard custom and the strong clamoring of appetite and passion. Give Satan no chance to say: "You are a wretched hypocrite." Close the door so that Satan will not thus accuse and dishearten you. Say, "I will believe, I do believe that God is my helper," and you will find that you are triumphant in God. By steadfastly keeping the will on the Lord's side, every emotion will be brought into captivity to the will of Jesus. You will then find your feet on solid rock. It will take, at times, every particle of will power which you possess; but it is God that is working for you, and you will come forth from the molding process a vessel unto honor.  {5T 514.1}

tc

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Re: Nicodemus and the King of Kings
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2018, 08:15:05 PM »
Quote from Glen McCluskey
Today at 06:22:59 PM

   I often think about this in the context of the message to the seventh church (Revelation 3:14-22).

Revelation 3:20 says that the key is letting Christ into the heart.

It's possible to do many good works without yielding the heart, and these are often done in an ostentatious way.  Mark 12:41 is an example, and in a modern context, this approach is sometimes called "virtue signalling".

Good works are important, but at the same time meaningless if done without yielding the heart.
[/quote]
_________________________________________________ ______
Quote from: Richard Myers on Today at 05:18:46 PM

    Amen, Glen. Both in His message to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Rev 3, and in His instruction to Nicodemus tells us what we must do in order to be converted. What must we do in order that the heart will be surrendered?


One answer to this question is found in the well-known quote from Steps to Christ.  I've also included a related quote from another SOP source.

Quote:

    Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.  {SC 47.1} 


Quote

    Pure religion has to do with the will. The will is the governing power in the nature of man, bringing all the other faculties under its sway. The will is not the taste or the inclination, but it is the deciding power which works in the children of men unto obedience to God or unto disobedience.  {5T 513.1}

    You are a young man of intelligence; you desire to make your life such as will fit you for heaven at last. You are often discouraged at finding yourself weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits and customs of your old life in sin. You find your emotional nature untrue to yourself, to your best resolutions, and to your most solemn pledges. Nothing seems real. Your own instability leads you to doubt the sincerity of those who would do you good. The more you struggle in doubt, the more unreal everything looks to you, until it seems that there is no solid ground for you anywhere. Your promises are like ropes of sand, and you regard in the same unreal light the words and works of those in whom you should trust.  {5T 513.2}

    You will be in constant peril until you understand the true force of the will. You may believe and promise all things, but your promises or your faith are of no value until you put your will on the side of faith and action. If you fight the fight of faith with all your will power, you will conquer. Your feelings, your impressions, your emotions, are not to be trusted, for they are not reliable, especially with your perverted ideas; and the knowledge of your broken promises and your forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in yourself, and the faith of others in you.  {5T 513.3}
   ...
    Will you not without delay place yourself in right relation to God? Will you not say, "I will give my will to Jesus, and I will do it now," and from this moment be wholly on the Lord's side? Disregard custom and the strong clamoring of appetite and passion. Give Satan no chance to say: "You are a wretched hypocrite." Close the door so that Satan will not thus accuse and dishearten you. Say, "I will believe, I do believe that God is my helper," and you will find that you are triumphant in God. By steadfastly keeping the will on the Lord's side, every emotion will be brought into captivity to the will of Jesus. You will then find your feet on solid rock. It will take, at times, every particle of will power which you possess; but it is God that is working for you, and you will come forth from the molding process a vessel unto honor.  {5T 514.1}
[/quote]

_________________________________________________ ___________________

For some, it is one of the hardest things in life to do! To surrender your will to God for the 1st time can be totally earth-shaking for some! For others, it might be a quiet moment of decision, simply rejoicing in your heart that you have found your savior! Both conversions result in a new birth experience! But it isn't long before the person realizes he or she must make that surrender & commitment to Christ again, & again & again! Sometimes , the realization comes after a display of impatience, or even anger, or perhaps some unholy desire! The person realizes they must be willing to follow God's will, every day, every hour!

The old illustration of the three legged stool shows how to do this. The depth of our Christian experience depends on the support of all three legs: Bible Study, Prayer, Sharing Christ with Others. If one leg is weak. the experience with Christ falters!  Have you noticed, that the closer you are to Christ, the easier it is to do His will?
tc
tc

 "Buy the truth, and sell it not...." Pro 23:23