Author Topic: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus  (Read 21186 times)

0 Members and 4 Guests are viewing this topic.

JimB

  • Servant
  • Assistant Administrator
  • Posts: 7447
  • Pro 12:28 in the pathway thereof there is no death
The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« on: February 05, 2016, 06:14:01 AM »
Chapter 17—Nicodemus

Listen to  Nicodemus 


   



Nicodemus held a high position of trust in the Jewish nation. He was highly educated, and possessed talents of no ordinary character, and he was an honored member of the national council. With others, he had been stirred by the teaching of Jesus. Though rich, learned, and honored, he had been strangely attracted by the humble Nazarene. The lessons that had fallen from the Saviour’s lips had greatly impressed him, and he desired to learn more of these wonderful truths.

Christ’s exercise of authority in the cleansing of the temple had roused the determined hatred of the priests and rulers. They feared the power of this stranger. Such boldness on the part of an obscure Galilean was not to be tolerated. They were bent on putting an end to His work. But not all were agreed in this purpose. There were some that feared to oppose One who was so evidently moved upon by the Spirit of God. They remembered how prophets had been slain for rebuking the sins of the leaders in Israel. They knew that the bondage of the Jews to a heathen nation was the result of their stubbornness in rejecting reproofs from God. They feared that in plotting against Jesus the priests and rulers were following in the steps of their fathers, and would bring fresh calamities upon the nation. Nicodemus shared these feelings. In a council of the Sanhedrin, when the course to be pursued toward Jesus was considered, Nicodemus advised caution and moderation. He urged that if Jesus was really invested with authority from God, it would be perilous to reject His warnings. The priests dared not disregard this counsel, and for the time they took no open measures against the Saviour.

Since hearing Jesus, Nicodemus had anxiously studied the prophecies relating to the Messiah; and the more he searched, the stronger was his conviction that this was the One who was to come. With many others in Israel he had been greatly distressed by the profanation of the temple. He was a witness of the scene when Jesus drove out the buyers and the sellers; he beheld the wonderful manifestation of divine power; he saw the Saviour receiving the poor and healing the sick; he saw their looks of joy, and heard their words of praise; and he could not doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was the Sent of God.

He greatly desired an interview with Jesus, but shrank from seeking Him openly. It would be too humiliating for a ruler of the Jews to acknowledge himself in sympathy with a teacher as yet so little known. And should his visit come to the knowledge of the Sanhedrin, it would draw upon him their scorn and denunciation. He resolved upon a secret interview, excusing this on the ground that if he were to go openly, others might follow his example. Learning by special inquiry the Saviour’s place of retirement in the Mount of Olives, he waited until the city was hushed in slumber, and then sought Him.

In the presence of Christ, Nicodemus felt a strange timidity, which he endeavored to conceal under an air of composure and dignity. “Rabbi,” he said, “we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.” By speaking of Christ’s rare gifts as a teacher, and also of His wonderful power to perform miracles, he hoped to pave the way for his interview. His words were designed to express and to invite confidence; but they really expressed unbelief. He did not acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, but only a teacher sent from God.

Instead of recognizing this salutation, Jesus bent His eyes upon the speaker, as if reading his very soul. In His infinite wisdom He saw before Him a seeker after truth. He knew the object of this visit, and with a desire to deepen the conviction already resting upon His listener’s mind, He came directly to the point, saying solemnly, yet kindly, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3, margin.

Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with Him, but Jesus laid bare the foundation principles of truth. He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you to discuss with Me My authority or My mission.

Nicodemus had heard the preaching of John the Baptist concerning repentance and baptism, and pointing the people to One who should baptize with the Holy Spirit. He himself had felt that there was a lack of spirituality among the Jews, that, to a great degree, they were controlled by bigotry and worldly ambition. He had hoped for a better state of things at the Messiah’s coming. Yet the heart-searching message of the Baptist had failed to work in him conviction of sin. He was a strict Pharisee, and prided himself on his good works. He was widely esteemed for his benevolence and his liberality in sustaining the temple service, and he felt secure of the favor of God. He was startled at the thought of a kingdom too pure for him to see in his present state.

The figure of the new birth, which Jesus had used, was not wholly unfamiliar to Nicodemus. Converts from heathenism to the faith of Israel were often compared to children just born. Therefore he must have perceived that the words of Christ were not to be taken in a literal sense. But by virtue of his birth as an Israelite he regarded himself as sure of a place in the kingdom of God. He felt that he needed no change. Hence his surprise at the Saviour’s words. He was irritated by their close application to himself. The pride of the Pharisee was struggling against the honest desire of the seeker after truth. He wondered that Christ should speak to him as He did, not respecting his position as ruler in Israel.

Surprised out of his self-possession, he answered Christ in words full of irony, “How can a man be born when he is old?” Like many others when cutting truth is brought home to the conscience, he revealed the fact that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. There is in him nothing that responds to spiritual things; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

But the Saviour did not meet argument with argument. Raising His hand with solemn, quiet dignity, He pressed the truth home with greater assurance, “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.” Nicodemus knew that Christ here referred to water baptism and the renewing of the heart by the Spirit of God. He was convinced that he was in the presence of the One whom John the Baptist had foretold.

Jesus continued: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By nature the heart is evil, and “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” Job 14:4. No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Romans 8:7; Matthew 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.

Nicodemus was still perplexed, and Jesus used the wind to illustrate His meaning: “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 everyone that is born of the Spirit.”

The wind is heard among the branches of the trees, rustling the leaves and flowers; yet it is invisible, and no man knows whence it comes or whither it goes. So with the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind. A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,—a patient, protracted process.

While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.

It is impossible for finite minds to comprehend the work of redemption. Its mystery exceeds human knowledge; yet he who passes from death to life realizes that it is a divine reality. The beginning of redemption we may know here through a personal experience. Its results reach through the eternal ages.

While Jesus was speaking, some gleams of truth penetrated the ruler’s mind. The softening, subduing influence of the Holy Spirit impressed his heart. Yet he did not fully understand the Saviour’s words. He was not so much impressed by the necessity of the new birth as by the manner of its accomplishment. He said wonderingly, “How can these things be?”

“Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” Jesus asked. Surely one entrusted with the religious instruction of the people should not be ignorant of truths so important. His words conveyed the lesson that instead of feeling irritated over the plain words of truth, Nicodemus should have had a very humble opinion of himself, because of his spiritual ignorance. Yet Christ spoke with such solemn dignity, and both look and tone expressed such earnest love, that Nicodemus was not offended as he realized his humiliating condition.

But as Jesus explained that His mission on earth was to establish a spiritual instead of a temporal kingdom, His hearer was troubled. Seeing this, Jesus added, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” If Nicodemus could not receive Christ’s teaching, illustrating the work of grace upon the heart, how could he comprehend the nature of His glorious heavenly kingdom? Not discerning the nature of Christ’s work on earth, he could not understand His work in heaven.

The Jews whom Jesus had driven from the temple claimed to be children of Abraham, but they fled from the Saviour’s presence because they could not endure the glory of God which was manifested in Him. Thus they gave evidence that they were not fitted by the grace of God to participate in the sacred services of the temple. They were zealous to maintain an appearance of holiness, but they neglected holiness of heart. While they were sticklers for the letter of the law, they were constantly violating its spirit. Their great need was that very change which Christ had been explaining to Nicodemus,—a new moral birth, a cleansing from sin, and a renewing of knowledge and holiness.

There was no excuse for the blindness of Israel in regard to the work of regeneration. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah had written, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” David had prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” And through Ezekiel the promise had been given, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes.” Isaiah 64:6; Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26, 27.

Nicodemus had read these scriptures with a clouded mind; but he now began to comprehend their meaning. He saw that the most rigid obedience to the mere letter of the law as applied to the outward life could entitle no man to enter the kingdom of heaven. In the estimation of men, his life had been just and honorable; but in the presence of Christ he felt that his heart was unclean, and his life unholy.

Nicodemus was being drawn to Christ. As the Saviour explained to him concerning the new birth, he longed to have this change wrought in himself. By what means could it be accomplished? Jesus answered the unspoken question: “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.”

Here was ground with which Nicodemus was familiar. The symbol of the uplifted serpent made plain to him the Saviour’s mission. When the people of Israel were dying from the sting of the fiery serpents, God directed Moses to make a serpent of brass, and place it on high in the midst of the congregation. Then the word was sounded throughout the encampment that all who would look upon the serpent should live. The people well knew that in itself the serpent had no power to help them. It was a symbol of Christ. As the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted up for their healing, so One made “in the likeness of sinful flesh” was to be their Redeemer. Romans 8:3. Many of the Israelites regarded the sacrificial service as having in itself virtue to set them free from sin. God desired to teach them that it had no more value than that serpent of brass. It was to lead their minds to the Saviour. Whether for the healing of their wounds or the pardon of their sins, they could do nothing for themselves but show their faith in the Gift of God. They were to look and live.

Those who had been bitten by the serpents might have delayed to look. They might have questioned how there could be efficacy in that brazen symbol. They might have demanded a scientific explanation. But no explanation was given. They must accept the word of God to them through Moses. To refuse to look was to perish.

Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. Nicodemus received the lesson, and carried it with him. He searched the Scriptures in a new way, not for the discussion of a theory, but in order to receive life for the soul. He began to see the kingdom of heaven as he submitted himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

There are thousands today who need to learn the same truth that was taught to Nicodemus by the uplifted serpent. They depend on their obedience to the law of God to commend them to His favor. When they are bidden to look to Jesus, and believe that He saves them solely through His grace, they exclaim, “How can these things be?”

Like Nicodemus, we must be willing to enter into life in the same way as the chief of sinners. Than Christ, “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. Through faith we receive the grace of God; but faith is not our Saviour. It earns nothing. It is the hand by which we lay hold upon Christ, and appropriate His merits, the remedy for sin. And we cannot even repent without the aid of the Spirit of God. The Scripture says of Christ, “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31. Repentance comes from Christ as truly as does pardon.

How, then, are we to be saved? “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” so the Son of man has been lifted up, and everyone who has been deceived and bitten by the serpent may look and live. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” Psalm 40:8.

In the interview with Nicodemus, Jesus unfolded the plan of salvation, and His mission to the world. In none of His subsequent discourses did He explain so fully, step by step, the work necessary to be done in the hearts of all who would inherit the kingdom of heaven. At the very beginning of His ministry He opened the truth to a member of the Sanhedrin, to the mind that was most receptive, and to an appointed teacher of the people. But the leaders of Israel did not welcome the light. Nicodemus hid the truth in his heart, and for three years there was little apparent fruit.

But Jesus was acquainted with the soil into which He cast the seed. The words spoken at night to one listener in the lonely mountain were not lost. For a time Nicodemus did not publicly acknowledge Christ, but he watched His life, and pondered His teachings. In the Sanhedrin council he repeatedly thwarted the schemes of the priests to destroy Him. When at last Jesus was lifted up on the cross, Nicodemus remembered the teaching upon Olivet: “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.” The light from that secret interview illumined the cross upon Calvary, and Nicodemus saw in Jesus the world’s Redeemer.

After the Lord’s ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, Nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that the Jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ. In the time of peril he who had been so cautious and questioning was firm as a rock, encouraging the faith of the disciples, and furnishing means to carry forward the work of the gospel. He was scorned and persecuted by those who had paid him reverence in other days. He became poor in this world’s goods; yet he faltered not in the faith which had its beginning in that night conference with Jesus.

Nicodemus related to John the story of that interview, and by his pen it was recorded for the instruction of millions. The truths there taught are as important today as they were on that solemn night in the shadowy mountain, when the Jewish ruler came to learn the way of life from the lowly Teacher of Galilee.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2016, 07:01:57 AM »
This chapter is one of the most beneficial teaching aids given to the world. If prayerfully studied, it will address the great deception that has today come into Christian churches.

Nicodemus was in a Laodicean condition when he sought out Christ under cover of darkness. He thought he was rich and increased with goods, but did not understand he was "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Jesus in the beginning of his meeting with Nicodemus told him he was not converted. This shocked this leader in Israel. Pastors, priests, elders, bishops, deacons, conference presidents, and leaders in professing Christians churches today are in a similar condition and will be equally shocked to find out they also need to be converted. The blind have been burying the blind for many years. This is why there are so many perplexities in the churches. So it was when a prophet in our day wrote: "The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ."  12MR 51. Notice the word "rare". What does this mean?

The great deception that has come upon modern day Israel is that one is converted when he is not. What it means to be a Christian and how to obtain that experience is answered in this chapter based on the third chapter of John. "Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with Him, but Jesus laid bare the foundation principles of truth. He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you to discuss with Me My authority or My mission."

So it is today. It does no good to enter into discussion about many things until one is converted, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Our effort as Bible instructors is to lead the flock of God to understand what it means to be "born again" and how it is that the sinner may have this experience. "Nicodemus related to John the story of that interview, and by his pen it was recorded for the instruction of millions. The truths there taught are as important today as they were on that solemn night in the shadowy mountain, when the Jewish ruler came to learn the way of life from the lowly Teacher of Galilee."
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

  • Servant
  • Assistant Administrator
  • Posts: 7447
  • Pro 12:28 in the pathway thereof there is no death
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2016, 05:08:57 AM »
By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,—a patient, protracted process.

I realize that this is not major point of this chapter but I find this part interesting. There are a lot of people who believe that Paul's conversion was sudden experience. This would seem to indicate differently. If I also remember correctly as it's been a while since I've read "Life Sketches of Paul" I believe that we are told there were many nights that he didn't get much sleep worried and fighting with his conscience (my words not hers). Granted this process may be shorter or longer than others but I'm not convinced that the conversion of the Ethiopian nor the their on the cross was a "spur of the moment" thing.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2016, 07:30:28 AM »
Jim, you have brought up a very important truth. You are right about the conversion of Saul the persecutor. It is true of all who are converted, it is the end of a long protracted process of revealing the character of God. "By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,--a patient, protracted process.

Paul speaks of his conversion in Romans chapter seven. We know from Scripture that something very revealing happened in Saul's life when he witnessed the death of Stephen whom he was responsible for murdering. Stephen was a witness of the character of Christ. The grace shown to Saul was the beginning of a stronger work by the Holy Spirit in his conversion. Having seen the character of Christ in Stephen, Saul had a standard by which to measure his own life. He finally saw who he was apart from Christ and cried out "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Romans 7:24. 

It is by beholding we become changed. We must learn of God. It takes time to develop faith in Him, to trust Him with all we are and all we have. It is not a blind faith, but an intelligent faith that allows the sinner to make a full surrender of self to Christ.

  But even as a sinner, man was in a different position from that of Satan. Lucifer in heaven had sinned in the light of God's glory. To him as to no other created being was given a revelation of God's love. Understanding the character of God, knowing His goodness, Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent will. This choice was final. There was no more that God could do to save him. But man was deceived; his mind was darkened by Satan's sophistry. The height and depth of the love of God he did not know. For him there was hope in a knowledge of God's love. By beholding His character he might be drawn back to God. 
     Through Jesus, God's mercy was manifested to men; but mercy does not set aside justice. The law reveals the attributes of God's character, and not a jot or tittle of it could be changed to meet man in his fallen condition. God did not change His law, but He sacrificed Himself, in Christ, for man's redemption. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." 2 Corinthians 5:19. DA 762.} 


We have two topics that cover this in detail. One is entitled The Conversion of Paul. The other is Romans 7 and 8. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1741
  • Following the Lamb
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2016, 07:43:37 AM »
As I reflect upon the comments you have both made today (Jim and Richard), I am thankful that God is working upon us even when we may be unaware of it--but how He longs for recognition, even as a mother longs for that smile that shows intelligence has dawned! Jesus longs--thirsts--for recognition in our lives--not for His benefit, but that we may partake of His joy, abide in Him, and experience the life that we have been alien to because of sin.

I appreciate how directly the gospel is presented in this chapter. As I read the following paragraph, I thought of our own Seventh-day Adventist Church as well:

"There was no excuse for the blindness of Israel in regard to the work of regeneration. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah had written, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” David had prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” And through Ezekiel the promise had been given, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes.” Isaiah 64:6; Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26, 27. " {DA 174.1}

While we are without excuse, as we have even more light than did the Jews, I truly believe God wants these truths to shine out in ever brighter luster as the increase of darkness in the world (and even in the church) make it necessary! We need a revelation of the true everlasting gospel!

The more I read the Spirit of Prophecy, the more recurring I see this gospel theme woven throughout, like a golden cord--inviting us to a full surrender, to experience the new birth--by a supernatural agency apart from ourselves that must regenerate us, adopting us into the family above.

I love how a similar statement emerges from Patriarchs and Prophets, page 372, paragraph 2:

"The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness we accept the righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth “the fruits of the Spirit.” Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as He walked. Through the prophet He declared of Himself, “I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8." {PP 372.2}

God desires to bring us into harmony with His law--not by us trying to obey in our unregenerate nature apart from Christ, but by us being born again (beholding His loveliness in Jesus, seeing our sinfulness, and experiencing a full surrender to His gift of repentance), and then "the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth 'the fruits of the Spirit.'"--all of them--so that "not one will be missing" {DA 676.4}. It is simple enough for a child to understand, but profound enough for the wisest in this world's wisdom to miss it--for these truths are "spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14).

How different might the history of Israel (and Nicodemus) been had that ruler of the Jews readily accepted the light (and shared it) as soon as it shone upon him? We may never know until we get to heaven the fatal risks of delay in yielding fully to the Holy Spirit's knock and voice. But we praise God He is patient with us.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

JimB

  • Servant
  • Assistant Administrator
  • Posts: 7447
  • Pro 12:28 in the pathway thereof there is no death
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2016, 07:14:27 AM »
Like Nicodemus, we must be willing to enter into life in the same way as the chief of sinners. Than Christ, “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. Through faith we receive the grace of God; but faith is not our Saviour. It earns nothing. It is the hand by which we lay hold upon Christ, and appropriate His merits, the remedy for sin. And we cannot even repent without the aid of the Spirit of God. The Scripture says of Christ, “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31. Repentance comes from Christ as truly as does pardon.

Maybe this is old news to most here but I know for years in my life I did not understand this. I thought repentance was something that came from with inside myself. Yes, it's something we must do but we cannot rightly do it without the aid of the Holy Spirit. Without the aid of the Holy Spirit we can be sorry for the consequences of sins or be sorry for being caught but this is not true repentance. Repentance is a good a thing and I believe if we understood the nature of man an our fallen nature it would not be hard to understand that true repentance cannot come from a poisoned fountain.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2016, 08:38:57 PM »
Amen, Jim!  How important to understand what true repentance is and how we come to the point of truly being sorry for our sins. There is a direct connection between true repentance and salvation.

24:46   And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 
 24:47   And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 

Jesus is giving us our marching orders. And, it is to preach "repentance and remission of sins" in His name. Remission of sins comes when one is brought to repentance. Repentance comes from seeing what our sins have done to Christ. "Godly sorrow worketh repentance unto salvation."

And, "the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance."  And, is it not the goodness of God, His grace that when accepted into the heart brings about salvation? It is by grace that we are saved. How important that we understand what it is that Christ has given us to do!

I was impressed almost 30 years ago to include this chapter in my efforts to bring about revival and reformation in the church. If one were to prayerfully study this chapter, most would have their eyes opened to what it means to be a converted Christian.....and how it is that one is converted. Many today will argue against the truth that the heart is holy when converted. They reject the truth that the heart must be purified if one is to be baptized and brought into the church.

Jesus continued: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By nature the heart is evil, and “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” Job 14:4. No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Romans 8:7; Matthew 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.


Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1741
  • Following the Lamb
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2016, 01:24:10 PM »
I appreciated this chapter when I read it yesterday! What a blessing to see Jesus and how clearly He presented the steps in experiencing true conversion.

I appreciated the statements both of you brought out, Jim and Richard.

We can do no good thing apart from Jesus, but when the heart is made new because Jesus abides there by His Spirit, we are to trust and believe that His power is sufficient to give holiness at the beginning as well as all through the Christian walk. We are to follow the words of Scripture:

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him" (Colossians 2:6).
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2016, 05:46:21 AM »
As I was reading this morning, I was reminded of what I was impressed with almost 30 years ago when I was called into ministry to preach the 3 angels message. There were some chapters from the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy I was to instruct our people to study. This chapter along with John chapter three were among those inspired presentations. It is with this in mind that the only comment I will make this morning is to repeat the last paragraph from this chapter, Nicodemus.

Nicodemus related to John the story of that interview, and by his pen it was recorded for the instruction of millions. The truths there taught are as important today as they were on that solemn night in the shadowy mountain, when the Jewish ruler came to learn the way of life from the lowly Teacher of Galilee.



Chapter 17—Nicodemus



Listen to  Nicodemus 

Nicodemus held a high position of trust in the Jewish nation. He was highly educated, and possessed talents of no ordinary character, and he was an honored member of the national council. With others, he had been stirred by the teaching of Jesus. Though rich, learned, and honored, he had been strangely attracted by the humble Nazarene. The lessons that had fallen from the Saviour’s lips had greatly impressed him, and he desired to learn more of these wonderful truths.

Christ’s exercise of authority in the cleansing of the temple had roused the determined hatred of the priests and rulers. They feared the power of this stranger. Such boldness on the part of an obscure Galilean was not to be tolerated. They were bent on putting an end to His work. But not all were agreed in this purpose. There were some that feared to oppose One who was so evidently moved upon by the Spirit of God. They remembered how prophets had been slain for rebuking the sins of the leaders in Israel. They knew that the bondage of the Jews to a heathen nation was the result of their stubbornness in rejecting reproofs from God. They feared that in plotting against Jesus the priests and rulers were following in the steps of their fathers, and would bring fresh calamities upon the nation. Nicodemus shared these feelings. In a council of the Sanhedrin, when the course to be pursued toward Jesus was considered, Nicodemus advised caution and moderation. He urged that if Jesus was really invested with authority from God, it would be perilous to reject His warnings. The priests dared not disregard this counsel, and for the time they took no open measures against the Saviour.

Since hearing Jesus, Nicodemus had anxiously studied the prophecies relating to the Messiah; and the more he searched, the stronger was his conviction that this was the One who was to come. With many others in Israel he had been greatly distressed by the profanation of the temple. He was a witness of the scene when Jesus drove out the buyers and the sellers; he beheld the wonderful manifestation of divine power; he saw the Saviour receiving the poor and healing the sick; he saw their looks of joy, and heard their words of praise; and he could not doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was the Sent of God.

He greatly desired an interview with Jesus, but shrank from seeking Him openly. It would be too humiliating for a ruler of the Jews to acknowledge himself in sympathy with a teacher as yet so little known. And should his visit come to the knowledge of the Sanhedrin, it would draw upon him their scorn and denunciation. He resolved upon a secret interview, excusing this on the ground that if he were to go openly, others might follow his example. Learning by special inquiry the Saviour’s place of retirement in the Mount of Olives, he waited until the city was hushed in slumber, and then sought Him.

In the presence of Christ, Nicodemus felt a strange timidity, which he endeavored to conceal under an air of composure and dignity. “Rabbi,” he said, “we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou doest, except God be with him.” By speaking of Christ’s rare gifts as a teacher, and also of His wonderful power to perform miracles, he hoped to pave the way for his interview. His words were designed to express and to invite confidence; but they really expressed unbelief. He did not acknowledge Jesus to be the Messiah, but only a teacher sent from God.

Instead of recognizing this salutation, Jesus bent His eyes upon the speaker, as if reading his very soul. In His infinite wisdom He saw before Him a seeker after truth. He knew the object of this visit, and with a desire to deepen the conviction already resting upon His listener’s mind, He came directly to the point, saying solemnly, yet kindly, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3, margin.

Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with Him, but Jesus laid bare the foundation principles of truth. He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you to discuss with Me My authority or My mission.

Nicodemus had heard the preaching of John the Baptist concerning repentance and baptism, and pointing the people to One who should baptize with the Holy Spirit. He himself had felt that there was a lack of spirituality among the Jews, that, to a great degree, they were controlled by bigotry and worldly ambition. He had hoped for a better state of things at the Messiah’s coming. Yet the heart-searching message of the Baptist had failed to work in him conviction of sin. He was a strict Pharisee, and prided himself on his good works. He was widely esteemed for his benevolence and his liberality in sustaining the temple service, and he felt secure of the favor of God. He was startled at the thought of a kingdom too pure for him to see in his present state.

The figure of the new birth, which Jesus had used, was not wholly unfamiliar to Nicodemus. Converts from heathenism to the faith of Israel were often compared to children just born. Therefore he must have perceived that the words of Christ were not to be taken in a literal sense. But by virtue of his birth as an Israelite he regarded himself as sure of a place in the kingdom of God. He felt that he needed no change. Hence his surprise at the Saviour’s words. He was irritated by their close application to himself. The pride of the Pharisee was struggling against the honest desire of the seeker after truth. He wondered that Christ should speak to him as He did, not respecting his position as ruler in Israel.

Surprised out of his self-possession, he answered Christ in words full of irony, “How can a man be born when he is old?” Like many others when cutting truth is brought home to the conscience, he revealed the fact that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. There is in him nothing that responds to spiritual things; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

But the Saviour did not meet argument with argument. Raising His hand with solemn, quiet dignity, He pressed the truth home with greater assurance, “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.” Nicodemus knew that Christ here referred to water baptism and the renewing of the heart by the Spirit of God. He was convinced that he was in the presence of the One whom John the Baptist had foretold.

Jesus continued: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By nature the heart is evil, and “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” Job 14:4. No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Romans 8:7; Matthew 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.

Nicodemus was still perplexed, and Jesus used the wind to illustrate His meaning: “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 everyone that is born of the Spirit.”

The wind is heard among the branches of the trees, rustling the leaves and flowers; yet it is invisible, and no man knows whence it comes or whither it goes. So with the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind. A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,—a patient, protracted process.

While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.

It is impossible for finite minds to comprehend the work of redemption. Its mystery exceeds human knowledge; yet he who passes from death to life realizes that it is a divine reality. The beginning of redemption we may know here through a personal experience. Its results reach through the eternal ages.

While Jesus was speaking, some gleams of truth penetrated the ruler’s mind. The softening, subduing influence of the Holy Spirit impressed his heart. Yet he did not fully understand the Saviour’s words. He was not so much impressed by the necessity of the new birth as by the manner of its accomplishment. He said wonderingly, “How can these things be?”

“Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?” Jesus asked. Surely one entrusted with the religious instruction of the people should not be ignorant of truths so important. His words conveyed the lesson that instead of feeling irritated over the plain words of truth, Nicodemus should have had a very humble opinion of himself, because of his spiritual ignorance. Yet Christ spoke with such solemn dignity, and both look and tone expressed such earnest love, that Nicodemus was not offended as he realized his humiliating condition.

But as Jesus explained that His mission on earth was to establish a spiritual instead of a temporal kingdom, His hearer was troubled. Seeing this, Jesus added, “If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?” If Nicodemus could not receive Christ’s teaching, illustrating the work of grace upon the heart, how could he comprehend the nature of His glorious heavenly kingdom? Not discerning the nature of Christ’s work on earth, he could not understand His work in heaven.

The Jews whom Jesus had driven from the temple claimed to be children of Abraham, but they fled from the Saviour’s presence because they could not endure the glory of God which was manifested in Him. Thus they gave evidence that they were not fitted by the grace of God to participate in the sacred services of the temple. They were zealous to maintain an appearance of holiness, but they neglected holiness of heart. While they were sticklers for the letter of the law, they were constantly violating its spirit. Their great need was that very change which Christ had been explaining to Nicodemus,—a new moral birth, a cleansing from sin, and a renewing of knowledge and holiness.

There was no excuse for the blindness of Israel in regard to the work of regeneration. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah had written, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” David had prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” And through Ezekiel the promise had been given, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes.” Isaiah 64:6; Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26, 27.

Nicodemus had read these scriptures with a clouded mind; but he now began to comprehend their meaning. He saw that the most rigid obedience to the mere letter of the law as applied to the outward life could entitle no man to enter the kingdom of heaven. In the estimation of men, his life had been just and honorable; but in the presence of Christ he felt that his heart was unclean, and his life unholy.

Nicodemus was being drawn to Christ. As the Saviour explained to him concerning the new birth, he longed to have this change wrought in himself. By what means could it be accomplished? Jesus answered the unspoken question: “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.”

Here was ground with which Nicodemus was familiar. The symbol of the uplifted serpent made plain to him the Saviour’s mission. When the people of Israel were dying from the sting of the fiery serpents, God directed Moses to make a serpent of brass, and place it on high in the midst of the congregation. Then the word was sounded throughout the encampment that all who would look upon the serpent should live. The people well knew that in itself the serpent had no power to help them. It was a symbol of Christ. As the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted up for their healing, so One made “in the likeness of sinful flesh” was to be their Redeemer. Romans 8:3. Many of the Israelites regarded the sacrificial service as having in itself virtue to set them free from sin. God desired to teach them that it had no more value than that serpent of brass. It was to lead their minds to the Saviour. Whether for the healing of their wounds or the pardon of their sins, they could do nothing for themselves but show their faith in the Gift of God. They were to look and live.

Those who had been bitten by the serpents might have delayed to look. They might have questioned how there could be efficacy in that brazen symbol. They might have demanded a scientific explanation. But no explanation was given. They must accept the word of God to them through Moses. To refuse to look was to perish.

Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. Nicodemus received the lesson, and carried it with him. He searched the Scriptures in a new way, not for the discussion of a theory, but in order to receive life for the soul. He began to see the kingdom of heaven as he submitted himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

There are thousands today who need to learn the same truth that was taught to Nicodemus by the uplifted serpent. They depend on their obedience to the law of God to commend them to His favor. When they are bidden to look to Jesus, and believe that He saves them solely through His grace, they exclaim, “How can these things be?”

Like Nicodemus, we must be willing to enter into life in the same way as the chief of sinners. Than Christ, “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. Through faith we receive the grace of God; but faith is not our Saviour. It earns nothing. It is the hand by which we lay hold upon Christ, and appropriate His merits, the remedy for sin. And we cannot even repent without the aid of the Spirit of God. The Scripture says of Christ, “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31. Repentance comes from Christ as truly as does pardon.

How, then, are we to be saved? “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” so the Son of man has been lifted up, and everyone who has been deceived and bitten by the serpent may look and live. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” Psalm 40:8.

In the interview with Nicodemus, Jesus unfolded the plan of salvation, and His mission to the world. In none of His subsequent discourses did He explain so fully, step by step, the work necessary to be done in the hearts of all who would inherit the kingdom of heaven. At the very beginning of His ministry He opened the truth to a member of the Sanhedrin, to the mind that was most receptive, and to an appointed teacher of the people. But the leaders of Israel did not welcome the light. Nicodemus hid the truth in his heart, and for three years there was little apparent fruit.

But Jesus was acquainted with the soil into which He cast the seed. The words spoken at night to one listener in the lonely mountain were not lost. For a time Nicodemus did not publicly acknowledge Christ, but he watched His life, and pondered His teachings. In the Sanhedrin council he repeatedly thwarted the schemes of the priests to destroy Him. When at last Jesus was lifted up on the cross, Nicodemus remembered the teaching upon Olivet: “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.” The light from that secret interview illumined the cross upon Calvary, and Nicodemus saw in Jesus the world’s Redeemer.

After the Lord’s ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, Nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that the Jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ. In the time of peril he who had been so cautious and questioning was firm as a rock, encouraging the faith of the disciples, and furnishing means to carry forward the work of the gospel. He was scorned and persecuted by those who had paid him reverence in other days. He became poor in this world’s goods; yet he faltered not in the faith which had its beginning in that night conference with Jesus.

Nicodemus related to John the story of that interview, and by his pen it was recorded for the instruction of millions. The truths there taught are as important today as they were on that solemn night in the shadowy mountain, when the Jewish ruler came to learn the way of life from the lowly Teacher of Galilee.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1741
  • Following the Lamb
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2016, 01:38:40 PM »
Amen, Richard! I am so thankful to be one of the millions that has been so blessed by these truths laid out so clearly that reveal the everlasting gospel in such clarity. The heart is evil by nature, we need a Savior who gives us a new heart and mind, and only through continually looking to Christ and being filled with all of the fruits of the Spirit so that not one is missing is it possible to remain in a converted state. We are in need of Jesus continually. I am so thankful that we have been given not only the Bible but the Spirit of Prophecy! God is so good to us! I was so blessed by this chapter today as I turned many of the key paragraphs into songs so that it is easier to memorize them and internalize these truths to share with others! What a wonderful thought this is:

Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with Him, but Jesus laid bare the foundation principles of truth. He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you to discuss with Me My authority or My mission.

There are many in such a condition as was Nicodemus. They like to study about the Bible, but they do not consent to having the heart fully purified, by surrendering entirely to Christ. Unless the entire surrender takes place, there can be no new birth. May we look and live, and find this lesson for ourselves daily; unless we remain in an abiding relationship with Jesus which means that we do not allow our minds to wander away from Him, we cannot resist one temptation to sin. By His transforming grace, we may become perfect at conversion, which is to be continually growing through abiding in Him. Like the corn plant that is perfect at the first stage of its germination, it can only remain perfect (at each successive stage of growth) as long as it continues to receive what is provided for it (rain, sunshine, nutrients from the soil), and actively grows! So we are to continue to grow by receiving Christ in His matchless love to abide continually in the heart through faith--and He will finish what He has begun in us as long as we behold Him and surrender to Him all that He reveals to us by His Holy Spirit! What a joy it is to respond to Christ fully continually!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2016, 05:47:33 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean. It is  "by His transforming grace, we may become perfect at conversion." First the blade then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. perfect at each stage of development. Morally perfect, not perfect in understanding. The heart has been purified and the motives are perfect as long as we abide in Christ and He in us.

How do we receive His transforming grace? Jesus would not leave Nicodemus in such a sad state without telling him what he must do in order to be converted. Most professing Christians have no idea what they must do in order to be converted, even though Jesus said "I am the Manna which came down from heaven." And again, "man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word which proceeds out of the mouth of God." What did He tell Nicodemus that he would know what he must do in order to be healed from the disease of sin to which every human has been in bondage? All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. None have come into this world born of the flesh and escaped the bondage to sin. We are aligned with Satan at enmity with God until we are born of the Spirit. Then the everlasting gospel has been fulfilled in the life of the repentant sinner. He is given enmity towards Satan and sin and is a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1741
  • Following the Lamb
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2017, 06:39:57 AM »
There is so much in this chapter that our people need--and that I need to continue to experience by abiding in Christ! What a wonderful revelation of the love of God in Christ, and we see how lovingly, patiently, kindly, and clearly Christ dealt with Nicodemus' mind, for he needed to experience true conversion! What a gift!

Here was ground with which Nicodemus was familiar. The symbol of the uplifted serpent made plain to him the Saviour’s mission. When the people of Israel were dying from the sting of the fiery serpents, God directed Moses to make a serpent of brass, and place it on high in the midst of the congregation. Then the word was sounded throughout the encampment that all who would look upon the serpent should live. The people well knew that in itself the serpent had no power to help them. It was a symbol of Christ. As the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted up for their healing, so One made “in the likeness of sinful flesh” was to be their Redeemer. Romans 8:3. Many of the Israelites regarded the sacrificial service as having in itself virtue to set them free from sin. God desired to teach them that it had no more value than that serpent of brass. It was to lead their minds to the Saviour. Whether for the healing of their wounds or the pardon of their sins, they could do nothing for themselves but show their faith in the Gift of God. They were to look and live.

We need Jesus continually. To "look and live" is to learn to spend that "thoughtful hour" with Jesus and realize our continual need of Him in our hearts by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Unless we are vitally connected to Christ by living, saving faith, we have no life in us. Like Nicodemus, we must individually humble the heart before God and accept the salvation offered us, for there is no other way to heaven than Christ! Praise God it is so! Praise God that all can learn of Him today and, by beholding, be changed into His lovely character! This is the essential message for our time, and it is as we come to reflect the divine likeness that we are a part of vindicating God's name before the universe in which the great controversy has raged over whether it is possible to keep the law of God or not. We clearly see that it is possible--by the power of grace:

How, then, are we to be saved? “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” so the Son of man has been lifted up, and everyone who has been deceived and bitten by the serpent may look and live. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” Psalm 40:8.

What a miracle! This is the greatest miracle God can perform, and He is willing to do it today in you and me anew! We need this experience continually! It is not just at the beginning of the Christian journey, but every step heavenward that we must have a heart renewed by divine grace, for apart from Christ we can do no good thing!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2017, 07:11:26 AM »
Yes, Pastor Sean, this chapter if prayerfully studied will help the church to find revival and reformation. It reveals our problem and the solution. Nicodemus was a Laodicean, he thought he was rich and increased with goods, but did not know he was miserable and wretched, and poor, blind, and naked. Jesus revealed the plan of salvation to him.

Like many others when cutting truth is brought home to the conscience, he revealed the fact that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. There is in him nothing that responds to spiritual things; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

But the Saviour did not meet argument with argument. Raising His hand with solemn, quiet dignity, He pressed the truth home with greater assurance, “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.”


Today, we see the same opposition to the truth, to the true gospel of grace and our continual need of Jesus. The following statement is given to us that we might understand the gospel and our need of Jesus continually to be in a saved condition.

    “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By nature the heart is evil, and “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” Job 14:4. No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Romans 8:7; Matthew 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.


Many think they have life when their hearts are not pure, but carnal. Some think that the carnal heart is all we shall have until Jesus returns, thus excusing sin. But, Jesus reveals the great deception for what it is, a great lie. We come into this world with a carnal heart, in need of a Savior to cleanse it. We must be born again of the Spirit before the heart can be cleansed from sin. We must become partakers of God's divine nature through the Spirit before we have life.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1741
  • Following the Lamb
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2017, 05:15:20 AM »
God has not left Himself without witness to the power of grace, and to the supernatural work that He alone can do in the soul that beholds Him and surrenders entirely to Him in order to experience conversion, or regeneration. We are in need of a revival and a reformation in our church as concerns understanding the new birth so that those who have accepted a false gospel that allows for known sin in the life while thinking one has eternal life will be seen for what it is: a fatal deception. May we realize our continual need of Jesus and rejoice that we are counted worthy to not only understand but to live the great truth of the new birth! What a miracle!

There was no excuse for the blindness of Israel in regard to the work of regeneration. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah had written, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” David had prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” And through Ezekiel the promise had been given, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes.” Isaiah 64:6; Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26, 27.

God will give us a new heart and mind at conversion--making us partakers of the divine nature--so that the flesh will no longer dominate the higher powers of our being. We shall be enabled to overcome through abiding in Christ, and the witness that this is our experience moment-by-moment is that the Holy Spirit reveals Himself in the life with all of the fruits of His Spirit, without one missing!

Galatians 5
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.


And as we have this experience, He guides us also to live in obedience to every known statute, so that we will continue to grow in grace as we abide in Him!

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2017, 06:52:39 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean! Such a simple but profound truth! Conversion bring forth a radical transformation of nature! Yes, nature. It is not hard truth to understand. We retain our fallen nature, but when the Spirit takes possession of the heart, we become partakers of God's divine nature. And, then the fallen nature is "kept under". It cannot act out as long as we are fully surrendered to Jesus. The mind under the control of Christ has power over the passions and appetites of the flesh. "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. Paul could only do this when fully surrendered to Jesus and thus filled with the Holy Spirit.
 
Some may wonder, as we read day after day from this beautiful revelation of our Savior, why it is that this one chapter, Nicodemus, is kept at the top of our page. It is because when God called me into ministry He instructed me as to what it was I was to teach. This was very precise. One of the subjects I was to present to the church was this one chapter from The Desire of Ages. It was very clear why I was to do this. Here is the explanation. The church remains in a Laodicean condition. What is that condition. It is just what Nicodemus was when he entered the garden that night to talk with Jesus. It is a lost condition, but not a hopeless one, for Jesus explained to Nicodemus the plan of salvation.

     In the interview with Nicodemus, Jesus unfolded the plan of salvation, and His mission to the world. In none of His subsequent discourses did He explain so fully, step by step, the work necessary to be done in the hearts of all who would inherit the kingdom of heaven. At the very beginning of His ministry He opened the truth to a member of the Sanhedrin, to the mind that was most receptive, and to an appointed teacher of the people. But the leaders of Israel did not welcome the light. Nicodemus hid the truth in his heart, and for three years there was little apparent fruit.

Do you welcome the light? If so, will you spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the light of the love of God for a people lost in their understanding of the plan of salvation? Will you be like Nicodemus and not let pride stand in the way of God's pleading for your heart?

If so, learn the lesson as did Nicodemus that night in the garden:

     Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. Nicodemus received the lesson, and carried it with him. He searched the Scriptures in a new way, not for the discussion of a theory, but in order to receive life for the soul. He began to see the kingdom of heaven as he submitted himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

There are thousands today who need to learn the same truth that was taught to Nicodemus by the uplifted serpent. They depend on their obedience to the law of God to commend them to His favor. When they are bidden to look to Jesus, and believe that He saves them solely through His grace, they exclaim, “How can these things be?”

Like Nicodemus, we must be willing to enter into life in the same way as the chief of sinners. Than Christ, “there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12. Through faith we receive the grace of God; but faith is not our Saviour. It earns nothing. It is the hand by which we lay hold upon Christ, and appropriate His merits, the remedy for sin. And we cannot even repent without the aid of the Spirit of God. The Scripture says of Christ, “Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31. Repentance comes from Christ as truly as does pardon.

How, then, are we to be saved? “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” so the Son of man has been lifted up, and everyone who has been deceived and bitten by the serpent may look and live. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” Psalm 40:8.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

  • Servant
  • Assistant Administrator
  • Posts: 7447
  • Pro 12:28 in the pathway thereof there is no death
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2017, 05:19:00 AM »
After the Lord’s ascension, when the disciples were scattered by persecution, Nicodemus came boldly to the front. He employed his wealth in sustaining the infant church that the Jews had expected to be blotted out at the death of Christ. In the time of peril he who had been so cautious and questioning was firm as a rock, encouraging the faith of the disciples, and furnishing means to carry forward the work of the gospel. He was scorned and persecuted by those who had paid him reverence in other days. He became poor in this world’s goods; yet he faltered not in the faith which had its beginning in that night conference with Jesus.

This is an encouragement to me. We just don't know when the seeds planted will germinate and make root. Sometimes others plant and we harvest and sometimes we plant and others harvest. But look at Nicodemus now! He is courageous and faithful. At a time when it was dangerous to be a Christian he comes boldly to the front lines of the war. Like the hold hymn says he.. "stood like the brave, with his face to the foe", risking and loosing much but I'm sure he could like apostle Paul declared...

Philippians 3:7-9

7 But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:


By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2017, 06:33:05 AM »
Amen, Jim!  This is the result of the grace of God he allowed into His heart. It began that night when Jesus refused to allow him to think he was going to heaven the way he was. Nicodemus wanted to discuss "other things", but Jesus pointedly told him he was a Laodicean, thinking he was "rich and increased with goods," not knowing he was "miserable, wretched, poor, and blind, and naked." Jesus spoke words Nicodemus could not misunderstand. He was in a lost condition. He was humiliated. But, Jesus spoke in such a manner that He got through to Nicodemus. He knew Jesus loved him, and he realized what was being said was true.

As you point out Jim, Jesus knew the heart of Nicodemus. He knew it was not surrendered to God, but He also knew Nicodemus was seeking truth. He knew it was fertile ground. As it was in that day, so it is today. This chapter will benefit all of Christianity, for the great majority are unconverted. Many will be eternally lost, others if they will yield to the Holy Spirit, if they will learn of Jesus, they will be converted.

There is temptation to point out so much truth presented in the chapter, but to not get to the bottom is to not understand the great need of the church today.

Instead of recognizing this salutation, Jesus bent His eyes upon the speaker, as if reading his very soul. In His infinite wisdom He saw before Him a seeker after truth. He knew the object of this visit, and with a desire to deepen the conviction already resting upon His listener’s mind, He came directly to the point, saying solemnly, yet kindly, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3, margin.

Nicodemus had come to the Lord thinking to enter into a discussion with Him, but Jesus laid bare the foundation principles of truth. He said to Nicodemus, It is not theoretical knowledge you need so much as spiritual regeneration. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied, but to have a new heart. You must receive a new life from above before you can appreciate heavenly things. Until this change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good for you to discuss with Me My authority or My mission.

Nicodemus had heard the preaching of John the Baptist concerning repentance and baptism, and pointing the people to One who should baptize with the Holy Spirit. He himself had felt that there was a lack of spirituality among the Jews, that, to a great degree, they were controlled by bigotry and worldly ambition. He had hoped for a better state of things at the Messiah’s coming. Yet the heart-searching message of the Baptist had failed to work in him conviction of sin. He was a strict Pharisee, and prided himself on his good works. He was widely esteemed for his benevolence and his liberality in sustaining the temple service, and he felt secure of the favor of God. He was startled at the thought of a kingdom too pure for him to see in his present state.

The figure of the new birth, which Jesus had used, was not wholly unfamiliar to Nicodemus. Converts from heathenism to the faith of Israel were often compared to children just born. Therefore he must have perceived that the words of Christ were not to be taken in a literal sense. But by virtue of his birth as an Israelite he regarded himself as sure of a place in the kingdom of God. He felt that he needed no change. Hence his surprise at the Saviour’s words. He was irritated by their close application to himself. The pride of the Pharisee was struggling against the honest desire of the seeker after truth. He wondered that Christ should speak to him as He did, not respecting his position as ruler in Israel.

Surprised out of his self-possession, he answered Christ in words full of irony, “How can a man be born when he is old?” Like many others when cutting truth is brought home to the conscience, he revealed the fact that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. There is in him nothing that responds to spiritual things; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

But the Saviour did not meet argument with argument. Raising His hand with solemn, quiet dignity, He pressed the truth home with greater assurance, “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.” Nicodemus knew that Christ here referred to water baptism and the renewing of the heart by the Spirit of God. He was convinced that he was in the presence of the One whom John the Baptist had foretold.

Jesus continued: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” By nature the heart is evil, and “who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.” Job 14:4. No human invention can find a remedy for the sinning soul. “The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Romans 8:7; Matthew 15:19. The fountain of the heart must be purified before the streams can become pure. He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. There is no safety for one who has merely a legal religion, a form of godliness. The Christian’s life is not a modification or improvement of the old, but a transformation of nature. There is a death to self and sin, and a new life altogether. This change can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.

Nicodemus was still perplexed, and Jesus used the wind to illustrate His meaning: “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 everyone that is born of the Spirit.”

The wind is heard among the branches of the trees, rustling the leaves and flowers; yet it is invisible, and no man knows whence it comes or whither it goes. So with the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. It can no more be explained than can the movements of the wind. A person may not be able to tell the exact time or place, or to trace all the circumstances in the process of conversion; but this does not prove him to be unconverted. By an agency as unseen as the wind, Christ is constantly working upon the heart. Little by little, perhaps unconsciously to the receiver, impressions are made that tend to draw the soul to Christ. These may be received through meditating upon Him, through reading the Scriptures, or through hearing the word from the living preacher. Suddenly, as the Spirit comes with more direct appeal, the soul gladly surrenders itself to Jesus. By many this is called sudden conversion; but it is the result of long wooing by the Spirit of God,—a patient, protracted process.

While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.


There is no excuse for the church today to not understand we must a new heart cleansed from sin.

There was no excuse for the blindness of Israel in regard to the work of regeneration. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Isaiah had written, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” David had prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” And through Ezekiel the promise had been given, “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes.” Isaiah 64:6; Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26, 27.


Now that Nicodemus understands his lost condition, knowing he needs a "new heart" cleansed from sin, what must he do in order to be converted? It is the great question to be answered today.

How, then, are we to be saved? “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” so the Son of man has been lifted up, and everyone who has been deceived and bitten by the serpent may look and live. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. The light shining from the cross reveals the love of God. His love is drawing us to Himself. If we do not resist this drawing, we shall be led to the foot of the cross in repentance for the sins that have crucified the Saviour. Then the Spirit of God through faith produces a new life in the soul. The thoughts and desires are brought into obedience to the will of Christ. The heart, the mind, are created anew in the image of Him who works in us to subdue all things to Himself. Then the law of God is written in the mind and heart, and we can say with Christ, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” Psalm 40:8.

Yet, so many refuse to look that they may live.     It is such a simple gospel that we have been given. It would be good if we were to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ. Then we would know our Savior and would gladly give Him all that we have and all that we are. Then, would the whole heart be cleansed. This is what happens at conversion. Yes, many have been taught otherwise, and this is why so many remain in a Laodicean condition believing they are saved.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1741
  • Following the Lamb
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #17 on: July 14, 2017, 08:38:28 AM »
Amen, Richard! Our reading today gets to the bottom of the truth of the everlasting, unchanging gospel. We are evil by nature, we need a Savior, and we can only receive Him into the heart by beholding Him and making an entire surrender of the heart and mind--being willing to look and live so the Holy Spirit can create in us a new heart filled with ALL of the fruits of the Spirit. Such a wonderful, simple, and needed truth.

While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven. No one sees the hand that lifts the burden, or beholds the light descend from the courts above. The blessing comes when by faith the soul surrenders itself to God. Then that power which no human eye can see creates a new being in the image of God.

Being transformed means ENTIRE transformation! Our countenances will reflect the light of heaven, we will no longer live by the works of the flesh (unless we default back to the fleshly experience of unbelief and sin against God), and will realize our continual need of Jesus to do the will of God!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Dorine

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 1763
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #18 on: July 15, 2017, 07:44:45 AM »
Amen to each comment already mentioned. Such a wealth of gems are found in this chapter. The most profound insight for me was the seriousness of pride, self righteousness and a judgmental attitude. As a member of the remnant family I am in such danger of being in that condition. When this chapter is read with a humble, learning attitude the Holy Spirit strips you of all symptoms of self importance and reveals the true condition of our hearts. Once again I am brought to the foot of the cross to answer the invitation to "look and live". My heart is filled with sorrow knowing I killed my Saviour and gratitude for the love that is poured out on that cross for me a great sinner. The story of Nicodemus searches and convicts hearts if we are open to knowing who we really are.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

JimB

  • Servant
  • Assistant Administrator
  • Posts: 7447
  • Pro 12:28 in the pathway thereof there is no death
Re: The Desire of Ages--17--Nicodemus
« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2017, 05:27:23 PM »
The story of Nicodemus searches and convicts hearts if we are open to knowing who we really are.

Who we really are...hmmm.. a lot of people spend a lot of time and resources to avoid thinking about that topic. However, the true seeker who wishes to be right with God must come to a point where he or she is willing to recognize they need help and make a full surrender. How hard the natural inclinations fight against this. True freedom is the freedom to obey and to overcome.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}