Salvation through Grace – 10-05-22

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.

Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.

If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father. 

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! And we pray for the peace of Jerusalem! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Gospel of John chapter 3 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

The New Birth

There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man [b]who is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should [c]not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

John the Baptist Exalts Christ

22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized. 24 For John had not yet been thrown into prison.

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. 34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

Footnotes
a.John 3:3 Or from above
b.
John 3:13 NU omits who is in heaven
c.
John 3:15 NU omits not perish but

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Philippians 1:6- 

“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

Today is the LAST day of the 10 days of Awe, The Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. It is a time of humbling waiting on the Lord. And I have been waiting. Lord, I need you! It is traditional for the Jewish people to fast today – as the Lord commands this to be a day of repentance, humility and sacrifice.

The temple is no longer in Jerusalem, but deep inside of us. Our outer courts are our flesh, which must be poured out today and emptied – we must die to self, we must surrender our will to His will, we must give ourselves completely to Christ as He gave Himself for us. We are the sacrifice. Let your fast breaker be communion – and remember it is finished so that in and through us power can move for His Glory and His will. He has the right to tell His story through us any way He wishes.

Today is a day of abandoning the physical and walking in the spirit of humility, through repentance.

Today’s chapter is fitting for such a day. John’s love and sensitivity bring us to the very birth of our spirit man – reborn not of flesh. And then He shows us that we must decrease as Christ increases in us, which is the process of spiritual growth and maturity.

1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

Regardless of the impression our Sunday school teachers gave us – ALL Pharisees are not bad. Nicodemus met Jesus and longed to really meet Him. Nicodemus recognized the anointing, the power of God, God’s love – yes, Nicodemus knew God and therefore knew Jesus was also with God.
As we are introduced to Him we see a mad who believes – but is not touched and transformed by grace. He has head knowledge and enough in his heart to believe – but he is not born again.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”
Jesus answered, 
“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Being ‘born again’ is an act of transformation that happens when we receive the work of grace. Daily, at the top of my blog is a quick and easy prayer that can lead you to this powerful act of grace, where grace transforms you into something new. You still look and act like you – but inside you are changed and you know it. No one can take it from you. And if you permit grace to continue to work slowly you are changed inside and out.

Nicodemus still did not fully understand. He was not ready to receive. How do we receive grace, and more grace? Humble repentance of course! This is why a blog about grace cries out, daily, that we must humbly repent – the kingdom of God is at hand!

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things? 11 Most assuredly, I say to you, We speak what We know and testify what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?”

It is a funny thing about the modern church, at least in my experience firsthand. Most are right here next to Nicodemus – They want so badly to be saved and they want to understand – but pride and lack of full repentance keeps them from even completing the very first step – to become born again in spirit and made new inside. I have heard it taught that you do not have to have a change, or a feeling, or an experience when you become saved. And the longer I am in this the more I say – THAT IS A LIE!
I started out like that too, without an encounter with that transforming grace. And without it, I was still perishing. I was still alive in my pride to my wants, my needs, and distorted view. Then I gave up. I surrendered. I laid down and died, pouring myself out like a drink offering. I let go of my sins, addictions, and demons – renounced them, repented of them, and never looked back. That was when grace said, “I have been waiting to do this with you!” and I was changed!
A friend of mine says that the day he was saved he was heading out to get some pot and instead met a street preacher. He gave his heart to Jesus and he said for a week he felt higher than a kite, but without the cloudiness of being stoned – walking a few inches off the ground – he knew he was changed.
I have another friend who was saved as a child and said they felt a hug from Jesus. And because she was a child, there was not much to change – but she knew, that she knew, that she knew, that Jesus was real and had come to be with her.
And brothers and sisters, all over this world can tell you of their experience with grace and how something happened. With mine, it was not until much later that I can relate it to being born again – it was so much I was unable to process it at first. I just knew a fire came inside me and I have been on fire for Christ ever since.
Each one of us, it is different. But one thing is for sure – we can look back and say, I was born that day. Before that I was dead and lifeless and after I am alive and full of zeal! It was the day I began to live.

Jesus lovingly tries to explain it to Nicodemus, using Old Testament characters for a Pharisees to understand – Many of you are gentiles without Hebrew school lessons, so I gave you experiences gentiles had. We can see in Acts when other gentiles were saved, they too had that love filled grace transform them – then the Holy Spirit fill them!

 “16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Love. We are reading the wisdom book called Songs of Solomon on the weekends (with our yearlong read through of the 5 wisdom books). The number one wise take away from that book is how much God loves us, and how we should respond. How Jesus is our beloved, and how we should yearn for Him as He yearns for us. How the Holy Spirit will drive us into the streets to fearlessly tell everyone of our love. It is a powerful explanation of Love and if read with grace and the Holy Spirit – can transform you further into a profound understanding of Love.

Once saved – once born again. We become babies in the spirit, babies in our understanding of Christian principles. We can have the Bible memorized, but as babies we cannot step deeper into the spirit and the fullness of Christ until we grow up a little. But many got caught up on a cycle of self-condemnation or are listening to the enemy’s lies.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

Between the accuser, the satan and his minions, condemning us, and our own guilt condemning us, to our brethren condemning us – I have seen entire churches stunted in growth, and mature Christians slide back into this trap.
We end up with an entire church of people who are not even children yet – Jesus said deliverance is for the children! The book of Hebrews, which we just studied and learned, says the immature, babes and children in Christ are the ones laying hand on and healing the sick and casting out demons. But our modern church thinks signs and wonders are for the mature.

How then will they comprehend the depth, the breadth and width of the fullness God has for us to receive?

But first Jesus declares and decrees a deep spiritual principle that even these babes can understand on a basic level. And those in the spirit and foresee and speak into as they war the good fight of faith.

20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

Let it be, Lord Jesus, according to your words! In the name of Jesus AMEN!
Yes, the truth about fat babies and fat children in the spirit is that they never grow because they are not seeking God and the light, because they are still harboring sin! Hard truth. But you can count on it. Every single person refusing to grow up has a sin.

The evil must be exposed, to come out of some. If you do not humble yourself in the sight of the Lord – He will humble you.

John, the author continues with this thought process as he next tells us of the time Jesus was baptizing people in water. (no, Jesus did not baptize, His disciples did that- you’ll see tomorrow) And John the Baptist disciples caught a case of pride and stunted spiritual growth – which was quickly exposed and taken care of.

22 After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He remained with them and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there. And they came and were baptized.”

These two cousins were rocking the world!  John the Baptist literally down the street, preparing people’s hearts and Jesus following up with salvation! This is like the worship and thanksgiving, preparing your heart for a message. It is a beautiful thing working as God made it to work.
That is, until pride slipped in.

25 Then there arose a dispute between some of John’s disciples and the Jews about purification. 26 And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified—behold, He is baptizing, and all are coming to Him!”

These same followers of John were there the day Jesus was baptized by John. DO you remember what happened that day?! The sky broke open and dove descended upon Jesus and a voice from the sky thundered and said: “This is my son!”
Hello! These disciples of John saw this and knew Jesus was the Son of God! Weeks, maybe months later they are jealous of Him?!
Now a days many are jealous of other people’s ministries, anointing’s and gifts – and here God Himself in the Flesh – The Christ, comes along and does your ministry BETTER than you! But the truth is each ministry IS God’s and He can raise you up or someone else us. It doesn’t matter which he raises. It does matter which is humble. As it is written:

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10 NKJV

Yes – He lifts up the humble! Except in John the Baptists case.

27 John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John’s joy is full that the Messiah has come. But that means his ministry will fade away. But John fully understands his place in this and how some will reject the Lord. This is why he prepared the way.
But once Jesus comes to any of us we must decrease while Christ in us increases. In John’s world it was in his ministry and even his life in the physical and some of us will be called into it in the physical. But most of us are just being called to our own personal Day of Atonement – repentance, humility, and sacrifice.

31 He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. 33 He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true.”

And we receive by being humble and empting ourselves of our flesh. Learning to walk in the spirit and dwell in the secret place – while still in this world, but not of it.

34 For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

In chapter one John the writer gives us a summary of the gospel in that Jesus is God come in the flesh to bring us eternal life. In chapter two he sums it up again and here, chapter three is how to get this eternal life, how to live in the spirit, and again a summary of the gospel message.

May God extend more grace t those of you fasting today. May God help you and bless you.

***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace. Walk in wisdom.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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