Desires and Destiny

As we learned in previous posts, the basic problem we all have is that when someone tells us “heavenly things” like the gospel that Jesus lived a sinless life and died a substitutionary death to pay for the sins of everyone who would ever believe on Him through faith and that God raised Him from the dead three days later, Jesus says when you hear things like that, you don’t believe.


In fact, you can’t believe unless God changes your heart and opens your eyes. And if that bothers you, then there is hope. If you want to worship Jesus as Lord, then God is already working in your heart and drawing you to Himself.


Our desires point toward our destiny.


If you desire to give Jesus Christ complete charge of your life, your thoughts, your habits, your words, your actions, your money, everything, then God is already at work drawing you to Himself. You need to yield to Him and start obeying Him right now.


It begins by doing what the Bible says. Repent of your sins, put Jesus Christ first before everything and everyone else in this life, and follow Him.


In verses 14-15, Jesus said that He must be lifted up (referring to His death on the cross) so that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.


Every person will exist forever either in heaven with Christ or in hell. Eternal life is about the quality of life with Jesus we will have beginning now and for eternity in heaven.


It won’t be boring or monotonous. It will be thrilling with new marvels of majestic glory throughout eternity and (as C.S. Lewis noted) every new chapter that opens will be even better than the one that preceded it.


In John 3, Nicodemus didn’t believe what Jesus was saying… and he couldn’t yet. But sometime later, we learn in the gospel of John that Nicodemus did come to faith. God opened his eyes spiritually and he saw what Jesus was talking about.


If you don’t see this and if your heart is cold toward the Word of God, I pray that God would give you a warm heart of true belief; that He would regenerate you from within and cause you to believe like Nicodemus.


Jesus is the only way to the Father.

Trusting Jesus for His finished work on the cross as payment in full for all of your sins and for all of your self-righteous attempts at earning His favor is the only way to spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus. Trust Him!

For His glory in your life and for your joy in Him,
Pastor Kevin


Receiving Christ’s Testimony

We’ve been studying our way through John 3 for the last several weeks.

In this blog, we’re going to see that to receive Christ’s testimony is the same thing as believing in Him for eternal life.

We’re looking at verses 11-15 in this post.

This is right after Nicodemus heard about being born again and being born of water and the Spirit and how the Holy Spirit is like the wind in that He goes wherever and to whomever He wishes. He cannot be controlled or understood, but the proof of His work is apparent.

When Nicodemus heard these things he had never heard before, he marveled and said, “How can these things be?” And Jesus asked, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?” That brings us up to verses 11-15, where Jesus says…

11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?

13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. [ESV]

The key word in these verses and all the way through verse 21 is the word “believe.” Jesus uses this word 7 times. The new birth must be appropriated by an act of faith.

While the first 10 verses of this chapter focus on God’s initiative in salvation, these verses focus on the human reaction to the work of God in regeneration.

In verses 11 and 12, Jesus focused on the idea that unbelief is the cause of spiritual blindness. The spiritual blindness of Nicodemus was representative of the spiritual blindness of the entire nation of Israel at the time of Christ.

At heart, Nicodemus’ failure to understand Jesus’ words centered not so much in his intellect but in his failure to believe Jesus’ witness. He was unable to believe.

Nicodemus is just like us in this regard. Apart from God, we are all unable to believe or receive the testimony of Jesus about our lostness and need for salvation.

We’ll continue from this point in the next blog post.

Until then,
Pastor Kevin


The Wind Blows Where it Wishes

In the previous blog, I wrote about the freedom of God as “the wind blows where it wishes…” (John 3:8). In this post, I want to continue on that thought.

Verse 8 again, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

We can’t see the wind and we can’t see the Spirit of God. But we can see the effects of the wind on objects under its influence; and we can see the effects of the Spirit on persons who are controlled by the Spirit. The Bible calls this the fruit of the Spirit.

Jesus is saying in verse 8 that everyone who is born of the Spirit is regenerated as a result of the wind blowing where it wishes. In other words, being ‘born again’ comes as a result of the free will of the Spirit of God who redeems whomever He wishes.

In John 10:27, Jesus refers to the security of His sheep, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”

So after Jesus explains the free will of the Spirit in verse 8, Nicodemus responds in verse 9: “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things?

What Jesus is explaining can’t be rationalized without spiritual enlightenment. The Spirit alone can grasp what the flesh can’t even perceive.

Notice in verse 10 where Nicodemus is called “the teacher of Israel.” He was the highest religious teacher among the Pharisees and he knew the OT quite well.

The fact that one can know Scripture and be supremely religious and still miss the point is why being born again is so important.

Unless you are born again you cannot enter heaven. Jesus said you must place all of your trust for eternal life on Him and His finished work on the cross. Believe that God raised Him from the dead and follow Him for the rest of your life.

Remember, the true sheep of Jesus are those who hear His voice and follow Him.

For His Glory,
Pastor Kevin


The Freedom of God

At this time during the summer, we think about our celebration of Independence Day in America.

It’s also good to be reminded that while we celebrate our independence from foreign domination as a nation — as Christians we also celebrate the fact that our regeneration is really a declaration of dependence upon Amighty God!

We are dependent upon God for salvation and life and everything else. Our God is totally free to do anything He pleases within the boundaries of His own perfect character as established by His good and perfect will.

In this blog, I want to continue our study of John 3 by considering the free will of God the Holy Spirit as it relates to our salvation.

In verse 8 Jesus says, 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” In verse 8, the word “wind” and the word “Spirit” are the same in Greek: πνεῦμα.

To be raised from spiritual death to spiritual life by the Holy Spirit is no less a miracle than the resurrection of the physical body.

When Lazarus came out of the tomb after four days of decomposing, no one said to him, “Lazarus, how did you do that?”

They didn’t say that because they knew that Lazarus was only responding to what Jesus had done on his behalf. Spiritual regeneration is the same way.

The only difference is that we don’t physically see Jesus giving someone spiritual life and we don’t physically hear Jesus call that individual to spiritual life.

But unless Jesus gives us spiritual life, we are every bit as helpless and dead as Lazarus before the call of Jesus brought him forth.

As the prophet Jonah said in Jonah 2:9, “Salvation is of the Lord.” This is the universal declaration of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation: “Salvation is of the Lord.”

Therefore, regeneration isn’t the work of a man persuading men and women to engage their own powers to save themselves. Rather, regeneration is entirely the work of God through faith in Christ alone.

That’s one of the reasons Jesus addressed the free will of the Spirit in verse 8. He says nothing of the free will of man, because man’s will is spiritually dead in trespasses and sins because of Adam’s fall in the Garden of Eden (Eph. 2:1, 5).

Apart from spiritual rebirth, your will is only ‘free’ to sin; but no one is free to please God or to obey God in their spiritual death apart from salvation by grace through faith.

That means we are dead to the things of God, even though we are very much alive to the carnal pursuits of this present age. Spiritually dead people may seem to be alive.

They are physically alive. They’re alive to sin; they’re alive to their own desires. But to be spiritually dead is to be dead to the things of God. It means you’ve only been born once. And as we learned in a previous post, “Born once, die twice; born twice, die once.”

We’ll continue from this point in our next post.

Until then,
Pastor Kevin