Grace Bible Church
Basic Training in Doctrine
Guest Speaker: Joe Sugrue
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
 
His grace is nothing less than impressive.
 
Many religious people are blinded by their own good deeds. The religious person has no concept of the doctrine of total depravity, they just believe depravity relates to those in the gutter. The sin of pride is the number one sin found in the religious person who thinks they can impress God with their good deeds.
 
Like the Baptist dealt with these religious people with the truth, Christ is going to do the same and the result is going to be one of the greatest discourses on the Gospel of grace and what is wrong with religion.
 
A teacher from God teaches; a communicator from God communicates. The true miracle takes place in the heart of those who respond to the message.
 
“Unless” is a 3rd class condition – If God be with him, maybe He is and maybe He is not. The 3rd class condition expresses his own doubt. So Nicodemus was a doubter.
 
“Unless a man be born again.” The words “born again” = to be born from above.
 
The phrase in the original language is:   gennhqh’ a*nwqen

The Greek adverb is a*nwqen  = “from above.”
 
In salvation, not only does God become your Father, but He and the rest of the Trinity become your Teacher.
 
JAM 1:17 evey good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.
 
This is the one thing that Nicodemus didn’t get, didn’t understand. From above is obviously a spiritual birth = a*nwqen connotes a spiritual birth.
Jesus didn’t even say anything about being born again from the womb; He said “born from above”. This man is religious and he cannot think in terms of spiritual truth.
 
Being born from above is a second birth for sure, but born from above is much more descriptive and accurate to what really happens at the moment of salvation through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Water is used in the laver and in the tabernacle and later on in the temple as a ritual purification. Water has a spiritual connotation to a Pharisee. So Jesus has to think of a term that connotes something spiritual – water.
 
“Except a man be born of water” – water is used to alert this man to the fact that this is a spiritual birth, not a physical birth. Water has a spiritual connotation to the
Pharisees.
 
The water has three spiritual connotations:
a) for salvation – ISA 55:1
b) the water of the Word –EPH 5:26
c) the water of the Holy Spirit – JOH 7:39.
 
ISA 55:1 “Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
 
JOH 7:38-39 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke of the Spirit,
 
“Spirit” = the water of the Word that is involved here. We know it is the water of the Word because in

1 Pe1:23 we are said to be born again or regenerated by the Word.
 
EPH 5:26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
 
“Marvel not”- aor-imp = “don’t be shocked, when I tell you, You must be born from above.”
 
The religious man’s believes that newness of life comes from below. He works to impress God from earth so his direction is backwards. The believer had non-meritorious faith and the new birth comes from above.
 
There is no need to argue with the religious about false doctrines. Grace overcomes all manner of pride. The ultimate display of grace was at the Cross and so that should be the issue when dealing with religion.
 
“Be” – ginomai = to come to pass. In other words, he has just said “I don’t know anything about the plan of God.”
 
I’m a poor carpenter that you call teacher from a place of no reputation. You’re a PHD from Sanhedrin seminary and an acclaimed teacher to the Jews, and you don’t know this?
When He says “we” He is identifying Himself with the disciples when the disciples learn after the resurrection. And He is referring to everyone who will learn from them in the Church-age.
He speaks for all ambassadors from above.
“Speak” = to communicate, present linear aktionsart – lalew = the preaching of the Gospel and the truth of the mystery doctrine will never stop.
“That which we know”- you have to know something to communicate something. To communicate doctrine you have to know doctrine.
“And testify [witness] what we have seen” – to see in the Word. Perfect tense: keep on testifying, keep on speaking.
“And you receive not our witness” – He accuses religion of negative volition, and for that reason His explanation of the gospel will be short and to the point.
“If [first class condition: if and it’s true] I tell you things on the earth, and you do not believe them, how shall you believe if [third class condition: maybe yes, maybe no] I tell you things in heaven?” (Col. R.B. Thieme)
 “You are hearing now how to get to heaven but you may not make it.”
He is telling Nicodemus that He could take Him to heaven right now and he would still be confused because he doesn’t understand the issue…
THE CROSS.
God the Son came to earth to save those who were lost. If it were better for God to take all the humans to heaven than He would have done that, but if He did, people would want to stay there because of how nice it was, but not because of the Savior.
 Verse 13 – at the time Jesus spoke no man had ascended up to heaven; “but he that came down from heaven [virgin birth], even the Son of man who keeps on being in Heaven [deity].”
While He is standing there talking to him He was in heaven right now. What is He saying? “I am the God-Man. I am a human being talking to you but I am also deity and omnipresent.”
The people who looked up at that serpent of brass lived; the people who didn’t died of snake bite. The venom represents sin. The solution was the cross and those who looked up [illustration of believing] were saved & delivered.
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