New Wine for New Wineskins April 2012

By , April 1, 2012 5:05 pm

JesusHistoryOurDestinyLogoJesus’ History Is Our Destiny (Part 3)

Jesus the Teacher

John 20: 30 – 31

30 Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

We don’t ever want the church to end up in a position where it has become nothing more than a monument or memorial to a historical Jesus or a previous move of the Holy Spirit that has been consigned to history.  Or even worse, a church that has become a promoter of a new and reconfigured culturally relevant Jesus that is based upon someone’s faulty understanding of the historical Jesus….

Don’t forget – the New Covenant clearly reveals to us that Jesus’ history is our destiny!  We just have to look at Paul’s life and ministry as it is recorded in the New Covenant.  What do we see in Paul’s life and ministry?  Basically, it is a continuation of Jesus’ life and ministry – preaching, teaching, healing the sick, casting out demons, and raising the dead!  Scripture is clear!  As Jesus is so are we in this world!

And so that is why we are taking a trip through the Gospel of John that will help us to not only see Jesus’ history but also discover our destiny!

John 3

Jesus the Teacher

Verses 1 – 15

1 There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 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.”
3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
4 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?”
5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 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.”
9 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 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 not perish but have eternal life.

How do you know the difference between a teacher sent from God and a regular teacher?  The teacher sent from God has his message confirmed by the power of God!  The words that he teaches are supernatural words that will result in a manifestation of supernatural power in the lives of those
who believe the message!  Remember – if you can believe the message you can receive the miracle!

Nicodemus knew that there was something different about Jesus’ message because of the supernatural element.  People are hungry for the supernatural because they are hungry for God and God is supernatural!  It is the supernatural that separates true Christianity from every other expression of religion.  The devil might be able to come up with a measure of counterfeit supernatural but as the Scripture says in:

2 Timothy 3: 8

8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

There always comes a point where the devil can’t match the power of God and gets a showing up!

THE CHOKE

There are some folks who are so proud they think that they already know everything that they need to know about the LORD and there are those who are so proud of their heritage that they think that the tradition they were raised in had everything figured out and so when you teach something outside of their box they choke on it – they find it hard to swallow!

I don’t know about you but I still hear stuff that I initially choke on!  You can’t be around Jesus and not hear stuff that is going to challenge your limited understanding and invite you to come up higher!  If you are hungry enough you’ll keep chewing on it until you can swallow it!

We get people visiting our church and they will hear something that they have never heard before and they will choke on it!  And so, you don’t see them again for a while but if they are hungry they come back and eventually if they are hungry enough they start feeding their faith and believing the message and before long they are receiving the miracles!

Poor Nicodemus choked on what Jesus was telling him concerning being born again of the Spirit even though he was a highly educated and established teacher among God’s people!

Our destiny is to become teachers of the kingdom of God who are continually open to and faithful to communicate the revelation that comes by the Spirit of God and that is so radically removed from and opposed to the reasoning of our natural minds that our first reaction is to choke on it.  But the hungry and thirsty after righteousness begin to fill up on it and overflow it so that they become agents of supernatural transformation!

Verses 16 – 17

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.

THE CHALLENGE

If Nicodemus struggled to receive the teaching on being born again he faced his greatest challenge in accepting that God loved the whole world and wanted them all saved!  As far as his tradition taught him only the Jews were God’s people and relationship with God and the benefits of that relationship were limited to the Jews.  Now, here was Jesus giving this awesome revelation of God’s love – what Billy Graham called “the gospel in twenty-five words” – to a man who all of his life had been raised in and had promoted legalistic adherence to a system that had become top heavy with traditions of men and which had resulted in it becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to believe that they could possibly live for God!

The revelation of the extent of God’s love is the continual challenge that we face as we struggle to accept the incredible mercy and grace that has been freely poured out on us from heaven!  Paul told the Ephesian church that he was praying that they would increase in revelation and understanding of the length, breadth, depth, and height of God’s love so that they would be able to experience the exceeding abundantly above all of the provision that God’s power made available in them and through them!

Jesus went to the Cross and endured and suffered all that he went through in an incredible demonstration of God’s love for us that restored us and reconciled us to God’s original plan which is for us to live in the overflowing fullness of his incredible provision!

Before God made man in his own image and likeness he created an environment where everything that man would ever need was already provided!  Before the first man was recreated – born again as a new creation – God once again, at the Cross, provided everything that man would ever need for spirit, soul, and body!

Only the revelation of God’s love can accept that truth without choking on it and go on to appropriate all of the provision that has been made so freely available!  Without the revelation of God’s love our faith simply doesn’t work!  And our faith only ever works in direct proportion to the revelation we have of how much God loves us!  The more revelation we have of the love that God has for us the more of God’s power will manifest in our lives releasing the exceeding abundantly above all in the fullness of salvation, healing, deliverance, and prosperity!

Our destiny is to be teachers of the kingdom of God whose message is supernaturally confirmed in all who believe our report and who experience the arm of the LORD – who comes to supernaturally deliver – being revealed!

Verses 18 – 21

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.”

THE CHOICE

The life that we live is always the result of the choices we make!  The tradition of men has often robbed us of the right to choose but God is very clear in his word that he sets before us life and death, blessing and curse and that he invites us to choose!

It is the entrance of God’s Word that brings light – that brings revelation of God’s higher way and calls us out of the darkness of death and despair into the place of thankfulness and praise for the awesome goodness of God that has made abundant life available to all who will choose to live in it!
Those who embrace this life only have one testimony – “God has done it!”  They are full of righteousness, health, strength, peace and prosperity!

Our destiny is to be teachers of the kingdom of God that is not based on legalistic conformity to outward forms but is all about righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit!

Verses 22 – 36

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.”

THE CHANGE

We are here for one purpose!  We are sent by Jesus in the same way that he was sent by the Father – to increase the kingdom of God!  We are agents of supernatural transformation!  Remember – Jesus was a teacher and a preacher before he was a healer and deliverer!  We must flood our environment with the word of God that is the full message of all that God has freely provided so that we create an atmosphere of light where the power of darkness is broken and the captives can be set free!  If the world around us is not being changed it is only because we have not been declaring the praises of the One has brought us out of darkness into his marvelous light!

Two things in closing.

1.    Don’t write anybody off

Nicodemus was a pharisee – he was as far away as you could get from being a prospective follower of Jesus from a natural perspective and yet he came to him – albeit under cover of darkness – with genuine awe and sincere questions, and it was to him that Jesus spoke the scripture that every believer in the whole world knows off by heart by the time he has been saved for a week!

2.    Don’t write anybody in

You hear people say things like, “So-and-so would make a great Christian” but you can never know who would make a great Christian!  The Holy Spirit does the work when “whoever” chooses to say yes to salvation!  Only the Holy Spirit can make a great Christian and he can do it from the least, the worst, and the most unlikely candidates that we would never consider!

Do you want to be a teacher of God’s people like Nicodemus who simply taught what had been passed down to him by tradition but was insufficient to provide revelation of the supernatural elements of the life that is lived by faith?  Or do you want to fulfil your destiny as a teacher like Jesus whose message is always real, relevant, and radical and is supernaturally confirmed by the power of God as he reveals his glory?

JESUS’ HISTORY IS OUR DESTINY!

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