John 3: 31-36
The last six verses in John chapter 3 speak directly about Jesus Christ. They teach us many wonderful truths about who He is and most importantly that salvation from sin and from the fires of hell is found by faith in His name. The Bible says in the Gospel of John chapter 3 verse 31, “He that cometh from above is above all; he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth; he that cometh from heaven is above all.”
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is the Alpha and the Omega. Your physical life began when Jesus gave you life, and at your physical death Jesus will be there to either welcome you into His arms or to say, “depart from me, I never knew you.” And your spiritual life begins when you put your faith in Jesus Christ. He is the alpha and the omega. “In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Before the world began, there was Jesus Christ. Jesus is from above. This also means that His teachings are above all. They are the highest moral standards, and the greatest revelation of the eternal truth of God that we will be given in this life. This simple statement declares the Lordship and authority that Jesus Christ has over His creation, and mankind is a part of that creation. There is a contrast being made here in verse 31 between that which is from above and that which is from the earth. God sits on His throne as Lord of all the universe. He is the final authority. This is one reason God created the physical universe the way that He did. So far, from what we do understand of the universe, it is vast: filled with thousands and thousands of stars and galaxies, which span millions and trillions of miles apart. To look into this physical heaven and see its beautiful and mathematically precise wonders, we must gaze upward toward that which is above. This physical truth about the universe illustrates to us just how far God is above us. Man has many abilities, which God has given him. And in the apparent achievements of this age man has used the intelligence, which God has given him to build rockets and launch himself into space and even to the moon. But man will never reach the end of the universe, because there is no end. The universe is an eternal expanse that can only be crossed by God Himself. Spiritually speaking, for man to see God, he must look up to heaven; and to look up to God, man must look down on himself and see the truth that he is sinner. Next time the invisible hand of God gently guides the sun to hide behind the night’s horizon, gaze up into the sky and behold the wondrous glory of God. He that cometh from above is above all. You could spend the rest of your life gazing into that black abyss of space, but you will never of your own will or intelligence be capable of crossing the universe and reaching God. As far away as the edge of the universe is from this earth, so too is your soul from God, unless the Spirit of God touches your life and shows you the path to Calvary. It is only faith in Jesus Christ that will bridge the distance between the earth and heaven and between your soul and God. It is faith in Jesus that will nail you to the cross along with Him and give you life anew. Jesus said, “Whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it.” When God reaches across the vast expanse of space and time and touches the soul of a sinner, He not only saves that soul from his sins, but he comes to dwell inside of that person. There can be no closer relationship of any kind than to have God dwell inside of you. When you place your faith in Jesus Christ, instead of existing in a realm where the endless universes measures the distance between you and God, you will discover that you now live in a realm where the universe is your place of intimate fellowship with God every step you take throughout life.
The Bible says every knee shall bow to Jesus and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus is above all and, therefore, He is Lord of all. As Lord of all; your will, your mind, your heart, your desires belong to Him. In the absolute authority that Jesus has, He has given you the freedom to submit to Him or to rebel. But before you choose your path, make sure you are aware of where both paths lead. Repenting of your sins and giving your heart to God means eternal bliss and intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ in the eternal kingdom of God. But if you do not trust in Jesus Christ as your savior, then you will spent eternity burning in the fires of hell. And as the flames rise about you, you will spend your eternal agony confessing that Jesus is Lord of all. It’s your choice. You can choose to spend eternity confessing that Jesus is Lord of all in either eternal agony or eternal bliss. It all depends on whether or not you repent of your sins to Jesus Christ.
There is one other important truth that we are being taught here in verse 31. Just as Jesus spoke those words which the Father gave Him, so too will those who are led by the Spirit of God. Beware! There are many false teachers out there. Do not blindly listen to and accept the teachings of others, thereby many have been deceived and led astray. He that is earthly speaketh of earthly things. Jesus also taught that he that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory, but he that speaketh of God the same is true. Those that are sent by the Father and preach the truth will speak as of the oracles of God, they will speak the word and ideas of God and not their own ideas. The words of God offer freedom but the words and ideas of man will always be legalist and bind you with heavy burdens.
The Bible says in John chapter 3 verses 32 and 33, “And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” What is the testimony of Jesus Christ? To be familiar with the testimony of Jesus Christ, you must study the life of Jesus. There is not a man who has left a greater mark in the history of humanity. Jesus said, “seek and ye shall find,” but make sure you seek in the right place. There is plenty of historical and archeological evidence to verify the life of Jesus Christ, but the ultimate and most complete source to the life of Christ is the Word of God. The Bible is the most accurate history book ever written. This should not be surprising because the Bible is written by God. He is the Almighty Who writes the pages of history according to His will. Therefore, if you want to know the testimony of Jesus Christ, you must look to the Word of God. Jesus said in John chapter 10 verse 30, “I and the Father are one.” Jesus also said in John chapter 14 and verse 6, “I am the way and the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” The Life of Jesus Christ in word and deed is the only example of a perfect testimony to God. Every word and deed was always done according to the will of God and led by the Spirit of God, and with complete love in heart, mind, strength, and will. How many moments of each day can you claim to have done this? Not very many.
Of all the many wonderful teachings of Christ, and of the many great and marvelous miracles that Jesus did while on the earth, the primary and most important part of His testimony to be familiar with is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The Bible says in Romans chapter 1 verses 3-4, “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh: And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” The book of Romans is considered to be the great doctrinal book on salvation. Here in the first chapter when speaking about Jesus, Paul mentions the resurrection of Jesus.
Of all of the wonderful works, miracles and acts of the power of God, the resurrection is mentioned as proof to who Jesus is. Over in the land of Palestine in the city of Jerusalem where Jesus was crucified there is a tomb that to this day remains empty because Jesus is the Son of God and He rose from the grave. If you do not believe then go there yourself and you will find that that tomb is indeed empty. Jesus came into this world to die for the sins of the world that we might all have the opportunity to enter into a relationship with God by grace through faith. It’s time to ask yourself the question what do you believe? Paul said in I Corinthians chapter 15 and verse 20, ”Now Christ is risen from the dead.” Of all the evidence that verifies the truth about Jesus Christ, the greatest evidence is His resurrection from the grave. The Bible says, in the Book of Hebrews, that without faith it is impossible to please God. Therefore, lack of faith displeases God. Most humans in the world do not have faith in God. There is nothing more foolish that a person could possible do than to not have faith in the great and infinite God. There are also many in the world who say they would have faith in God if only they were given some visible physical proof.
If you were to journey across this land or any other country, you will find that there are thousands of graveyards that stand as testimony to the power of death. The slow and steady hand of time will call all to the grave: young or old, rich or poor, powerful or weak. History will testify to this. There have been countless discoveries by archeologists of famous historical figures: King Tut for example. If you go to the grave of Elvis or to one of the Presidents of the United States, you will find they are still there, rotting and decaying. After all, man is nothing but dust. But, if you go to the grave of Jesus Christ, you will find nothing but an empty tomb. That’s the power of God. Jesus said, in Mathew chapter 12 verses 39-40, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; but there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The greatest sign ever given to the world is the resurrection of Jesus. If you do not believe in the words of Jesus Christ and in His death, burial, and resurrection, then you will never believe.
What is the testimony of Jesus Christ? It is just as Paul said in Romans 1:4. The testimony of Jesus Christ is His death, burial, and most importantly His resurrection. What is a testimony? The dictionary defines the word testimony as a public profession of one’s religious experience. But it is also the words and the deeds that a person does in his lifetime. How effective your light will shine in this world will depend upon how consistently you follow the teachings of Christ. Verse 33 says, “He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.” When you accept Jesus as your Savior, the testimony of Jesus becomes your testimony. Just as Jesus gave His life while He was on this earth, so will a true believer make it his number one goal in life each day to follow God. And then, when the dark hand of death seeks to chain thy soul to the grave, you will be able to say triumphantly, just as Paul did in I Corinthians chapter 15 verses 55-57, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be unto God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The only testimony that a true believer has is the testimony of Jesus Christ. It is a testimony of how bad I am and how good God has been to me in spite of my own sinfulness. The emphasis is always on the work of Jesus Christ and not my work. No matter how consistent I may seem to be in living a righteous life, the only accurate and truthful statement I could ever say of myself is that my righteousness is as filthy rags. Do you think of yourself as consistent in keeping the commandments of God? One of the great challenges of the Christian life is to learn to rely upon God day by day to help you understand how great your sins are and to have faith in God and His word so that He can change you. It is a lifelong challenge. Do not strive to be perfect because you will never be perfect in this life, but seek to always improve.
For those of us who have been washed in the blood of the lamb, then we have the righteousness of Jesus Christ given to us as a free gift. Some believers make the mistake of emphasizing their ability to keep the law of God. You should always try your best to do what is right, but you will never be very consistent at it, because you’re just a sinner. Don’t emphasize your works; emphasize the work of Jesus Christ. If you do otherwise, you will become legalistic in your teachings and in your life. It’s all about understanding and appreciating the forgiveness that Christ has given you. Those who do not understand God’s forgiveness will be legalistic and entangled in the yoke of bondage. They will be quick to condemn others. And they themselves will always be plagued by the guilt of their own sins even though they may have confessed those sins to Christ. Instead of focusing on the work of Christ and the wonderful forgiveness that Jesus offers us which is revealed in such wonderful verses as Romans 8:1 which says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Those who do not understand the forgiveness of God will seek some other way to find that forgiveness and justification, most often through their own works.
The Bible says in John chapter 3 verse 34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” One of the most important principles in the Christian life is the concept of being led by the Spirit of God. Being led by the Spirit of God is simply doing and saying the things that God wills you to do and say in each situation that you find yourself in. The mind of God and the mind of man are most often completely opposite in the way that both operate. The Bible says man’s ways are not of the Lord. The Bible says in Luke chapter 4 verse 18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…” One thing is for sure: if any man is led by the Spirit of God, then there will be a right emphasis on the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are several other obvious and key indicators of what actions and words are those that the Spirit of God would have us do and say. It is important to understand how the Spirit of God operates because if you are led by the Spirit then you in your actions and words will be functioning the very same way in which the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit functions in our lives.
The Bible says in John chapter 16 verse 8 about the Spirit of God, “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” One of the primary jobs of the Holy Spirit is to reprove the world of sin. If you are led by the Spirit of God, then you too will reprove the world of sin. This concept of reproving the world of sin is not an angry, aggressive and condemning approach to others, but most often by simply living a righteous and holy life. Our righteous deeds will shine as a light to convict the conscious of other sinners; and when we do rebuke others of sin, it is done out of love and meekness, not self-righteous pride and anger.
Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Comforter. Those who are led by the Spirit of God, when they come into contact with other human beings in the things they say and do will exhort and encourage others in their faith. Another word for exhort is to comfort. The end result is that people who have a heart that is open to God will be comforted by you in situations where God has given you the opportunity to exhort others. This is the result of being led by the Spirit of God.
Another important spiritual truth to remember is that we have all been given spiritual gifts. Learn what your spiritual gifts are and learn how to use them. If you do this, then you will have a good foundation in knowing how to look for opportunities to serve God, and also in knowing the when, where, what and how of what The Spirit of God would lead you to do in your service for Christ.
The Bible says in Romans chapter 8 verse 14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” In salvation it is the Holy Spirit which draws us to Christ. It is God that does all the work. Jesus died for our sins. It is God that did all the work in our salvation, and we merely accept the free gift. This concept that it is all of God and none of man is the same throughout the Christian life. The leading of the Spirit is the same throughout the Christian life just like in salvation. Man is weak, without strength, and ungodly. We need the comfort, the empowering, the wisdom, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, otherwise we cannot accomplish what we should for God. In other words just as in salvation, doing the work of God is all God and none of man. What is required of man is that he is submitted to the will of God and that his faith is in God. Ultimately it is the knowledge and wisdom of the Word of God that will build up your mind and make your heart sensitive to the Spirit of God. The Bible says here in verse 34, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the Words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” Jesus Christ had the most powerful and effective ministry in the history of mankind. One of the reasons for this is simply because Jesus lived His life led and empowered by the Spirit of God. If you want your light to effectively shine in this dark and wicked world then learn what words God would have you say each day in each situation, and say them. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God, for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. This is also one reason many preachers are not effective in their preaching. Because they are not saying the words and the message that God would have them say, but rather they are saying their own ideas. It does not matter how much you think you know or understand about the Bible, what matters is that you do and say the will of God.
It’s not as hard as you think it is to be led by the Spirit of God. It does take experience and wisdom. And certainly those with a complete and fanatical determination to do the right thing no matter what the cost will do best at being consistently led by the Spirit of God. Although trying to live your life led by the Spirit of God takes more effort than to live otherwise. It makes life much easier and life will be completely satisfying. Really the secret to tapping into the vast power of the Spirit is simple. It’s just as Jesus said. Love the Lord thy God with all the heart, mind, soul, and strength.
The Bible says in John chapter 3 verses 35 and 36, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” Here in the last two verses of John chapter 3 the basic and simple concept of salvation is repeated. This truth has been emphasized greatly in this chapter of the Bible. In fact the entire ministry of Jesus had this emphasis on the gospel as does the entire Word of God. Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. “The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hand”: all things especially salvation. You cannot come to God except through Jesus Christ. In reality you have not ever come to Jesus unless at some moment in your life you have surrendered all. No one has surrendered and given all they are to God every moment of each day, but you must have at least one moment out of your entire lifetime. That is one necessary step in salvation, the surrendering of your will to God. It is the will of God that you repent of your sins, but it’s your choice. I Timothy 2:4 says about the will of God, “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”
With such a strong emphasis on how to be saved and with the concept of salvation being such a simple truth one would think that once a person accepted the free gift of Jesus that that person would then live the rest of their life in great confidence, assurance, and appreciation for the forgiveness and eternal bliss that is found in Christ. Yet this not the case. There is probably not a Christian in the world who has not had doubts about his salvation. But God is omniscient and this is the reason that He has given us so many verses in the Bible that Christians consider great verses on assurance of salvation and assurance of the forgiveness and love of God. Because God knows how weak we are in our faith sometimes, and He knows how little we truly understand.
One of the great passages on the assurance of salvation is found in John chapter 10 verses 27-29 which says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Salvation is by grace through faith. It is the work of Jesus Christ, not my works. Those who are weak in the faith and new believers in Christ may struggle with assurance. And those who do not understand the difference between law and grace will certainly have struggles with their salvation because the law is all about your ability to keep the law and the purpose of the law is to show to you how miserably you have failed in keeping the law of God. If you focus on what you are capable of doing then you will doubt your salvation and you will even doubt God’s forgiveness. After all, to doubt your salvation is to doubt God’s forgiveness. Focus on Jesus Christ, not on yourself.
Jesus said in Matthew chapter 13 verses 31 and 32, “The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds; but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches therof.” Life is a process of increasing in the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God has its foundations in being revealed through faith. Increasing faith and increasing in knowledge go hand in hand when it is God that is the source. Jesus is teaching us that the Christian life is like a tree. Trees take years and years to grow and become strong where their roots are ground deep in the earth and to where they can withstand the storms of life and also to where they are capable of producing greater amounts of oxygen to give life to the world around them. It’s the same for the Christian life. One you are saved you have not learned everything you need to learn about salvation. The reality is you have only just begun to learn about salvation. The forgiveness of God is like an ocean without a shore. You can sail those waters day and night but the forgiveness and the love of God is a sea that will never reach an end. It’s no wonder we’re all so unspiritual and unthankful. We don’t understand the great grace of God. After all we will spend eternity learning more about the wonderful grace of God. If you want to be dedicated to God, if you want to be thankful, if you want to feel the presence of God, walk close with God and have joy and peace that is unaffected by your outside surroundings then ask God to help you understand your salvation. When we understand the great grace of God and the forgiveness of God then we realize nothing else matters. That is why Paul said, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. And it’s all revealed in the Word of God. Think about such wonderful verses as I John 1:9 which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Or Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Or John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Think about the Word of God, read it, recite it over and over and over again in your mind each day of your life. If you do so then your eyes will be opened by the grace of God and you will see a wonderful world of bliss, peace, security, comfort, close and personal fellowship with God, a world that could never be grasped in your wildest dreams, but can only be grasped by faith.
Copyright; 2001 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved