Summary: The Holy Spirit: Learn, Unlearn, Relearn The Work of the Spirit in the New Birth, part 2 John 2:23-3:8
The Holy Spirit: Learn, Unlearn, Relearn
The Work of the Spirit in the New Birth, part 2
January 15, 2016
We started a new series last week, The Holy Spirit: Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn. The goal is to learn about the person and the work of the Holy Spirit, to unlearn wrong understandings about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, and relearn biblical understanding of the person and work of the Spirit. We are starting with the work of the Spirit in us as we come to faith, then the work of the Spirit in spiritual growth, then we will move to the work of the Spirit in ministry and mission, and then we will close with the unpardonable sin. This week I want us to look at “The work of the Spirit in the New Birth” from the gospel of John chapter three where Jesus describes God working behind the scenes when someone comes to faith.
John tells us while “Jesus was in Jerusalem many believed in his name because they saw the signs he was doing (2:23).” One would think Jesus would be happy about this but John says that “Jesus did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and he knew what was in man (2:24-25).” There is something wrong with the human condition that Jesus did not entrust himself to those who believed in him. Paul gives us insight into the human condition in Ephesians, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (2:1-3).”
Then one of those who believed, a Pharisee and ruler of the Jews came to Jesus (3:1). He was a member of the Sanhedrin, Israel’s supreme court of seventy religious who were the final authority concerning the law of God. They made the decision to hand Jesus over to the Roman authorities to be crucified. He was well educated, a well known teacher, and probably very wealthy. But Jesus has a similar opinion of these religious leaders as he does about the rest of humanity. In Matthew twenty-three Jesus says this about them, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves (23:15).” “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence (23:25).” “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell (23:33)?” Listen to what Nicodemus says, “Rabbi we know that you are a teacher from God for no one can do these signs or miracles unless God is with him (3:2).” The Pharisees had been discussing this teacher and miracle worker and concluded that Jesus must be from God.