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Nicodemus.

Nicodemus.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY REV. FREDERICK WHITFIELD, M.A.,


'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even
so must the Son of Man be lifted up.

' Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born
again.

' He must increase, but I must decrease.'

John iii. 14, 7, 30.
BY REV. FREDERICK WHITFIELD, M.A.,


'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even
so must the Son of Man be lifted up.

' Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born
again.

' He must increase, but I must decrease.'

John iii. 14, 7, 30.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Aug 04, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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ICODEMUS. BY REV. FREDERICK WHITFIELD, M.A., 'As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. ' Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. ' He must increase, but I must decrease.' John iii. 14, 7, 30. THE Word of God does not contain three more important passages than those just presented. In the first is a great foundation truth ; in the second, a personal experience ; in the third, a Divine life. They are each one preceded by the word ' must,' a word not frequently used by our blessed Lord, and indicating their vitally essential character. They are all, as we shall see, of equal importance, and, in the history of the Christian life, inseparable. The first of these four ' musts ' is connected with the great foundation-truth of all vital religion the lifting up of the Son of Man. This lifting up on the cross is referred to by our Lord in two other ICODEMUS. 83 passages in St. John: 'Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself : but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things' (chap. viii. 28). And again : ' And I, if I be lifted from the earth, will
 
draw all men unto Me. This He said, signifying what death He should die' (chap. xii. 32, 33). And this lifting up on the cross is connected with its Divine type in the wilderness. We have only to study this type in order to discover its full and deep meaning. We read : ' They journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Bed Sea, to compass the land of Edom ; and the soul of the people was much discouraged, because of the way ' (umb. xxi. 4). So far there was no sin in the conduct of the people. Discouragements and trials are the lot of God's people on the way to heaven. But these trials test the state of the heart towards God. They draw out, in the case of all those who are truly His children, submission to His will, and are a blessed training for heaven. In those who are not truly His, they bring to the surface hidden, rebellious feelings, and enmity to God. Thus it 84 WELL-SPRIGS OF LIFE. was here. They did not create the sin, they only revealed it. ' And the people spake against God, and against Moses' (ver. 5). Here, then, lay the sin of which they were guilty, and which contained within itself the essence of all sin — enmity to God and God's dealings. Sin must sooner or later bring down God's displeasure and heavy wrath : ' And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people ; and much people of Israel died.' Herein is declared the great truth running throughout the Bible — God's wrath against sin. This sin, in order to be pardoned and forgiven, must be seen and owned by the sinner. So it was here : ' Therefore the people came to Moses and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against thee.' It was sin owned and confessed, and in its right order of heinousness
 
also — against the Lord first, and then against His Divine appointment. ext came Moses' intercession on behalf of the people. Here we see, in type, Christ as the great Intercessor between God and man, the one great Mediator through whose intervention sin, wrath, and condemnation are for ever put away. In the ICOUEMUS. 85 brazen serpent we see Christ, as the great Sub stitute, bearing the wrath due to man on account of sin ; and in the ' look ' of the dying Israelite we have the faith of the sinner in that great atone ment through which he passes from death to life. Thus in the very opening of this Gospel of St. John, and at the very beginning of our Lord's ministry, we have all the great principles disclosed in which that ministry was to find expression to the end of time, and all declared to be sealed by that very Pentateuch which modern teaching has sought to ignore. The ew and the Old are thus declared to teach one and the same great truth. The two books are bound together in all their fundamental principles and teaching, in this solemn manner, by the Lord Himself. In the previous chapter, under the figure of the wedding feast, we have the results of these great principles in the soul — joy and gladness ; and in the turning of the water into wine, or, in other words, turning that which was poor or watery into that which was rich, we have the further effects of these truths when they enter the soul of man — raising, elevating, dignifying him. The great Gospel of

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