John 3:17-21

September 1, 2013 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. If we’re going to understand these verses we have to do two things: first of all, we have to remember the context. We’ve built up to verse sixteen, but that’s not the end. 17-21 is the rest of the conversation between Nicodemus and Jesus, and it has everything to do with what’s already been said. Salvation is not a Jewish thing but a work of the Spirit for men from every nation. It’s not for the “righteous” but for the worst “whosoever” because we’ve all been bitten by the serpent and filled with his poison; the only cure is to behold the One who is lifted up. But we must also recognize the main theme here. Look at it again. What do you see? For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. This is a contrast between those that believe and those that don’t. It’s between those that do evil and those that do truth. Think of the parables starting in Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith,

By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 24Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. Or go back to John 3:36: 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. And John 5:20-29: For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. 21For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. 22For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: 23That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him. 24Verily,

verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. 25Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. John 6:35-45: And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not. 37All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 41The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? 43Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. 44No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. John 8:43-47: Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. John 9:39-41: And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. 40And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we

blind also? 41Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. John 10:23-29: And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. 24Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. 25Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. 26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. The book of John goes on like this. It shows us that God has determined to save some; He has given them life and kept them safe. And it’s with this understanding that we must go into John 3:17-21. We must keep in mind the context and recognize the main theme: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. This first part deals with the reason for Christ’s coming to earth. He didn’t come here to condemn; He came to save. But what does that mean? Well, this is something else that may have shocked Nicodemus. He thinks God loves only the Jews or those who’ve converted to Judaism, and he’s ready for God’s anointed to come and destroy the nations: Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. 5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. 7I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. 10Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

But then this man who is so obviously from God comes saying something else: He’s not here to condemn the world. You can just picture Nicodemus scratching his head. But he’s also been trusting in the earthly things, hasn’t he? He has a priest and a sacrifice and all the things that Moses gave, but he doesn’t see how they relate to the Son. It does not say, “Kiss the priest.” It does say “Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way.” All of these things from the Old Testament pointed towards this Son, and now that He’s here, He comes to save those who are loved. Imagine the wrath of God with only the blood of animals to satisfy it! Instead it says we are “sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.” “Don’t think I’ve come to destroy the world, Nicodemus. Instead I’ve come so that:
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He that believeth on him is not condemned:

This second part deals with the result of His coming. What does it mean to believe? Of course there are all kinds of belief. There are plenty of people who believe in a name, but they are still turned away (Mt. 7). I want to stay with this theme of Moses and the serpent. What did it mean for them to look upon it? It was simple wasn’t it? There’s nothing hard about it. But it’s an issue of faith. We could say that it was whatever was in the individual men that made them look, but the truth is that all of them were filled with poison. None of them had an advantage over the others. But God made a distinction even between the natural Israelites: many perished because of unbelief, but those whom He had granted faith lived! Those who looked to the bronze serpent which typified the Son of Man did not die. but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. Their condemnation is not something that will happen later; it’s true of them right now. They already have the serpent’s poison inside of them and they have no faith to stop its power. When Christ came to earth it was not to be a possibility of salvation; He came to reveal to those who believe what they should believe on:
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And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world,

This is the verdict or the result of the trial: 1 Light has come into the world (Jn. 1:59). How will men respond to it? and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. They loved the darkness. They reject light. They reject Christ. They reject truth and righteousness and holiness because it exposes and condemns their wicked deeds. This is why everyone likes to quote “judge not lest ye be judged.” This is the natural response of natural man. This is why they need the Spirit and why their salvation is out of our hands. They cannot love or even want to love the truth while in their natural state.
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But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. Well, we all know that we don’t do the truth, don’t we? In fact it even says so in this verse right here. Our deeds, our doing the truth, are wrought in God. It is His work. Let’s close with Psalm 24: The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. 2For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. 3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? 4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. 5He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. 6This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah. 7Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 8Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. 9Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. 10Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah. newgracebaptistchurch.wordpress.com

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http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=krisis&la=greek#lexicon

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