JOHN 3v13 records a curious statement Jesus made about Himself.
'NO one has ascended to Heaven but He who came down from Heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in Heaven'.
Here we have the Lord in His earthly body having a conversation with Nicodemus, just as you or I would be standing conversing with someone. And He makes this odd statement that He had come down from Heaven and that He is still in Heaven!! In the previous verse He had said,' Nicodemus I have told you earthly things and you don't believe, how will you believe if I tell you Heavenly things? I think this is one of those 'Heavenly things' that Nicodemus was required to have faith about.
The fascinating thing is, that if we are believing aright, we can say the same thing about ourselves!! 'John Smith who came down from Heaven who is in Heaven'. In fact we have no choice because the word clearly teaches, this is our experience.
Romans 6 tells us that we were 'baptized into His death', that we were 'buried with Him' and that we 'will be in the likeness of His resurrection' .Ephesians goes a little further and declares, ' and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus'(chpt2v6)
Our salvation depends on our vicarious death, burial and resurrection with Jesus ,but we can miss that we were raised with Him into Heaven! We are seated in Heavenly places with Him!! Essentially our new born again life began in Heaven!! We are Heavenly people having a physical experience!! That is why the New Testament calls us 'citizens of Heaven' and speaks of it as 'our home'.
Just like Nicodemus, we can struggle to understand these things in our humanity but we should bear in mind that Jesus expected Him to have faith for 'Heavenly things'. If something is clearly stated in Gods word we should pursue it to understand it.
Men need a correct understanding of this well known statement by Jesus, ' but I say unto you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart '.
I was at a youth prayer meeting years ago, and somebody asked a Minister who was present about the meaning of this verse. My ears pricked up because I was struggling with this issue myself. He replied,' some friends of mine and I discussed this and we came to agreement that the first look is OK and the second look is lust '. Is that really the answer? Is that the best that God can give us ?
I think it is important for men to think this issue through properly. We need to face the fact that we are wired to look and that the ladies are made in such a way as to cause us to look ! How will I know who I am attracted to, who is a potential marriage partner, if I don't look !! God put sexual attraction in us. Its not going to go away! Assuming that it was not Gods intention to give us the urge so that He could delight in catching us in adultery and that we could be tormented all of our lives, then there has to be a better solution.
The key to Jesus meaning are in the phrases, ' to lust after her ' (Amplified says, with evil desire for her) and ' in his heart '.
To paraphrase we could say,' he looks at her and would sleep with her if he could because of the evil condition of his heart '. Christ is really talking to his listeners about the condition of their hearts. He confirmed it in Mark 7 v 21 ' for from within, out of the heart of men, proceed .......adulteries...' So looking is not the problem. The condition of the heart is what is important. But I still don't have a satisfactory solution for my experience!
The disciples received something on the day of pentecost (Acts 2)that is often overlooked. Peter spoke about it (Acts 15) ' and God gave them (the Gentiles) the Holy Spirit as He did with us.......cleansing(purifying) their hearts by faith '. One of the miracles of the New Testament is the pure heart attained for us by Jesus. Does this make a difference in our looking ?.
Titus gives us His opinion (chptr 1 v 15) ' to the pure in heart and conscience all things are pure '.
The guy had a brand new T shirt on. Across the front in white and yellow letters was written: 'I tried to be good but I got bored'.
That bit of slightly irreverent humour got me thinking. I came to the conclusion that the statement, in practise, would turn out to be true. Trying to be good for the non christian would surely eventually result in boredom...and...christians would get the same result. In fact trying to be good is about as far from real christianity as it is possible to get. Jesus made trying to be good a hopeless task for anybody when He said, 'there is none good but God'. There is no effort that we can put out that will result in goodness.
Goodness is a part of Gods very nature, His essence. Moses learned that when God said to him,' I will make my goodness pass before you'.
We find ourselves in something of a predicament then, because we know we should be good. Paul gives us the answer in Galations: neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision but a new creature. The amplified says, a new creation the result of a new birth and a new nature in Christ Jesus. Goodness is found only in God and in his class of being. In those of His family, the Sons and Daughters of God.
The New Testament has some exciting verses that we don't hear a lot of these days.
Colossians 3v3..for you died and your life is hid with Christ in God.
2 Corinthians 5v14,15..for we thus judge that if one died for all then have all died, and He died for all that all those who live may not live unto themselves but unto Him who died and rose again for their sake.
Trying to be good doesn't cut it, but receiving Christs death, burial and resurrection by faith for us, results in the death of all we were before and gives us that wonderful miracle..we become new creatures in Christ Jesus..Gods Sons and Daughters..with goodness as part of our very nature..of our essence.
Have you considered becoming a Christian dream interpreter? Uh Uh! you may be thinking...to spooky...to new age!
Well..not really. Dreams originated with God, they came with the package at creation.
You don't have to read too far into the Bible to come across God speaking to individuals in dreams. In fact dreams and their meanings play quite a big roll throught out scripture. Josephs dream interpreting saved an entire nation from the devastating ruin of a severe famine. God out manouvered the devils attempts to destroy the child Jesus by directing Joseph in dreams. Daniels dream interpreting still gives us clues regarding the last days.
In fact we are told that Daniel had an excellent spirit and interpreting of dreams is listed as one of his skills. Many ungodly people were warned by God in various places through out the Scripture.
Job tells us that God speaks to men in the night seasons in dreams (Job 33)
The first sermon of the Church age, preached by Peter in Acts 2, says that God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh and one of the results of that will be unsaved people having divinely inspired dreams. We can easily miss that, but careful reading shows us that the verse goes on to say, 'and on my Menservants and Maidservants ALSO will I pour out my Spirit etc'. So dreams are high on the list of Gods activities in the last days. The Amplified Bible, in that verse, says we will be ' telling forth the Divine counsels'. Sounds close to dream interpretation to me.
I believe not enough of us have these skills. Many Non Christian folk have dreams they know are significant, especially if they are repetitive, but some go for years unable to find somebody to give them the meaning. If we have developed the skill we can be used in a powerful way to help people along the path to salvation.
Two good sources for training in Christian dream interpretation are the Ministries of John Paul Jackson (Streams Ministries) and Doug Addison (DougAddison.com) Doug has the online dreams interpretation crash course (which I did) and John Paul has various courses on the subject and a big presence on YouTube, where you can get a good feel for what He does.Quite a few of the videos have Him doing interpretation mostly with Christians.
If we are equipped and with Gods help, the next time somebody near us says, 'I had the most unusual dream last night, I wish I knew what it means'. You will be able to say,'I might be able to help you with that'