1 John 2:15-17
Today’s message is about our new life in Jesus and living in the heavenly
will of God, and since this is the fifth Sunday in Lent it seems appropriate
to review and discuss these things.
In John 3:1-10, we have the account of a conversation that took place between Jesus and a Pharisee named Nicodemus about our new life in Jesus, or our spiritual rebirth.
Let’s listen in…
1. Now there was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the
2. this man came to Him [Jesus] by night, and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
Nicodemus came to Jesus at night because he was afraid of what his fellow religious leaders might do to him, such as throw him out of the Temple, as they did with the formerly blind man that we recently talked about.
3. Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Jesus is talking about our spiritual rebirth, which Nicodemus clearly doesn’t understand. Nicodemus is spiritually blind.
4. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot
enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?"
5. Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7. "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
This is the second time that Jesus tells Nicodemus and us that we must be born again, which has been corrupted into a form of cheap grace rather than the spiritual reality of what Jesus is presenting.
8. "The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not
know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born
of the Spirit."
9. Nicodemus answered and said to Him, "How can these things be?"
10. Jesus answered and said to him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things?
This has been the problem with most religious leaders even to this very day.
We hear many religious leaders speaking about being born again, but not in connection with our new life in Jesus and living in the heavenly will of God.
Most people who claim to be born again are still living the same worldly lives they formerly did, only we hear them say more “praise the Lord” slogans and talk about Jesus without really living by the example that Jesus set for us.
They still corrupt creation by their killing and eating animals, and exploiting them in other ways.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:48 that we should be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, and since there is no pain or death in heaven, we should be eliminating as much of this as we can from our lives.
In our new life in Jesus we should be helping to free creation from its present corruption instead of further corrupting it as most people do.
In Ezekiel 37:1-14, we have a Hebrew version of this spiritual rebirth, or our new life in Jesus.
1. The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of
the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of
2. And He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry.
These spiritually dry bones represent the spiritually dead Jews who were defeated by the Babylonians.
3. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O
Lord GOD, Thou knowest."
4. Again He said to me, "Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.'
5. "Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, 'Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life.
6. 'And I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin, and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.' "
God is saying essentially the same thing that Jesus was discussing with Nicodemus: “you must be born again.”
7. So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a
noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its
8. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew, and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them.
9. Then He said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, 'Thus says the Lord GOD," Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life." ' "
10. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.
The difference between what we are being told here about the revived Jewish
military is from a Jewish perspective of that time, and it is not the same
as what Jesus teaches us. He would call upon us to be peacemaking
children of God.
And we also have to remember that this is only a vision and not a real army; it’s an example of what God desires to do for the captive Jews.
11. Then He said to me, "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up, and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.'
The people are speaking from a spiritually dead, defeatist position, and not
from the spiritually alive way of life that God and Jesus are calling us to
We are to have a new life in Jesus and be living in the heavenly will of God, where there is no pain or mourning or death.
12. "Therefore prophesy, and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD," Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, My people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel.
This is very similar to what Jesus told Nicodemus: we “cannot enter into the kingdom of God" unless we are born again, which means to be spiritually reborn, and have a new life in Jesus.
13. "Then you will know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves
and caused you to come up out of your graves, My people.
14. "And I will put My Spirit within you, and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it," declares the LORD.' "
This is being born again, having a new life in Jesus and living in the
heavenly will of God.
When we live in the heavenly will of God, we are no longer living in the ways of the world with its lust, and the human caused pain, suffering, and death.
In 1 John 2:15-17, John tells us about the problems of living in the world…
15. Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the
world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
17. And the world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God abides forever.
As we look at Romans 8:1-11, think about how these 1 John 2:15-17 verses tie together with what Paul writes about.
1. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
This is referring to those of us who no longer live according to the ways of the flesh and the world, but now live in the Spirit.
2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from
the law of sin and of death.
3. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
Note very carefully that Jesus came only in the likeness of sinful flesh, which is another way of saying that He had a human body, but most importantly His body was sinless unlike ours.
4. in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
Let’s pause here for a few minutes and ponder a couple of examples:
If someone desires to wear fur or leather, it is an expression of their lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye, because they like the feel and look of it.
If they also want to show the fur and leather off to others, they are also expressing their boastful pride of life.
The same kinds of things apply to the eating of animal flesh and byproducts, for most people like the look of the prepared animal “food” and the taste of it, and they desire to eat it because others in their group are eating it.
However, in addition to these three kinds of sin, these people are also expressing their hardness of heart, for they have no compassion for the animals who suffered and died to satisfy their worldly and fleshly desires, and there is no place in the Spirit or in the heavenly will of God for any hardness of heart.
We must have a new life in Jesus and be living in the heavenly will of God.
5. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of
the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the
6. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,
7. because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so;
8. and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
This is the problem with the world today, and most importantly in the
church, because most churches have distorted the true intent of being born
again and having a new life in Jesus.
They are trying to say that their form of “cheap grace” is acceptable to God, but Paul is clearly stating that this is a false teaching and has no place with God.
We must be born again and have a new life in Jesus that presents us to the world around us as the loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God that Jesus called us to be.
We are to do everything in our power to free creation from its present corruption, and no longer contribute to its corruption.
Then Paul addresses those of us who are living in the Spirit.
9. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit
of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he
does not belong to Him.
10. And if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.
This is having a new life in Jesus and living in the heavenly will of God.
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