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Perishing part 4

Perishing is talking about ruling and reigning with the Lord, and those Christians who disqualify themselves for positions of authority in the coming Kingdom.  That is what is meant by “perishing”.  To perish is to lose one’s life.  It’s not talking about losing your salvation, as that can never be lost, forfeited, or even given up.

[John 3]  We find two aspects of the love of God demonstrated here.  [John 3:16; may, age-lasting]  We find in the first part, the love that God had for the world in that God sent the Lamb of God to die for the sins of the world.

The last part, he expresses the desire and made the provision for believers that they should not perish.  Now, we see both John 3:3 and John 3:5 in John 3:16.

In the first part of John 3:16, we see [John 3:3].  Born from above is less confusing.  The word “again” is the same word as “above” in 31.  When the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, the veil in the temple was rent from above to the bottom.  So, the birth here is from above; being born from above.  This is being placed into the family of God.  And everyone who is placed into the family of God is going to be able to see the Kingdom.  (Remember, we did an indepth study of this a few months ago.)

There are several Greek words for the word “see”.  One has to do with a worship or involved observation, and then there is this word, which is the word for the simple mechanical idea of seeing something; in this case, seeing the activities of the Kingdom.

But, in John 3:3, when you see the Kingdom, there is no participation, no involvement; just a casual observation.  Well, not necessarily casual, because there may be some weeping and gnashing of teeth to go with it, for those who are not qualified to enter in.  But, this verse is talking about a casual seeing.  God has provided provision for the whole world; he has provided the means for everyone to be saved, or to be born from above.  “Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”  Christ died for all of our sins.

Now, look in [John 3:5; out of water and of the spirit].  This verse says, “enter”.  Here, we see a difference between seeing and entering.  I can see into a car, but until I qualify by opening the door and crawling in, I cannot enter.  I can simply see a football game, even though I may be on the team.  There are plenty of people who have seen a football game, sitting on the 3rd string, sitting on the bench.  But only the 1st stringers get to play; they’re the ones who are qualified to enter in.  And that’s how it’s going to be in the Kingdom.  There are going to be spectators, 2nd & 3rd stringers, and those are the ones who get to enter in.  (Compare with racing.)

The ones who do not enter; the ones who do not qualify to rule & reign, they are the ones who perish or lose their life.  I look at this like this:  The word “water” is literal because the word “spirit” is literal.  The preposition that rules those two nouns means that you have to take them both figuratively or both literally.  This has to do with baptism and being filled and led of the spirit; it has to do with being influenced by the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit.

No one that has not been baptized will be qualified to enter in; to refuse baptism is direct disobedience.  That’s the reason the children of Israel couldn’t enter Canaan; they were living in disobedience.  Here we find verse 5 deals with qualifications of entering in to rule and reign with the Lord.

Now, look down in [John 3:14-15].  Turn with me to Numbers 21, so you can better understand this passage. [Numbers 21:4]  “They” are the children of Israel; these are God’s people.  They are not lost people.  They were discouraged.  These are the ones that came out of Egypt, all being baptized in the sea and in the cloud unto Moses.  [Numbers 21:5]  These people began to hate what God provided them.  If you look at the manna they were loathing, it was a type and picture of the Word of God.  They loathed the Word of God.  Think how you would feel if you invited someone over to dinner every day for several years, then one day they stood up and said, “We loathe these steak and potatoes”.  [Numbers 21:6]  They perished. 

[1 Corinthians 10; hold your finger here]  Keep in mind that those who fell in the wilderness did not enter into Canaan.  They lost their life.  This may be hard to take, but even though Moses did not fall because of a serpent bite (he wasn’t bitten by a fiery serpent), Moses did perish in the latter end of his life because of unbelief.  He fell just like those who were bitten by the fiery serpents fell in the wilderness.  [1 Corinthians 10:9]  The word “destroyed” is “perished”; perished by serpents; apollumi.)

Here we find reference to those who are mentioned here in [1 Corinthians 10:2-5].  That’s what I want to emphasize:  the fact that this fiery serpent that Moses lifted up was the means where the children of Israel who had murmured against the Lord could keep from perishing.  All they had to do was to look at the fiery serpent.

Back in [Numbers 21:7-9].  It’s interesting to note that Moses made the serpent of brass, and he lifted it up on a pole.  Throughout Scripture, brass is a picture of the judgment of God; God had already judged the Lord Jesus Christ when he raised him again into the heavenlies.

Right now, the Lord Jesus Christ is raised into the heavenlies.  He is our high priest today.  So, to keep from perishing, to keep from losing our life, we have to appropriate the high priestly office of Jesus Christ in the heavenlies.

In [Philippians 3:10], Paul said, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection…”  Paul wasn’t interested in knowing the Lord on just a casual basis; he was interested in knowing the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the resurrection, because he goes on to say in [verse 11].  The out-resurrection from among the dead ones, literally.  From among those who perish.

Paul was interested in being raised from among the dead ones.  That gives you the story.  Now, let’s go back to John 3.  While you’re going back there, let’s take a stop at [Luke 14].  I want to show you how this word “lifted up” is translated in another way.  [Luke 14:11]  “Exalt” is the same word that’s translated “lifted up”.

Moses exalted the Lord Jesus Christ in type when he lifted up the serpent on the pole.  Let me show you another passage.  [Acts 2]  I want to show you where the Lord Jesus Christ is today.  [Acts 2:32-33a; end with exalted]  That’s where Jesus is today; He’s at the right hand of God, exalted.  God raised him up from among the dead.

[Acts 5]  Keep in mind that this word exalted is the same word as “lifted up”.  [Acts 5:31]  In verse 30, it talks about his crucifixion, verse 31 it talks about his being raised to the right hand of God the father.  [Acts 13:17]  The word “exalted” here is the same Greek word as “lifted up”.  (“Exalting” is not the same as “lifting” in John 15:2.)

Now, let’s go to [John 3] again.  Let me bring this out; in Romans 4:25, it says, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.”  The Lord Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us that we might be justified or qualified to rule & reign from the heavens.

[John 3:15]  “Whosoever believeth…”  This word “believeth” is a participle; it’s a verb used as a noun.  It’s present active, and it’s singular in number.  A literal translation would be, “in order that everyone the one believing”.  It’s continual faithfulness and belief and confidence in God; it’s not on again, off again.  It’s not one day we can trust the Lord, and the next day we can’t.  “The one believing in him should not perish.”  “Should not perish” is subjunctive.  If this were talking about the security of the believer as far as heaven is concerned, it would be in the indicative mood; there’s not doubt about that!

The indicative mood in a Greek verb means that there is no doubt about it.  The subjunctive mood is a mood of probability, but there’s a possibility of failing.  We know there’s the possibility of failing.  That’s the warnings that we find throughout the NT of failing to enter into God’s rest.  But, is there the possibility of our salvation failing?

“Should not perish”, or should not lose their life.  “But may have eternal age” or life for the coming age.  This verb “may have” is also in the subjunctive.  The whole thing is contingent on the present tense of the verb “believing” or our faithfulness, is what it amounts to.  Does our common salvation depend upon our faithfulness?  No, it depends upon God’s faithfulness, and his faithfulness never fails.

Our qualification for ruling and reigning depends on our faithfulness to use the throne of grace where we find the blood for deliverance and grace for acceptable service.  If we fail to do this and go off into the error of our way, we’ll not qualify to rule and reign with the Lord, and therefore we will perish and lose our life in the age to come.

We find the same verbs in verse 16.  What the Lord is trying to do; what the Holy Spirit is trying to do, is when he had John write 3:14-16, he’s saying, “I want you to remember what happened to Moses and the children of Israel in the desert so you can apply it to John 3:16”.  Why?  Because the verb tenses in John 3:16 are the same as we find in 3:15.

Let’s look at it:  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son…”  Now, here again, the word “believeth” is a present active participle, it’s identical words in the Greek text, as found in verse 15, “…that whosoever believeth…”  It’s the same tense; the same word.  “…that everyone, the believer…”  It’s really hard to have a go with this verb in the English.  “Everyone who is believing…”  It’s one who is continually, faithfully putting his confidence in the Lord.  It’s a present tense; it’s a participle.  It means that the individual is active in the believing or continuing in the believing or continuing in the faithfulness.  “…and should not perish…”  It’s an aorist subjunctive; it’s in the subjunctive mood.  There is the possibility of failure.  “…But, may have…”  There’s the word “may” that belongs before “have”, just as it belongs in front of “have” in verse 15.  “…but may…”  Or may not.  It’s contingent upon the believing or faithfulness of the one believing.   “…but may have life for the coming age.”

We’ll pick up there next week, Lord willing.  I hope that this has stirred your hearts for some studying.  I tell you what, the Word of God is accurate, but because of man’s preconceived ideas, and because of their preformed and pre-thought-out theology, they cannot teach the Word of God as accurately as the Greek.  That’s the reason you don’t find men teaching the Word of God with the accuracy of the Greek:  Because they cannot fit it into their pre-existing theology.

You and I believe in the security of the believer; Scriptures teach that.  But John 3:16 doesn’t teach that.  So to get security out of John 3:16, the best thing to do is to not even look at the Greek NT:  Because you can’t get that out of it.

This is the reason we find Calvinism on one hand and Arminianism on the other; Arminian doctrine is teaching not loss of being put in the family of God, but loss of one’s life and one’s position of authority in the coming Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.