The Fruit of the Spirit Study Week 3

Front Porch Bible Study Series

Week 3: Introduction

Topic: Born-again salvation

Read: John 3:1-21 NKJV

Memory Verse: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17 NKJV).

Examine:  Nicodemus secretly met with the Lord one night, so he could question Him about His miraculous works. Can’t we identify with this Pharisee’s literal thinking? I know I can. Even with all his religious education and high position as a ruler of the Jews, he was baffled by Jesus’s statement that “’unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God’” (John 3:3). However, Jesus took the opportunity to teach about the difference between the flesh and the Spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Jesus used the wind as an example to illustrate this principle. “‘The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit’” (John 3:8).

Discuss: Jesus explained spiritual birth to Nicodemus, a Torah scholar and intellectual who was confused about the born-again concept. As was Jesus’s custom, He used an illustration to express what salvation is like–a mystery of God that we feel and witness but cannot see. Perhaps that’s why intellectuals, even today, find this concept difficult to understand. It’s a matter of the heart and spirit where true salvation takes place.

The consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience sentenced every person to be born into spiritual death, a condition which separates us from God. But God sent His Son into the world to save mankind and reunite us with the Father. God provided His only Son as the perfect sacrificial Lamb who laid down His life on the cross. Jesus took the sins of the world on Himself so we could be saved through His shed blood. Everyone who believes on the Name of Jesus will be born again, but those who don’t believe are already condemned.

How about you? If you’ve been born-again, would you share your salvation story with us? If not, pray this prayer below and let us know so we can rejoice with you! “‘Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents’” ~ (Luke 15:10).

Prayer: Dear God, I’m a sinner, but I want to be born again. I confess and repent of my sins. Come into my life and be my Lord and Savior. Wash my sins away in the blood of the Lamb and robe me in your righteousness. Thank you for making me alive in Jesus and writing my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much ~ James 5:16.

Heartwings Front Porch Bible Studies

Conviction versus Condemnation

conviction v condemnation by Karen Jurgens

What is the difference between conviction and condemnation?

Conviction is a positive thing. God uses it to prod us when we’re tempted and fall into sin. It’s like Jiminy Cricket sitting on Pinocchio’s shoulder, whispering, “Don’t do that! Turn away.”

In a Christian’s life, the whisperer is the Holy Spirit. He pierces our hearts unto salvation with discipline wrapped in love and moves us from disobedience back to the cross. Through the blood of the Lamb, grace awaits to cover and cleanse us from our sins.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” ~ 1 John 1:9 NASB.

Receiving God’s forgiveness is an uplifting, positive experience that provides freedom from guilt and shame. It’s like a caged bird flying through an open door, soaring through blue skies to rejoice in infinite freedom.

Forgiveness. There’s truly nothing like it.

Conviction v Condemnation by Karen Jurgens

Condemnation, however, is a horse of a different color, as the saying goes. Society uses the term many ways, such as a courtroom where a criminal faces imprisonment or death for a crime, according to the law.

Condemnation is depression at its blackest. The absence of hope. Termination. Utter despair. Guilt and shame.

Who condemns us? God?

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” ~ John 3:17.

Remember the bible story of the woman caught in adultery? According to their laws, she was condemned, caught in the very act. Before stoning her, the men asked Jesus his opinion—only for the purpose of bringing accusation against Him. But Jesus replied:

“‘He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her’” ~ John 8:7.

As the men left, one by one, only Jesus remained.

“Straightening up, Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said, ‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more’” ~ John 8:10-11.

If not God, then who condemn us?

Think back to the bible story of Job. Satan was permitted by God to test His righteous servant to prove his loyalty to God. Satan accused Job:

“But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to your face” ~ Job 1:11.

What about Adam and Eve in the garden? And Jesus during His forty-day fast in the wilderness? You know the answer.

Satan, the author of sin and death, condemns.

After all, sin is separation from God, and separation from God is death. Spiritual death now, while we are physically alive. But after we die,  physical and spiritual death for eternity. The only chance we have to escape eternal damnation is to confess our sins while we’re alive.  After we die, it’s too late. Truly, we sentence ourselves because God gave us the power to choose our eternal destination through our free will.

conviction v condemnation by Karen Jurgens

Will you be condemned and sentenced to hell?

Or will you be convicted, saved, and go to heaven?

If the Holy Spirit is convicting you, here is an example of a prayer you can pray:

Dear Lord, I confess I’m a sinner. I’m sorry from my sins and repent at the cross. Wash away the stains with your precious blood and make me righteous through Jesus Christ. Thank you for forgiving me and writing my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Conviction v Condemnation by Karen Jurgens



Dread in the Garden of Gethsemane

What do you dread?

  • The first day of school?
  • Beginning a diet?
  • Facing a new job?
  • Speaking in front of a group?

No matter our circumstances, we all can plug in a memory that makes our palms sweat and our stomachs knot, where we’re forced to tiptoe through a tunnel laced with fear of the unknown.

Do you think Jesus felt dread on Thursday night following the Passover meal? Unlike us, He knew the future because He was God as well as man. As He entered the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples, as was His custom, He encouraged them to pray that they not enter into temptation.

Dread in the Garden of Gethsemane by Karen Jurgens

And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground ~ Luke 22:41-44, NASB.

Can you imagine drops of sweat turning into blood? I researched that condition and found that it’s indeed possible. Blood vessels clustered near the sweat glands can burst under extreme stress, producing bloody sweat. (To read more about drops of sweat turning into blood, follow this link.)

Luke, a physician, is the only apostle who includes this detail about Jesus. It lends understanding about the tremendous dread our Lord must have felt as He prepared to suffer and surrender His life for the sins of all mankind—past, present and future. God even sent an angel to minister strength to Him in that hour.

On this Maundy Thursday, let’s reverently give humble thanks to our precious Lord who willfully pressed through the dread of the coming Cross. There He would bear our sins, knowing He would face temporary separation from the Father—the price He willingly paid to redeem us at Calvary.

The precious blood of the Lamb sets us free from sin and death. My prayer is for all to find salvation in Jesus, God’s perfect Passover Lamb. These verses tell how:

…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED” ~ Romans 10:9-13, NASB.

May God richly bless you this Easter season as together we worship our Lord and Saviour, Christ Jesus.