Family Bible Study lesson for June 5: Life Begins at Reception : Friday, May 20, 2005
May 20 2005 by Phillip Hamm

Family Bible Study lesson for June 5: Life Begins at Reception : Friday, May 20, 2005
Friday, May 20, 2005

Family Bible Study lesson for June 5: Life Begins at Reception

By Phillip Hamm
Focal Passage: John 1:10-13; 3:5-8, 14-18, 36

I remember my older brother and I sitting in the pastor's office when I was nine. The pastor went through John 3 and the story of Nicodemus. I understood being born of spirit, but I couldn't comprehend being born of water from a woman. So our salvation talk began to take a downward turn towards the birds and the bees. The more he attempted to explain the more questions I asked and the more embarrassed my then 13-year-old brother became.

Nevertheless, our pastor regrouped and explained salvation in such a way that made sense to me and I surrendered my life to Christ. I tell this story to show the difficulties we may have while sharing the gospel. Therefore, in order to be prepared, we must begin to understand the concepts involved in salvation.

Source of the New Birth

(John 1:10-13)

Jesus is the only way to eternal life. This is a concept that becomes a stumbling block for many in our culture. Some may say that God is closed minded only to allow one way to Heaven.

I remember standing before my bride some years ago and affirming our wedding vows. Imagine after hearing the pastor read our vows that I paused and said: "Honey, I promise to be faithful to you 98 percent of the time. I'll only run around on you 2 percent of the time." Needless to say, I would still be single right now. Why? Because my wife is closed minded? No! Because a healthy marriage is only done one way and that is by being totally and completely faithful. God isn't trying to be closed-minded by stating that Jesus is the only way to eternal life, He is trying to protect us from all the wrong options that will condemn us to hell.

Agent of New Birth

(John 3:5-8)

The Bible tells us that the Spirit convicts of sin, leads to all truth, and comforts us. Explaining His role in salvation is difficult, but the passage clearly indicates that we must be born again through the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit works in our lives for salvation much like switching on a light in a dark room. As you enter the room you can't see much of anything. You grapple your way through the room with fear, anxiety and uncertainty. You can't even see enough to find your way to the light switch. But when someone else turns the light on for you, you can see your way. The fear and uncertainty are gone. You can see and respond to what is in front of you.

This is a very simplified example of the role the Holy Spirit plays in our lives. Because we were spiritually dead, we couldn't do anything for ourselves until the Holy Spirit came and illumined our soul, providing for us the opportunity to respond to God's gift of salvation.

Initiator of the New Birth

(John 3:14-17)

God initiates salvation to the world because He loves us unconditionally and sacrificially.

Jack Kelly, a USA Today reporter, told the following story. "We were in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, during a famine. It was so bad we walked into one village and everybody was dead. At another village we saw this little boy. You could tell he had worms and was malnourished; his stomach was protruding.

"Our photographer had a grapefruit, which he gave to the boy. The boy was so weak he didn't have the strength to hold the grapefruit, so we cut it in half and gave it to him. He picked it up and began to walk back towards his village.

"When he entered the village, there on the ground was a little boy who I thought was dead. His eyes were completely glazed over. It turned out that this was his younger brother. The older brother kneeled down next to his younger brother, bit off a piece of the grapefruit, and chewed it. Then he opened up his younger brother's mouth, and put the grapefruit in. We learned that the older brother had been doing that for the younger brother for two weeks. A couple days later the older brother died of malnutrition, and the younger brother lived."

The older brother's love was completely sacrificial and unconditional just like God's love. God's love for this world is so strong that He gave His only son to redeem us. It is our responsibility to live a life worthy of such love.

5/20/2005 12:00:00 AM by Phillip Hamm | with 0 comments

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