Becoming A Christian
Before You Become A Christian You:
- Live in Satans kingdom in fact you were born into it (Ephesians 2: v 1-3).
- Live a sinful life separated from God, deserving his punishment.
- Are unable, by yourself, to please God in any way (Romans 8: v 7-8).
- Are spiritually dead.
- Are totally unaware of 1-4 above!
Becoming A Christian Requires Repentance
- Repentance is expressed in WORDS and DEEDS. Repentance means "turning around" and requires us to confess our sins to God. Confessing our sins means specific sins, not just "general sins". Your sins were committed one by one, not all at the same time! Repentance is something we do toward God, because he is the person we have hurt the most with our sins. You also need, as far as possible, to put right your sins against others.
- John the Baptist preached repentance (Luke 3: v 3-14) and the practice of it.
- Jesus preached repentance (Luke 15:v 10).
- Jesus expected his followers to do the same (Luke 24: v 45-49).
Becoming a Christian Also Requires Faith in Jesus
- Faith is FACTUAL that Jesus lived, died, was buried and rose from the dead (1Cor 15: v 1-8.
- Faith in Jesus means putting your trust in a LIVING PERSON. Mohammed, Buddha, and Confucius are all dead and their tombs still contain their bodily remains. Jesus tomb is EMPTY!
- Faith is VERBAL. "That if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved" (Romans 10: v9). Faith is verbal in two ways. (a) If you believe Jesus is alive you will talk TO him. Which is why Romans 10: v 13 says "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (b) We also need to talk ABOUT Jesus to others. A believers faith is strengthened when they talk to a non-Christian about Jesus.
- Faith is PRACTICAL. The only faith the New Testament recognises is the faith that ACTS (James 2: v14-26). We need to practice exercising our faith in small ways at first, so that when a major emergency comes up our faith will be able to cope. Plenty of people accept the truth of Gods word (even Satan does), but faith in Jesus means acting on the truth of Gods word. (See Hebrews 11 every example of faith tells of what that person DID).
- We need to PERSEVERE in our faith and one day we will receive our reward. This perseverance also includes encouraging fellow-Christians (Read Hebrews 10: v 19-39).
As Christians We Are Also Commanded To Be Baptised
- It began with John the Baptist (Luke 3) . Jesus also was baptised, not because he needed to repent, but because he wanted to identify with humanity (Matthew 3: v13-17). On the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter told the people to "repent and be baptised for the forgiveness of your sins".
- Satan hates people getting baptised because he knows that is the burial of the "old life".
- Baptism brings our repentance and our faith to a climax.
Finally, We Are To Go On Receiving The Holy Spirit
- The promise of the outpouring of Gods spirit was promised in the Old Testament (Joel 2: v28-29).
- John the Baptist spoke of Jesus baptising us with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1: v 7-8).
- Jesus tells us to ask for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11: v5-13).
- On the Day of Pentecost, Peter said the filling of the disciples by the Holy Spirit was the fulfilment of the prophesy in Joel (Acts 2: v14-18). The Holy Spirit is given because Jesus has been exalted to Gods right hand (Acts 2: v 32-33)
- After Saul of Tarsus had received a vision of Jesus on the Damascus road, Ananaias was sent to him to restore his sight and to lay hands on him to receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 9: v 10-19).
- Baptism in water deals with your past (burial of the old life). The filling by the Holy Spirit is given, not for our benefit, but that we might serve Jesus and his kingdom.
- Receiving the Holy Spirit is not a "once only" occurrence, but is something that we are to seek on an ongoing basis. If we go on asking, we will go on receiving.
Who Am I?
I, (your name here), called on Jesus Christ to be my Saviour and Lord. He heard me from Heaven, has accepted me, has forgiven my sins and prepared a place in Heaven for me. As promised, He has made me acceptable to God the Father by his death, in my place, on the cross and by His resurrection. Because of what Jesus has done for me, I have therefore passed from death to life, from Satan's domain of darkness to God's Kingdom of Light. God loves me unconditionally and nothing I can do will make God love me more than he does now. God will never reject me. He calls me to obedience to Him and wants me to receive all the blessings He has for me. He has also appointed me to be a witness to the truth about Jesus.
Since Jesus accepted me when I called on him, all the following verses in God's word, the Bible, are true about me.
I can always trust God, because Jesus said He is "The Truth" (John14: 6).
I will have all my needs met by God (Philippians 4: 19)
If I should sin, whenever I confess it to Him He will forgive me (1 John 1: 9)
I am a child of God (John 1: 12)
I am Jesus' friend (John 15: 14)
I am chosen and appointed by Jesus to bear his fruit (John 15: 16)
I am a joint heir with Jesus, sharing his inheritance with Him (Romans 8: 17)
I am a temple - a dwelling place - of God. His spirit and his life live in me
(1 Corinthians 3: 16 and 6: 19)
I am a new creation, since I am in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5: 17)
I am a fellow citizen with the rest of God's family (Ephesians 2: 19)
I am chosen of God, holy and dearly loved (Colossians 3: 12 and 1 Thess 1: 4)
I can ask God for wisdom and He will give me what I need (James 1: 5)
I can always know the presence of God, since He will never leave me. (Hebrews 13: 5)
I am a child of light and not of darkness (1 Thessalonians 5: 5)
I am an enemy of the devil (1 Peter 5: 8)
Because you are in Christ, every one of the above descriptions is true of you. You can make these more meaningful and productive in your life by simply choosing to believe what God has said about you. One of the greatest ways to grow in maturity as a Christian is to constantly remind yourself who you are as a Christian. The Bible is where you find your true identity in Him.
Read the above list every day for a couple of weeks, preferably out loud to yourself. The more you take on board who you are in Christ, the more your behaviour will reflect your true Christian identity.
Two Kingdoms - The Background To Why Jesus Came
Lucifer and the other angels receive from God power and authority
Lucifer and one third of the angels then rebel against God.
They are thrown out of Heaven and come to Earth looking for somewhere to exercise their power.
Lucifer (now called Satan, meaning "the adversary") still has spiritual power, but has lost the authority he had in Heaven. He now tries to find a place where he can exercise authority once more.
God creates mankind and gives THEM authority over the Earth and all it contains (see Genesis Chapter 1 verses 26-28). Mankind is created innocent (perfect) and does not know evil.
In the Garden of Eden, Satan (the serpent) tricks the first man and woman into disobeying God (see Genesis Chapters 2 and 3). Through disobeying God and giving in to Satan, they lose their God-given right to exercise authority over the Earth. By giving in to Satan's temptation in the Garden, without realising it they have passed over to Satan the authority for ruling over the Earth. Man and woman have now lost their innocence and know evil by experience - they have disobeyed their Maker.
The Bible says, "the whole earth is in the grip of the Evil One."
Jesus called Satan "the prince of this world."
Mankind is therefore helpless in the face of evil, because this world is the province of Satan. All human beings since Adam and Eve have therefore been born as subjects of Satans kingdom here on earth. Mankind cannot regain the spiritual authority it lost, because all men and women suffer from sin. Only a "rescue package" from outside of the Earth, by God, can achieve it.
God's plan was for Jesus to come from Heaven to Earth as a man to win back this lost authority. This winning back of authority could only be done by someone who never gave in to Satan's tempting, and never sinned, unlike the first man and woman. By never sinning, Jesus defeated Satan's power since Satan could not get a hold on him. Unlike the rest of the Earth's inhabitants, although being tempted by Satan, Jesus never sinned and therefore never came under the authority of Satan.
Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross broke Satan's power and gives us a way back to God. It enables us to get out of Satans kingdom and back into Gods kingdom. It restores our "innocence" in God's eyes. Jesus was innocent of any sin and those who trust in Jesus have His innocence transferred on to them. When we personally accept what Jesus did for us, we ourselves are made acceptable to God, as if we never sinned. God the Father placed our sin on Jesus, so that our individual slate could be wiped clean. When we become Christians, God's spirit (the Holy Spirit) comes to live in us. God's spirit shows us the way to live - he writes his laws in our hearts, to enable us to live his way.
The Holy Spirit is God's gift to Christians to enable them to live the Christian life.
We cannot live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit.
The way to enter into the Christian life, by becoming a Christian, can be summarised as:
1. Confess your sins to God.
2. Believe in Jesus (that is, receive by faith "the rescue package" he provided for you through his death and resurrection) and call upon his name.
3. Be baptised.
4. Be filled, on a continuing basis, with the Holy Spirit (he gives you the power to live the Christian life).
Reading The Bible
WHY SHOULD I READ THE BIBLE?
As a new Christian you may well experience Gods word, the Bible, speaking to you. Even if you do not sense this, it is important nevertheless to develop a regular schedule for reading the Bible. Your new life is not about feelings but trusting in God and learning more about Him. Reading the Bible each day gives food to your spirit, in the same way that mealtimes satisfy your natural daily hunger for food. A regular intake of spiritual food in this way will strengthen you as a Christian and enable you to understand more of Gods kingdom and His ways.
WHERE DO I START?
I personally use a King James Bible but if you prefer, get hold of a modern version of the Bible such as the "New International Version" or the "Good News Bible". The best way to understand the Bible is to read the New Testament first. The New Testament begins with Jesus' life and teaching and this is vital reading for a new Christian. You will find the New Testament in the last third of your Bible. Start with the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These books will give you a broad picture of Jesus, his life and death from different viewpoints. After reading the Gospels, move on to the Acts of the Apostles. This is written in story form and tells how Christianity spread quickly after Jesus resurrection from the dead. Most of the other books in the New Testament were written to teach and encourage Christians. After finishing the New Testament, go back to Genesis in the Old Testament and read on from there. Your reading of the New Testament first will stand you in good stead for understanding the Old Testament.
When you do eventually begin to read from the Old Testament, you may find it easier to start with the Book of Psalms, then perhaps go to the start of the Bible and read the Books of Genesis and Exodus.
You may find it helpful to buy a booklet with daily Bible readings designed specifically for new Christians, such as "Every Day With Jesus For New Christians" or "Daily Bread For New Christians". They are specifically written for people in your situation and will provide insights into your new life from older and wiser Christians.
Try to set aside time for Bible reading each day, preferably before you begin your day. Pray before you start and expect to hear God speak to you from His word.
JUST DO IT
Prayer is a vital part of your new life as a Christian. Dont worry about what to say and how to say it; just talk to God in the way that comes naturally to you. Like any relationship, it blossoms when you spend time with each other and suffers when you dont. God is always ready to listen and wont be shocked by anything you tell him.
ITS A TWO-WAY THING
Because a relationship is a two-way thing God will want to speak to you too. So its important to listen during your prayer times (and at other times too). God wants to encourage you in prayer, so be bold and ask for what you need. You may also want to keep a prayer diary to record answers to prayer. Dont forget to thank Him when the answers come!
GET THE HABIT
Its helpful to have a set daily prayer time. Having a regular prayer time built into your daily routine will help you become established as a new Christian. Most people find it best to start the day with prayer. Leaving your main prayer time till bedtime is not a good idea, as youre likely to fall asleep instead!
TYPES OF PRAYER
The four main types of prayer are easiest to remember by using 4 letters of the alphabet; A,C,T,S. These stand for:
Examples of each are as follows:
Adoration: worship of God for who he is and what he has done for you. Worship of God is of the highest importance. God created you to worship Him.
Confession: saying sorry for what youve done wrong and asking His forgiveness. Learn by heart the words of 1 John 1:1-9. Also, try as much as possible to ask God's forgiveness immediately you are aware you have sinned, otherwise you are giving Satan a foothold. Don't wait till later - you may have forgotten by then.
Thanksgiving: giving thanks for the ways God has blessed you and provided for you. There is so much to thank Him for. Reading your Bible will help you to understand the many things He has done for you.
Supplication: asking for whatever you need from day to day and prayer for the needs of others, including those who do not know Jesus.
Living As A Christian
While feelings are important, your faith in Jesus is based on facts (John 5:24). Its nice to feel wonderful in your Christian life, but being a Christian involves being obedient to the will of God (the Bibles teachings). So dont allow your feelings to affect your walk with God.
When Duty Calls..........Do it!
Dont wait till you feel like doing your Christian duty, just do it! Once you start, the feelings may well come, but if they dont its not important. Jesus calls you to obedience, which is an act of your will (1 John 5:3-4).
Your Possessions and Your Personal Life
As a Christian you do not own your possessions, property, money or time. These, together with your very life, now belong to God to do with as he wishes. (Luke 14:25-33). Use what you have surrendered to him for his glory.
If You Should Sin............
If you should sin, dont dwell on your failure. Even if you feel no desire to pray because you have sinned, make a decision of your will to confess it to Jesus straight away (1 John 1:9).
The Standard to Reach
Whatever you do, DONT look at "older" Christians and take them as the standard to aim for. Look to Jesus alone and model yourself on him and what he has said in the Gospels, for example Luke 6: 27-49.
Your Old Life
This has PASSED AWAY. You must resist, with the Holy Spirits power, any desire to return to your former behaviour, when you simply pleased yourself (1 Peter 1: 14)
The Importance of Honesty
You must be honest in all things. If you depart from this standard, you will grieve the Holy Spirit and your relationship with Jesus will suffer the consequences. Take note of what Jesus says in Revelation 21:8!
Who Is The Holy Spirit?
IN THE BEGINNING
1. God is one and yet more than just one. He is made up of three persons (the Trinity): God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit is a person. In older versions of the Bible the Holy Spirit is referred to as the "Holy Ghost".
2. The Bible tells us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, was present when God created the earth by His Word (Genesis Chapter 1 verses 2 and 3).
IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
3. In the Old Testament, the first part of the Bible, God inspired and empowered certain people by the Holy Spirit. Bezalel (Exodus 31:2-3), Joshua (Deuteronomy 34:9), Gideon (Judges 6:34) and David (2 Samuel 23:1-2) are examples. These people were specially chosen by God to act for Him or to do certain tasks and so were given the Holy Spirit to enable them to accomplish these. Prophets called by God were given their words of prophecy by the Holy Spirit acting through them (2 Peter 1:21). In Old Testament days, therefore, God gave the Holy Spirit in a very limited way, for special reasons.
IN THE TIME OF JESUS
4. John the Baptist, whose task was to introduce Jesus to the Jewish people of his time, said of Jesus: "He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire" (Matthew 3:11). Before John the Baptist baptised Jesus, Jesus had never healed anyone or performed any miracles. Immediately after his baptism Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:13-17)and was tempted in many ways by the Devil (Matthew 4:1-11). It was the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus that empowered him for all the amazing things he later did (Acts 10:38). Jesus did nothing apart from the Holy Spirit.
IN HIS DISCIPLES
5. Before he died, Jesus promised that God the Father would send the same Holy Spirit ("the Spirit of truth") to empower his disciples (John 14: 15-18). The Holy Spirit would be with all of Jesus followers forever. His role would be to reveal Gods word (the Bible) to us, to teach us the truth about God and to enable us to live holy lives.
IN OUR DAILY LIVES
6. All who become Christians are born of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit actually comes and takes up residence within us. To grow and become mature as Christians we must be continually led by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14). He helps us when we pray (Romans 8:26-27). We are warned not to grieve the Holy Spirit by our actions (Ephesians 4:30). He will sometimes give us words to say to other believers, to encourage them, to enable them to mature and be obedient to God. Jesus told us to go on asking for the Holy Spirit read the lovely story of "A Friend At Midnight" (Luke 11:5-13). When we ask in simple faith for more of the Holy Spirit we will receive what we ask for.
IN OTHER WAYS TOO
7. God shows His love for us through the Holy Spirit. He heals us - in body and in spirit - through the Holy Spirit. He enables our character to be changed to be more like Jesus, through the work of the Holy Spirit. He may give us a spiritual gift through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12).
Christian Jargon Explained
A tablet detailing the crime(s) was often placed around the criminal's neck and then fastened to the cross. At the site the prisoner was often tied (the normal method) or nailed (if a quicker death was desired) to the crossbeam. The nail would be driven through the wrist rather than the palm, since the smaller bones of the hand could not support the weight of the body. The beam with the body was then lifted and tied to the already affixed upright pole. Pins or a small wooden block were placed halfway up to provide a seat for the body lest the nails tear open the wounds or the ropes force the arms from their sockets. Finally the feet were tied or nailed to the post. Death was caused by the loss of blood circulation and coronary failure.
- Slow to get angry
- Quick to listen to us
- Angry at injustice and oppression
- Concerned with every aspect of what He's made
10. Don't be jealous of other people's stuff
9. Stop saying things that aren't true
8. Don't take what's not yours
7. Save sex for marriage
6. Murder is not an option
5. Honor your parents
4. Keep the Lord's Day holy
3. Treat God's name with respect
2. Don't worship anything but God
1. Nothing comes before God
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