Becoming a Christian
||God loves you and wants to have a personal relationship with you. God created you (Genesis 1:27) with a purpose of coming into a personal relationship with Him, not to exist alone and apart from Him. Some people call this a God-shaped vacuum in our lives that screams to be filled - with God or earth's shabby substitutes.|
Whether to open the door to God's love in your life is the most important decision you'll make during your lifetime. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him and he will be with Me." - Revelation 3:20
God loves you and has a plan ready for your life, if you choose to allow His blessings into your life. "For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a guture and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11.
||What is a Christian? Being a Christian has nothing to do with where you were born, who your parents are, where you spend SUnday mornings, or how "good" you behave.|
No one is a Christian by default. It has nothing to do with being Jewish, Catholic, Protestant, or even whether you regularly attend church. There are many Protestant Christians, Catholic Christians, even Jewish Christians (called Messianic Jews). Just as many meats, casseroles, cakes and cookies can be completed in the same oven. Many "denominations" come from the same root--the one and only God. Denominations are just smaller groups within God's world-wide church body who share similar interpretations of sections of the Holy Bible. But just like being in a oven doesn't make you a cake, joining any church doesn't make you a Christian.
God says: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name..." - John 1:12.
||Who is God? God created the universe and everything in it, he's all-powerful. God knows everything, even our thoughts. God sees everything because He can exist everywhere at the same instant. |
God hears even the smallest prayer, and may answer 'yes' or 'no' or 'wait.'
God is revealed in the Bible (also called scriptures) as taking the form of three distinct persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Yes, that sounds like 3 gods but it isn't. Think, you have different roles: child, parent, sibling; yet you are just one person -- it's kind of like that.
||So what's the problem? Humanity has a sin problem that blocks our relationship with God. When Adam and Eve each chose to ignore God's only rule in the Garden of Eden, they catapulted the human race into being born with sinful natures. "Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin" -Romans 5:12.|
When mankind became sinful, we lost our close relationship with God and had to leave Eden. Jesus often spoke using metaphors such as calling sin blindness, darkness, sickness, slavery. None of these are pretty pictures.
What counts as sin? Maybe you are not a murderer, but have you lied? rejoiced when something bad happened to someone you didn't like? neglected to help someone in need when you could? Jesus said all these are included as sins, and that all who have committed any sin have broken God's standards. "For all have sinned, and fallen short of God's glorious perfection." - Romans 3:23.
|What's the solution? Put God in charge of your life. How? Admit to Him that you are powerless to defeat a sinful nature alone. Turn away from your sinful nature by rejecting it, some call this repenting. "For I [Christ] am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." - Matthew 9:13. |
Trust God to cleanse you and restore fellowship with you by telling him you believe that Jesus Christ died to pay the eternal penalty for your sins. This is called salvation by faith. "God loved the world so much that he gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life." - John 3:16.
We can't be good enough to earn salvation. But God has provided the way to restore us to Him--He sent his son Jesus to die as the perfect sacrifice for all mankind's sins, all we do is believe and accept Christ as Lord. That means you let God sit in control of your future. "If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved...for whonever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." - Romans 10:9-10,13.
||Don't procrastinate this decision, it may become your decision. We don't know when our physical death will come, tomorrow is never a sure thing. "It is appointed unto man once to die, then comes the judgement." |
If God is tugging at your heart now, then now is your door of opportunity to believe and accept Him. "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near." - Isaiah 55:6.
||How to Pray Dear God, I want to have a relationship with you. I know I'm a sinner. I know Christ died on the cross in payment for my sins. I'm sorry I sin, please come into my life and make my soul clean. I accept your free gift of salvation, fill me now with your Holy Spirit. Thank you, Amen.|
Saying "Amen" at the end of a prayer is like saying "so be it" or "make it so."
The fish was the mark of the early Christian. The first believers did not dare to wear any mark of their faith, if they did they were often persecuted or killed. Early Christians sketched a fish as a sign to others that they were a Christian. Another Christian would write in the Greek initials of "JESUS CHRIST, GOD'S SON, SAVIOR" as the Greek word for fish. Today the fish still stands as a symbol of a Christian.
What Now? Welcome to God's family - you are now a child of God! "The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit; that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be glorified together." - Romans 8:16-17.
Now you are starting the exciting adventure of your
new life in Christ. You can get more information
or a local Bible-based church.
Helpful Activities in the Christian Life
- Forsake your sins - this means
to quit. God will strengthen and help you in 4
ways: Bible reading, prayer, fellowship with other
Christians, and scripture memorization.
- Find a local
Christian church - they may not have a building,
as long as they accept Christ as Savior from their
sins. "Let us not give up meeting together, as some
are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one
another..." - Hebrews 10:25.
No church will be perfect, it's made up of us imperfect people. Just remember that God church is more like a hospital for hurting lives, not a trophy case of perfect lives. It's sometimes a good idea to visit some different churches at least 3 times each before choosing one.
- Follow Christ in Baptism - this
is what Jesus demonstrated when he asked John the
Baptiser to baptise him with water. "Go and make disciples
(followers), baptizing them in the name of God the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit..." Matthew 28:19-20.
Some denominations dunk you in water, some sprinkle you with water. Don't let satan side-track you so soon with details. It's the public statement of faith that is most important. Just do it.
- Understand your newness - it's
exciting to be changed in your spirit. it can also
be disheartening when old sinful habits crop up. We
still reap the seeds we've sown in life. "Like newborn
babies, crave your spiritual milk, so that by it you
may grow up in your salvation." - 1 Peter 2:2.
This is where continued prayer, Bible reading and scripture memorization really helps.
- Read the Bible daily. If you don't
own one, a Christian bookstore can recommend a Bible
especially for new believers. Also, many churches
give them out free.
- Pray daily.
At least as you begin and end the waking part of your
day. It helps you focus for the day and to sum up
your day from God's viewpoint. Also pray about needs,
worries and hopes.
Bible verses. Some Bibles have a word index in
the back, so you can look up verses about specific
topics and memorize them (page numbers for the 66
books in the Bible are listed in the front).
- Witness for
Christ - tell others what has happened to you.
Maybe you can lead them to God, maybe you can point
out their need and let the Holy Spirit continue to
call them. Pray for others too.
- Tithe part
of your income. Many churches say 10% -but if
that seems steep given income taxes and so on, then
give whatever you can give with a cheerful attitude
each week for God's use in spreading the gospel and
helping the less fortunate. It does have a positive
effect on your financial priorities and gives you
the opportunity to become a part of God's mission
work around the world.
- above all things - that God loves you. You are
His child and nothing can change that now. Not troubles,
not old sin habits, not anything. Always come to Him
and He will love you.
May your day be richly
blessed with productivity and rest. ~ Jeanetta
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© 1999, 2005, Jeanetta Chrystie