NOW THAT YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN
… there are some things that you need to know. It is important that you get started right. A good beginning will be beneficial in helping you experience a fruitful and victorious Christian life. You do want to have all that Jesus Christ has prepared for you, don’t you?
The basic principle of the Christian life is to follow Christ.
“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
Consider these three important ideas:
I. You Need To Know What You Have.
II. You Need To Know What You Are.
III. You Need To Know What To Do.
I. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE.
1. Eternal Life. You received eternal life as a free gift when you trusted Christ as your Saviour, for “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
Many verses in the Bible emphasize the security of the believer. You may wish to look at some of them. (John 5:24; 10:27-29; Romans 8:1; 10:13; 1 John 5:11-13.) Be careful that you do not try to make your salvation dependent upon yourself. You could not save yourself in the first place, and you cannot keep yourself saved in the second place. That is God’s work exclusively. Trust Him and His Word and you will have peace and security.
2. The Holy Spirit. Every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Romans 8:9). God has given you the Holy Spirit to comfort you and to help you in your Christian life. Study the following verses and learn what they mean: John 14:16-18, 26; 16:13.
3. The Holy Bible. Your Bible is your infallible guide. There are no mistakes in it (unless a copyist or printer slipped up). It is the pure word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Read the Bible for blessing, comfort, a preventive against sin, and instruction concerning the will of God in your life. Interpret the Bible in a normal, common sense manner and remember that God’s will for your life never goes against what the Bible teaches. Study the following Scriptures: Psalm 1; 1 Peter 2:2 Psalm 119:9,11,72,89,130,165.
4. A New Family. You are now a member of God’s family. Christian people are your brothers and sisters. Your strongest fellowship should be with the people of God. They love you, they believe as you do, they have the same purposes and general goals as you do, and they believe they are all going to the same place: Heaven. The best friends you will ever have are your Christian friends.
5. A Blessed Hope. If you happen to die before Jesus comes back to earth again (Acts 1:9-11) you will go immediately into the Lord’s presence (2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Philippians 1:21-23). Your body will go into the ground in hope of the final resurrection day, but if Jesus comes before your physical death, you will never die. Like Enoch (Genesis 5: 22-24) you will rise to meet the Lord in the air, and “so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Read the following verses carefully: 1 Corinthians 15:51-57; John 14:1-6; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.
II. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT YOU ARE.
1. A New Creation. When you received Christ you were “born again” (John 3:3,5,7; 1 Peter 1:23). You have a totally new life in Him, for “if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away; behold all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). You are a completely new person, having new thoughts, new ambitions, new aims, new affections, new practices.
2. A Child of God. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). As a child of God you have a Heavenly Father (Romans 8:14-17). As the children of our Heavenly Father we are entitled to His love, protection, and provision (1 John 3:1; Psalm 23; James 1:17).
3. A Dual Personality. You have an old sinful nature with which you were born. It is an enemy of God and His righteousness (Romans 8:7). You also have a new and divine nature which you received at the time of your new birth (2 Corinthians 5:17). Paul describes the conflict between the two natures (Romans 7:15-25), and he contrasts the two natures (Ephesians 2:1-10). God does not recognize your old nature, but counts it to have died with the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 6:1-10). We are also to count the old nature as dead, and to refuse to yield to it (Romans 6:11-13; Colossians 3:5-14). By the Holy Spirit’s power we can overcome the evil desires of the old nature (Romans 8:13).
III. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT TO DO.
1. Baptism. The first thing you should do as a new Christian is to be baptized. This is a simple matter of obedience and testimony. Jesus set the example for you (Matthew 3:13-17). You should obey this ordinance of the church as soon as possible ( Acts 2:41; 8:36-37; 19:1-5). Baptism identifies you with Christ in his death and resurrection (Colossians 2:12). Lastly, baptism is not optional because Christ commanded believers to be baptized ( Matthew 28:19-20).
2. Worship. As a new Christian you should worship God every day. Every day you should read a portion of Scripture from your Bible and spend some time in prayer to God. Through the Bible God speaks to you, and through prayer you speak to God. If you will make a habit of a daily devotional time of prayer and Bible study, you will become a strong and stable Christian. Read Matthew 4:4; Luke 18:1.
3. Church Attendance. The Bible makes your responsibility to the church crystal clear (Hebrews 10:25). You should faithfully attend all of the regular services of your church. Be sure to choose a Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church! Learn to enjoy Sunday school, morning worship, evening worship, midweek prayer service, as well as special events such as missionary conference or Bible conference. You may also find special activities for your age group. Be sure to participate in all parts of the church services, singing, praying, attention to preaching and special times such as the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper (Matthew 26:26-28; 1 Corinthians 11:23-32).
You need your church for fellowship, as a base for service to the Lord, for pastoral instruction, to help others and to receive help, and for many other reasons which you will appreciate as you grow in your Christian life. You will never be a strong Christian if you do not attend a local church faithfully.
4. Giving. The Bible teaches that at least one-tenth (ten percent) of our income belongs to God; we call this “the tithe.” You will prosper if you tithe (Malachi 3:10). The local church ministry and the foreign missions it supports can only be sustained by the faithful giving of God’s people. You may give to other Christian causes, but be sure first to support your local church which is your home base. Study all these verses: 1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:5,9,12; 9:6-8.
5. Witness. You have been saved to tell others about God’s great salvation (John 20:21; Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:8). Begin to witness right away! The easiest way is to simply tell people how Jesus saved you. Get some Gospel tracts from your church and pass them out everywhere you go. Mark salvation verses in your Bible and seek to share them with people who do not know Christ as you do now. Invite people to your church. Some of them who come to church will get saved. If at all possible, take part in the visitation program of your church.
6. Separation. To grow as a Christian and to have God use your life, you must live a clean life, separating yourself from those people and those lifestyles which would hinder you (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). You don’t want to be a Pharisee, looking down your nose at others like a hypocrite, but as a believer you already have a sincere desire to please God. Most people will learn to respect you if you back up your Christian witness with a pure life. A pure life speaks more for what Christ did in you than any attempt to force an unbeliever to accept you. Be patient. It may take time, but with God’s help you will prevail.
7. Avoid Sin. Perhaps the hardest thing for a Christian to do is to avoid sin. Temptations abound, but it is not a sin to be tempted (Hebrews 4:15; James 1:2,12-15).
The first step in avoiding sin is to realize that it is primarily a spiritual battle. Study Ephesians 6:10-18. Remember that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
Secondly, your weapons against sin “are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.” Read over 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 until you grasp the meaning.
Thirdly, God promises that you will not be given more than you can bear. Read and rely upon 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 which teaches that all will be tempted, but that God is faithful in providing a means to escape.
Here are some practical steps to take when you are confronted by temptation. Deciding on a plan ahead of time is very wise.
Learn to do what Jesus did when He was tempted by Satan. He quoted Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). That means that a good defense against temptation is to memorize Scripture. If you are troubled by a particular temptation over and over again memorize Scripture directly related to it. This will help you very much.
Also, Jesus prayed often, especially when He was deeply troubled as in the garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). Learn to follow Jesus’ instructions about prayer (Luke 11:1-13).
Besides praying for yourself during times of temptation it is very important to pray for others. Pick out four people by name for whom to pray. Prepare ahead of time to do this.
1. Pray for the salvation of one you are sure is lost.
2. Pray for the restoration of a Christian who is in sin.
3. Pray God will give mighty power to a Christian leader.
4. Pray for a missionary on a foreign field.
Do you think Satan and his evil minions will continue to tempt a person who quotes Scripture and prays like this every time he is tempted? No! The devil will run and God will be honored and glorified.
Now if you fail and fall into sin, do not despair because even then God has provided for you.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
Finally, now that you are a Christian, never give up. Be patient with yourself. Persevere. Remember your salvation and thank God for it. Remember your past experiences of both chastening and blessing from God. Develop your own Christian tools. Some may learn Gospel songs. Others may read spiritual material. Learn to be comfortable in your new life.
Jesus prayed for you (John 17:20). I have prayed that these thoughts will help you in your new Christian walk. Remember to call upon your pastor when you need counsel or help. He is the man whom God has placed in the community to help you.
God will bless you as you follow Jesus!