Becoming a Christian
(bracketed references below are to the Bible. Format is book, then chapter, then verse)
Before You Become A Christian You:
- Live in Satan's 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 believer's 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 God's word (even Satan does), but faith in Jesus means acting on the truth of God's 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 God's 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 God's 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.
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