Now get ready for an adventure of a lifetime. In order to grow strong as a Christian, you must be obedient to the commands of Christ. Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15). Some of these commands are listed below in order that you may know what Jesus expects of His disciples.
1. BAPTISM - Baptism is the first step of obedience for a new Christian. The first public act in the ministry of Jesus was His baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). The New Testament teaches that baptism is an outward sign of an inward change (Romans 6:4). It is a public confession and testimony of what has already taken place in your heart. Baptism is a burial and a resurrection. We are buried with Christ (immersed in water) in the likeness of His death, and we are raised with Christ in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:4). Not only does baptism picture the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, it also pictures the burial of the old sinful life and the resurrection of a new life in Christ. As a believer, you should be baptized not in order to be saved, but because you are saved (Acts 8:35-40). It is a witness of your faith in Christ.
2. READ YOUR BIBLE DAILY - Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4). Just as you need physical food in order to sustain physical life, you need spiritual food (the Bible) to maintain spiritual life. We suggest you begin with the New Testament by reading the Gospel of John or Mark. Set aside a few moments at the beginning of each day for Bible study. Look for promises to claim, commandments to obey, examples to follow and sins to avoid. Memorize key verses such as John 3:16. Your growth as a Christian will be directly related to your personal application of the Word of God.
3. PRAY EVERYDAY - Prayer is talking to God. Jesus said, "Men ought always to pray." (Luke 18:1). In another place we read, "Pray without ceasing." (I Thessalonians 5:17). You should form the habit of praying (talking to God) daily for definite people and specific things. A prayer list may be helpful in making your prayers more meaningful. There is nothing too great and nothing too small to take to the Lord in prayer. Thank God for all He has done for you.
4. SHARE YOUR FAITH IN JESUS - The greatest work in the world is sharing your faith in Jesus with others. Every Christian can and should introduce others to the Savior. Jesus said, "Ye shall be a witness unto Me." (Acts 1:8). Remember that you witness by what you do as well as by what you say. At home and at school, there should be something about you that's different - love, patience, kindness. Let people know it was Jesus who made the difference in your life.
5. GIVING - Giving is an act of worship so every worshipper must be one of God's givers, whether rich or poor.
God values the mites as much as the millions. If you sense God leading you to give, don't hold back out of a fear of running out. When you open your hand to give, He will always fill your empty hand with more. "Give, and it will be given to you; A good measure, pressed down , shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
Giving Principles (Life Action Ministry)
1. Before you give any of your material possessions to God, He first wants you to give yourself. "And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will."
2 Corinthians 8:5
2. You must be willing to be made materially poor, if necessary in order that you or others might be made spiritually rich. "For you know the grace of our Lord
Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so
that you through his poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9
3. God wants you to learn to give out of that which you have. "For
if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable to according to what one
has, not according to what he does not have." 2 Corinthians 8:12 4. You need to transfer the ownership of everything you have to God. "Everything comes from You and we have given You only what comes from Your hand." I Chronicles 29:14
5. Giving must be according to the Will of God. "Let everyone of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him." I Corinthians 16:2
6. You need to learn to give today out of your abundance to meet the needs of others, believing that tomorrow if I have a need, God will use the abundance of others to meet your need.
7. The deeper the level of my giving, the greater is the expression of my love. "and to prove the sincerity of your love." 2 Corinthians 8:8
A. Giving in obedience - tithing - giving one-tenth or one dime for every dollar earned. The Bible tells us, "Upon the first day of the week (Sunday) let everyone of you lay by him in store, as God has prospered him."
I Corinthians 16:2 God says to bring the tithe into the "storehouse" meaning the local church you attend. Your church is your storehouse of spiritual food, blessing and service.
B. Giving by faith - giving what God prompts, even when you can't figure it out.
C. Giving by sacrifice - giving out of our need - that which we actually need to live.
6. ATTEND CHURCH REGULARLY - If Jesus loved us (the church) enough to die for it (Ephesians 5:25), this is an important reason for us to love and support it. Regular church attendance should be as much a habit as eating. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25) is a clear command of the word of God. At the church services you will hear God's word read, explained, and applied to your everyday problems of life. If you try to live the Christian life alone, failure will result. In unity there is strength. There is far more to the Christian life than what is included here, but if these six steps are carefully followed you will find yourself growing more and more in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Please accept this personal invitation to worship with us at Grace Baptist Church so that we may help you continue your growth as a Christian. Pastor Garry - firstname.lastname@example.org