Your decision to follow Jesus Christ means God has forgiven you of your sins and that you will spend eternity in heaven with Him. You have made the best, most important decision of your life.
As a new believer in Christ, you'll want to lay a good foundation for your faith so that you'll walk with God in the years ahead. Laying a solid foundation begins with reading your Bible, prayer, going to church, and sharing your faith.
You might say that the Bible is the "user's manual of life" we have all been searching for. Everything we need to know about God and living a life that pleases Him is found in its pages.
So take some time each day to read and study the Bible. You'll be surprised how just 15 minutes a day in God's Word will transform your life.
The idea of talking to God can be intimidating. But it doesn't have to be. Prayer is a wonderful experience when we do it God's way. The Bible instructs us to pray at all times, in any posture, in any place, for any reason. So take time each day to exalt God, make your requests known to Him, and confess your sins during a time of prayer. He will be listening.
One of the essential building blocks of spiritual growth is fellowship with other believers at a local church. The church (meaning the entire body of Christians) thrives by keeping its members spiritually active and well fed.
If you are in the Triad area of North Carolina get involved at The Bridge by coming to one of the services at our Kernersville or Greensboro campus. For more information visit aboutthebridge.com
Sharing your faith is something that Jesus wants, and commands, us to do! Next to knowing Jesus personally and following Him, one of the greatest blessings of the Christian life is to actually lead someone to Jesus Christ.
Now that you have decided to follow Christ and live a life pleasing to Him, you are probably wondering, "What do I do? Where do I go from here? Which path will bring spiritual growth?"
One of the essential building blocks of spiritual growth is to become a part of a local church. The church, meaning the entire body of Christians, was established by Christ to provide you with biblically sound instruction, allow you to express genuine worship with other believers, enable you to use your God-given gifts and abilities as He intended, and keep you accountable to spiritual leadership.
But the church is not designed to only benefit the believer. The ultimate goal of the church is to bring attention and glory to the Person who unifies it: Jesus Christ. When the church operates as God intended, it serves as a powerful witness of His love and provision to a watching world.
The first-century church had the reputation of "turning the world upside-down" with Jesus' message. It was a place for devoted fellowship and valuable instruction, and it serves today as our model. God wants the church, also called in Scripture "the body of Christ", to stand out and be His light in these ever-darkening days. Any Christian who wants to please God and make a positive impact for Christ must become part of a local church.
Christ designed the church to provide you with tremendous blessing and opportunity. Involvement in the local church is necessary for your spiritual growth, and it is something you will never outgrow. God has placed spiritually gifted people in the church to both instruct you and encourage you to lead a holy life. No Christian can endure or prosper long if he lives in isolation without the support of the church. Not only do you need the Church, but the Church needs you! God has given you, as a Christian, unique gifts and abilities that will be a blessing to others.
"...consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together..." (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Christians need to gather for corporate (united) worship. The benefits you receive from expressing your thanksgiving and praise with other believers, publicly reading and studying the Scriptures and praying together cannot be duplicated or replaced. This is one of the ways God has instructed us to worship Him in "spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24).
The church provides an ideal outlet for serving Christ. God has created you with unique spiritual gifts and talents that benefit the rest of the body of Christ. Scripture explains that the Holy Spirit displays God's power through each of us as a means of helping the entire church (1 Corinthians 12:7). No one is "left out", so to speak. If you don't regularly attend a church with other believers, you are neglecting the opportunity to use what God has given you.
Following Christ's example, the early believers shared food, clothing, and housing with each other. The Bible asks, if you see a fellow Christian who is in need and you say to him "Well, good-bye and God bless you, stay warm and eat hearty," without giving him any food or clothes, what good have you done? (James 2:16). The body of Christ should look out for its own. One of the ways we look out for our own is to give. Through tithes and offerings, we are investing in the kingdom of God. God owns everything (Job 41:11b; Haggai 2:8) He does not need our money. We should give to the Lord as a reminder that nothing belongs to us--that everything we have comes from Him and belongs to Him. Giving should be an obedient act of worship. It not only demonstrates our love for God, but also should demonstrate our love for others. Your gifts allow the church to minister to others both spiritually and practically.
The church is not really an organization so much as an organism. It thrives by keeping its members spiritually active and well fed. The Bible has plenty to say about the characteristics of a healthy, vibrant church, and you can measure its vitality by comparing its qualities to the characteristics of the first-century church (Acts 2:42, 44-47).
A healthy church meets together regularly, places a high priority on Bible study and develops caring people who concern themselves with the well-being and spiritual development of each member. It recognizes the power of corporate prayer and worship and demonstrates Christ's love in meaningful ways. Its members desire to minister to others and seek to share God's good news with others.
In any Biblically-sound, God-centered church the following beliefs should be obvious:
A healthy church is also a growing church. But growth alone should not necessarily be viewed as proof of God's blessing. The first disciples had a "gladness and a singleness of heart" about the early church. Your church home should be a place you look forward to attending not only on Sundays, but throughout the week.
Among other things a feeling of discomfort in a church can be a prompting from the Holy Spirit that the church is unscriptural. The Bible warns of false teachers and only by growing in your understanding of the Scriptures and through prayer will you be able to discern truth from error. Avoid any group that teaches doctrines, beliefs or rituals that deviate from the Bible. Many false teachers speak only parts of the truth and their messages have been aptly described as the "skin of the truth stuffed with a lie."
Most cults are identifiable because they refuse to:
Commonly known cults are Jehovah's Witnesses, Latter-Day Saints or Mormons, Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, and Scientologists.
It has been wisely said, "The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints." Regular fellowship and participation in the church for a disciple cannot be overemphasized. As you come to church and find your place in it, you will then be in a position to give to others what God has given to us.
The church that is right for you will be a place where you can grow in your love for the Lord and serve Him by contributing to the life of the church. Remember we are all sinners doing our best to follow God's teaching. Rely on Him to show you the way.
Billy Graham offers this advice, "First, . . .I would select a church which preaches the Gospel faithfully. However, it is not enough to be sound theologically. I would choose a church which endeavors to practice what it preaches, translating its beliefs into everyday life. . ."
Remember that the model for a God-honoring church is in the Scriptures. Study God's design and pray to be led to the place He has prepared for you.