Warning to New Christians
The moment you become a Christian, your life will change forever and for eternity. There will be people who will say to you, “What got into you? Are you one of those Jesus freaks now?” Even some of your best friends will malign your new life and will try to pull you back into your old ways of doing things. “Oh come on. You’re not any fun anymore.” Satan will also attack you just as it occurred in the Garden of Eden when Satan tempted Eve to take a bite of fruit from the tree of knowledge which God had told them not to do. And be prepared that there may be some people with whom you will have to terminate former relationships. There may even be people in your own family who will malign you because of your new belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. The good news is the only opinion that matters about you is the opinion that God has about you. People, political polls, and social trends do not have any eternal hold on you and will go away. You now have the protection of the Holy Spirit in you. Small groups (see below) will also help build a hedge to help shield your from those close to you who want to tear you down for your belief in Jesus Christ.
The First Thing That Happens To You
The moment you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit enters your body. The Holy Spirit is the guiding force, the “spirit” with power to change your life from what it was to what it can be, and it now resides in you. The Holy Spirit gives you the power to do things you cannot do on your own. Jesus said that there would be another advocate for you: “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:15-17 NIV)
Welcome to the Family
Once you have accepted Jesus Christ as Your Lord and Savior, I can say, “Welcome to the family! You are now my Brother or Sister in Christ, and one day we will see each other in our second life, the life of eternity in Heaven.”
We All Live Two Lives
We all have two lives, one on earth and one in eternity. We die a physical death on earth, but we live an eternal life in Heaven if we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. If we do not accept his free gift of eternal life in Heaven, we go to Hell; the Bible is very clear. Jesus said that punishment in hell is just as everlasting as life is in Heaven: “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46 NIV).
Life on earth is a dress rehearsal as we get ready for eternal life in Heaven. While good works do not get us into Heaven, we will be rewarded in Heaven based upon our good deeds we performed while we were on earth. That means different people will be rewarded in different ways based on what they did on earth. “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:7–9 ESV)
Next Steps To Take As a New Christian
- Find a Bible-based church where you can hear God’s word each week. “Faith is spread by hearing.” Much like a muscle that needs to be worked to be tuned up for top shape, our minds must also be worked on to be tuned up by hearing God’s word. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV)
- Become baptized. Baptism is a public proclamation of an inward change — “out” with the old self gone forever and “in” with the new self. The ritual of being dunked in water is “burying” the old self, and when you come up out of the water, you now have a new and refreshed life.
- Critical step: Join a small group. We were not built to live alone. We will all need someone at some point in our lives when we are undergoing a major crisis. And someone else will always need us when they are going through a crisis. A small group usually consists of 8 to 10 people. Anything more than that size does not allow people to easily get to know someone on a close level. Relationships are built in circles, not in rows. A small group is like the body of Christ, a term that means Jesus is the head of the church. We as believers listen to Christ and Him guide our steps, just as the brain in the head of the body executes commands to move. The body needs many parts to function – many gifts, talents, and skills. Rather than all of us trying to do the same thing, each of us can contribute what God has called us to do and to be, and that is why we need to be in a small group. Many meet once a week for about an hour, and you can find small groups on church websites.
- Download a free Bible app. There are a number of them available, but the one I recommend has over 500 million downloads, and it is free. You can get it here by clicking the link: https://bible.com/app
- Read one chapter a day in the Book of Proverbs for wisdom, and one chapter a day in the Book of John in order to learn what Jesus is all about. Total time spent each day will be about 15 minutes. Sometimes people say, “I just don’t have 15 minutes a day.” Some people spend that amount of time each day sitting in their private area of the bathroom with the door closed. That’s a good time to read.
- When you are not in church, listen to Christian podcasts each day when you are getting ready for work, traveling to or from work, or driving around town. You can go to our Podcast page and Subscribe by clicking on any one of the podcasts you see in the list. Most of our podcasts are 60-second life change moments to help keep you focused on leading a life that is worthy of your calling. “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV)
Live Your Life According to 5 Specific Purposes
Pastor Rick Warren once said that Jesus told his disciples that they should live their lives according to 5 specifics purposes:
Love God will all your heart. That’s called Worship. “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” “(Matthew 22:37-40 NIV)
Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s called Ministry. The Great Commandment as shown above.
Go make disciples. That’s called Evangelism. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19 NIV)
Baptize them into the family of God. That’s called Fellowship.
And teach them to obey everything that the word of God has taught you. That’s called Discipleship.
“A great commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will produce a great Christian, a great church, a great company, and a great community.” – Rick Warren