FOLLOWING JESUS - THE ROAD AHEAD
"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy:
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
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You will see some words and numbers in brackets below (as on other pages of this site). The words are the names of books in the Bible. Sometimes the name identifies the person who wrote the book (eg. Matthew or John).. The first number is the chapter and the numbers after the colon symbol are the verses. eg. John 3:16 means, the book of John, chapter three, verse 16. Like any book, the Bible has a contents section to look things up in. The Bible is actually a whole library of books. The word “Bible” comes from a word that means “library”. The Bible is a library of 66 different books, written by 40 different authors over about 1500 years.
1. Read your Bible daily
God's Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105).
If you do not have a Bible, go to a Christian book store or ask a Christian friend. The Bible is God's revelation of himself to mankind. It is inspired by his Holy Spirit and is entirely trustworthy. The Bible contains history, poetry, wisdom, prophecy, teaching. It equips us for living a life pleasing to God (2 Timothy 3:16). It is God's Word to you.
In the Bible, God speaks of his Word (the Bible) as the “sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17) by which we fight in the spiritual battle against evil. While God has given us victory over sin and the penalty of eternal hell, we will still have troubles to face in this life. So, until the day Christian people die and go to heaven, the Bible is our spiritual food.
We are to “desire the sincere milk of the Word [the Bible], as newborn babes, so that you may grow by it; if truly you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:2-3). And Jesus himself said, “Man does not live by bread alone buy by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Look to God's Word for wisdom and direction in life.
We would suggest you start by reading John's gospel. You will find this towards the back of the Bible. Look it up in the "content" section at the front. Note: towards the end of the contents list you will see some sections called, 1 John, 2 John and 3 John. These are different to the "gospel" of John which doesn't have any numbers in front of it in the contents section. The gospel of John is all about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It has 21 chapters. 1, 2, and 3 John are letters written to early Churches in the 1st Century and are much shorter; just a few chapters. May God Bless you as you open his Word. And may the entrance of his Word give light and understanding to you about what God has done for you and how he now calls you to live for him.
2. Get involved in a local Christian Fellowship
We are not to neglect meeting together (Hebrews 10:25).
You will not find a perfect Church because Christians are not perfect. We all struggle with sufferings and temptations of many kinds. Sometimes we fail and sometimes we do it big time. We let others down, we let ourselves down and we let God down. So knowing that now should help you avoid some disappointments. However this is not to excuse Christians when they fall down. God calls us to a holy life and with the help of the Holy Spirit we are to life that honours our Lord and Saviour. The Church is not a place where people who think they're perfect go but people who know they need the Lord Jesus and want to grow in the things of God. And, imperfect as we are, we, God's family, need each other.
In the Bible, the word “Church” does not mean a building, it means the people. It comes from a Greek word that means, “the called out ones”. Jesus has called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Now it might sound strange saying this but make sure you go to a Church fellowship (size is not important) where they believe in seeking and saving the lost by preaching the message found on this website. It's the message Jesus came preaching. Jesus preached, "Repent, and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15). Satan, whom the Bible calls the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4), has influenced some Christian teachers to play down the importance of warning the lost of the wrath to come. In many other ways Satan has attacked sound (healthy) doctrine (teaching) from the Bible. All the more important that you read your Bible, asking God to speak to you as you do. Then trust and obey him.
We are to pray to our Father in heaven (Matthew 6:6).
Prayer is a Privilege. Prayer is simply talking to God. Like any conversation, it involves listening as well as talking.
Here's some great passages you can look up in the Bible that describe how to pray: they are all from Matthew's gospel: Matthew 5:14, 6:5-16; 9:38.
One approach to prayer that Christians have found helpful is to use the following acronym
A. Adoration – Thank God for who he is: merciful, holy, kind, awesome, saving, forgiving...
C. Confession – In this life, we will not escape sin's clutches. You will still struggle with sin in this life. Jesus death means you can speak to God himself as your heavenly father.
T. Thanksgiving – Thank God for specific blessings: answers to prayer, your family, guidance, strength to work, courage in difficult times, friends, his Word, life itself - even if its not easy.
S. Supplication (praying for self and others) – God invites you to ask help to supply yours and others needs. It's not wrong to ask for his help as long as it's not for selfish things.
4. Obey the Holy Spirit
We are to live lives filled (controlled) by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
Obey God daily from what you read in the Bible and from what is taught from the Bible. Live a life that honours the one who saved you. He died for you, now life for him. The Bible speaks in many different ways of living a Christ centered life. One that puts Jesus first. It speaks of being led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14) walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25) and being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). These are all different ways of saying that our lives are to be controlled by the Spirit.
When you repented and put your trust in Jesus for salvation, God poured his Spirit out into your heart, your life, your very soul (2 Corinthians 1:22) to make you his child (Romans 8:16). Unlike the man who pours alcoholic spirits into his body till he's lost control, when God pours the Holy Spirit into you, you still have free will or control. The Holy Spirit is not going to violate your will. He is not going to force you to do anything against your will. This would just make you God's robot. God want's your obedience to him to be free and willing. Just like when a child obeys their parents simply because they want to. God may get your attention through different ways and he may stirr you up but he will not force you against your will. You will is important to God. God waits for you to yeild your will to his prompting so that God may fulfill his will in your life.
The Bible says, “Be filled with the Spirit” (Epesians 5:18). This is a command. “Be filled” is something you do. And the thing you are to do, is to yield to the Spirit who is living in you.
The command to “be filled” is referring to a moment by moment, conscious and willing handing over of your will to do the will of God. You do this knowing and trusting that his will is best for you, even thought it may be difficult at times. This is what Jesus did when he prayed, "Not my will but your's be done" (Luke 22:42) before he willingly sacrificed his life for our sins. This is very different to someone who is drunk. They are drunk because they have lost conscious control of their will. Drunkenness is always spoken of negatively in the Bible and more than once in reference to God's judgement.
When you live a Spirit filled life, you are living a life that is willingly and freely submitted or given over to the Spirit's control. The evidence of this will be seen in your relationship with others: it will produce, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility and self control (Galations 5:22-26).
So, don't be drunk with wine or anything else. Don't let anything in this world control you. Instead, moment by moment yield to (surrender to) God's Spirit and live the life of one who has been filled with his Spirit. This is what glorifies God. Willing submission to his good and perfect will (Romans 12:2). And God promises his blessings to those who trust and obey him.
5. Witness to others
Always be ready to give an account of the hope you have (1 Peter 3:15).
Tell others about the need to repent and put their faith in Christ. Tell them what God has done for them. Tell them how wonderfully he has saved you. Tell them they are precious in God's sight and that he does not want to send them to hell. Tell them they were of such great worth to God that he died for their sin. Don't worry how perfectly the words come out at first. The Holy Spirit is living in you and it is his power that makes your witness effective (Acts 1:8). You will learn as you go as go. Not only that but the gospel, the Bible's message, is the power of God for that salvation of all who believe (Romans 1:16-17). That's why its important to read and study your Bible so you can share God's life giving Word with people.
One way you can do this is by inviting people to come to this site: www.goodtest.net and ask them to do the test.
What God requires of you is a faithful testimony. Faithful to him and faithful to his Word. He will do the rest. People will respond in different ways when your preach the gospel message. This is exactly how they responded to Jesus. You will get some rejections, you will get some success and some you will never know about. But don't focus on results. Rather, in love and with prayer and gratitude for all Jesus has done for you, be his witness. As a Christian, you are called to join his mission to seek and save the lost.
Remember, Jesus said, “whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man [a phrase Jesus used to describe himself] shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Matthew 8:38). Lets not be ashamed of our Saviour. Lets pray for opportunities to share the message of repentance, boldly and lovingly, trusting in him as we do.
May God Bless you and you grow in your new relationship with Christ. A relationship where you are no longer his enemy but his friend (Romans 5:10).