As we continue our discussion this week about sharing the gospel, lets consider that the Bible describes the process of conversion as a new birth. (See John 3:3) This is an interesting analogy in how we are to care for a new believer. Just as a new child would require love and assistance to grow and develop, the same is true for a spiritual infant (a new Christian). Because of this, once you have led someone to accept Jesus Christ, you should not overlook the responsibility to follow through in showing them how to go about growing spiritually and becoming a more mature Christian.
A New Christian - A New Life
The last points discussed in the "Romans Road" are so important because they assure new believers that they are God's child and secure in His love. They also address how a Christian's life will change since they have decided to accept and follow Jesus, living in a manner pleasing to God.
Our Savior sets the standard for our values, attitudes and actions. This is a complete change to the old way of living. New believers must understand that rather than focusing on one's self, Christians focus their new life on Jesus Christ. We are in a world full of sin, but we are no longer of this world because we have been freed from sin due to Jesus merciful gift of salvation.
To better understand God's perfect plan and how to live a new life in Christ, every Christian should be equipped with a Bible. This is the most essential tool to learn about God, His Word and His character. Each time you lead someone to Christ, make sure that they have a Bible in a translation that they can understand. Personally, I have found that the New International Version or the New English Standard Version are well received and more easily understood by new believers due to their contemporary language and accurate translation from the original Greek/Hebrew texts. If your new convert does not have a Bible, give them one. If possible, give the Bible as a gift from your church. This is a great way to introduce them to the love of your congregation and the concern that you have for one another as you grow in Christ. Many churches keep copies of the Bible or the New Testament for distribution to people who need them. I suggest talking with your pastor to find out what your church has to offer so that you are prepared on this matter even before you witness to someone.
It is also important for new Christians to find support and encouragement as they learn to follow Jesus. Many new believers have few Christian friends. You will want to do all you can to help them meet other Christians. The best way to do this is to invite them to attend your church. This will also provide them further resources to become actively involved as well as take advantage of opportunities to learn and grow in their faith with likeminded people. Most importantly, it will open the door for them to publically profess their faith, be baptized, and become a member of a church body.
A Public Profession of Faith
When Jesus called persons to follow Him, He usually did so publicly. For example, He called Zacchaeus in front of a crowd on the side of a road, and He called Matthew at his job. (See Luke 19:1-6 and Matthew 9:9) Jesus said that He would be ashamed of those who where ashamed of Him before others. Because of this, new Christians should be encouraged to publically stand before others to profess their faith. I would recommend bringing the new believer to meet with your pastor at church. Explain that they are a new believer and work with your pastor to setup details around when they can publicly make a profession. Offer to walk forward with them and do your best to help them feel at ease. (Some people can become anxious in front of a group, so it is thoughtful to stand up with new believers for support and to show agreement with their decision.) Afterward, extend personal introductions and be a gracious hostess as you welcome them first-hand to meet your church family.
To acknowledge Jesus as Lord is to accept the responsbility to obey Him and trust Him.The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is an expected expression of a commitment to Jesus Christ. (See Matthew 28:19, Acts 8:35-38 and Romans 6:4) Baptism is not salvation... rather it is the visible expression of our inner commitment to Christ as our Savior and Lord. Also, baptism is important to others. The act portrays what Jesus did for us when He dies for our sin and was resurrected from the grave for our new life. Going under the water represents death, and coming up from the water represents new life. It illustrates in a very physical way our salvation and in itself is a form of witnessing when understood by its audience.
Anyone who professes faith in Jesus should also make it a priority to be a member of a local church. Hebrews 10:24-25 emphasizes the importance of gathering together as the body of Christ. "Let us consider how we may spur oneanother on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Church is intended to be a place of encouragement and a location for believers to better equip themselves for ministry.
Earlier we likened a new Christian to a baby. Just as a new infant could not survive without a home and a family, a new Christian will have a more difficult time developing and growing in their spiritual walk apart from fellowship with other believers. Help your new convert to understand that church is not a building... it is a gathering of persons who love and serve Jesus together. Church membership and participation also illustrates our unified submission to the Lordship of Christ.
Witnessing to Others
Evangelism is not a job for the spiritually elite. It is the responsibility of each person who has accepted Jesus as their Savior. The best evangelistic prospects that a person will ever have are the ones he knows at the time of his conversion. By helping new Christians learn to witness, every profession of faith can lead to others.
In closing today, I just want to remind all DW's that we are responsible to help each other grow as active disciples of Jesus. As Paul put it, "We proclaim Him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy, which so powerfully works in me." (See Colossians 1:28-29)
I hope you are as encouraged as I am to proclaim Him and share Jesus Christ with others. He is all that matters in life. Living for Him is such an honor and blessing. Always remember - God is soooo GOOD!
Love you all!
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