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 "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, the old things have passed away; behold all things become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

HOW TO HAVE PEACE WITH GOD

1. Godís plan -- peace and life everlasting

God loves you and wants you to experience His peace and life. The Bible says ... "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

(Man has tried in so many ways to find a way to reach God on their own, but without any success. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". John 14:6)

2. Manís problem -- separation.

Being at peace with God is not automatic because you by nature are separated from God. The Bible says ... "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23)

3. Godís remedy -- the Cross

Godís love bridges the gap of separation between God and you. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins. The Bible says..."He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

4. Manís response -- receive Christ

You cross the bridge into Godís family when you receive Christ by personal invitation. The Bible says..."Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, he gave the right to become children of God." John 1:12.

TO RECEIVE CHRIST YOU NEED TO DO FOUR THINGS:

1. ADMIT your spiritual need. "I am a sinner."

2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin.

3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.

4. RECEIVE, THROUGH PRAYER, JESUS CHRIST INTO YOUR HEART AND LIFE.

YOU HAVE MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE.

Your decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior was the wisest choice you have ever made. We welcome you into Godís Family.

One of the first things you will notice now that you are a Christian is the change in your nature. In response to your repentance for sin and commitment to follow Jesus Christ, the Lord has forgiven your sins and made you clean and innocent toward God.

Jeremiah 31:34 says "No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord", because they will all know me, from the least if them to the greatest" declares the Lord. "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

1 John 1:7-9 says "But if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin; If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us; If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."

Jesus called this experience being "born-again". He said "unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come."

As a "new creature" in Christ, you will be a different kind of person than you were before. Stop and think about what this means. You are starting life over again, today. Today you are a new creature in Christ and the old things are passed away.

What about you "old" sins? Are they really forgiven? The Bible says in Psalms 103:12: "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." Jeremiah 31:34: "I will remember your sins no more." Once you have asked Jesus in your heart, your sins are washed away. In Godís eyes you are "justified" which means you stand before God "just-as-if-Iíd-never-sinned."

"Thank you Jesus, for cleansing my life and making me a new creature. My sins are forgiven and forgotten. Help me Lord to forget them to. Thank you for saving me."

HOW YOU CAN KNOW YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN.

You have prayed, committing your life to Christ. What does the Bible say happened?

1. You are saved.

John 10:9: Jesus said, "I am the door; if any man enters through Me, he shall be saved."

Romans 10:9-10: "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteous mess, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

2. You are a Child of God

John 1:12: "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name."

3. You have eternal life.

John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life."

Now you are a "new Creature" in Christ, you must develop, grow and mature so that you can be a productive member of Godís family.

The purpose of this booklet is to give you a basic outline through which you can become a mature Christian.

BIBLE READING

Now that you are a Christian, you should read the Bible every day. The Bible is the guidebook for living a successful Christian life. Through the Word of God, you can learn to know Him and His purpose for you life because God speaks to us through the Bible.

In 2 Timothy 2:15, we read "be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the Word of truth." How can you handle accurately the Word of truth if we donít know the Word of God?

The Word of God is more powerful than man can imagine. In 1 Peter 1:23, we are told, that we are born again by the "Word of God which lives and abides forever." Paul confirms this in 2 Timothy 3:15, when he writes, "The sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation."

The Word of God is a powerful force. How is it possible for a "book" to be so powerful? Because every word of the Bible is the Word of God inspired (by the Holy Spirit) in the men who put the words down. 2 Timothy 3:16,17 says "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

Your faith in God and all the benefits available to you are dependant upon you knowing about them. The Bible is filled with great promises to you from God. But if you donít know them how are they going to do you any good?

Everything you need to know about God and His promises are in the Bible. If you are going to live a successful Christian life, you must daily spend time in the Bible. Start right now to form a Bible study habit. Have a short period with the Bible every morning before you go out to face the challenges of the day. Then spend some time in the evening to study in the Word.

Develop a system for Bible reading. Maybe, begin reading in the Gospel of John. Read a chapter or two and prayerfully spend some time thinking about what you have read. Ask yourself some questions such as these:

Is there a principle here that applies to my life?

Is there a command I should obey?

A sin I should forsake?

What is the Lord saying to me?

Let the Holy Spirit speak to you through the pages of the Bible.

Make a daily commitment to reading and studying the Bible.

PRAYER

Communication is the key to all relationships between individuals. Without communication, there is no hope for any kind of meaningful relationship. God communicates to us through His Word. We communicate to God through prayer. Only through prayer can there be an open channel, two-way communication between us and God.

Without a doubt, you feel the compulsion to thank God for the new beginning, peace and forgiveness He has given you. Take time to thank Him daily for the new life He has given you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 18 says, "Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks, for this is Godís will for you in Christ Jesus."

Make it a habit to pray daily.

A question frequently asked is "How should I pray?" Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:9-13 how we should pray. He didnít mean for us to repeat this prayer, instead He gave us topics for prayer. Briefly the Lordís Prayer can be divided into sections. Each section highlights a part of our relationship which we should acknowledge when we go before God in prayer. Following are the topics of prayer:

1. ADORATION -- praise God for who He is.

2. CONFESSION -- confess your sins to God as honestly and specifically as you can.

3. THANKSGIVING -- thank God for what He has done for you.

4. SUPPLICATION (Intercession) -- Ask God for your needs. Be specific and trust Him to meet these needs. Ask God for the  needs of others. Show your concern for others by praying for them.

DO THIS:

1. Write down three things youíre really thankful for.

1. __________________________________

2. __________________________________

3. __________________________________

2. Write down two things you know are wrong in your life.

1. __________________________________

2. __________________________________

3. Write down the names of two people you are really concerned about.

1. __________________________________

2. __________________________________

Now go back through your list and talk to God about each thing you have written down.

CHURCH ATTENDANCE

Why should you attend Church?

Jesus Set The Example. He regularly attended the synagogue -- the church of His day. He is our perfect example.

The Bible Commands It. Hebrews 10:25 says "not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another."

You need The Fellowship With Others. You gain strength by assembling with other Christians. You can not be a successful, victorious Christian without being faithful in church attendance.

You Worship God With Others. Great blessing comes from joining others in praising and singing to the Lord. The Lord inhabits the praises of His people (Psalms 22:3). As Godís people come together in worship, they become a powerful force in helping each other and influencing the entire community.

WATER BAPTISM

What is the significance of Water Baptism? Why should you be baptized?

Commanded by Jesus. Jesus clearly taught that every Christian should be baptized in water.

Water baptism was ordained by Jesus both by His own example and His direct commandment.

The Bible says "Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him" (Matthew 3:13). Just before He ascended into heaven Jesus commanded: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19).

Water Baptism is a picture of what Christ has done in your heart. It is a symbolic act that shows in a visible way that Christ has washed away your sins and that you have buried your old sinful life and raised from death to a new life in Christ. Water baptism is a public confession that your sins are forgiven and you have become a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

THE POWER SOURCE - BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

"I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier that I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire" (Matthew 3:11).

What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit? The baptism in the Holy Spirit is a second encounter with God (the first is conversion) in which the believer begins to receive the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit into his life. Jesus promised this power to his disciples when He said, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

This promise was fulfilled at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit fell on the one hundred and twenty gathered in the upper room. "They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues., as the Spirit was giving them utterance" (Acts 2:4).\

When do I have the Holy Spirit? Someone will say "donít we have the Holy Spirit when we become Christians?" The answer is yes. The moment you accept Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit takes up His residence in your heart (Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19). We are born-again of the Spirit, transformed by the Spirit, led by the Spirit, strengthened by the Spirit, and we can be filled with the Spirit.

While the Holy Spirits indwells all believers, it does not follow that all believers are Spirit-filled. Peterís sermon at Pentecost speaks

of two separate events: (1) "Repent and be baptized..." (2) "ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38). The converts at Samaria had believed and been baptized, but received the baptism of the Holy Spirit later (Acts 8:12,17). The same was true at Ephesus (Acts 19).

Three statements bring the matter of the Holy Spirit and the believer into focus.

First, the Holy Spirit is in every believer. Through the initial operation of the Spirit, the mysterious change, the new birth, takes place (John 3:5-7).

Second, the fullness of the Spirit is not experienced by every believer (Acts 8:12-17; 19:1-7).

Third, the fullness of the Spirit may be experienced by every believer (John 7:4=37-39), Jesus said, "If any man..." Obviously, He meant all when He said, "He that believeth on Me."

Is the baptism for me? If you are a Christian you are a candidate. And Christís promise is very personal; it is to you. "He that believeth...out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-39). "The Father...shall give you another comforter...He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:16,17). "It is expedient for you...I will send him unto you...He will guide you...and show you" (John 16:7,13).

"I will send the promise of my Father upon you, but tarry ye..until you be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). "For the promise is unto you and your children" (Acts 2:39).

Is the baptism necessary? For salvation? No, for we are justified by faith. For life and service? Yes! If you will search the Bible, you will find that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is Godís plan for a normal Christian experience from the day of Pentecost until Jesus comes again.

Jesus commanded the Disciples to stay in Jerusalem until they had been filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4,5). The Ephesians were told, "...be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). This is not an invitation; it was a clear directive, a command.

Jesus promised that I would receive power to witness for Him when the Holy Spirit comes (Acts 1:8). To fulfill Godís will in my life to the fullest, I must have the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.

How do I receive? The experience is not earned or merited. As do all other gifts from God, the baptism comes by grace and faith.

But one thing is essential. Known sin must be confessed. At Pentecost, Peter exhorted his questioners to "repent". God gives the Holy Spirit to "Them that obey Him" (Acts 5:32). Associated with repentance is faith. Faith is the condition on which God bestows all His gifts.

Jesus promised to fill those who hunger and thirst after Him (Matthew 5:6) and "to them that ask Him" (Luke 11:13). The word translated "take" here is the same word translated "received" in the passages relating to receiving the Holy Spirit.

Scriptural prerequisites to receiving the Spirit may be covered by four words: saved, obey, ask, and believe.

First, one must be saved. "He shall give you another Comforter...whom the world cannot receive" (John 14:16,17).

Obedience is essential. "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God hath given to them that obey Him" (Acts 5:32).

The believer must ask the Father or the Holy Spirit according to Luke 11:13.

As in all spiritual matters, faith is required in receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 11:6).

How do I know I have received? There must be some evidence of the promised gift or else how ill you know that you have received this Baptism? For an answer letís settle on some basic assumptions. First, the evidence must be a Bible sign. Second, the sign must be recognizable by both the receiver and others nearby.

For the Bible record of people being baptized in the Spirit we go to the Book of Acts. The fulfillment of John the Baptistís statement and of Jesusí promise took place on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2). The same thing happened on four other occasions in the Acts (chapters 8,9,10,19), at four different places and four different times.

Speaking in tongues was a distinctly Pentecost and post-Pentecost experience. Speaking in tongues was prophesied by Isaiah some 700 years before the Day of Pentecost (Isaiah 28:11,12). Paul links this prophecy directly with the New Testament experience (1 Corinthians 14:21). Jesus Himself foretold "They shall speak with new tongues" (Mark 16:17).

The initial physical evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is "speaking in tongues."

We believe that it is the privilege of every believer to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit to endue them with power for living the Christian life.

TITHING: THE SOURCE OF BLESSING

Now that Iím a Christian, I should tithe. The tithe is one-tenth, or giving to God one dollar in every ten. Tithing is Godís way of helping you to be a vital part of His kingdom on earth. It reminds you that everything you have comes from God and provides you an opportunity for effective stewardship.

IT IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father" (James 1:17). In tithing and giving offerings unto the Lord you are sharing your love with others.

WEALTH COMES FROM GOD

The Bible teaches that God gives people the ability and strength to make money. When they do not recognize that their money-earning power comes from God, then they become selfish in refusing to share any of it with Him. When you realize that He has provided this for you, then you gladly give a portion of it back so that His kingdom can prosper on earth.

GIVING IS PUTTING HIM FIRST

Jesus said, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God...and all these things shall be added to you" (Matthew 6:33). When you honor Him with your income, He then obligates Himself to you to fulfill all the needs of your life.

YOU NEED HIS BLESSINGS

You need His blessings more than God needs your money. When you put God first in your giving, you are actually confessing your need to Him. He multiplies His love to you by blessings to numerous to count. You trust Him, and He supplies all your needs.

YOU CAN GIVE MORE THAN MONEY

Some religions teach people to give what they have or what they can do. These are religions of good works, which cannot save. The Christian way teaches that you give what you are. This includes your time, energy, talent, and money.

All of this is summed up in the word "love". You love therefore, you give. It was because God loved the world that He gave His Son to save it (John 3:16). "For God loveth a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).

YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW

If you give bountifully, you will reap bountifully. Jesus said, "Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you measure it out, it shall be measured into you again" (Luke 6:38).

You are not paying God back but are sowing a seed of faith. This seed springs into life and grows to a greater measure than when it was planted. You sow the seed, and God gives the increase.

Remember, everything you are and have comes from GOD.
 

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