New Christian’s Guide

     
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New Christian’s Guide

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New Christian’s Guide gives you a basic introduction to living the Christian life through faith in Jesus Christ your Saviour and Lord.

New Christian’s Guide is an introductory guide for new Christians starting out in their life in Christ. It covers basic essentials including Jesus’ instructions on loving God and loving others, with these topics:

Introduction: Welcome to God’s Family

1  Love God

Faith in God – God our Father
Saving Faith
Gift of Faith

Follow Me – Jesus our Lord
Follow Jesus in obedience
Follow Jesus in his Word
Follow Jesus in prayer & worship
Follow Jesus in fellowship
Follow Jesus in service

Follow Jesus in mission

Filled with the Spirit – the Holy Spirit our Guide
Born of the Spirit
Living in the Spirit
Led by the Spirit
Fruit & Gifts of the Spirit

2  Love Others
Love one another
Serve one another
Encourage one another

Conclusion   

Here is the beginning of this book. 

Introduction

Welcome to God’s eternal family. I’m writing this book as a personal letter to you, a new Christian who believes in Jesus. You have given your life to him and you want to follow him and live for him.

If you are already a growing Christian you may find some help in this Guide also. And if you have not yet chosen to be a Christian and follow Jesus, this may help you to decide.

Billions of people believe in Jesus, the Son of God, our Saviour, so you have joined a huge worldwide family of God. Probably somebody told you about Jesus, perhaps a preacher or a friend, or maybe you just want to read more about him.

So welcome to the family of God. We believe in God our Father, we believe in Jesus Christ his Son our Saviour and Lord, and we believe in God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who lives in us and gives us new life, our Christian life. ‘Christian’ means Christ in you!

Our Christian life begins with faith. We trust in God. We believe in Jesus, God’s Son, as our Saviour and Lord or King. We have faith that God lives in us by his Spirit and that we live in God now and forever.

That’s good news. Really good news. The most famous verse in the Bible puts it this way:

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

Now that you believe in Jesus and trust him with your life you have eternal life. That eternal life does not start when you die. It starts now and never ends. Jesus said:

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).

You have done that. You have given your life to God and he has given you new life, his life in you. Because you believe in Jesus and trust him, God lives in you by his Spirit, and you live in God. You have given your life to him and he has given his life to you. So you know him, your God, and you know Jesus your Saviour, because God’s Spirit now lives in you and makes everything new:

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

What’s new?

You are forgiven. When you believe in Jesus your Saviour you ask him to forgive you for all your sin, and he promises to do that: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness  (1 John 1:8-9).

You are clean. That promise reminds us that God goes on cleansing us, not just once, but always, as we trust him and continue to acknowledge or confess our sin and failures. You can do that quickly, and at any time, such as thinking or saying, “Sorry.” Make it a habit. Keep short accounts with God!

You have new life, eternal life. That’s God’s promise. He gives his life to you and lives in you by his Spirit who is also the Spirit of Jesus. So Jesus lives in you by his Spirit and you now have new life: I am crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20).

So the old life has gone and a new life, eternal life, has begun in you. You are born again with new life, God’s life ion you.

You are in God’s family. You have a worldwide family of God’s people, your brothers and sisters. You will get to know some of them well in your local church or group. You will also find many brothers and sisters in other places worldwide. We all share God’s life together and we grow in the unity of his Spirit.

What about problems?

Does this new life mean we are now free from all our problems and difficulties? No, but we do have a new life as we encounter problems and difficulties. We have God’s help and guidance in new ways. God promises to guide and help us, and Jesus promised that his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, would help us.

You now have this amazing new life with God your Father and Jesus your Saviour and Lord living in you by his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who helps us. Jesus said:

If you love Me, keep My commandments.  And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever — the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (John 14:15-18).

You have God’s help, always. That never ends. So we face our problems and difficulties trusting in God to help and guide us.

How do we go about living this new life with God’s help?

We keep on trusting him. We keep on living for him, with his help and strength. He is our intimate Friend and Guide.

So the title of this little book is not mainly about principles but about a Person. The New Christian’s Guide is God in us, Jesus living his life in us by his Spirit, and guiding us.

That’s a life-long adventure! We can all learn to let God be our Guide more fully, and trust in Jesus to lead and help us by his Spirit now within us, teaching us, leading us, helping us, empowering us, and transforming us.

So, do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).

Easy to say – hard to do!

Yes, in some ways it is easier said than done. Living the Christian life is not always a piece of cake. It can be tough at times as we keep listening to Jesus and obeying him. But, as an old hymn says:

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Living this new Christian life means that we trust and obey our Guide. He leads us by his Spirit within us. So now, as you read this, you could pause and thank him that he is with you, he is within you, and he promises to guide you.

If you find some resistance inside you, just confess it. We all resist God’s great love and holiness at times, so we need to just confess that, know that he forgives and cleanses us, and that he promises to help and strengthen us as we live for him.

The rest of this New Christian’s Guide is my attempt to help you follow your eternal Guide, your Father God, your Saviour Jesus, and your Guide and Helper the Holy Spirit.

Jesus said that the most important commandments of all are just two, so let’s explore that with our New Christian’s Guide:

‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it:

‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).

Our obedience springs from love and flows strong in God’s love.  We love Him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19).

 Love is why we obey

Jesus says that we will obey his commandments because of our love for him. We obey from love, not just from duty.  Our duty becomes our delight. We love him and love to live for him and please him.

We understand about obeying in love with people we really love such as our parents or husband or wife.  We love to please them because we love them.  It’s our delight, not just a duty. We love to please or obey them, and we are so happy when our love pleases them.

Jesus’ obedience was a natural part of his loving relationship with his Father, and he calls us into loving obedience also.

If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love (John 15:10).

Jesus lived in full fellowship and intimate loving relationship with his Father. Consequently, his obedience flowed naturally and supernaturally from that.

So this book explores how we can obey Jesus in love by loving God and loving others.  Loving God and loving others are inter-related.  John, the Apostle of love, reminds us:

Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (1 John 4:20-21).

Believing in God and in his Son Jesus changes us and enables us to love God and to love one another.

Love God

Jesus reminds us that the greatest of all the commandments is to love God.

God’s love for us brings us into a loving relationship with him and with others. You could thank him for his love right now!

C S Lewis wrote, “On the whole, God’s love for us is a much safer subject to think about than our love for Him. Nobody can always have devout feelings: and even if we could, feelings are not what God principally cares about. Christian Love, either towards God or towards man, is an affair of the will. If we are trying to do His will we are obeying the commandment, ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’ He will give us feelings of love if He pleases. We cannot create them for ourselves, and we must not demand them as a right. But the great thing to remember is that, though our feelings come and go, His love for us does not” (Mere Christianity, Book 3, Chapter 9, emphasis added).

Jesus pointed out that our God who loves us is One Being. Jesus and the Father are one in eternal union with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, I and the Father are one. … Those who love me will keep my word, and my Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. … But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. (John 10:30; 14:23, 26). We have one God revealed in three divine persons who love us: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

That is a divine mystery, but God reveals himself to us as we believe in him and trust him daily.

Here is a simple way to understand how God is always with us and within us.

We breathe all the time, usually without thinking about it. Now that you are thinking about it you may even breathe more deeply, or take in more breath!

The Bible has one word for breath, wind and spirit. So translators choose the most appropriate English word to translate it from Hebrew (ruah) or Greek (pnuema).

Our natural breathing is rather like breathing in the breath of God of the Spirit of God, by faith. Just as our physical breathing helps to cleanse our lungs and bodies so our spiritual breathing also cleanses us.

We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide continually without even thinking about it. Similarly, in our relationship with God we continually inhale God’s breath, his Spirit, and exhale impurities, by faith, by trusting God.

Another physical picture or parallel is how our heart continually pumps blood throughout our bodies without us thinking about it, cleansing our bodies. Similarly, the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, goes on cleansing us from our sin, for if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

That verse gives us another picture or parallel. The sun always shines, even on cloudy days. So in daylight we live in the light without thinking about it. It’s natural. We can see. Similarly, as we live by faith in God we live in his light. God is light and in him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5).

As a Christian, you are born again into a new life with God, who is light, so you live in his light. Living that way means that you are continually cleansed because of Jesus’ blood given for us all in his death on the cross. So now you have new life, the life of God’s Spirit living in you constantly.

All of that helps us to love and thank God for all he has done for us in creating us, redeeming us from sin, and living in us as we live in him by faith.

So this section on loving God looks at these three dimensions of loving God:
Faith in God our Father
Following Jesus our Lord
Filled with the Spirit our Guide

 A prayer of faith you can pray:

Thank you my Father and God for loving me.
Thank you Jesus my Saviour and Lord for dying for me.
Thank you Holy Spirit of God for living in me and giving me new life, the life of Jesus in me.
Forgive me for my sin and I choose you now.
Thank you Lord my God for forgiving me and saving me.
I give my life to you and I choose to live for you.
Help me to live for you always.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  

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