“By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you.” (1 Corinthians 15:2)
One of the things I enjoy most about going to church is seeing someone accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. My wife and I were discussing what churches and Christians should do to follow-up with these new converts. Robbie said, “You need to give a little advice for the new Christian in one of your devotions”.
As I thought about what she said, I remembered how hard I struggled to find my way.
I remember thirty years ago when I asked the Jesus to come live in my heart. Even though I turned 68 in April, on May 5th, I celebrated my 30th birthday.
One of the first things I did was to tell someone about my salvation experience. In my case, it was my then Sunday School teacher. But it doesn’t matter whether it’s a family member or a friend. Just tell someone! The Bible says, “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart”. (John 5:10) In other words, you now have something new to share with someone and sharing the Gospel is what Christianity is all about.
You’ll probably feel uneasy about your testimony the first time around. That’s okay. You’ll get used to how it feels to feel totally forgiven because you’re going to be asked to talk about it several times over your life. Why? Because Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matthew 5:14-15)
I wasn’t saved in a church, so one of the first persons I went to see after I accepted Christ was my pastor. You should do the same. Be sure your pastor knows about the change in your life.
When I talked with my pastor about my own salvation experience, I confessed to him that while I had never been a very good student of the Bible, I now had a hunger for God’s Word. He suggested starting with the Gospel of John. “You’ve just experienced a miracle in your life,” he told me. “Read John, and I think you’ll be amazed at the other miracles Jesus can do!”
He was right. The words jumped off the page. It was one of the first times I realized that something was very different about me.
But I have some other advice for the new Christian. This is something that I once heard my former pastor tell my daughter, Lauren. He told her, “There are thirty-one days in most months and thirty-one chapters in the Book of Proverbs. Read a chapter each day.” He was right, too. If you want to learn how to apply divine wisdom to the daily problems life will bring your way, you’ll find out how in Proverbs.
Bible study is important. People often lament about how difficult it is to figure God out. I can tell you from personal experience that he’s not nearly as hard to figure out, if you read what he has to say!
Finally, if you don’t go to church regularly, start going. You’ll never grow spiritually at home watching your favorite television preacher the way you’ll grow sitting on a church pew listening to your own pastor. But there’s more to church than sermons. There are opportunities to meet and learn from others. That’s why God’s Word says, “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”. (Hebrews 10:25) Church is not just a house of worship. It’s a house of encouragement.