WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
Congratulations! You*ve just opened you life to Jesus Christ, and have invited Him to forgive your sins and to make you a child of God. In doing so, you have made the most important decision of your life. And, you*ve just become a member of God*s forever family!
Now, I*m sure you want to know, what happens next. Where do you go from here?
THE PRAYER THAT YOU PRAYED
First, let*s talk about what happened when you opened your life to Jesus and His love. You prayed a prayer that may have gone something like this:
"Lord Jesus, I thank you for dying for me on the cross. I thank you for loving me that much. 1 now accept you as my Savior. 1 ask you to forgive me, to cleanse me from my sins, to come live in my heart, and to make me God*s child I receive your love and forgiveness, and I receive you as my Savior and Lord"
When you pray a prayer like that – and really mean it – several things happen all at once.
REJOICING IN HEAVEN
First, God*s love reached out to you in a new way. Jesus embraced you. He enfolded you. And He rejoiced over your response to His love. In fact, all of heaven rejoiced.
Jesus told a parable about a shepherd who had lost a sheep. He said that when that shepherd found his sheep, he rejoiced, and he invited his friends to rejoice with him. Then Jesus said, in Luke 15:7, "I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety- nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Think of it: When you accepted Jesus as your Savior, you became the reason for a party in heaven.
Second, when you prayed that prayer, all of your sins – past, present and future – were instantly forgiven. You asked for divine forgiveness, and divine forgiveness is what you got.
A woman who had committed many sins, and who was an outcast in her society, came to Jesus in true repentance. She really wanted forgiveness. No one else would forgive her, but Jesus did! He said to her in Luke 7:48, "Your sins are forgiven." That*s just what He says to you.
Third, when you asked Jesus to cleanse you of your sins, that*s exactly what He did. He wiped the slate clean. He gave you a whole new life that is fresh and filled with promise. The past doesn’t matter anymore because you have a brand new future.
I John 1:9 says, "if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. " Asking Jesus to forgive your sins was a confession of the fact that you were a sinner in need of being forgiven. That confession resulted not only in forgiveness, but in cleansing. Your old sins are gone. The Bible says that they*ve been buried in the depths of the sea, and that God will never bring them up against you again.
Fourth, when you asked Jesus to come and live in your heart, He moved right in.
He*s living with you and in you right now. And your life will never be the same again.
In Revelation 3:20, Jesus says, "Here lam! 1 stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me." That*s an invitation to divine friendship and to divine fellowship.
Jesus promises to come into the life of anyone who opens their life to Him. Jesus is the Son of God, and, as such, He cannot lie. If He could lie, He would not be God. Therefore, when you invited Him in, He came in – just as He promised. From now on, Jesus lives in you. From now on, Jesus will be with you. You will never again be alone.
ADOPTION INTO GOD*S FAMILY
Fifth, when you asked Jesus to make you a child of God, that*s exactly what you became. You are now a member of God*s family.
John 1:12 says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"
When you believed in Jesus and received Him as your Savior, you were immediately "adopted" into God*s family of believers.
I John 3:1 says, "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" That, my friend, is what you are – a child of God!
Finally, when you accepted Jesus, along with Him you received the gift of eternal life. As you walk with Him, you can be assured that you will live forever with Him in His heavenly home.
John 3:16 is the most wonderful verse in the entire Bible. It says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. " The whole reason that Jesus came to earth, that He died on the cross, was to make eternal life available to anyone who would believe.
Romans 6:23 reminds us that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. "Before you accepted Jesus you bad some wages coming to you that you wouldn’t have wanted to collect. Now, in place of those wages, you*ve been given a wonderful gift: you have a new life in Jesus that will go on forever. It*s called eternal life, and it began the moment you opened your life to Christ.
NOW WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
Now that you understand what happened to you when you opened your life to Christ, let*s talk about how you can maintain this new life that you have in Christ.
You have a choice. You can accept Jesus and go on living as you have always lived. But, if you do that, it won*t be long until Jesus seems distant and the importance of your decision seems less important than it does at this moment.
You can make a better choice. One that will make your decision to follow Christ seem brighter and even more important. That choice is to follow Him and to base your new life on His principles as revealed in His Word, the Bible.
Here*s what you need to do to turn your decision to accept Jesus into a commitment to follow Jesus . . .
FEED YOURSELF ON GOD*S WORD
First, you need to read His Word, the Bible, which is God*s love letter to you. In it you will find everything you need to know to be a Christian and to live a positive Christian life.
Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. To go on living your old way of life would be sinful and would bring sorrow to the heart of Jesus. To pattern your life after His Word, however, would bring joy to the Lord.
Get a Bible and begin to read it. Begin with the gospel of John. Ask a Christian friend or pastor to help you understand what you read.
FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD IN PRAYER
Second, you need to begin a daily habit of conversation WITH Jesus through prayer. This is the means of communication that God has provided for us as His people. He wants us to talk to Him, and He wants to talk with us in turn. Listen for His voice.
Hebrews 10:22 says,"let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith." We draw near (experience a close relationship) to God through prayer. Give God the chance, and He will make Himself real to you. He will talk with you and teach you His ways. He will make Himself available to you as a counselor and friend.
FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHERS IN THE CHURCH
Third, you need to open your life to Christian fellowship in the church. The church is the Body of Christ. It is the place where all of the people who belong to Him get together to love and support each other.
Hebrews 10:25 in the Living Bible, says, "Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near."
That verse reminds us of two important truths. First, that we really do need each other for love and support if we are going to live a Christian life successfully. Second, that Jesus is coming again, and that we need the church to help us be ready to receive Him when He returns. And you need the church, and your fellow believers, to help you become a strong and growing Christian.
We would invite you, of course, to make the Marsing Church of the Nazarene your church home. There are people here who would accept you, love you, and help you to grow in Christ. That, after all, is our mission: to help each other become all that Jesus wants us to be.
SHARE YOUR NEW-FOUND FAITH
Fourth, you need to share your decision with someone else right away. Telling someone else of the decision you*ve made will strengthen your faith and help to stabilize your commitment to follow Jesus.
Sharing your decision to receive Jesus is called giving a testimony. Revelation 12:11 reminds us that we overcome "by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony." In other words, you are a Christian today because you accepted the death of Jesus on the cross as payment for your sins, and you can strengthen your faith in Jesus by sharing your testimony with others. They need to hear what Jesus has done for you, and you need to tell them.
PLEASE LET US HELP YOU GROW!
Congratulations again! The decision you*ve made to follow Jesus is the most important decision you will ever make. Following up on that decision with faith and commitment will turn your life around.
As of right now, you*re on a new course, headed in a new direction with heaven as your home. We would be delighted to help you learn to walk the new path on which you sat your feet when you opened your life to Jesus. We would be delighted to help you experience the joy of being a child of God and of living out the eternal life that you received when you received Him.