"But as many asRECEIVED HIM
to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name." John 1:12
How does one become a Christian?
What happens when someone receives Christ?
Can someone know for sure that he is saved?
The Word of God
Fellowship with believers
How do we live for Christ?
How do we witness?
What does receiving Christ mean? This phrase is extracted from the gospel of John chapter 1 verse 12. Starting from verse 11, it says "He came to his own, and his own did not receive him. But as many as RECEIVED HIM, to them gave he right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."
What we learn from this verse is that being a Christian or a child of God is not something we inherit from our Christian parents, but something we personally and consciously get into by receiving the Lord Jesus Christ into our hearts. That is why Jesus Christ said in Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door (of his heart), I will come in."So, receiving Christ means to open our hearts and invite Him into our lives as our personal Lord and Savior.
The word receiving implies a GIFT. Indeed, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the gift God has given to man. The central message of the Bible is found in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world (mankind) that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have ever lasting life. "
How does one become a Christian?
"Even while we were yet sinner Christ died for us." Romans 5: 8
What happens when someone receives Jesus Christ into his life?
Can someone know for sure that he will be going to Heaven when he dies?
The Bible in 1 John 5:13 tells us, "These thing I have written to you who believe in the name of the son of God, that you may KNOW that you have eternal life." We can tell from this verse that one of the reasons the Bible was written is, like a road map, to show us how to get to Heaven and have assurance of eternal life. God doesnt just want us to hope but to know that we have Eternal life. There are other verses that also give us assurance of eternal life.
" He who has the son (Jesus Christ in his heart) has life, he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." 1 John 5:12
"Verily, Verily I say unto you, he who hears my word and believes in Him who sent me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgement but has passed from death into life." John 5:24
" The spirit (Holy Spirit) himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God." Romans 8:16
Just like air is necessary for a man to be alive so is prayer for our spiritual life. Prayer is like breathing. When we breath we inhale oxygen, which is vitally important to our body, and we exhale the burnt air. Similarly, when we pray it is like inhaling God's grace, forgiveness love etc and exhaling our sins weakness and failures to him in repentance.
What is Prayer?
Prayer is the way to communicate with God. Payer is a two way street. We speak to him and he speaks to us. Prayer is speaking to God like we speak to our best friend. We tell him our joys sorrows, we confess to him our weaknesses, we give him praise for what he has done for us, we ask him for his grace strength protection and wisdom to go through the day, we ask him to bless and save others. He in turn speaks to us in different ways, the main way being through His WORD. When we read His word it is like reading His heart because His word is an expression of His heart and mind.
He also speaks to us by his Spirit that dwells in us. When we do or say something that is not pleasing to Him, he convicts us but never condemns us, because condemnation is of the devil.
Generally, prayer is communication between a father and a child. He is our heavenly father and we are his children. Unlike our earthly fathers, he is perfect and blameless. No matter how good our earthly parents might be his goodness is beyond comparison.
To have a healthy relationship between a father and a child there has to be a healthy communication. That is what prayer is, a healthy communication between Him and us.
Different kinds of prayer
This prayer is the prayer that brought us into the family of God and made us the recipient of his mercy. It is also the kind of prayer that keeps the channel open between God and us because sin acts like a wall between God and man. Repentance is what cleanses us from any sin that has disconnected us from having a heart to heart fellowship with God.
"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But, your iniquities have separated you from you God; and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." Isaiah 59:1-2
The only solution for this problem is a heart felt repentance "If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" 1John 1:9.
" My little children, these thing I write to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins we have an advocate with the father, Jesus Christ the righteous "1 John 2:1
" The blood of Jesus Christ his son cleanses us from all our sins." 1 John 1:7
But, if our conscious is clear and our heart doesn't condemn us, we shouldn't pray the prayer of repentance all the time.
"Behold, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence with God." 1 John 3:21
Even though our conscience is clear there might be time when we might want to pray as David prayed.
" Search me oh God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: And see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting". Psalm 139:23
This is the prayer we pray to ask God to give us what we need. Just as Jesus said, "ask and you shall receive seek and you shall find knock and it shall be opened to you." Matthew 7:7-8
Prayer of supplication is also the prayer we cast all our cares upon him and replace it with the grace and peace from God.
"Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time, casting all your cares upon him for he cares for you." 1 Peter 5: 6-7
"Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:1
When we ask God to give us or do something on our behalf with the prayer of supplication his answers can come in three ways.
Some of the reasons God says NO to our prayers are:
When we pray something that is not according to his will. "Now, this is the confidence that we have in him that if we ask anything according to his will He hears us." 1 John 5:14
This prayer is the prayer we pray on behalf of others. Even though all the prayers are important, intercession is a more noble prayer than just praying for ourselves, because it shows we are thinking beyond ourselves to the need of others. This prayer also indicates that we are growing in our prayer life. This prayer is so important that the Holy Spirit himself helps us to intercede for others.
"Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he make intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27.
Thanksgiving is giving thanks to God for everything he has done for us.
"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is
within me, bless his holy name.
Worship is a form of payer where we praise and exalt God not for what he has done for us, but for who he is, just because he is worthy to be praised and exalted.
"I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies." Psalms 18:3
"Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain." 48:1
This is a prayer where two or more believers agree and pray concerning a specific need or request. "Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 18:19
This prayer is the prayer in which we use our God given authority against our enemy the devil. The authority God has given to us is in these ways:
The Word of God
Just as our physical body needs nutrition, so does our spiritual life need the word of God.
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." (1 Peter 2:2)
What role does the word of God play in our lives?
It cleanses us. Ps.119:9
It gives us our spiritual inheritance. Acts 20:32
It is our spiritual sword to fight our enemy. Eph. 6:17
It is our spiritual food. Peter 2:1-3
It teaches us the truth. Prov. 22:20-21
It delivers us from bondage. John 8:32
It gives us understanding and wisdom. Ps 114:98-100.
It keeps us from error. Matt. 22:29
It searches our heart like an x-ray. Heb. 4:12
We can be the recipients of the above benefits from the word of God ONLY when we live by it. Just hearing or reading the word of God doesn't do us any good.
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so
deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like
a man who looks at his face
No Christian can be an island. Being a Christian, by definition, means being part of the BODY of Christ. No single cell in our body can survive outside of our body. Likewise, our spiritual substance depends on our fellowship with the Lord and with others believers.
Why do we need fellowship with believers?
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain". Phil 1:4
In this verse Paul is saying that for him the focus of his whole life is Christ. He lives to do Christs will and not his own. If he dies he goes to Christ so death is not loss but gain.
How do we live for Christ?
The only way we can live for Christ is by knowing and fulfilling his will. The way we know his will is through his word, because Gods word is the revelation of his will.
Let's look at the two most prominent commands God gave us in his word. Matt 22: 35-40.
If we love God with all our being we will not do something that is not pleasing to him.
"If you love me keep my commandments." John 14:15
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship." Romans 12:1-2
The Bible tells us that we have a responsibility of telling others about the goodness of the Lord. (1 Peter 2:9, Matt. 10:32-33)
How do we witness?
In the simplest form, witnessing is just telling others what Jesus Christ did for us. 1 John 1:1-2
We witness first of all through our life, by being a living witness of the love and grace of God. (Matt 5:14). But, we should also witness with our mouth. 1Peter 2:9, 3:15
When we witness with our mouth;
"He that abides in me, and I in him the same brings much fruit." John 15:5
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