Next Steps for
NEXT STEPS FOR NEW BELIEVERS
First of all, congratulations on making the decision to follow Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior! You are beginning a brand new life. You may be wondering how to get started on your faith journey or what you should do next. Don't worry, we are here for you! One of the most important things you can learn is that you're not expected to walk alone. Check out the points below and as you read them, look up the verses in your Bible (quotations taken from the New International Version (NIV)). If you have questions or would like further guidance, contact us. We'd be happy to help in any way we can.
YOU ARE SAVED BY FAITH
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast."
Being saved by faith simply means believing wholeheartedly that Jesus' sacrifice for you on the cross brings you into a right relationship with God.
The verse says "by grace you have been saved." Grace is something that you are given that you did not earn. Our sin separates us from God and we are unable to take away this sin through our own efforts, no matter how hard we try or how good of a person we may be. Through Jesus' death on the cross, God freely gave us the gift of salvation by taking away our sins and allowing us be reunited with Him now and forevermore.
YOU ARE NOT SAVED BY FEELING
"We live by faith, not by sight."
- 2 Corinthians 5:7
You may not feel like you have been saved, and that is okay. Remember, it is not how you feel about it but rather your faith that saves you. Don't doubt your salvation by how you may be feeling. After all, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Your emotional state may change from day to day, or even minute to minute, but the sovereign truth of God is unchanging and permanent.
YOU MAY EXPERIENCE DOUBT
God's Word promises, "If you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
- Romans 10:9
It's normal to experience doubt. Even people who have been Christians all their life may have moments or season where their certainty in God's promises waver.
God knows we will have questions and doubts because we can't see the big picture like He does. Jesus Himself was constantly encouraging those around Him to have faith and believe because He understood our natural tendency is toward unbelief.
You can pray for God to help you in your unbelief (see Mark 9:23-24). God designed us to seek truth, that we might grow in our knowledge of Him. Use doubt to motivate you to pursue the development of your faith.
YOU ARE FORGIVEN OF ALL YOUR SINS
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
- 1 John 1:9
The Bible teaches that all mankind has a sinful nature which keeps us separated from God's presence and will result in eternal death. But Jesus came to suffer the consequences of that sin as our substitute, so that we could be forgiven of sin and have access to God's presence. When you repented (turned away) from your sins, and asked Jesus to forgive you and become your Savior, that's exactly what He did. He forgave every sin you've ever committed, regardless of how awful or evil they may have been. God can forgive more sin than man can commit.
YOU'RE NOT PERFECT BUT YOU ARE FORGIVEN
"There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus..."
- Romans 8:1
By taking away your sins, Jesus has made you pure and clean, worthy to stand before our Heavenly Father. If God thinks you are worthy, don't let anyone else tell you differently! Being a Christian doesn't mean you're perfect (no human being has ever been except Jesus!) Being born again in Christ doesn't mean you won't have problems in this life, or that you will never mess up or make mistakes. The important thing is to keep seeking to become more and more like Jesus, our perfect example of faith.
YOU ARE A NEW CREATION
"Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!"
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
At the moment you accepted Jesus, He came into your heart by His Spirit, and now His presence and nature lives and dwells in your heart (1 Corinthians 6:19). You did not merely become a better person, you were "born again" spiritually as a brand new person! Now He wants you to learn to live your life according to the new nature of His Spirit inside you.
YOU HAVE THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE
"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."
- John 3:16
There's a reason that John 3:16 is one of the most beloved Bible verses of all time. It is a pronouncement of God's unconditional and extravagant love for us, His ultimate example of love in action. Every time we read these words, we are reminded of the great sacrifice He made in the hope that not one of us will be lost. When we asked Jesus into our heart, believing He did for our sins, it was the first and only step needed to reconcile us to God, complete with the assurance that we can be with Him forever.
YOU NEED TO ATTEND CHURCH
"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another..."
- Hebrews 10:25
You should attend church regularly so that your faith can be strengthened by the preaching of God's Word, and so you can grow spiritually and be encouraged by the fellowship of other Christians. Church is where you can go to express your love, faithfulness, and worship to God. Church is where we can learn how to be a Christian, and where the Pastor and spiritual leaders can help you and encourage your faith. The Bible warns us not to absent ourselves from church attendance, because we need the strength and encouragement it brings.
YOU NEED TO PRAY EVERY DAY
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Prayer is simply talking to God and is vital to your spiritual growth. God is your Heavenly Father, and He wants to hear from you and have daily fellowship with you. The Bible tells us to "pray continually," that is to pray faithfully every day, even as you go about doing everyday things.
Also remember that prayer is conversation with God and it goes both ways. Talk to Him and then quiet your heart and mind to listen for His response. He is known to speak in a variety of ways: an image or word that "pops" into your head, a bible verse that comes to your mind, a "still small" voice in your heart, or through words of a fellow believer, just to name a few.
YOU NEED TO READ THE BIBLE DAILY
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."
- Psalms 119:105
We should read and study the Bible because it is God’s Word to us. The Bible is literally "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). In other words, it is God’s very words to us, and His Spirit will often speak to you as you read, guiding your understanding and giving you the insight you'll need for the day.
The Bible is essential for knowing God and His will for our lives. It is often referred to as "daily bread," in other words, essential spiritual nourishment. God’s Word is a source of life! It contains infinite help and wisdom. And, when it is read and obeyed in a spirit of faith, it leads us to unimaginable spiritual growth.
YOU NEED TO BE BAPTIZED IN WATER
The scriptures say "...Repent and be baptized, every one of you..."
- Acts 2:38
Baptism declares that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a public confession of your faith in, and commitment to, Jesus Christ and is the next step after salvation through repentance and faith. Jesus himself was baptized, baptized His followers, and tells us to carry on baptizing each other as a symbol of our identification with Him. Our entrance into the water during baptism identifies us with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb and His resurrection from the dead. Baptism is a celebratory occasion because "just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." (Romans 6:4)
We understand that was a lot of information! Be patient with yourself as you start out on your new faith journey, and allow God's Holy Spirit to minister to you and guide your heart. We expect that you may have more questions and we would love to help you answer them.Don't hesitate to reach out to us at anytime.