Understanding The Bible
E. Clifton, 1
WHAT ALL NEW CHRISTIANS SHOULD KNOW
by Dr. Glen E. Clifton
Continued growth is the key to all life. Just being born into the Family of God is one thing, but learning to grow and walk with God is entirely another matter.
After having been in the ministry for over 40 years and witnessing thousands coming to know Christ, following in baptism and loyal church membership, one of my greatest joys is to see you grow in the joy and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This booklet is written after many years of 'discipling' new Christians into a deeper walk with Christ. With many 'successes' and 'failures' and many different types and pieces of literature for new Christians, I believe this little book contains a basic outline of vital subjects that can be used by any Bible teacher and/or pastor to lead new Christians and church members into a committed walk with our Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the 'keys' of doing anything correctly is knowledge. This booklet is designed to get you into the Bible, Gods Holy Word. In just a few short pages, many vital lessons on Christian teachings are discussed. The thought provoking statements and questions can lead the 'discipline' class or 'pastors class' into many hours of in-depth studies. The only result that can come out of this is a fruitful Christian, one who is loyal to his Lord, his church, his pastor and its programs.
God commands us to, "Study to show thyself approved by God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth," Paul admonished Timothy (II Timothy 2:15).
Gods Word says, "These things have I written to you that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God" I John 5:13.
WHAT ALL NEW CHRISTIANS SHOULD KNOW
Having accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin, and having made Him Lord of your life, you have been born again...born of God. The burden of sin is gone and the peace of God now reigns in your heart and life, because God says that your name is written down in the Lamb's Book of Life (Revelation 21:27). You are no longer under condemnation, but have been justified by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:3-7; Philippians 4:7; Ephesians 1:7; Luke 10:20; Romans 8:1, 5:1).
Since you have been redeemed (saved from sin and forgiven by God), you should know that believers are now your brothers and sisters in Christ. This is because God is their Father as well as yours. You now belong to a larger family, the Family of God. This great family is from all over the world, from every nation, who also have trusted Christ as their Lord and Savior (Ephesians 3:14-19; Romans 8:16,17; John 1:12).
You should know that it cost God a great price to make salvation possible and available to you. It cost Him the death of His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus had to die, to shed His precious blood, in order for your sins to be forgiven. And because of this and your acceptance of Him as Savior and Lord you have now become an heir of God and a joint-heir with Christ. This means that everything the Father gave Jesus now belongs to you. It IS yours now, even though total possession of it all is yet in the future (Romans 8:32; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 8:16,17; Galatians 4:4-7).
Having made your commitment to Christ and a public profession of your faith, you should know that Satan, the devil, and your continued enemy, will try to cause you a great deal of "hard-times" ahead. Know this: That although Christ has broken the chains of sin that held you captive, Satan will do everything in his power to tempt, tease and torment you as a Christian. Corinthians 11:14; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Matthew 6:13)
I would like to offer you some proven methods that will help you smooth out the rough places, and help you walk victoriously in your new life in Christ Jesus. As you continue to study, you will find some important areas of concern and some suggestions based on God's Word that will help you to grow into adulthood as a Christian. Mastering these proven principles of success for a Christian will help you find and enjoy God's will in your life.
I. KNOWING WHAT TO DO WHEN "DOUBTS ARISE"
One of the first things that Satan does with many new Christians is to cause you to doubt your salvation. He will try to convince you that your decision was just an emotional response. Should this ever happen, you must immediately look to Jesus Christ for the protection you need to ward off this attack. As you learn the Word of God, He will help you overcome all temptations. Jesus, when He was tempted by Satan, quoted the Scriptures.
Never forget, Satan is a liar just as Jesus said (John 8:44). You really have no reason to doubt your salvation just because Satan disturbs your thoughts. The Bible says, "whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13) DON'T DOUBT! You called, and God answered, so claim His promise.
The Word of God states that the one who repents and confesses and forsakes his sins shall have mercy (Proverbs 28:13). When you confessed, God forgave and cleansed, just as He promised.
Know this.- Jesus said, "He that comes to me, I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).You came, and since He did not cast you out. He must have taken you in.
Salvation is a matter of faith not feeling. Even though you may not feel so
different, when you gave yourself to the Lord, His Word says, "As many as
received Him, to them. He gave the power to become the sons of God, even to them
that believe on His name" (John 1:
12). Your feelings may change like the weather, but God's Word never changes or is wrong! (Matthew 24:35).
II. KNOWING HOW "NEVER" TO BE A "QUITTER"
Sometimes it may seem easier to quit, but quitters are never winners, even in the Christian life. Quitters never succeed. Quitters always want to take the easy way out. God's Word says, "Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
When Satan, our enemy, cannot get us to doubt our salvation, he will try to dissuade us to 'turn-back' from our commitment to Christ. You will be tempted to 'give-up' your faith in Christ. These temptations will come in various ways; through your eyes, your ears, yes, all your senses. Your former worldly friends (?) may invite you to join their crowd once again in sinful things.
As a new Christian (a babe in Christ), I challenge you not to allow yourself to be placed in positions that may prove to be embarrassing, or that might lead you into temptation. Shun evil companions whose company may drag you down. Rather, seek the fellowship and friendship of your new Christian friends, for they can strengthen you in your new experience.
Know this: We all have ups and downs and struggles along the way, but the true believer will always remain committed to the Lord. The Apostle Paul said near the end of his life, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (I Timothy 4:7).
The Scripture says,
"No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the
other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24).
Learn now, to choose whom you should and should not associate with. This may be
very difficult at first, but God has promised to give you strength for any task.
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13)
Some people are saved and immediately break with their past sins, while others seem to struggle with particular sins for years. Don't excuse yourself. Confess your sins to God and seek His forgiveness immediately.
III. KNOWING HOW TO "MEET TEMPTATION"
Everyone faces temptation. It is a universal problem. The Christian life is a battle of spirit against the flesh. Your battle with temptation is not unique. Know this: No matter how great the struggle. God will help you overcome. God's Word says, "There is no temptation taken you but such is as common to man" (I Corinthians 10:13).
Temptation is not a sin, your yielding to temptation is. If you are going to gain victory over temptation, you must learn to face it and resist it." Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed," the Bible says, (James 1:14).
Victory over temptation does not come easily. Know this: Winning the battle over temptation begins in our minds. God says, 'As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" (Proverbs 23:7). We must learn to control our thinking. If our thoughts are wrong, our actions will also be wrong. We must learn to focus our minds on the ways of God. The Psalmist said, "Incline your heart toward Him" (Psalm 119:112).
Know this: "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able" (I Corinthians 10:13). God won't allow us to be pushed around beyond our limits. There is always a way out. God will empower you to do what is right.
Avoid people and circumstances that tempt you. This is especially crucial in our modem times, because there are so many more avenues of temptation available today than ever before. Whatever it is that 'drags you down' stay away from it (or them). The Bible says, "Don't you know that your friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4). And, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you..." (II Corinthians 6:17, 18).
Know this also: Real victory comes to the person who overcomes temptations! God promises, "Blessed is the person that endures temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love Him" (James 1: 12).
IV. KNOWING HOW TO OVERCOME "QUESTIONABLE THINGS"
Sometimes circumstances and situations arise that cause us to wonder if it would be a sin to participate in certain activities. Sometimes things may seem so harmless in themselves. How can you know if they are wrong for you to participate in?
Overcoming an obstacle, regardless of how simple it may seem, is never easy. In fact, the little things sometimes trip us up faster than the more obvious big things.
Keep your heart fixed on God and His Word. Learn to focus on the spiritual things that God has for you. This comes from His Word. The Bible and the leadership of the Holy Spirit of God will NEVER lead you to do anything that is contrary to His will for your life.
Years ago, my Sunday School teacher urged us Junior Boys to remember when tempted to ask ourselves, "Would Jesus do this if He were in my place?" That has solved many problems for me through the years.
In the parable of the sower and the seed, what Jesus said is worth noting here: "And that which fell among thorns are they which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches, and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection" (Luke 8: 14).
V. KNOWING HOW TO RESPOND TO "SIN"
When you fall into sin (and you will), humble yourself immediately before God, asking Him for forgiveness, then get up and go on your way, forgiven. Continue to be watchful, because your adversary will continue to stalk you trying to get you to fall again.
There is no sense in staying down just because you stumble, for God has made every provision for us to overcome the world, the flesh, and the Devil. In Christ, "We are more than conquerors" (Romans 8:37). Know this: Now, that God has made us a great provision, "if any person sin, we have an advocate (an attorney), with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous" (I John 2:1).
Know this: Having a continual struggle does NOT mean that you are carnal or unspiritual. In fact, this struggle may be good evidence that you are spiritually alive, with God's salvation. There would be no conflict in your heart, unless God's presence was in you.
Although a child of God has no business sinning, the Bible says, "Likewise reckon you also yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. For sin shall not have dominion over you. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:11,14,2). Once we become a child of God, we will be uncomfortable with the world, the flesh, and the ways of the world.
If you have a particular sin that keeps pulling you down, go to work on this problem. God never blesses laziness. Don't just sit down, bite your nails, waste time worrying and fretting, rather get up ... confess it... and continue on with your life. Know that God delights to hear us and to answer our prayers and forgive our sins. The greater our need, the greater is His power to meet them.
VI. KNOWING HOW TO RESPOND TO THE "INCONSISTENCIES OF OTHERS"
Occasionally, there will be those who claim to be converted who will act in an unchristian manner, in sin. When you observe others who claim to be Christians, continually sinning, do NOT let them disturb you unduly. Do NOT look at men. No matter how God uses certain individuals for good in your life, know that people may fail you and disappoint you.
Fix your eyes on Jesus. Know this: He will never let you down! People will fail you. Your family or friends may turn against you. But, Jesus will never forsake you. He is your dearest friend. He loves you more than anyone has ever loved you. Trusting in Him continually for He will give you peace greater than you have ever experienced. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). HE NEVER FAILS! Ask God to help you to keep your conduct and life right,
The Bible promises us, "We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us" (Romans 8:37). You will, from time to time, observe hypocrites in the church (and elsewhere). NEVER allow them to diminish your love and your zeal for God and His kingdom. In fact, they should even challenge you to live a God-fearing, righteous life, and not be just another worthless imitation of Christianity.
VII. KNOWING HOW TO RESPOND TO "OPPOSITION"
Just because you have become a Christian, do not expect everyone to congratulate you because of this step of faith and obedience to God. True, many will be happy for you, many will admire your stand and be glad to assist you in any way they can, but there will be others who will be apt to ridicule you and even laugh at you because of your identification with Christ and His church.
God's Word says, "If you are reproached for the name of Christ, be happy; for the spirit of glory and of God rests on you, if any person suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf' (I Peter 4:14-16).
Know this: As a Christian, you are a new person, playing on a different team. God's team is greater than all the opponents that will pull you down. Listen to these encouraging words: "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world" (I John 4:4).
Separation from sin and sinners is the foundation step to personal holiness. Real dedication to the Lord comes when we sever the ties with former associates and their activities and live for the Lord.
Know this: When you do this, you may incur their verbal wrath and scorn. They will not understand you or your love for Jesus. Dedication and total commitment of ourselves to live for, and serve the Lord with all our body, soul and mind, may cause them to give you up as a friend. It may be hard at first, but you can live with these situations because, "It is better if the will of God be so, that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing" (I Peter 3:17).
God has forewarned us that we would receive persecution from others when we live for Christ. Jesus taught us, "Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).
God always gives us
grace and strength in time of need. You can endure the bitterest of persecutions
that come upon you. Don't waver. Do not deny your Lord. Be true to Him at all
cost, even when others turn against you. The Apostle Paul told young Timothy,
"Yes, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II
"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life."
1. Dr. Clifton has been preaching at King's Baptist church in Vero Beach, Florida, where he as been serving as Interim Preacher for about 6 months. Dr. Clifton and his wife Dee, have been retired to Florida for 4 years. He has been kept busy preaching up and down the Treasure coast since he moved here. He can be contacted for speaking engagements at (772) 336-3992.
Clifton, Dr. Glen E., Brief Biography