Ephesians 4:15, 1 Thessalonians 3:12, Hebrews 6:1
There is nothing more important than salvation. It is also important that a person knows that he is saved and has eternal life. But our thought today is to discuss what we are supposed to do once we have been saved.
I was saved at the age of fourteen, but this bothered me greatly. I knew I had accepted Jesus as my Savior, and I was now depending upon him for my salvation. This is what I had been taught by preachers, teachers and family. But now that I had accepted Christ as my Savior, what was I supposed to do?
I understand that Pope John Paul II stated that the central purpose of the church is to help the believer to realize and fulfill his full human destiny in Christ. I think that many times as pastors, teachers and parents, we do not provide adequate information to new believers as to how they are to live after they have been saved.
Let me ask you this question. Did you know what to do, or what to say, or how to act after you accepted Jesus as your savior? We start out as babes in the Lord, but we are to grow, and mature. In fact, I think as a whole most Christians don't know, or else they willfully live in disobedience to the Lord. TO GROW WILL TAKE DISCIPLINE ON OUR PART. Ten times in the Bible we are reminded that;
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 2:29
Jesus, in his parable of the sower, pointed out some of the problems hearers have.
1. The seed was sown in hearts, but the devil stole it away.
When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. Matthew 13:19
2. The seed is received with emotional hearts, but troubles and hardships overpower.
But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. Matthew 13:20-21
3. The seed of the word is sown in unfruitful hearts.
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Matthew 13:22
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. Matthew 13:23
Let's start at the beginning. Let's say you just got saved. What should you do? The first step should be that the pastor, teacher, or parent should encourage you to be baptized. This is accomplished by presenting yourself to the church and asking to be a member of that body of believers.
Secondly, you should begin to read the Bible and learn what it says. You should be in every service of the church so you can be taught what the Bible is saying. (This is part of our discipline)
Thirdly, you should also learn to pray and talk to God in an intimate manner and not as someone far off.
Fourthly, when you have questions, you should ask questions. You should also read proper books to enlarge your understanding of who we are in Christ.
Fifth, and this is also very important, you should be careful not to be led into some church or group that is teaching false doctrines. (This is difficult especially when you are raised in a family, or have friends who belong to such churches). I do not personally teach Baptist doctrine as such, but I have always wanted, and sought to preach and teach what the Bible says. Most of the time it agrees with what the Baptists say. I have no concern as to what is popular, as some churches teach. My interest is what does the Bible say.
Sixth, it is your duty to encourage others to be saved.
Seventh, you should start doing what the Bible says. I think too many of us come to church and hear a message and then walk out and act as if we never heard a word. This is always disturbing to teachers and preachers. Let me give you this illustration. The Pastor or preacher preaches on tithing. He says the Bible teaches tithing, and that God blesses those who tithe. Yet in every church there is likely to be someone who just cannot bring himself to tithe. He feels he cannot afford to tithe. Is that the problem? No, the real problem is not trusting God to keep His Word. Remember the widow who gave all she had? The Lord noticed that. It greatly pleased the Lord, that here was a poor woman who had little to live on, but she gave all she had to the Lord. That is FAITH!!! That is trusting God to provide!!! That is loving God!!!
Another area where believers fail, is in dealing with the sin or flesh nature. We are all sinners, but we are saved sinners. We should always remember we are saved sinners. Now the Bible tells us to take off the old man (a reference to our sin nature) and put on the new man, a reference to start acting like Jesus Christ. Listen to these scriptures:
Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Romans 6:6
God's Word is saying to us that we are not to allow sin of any kind into our life.
a. Watch what we say.
b. Watch what we do.
c. Watch out for who we are, because we are a witness of some sort!!!
d. We are to be conforming to the image of Christ.
DO WE REALIZE THIS? I want to share with you some passages from the paraphrased Living Bible.
Ephesians 4:17-32 17 With the Lord's authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused.
18 Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him.
19 They don't care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed.
20 But that isn't what you were taught when you learned about Christ.
21 Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus,
22 Throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception.
23 Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.
24 You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness, righteous, holy, and true.
25 So put away all falsehood and "tell your neighbor the truth" because we belong to each other.
26 And "don't sin by letting anger gain control over you." Don't let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27 For anger gives a mighty foothold to the Devil.
28 If you are a thief, stop stealing. Begin using your hands for honest work, and then give generously to others in need.
29 Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of malicious behavior.
32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
We are to live more than moral lives. We are to live godly lives. We are to become more loving, more forgiving, more understanding, and more faithful. We should be more committed to getting the gospel out. The pastors are not to run the churches. The deacon is not to run the church. The church is to be under the control of the Holy Spirit, with Christ as the head. Every person who is a member of the church is to be led by the Holy Spirit. The Word of God says the pastor is the leader, the shepherd, the overseer. Not a board or committee. We are to desire the good of the church as a whole, not what "I" want.
Everyone of us should want the same thing in our church.
1. To love the Lord.
2. To get to know the Lord better. (Through Bible study and prayer)
3. To help in getting others saved.
4. To support local & foreign missions.
5. To want harmony in our church.
How can we achieve this? By each of us being committed to individually growing in the Lord.
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:1-3