GOD'S PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE
Everything that doesn't meet up to God's perfect standards is sin. All imperfect things we say, think or do are called ‘sins'. But this means that sin has penetrated into every part of your natural being and character: your thoughts, will, feelings, conscience, affections and fantasy. You sin because you are a sinner. Sin is the sting of death. After our physical death our soul lives on and it can end up in only one of two places:
Not only is heaven a wonderful place, but the Bible teaches us that heaven is a home. The people that live in heaven, don't suffer pain, but they are happy. It's a place of eternal joy. No curse, no death, no tears, no evil powers, … There will be no more discrimination in heaven, no more fear or no more war, only the glory of God.
The Bible tells us more about hell than about heaven and removes every doubt about it's existence. Hell is a place where a person is eternally separated from God, but in eternal company of the devil and his demons.
A few examples from the Bible:
“If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (Matthew 25:46)
A few characteristics of the eternal torment in hell are: Pain of remorse, despair, weeping and gnashing of teeth, physical torment, … The terrible catastrophes in this world, however painful, aren't the greatest tragedy. It's a lot more serious if man refuses to escape hell. One can only escape hell by believing in Jesus Christ.
God loves you and He has a plan for your 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)
“I have come” says Jesus “that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) How is it so many people don't know this life in all it's fullness?
All men have a problem: they are separated from God!
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
“For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23)( = spiritual death, being separated from God)
We are created to serve God, but because of our sinful nature we are selfish and don't have a relationship with God, but are separated from Him. We haven't kept God's laws and therefore can't meet His standard. We are all sinners by nature and in our actions and thoughts. People try to bridge this separation in many different ways. One of the elementary factors of our world system is religion. Religion is based on man's pride, in thinking that man can do something to be accepted by God (e.g. good works).
There is only one God
Jesus Christ is God's only answer to the problem of this separation.
True faith says you can only be accepted by God through forgiveness of your sins. It is then a gift, made possible by God's mediator, Jesus Christ, who took upon Himself the punishment of sin.
“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
“Jesus answered: I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
You have to accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour.
Two things are important in this: you have to 1) recognize and confess your sins and 2) believe that Jesus died for your sins. “Repent then and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, …” (Acts 3:19) “Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12) If you decide with conviction to either receive or reject Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you persevere in your choice, the consequence will be either
We have to choose one of these paths. Nobody else can make that choice for us. We have to choose for ourselves which way we will go in life. The broad road looks so easy to follow, and many people take this path. The narrow way doesn't look so easy, but it leads to a place called heaven. (read Matthew 7:13-14)
Can you find one good reason why you shouldn't receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour?
How can you receive Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour?
Confess your shortcomings (“I am a sinner”) and repent.
Accept Jesus Christ as your Saviour: believe that Jesus died for your sins and that He wants to give you new life.
Open the door of your heart and ask Him to come in.
Receive Jesus Christ as Lord.
The next prayer will help you make a definite decision:
I know that I'm a sinner.
I want rid of my old life with all it's sin.
Thank You that You died on the cross in my place.
I believe You rose from the dead.
Come into my life now, to help me in the coming time, through the power of Your Holy Spirit, to lead a new life according to Your plan.
Thank You, Lord Jesus.
BEING BORN AGAIN
“I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
Those are the words of Jesus Christ. The condition for being born again is: believe with all your heart, that Jesus Christ was crucified and that He died for our sins. By natural birth we become human. We become children of our parents. But natural birth doesn't make us children of God. We must be born a second time for that. By spiritual birth we are changed from unspiritual to spiritual people.
Rebirth is the work of the Holy Spirit and doesn't come from human parents (education) or by our own efforts. Rebirth has to be accepted as a gift from God, by faith in Him.
When you're converted you will:
1. Follow Jesus Christ as His disciple.
The word ‘disciple' means ‘pupil'. Jesus Christ must have first place in our life and we must follow Him every day. He also ask of us to be baptized.
Baptism in water:
Jesus Christ asks it. In John 3:23 and Matthew 3:13-16 the Bible talks about baptism in water. “As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on Him. (Matthew 3:16)
”Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were constantly coming to be baptized.” (John 3:23)
Every repentant Christian.
As soon after conversion as possible.
d. In whose name?
In the name of the Father, His Son and His Holy Spirit.
By complete submersion in water.
It symbolizes the burial of the old life.
2. Serve Jesus Christ as Lord.
Jesus redeemed us from slavery to sin with His precious blood. The word ‘Lord' means that Jesus is the master. We are Jesus' possession and not our own. We must therefore obey Jesus and listen to His voice, that comes to us in many different ways: e.g. through the Bible, through the Holy Spirit etc. So we should put our whole life at His disposal: our body, our time etc. God has given us many natural gifts (i.e. talents). When we become Christians we aren't expected to renounce them, but we must dedicate them to Him so they can be put to use in His Kingdom.
3. Love Jesus Christ.
Whoever loves Jesus is obedient to His commandments and His Word and will do his Will.
The ten Commandments (summary)
1. Don't worship any Gods besides Me.
2. Don't make any idols; don't bow before them or honour them.
3. Don't misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. Honour the Sabbath day, it's a holy day.
5. Honour your father and your mother.
6. Don't murder.
7. Don't commit adultery.
8. Don't steal.
9. Don't give false testimony, don't lie.
10. Don't desire your neighbour's house, or his wife or whatever belongs to him.
Praying is talking to God but also listening to His voice. Prayer is very important en thus essential in the life of a Christian. Just like it is fitting in every human relationship to talk to one another regularly, so it is also in one's relationship with God. Everybody can pray, but only through a genuine conversion can we speak of a relationship with God, in such a way that there is also answer to prayer.
Here are a few guidelines to learn to pray:
Take out enough time to pray quietly and don't look for excuses not to pray.
Pray in a quite room without distractions (no music or television). A fixed prayer spot in your home is recommended.
Pray in a humble manner: worship with your heart and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.
Be faithful in prayer: daily or even more times a day, as long as you're physically capable, even if it's with reluctance, in tiredness, illness etc. In actual fact you can talk to God all day long, because He is always with you.
We must be careful not to pray in order to be honoured by men. Neither must we pray with an unforgiving or unfaithful heart. Our prayers also mustn't have a dominant or accusing effect on our brothers and sisters.
Be conscious of the fact that there will be a lot of opposition to keep you from praying. This is because Satan knows that prayer is very important for a child of God. Satan himself will try to discourage you with all kinds of distractions.
The Bible: the Word of God
The Bible is extremely popular. In spite of it's old age it is still the absolute best-seller: the most printed, most read and most translated book in the world. The Bible, also called the Word of God, is the most important book on earth because in this book God speaks to people. This book can be seen as a precious gift from God to humanity. But unfortunately it is also a closed book for many. Although we generally speak about the Bible as a book, it is comprised of two parts (the Old and the New Testament) with 66 different books that were written over a period of about 1500 years. The writers were inspired by God's Holy Spirit to write the texts. The Bible is the book of life, the book that tells us the truth about God –who He is and what His standards are. If you read the Bible, you will recognize yourself in it and you will discover that God has a purpose for your life (Luke 6:46-49; John 3:36; James 1:19-27; 1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 5:1-5).
The Bible speaks a lot about this, especially in the book of Acts. It is God's desire that Christians regularly get together with other Christians. The services and fellowship have to be regular. God exhorts Christians to celebrate the Last Supper regularly. During this communion we remember what Jesus Christ did for us. By hearing and seeing the words and deeds of Christians you can be strengthened in your faith and you are spiritually edified. We have to encourage each other.
Testifying of Jesus
Come out with your faith!!! Tell other people what Jesus Christ has done for you. In other words, convey the Good News to people. Jesus Christ Himself gave His disciples this command. Stand up for your faith and don't be ashamed of it! Everyone who denies Jesus Christ before people also denies Him before God's angels. Everyone who glorifies Jesus Christ before people also glorifies Him before God's angels. Testifying can happen in many ways.