Life...and that they might have it more abundantly

What is abundant living?  Abundant living is not made up of physical things we have, not even the physical blessings that we receive from God such as food, clothing or shelter.  Abundant living is what Jesus came to bring us and we have abundant life as we follow Him.

We all seek to find purpose, meaning, and happiness in life. Some look to relationships, possessions, success, and even religion, but all of these fall short of bringing true meaning and happiness. We each have a spiritual emptiness in our lives, no matter what steps we take to fill the void. There is only one way to have real purpose, meaning and happiness in this life as well as the absolute hope of eternity in the presence of God.  That is through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Understand that a personal relationship through Christ is more than attending a church, being baptized, making a commitment to do better, or memorizing a set of religious material.  Having a personal relationship with God is even more than being religious.  The word of God says in James 2:19, "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble."

What YOU need to do after YOU are saved ...

In a nutshell, to be "Saved" is to have accepted Christ as your personal savior, to have accepted God's gift of salvation, to know that you have a place in Heaven after you die.  Once saved, you cannot get un-saved.  You can sin, which will affect whether you face God in glory or shame, but you cannot lose your salvation.  (Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23, 10:13, Hebrews 9:22, Acts 16:30-31, 17:30).

Don't wait until it is convenient to get saved because you don't know when your life will be over. "Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth." (Proverbs 27:1)

Do not wait until it's too late. You will not be able to get saved after you die. "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27)

Can I really KNOW that I am saved?

True biblical Christianity is the only faith that has the concept of assurance. Assurance means that we know for sure that we have eternal life right now and are going to heaven when we die.

Salvation comes as a free gift from God when we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Once you have salvation it cannot ever be lost. Salvation is not dependent on you being good. Rather it is dependent on the Savior’s ability to save. Salvation is based on HIS finished work, not your good works. We trust in the promises of God in his Word. We are NOT trusting in our feelings of worth or good deeds. Salvation comes from faith, not feelings.

God Commits Himself To You

  • God assures you that Jesus Christ has come into your life. In John 14:20, Jesus says, "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you"
  • God will never leave you. " for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. " (Hebrews 13:5b).
  • God completely forgives your sin. "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; " (Colossians 2:13-14).
  • God gives you His Holy Spirit to enable you to live the Christian life. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:25).

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

John 5:24

24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

In John 5:24, Jesus said that The one who “heareth My word” and “believeth” HAS everlasting life (right now),

and "shall not come into condemnation, but is PASSED." The spiritual birth is a one-time event, not an ongoing process. It is a passing into eternal life, just like the natural birth is a passing into this life. There is a process of growing in Christ that follows, but birth precedes that growth. Just like in the natural world, you have to be born spiritually before you can grow spiritually.

John 10:27-29

 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

 29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

Jesus holds his sheep in his hand. He promises that they will never perish. Nothing can get to us and take away our salvation because we are held by the hand of Jesus, the mighty Savior.

1 John 5:11-13

11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Notice in 1 John 5:13 that you can KNOW for sure that you have eternal life right now if you have the Son as your Savior. This should give us a powerful sense of security and confidence in the Lord.

Beginning a relationship with God means recognizing that God’s plans for your life are ultimately better than your own and then giving Him control of your life. Therefore, you are no longer going your own way, but following Christ from now on. God will require you to make some adjustments in your life in order to follow Jesus.

According to Luke 9:23, Jesus said, "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Mark 1:16-18 "Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him."

Becoming a follower of Jesus Christ is the greatest thing that will ever happen to you! God’s gracious response to your decision means that you’re sins are forgiven, you have a new beginning, a new life, and a new hope. That's a lot to be thankful for! You should be willing to tell others that you have given Him your life. Present yourself to a group of believers (a church) and share your decision with a minister.

Jesus said: "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 10:32-33.

Follow through with your decision.

Now that you have decided to follow Christ and live your life for Him, you are probably wondering, "What do I do now? Where do I go from here? Which path do I take on my spiritual journey?"As you seek God, He will guide you through prayer, through the Bible, through other Christians, circumstances, His peace and confirmation, and more! Keep seeking Him, keep trusting Him, keep praying and serving Him each day!

Your trust in Jesus Christ begins a lifelong relationship.

To keep growing in your relationship with God . . .

G--Go to God daily in prayer (Philippians 4:6-7).

Prayer is simply communication with God - and it is so important. It may seem at times like one-way communication, but it is not. Prayer involves speaking to God and listening for His voice in return - as He speaks through His Word, through His servants, and through the still, small voice of His Holy Spirit. Through prayer we thank God for His goodness to us, confess our sins, praise Him for who He is, and make requests of Him. It is in regular prayer that we grow in our relationship with God and mature in our faith. The Bible says we should pray about everything, and that we should pray "without ceasing." Truly, nothing is too small to take to God in prayer. He is the Lord of all life.

  • Get in the habit of spending time each day with God. Learn to listen as well as to speak. Some people call this time with God a "quiet time" - but it may not be quiet at all. You may pray aloud, sing praises, or read aloud prayers from scripture during this time. The important thing is to set aside a time for God that will not be compromised, even if is just a few minutes of undistracted focus every morning or evening.

  • Keep a prayer journal. Recording your prayers can help you see how God has led you, and to praise Him for His faithfulness in giving not just what you ask him for - but what you truly need. Be sure and share answered prayer with others, too. God's faithfulness to you can be used to build someone else's faith as well!

  • Study what Jesus taught about prayer. When Jesus' disciples said "Lord, teach us to pray," this is what Jesus offered in response. Many people say this prayer in a rote, or routine way - hardly thinking of what the words mean. As you study this prayer, consider each part of it, and what it says about God's constant care and concern for you.

  • Train yourself to maintain a running dialogue with God throughout the day. Some call this "practicing the presence" of God. Simply remind yourself that God is with you all day, every day - and that you are free to speak with Him about anything, at any time.

R--Read the Bible every day (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

Get a good Bible (We recommend a King James Version for the most accurate translation), begin reading it daily, and expect God to speak to you. You would never expect a child to grow into a healthy adult without proper nourishment. Children eat to grow. Likewise, the Word of God is the spiritual food that nourishes every growing Christian. The apostle Peter encouraged Jesus' followers to, like newborn babies, "desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious." (I Peter 2:2-3). Just as there are many styles of eating - there are also many ways to "take in" God's life-giving Word. Consider these to begin:

  • Daily Bible Reading. Many plans exist for reading a portion of the Bible each day. If you are a new follower of Christ, you might begin by reading a few verses of the gospel of John daily until you have finished the book. Then move to another gospel (Matthew, Mark or Luke), or one of Paul's "missionary" letters like Ephesians or Philippians. You might also find a "devotional" Bible which selects portions of scripture for you to read daily, and includes thoughts to consider on that particular passage.

  • Read through the whole Bible. Some Bibles are published with guides for reading the Bible through in a systematic way. If your Bible does not contain such a guide, you can easily find one.

  • God's Word is filled with promises for you. Memorize and meditate on His promises. Again, some Bibles will have at least a partial listing of God's promises in their reference section. Others are available at no cost. Enter the keyword God's Promise in the search area in our topical study tool.

  • Group Bible Study. Studying God's Word together with other Christians is a wonderful way to grow in insight and in community. Seek out a Bible study class or ask about group studies that might be available to you.

In every instance, the emphasis on Bible study should not be simply academic, or study for study's sake. You are studying not to gain "head knowledge" but to know more deeply and fully the God whose saving plan has included you. You are a part of His story now!

O--Obey God moment by moment (Luke 6:46-48).

It has been said that all true knowledge is the result of obedience; everything else is just information. If you really want to know and experience God, then you must trust and obey Him—depending on the Holy Spirit whom you have received from God. Obedience for Christians is not optional. Although our sins are forgiven, we may not continue to deliberately sin with impunity, presuming upon the grace of God. We can be sure that God will not give us more revelation and understanding until we have been faithful with that which He has already given.

As we trust and obey God, we are changed more and more into His likeness. This is called "sanctification," and it is the intended result of salvation for every man and woman. God's goal is that "Christ would be formed" in His sons and daughters (Galatians 4:19) - and this process is not automatic, but rather the result of what one writer has called "a long obedience in the same direction."

How do we participate in this process of sanctification?

  • By learning God's Word. The Bible is the primary way that Christians learn how to obey God. We read it both to learn from it, and to be supernaturally changed by it - because it is a living book with the power to change us! (I Timothy 3:16-17)

  • In your time alone with God, ask Him to show you any area of your life in which you are not obedient to His Word. If there are areas with which you struggle that seem to routinely get the better of you, seek the counsel of an older, wiser Christian who may be able to walk with you in your struggle and hold you accountable.

  • Learn to listen and respond to the Holy Spirit of God on a moment by moment basis. This is a practice that grows easier with time, but you can and must begin to know and respond to the One that Jesus called "the Comforter," and whom He sent to walk beside us.

  • In the same way that you, by faith, trusted in Christ for your salvation, learn to trust in the Holy Spirit for the power to obey God on a moment by moment basis. The just are not only saved by faith, the just live by the faith that saved them!

W--Worship regularly in a local church (Hebrews 10:24-25).

As we have studied, when a person comes to Christ, he or she becomes a part of His Body, the Church. Just like a physical body, every member of this spiritual body has a specific purpose, a special identity. And just as a finger cannot fulfill its function apart from the hand, so an individual Christian will never fully know and experience his or her identity apart from relationship with a local church body. Fellowship is essential to Christian growth, and we are warned against forsaking it (Hebrews 10:24-25). In community or fellowship with other believers we learn things about God and ourselves that may not be learned in any other way.

Connect with a church family such as Bethlehem Baptist Church. We want to be your "church family", one that will love you, encourage you, pray for you, and stand by you through life’s challenging moments. Why? Because God’s greatest blessings are often sent through His people.We invite you to get acquainted with the church family at Bethlehem.  Come, join us in worship and see why we believe Bethlehem Baptist Church could be a place for you!

  • As you begin your journey of faith, a Bible-believing church family is vital - one that clearly teaches: a) faith in Christ as the way to know God and receive eternal life, and b) the Bible as the Word of God.

  • Find out how you can serve the Body through that local church so that God can use you and grow you.

  • Be faithful in your commitment to a local church. Not only do you need the church - your church needs you!

T --Tell others about Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:15-16).

When a tree that was created to bear fruit stops bearing fruit, its fruitlessness is a strong indication that the tree is not healthy. Just as a healthy tree bears fruit, so a healthy Christian bears fruit by sharing the life-giving truth of Jesus with others. The life that God has given you will become eventually stagnant if you keep it to yourself, and never speak of it to others. As you pass on what God has given to you, He will fill you afresh. Sharing your faith is vital to the Christian life - not out of guilt - but out of joy and enthusiasm for His saving goodness to you.

  • Ask God to help you make a list of people with whom He would have you share your faith. Begin praying now for the right time to do so in each case.

  • Look for daily opportunities to share. Ask God, "Have you prepared this person to hear what I have to share?" Be willing to take a risk. The results could be more exciting than you know.

  • Familiarize yourself with the Knowing God section of this website, so that you may comfortably be ready to give an account for the hope that others will surely see in you (I Peter 3:15).

  • Practice sharing your faith journey in a simple, conversational manner. You never know when God will give you the opportunity to tell your story!

H --Holy Spirit--let Him direct your life (John 14:26).

The Holy Spirit of God now indwells you forever so you can have a personal relationship with Him and He can empower you to follow Him as your Lord! (1 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 8:10-11; 1 Corinthians 6:17)

 

If you have questions or concerns you would like help with, please call or write and let us know. We're here to help you understand the love that Jesus is offering you for free, no matter who or where you are. Use our Contact page to send an email to a staff member.

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