Your New Life in Christ
The Knowing God Personally booklet explains all a person needs to know to begin a new life in Christ. A brief review of these will help us as we look at some principles of growing in your relationship with Christ:
God loves you and created you to have a personal relationship with Him.
We are sinful and guilty before God, who is perfect and just.
Sin has separated us from God and the relationship between God and us is broken.
Jesus Christ is God’s only solution for our sin. Through Him you can have a personal relationship with God.
We must each respond to Jesus Christ by placing our trust in Him as our Saviour and Lord. Then we can know God personally
1 - CONFIDENCE IN YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
You can be confident in your new relationship with Christ because you have been completely forgiven and accepted by God. Only Christ’s death on the cross is sufficient to provide this proper relationship with God.
Suppose you were standing before God and He asked you, “Why should I let you into heaven?”, what would you say?
2 - UNDERSTANDING TRUTHS ABOUT YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
There are many exciting things that are true in your relationship with Christ. Understanding these truths will help you build a firm foundation on which to grow.
Christ Forgave your Sin
Christ made you a child of God
Christ will never leave you
Christ gave you New Life
Christ gave you Eternal Life
If you were to die tonight how sure are you that you will spend eternity with God on a scale of 0 to 100?
3 - DEALING WITH DOUBTS IN YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
Even though feelings are important, your relationship with Christ is based on facts, not feelings that can change daily. Doubts, questions and varying emotions are common parts of everyone’s life, but they are very unreliable gauges of anyone’s relationship with Christ.
The train will run with or without the carriage. However, it would be useless to attempt to pull the train by the carriage. In the same way, do not depend on feelings. The promise of God’s Word, not your feelings, is your authority.
But what if you don’t feel like a Christian tomorrow? Place your faith in the faithfulness of God Himself and the trustworthiness of His Word. The more you learn of His Word, the more you will be able to answer any doubts with solid facts. Your feelings will begin to respond to the truth of God’s Word and not your circumstances. You can relationship you can have. It is the beginning of a tremendous adventure with an all-loving, all-powerful God. Also, tell God how you are feeling and ask Him to help you.
4 - GROWING IN YOUR NEW RELATIONSHIP WITH CHRIST
Begin to make these five truths part of your life this week as you grow in Christ:
You are forgiven: Colossians 2:13,14; Hebrews 10:15-18; Ephesians 1:7 2
You are a child of God: John 1:12,13; Romans 8:15-17; 1 John 3:1 3
Christ will never leave you: Hebrews 13:5; Colossians 1:27 4
You have new life: 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:4,5 5
You have eternal life: 1 John 5:11-13; John 5:24; John 10:27-29
Your New life in God’s love
Remember: Your relationship with God is secure, through Christ, you are forgiven and accepted by God.
In addition to providing this secure relationship, God also desires for you to walk closely with Him and communicate with Him each day. This is called fellowship.
Father-child example: Your relationship with your earthly father is permanent. No matter what you do, you will always be his child. But, suppose you rebelled against your father and angrily left home in spite of his efforts to reconcile your grievances.
1 - THE NEED FOR GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
Sin is a barrier for both Christians and non-Christians. Sin keeps us all from experiencing God’s love. But many people are confused about what sin is and what it is not.
What is sin? It’s more than cheating, lying, immoral behaviour, etc.
These actions are only the result of an attitude of sin. A simple definition of sin is: doing what we want instead of what God wants - both in our actions and attitudes
A simple definition of sin is: doing what we want instead of what God wants - both in our actions and attitudes.
Summary: All of us sin. Therefore, you and I both need to experience God’s forgiveness for our attitudes and actions.
2 - THE BASIS FOR GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
Christ’s death is the basis for forgiveness to bring us into a proper relationship with God. Christ’s death is also the basis for forgiveness in our daily fellowship with God.
3 - YOU CAN EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS EVERY DAY
Even though you are totally forgiven, you still need to deal with your sins on a day-to-day basis in order to experience continuing fellowship with God.
Confession - Means Agreeing with God about Sin.
When God brings your attention to the fact that something you have done is sin, confess it. This confession involves at least 3 factors:
1. Agree with God that you have sinned.
2. Agree that God has forgiven you on the basis of Christ’s death on the cross.
3. Cooperate with God in His desire to change your wrong attitudes and actions.
By turning back to God and away from your sin, you will experience His love and forgiveness provided by Christ’s death on the cross. Instead of feeling guilty or condemned, you can know that your fellowship with God is restored.
4 - GROWING IN GOD’S LOVE AND FORGIVENESS
Take some time before you go to bed tonight to apply the things you have learned about God’s love and forgiveness. Make a sin/cleansing list as explained in point 3.
When we choose to sin, our relationship (our position as God’s children) is not affected, but our fellowship is interrupted.
Try to spend 15 minutes or so each day alone with God in Bible reading and prayer (often called a Quiet Time). There are many resources available to help you have a Quiet Time each day. Here are some examples...
1. Read the story of the young man who ran away from his father and wasted his inheritance. The story was told by Jesus and is found in Luke 15:11-32. What does this story illustrate about our relationship with God, our forgiveness, and our fellowship with Him?
2. Read Galatians 5:16-23. Notice the different that will take place as you cooperate with God’s work in your life. As you become aware of an area of your life that displeases God, deal with it according to 1 John 1:9 and enjoy your fellowship with God.
3. Read Psalm 32. What was David’s experience with confession in this Psalm? How did he feel before he confessed his sin? How did he feel after confessing his sin?
Your new life in the spirit
Remember: In order to experience God's love and forgiveness you must confess your sin as you become aware of it, and turn again to your heavenly Father.
An amazing transformation has begun to take place since you received Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
You are now beginning to live the Christian life, which isn't a standard of performance or a code of ethics, but a vital relationship with a loving God.
1 - THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE POWER SOURCE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
The degree to which these traits are manifested in life depends upon the extent to which the Christian trusts the Lord with every detail of their life, and upon their maturity in Christ. One who is only beginning to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit should not be discouraged if they are not as fruitful as more mature Christians who have known and experienced this truth for a longer period.
2 - MANY CHRISTIANS ARE NOT EXPERIENCING THE HOLY SPIRIT'S POWER
The Bible tells us that Christians can be living in one of two states.
The Spirit-Directed Christian
Those who have trusted Christ as their Saviour and who are cooperating with the Holy Spirit who empowers them to live the Christian Life.
The Self-Directed Christian
Those who have trusted Christ to pay for their sins, but who think their ongoing acceptance by God is based on how they perform.
3 - YOU CAN BE FILLED WITH (DIRECTED AND EMPOWERED BY) THE HOLY SPIRIT
The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-directed life in which we actively cooperate with Christ. As we do so, He directs and empowers us by the power of His Holy Spirit. You can be filled with the Holy Spirit only by faith, by cooperating with God who will produce in you the fruitful life He promised.
You can be filled with the Spirit if you”
Desire sincerely to be pleasing to God. (Matthew 5:6)
Confess all known sin. (1 John 1:9, Psalm 66:18)
Yield your total life to Christ. (Romans 12:1,2). (Yielding involves your willingness to obey God in anything He has shown you to do)
4 - YOU CAN BE CONTINUALLY EMPOWERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
This week, if you find that you have retaken control of your life through sin - any definite act of disobedience - simply breathe spiritually (exhale the impure and inhale the pure). This important exercise will enable you to continue to experience Christ's loving control in your life:
SUMMARY: The Spirit-filled life is a practical experience. As you trust Him, God's Spirit will produce the character of Christ within you and empower you to be His witness. You can only trust someone as much as you know them. How has God planned for you to get to know Christ better so you can grow in the Christian life?
Growing in your new life
Remember: The Holy Spirit can empower you to live a Christ-directed life. As you continue to breathe spiritually (exhale - confess your sins; inhale - yield control to Christ), you will experience a deepening fellowship with God enabling you to grow in Christian maturity.
1 - WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO GROW IN CHRIST?
It means to increase in knowledge of Christ and love for Him.
2 - HOW CAN YOU GROW IN CHRIST?
Communication is vital to any relationship, including your relationship to Christ. Since communication must be two way to be effective, you need to let Him speak to you and you need to speak with Him.
There are four aspects of communication that will help you grow in your relationship with Christ as you walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. They are:
God communicates with you through the Bible, revealing His character and His wisdom
You communicate with God through prayer, sharing your thoughts, your needs and your desire to do His will.
You communicate with Christians (fellowship), gaining from their experience and helping them through yours.
"The Greek word for fellowship, koinonia means "sharing in common". We need desperately to share our Christian experience with others who love God and walk with Him, and likewise allow them to share with us. The church where we can meet other Christians and hear God's Word is God's appointed place for Christians to meet. Bible studies and meetings on campus are also extremely helpful."
-Dr. Bill Bright
You can communicate with non-Christians by witnessing - sharing about your relationship with Christ.
SUMMARY: Read 1 Corinthians 3:6,7. God is the source of your growth. You cannot develop spiritual maturity just by “trying real hard”. As you read the Bible, pray, tell people about Christ and spend time with other believers, God will be at work in you producing fruitfulness and maturity.
3 - WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT AS YOU GROW IN CHRIST?
REMEMBER, God loves you unconditionally, just the way you are. His boundless love toward you is not dependent upon the amount of your growth.
4- WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?
Set aside time and a place for daily personal Bible study and prayer. Join a Bible study group where you can enjoy fellowship with others who are also learning more about this new life in Christ. Remember to talk to someone about Christ this week.
Your new life in Relationships
As you grow in your new relationship with God, He will reveal His character and His will. The Holy Spirit enables us to live a life which reflects both.
A father will tell his child not to touch a hot stove top. He does so not because he wants to squash his child's curiosity or take away her fun. Rather, he gives the prohibition because he knows that the stove will burn his child. His motivation is to protect his child from harm as well as provide safety. Just as this is true with earthly fathers, so it is true in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. God's guidelines for relationships are an expression of his love.
1 - GOD'S COMMANDS: BOTH TO PROTECT YOU & PROVIDE FOR YOU
Behind every negative command are two positive principles. One is to protect us, the other is to provide for us. In other words, when God says, "You shall not commit adultery," He is not being a cosmic killjoy, as we shall see. These are some of the ways that God's commands protect and provide for us: God protects us by giving us boundaries and limitations to our activities. They are an expression of His love and wisdom, to keep us from doing ourselves harm. Not only do his commands keep us safe from harm but they are also targeted to provide for us in specific ways
2 - WHY WAIT FOR SEX? BECAUSE GOD SAYS TO WAIT
The apostle Paul was complementing the Thessalonians on their walk with God. Because their desire was to walk with and please God, Paul was encouraging them to "excel still more". His emphasis was in the area of purity in relationships and, specifically, the sexual area.
A. God desires our comprehensive sanctification. In other words, it is His will that we develop His character in every area of our lives. Purity and holiness are part of God's character.
B. God desires Christians not to defraud each other in relationships. We defraud someone when we cause them to step outside the boundaries that God has established.
On the surface, The Bible appears to be full of negative commandments which seem imposing and dreary. However, we need to remember that God only has one motivation - love. When we understand that He always seeks what is best for us, these commands become positive.
3 - CLEAN HEART FOR A NEW START
One of the greatest mistakes people can make is to assume that since they have failed to keep God's command regarding sex, God wants nothing to do with them. That is simply not true. God is well aware of our sinful tendencies: that is why Jesus Christ came. For King David what began with a stare led not only to adultery, not only to an unwanted pregnancy but also to murder (2 Samuel 11:1-26). David really blew it. But consider what happened next.
Here are several important steps to take.
A. Confess the sin.
B. Forgive yourself
C. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.
D. Show fruits of repentance.
God's complete love and forgiveness enables us to make a clean start and live a life pleasing to Him.
4 - YOUR NEW LIFE IN RELATIONSHIPS
Our new life in relationships begins with a decision to live a life pleasing to Him.
KEYWORD: Defile - to become impure
The following will help you maintain relationships that please God.
Prayer and Bible Study
Regularly spending time with God will help you understand and live out His priorities for your life.
The Spirit-Filled Life
The Holy Spirit empowers us to live a life pleasing to God.
Our accountability to another person helps maintain our accountability to God.
Seek fellowship with godly people who support and strengthen your convictions.
As you grow in Christ, you will see how God's commandments are given with your best interest in mind. Because this is true, choosing to wait is the most rewarding decision we can make.