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Dr. Jerry PrevoNow that You're Saved . . . What's Next?

Your decision to receive Christ as Savior is the most important decision you will ever make. There is no greater joy in all the world than to know Christ personally, to know your sins are forgiven and to have peace in your soul. You have been born again! Born of the Spirit! A miracle has taken place in your life. You are a new creature: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new." (II Corinthians 5:17) God, the Creator of the universe, has become your Father. Now for the first time, you are considered a child of God and Heaven is your eternal home.

Although your decision to become a Christian is great and important, it is not all. It is but the beginning of a new life in Christ. When you were saved, you were not immediately a full grown Christian, but a "babe in Christ." As a baby Christian, you are commanded to "grow" (II Peter 3:18). Everyone loves babies, but no one wants them to stay in the nursery. Only by growing spiritually can you please God and glorify Him in your life.

In order to grow to maturity as a Christian, you must be loyal and obedient to the commands of Christ. He said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." (John 14:15). Some of these requirements are listed here in order that you may know what our Lord expects of His disciples.

1. Be Baptized
Baptism is the first step of obedience for a new Christian. The first public act in the ministry of Jesus was His baptism by John the Baptist in the river Jordan (Matthew 3:13-17). The New Testament teaches that baptism is an outward sign of an inward change (Romans 6:4). It is a public confession and testimony of what has already taken place in your heart. Baptism is a burial and a resurrection. We are buried with Christ (immersed in water) in the likeness of His death, and we are raised with Christ in the likeness of His resurrection (Romans 6:4). Not only does baptism picture the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, it also pictures the burial of the old sinful life and the resurrection of a new life in Christ. As a believer, you should be baptized not in order to be saved, but because you are saved (Acts 8:35-40). It is a witness of your faith in Christ.

2. Read Your Bible Daily
Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4). Just as you need physical food in order to sustain physical life, you need spiritual food (the Bible) to maintain spiritual life. We suggest you begin with the New Testament by reading the Gospel of John or Mark. Follow this with the book of Acts. Next, read Paul's Epistle to the Romans. The entire New Testament can be read in three months by reading three chapters a day. By reading three chapters of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament each day, the whole Bible can be read in one year. Set aside a few moments at the beginning of each day for Bible study. Look for promises to claim, commandments to obey, examples to follow and sins to avoid. Memorize key verses such as John 3:16. Your growth as a Christian will be directly related to your personal application of the Word of God.

3. Pray Every Day
Jesus said, "Men ought always to pray." (Luke 18:1). In another place we read, "Pray without ceasing." (I Thessalonians 5:17). You should form the habit of praying daily for definite people and specific things. A prayer list may prove helpful in making your prayers more meaningful. There is nothing too great and nothing too small to take to the Lord in prayer. Thank God for all He has done for you. Ask Him for the strength and help you need to live for Jesus Christ.

4. Witness For Christ
The greatest work in the world is soul winning, and every Christian can and should bring others to the Savior. Jesus said, "Ye shall be a witness unto Me." (Acts 1:8). Try to speak naturally and cheerfully every day to someone about Christ. The Bible says, "He that winneth souls is wise." (Proverbs 11:30). Remember that you witness by what you do as well as by what you say. At home, at work, at school, there should be something about you that's different - love, patience, understanding. Then tell someone about Jesus Christ who made the difference.

5. Tithe Your Income
Tithing (giving one-tenth) of your income is the Biblical method of supporting God's work. The Bible tells us, "Upon the first day of the week (Sunday) let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him." (I Corinthians 16:2). God says to bring the tithe into the "storehouse," meaning the local church. Your church is your storehouse of spiritual food, blessing and service, so this is the proper place to give your tithe. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of Heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." (Malachi 3:10). The right use of money is a test of character. If you are dishonest to God in money matters, you cannot grow spiritually.

6. Attend Church Regularly
The Christian life is not just our own private affair. It is to be a family affair in which we enjoy the fellowship with our Heavenly Father and with each other. Every Christian should unite with a local, Bible believing church and share its worship, its fellowship, and its witness. If Jesus loved the church enough to die for it (Ephesians 5:25), this is sufficient reason for us to love and support it. Regular church attendance should be as much a habit as eating. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (Hebrews 10:25) is a clear command of the word of God. At the church services you will hear God's word read, explained, and applied to your everyday problems of life. God has ordained (set aside) men to minister and preach His Word. Every Christian, young and old, needs the inspiration and information gained in a church worship service. If you try to live the Christian life alone, failure will result. In unity there is strength. Through the church you can render service to a lost and dying world.

There is far more to the Christian life than what is included here, but if these initial steps are carefully followed you will find yourself growing more and more in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Please accept this personal invitation to worship with us at our church so that we may help you continue your growth as a Christian. If God should lead you to do so, we know you will find a friendly welcome here. Most of all, we hope Christ will be made real to you through our teaching and preaching.

Dr. Jerry Prevo, Pastor