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This Christian Journey:

 

New Christian Study

By Walter D. Huyck Jr., D.Min.

www.thischristianjourney.com

Some have been asking for something to help new Christians establish a firm footing as they learn to live the Christian life.  I have been developing this Study and post it here for any who may need encouragement.  

It would probably be best for you to find someone to do this study with you.  perhaps a Christian friend.  If you know someone, ask them to go through this study with you.  Accountability helps people to continue in the study, and a partner helps to develop healthy conversation.  Feel free to print out as many copies of this study as you feel you need.

There are Five Studies in this New Christian Series.  I suggest that you do one study a week with your study partner, follow the Devotional Guide throughout the week and then meet again to do the next study.  A Spiritual Journal is required in order to properly follow this study, you may contact me for information about where to purchase a Spiritual Journal, contact me at - whuyckjr@thischristianjourney.com

 

Week One

Christian Survival

"Being a Christian is far more than trusting Christ for salvation. "

Memory Verse - "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" John 1.12

The Struggle Begins Immediately

As a pastor I have had many opportunities to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with lost people. Many of them have chosen to accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and have experienced the "New Birth" Jesus spoke about in John chapter three. Whenever I have that privilege there are a few things I like to share with each new Christian.

First, I want them to know that just as soon as I walk away from them something is going to happen. For some it may be just a small thing. For others it may be more dramatic. None the less, it will happen. What will happen? Well, they are going to do or think something that they are going to wish they hadn't. You know, they are going to Sin, or do something they know God would not like.

No sooner than they do or say that thing the old Devil is going to come, tap them on the shoulder and say, "you see, you're not really a Christian, 'cause if you were a Christian you wouldn't have done that!"  Next thing you know the seed of doubt is sown and the new Christian begins to stumble over their own struggle with sin.

Read this Carefully. God said He would save you, He did not say He was going to make you perfect, instantaneously.

So, what is a new Christian to do? First, you must understand that this happens to virtually every New Christian. You are vulnerable because you are new to this Christian thing, and your lack of knowledge is Satan's greatest advantage. You are experiencing the same type of thing that any new employee experiences. You are making mistakes because you just simply have not been around long enough to know where the pitfalls are. Don't quit because you have made a mistake. Understand that experience comes with time, and experience will help you to avoid the mistakes in the future.

What have you been struggling with lately?

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Make a personal commitment to learn more about this Christian life in spite of the struggles you might face while you are learning. Write a brief statement reflecting your commitment right now.

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The Security of the Believer

Next, you need to understand a few basic principles that God has provided for every new believer. One of those principles is that of the security of the believer. Consider the following verse:

Romans 5.8 - But God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were ________ _________________, Christ died for us.

This means that God did not wait for us to become perfect before He saved us. No, instead, He took us just as we are. I used to have a sticker on the dash of my car that said,

"God loved me enough to take me just as I am,
but He loved me too much to leave me as I am."

That's a very important truth for every Christian to grasp. God does not expect you to be perfect, He just expects you to be honest, and to learn from your mistakes.

Here is another truth that the Bible presents to every Christian:

Hebrews 13.5 - Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will __________ leave thee, nor ____________ thee.

Does God say, "I'll let you become a Christian, but as soon as you sin I'm out of here?" No, God never says that anywhere in the Bible. What He dose say is that He is with you for the long haul. He is committed to be with you for the rest of your life, no matter what.

Have the things you have been struggling with caused you to doubt your salvation - why or why not?

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What to do with Sin

Now you may be thinking, "Ok pastor, I can accept that I'm saved no matter what. But that does not change the way I feel about the sin I've committed since I have become a Christian. I feel terrible and just want to make things right with God." That's great, because God has already provided a way for you to make things right. What a great God, not only was He prepared to take you just as you were, but He was thoughtful enough to provide a way for you to keep yourself right with Him. Look at this great truth:

1 John 1.9 - If we ____________ our sins, he is faithful and just to ______________ us our sins, and to ___________ us from all unrighteousness.

God simply asks you to confess your sins to Him, and when you do He is ready and willing to forgive and forget them. It's just as simple as talking to God, telling Him what you feel in your heart, and asking him to forgive you. One of the great truths that has transformed my life, since I have been a Christian, is the truth that lets me know that God not only wants to forgive me, but is ready to forgive me, right now! I make it a point to present my heart to God as soon as I notice that I feel that I have wronged Him. There is no point in waiting. God is ready to forgive, right now.

Pray and ask God to forgive you for anything that might try to come between you and Him.

Is there anything that others can help you pray about?

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God's Desire For You

While there are many things for you to learn as a Christian I want to share one more thing that I like to tell every New Christian. Something wonderful happened to you at the very moment that you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Actually, a number of things happened to you, but one is particularly important right now.

Read this:

John 1.12 - But as many as ___________ him, to them gave he power to ___________ the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

There are many religions that would teach you that everyone is God's child. The truth is, that everyone is not recognized by God as one of His children. Everyone is God's creation and servant, but only those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, and have received Him into their lives, are God's children.

In Galatians chapter four we are told that we have received the adoption of sons.

Look up and read Galatians 4.4-7 before continuing this study.

We were adopted by God at the moment of our salvation. Now, as God's child what can we expect? We can expect the same things from our Heavenly Father that we would expect from our mortal father.

         God says that He will provide our most basic needs (Matt 7.7-11).

         God said He would chastise or discipline us when it is necessary (Heb 12.3-15).

         God said He will do what is necessary to teach us and to make us into the mature Christians we need to be, as gold tried in the fire (1 Pet 1.6-7).

You will learn to understand each of these truths in time and many more as well.  However, the greatest truth for you to understand right now is that God has a purpose for this relationship with you right now.

Consider these verses carefully:

John 17.20-21 - Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be ___________; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be ________ in ________: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

The truth is, God wants to be one with you. He wants to have a personal and intimate relationship with you right now. Remember, Jesus said, that if you would open the door to your heart He would come into you, and He did. Why?  So you can go to heaven and see Him someday?  Sure, but God also wants you to have a personal relationship with Him right now. It' not just that you might be a good person and find religion. It is so that you might have ". . . a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." (Prov 18.24) That friend is Jesus Christ.

What an incredible truth to understand. The awesome God of the universe has adopted you as His child and desires to have a personal relationship with you. No matter how unworthy you feel, this is His desire, and nothing is impossible with God. That's how much He loves you.

What might keep you from believing that God really wants to be one with you?

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Your assignment for the next week:

1.      Read your Bible everyday.  Start in the book of St. John and read one chapter every morning.  Before you begin reading each day, pray and ask God to help you to understand some of what you read.  You won't understand everything the first time you read it, but don't let this discourage you, just take what God gives you and think about it. 

2.      Read the Daily Devotion in the devotion guide that accompanies this study.  As you read the daily devotion consider the Spiritual Insight and Prayer at the bottom of the page.  Try to understand how the Spiritual Insight and Prayer were derived from the devotion on the page.  Next week, you will be writing these Insights and prayer, so pay special attention to what you study.  Underline important things that you want to remember from the devotions you read.

3.      Attend Church Sunday and take Sermon Notes in your Spiritual Journal.  Try to hear and record the preachers major points and thoughts and record what meaning the sermon may have had for you personally.

4.      Memorize the Memory Verse - John 1.12 and be prepared to quote it to your Study partner next week.  It helps to write the verse on a small piece of paper and carry it in your packet throughout the week.

 

Back to New Christians Bible Study contents page

 

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