on the occasion of
The grass withers
and the ?owers fade,
but the word of our
God stands forever.
first steps for new christians
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Carol Stream, Illinois
Greg Laurie, General Editor
Karen Dagher, Harvest Ministries Editor
Danny Bond, Harvest Ministries Assistant Editor
Steve Benson, Tyndale House Editor
Ron Kaufmann and Timothy R. Botts, Graphic Designers
Greg Laurie is not only an evangelist, author, and pastor but is the president of Harvest Ministries as well. Harvest
Ministries sponsors Harvest Crusades. These crusades are public evangelistic events intended to present the
message of Jesus Christ to people in a nonreligious environment. Begun in 1990, Harvest Crusades are known for
their informal atmosphere, contemporary music, and simple, straightforward messages by Greg Laurie. If you
would like more information on Harvest Ministries and/or their crusades, write to Harvest Ministries, P.O. Box 4000,
Riverside, CA 92514-4000. Or call (951) 687-6595. On the Internet, type http://www.harvest.org.
New Believer??™s Bible copyright ?© 1996, 2006 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
New Believer??™s notes and reading tracks copyright ?© 1996 by Greg Laurie. All rights reserved.
New Believers Bible Compact, first published in 2009, is an edition of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation.
Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ?© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. All rights reserved.
The text of the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, may be quoted in any form (written, visual, electronic, or audio)
up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided that
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a complete book of the Bible is not quoted.
When the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, is quoted, one of the following credit lines must appear on the
copyright page or title page of the work:
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ?© 1996, 2004, 2007 by
Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188.
All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation,
copyright ?© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers,
Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ?© 1996, 2004,
2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream,
Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
When quotations from the NLT text are used in nonsalable media, such as church bulletins, orders of service,
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Publication of any commentary or other Bible reference work produced for commercial sale that uses the New
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Printed in the United States of America
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Welcome!. . . A7
A Note to Readers. . . A55
Introduction to the New Living Translation. . . A57
Holy Bible, New Living Translation Bible Translation Team. . . A67
how you can know God
What Is Missing in Our Lives . . . A11
The Solution: Jesus Christ. . . A13
We Put Jesus on the Cross. . . A15
The Response: Accept God??™s Offer. . . A16
What God Has Done for You. . . A19
Adopted and Assured. . . A20
off and running
Who Is God. . . A23
Who Is Jesus. . . A24
Who Is the Holy
Spirit. . . A24
Who Is the Devil. . . A25
What Are Angels. . . A26
What Are Demons. . . A27
What Is Heaven. . . A27
What Is Hell. . . A28
Love. . . A29
Forgiveness. . . A29
Purity. . . A30
Perseverance. . . A31
Honesty and Integrity. . . A32
Faith and Works. . . A32
Discernment. . . A33
Peace. . . A33
Joy. . . A34
Accountability. . . A35
Study the Bible. . . A37
Pray. . . A38
Look For and Attend the
Right Church. . . A38
Obey God. . . A39
Resist Temptation. . . A40
Live in God??™s Power. . . A40
Share Your Faith. . . A41
Seek God??™s Will. . . A42
Live as a Disciple. . . A42
Give to God. . . A43
Have Courage in Trials. . . A44
Marriage. . . A45
Children. . . A46
Priorities. . . A47
Prayer Time. . . A48
Conversation. . . A48
Relationships. . . A49
Responsibility. . . A49
Job Performance. . . A50
Attitude toward Self. . . A51
List of Big Questions . . . A53
Genesis. . .3
Exodus. . .51
Leviticus. . .89
Numbers. . .117
Deuteronomy. . .155
Joshua. . .187
Judges. . .211
Ruth. . .233
1 Samuel. . .237
2 Samuel. . .265
1 Kings. . .289
2 Kings. . .317
1 Chronicles. . .345
2 Chronicles. . .373
Ezra. . .405
Nehemiah. . .415
Esther. . .429
Job. . .437
Psalms. . .465
Proverbs. . .541
Ecclesiastes. . .571
Song of Songs. . .579
Isaiah. . .585
Jeremiah. . .647
Lamentations. . .705
Ezekiel. . .713
Daniel. . .757
Hosea. . .773
Joel. . .783
Amos. . .787
Obadiah. . .795
Jonah. . .797
Micah. . .799
Nahum. . .805
Habakkuk. . .809
Zephaniah. . .813
Haggai. . .817
Zechariah. . .819
Malachi. . .829
Ephesians. . .1063
Philippians. . .1073
Colossians. . .1079
1 Thessalonians. . .1085
2 Thessalonians. . .1091
1 Timothy. . .1095
2 Timothy. . .1101
Titus. . .1105
Philemon. . .1109
Hebrews. . .1111
James. . .1125
1 Peter. . .1131
2 Peter. . .1137
1 John. . .1141
2 John. . .1149
3 John. . .1151
Jude. . .1153
Revelation. . .1155
Matthew. . .837
Mark. . .875
Luke. . .897
John. . .937
Acts. . .965
Romans. . .1003
1 Corinthians. . .1025
2 Corinthians. . .1045
Galatians. . .1057
CHARTS AND INDEXES
How to Study the Bible. . .1173
The One Year New Testament Reading Plan. . .1177
52 Great Bible Stories. . .1183
Memory Verses. . .1191
Prophecies about Jesus. . .1199
Glossary of Christian Terms. . .1201
Congratulations! You are holding in your hands the best-selling book
in the history of humanity??”the Bible. It was given to us by God thousands of years ago. Although the Bible has been around for some time,
the wisdom and knowledge contained within are still relevant today. In
fact, everything you need to know about God and life is found in the
pages of this book. It is the ???user??™s manual of life??? that we all have been
The Bible does not just teach us about life, though. It also shows us
how to come into a personal relationship with the very God who inspired
this book. This particular Bible contains features that have been specially
designed to help you understand, discover, and deepen the personal relationship that God wants to have with you.
Perhaps you are not yet a believer in Jesus Christ, but you want to know
more about Christianity. You may even want to be a believer, but you just
don??™t know how to become one. In the New Believer??™s Bible, you will find
a section titled ???How You Can Know God??? (page A11). Here, you will
learn how to establish a life-changing relationship with Jesus.
Maybe you have just started in the Christian faith. You are a new
believer. Here you will find out how to lay a good foundation for your
faith and walk with God in the years ahead.
You may even be a believer who is mature in the faith. Here you will be
refreshed and reminded of the essentials of the Christian faith and life.
THE MAIN FEATURES
The New Believer??™s Bible contains four reading tracks: Cornerstones,
First Steps, Off and Running, and Big Questions. Each reading track
(except Big Questions) is composed of two kinds of notes: up-front and
in-text. The up-front notes appear before the Bible text and are made up
of one to two paragraphs and two to eight numbered points that refer
you to Scripture passages and their accompanying in-text notes. (Big
Questions is composed of an up-front list of questions and the page
numbers you can find them on, and the in-text notes that answer those
Reading Track One: Cornerstones: Cornerstones??”
blocks of stone??”were traditionally used to start a building??™s foundation. Likewise, the Cornerstones reading
track helps you to begin to lay a solid foundation for your
faith. Here you will learn about God??™s character, Jesus??™
life, and the Holy Spirit??™s role in the lives of believers. Cornerstones
also contains notes on the essential Christian character traits that are
developed and nurtured by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Some of those traits are love, forgiveness, purity, honesty, wisdom,
peace, and joy.
Reading Track Two: First Steps: The phrase first steps
brings to mind the image of a young child taking his or
her first unassisted steps. Like this young child, new
believers in Christ need to learn how to walk all over
again, so to speak. That is because the Christian life for
most people is a completely new way of living. To help you learn to live
this new life, the First Steps reading track gives you valuable building
blocks for growing in your faith. Here you will discover the importance
and ???how to??? of studying the Bible, praying, finding the right church,
resisting temptation, and seeking God??™s will for your life.
Reading Track Three: Off and Running: ???How does
God??™s Word apply to my everyday life??? This is one of the
most widely asked questions about the Bible today. The
Off and Running reading track answers this question.
Here you will discover how to put your faith into action.
You will see what the Bible has to say about important topics like
marriage, parenting, priorities, conversation, and job performance. By
helping you apply biblical principles to these aspects of your life, Off
and Running takes you to the next level of the Christian life??”living it
day to day.
Reading Track Four: Big Questions: Life often presents
us with difficult situations that cause us to ask hard
questions. For instance, you may wonder how a good God
could let something bad??”like cancer??”happen to you. Or
you may wonder why Jesus Christ is the only way to God.
Aren??™t other religions just as good In the Big Questions reading track,
you will find out what the Bible has to say about tough issues. Everything
from alternative lifestyles to the second coming of Christ is covered here.
At the back of the New Believer??™s Bible you will find several features that
will help you understand the Bible and your faith better. These features
??? How to Study the Bible??”a practical way for you to read through the
Bible and a list of questions to ask yourself as you read.
??? One Year New Testament Reading Plan??”an outline for reading the
New Testatment in five minutes a day in one year.
??? 52 Great Bible Stories??”a list of well-known Bible stories, where you
can find them, and the main lesson you can get out of them.
??? Memory Verses??”a list of key Bible verses to commit to memory.
??? Prophecies about Jesus??”a list of Old Testament passages that contain
prophecies about Jesus, and the New Testament references that record
his fulfillment of those prophecies.
??? Glossary of Christian Terms??”a quick-reference guide to help you
understand the meanings of words like atonement, justification,
redemption, and sanctification.
HOW TO USE THE READING TRACKS
The New Believer??™s Bible is easy to use. Simply turn to page A23 and
begin reading the ???Who Is God??? up-front note in the ???Cornerstones???
reading track. Look up the Scripture passages and in-text notes referred
to at the end of this note. After you have read all the Scripture passages
and in-text notes for ???Who Is God??? move on to the next up-front note
(???Who Is Jesus???) and begin the process over again.
You can read one up-front note and its Scripture passages and in-text
notes a day. Or, if you prefer, browse through the table of contents and
choose the topic(s) that interests you the most for your daily reading.
Colossians 3:16 says, ???Let the message about Christ, in all its richness,
fill your lives.??? God wants his Word to permeate every area of your life??”
your home, your business, your play time as well as your prayer time.
So open your Bible and your heart, and God will speak to you from these
pages. Don??™t let anything keep you from spending time each day in
h o w y o u c a n k n o w GOD
what is missing
in our lives
Purpose, meaning, a reason for living??”these are all
things we desire and search for in life. Despite steps
each one of us takes to find purpose and meaning in
life, we still feel empty, unfulfilled. That is because
there is a spiritual emptiness in each of our lives. We
each have a hole in our heart, a spiritual vacuum deep within our soul??”a ???Godshaped blank.??? Possessions won??™t fill this hole, nor will success. Relationships
alone cannot satisfy this emptiness, and morality, in and of itself, falls miserably
short of occupying this space. In fact, even religion cannot fill the void in our
There is only one way to effectively fill that void. This way will not only help us
to have a life that is full and rich on this earth, but??”more important??”will give us
the absolute hope of spending eternity in the presence of God. Before we can
truly appreciate this good news, though, we need to understand the bad news,
which is a serious problem we all have.
t h e p r o b l e m : s i n The Bible clearly identifies our serious problem as
sin. Sin is not just an act but the actual nature of our being. In other words, we
are not sinners because we sin. Rather, we sin because we are sinners! We are
born with a nature to do wrong. King David, an Old Testament Israelite ruler,
wrote, ???For I was born a sinner??”yes, from the moment my mother conceived
me??? (Psalm 51:5). Because we are born sinners, sinning comes to all of us
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
naturally. That is why it is futile to think that the answer to all of life??™s problems
comes from ???within.??? According to the Bible, the problem is within! Scripture
tells us, ???The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately
wicked. Who really knows how bad it is??? (Jeremiah 17:9).
We are not basically good??”we are basically sinful. This sinfulness spills out
into everything we do. Every problem we experience in our society today can be
traced back to our refusal to live God??™s way. Clear back to the Garden of Eden,
Adam made his choice, and he suffered the consequences of it, setting the
pattern that all humanity would follow. The Bible explains, ???When Adam sinned,
sin entered the entire world. Adam??™s sin brought death, so death spread to
everyone, for everyone sinned. . . . Yes, Adam??™s one sin brings condemnation for
everyone??? (Romans 5:12, 18).
???That??™s not fair!??? you may protest. Why should we suffer because of what
someone else has done Yet, given the opportunity, each one of us would have
done the same thing as Adam. In fact, not a single day passes that we do not
face the same test that was set before Adam. God has given us the freedom to
choose between two separate paths: the path that leads to life and the path that
leads to death. The Bible says, ???Today, I have given you the choice between life
and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to
witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and
your descendants might live!??? (Deuteronomy 30:19).
w i t h o u t a l e g t o s t a n d o n Someone may say, ???But I live a
good life. I try to be kind and considerate to others. I live by the Ten Commandments.??? But the truth of the matter is that the Ten Commandments, or the law, as
they are called in the Bible, were not given to make us good but to show us how
bad we are. The Bible tells us, ???No one can ever be made right with God by doing
what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are??? (Romans
3:20). The purpose of the law is to make us realize how sinful we are. You might
say that God??™s law was given to ???shut our mouths??? and show us that we desperately need his help and forgiveness for our terminal condition as sinners.
Look at the passages below to get a better understanding of the nature and
seriousness of sin.
1. We Have All Missed the Mark (see Romans 3:23, page 1006). Romans
3:23 says, we have all sinned. For those who would claim to be the sole
exception to this eternal truth, verse ten of this chapter plainly says, ???No one
is righteous??”not even one??? (Romans 3:10). Another word for righteous is
good. The word righteous means, ???One who is as he or she ought to be.???
When the Bible says that no one is righteous, or good, it is not so much
referring to behavior but to inner character.
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
What exactly is ???God??™s glorious standard??? that Romans 3:23 says we have
failed to meet God??™s ???glorious standard??? is absolute perfection. Jesus said,
???But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect??? (Matthew
5:48). In other words, anyone who is not as good as God is not acceptable
One definition of sin, derived from the Greek word hamartia, is to
???miss the mark.??? As far as the mark of perfection goes, we miss it by a
mile. Although our sinful nature makes it impossible for us to live up to
God??™s standard, we cannot blame sin on our nature alone. Sin is also a
2. Sin Is a Deliberate Act (see Ephesians 2:1-3, page 1064). Another word
for sins in Ephesians 2:1 is transgressions or trespasses. This word speaks of
a lapse or deviation from truth. In contrast to simply ???missing the mark,??? this
is a deliberate action. Because sin is a deliberate action, we cannot blame
our sin on our society or our environment or our mental or physical state.
Everyone has chosen to do what was wrong. If we protest this point, ???we are
only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth??? (1 John 1:8).
3. The Ultimate Penalty for Sin Is Death (see Romans 6:23, page 1011).
According to the Bible, we have offended a Holy God. We have not done this
once or twice, but so many times that we are unable to keep count. Romans
6:23 says, ???The wages of sin is death. . . .??? Wages are something you are paid
for work rendered. In other words, you earn your wages. Because we have all
repeatedly sinned, we have earned the penalty of death, which is eteral
torment and punishment in a place called hell.
Amid all this talk about sin and death, there is some good news. God has
given us a way to escape the penalty of our sin. He has made it possible for
us to have a relationship with him and enjoy the hope of eternal life without
God understood our problem and knew that we could
do nothing about it. Because God loves us, he sent his
own Son, Jesus Christ, to earth to bridge the chasm of
sin that separates us from him.
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
w h y J e s u s c a n b r i d g e t h e g a p There has never been anyone
like Jesus. For starters, Jesus was not conceived in the womb of his mother
through natural means. Rather, he was supernaturally conceived in the womb of
a young virgin named Mary. Because of his supernatural conception, Jesus, who
is wholly God, also became wholly human.
Though Jesus is God, he chose to lay aside the privileges of his deity to live on
earth as a man. The Bible, describing the sacrifice Christ made in becoming a
man, says that Jesus ???gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position
of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form
he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal??™s death on a cross???
(Philippians 2:7-8). It is extremely important to note that Jesus did not cease to
be God when he came to earth. He simply laid aside his divine privileges and
walked the earth as a man. In doing so, he was personally able to experience the
gamut of human emotions, ranging from happiness to deep sorrow. He felt what
it was like to be tired, cold, and hungry.
Moreover, he came to this earth with a clear objective in mind: to bridge that
gap between us and God.
When the Israelites of the Old Testament sinned, they would have the high
priest go into the Temple and offer an animal sacrifice to God to atone for their
sins. In a symbolic sense, this was a way of putting one??™s sins on the animal,
which stood in the place of the guilty person. The Bible teaches, ???Without the
shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness??? (Hebrews 9:22).
The sacrificial rituals carried out by the Israelites in the Old Testament
foreshadowed what Jesus would do when he came to this earth. He took the
sin of the world upon himself when he hung on the cross so many years ago.
Numerous Old Testament prophecies pointed not only to his birth and life
but also to his death, including the way in which he would die.
Jesus knew from the beginning that he had come expressly to die for the sins
of humanity. He also knew that this sacrifice would be made on a Roman cross.
He began his final journey to the cross of Calvary at a place called Caesarea
Philippi, and he often spoke of his impending death with his disciples. Scripture
records, ???From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was
necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible
things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of
religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from
the dead??? (Matthew 16:21).
He was eventually arrested on false charges after Judas Iscariot, one of his
own disciples, betrayed him. But it was no accident. If humanity was going to
be put in touch with God and have the barrier that separated them removed,
something drastic had to be done. In essence, with one hand Jesus took hold
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
of a Holy God, and with the other hand he took hold of the sinful human race.
As crude nails were pounded into his hands, he bridged the gap for us!
We must not forget, however, that three days after his crucifixion, Jesus rose
from the dead! If it is true that ???you can??™t keep a good man down,??? then it is even
truer that you can??™t keep the ???God-man??? down
we put Jesus
on the cross
The necessity of the death of Jesus Christ on the
cross shows just how radical our situation was as
fallen people. It??™s been said that you can tell the
depth of a well by how much rope is lowered. When
we look at ???how much rope was lowered??? from heaven,
we realize how grave our situation really was.
For that reason, don??™t blame the people of that day for putting Jesus on the
cross. We are just as guilty as they. In reality, it was not the Roman soldiers
who put him on the cross, nor was it the Jewish leaders: it was our sins that
made it necessary for Jesus to volunteer for this torturous and humiliating
Read the verses and notes below to see exactly what Jesus did for us.
1. The Greatest Demonstration of Love (see Romans 5:6-8, page 1009).
Jesus did not die for us while we were his friends but while we were his
enemies, opposing him by our sinfulness. Yet, in spite of all of this, God
demonstrated his love for us by dying on the cross. In this verse, the apostle
Paul explains that Jesus did not simply die for humanity as a whole but that
he died for us as individuals. Elsewhere, Paul writes, ???[Christ] loved me and
gave himself for me??? (Galatians 2:20).
Whenever you are tempted to doubt God??™s love for you, take a long look at
the cross on which Jesus died. Then realize that, for all practical purposes, it
was not nails that held him to the cross, but love.
2. Forsaken That We Might Be Forgiven (see Luke 23:32-49, page 935).
Many of us have heard this story at some point in our lives. Yet the significance behind this heart-wrenching scene is often missed or misunderstood.
This was not simply some ???good teacher??? being crucified for his beliefs. It
was God in human form who hung on that cross, bridging the gap between
sinful people and a holy God.
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
Matthew??™s Gospel tells us that when Jesus hung on that cross, he cried out,
???My God, my God, why have you abandoned me??? (Matthew 27:46). Many
Bible scholars believe that those words marked the precise moment at
which God placed the sins of the world upon his Son. The Bible, speaking
of God, says, ???You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on
wickedness??? (Habakkuk 1:13, NKJV). For that reason, the holy Father had to
???turn his face??? and pour out his wrath upon his own Son. On the cross, Jesus
received the wages that were due us. He was not heard that we might be
heard. The ear of God was closed to Jesus for a time that it might never be
closed to us.
3. Christ, the Sole Mediator (see 1 Timothy 2:5-6, page 1096). Why is
there only one mediator who is qualified to bridge the gap between God and
people Haven??™t there been other religious leaders who have claimed to have
the way to God Haven??™t some of them also died as a result of their message
While the answers to these questions may be yes, the truth is that not one
of these other leaders was fully God and fully human. That is why Jesus is
uniquely qualified to deal with sin. Jesus said, ???I am the way, the truth, and
the life. No one can come to the Father except through me??? (John 14:6). Acts
4:12 tells us, ???There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name
under heaven by which we must be saved.??? And, most important, Jesus Christ
rose from the dead!
Though it is true that you must believe Jesus died on the cross for your sins
in order to receive eternal life and be a true Christian, there is still something
else you must do.
accept God??™s offer
To know Jesus Christ personally and have your sins
forgiven, you must believe that you are a sinner separated from God and that your only hope is Jesus Christ,
the Son of God, who came and died for your sins. To
stop here, however, would be to stop short of salvation.
There are two things you must now do to enter into a relationship with the
God from whom you have been separated.
1. Turn From Your Sins. As Jesus began his public ministry, his first message
was ???Repent of your sins??? (Mark 1:15). In essence, Jesus was telling the
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
people to repent??”to acknowledge their sinning, change their minds, and
change the direction of their lives.
Look at it this way. In the past, we have been blinded by our sins, causing
us to run from God. As we repent, we do a ???U-turn??? and start running toward
him. It is not enough just to be sorry for our sins. We must also change our
lifestyle, for the Bible teaches that ???The kind of sorrow God wants us to
experience leads us away from sin??? (2 Corinthians 7:10). In other words, if
you are really sorry for something, it will result in a change in your actions.
The apostle Paul summed up this change succinctly when he quoted Jesus,
who had said that people must ???turn from darkness to light and from the
power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins
and be given a place among God??™s people, who are set apart by faith in me???
You see, there are some things only God can do and some things only you
can do. Only God can remove your sins and give you the gift of eternal life,
but only you can turn from your sins and receive Jesus as your Savior. That
brings up the second thing you must do to respond to God??™s offer.
2. Believe in Jesus Christ and Receive Him into Your Life. Having seen
the enormity of your sin and decided to turn from it, you then must believe
in and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Becoming a Christian,
however, is far more than following a creed or trying to live by certain
standards. Jesus said that you must be ???born again,??? or more literally, ???born
from above??? (John 3:3). This spiritual rebirth happens when we personally
believe in Jesus Christ, receive him by inviting him into our lives, and turn
from our sins. In other words, we ask Jesus to come and take residence in
our lives, making the changes he deems necessary. A person must take this
all-important step in order to become a child of God.
Notice that this offer is yours for the asking, and it is free. You don??™t have
to work for it, trying to clean up your life before you make this life-changing
decision. The Bible says, ???The free gift of God is eternal life through Christ
Jesus our Lord??? (Romans 6:23).
Being a Christian also means having a relationship with the living God. In
Revelation 3:20, Jesus said, ???Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear
my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together
as friends.??? To better understand the meaning of this verse, it is important
to understand the culture at the time it was written. Eating together in Bible
times was a long, drawn-out affair. People would not sit on chairs behind
tables in a formal setting as we do, but they would sit on the floor, reclining
on pillows around a low table. The relaxed atmosphere made meals a time
when you would not only satisfy your appetite but also receive a gratifying
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
serving of enjoyable table conversation. You would share your heart and life
with those who sat beside you.
Consequently, when Jesus says that he will ???share a meal??? with us, it implies
intimacy, closeness, and friendship. He offers this to us, but we must first
???hear him calling??? us.
To hear God calling us, we must know how he speaks. One way in which
God speaks to us is described in the Bible as a ???still, small voice.??? This could
be described in another way as that tug you might have felt on your heart
from the Holy Spirit showing you your need for Jesus. He may even be
speaking to you right now! It is at that point that you must ???open the door.???
Only you can do that. Jesus will not force his way in.
Receiving Jesus Christ into Your Heart. If you are ready to turn from
your sins and believe in Jesus Christ so that you can receive the forgiveness of
sin and the hope of eternal life, then take a moment to bow your head and pray
a prayer like this one right now:
God, I??™m sorry for my sin. I turn from it right now. I thank you for
sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sin.
Jesus, I ask you to come into my heart and life right now. Be my Lord,
Savior, and friend. Help me to follow you all the days of my life as your
Thank you for forgiving and receiving me right now. Thank you that
my sin is forgiven and that I am going to heaven. In Jesus??™ name I pray,
Rededicating Your Life to Jesus Christ. Perhaps you are already a Christian but you have strayed from Jesus Christ. You have been a prodigal son or
daughter. God will forgive you right now if you will return to him. He tells us
in Scripture, ???My wayward children . . . come back to me, and I will heal your
wayward hearts??? (Jeremiah 3:22). If you would like to return to God and
rededicate your life to him right now, you may want to pray something like this:
God, I am sorry for my sin. I am sorry that I have strayed from you.
I ask you to forgive me now as I repent of my sin. I don??™t want to live
like a prodigal any longer.
Renew and revive me as I once again follow you as my God. Thank
you for your forgiveness. In Jesus??™ name I pray, amen.
Whether you prayed to make a first time commitment or a recommitment, you
have made the right decision. God has forgiven and received you if you really
meant it. Know that your relationship with Jesus Christ will bring radical and
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
dramatic changes in your life. Describing this, the Bible says, ???Anyone who
belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has
begun!??? (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now that is good news! But more importantly, God
has changed your eternal destiny. Instead of fearing an eternal punishment in
a place called hell, you will spend peaceful eternity in his presence in heaven.
Read the next section to see what else God has done for you now that you have
taken this step.
what God has done
What actually happens when Jesus Christ comes into
your life First, he saves you from your sins and the
punishment you deserve as a result of them??”eternity
in hell. This is called salvation, or regeneration, and
has to do with what takes place in your heart: God
gives you new life.
Second, he justifies you. Justification has to do with your standing before God
and includes the complete removal and forgiveness of your sins. Think about it!
When you receive Jesus Christ into your life, you are completely forgiven. God??™s
Word tells us, ???Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man
Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared
right with God [justified]??”something the law of Moses could never do??? (Acts
13:38-39). Speaking of our sins, God says, ???I will never again remember [your]
sins and lawless deeds??? (Hebrews 10:17). What a wonderful promise!
Justification, however, is more than just the forgiveness and removal of the
guilt and condemnation that accompany sin. While God has removed your
sins and forgiven you of them, he has also placed the perfect righteousness
of Jesus Christ ???into your account,??? so to speak. You don??™t have to earn it or
try to achieve it. It is yours as a gracious gift from the God who loves you. To
understand justification more fully, read the following Scripture passages and
1. God Promises Us His Gracious Forgiveness (see 1 John 1:9, page
1141). The word confess means ???to say the same thing as another??? or ???to
agree with.??? To confess means that we are agreeing with God about our sin.
We are seeing it as he does. We know that God hates sin. Therefore, to truly
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
confess our sin means that we essentially feel the same way God feels about
what we have done. After committing that sin, we will be determined to put
it out of our lives and never do it again. That is true confession in the biblical
sense. The reason many believers are not experiencing the forgiveness and
joy they desire is that they have not yet truly confessed! Once we have met
God??™s conditions, however, we will know his gracious forgiveness. We may
not ???feel??? forgiven, but we are. We have his word on it.
2. God Has Balanced Our Moral and Spiritual Budget (see Romans
5:1-2, page 1009). When God makes us right in his sight, he does so by
placing all of the righteousness of Christ to our credit. This balances the
moral and spiritual budget for us. We now have sufficient ???capital of
character??? to get on with the business of living.
Up to this point, salvation has been God??™s responsibility. From this point on, it
continues to be his responsibility except that we are responsible for the wise investment of our ???capital of character?????”that is, we are responsible for living as
God desires us to. It is as if your checking account were empty, but then someone made a $100,000 deposit. What you do with that money is up to you.
3. God Calls Us His Children (see Luke 15:11-32, page 922). This incredible
story illustrates what happens when a person turns from sin and returns to
God. First, notice that the father in the story did not give this prodigal son
what he deserved??”banishment. In the same way, we do not receive from
God what we deserve??”punishment for sin. Second, the young man was given
what he did not deserve??”the rights and privileges offull sonship. Likewise,
although we are not worthy to be called children of God, he calls us sons and
daughters. In summary, he doesn??™t give us what we deserve (judgment). He
gives us what we don??™t deserve (forgiveness and justification).
Speaking of sons and daughters, read on to see how God has adopted you into
adopted and assured
We have looked at what happens when we are
regenerated (when Christ comes into our lives) and
when we are justified (when God forgives our sin and
puts his righteousness in its place). Now let us look at
another incredible thing God has done for us. He has
adopted us into his family as his children!
Adoption means ???to be given the rights of a son.??? In
HOW YOU CAN KNOW GOD
essence, you have been given the full rights of sonship in the family of God as
though you were born that way. The story of the Prodigal Son illustrates this
(Luke 15:11-32). The wayward son thought that after leaving home, he would
no longer be considered a son but would instead be treated as a hired servant.
Much to his surprise, when he made the long journey home, his father welcomed him and smothered him with kisses. He then gave orders to bring out
the best robe and to put a ring on his finger, signifying full rights as a son. That
is exactly what God has done for you! Take some time now to examine three
Scripture passages that assure you of your adoption into God??™s family.
1. God Disciplines His Children (see Hebrews 12:5-9, page 1122).
Recognizing you are now a child of God is not some distant hope but a
present reality. One of the ways God will remind you of this is by correcting
you and bringing you back into line like a loving father when you stray away
Before we were believers, we may have felt no sense of guilt for certain
things we did or did not do. But now that we are Christians, God??™s Holy Spirit
shows us the way to live, which includes correcting us. He does this not
because he hates us but because he loves us as his own dear children.
Understanding this truth should help us in the way we behave.
2. You Have an Approachable Father (see Galatians 4:6, page 1060). The
Aramaic word translated ???dear Father??? is abba, which is a word of affection
that a young child would use endearingly toward his or her father. A western
equivalent of that phrase would be ???papa??? or ???daddy.??? God does not want to
be viewed as some distant, uninterested father but as a loving, approachable
father to whom you can turn at any time because you are his child.
3. His Promises Are Not Based upon Your Feelings (see 1 John 5:11-13,
page 1147). There will be times as a Christian when you may not ???feel??? God??™s
presence. You may even be tempted to doubt that he has come into your life.
But 1 John 5:13 does not say, ???I write this to you who believe in the Son of
God so that you may feel you have eternal life.??? This is because feelings come
and go. They fluctuate. Nor does the Bible say, ???I write this so that you may
hope??”if God is in a really good mood??”that you have eternal life.??? It says, ???so
that you may know. . . .??? Eternal life is yours! Stand on God??™s promise to you.
You are forgiven, justified, adopted into his family, and assured of salvation.
Now that is reason to rejoice!
To find out more about God, turn to ???Who Is God??? on the next page in the
foundational truths of the faith
who is God
Thousands of years ago, Pharaoh, the Egyptian ruler, posed a question people
are still asking today: ???Who is the LORD that I should listen to him??? That??™s a
good question, but it is not an easy subject to tackle. It is difficult for our limited
minds to grasp the limitless, eternal God. It has been said, ???If God were small
enough for your minds, he wouldn??™t be big enough for your needs.??? For that
reason, don??™t be exasperated if you can??™t fully understand who God is or why he
does certain things. One day, Scripture promises, everything about God and his
character will be made perfectly clear to us (1 Corinthians 13:12). But until
then, we will find everything we need to know about him in his Word. Look up
the following notes and passages to find out who God is.
1. God Is All-Knowing, Ever-Present, and All-Powerful. The Creator of
the Universe knows every intimate detail of his creation (see Psalm 139:1-24,
2. God Is Holy. God??™s incomparable holiness merits our worship (see Isaiah
6:1-8, page 592).
3. God Is Loving and Just. God??™s justice is tempered by his love (see 2 Peter
3:3-9, page 1138).
4. God Is Personal. This characteristic of God sets him apart from the
so-called ???gods??? of other religions (see Acts 17:22-33, page 992).
5. God Is in Control. It is important to remember that God is still in control,
even if things around us seem to be in chaos (see Habakkuk 3:2-19, page
6. The God of the Bible Is the One True God. While some insist on the
existence of many gods, only the God of the Bible is the true, living God,
worthy of our devotion (see Isaiah 45:9-23, page 624).
who is Jesus
Throughout history many people have attempted to answer this question. Some
have done so accurately, but many have not. Our best source for answering this
question is??”once again??”God??™s own Word. The Bible presents us with some
inescapable truths about Jesus that demand a response. Anyone who seriously
studies Scripture to learn more about Jesus must answer two probing questions:
(1) What do you think of Jesus Christ and (2) Who is he The writer C. S. Lewis
made this observation: ???You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is,
the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for
a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet
and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense
about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did
not intend to??? (Mere Christianity, rev. ed. [New York: Macmillan, 1952], 41).
Jesus was not just a good man. He was??”and is??”the God-man. Let??™s examine
what the Bible has to say about Jesus.
1. Jesus Is Human. Jesus became our supreme example as God in human
form (see Philippians 2:5-11, page 1074).
2. Jesus Is Divine. Even though Jesus became human, he still remained God
(see Colossians 1:15-20, page 1080).
3. Jesus Had a Specific Mission to Accomplish. Jesus came to save
humankind from sin (see Luke 4:16-21, page 904).
4. Jesus Made the Ultimate Sacrifice. Jesus endured tremendous pain so
that we could enjoy eternity with him (see Isaiah 53:1-12, page 632).
5. Jesus Has Great Power to Transform People. Jesus can change the
most unlikely person into one of the most powerful witnesses on his behalf
(see Acts 4:1-13, page 970).
6. Jesus Has an Eternal Dominion. Jesus??™ Kingdom extends beyond the
boundaries of space and time (see Revelation 1:4-8, page 1156).
who is the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the most mysterious member of the Trinity, which includes
God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Spirit (or the Holy Spirit).
Many struggle with the idea of God being three persons, yet one. Quite honestly,
we will never fully grasp the concept this side of heaven.
Some, however, have wrongly thought of the Holy Spirit as more of an ???it???
than a ???he.??? That is probably due in part to biblical descriptions of him as being
like the wind or coming upon Jesus in the form of a dove, among other
Yet these descriptions must be balanced with the descriptions ofthe other
members of the Trinity. For instance, Jesus referred to himself as ???the bread of
life??? and ???the good shepherd.??? In the same way, God the Father is referred to as
???a refuge??? and ???a consuming fire.??? Does this mean that Jesus is a loaf of bread or
a sheep farmer, or that the Father is a pile of rocks or a blast furnace Of course
not! These are simply metaphors used in Scripture to help communicate God??™s
character. Likewise, the unique descriptions attributed to the Holy Spirit do
not imply that the Holy Spirit is merely some ???force??? or ???power.??? Jesus said this
about the Holy Spirit: ???When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into
all truth. . . . He will tell you about the future??? (John 16:13). Note the use of the
pronoun he. The Holy Spirit has a distinct personality, and he also has specific
work that he wants to do in our lives as followers of Jesus Christ. Explore what
the Bible says about him.
1. Whom the Holy Spirit Helps. The Holy Spirit strengthens and empowers
followers of Christ (see Acts 2:1-41, page 968).
2. How the Holy Spirit Works with the Father and the Son. The Holy
Spirit works alongside God the Father and Jesus, God??™s Son, to make our lives
pleasing to God (see 1 Peter 1:2, page 1132).
3. Why God Gives Us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit??™s presence in our
lives is God??™s mark of ownership (see Ephesians 1:13-14, page 1064).
4. How the Holy Spirit Works in Our Lives. The Holy Spirit draws us to
Christ, enters our lives at conversion, and empowers us as we allow him to
work in our lives (see John 14:15-17, page 956).
5. When the Holy Spirit Can Be Sinned Against. There are six specific
ways we can sin against the Holy Spirit (see Acts 5:1-10, page 974).
6. Why Christians Need the Holy Spirit. Living the Christian life is
impossible without the Holy Spirit??™s help (see Galatians 5:16-26, page 1058).
who is the devil
What is the devil like Does he really look like the red-suited, pitchfork-holding
cartoon caricature seated on a throne in hell Or does he roam through the
earth disguised as an angel of light
Unfortunately, far too many people do not have an accurate view of who the
devil is. Many underestimate him and his prowess, even going so far as to doubt
his very existence. Someone once asked the great evangelist Charles Finney,
???Mr. Finney, do you believe in a literal devil??? Finney replied, ???You try opposing
him for a while, and you see if he??™s literal or not.??? You will find out how literal the
devil is the moment you make a commitment to Jesus Christ.
The Bible clearly shows us just how active and conniving the devil really is.
At the same time, Scripture also lets us know about the devil??™s limitations and
ultimate demise. The more we understand the tactics of this intelligent spirit
being, the better equipped we will be to ward off his attacks. Below are some key
passages of Scripture that answer some of the most commonly asked questions
about the devil??”who is also referred to as Satan.
1. Where Did Satan Come From Satan??™s pride led to his fall from heaven
(see Ezekiel 28:12-19, page 736).
2. What Are Satan??™s Abilities Satan does have the power and access to do
certain things in this world (see 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, page 1048).
3. What Are Satan??™s Limitations While we should not underestimate
Satan??™s power, we should realize that it is limited (see Job 1:1??“2:10, page
4. How Does Satan Attack People Satan masterfully uses manipulation
and distortion to deceive people (see Genesis 3:1-7, page 6).
5. Who Can Thwart Satan??™s Agenda Those who lay down their lives for
Christ will defeat this evil foe (see Revelation 12:10-12, page 1164).
what are angels
According to recent surveys, most people believe in the existence of angels. A
glut of books on the subject fills bookstore shelves. Still, our only reliable source
on angels and their activity is the Bible. Just who are these mysterious creatures
What do they look like Do they wear long, flowing robes and have large birdlike
wings And what is their purpose
You might call angels ???God??™s secret agents.??? They basically work undercover.
Most of the time these secret agents remain invisible??”except on those special
occasions when God allows people to see them. No doubt God realized that if
we were allowed to see them all of the time, they would become an object of our
worship, which is to be reserved for God alone. Let??™s take some time to see what
the Bible has to say about angels and their role in this world.
1. Why Did God Create Angels God created angels as unique spiritual
beings who worship Christ and care for his followers (see Hebrews 1:4-14,
2. What Do Angels Do in the Life of a Christian God has ordered the
angels to protect his followers and keep them from harm (see Psalm 91:1-16,
3. How Are Angels Involved in Our Prayers Our prayers can trigger
spiritual warfare (see Daniel 10:1??“11:1, page 768).
4. What Role Will Angels Play in the End Times Angels will play a
strategic role in spreading the everlasting gospel (see Revelation 14:6-7,
what are demons
Just as there are angels who look out for your welfare, there are angels who are
bent upon your destruction. The Bible teaches that when Satan fell from heaven,
he took one-third of the angels with him (Revelation 12:4). Although we do not
know their exact number, Scripture tells us there are multitudes (Luke 2:13) and
legions (Matthew 26:53) of angels. So Satan has a sizable, highly organized force
under his control. These fallen angels, also known as demons, help Satan
accomplish his purpose, which, in the words of Christ, is to steal, kill, and
destroy. While the Bible does not give us specific details as to how demons work,
we can be confident that everything we need to know about them is found in
Scripture. We do not need to look elsewhere for insights into the spiritual world.
See what God??™s Word has to say about these evil agents.
1. What Do Demons Believe Strange as it may seem, demons acknowledge
that there is only one God (see James 2:19, page 1130).
2. Can Demons Personally Harm You Those people who have a true
relationship with Christ cannot be overcome by demons; those who do not
are ???fair game??? for these servants of Satan (see Acts 19:13-20, page 994).
3. What Makes Demons Powerless The name of Jesus used by the
followers of Jesus makes the demons tremble (see Luke 10:1-20, page 914).
what is heaven
The Bible gives us wonderful, vivid descriptions of heaven. From Scripture we
know that heaven??™s streets are made of gold, and that pain, fear, and sorrow are
not present there. But even with all of this detail, we still fall short of understanding ???the big picture.??? That is because it is difficult for us to grasp the
absolute perfection and glory of heaven.
All splendor aside, though, what truly makes heaven spectacular is that we
will be forever in God??™s presence. As the psalmist so poignantly expressed,
???You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the
pleasures of living with you forever??? (Psalm 16:11).
While we may not be able to have all of our questions about heaven answered
here on earth, the Bible does answer some of our most probing questions.
1. Who Will Enter Heaven Heaven is a place for those who have received
Jesus Christ as Lord (see John 14:2-6, page 954).
2. When Does a Christian Enter Heaven When we take our last breath
on earth, we will take our first breath in heaven (see 2 Corinthians 5:6-9,
3. Will We Recognize People in Heaven While our heavenly bodies may
resemble our earthly bodies, we will in some ways be like the angels (see
Matthew 22:23-33, page 866).
4. What Will Life in Heaven Be Like Our lives in heaven will no longer
be consumed by the cares of this life, but we will be filled with joy being
in the presence of our heavenly Father (see Revelation 7:13-17,
what is hell
According to the Bible, you have two options to choose from when it comes to
deciding where you will spend your life after death. One option is heaven. The
other is hell. Interestingly enough, while there seems to be an increased belief
in a place called hell, most people don??™t believe they are headed there. Instead,
they believe that hell is reserved for only the most hardened of criminals and
other ???evil??? elements of our society. But God??™s Word judges people by a different
set of criteria. You are not sent to hell for being a bad person any more than you
are sent to heaven for being a good person. We all deserve to spend eternity in
hell (Romans 3:22-23).
While God clearly says that those who reject the salvation offered through his
Son, Jesus Christ, will spend eternity in this place of torment, he repeatedly gives
each person ample opportunity to choose life??”abundant life on earth and
eternal life in heaven (2 Peter 3:9). If you haven??™t made that choice yet, or if you
have decided and want a better understanding of what your nonbelieving friends
will have to face, consider these facts about hell from the pages of Scripture.
1. What Is Hell Like Hell is a place of unending, isolated torment (see Luke
16:19-31, page 924).
2. Who Will Go to Hell Those whose names do not appear in the Book of Life
are destined to everlasting punishment (see Revelation 20:11-15, page 1170).
3. What Is the Worst Punishment of Hell Hell??™s worst punishment is
everlasting separation from God??™s presence (see 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10,
what to do after you
have accepted Christ
study the Bible
You might say that the Bible is the ???user??™s manual of life??? we have all been
searching for. Everything we need to know about God and living a life that
pleases him is found in its pages.
Tragically, some of us go through life without so much as picking up this
amazing book, whose words were inspired by God. Yet success or failure in the
Christian life is determined by how much of the Bible we get into our hearts
and minds and how obedient we are to the principles and teachings found
within it. Just as we need to continually breathe oxygen to survive, we need to
regularly study the Bible to grow and flourish spiritually. Here are some
important reasons why we need to spend time in this life-changing book.
1. Studying the Bible Is Necessary for Our Spiritual Growth. The Bible
performs three functions to help us mature spiritually (see 2 Timothy
3:16-17, page 1103).
2. Studying the Bible Keeps Us Spiritually Strong. The more we get into
this book and apply its teachings, the more we will be able to stand our
ground in the storms and trials of life (see Psalm 119:9-18, page 527).
3. Studying the Bible Makes Scripture a Central Part of Our Lives.
God desires that we make the Bible an integral part of our lives (see
Deuteronomy 11:18-20, page 167).
4. Studying the Bible Helps Us Apply Its Truth to Our Lives. We will
notice positive changes in our lives as we apply what we read in Scripture (see
Psalm 1:1-3, page 469).
The idea of talking to God can be intimidating. But it doesn??™t have to be. In
fact, prayer can be a wonderful experience if we know how to do it God??™s way.
Fortunately, we have God??™s Word to teach us how to pray. The Bible instructs us to
pray at all times, in any posture, in any place, for any reason. In addition, it does
not matter whether you pray in King James English or the most contemporary
jargon. God only desires that you pray from a pure and sincere heart.
The disciples observed the profound effect prayer had in Jesus??™ life and
ministry. They witnessed how Jesus would often go off by himself to spend
time in prayer with his heavenly Father. They saw the power, peace, and
tranquility that emanated from his life, giving him the ability to stay calm in
troubled circumstances. Jesus??™ prayer life so impressed these men that they
asked him to teach them to pray (Luke 11:1-13). Certainly if the perfect Son of
God often took time to pray during his life here on earth, how much more do
we, mere men and women, need to pray
Because prayer is an essential ingredient to walking with Jesus Christ, we need
to examine its elements found in God??™s Word.
1. Prayer Was Modeled for Us by Christ. Jesus took the time to show his
followers how to pray (see Matthew 6:5-15, page 843).
2. Prayer Is Not a Solitary Experience. God has given us his Holy Spirit
to aid us in prayer, even when we do not know what to pray (see Romans
8:26-27, page 1011).
3. Prayer Allows Us to Voice Our Requests to God. Prayer is God??™s
appointed way for us to relate our concerns and present our needs to him
(see James 4:2-3, page 1127).
4. Prayer Enables Us to Seek Forgiveness. When we pray sincerely for
forgiveness, God will hear our prayers and restore us (see Hosea 14:1-7,
5. Prayer Helps Us Overcome Worry. In the midst of troubles, we can
receive God??™s peace through prayer (see Philippians 4:6-7, page 1077).
6. Prayer Increases Our Spiritual Knowledge and Maturity. God will
give us greater spiritual understanding through prayer (see Jeremiah 33:3, page
look for and attend the right church
One of the essential building blocks of spiritual growth is fellowship with other
believers by becoming part of a local church. The church (meaning the entire
body of Christians) is not really an organization so much as an organism. It
thrives by keeping its members spiritually active and well-fed. The church
provides you with spiritual instruction from God??™s Word, allows you to worship
God with other believers, enables you to use your God-given gifts and abilities
as God intended, and makes you accountable to spiritual leadership.
Some people think they can get enough spiritual input from Christian
television, radio programs, and books. While those things do have value, nothing
can replace the need to become an active member of a church. Think about it??”
if joining in fellowship with other believers was not important, why did Jesus
establish the church (See Matthew 16:18, page 858.) The Bible has plenty to
say about the characteristics of a healthy, vibrant church and the necessity of
Christian fellowship. There are four helpful insights from God??™s Word on
looking for and attending the right church.
1. What to Look for in a Church. You should look for a church that has the
qualities and characteristics of the first-century church (see Acts 2:42, 44-47,
2. Why We Need Fellowship with Other Believers. Fellowship with
other Christians sharpens our spiritual discernment and prepares us for
Christ??™s return (see Hebrews 10:25, page 1119).
3. Why the Church Needs You. Not only will you benefit from the church,
but the church will benefit from you and your God-given abilities (see
Ephesians 4:11-16, page 1065).
4. You Have a Place in the Church. God has given each one of us a unique
role to play in our place of fellowship (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, page 1041).
The real evidence of a true Christian is a changed life. The great British
preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said, ???Of what value is the grace I
profess to receive if it does not dramatically change the way that I live If it
doesn??™t change the way that I live, it will never change my eternal destiny.???
A changed life begins with obedience to God. This means that you will have
to stop doing certain things and start doing others. While God begins to
change your heart and desires once you have surrendered your life to him, he
still gives you the freedom to decide just how much of your life you will let
him control. But know this: Whatever you give up to follow Jesus Christ will
pale in comparison to what he will give you in return. For example, when you
give up sinful behaviors for God, he will replace your sin with forgiveness and
a clear conscience. With this incentive for obedience, look at six specific ways
the Bible instructs us to obey God.
1. Recognize That You Are a New Creation. When you understand what
God has done in your life, obedience becomes more of a desire than a mere
duty (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-17, page 1051).
2. Follow God Wholeheartedly. When you follow God completely, you will
finish the race of life well (see Joshua 14:6-14, page 201).
3. Offer God More than Lip Service. God looks at your heart more than
your religious actions (see 1 Samuel 15:1-23, page 249).
4. Live in God??™s Love. Discover the secret of true and lasting joy (see John
15:9-11, page 957).
5. Put On God??™s Armor. Obedience prepares you for the battles of life (see
Romans 13:11-14, page 1019).
6. Let God Occupy Your Thoughts. Your thoughts will affect your actions
(see Colossians 3:2-4, page 1081).
Now that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, Satan is going to try to draw you away
by tempting you to disobey God??™s Word. It is not a sin to be tempted??”even Jesus
was tempted (see Luke 4:1-13, pages 902-903). We sin when we give in to that
temptation. The good news is that God will never let a temptation become so
strong that we can??™t handle it. In addition, he has given us specific ways to handle
temptation. Here are four things to remember when dealing with temptation.
1. Realize Who Is Tempting You. Satan is the mastermind behind all of
your temptations (see Ephesians 6:10-12, page 1069).
2. Resist the Devil. The Bible says that if you resist Satan??™s enticements, he
will flee from you (see James 4:7-8, page 1129).
3. Rejoice Because Victory Is Yours in Christ Jesus. God promises that
he will always provide a way of escape (see 1 Corinthians 10:13, page 1037).
4. Remember That Others Have Successfully Dealt with Temptation.
Joseph??™s example shows us one of the best ways to resist tem