By Don Hill
I. CHRIST’S INVITATION IS TO BE HIS DISCIPLE
The invitation of Jesus Christ to those seeking fulfillment in life has always been, “Come and Be My Disciple!" Never once did our Lord ever indicate he wanted anyone to come and simply receive salvation! Accepting him automatically involved following him for the duration of a person's life! In fact, when his ministry reached a point where thousands of people were flocking to see and hear him, he finally rebuked the crowd stating, “as individuals they were following him only for the benefit of his miracles and not for the purpose of surrendering entirely to him.”
Christ’s Invitation Has Been Neglected
In a sincere effort to bring people to Christ, the modern church has too often neglected the example and instruction of our Lord! When an invitation to become a Christian is extended, the emphasis is almost always placed on salvation alone! "Come to Jesus and be ready for heaven plus he will give you so much more." All of this may be true, but it falls short of the command of Jesus in his mission statement to his church in every age. He didn't say go and just convert people, he said, "go, and make disciples!"
People Need to Hear Christ’s Invitation Upfront
The ultimate purpose of his mission is obvious and when people are not informed upfront, they fail to understand the commitment involved, Consequently, they have no clear direction as to what Jesus has planned for their life. Could this be the reason a noted Christian leader evaluates the growth of the modern church as "growth without depth" and further states, "the extraordinary growth of the church has been numerical, yet there has not been little growth in discipleship."
Our Approach in LLI Discipleship Courses
This is why we have taken a different approach in our LLI discipleship courses! It's Important to not only be sure, of your salvation but also know how to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. This is where the real blessings of the Christian life lie. What's more, from the Bible's point of view, being a Christian should be synonymous with being a committed learner-follower or disciple of Christ. Anything less negates God's perfect plan for your life. Your decision to accept Christ should not be separated from that of being his disciple.
Five Easily Understood Steps Are Involved
As you will learn, this twofold choice to accept Christ and be his disciple involves five easily understood steps: 1. Repentance, 2. Public Confession, 3. Heart Belief, 4. Baptism, 5. A Lifelong Commitment to Discipleship
Living for Christ is the most blessed life on earth. If you are not certain and you only hope you will go to heaven, then you probably are not a Christian! This brief article, however, will show you from God's Word how to be sure!
If however, you know you’re ready for heaven, but understand little about how to be a true disciple of Christ. this article will point you in the right direction and give you the prescribed path God wants you to follow.
II. HOW TO BE SURE YOU'RE A CHRISTIAN!
When people are asked, "Why do you believe you're going to heaven," several varying answers emerge.Here are some of the most popular ones:
o I grew up in the church; I've been a Christian all my life.
o I’ve been baptized
o I'm a member of my church and I attend regularly.
o I try to live a good life and I believe my good works will outweigh the bad.
o I seek to live by the golden rule just as Jesus taught.
o I have accepted Jesus personally and been born again.
All these replies sound good, however, is there one definitive answer upon which you can rely? Fortunately, God's Word makes it very clear what a person must do be a Christian and go to heaven.
What the Bible Says
God Loves You and Has Always Had a Plan for Your Life
"Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without
fault in his eyes." Eph 1:4
When God originally created human beings, he made them in his image (a reflection of himself). His plan has never changed! His eternal desire for those, who by faith come to him, is for them to be holy and without fault just like himself. Similarly, this is what he wants for you!
Like Everyone, You Have Fallen Short of God's Original Plan
"For everyone has sinned: we all fall short of God's glorious standard.” Rom 3:23
"If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth ... If we
claim we have not sinned we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in
our hearts." 1John 1:8 – 10
The word sin throws some people. They try to live a good life, attend church, and do good, so they can't conceive that God would think of them as being a sinner. The word sin simply means missing the mark or falling short of God's standard for salvation. If you are a human being, God says you're in this crowd. Every person has done things contrary to God's law. All of us have missed the mark and tried to do things our way instead of God's way.
You Must by Faith Accept God's Free Gift
"We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes. no matter who we are." Rom 3:22
God has fully provided for your salvation but to obtain it you must first personally accept by faith what he has done for you! This involves taking some key steps of faith, which are discussed in conjunction with other important steps in this article under the section, "Accepting Christ by Faith and Growing as His True Disciple."
You Can't Change Your Situation on Your Own
"Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our
acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. " Rom 3:27
"When people work. Their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners." Rom 4:4,5
When you die God is not going to weigh all the good you have done against the bad! Nothing
you do will ever overcome the thing that separates you from God and his eternal desire for your life. It's so simple, people often stumble over it! Salvation is a complete gift of love from God. You can't earn or work for it' All you have to do is reach out and take it by faith.
Because God Loves You He Has Made A Way For You
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. so that everyone who
believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
" God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. "This is real love-not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." 1 John 4:9- 10
"For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God." 2 Cor 5:21
God's gift to you is found in the person of his only Son, Jesus Christ. He left his place in Heaven and although he was equally God he also became a human being. He lived a holy sinless life, showed the world what God is like, and then did what his heavenly Father asked of him. As the only perfect human being who had ever lived he offered himself up in your place. On the cross, all of your sins were transferred to him' You should have been the one dying because death is the penalty for sin. Instead, he died in your place taking your sins with him. Because he was perfect. sin's penalty had no hold on him, and he rose again victorious over sin, death, and the grave, leaving your sins buried forever. As the Bible says, "God loved us so much, he sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins." You simply must believe and accept what Jesus Christ actually has done for you!
God Has Provided Only One Way
"There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
"Jesus told him I am the way, the truth. and the life, No one can come to the Father except
through me." John 14:6
Today there are a lot of people who believe there is more than one way to obtain salvation.
They think that you are among the enlightened if you understand that all religions lead to God. Each one merely represents a different path to heaven. Unfortunately, that is a viewpoint not borne out in scripture. The Bible is very clear that Jesus Christ is the only passageway to God and eternal life. He said of himself, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me."