Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Where to begin when you're a new Christian? pt. 6

Building on Your Foundation

Just to recap the first two steps: (Laying the Foundation)

1) The most important thing you can do to prepare for sharing your faith is to memorize scripture, and lots of it.

2) The second practice a new Christian should cultivate is developing a deliberate, consistent, Biblically correct prayer life.

Now you're ready to actually begin building on the foundation you have laid. Today's next steps to help you prepare to share your faith are:

3) Develop a lifestyle of obedience.

How obedient are you to the things of the Lord? Do you have a standing appointment with Him every day to discover what His bidding for you is for that day? Do you have an appointment with a personal trainer you wouldn't dream of missing? Do you have a hair appointment you wouldn't dare not show up for? I think you see where I'm going with this. I have been just as convicted of disobedience in my own life. I ask forgiveness and then take deliberate steps to retrain my brain and break bad habits that contributed to this disobedience. Trust me, you don't want to be a Jonah.

This summer, I remember clearly being prompted by God to speak to a complete stranger at a restaurant and I refused. My family left the restaurant for the event we were about to attend and guess who I ran into at the event? You guessed it, the stranger that the Lord wanted me to speak with!

Immediately after accepting Christ and being baptized, begin studying His Word, and speak to Him frequently through prayer, He will begin to prompt you. For me, He prompted my obedience in little things. I am convinced that not only are they spiritual confidence builders, but God isn't going to use someone to accomplish His will who can't even be relied on to speak with a complete stranger when He asks.

Your palms may sweat and it may look like you turned garden hoses on underneath your armpits, but if you become paralyzed by inactivity then you need to examine who is really in charge- you are. You need to repent and submit to His instructions.

4) Educate yourself how to share the Gospel.

One of the first things many new Christians do is rush out and try to get their families and friends to make "decisions for Christ" as if they are in a Multi-level Marketing Company trying to acquire as many people in their downlines as possible because Jesus is in their upline. To approach evangelism in this way is a grave error and just plain stupid.

Educating yourself doesn't mean memorizing a script. You need to understand the nature of salvation and that salvation never comes from "making a decision" but through repentance. Repentance originates from God and is given by God as 2 Timothy 2:24-26 says, "And the Lord's bondservant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (25) correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, (26) and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."

The Bible teaches that no one can come to the Son unless God "draws" him. If you press to get a decision out of someone, but they are not convicted of their sin, you will only obtain a false convert at best and become blinded by pride at worst. Pride, indeed, does go before a fall. If you are more concerned with having another notch in your belt, you need to repent of your pride because you are trying to insert yourself in a place reserved for God, alone. You have nothing to do with their salvation, only God alone.

It is so important that you spend the time necessary acquiring knowledge of His Word and what He desires so that you don't proceed and have "zeal without knowledge." Likewise, you shouldn't take the stance that you will not open your mouth until you're fully equipped because God will equip you through the power of the Holy Spirit. This would be a good time to purchase some tracts and start dropping them places or handing them out. All He asks from you is obedience.

Pray for wisdom and that you will be sensitive to God's timing.

As far as how to witness, don't be concerned by a program or a script. I am familiar with Evangelism Explosion, The Roman Road, FAITH, Contagious Christianity, and The Four Spiritual Laws. The first thing to ask is,"Is the program biblical?" I prefer to use the Law (10 commandments) to bring knowledge of sin to stir the conscience and silence the mouth. Way of the Master seems to use the Law to accomplish this. Understanding that Psalm 19:7 says, "The Law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul" (KJV) coupled with working under the power of the Holy Spirit, you will be sharing the Gospel Biblically.

Which brings us to the next thing you should do to prepare yourself to share the Gospel:

5) If you are not familiar with the 10 commandments located in Exodus 20, learn them!

I am a very visual person and was able to learn them in and out of order in about 10 minutes. Use the link to either print them off and laminate them until you learn them or learn them from the pdf. document. Either way, how in the world can you share the Gospel if you don't know what your talking about? Everyone I've shared the Gospel with believes they're basically "good." But, that's because they are using their standard to assess their goodness. If you tell them that only God's standard matters, but you don't know what it is then you are proceeding with zeal without knowledge.

Also, as parents we are instructed to train our children in the Lord. It is my observation that most children and teens today within the church can name at least 10 Hannah Montana songs, can rattle off at least 10 stats from the particular sport of interest (baseball, basketball, football, etc.), and adults can name the last 10 contestants on some show like "Survivor" or 10 brands of beers, but if asked, "Can you name the 10 commandments? Any of them?" you're liable to hear crickets chirping in the background. Learn them. Teach them to your children. It is inexcusable to not know or to not have your children know one of the most basic foundational instructions given to man by God.

You're almost ready to actually open your mouth and share the Gospel! If you've laid a solid foundation, you can begin building, and then you will watch with joy as your house takes shape! I'll share the last few suggestions in my next post.


Karen said...

Beth Moore has a mini-tutorial of how to memorize scripture on her blog... kind of a neat way to look at a verse to memorize! Hope you are doing well! I will call you soon!

Chipper said...

That sounds great! I'll check it out and see if I can add a link to her post! Thanks!