YOUR NEW LIFE by Rev. Michael Lusk Introduction Dear friend, You have just made the best decision of your life— the decision to invite Jesus Christ into your life. Now, you are a new person on the inside. You have literally been born again spiritually. Old things have passed away, and all things have become new! Jesus is your new and constant friend, and He has promised never to leave or forsake you. You are saved! You have now been officially adopted into God’s royal family. You are clean and free from the sins that used to dominate you. You have been given power to win in life, and you can do all things because Jesus lives in you and strengthens you. This book is designed to provide you with information that will allow you to deepen your new relationship with God and to advance on the new road you are traveling. If you will study and apply the principles expressed in this book, you will enjoy the benefits of your royal status in every area of life— spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, economically and relationally. Welcome to the family! Michael and Christina Lusk
Assurance of Salvation
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9 It is important for you to understand that your decision to follow Christ has changed you as a person. The Bible refers to this experience as being “born-again.” You are not the same person that you were before you decided to follow Jesus Christ. You are a new creation! (II Corinthians 5:17) Being born-again means that the center of your being (what the Bible calls your spirit) has been regenerated and re-created in the image of Jesus. Our old spirit was dead and separated from God because of sin. Jesus paid the price for our sin with His own blood on the cross. All those who confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from the dead receive the new life that Jesus made available. Our faith allows God to impart a new life into us. (Ephesians 2:1, Romans 10:9,10) Your life will never be the same. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10b) His abundant life has entered into you, and you will begin to see its effects in every area of your life. It is also very important that you understand my next point: Your spirit has been born-again. Your mind, however, has now begun a process of change— a process that you must help along. The Bible talks about this process of growth in Romans. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 Renewing the mind means leaving your old, wrong ideas and exchanging them with God’s concepts. And the best source to discover God’s point of view is to become familiar with His Word, the Bible. Since our minds have to be renewed, you will discover that, even though you are saved, you might commit an act of sin. Do not condemn yourself; God has an answer for this problem as well.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 This is an extremely important truth. If you do something sinful after you have received Jesus into your heart, you are still saved; you simply need to recognize your act of sin verbally in prayer, asking God for forgiveness. And the Bible promises that He will forgive and cleanse you. When you got saved, the spiritual experience was comparable to a dead body coming to life again; after being saved, an act of sin and repentance is comparable to falling down and getting back up again. There is a huge difference between the two. God is not worried if you are not perfect— He just wants you to move toward perfection. He is good and patient with us, and the Bible tells us that His goodness leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). It is actually His grace and goodness that gives us the power and the desire to become more and more like Him! Your salvation is based on the faith you have put in Jesus as your Savior and Lord. The Bible says that we have an enemy called Satan. He is a liar (John 8:44) and an accuser of those who have been adopted into God’s family (Revelation 12:10), and he will try to tell that you are not really saved. But do not worry about his lies — just keep believing what God says in the Bible. No matter what the devil says, and no matter how you may feel at any given moment, you are saved! Jesus lives in you, and He will never leave or forsake you. You are the only one that can ever force Him out of your life, and that only happens if you stop believing in Him. Keep your faith strong in Him, and your victory is guaranteed. By His grace, you are saved!
Water Baptism Water baptism is an outward representation of the faith that a person has put in Christ. It is also a symbol of the spiritual
transformation that occurs when a person is born-again. In water baptism, the new believer is completely submerged under water (representing the death of our old sinful nature) and raised up out of the water (representing our resurrection with Christ as a new person with new life). See Romans 6:4, 5. Christians have been baptized in water since the very beginning of the Church. It is actually a command that came directly from Jesus. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit....” Matthew 28:19 Baptism was very closely related to a person’s initial declaration of faith in Jesus. It is an outward act that illustrates the inward faith we have toward Christ. It is also a public demonstration of your new life that others can see. Every new believer should be baptized as soon as possible. You can invite your friends and family if you choose. The baptism must be done by another believer in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If it is possible, it may be preferable to be baptized by a pastor or church elder.
How To Study The Bible God’s Word, the Bible, is His written revelation to humankind, and it is the basis for all of our faith and practice as Christians. It was written by human beings under the supernatural direction of the Holy Spirit (II Timothy 3:16). And it is complete truth (John
17:17). Familiarizing yourself with the Bible is tremendously important for you to advance in your new relationship with God. Here are five basic strategies that will help you to understand the Bible. If you do them, your spiritual growth is guaranteed! READ IT— You should read the Bible every day. It is like food that helps you grow from a spiritual baby into a strong, mature believer (I Peter 2:2). STUDY IT— Study is more than just casual reading. It is a deeper search, perhaps based on a particular question you may have, or a certain topic you want to learn about (such as healing, peace, love, etc.). MEDITATE ON IT— The Christian meaning of meditation is to ponder the Word of God, repeating it out loud. Take a verse that touches your heart, repeat it aloud, and ponder its meaning and how it applies to your life. MEMORIZE IT— Learning God’s Word by memory will help you to react correctly in a difficult situation, and it will also help you to share Jesus with others. Psalm 119:11 tells us that putting God’s Word in our heart helps us to live right before God. APPLY IT— Once you discover what the Bible teaches, the best thing you can do is to act on it. Apply it to your decisions, your family, your work— to every area of your life. Following the teachings of the God’s Word is the key to success. Every part of the Bible is inspired by God and able to bless your life. However, you will most likely find that certain books of the Bible are easier to understand than others, especially if you are just beginning to familiarize yourself with it. It is a good idea to begin your study by reading the books of John, Romans, and I John. Prayer Now that you have received Jesus as your Lord, you are a royal member of God’s family. Through prayer, you have the privilege of speaking with God as a beloved child, free from the guilt and shame that sin caused. (See Hebrews 10:19-22)
The Bible promises that when we pray in faith according to Godâ€™s will, He hears and responds (I John 5:14, 15). Therefore, we can ask Him in faith for things that agree with His will (which is His Word, the Bible), and He will give them to us. This fact gives us great confidence in life. Here are some principles that will be a blessing to you and help you to develop an intimate communion with God. Pray early. Although you can and should pray throughout the day, it is very useful to dedicate a specific time to prayer early in your day. This allows you to start the day out right, and also to avoid being distracted from prayer by the duties that are encountered as the day progresses. Pray alone. Group prayer among Christians is wonderful and useful, but it is also important for you to be alone with God. As our example, Jesus prayed alone often. He instructed us to do the same (Matthew 6:5,6). Be thankful. Prayer is much more than giving God a list of our requests. As you pray, make sure to give thanks to God for all that He has done, is doing, and will continue to do in your life. Be quiet. Prayer is a conversation, and like any good conversation, it should be two-way. Speak to God and express your heart, your concerns, your feelings, and your gratitude. Then, allow Him to speak to you as you become silent before Him. Praise. You can praise God by singing a song, lifting your hands, bowing, dancing, and many other means. Let Him know how wonderful you think He is and how glad you are because of all He has done for you. Church Participation Spending time with other believers in a church setting is a vital part of your new life as a Christian. Jesus said that the world would know that we are His followers by our love for one another (John 13:35). On many occasions, the Bible shows us this picture of a
united family of believers. Being around other Christians helps us to grow spiritually. We can learn many things from others’ lives, and the Bible instructs us to observe the examples of those who share our common faith in Christ (Hebrews 13:7). As we grow, we can help other young believers to advance in their knowledge of God as well. By being around other believers, we also permit our lives to be seen by others to some degree. That means that we help to keep each other accountable. Sometimes, others can see things that we don’t see ourselves, and that’s why we need to be around one another. We sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17). Many of the things that the Bible instructs us to do can only be done when we are in contact with other Christians. Here are just a few examples. “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together...” Hebrews 10:24,25a “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another...” I Peter 4:10a “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.” Romans 15:7 Receiving The Holy Spirit The Bible teaches us many things about God and His nature. One biblical principle that has been recognized by Christians from the earliest days of the Church is something called the Trinity. Although this word never occurs in the Bible, the concept is supported biblically. The idea is that God is one Being, but
manifests Himself in three distinct Persons— God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus left this earth, He promised His disciples that He would ask the Father to send them a Helper— the Holy Spirit. He said that when the Holy Spirit came upon them, they would receive power to be witnesses for Him (John 14:16-18, Acts 1:8). On the Day of Pentecost, the Father sent the Holy Spirit to fill with power those who were prayerfully waiting for His arrival. The Bible says that every one of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (or languages) under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Tongues is a supernatural gift and ability that the Holy Spirit gives us. It has many purposes— it serves as a sign, it edifies us spiritually, it helps us to pray effectively according to God’s will, and sometimes it actually serves to convey a powerful message in a real human language unknown to us. (I Corinthians 14:22, 4; Romans 8:26,27; Acts 2:4-11) When a person receives Christ as Lord and is born-again, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside them. He lives in every believer. But God desires that we have something more— He wants us to be filled with the Holy Spirit to overflowing. This experience is what believers refer to as the baptism in the Holy Spirit. In the early church, the infilling of the Holy Spirit was evidenced by this supernatural phenomenon of speaking in tongues. On more than one occasion, the Bible directly connects the infilling of the Holy Spirit with praying in tongues. (See Acts 2:4, 10:44-47) The apostle Paul taught a lot about tongues, and expressed that he desired that all believers speak in tongues. (I Corinthians 13:5a: “I wish you all spoke with tongues...”) Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, expressed God’s will for us as well — God wants every Christian to pray in tongues, receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit! If you would like to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, pray this simple prayer out loud:
“Heavenly Father, I am Your child and Jesus promised that You would give the Holy Spirit to me when I ask (Luke 11:13). Your Spirit already lives in me, and I want Him to fill me to overflowing and to give me the gift of tongues. I receive His fullness now according to Your Word. Amen!” Now, simply allow those new words to flow from your lips. It will sound strange because it is not a language that your mind understands— it is supernatural. The Holy Spirit will not force you to pray in tongues; it is a free act of your will. You can start or quit praying in tongues by a conscious choice. So just go for it, and keep it going! You will experience a new level of power as a witness now that you have the fullness of the Holy Spirit. So enjoy your life of adventure with the Holy Spirit!
How To Share Jesus With Others The joy that you have experienced as a result of receiving Christ is something that would be a blessing to anyone. What we have partaken of as Christians is too good to keep to ourselves. And Jesus has equipped us to share this Good News with the whole world! We are Christ’s ambassadors. Paul said it like this: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God
were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.” II Corinthians 5:20 That means that we are legal representatives of Jesus in the earth today. His task of reconciling humanity with God now continues through our witness. We are His specially privileged colaborers. The Bible declares that the message of the Gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16). That means that when we declare the Gospel, the power of God is unleashed into people’s lives. We don’t have to prove that the message is true— Jesus proves it Himself. Look what the Word says in Mark 16:20: “And they [Jesus’ followers] went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.” (Bracketed words added for clarity) We, as followers of Christ, simply proclaim the message of God’s love to hurting people; then, Jesus takes charge of the confirmation. Miracles are the proof that Jesus is alive and that His message is the truth. A miracle could be a physical healing, liberation from demonic possession, freedom from an addiction, or any number of other supernatural happenings. Don’t be discouraged if the person you share the gospel with does not respond immediately. Some people may even respond negatively. That does not mean that you have failed in your witnessing— it simply illustrates two important facts. Firstly, the message of the gospel is like a seed that we sow into a person’s heart. Seed always takes time to grow. Secondly, we must realize that everyone has the choice to receive Christ, or to reject Him. Our task is simply to share His love and message with others; it is then their decision to make, whether for or against Christ. Your witness for Christ involves far more than your words. Beyond what you say, your witness will be effective because of
your deeds. Jesus told us to let our light shine before men by our good works, thus causing our Heavenly Father to be glorified. Let people see Jesus through you, not just with your words, but with a life that brings Him glory.