LETTER TO A NEW CHRISTIAN

Letter to New Christian  openhandspublications.com  Glenn W. Harrell  11-17

Hello new believer and friend In Christ. Welcome to the family of God in which God himself has made you his own child. You are a New Creation! While all humans are a part of God’s creation and are loved by him, only the born again are his children. (John 3:5-8)

Never forget that this new family status was given by faith and not earned by your goodness.

“Money paid to workers isn’t a gift. It is something they earn by working. But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in him.”     (Romans 4:4-5) 

Never forget that your security in Christ is just as your new birth. You are kept by His power and not your good works. You didn’t work to become a Christian and neither can you work to remain one. But now as God has His way, you and I will work harder than ever. These good works will do at least two things.

1- Give glory to the right one. 

“Make your light shine, so others will see the good you do and will praise your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:16

2- Establish our lives with substance and meaning.

“But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.”  Matthew 6:33

A SAD SIDE-NOTE: There will always be opportunists–wolves in sheeps clothing. No one bothers to copy a “True-tone” violin, but the Stradivarius has been copied to perfection many times over because of its value and worth. Television giants like Osteen, Copeland, Meyers, Hinn and the like have amassed their fortunes on gullible (also greedy) people wanting to play the Jesus lottery for a return on their “Seed-faith” investment in these shysters.

Read Acts 8:4-25: How Simon the sorcerer sought to manipulate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to his profit and advantage. Then, don’t be deceived by these modern day charlatans. They are like the poor Jesus spoke of . “You will always have them among you.”

WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?

“You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. But you must stay deeply rooted and firm in your faith. You must not give up the hope you received when you heard the good news. It was preached to everyone on earth, and I myself have become a servant of this message.” (Colossians 1:21-23)

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WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT EACH DAY

Expect to see change in you, yourself     

Dear friends, you are foreigners and strangers on this earth. So I beg you not to surrender to those desires that fight against you. Always let others see you behaving properly, even though they may still accuse you of doing wrong. Then on the day of judgment, they will honor God by telling the good things they saw you do.The Lord wants you to obey all human authorities, especially the Emperor, who rules over everyone. You must also obey governors, because they are sent by the Emperor to punish criminals and to praise good citizens. God wants you to silence stupid and ignorant people by doing right. You are free, but still you are God’s servants, and you must not use your freedom as an excuse for doing wrong. Respect everyone and show special love for God’s people. Honor God and respect the Emperor.” (I Peter 2:11-17)                                                                                                                                                          

Expect to see change in others     

Christ suffered here on earth. Now you must be ready to suffer as he did, because suffering shows that you have stopped sinning. t means you have turned from your own desires and want to obey God for the rest of your life. You have already lived long enough like people who don’t know God. You were immoral and followed your evil desires. You went around drinking and partying and carrying on. In fact, you even worshiped disgusting idols. Now your former friends wonder why you have stopped running around with them, and they curse you for it. But they will have to answer to God, who judges the living and the dead.” (I Peter 4:1-5)                                  

Expect to be persecuted 

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised or shocked that you are going through testing that is like walking through fire. Be glad for the chance to suffer as Christ suffered. It will prepare you for even greater happiness when he makes his glorious return. Count it a blessing when you suffer for being a Christian. This shows that God’s glorious Spirit is with you. But you deserve to suffer if you are a murderer, a thief, a crook, or a busybody. Don’t be ashamed to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God that you belong to him. God has already begun judging his own people. And if his judgment begins with us, imagine how terrible it will be for those who refuse to obey his message. The Scriptures say, “If good people barely escape, what will happen to sinners and to others who don’t respect God?” If you suffer for obeying God, you must have complete faith in your faithful Creator and keep on doing right.” (I Peter 4:12-19) 

TYPES OF SUFFERING-name calling–avoidance–physical abuse–death

 

MARTYRS COMPLEX AND VICTIM STATUS not allowed!

 

CONCERNING THOSE WHO ARE    “lost”, “unsaved, “outsiders”, “unbelieving”

Remember that it is your job to love them while walking in Christ before them. This is not a calculated, conscious effort as much as it is unconscious and non-deliberate. We were not called to save anyone–we have a Savior for that task.

“When you are with unbelievers, always make good use of the time (never on work time-theirs or yours) Be pleasant and hold their interest when you speak the message. Choose your words carefully and be ready to give answers to anyone who asks questions.” (Colossians 4:5-6)

Remember that the gospel is foreign to them (though religion may be familiar)  Here is a good verse to memorize:

“The message about the cross doesn’t make any sense to lost people. But for those of us who are being saved, (salvation is always past-present-future tense) it is God’s power at work.” I Corinthians 1:18

Remember that “you have to catch the fish before you clean it.” The Gospel sends this clear message, “It’s not changing all your wrongs to rights–its leaving the changing up to Him.” We can’t save our friends, only introduce them to one who can. (just like us)

Now we see how God does make us acceptable to him. The Law and the Prophets tell how we become acceptable, and it isn’t by obeying the Law of Moses. God treats everyone alike. He accepts people only because they have faith in Jesus Christ. All of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. But God treats us much better than we deserve, and because of Christ Jesus, he freely accepts us and sets us free from our sins.” (Romans 3:21-24)

 

AS CHRIST WAS BAPTIZED, SO WILL WE FOLLOW HIM

NOTE: Baptism is a picture of FOUR things: (immersion is the complete picture)

1-The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (salvation)

2-Your death, burial and resurrection (salvation)

3-Your obedience. (discipleship)

“Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)

4-The Trinity  Father -Son -Holy Spirit

We are to be baptized “in the name of Jesus” (Acts 2:38)

We are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19)

As a new Christian, you are to be baptised BECAUSE you have been born again — NOT TO MAKE YOU SO.

If you show someone your personal Identification picture and ask them, “who is this?” They will likely say, “That is you.” But in reality, this is only a picture of yourself. So it is with Baptism and the Lords Supper–our two Ordinances. They are pictures of what has happened to us and are never repeated so as to impart some sort of false-grace.

We are baptized only once and yet we celebrate the Lord’s Supper often as he commanded us as a rememberance.

Christ is in YOU, not a wafer or a drink.

The bread and wine merely represent His body and blood shed for us. 

NOTE: Only Religious cons, Mystics and Cannibals would teach that The bread and Wine become literally the body and blood of Christ. They will present elaborate rituals and voodoo trying to convince gullible people that such a thing (Transubstantiation) actually happens. Their ultimate goal is to control people and entrap them into their system whereby you must keep coming back to them for salvation and eternal security. 

“God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. There Christ defeated all powers and forces. He let the whole world see them being led away as prisoners when he celebrated his victory. Don’t let anyone tell you what you must eat or drink. Don’t let them say that you must celebrate the New Moon festival, the Sabbath, or any other festival. These things are only a shadow of what was to come. But Christ is real!” Colossians 2:14-17

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Baptismal waters have no saving power. Our baptism is a foreshadow of things to come. It signifies an awakening to our new relationship with God and sin.

“What should we say? Should we keep on sinning, so that God’s wonderful kindness will show up even better? No, we should not! If we are dead to sin, how can we go on sinning? Don’t you know that all who share in Christ Jesus by being baptized also share in his death? When we were baptized, we died and were buried with Christ. We were baptized, so that we would live a new life, as Christ was raised to life by the glory of God the Father.

If we shared in Jesus’ death by being baptized, we will be raised to life with him. We know that the persons we used to be were nailed to the cross with Jesus. This was done, so that our sinful bodies would no longer be the slaves of sin. We know that sin doesn’t have power over dead people.

As surely as we died with Christ, we believe we will also live with him. We know that death no longer has any power over Christ. He died and was raised to life, never again to die. When Christ died, he died for sin once and for all. But now he is alive, and he lives only for God. In the same way, you must think of yourselves as dead to the power of sin. But Christ Jesus has given life to you, and you live for God.

Don’t let sin rule your body. After all, your body is bound to die, so don’t obey its desires or let any part of it become a slave of evil. Give yourselves to God, as people who have been raised from death to life. Make every part of your body a slave that pleases God. Don’t let sin keep ruling your lives. You are ruled by God’s kindness and not by the Law.”  Romans 6:1-14

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WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE — CHILDREN CONVERSE WITH THEIR FATHER

As you live, study and worship together with other Christians. You will learn so much more about what has happened to you. Your journey just begun by faith will continue by the same faith. You will learn about prayer. (honest conversation with God who knows you and cares for you) Prayer is not a place to stop and perform a religious duty. It is a closet AND a way of life.

“When you pray, don’t be like those show-offs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.

When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.

When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers. Don’t be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask. You should pray like this: Jesus’ MODEL PRAYER (also called “the Lord’s Prayer)

 “Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
‘Give us this day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’Jesus  Matthew 6:5-14 

 

Pray silently as you walk and go about your day. Tell your Lord how you feel. Ask him questions as you would any friend. He will answer you through his Word (the bible), not your feelings.

God’s truth, the bible, is the engine and your feelings are the caboose. To reverse this is to wander down a lonely, confusing path of self-justification and or confusion and doubt. Make your decisions and establish your beliefs on the Word of God. Then, if feelings, good or bad, come, you are able to put them in their place with wisdom and maturity.

 

A specific time and place for bible study and prayer is wonderful, but the most exciting time is when you relate with him as friend with friend, even while you are with others–or especially when you are with others.

Appreciate that there are those who are more mature and knowledgeable, but don’t wait for others to feed you. Open your bible daily and read for yourself. When you don’t understand, pray for wisdom. (James 1:5-8) Seek wisdom from others whose lives demonstrate the character of Christ.

LEADERSHIP MATTERS

REMEMBER THAT AN EMPTY WAGGON CAN MAKE A LOT OF NOISE. It is not the loud and boisterous who offer the example–not those who promote themselves.

“You may brag about yourself, but the only approval that counts is the Lord’s approval.” (II Corinthians 10:18) This verse is particularly important when it comes to any and all who say that they are “Called” or “Anointed” by God. God indeed does call MEN to shepherd the flock. (Elder-Bishop-Presbytery-Pastor) And when He does, it will always be through existing Pastoral/Elder leadership. They, not the individual, will be used by God to affirm and confirm (laying on of hands) appointments (ordination) to church leadership.

Paul reminds young Timothy to be cautious: “Don’t be too quick to accept people into the service of the Lord by placing your hands on them.” I Timothy 5:22

Every Christian is called by God to serve Him, the church and the world in witness and love—BUT—BUT—BUT. NOT EVERY CHRISTIAN IS TO BECOME A LEADER WITHIN THE LOCAL CONGREGATION. Be very deliberate about keeping the standards for Deacon, Elder and Pulpit–ALL TEACHERS–true to the scriptures. (Timothy-Titus-Corinthians, Galatians…) Note: Each local congregation has more than one Elder/Pastor. This is a safeguard and a built-in accountability to God and the people they serve.

WHO GETS TO? Who gets to prepare the meals for a countries president? Who is allowed to work on jet engines that fly the public around the earth? Who gets to lecture students on medical and surgical procedures–much less perform them? 

SO THEN–KEEP THE PULPIT FREE FROM IMPOSTERS AND SHYSTERS! If we don’t then heresy filters down to all leadership from the top.

“My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others.” (James 3:1)

 

HERE IS WHY THE CHURCH MUST BE PROTECTED FROM THE WRONG LEADERSHIP

–BECAUSE OF HER PURPOSE IN REALIZING CHRIST-LIKE MATURITY

“Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like Him.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

–BECAUSE OF HER PROPENSITY TOWARDS CHILDISH HERESY AND DYSFUNCTION IN THE BODY

“We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.” (Ephesians 4:14-16)

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HELLO BABY! CRAWL—WALK—RUN

The bible calls you a “babe in Christ”, (I Peter 2:2) and you will meet other babies as well as the more mature, and all in-be-tween.

Love them and learn from them but remember that they are imperfect humans on the same journey to Christ-likeness as you.

Keep your eyes on Jesus! God is now making you to be more like Jesus each day you live.

You are not to remain a baby for long. You must and will grow.

My friends, you are acting like the people of this world. That’s why I could not speak to you as spiritual people. You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk. You could not take solid food, and you still cannot, because you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue with each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world.” (I Corinthians 3:1-3)

Stop being hateful! Quit trying to fool people, and start being sincere. Don’t be jealous or say cruel things about others. Be like newborn babies who are thirsty for the pure spiritual milk that will help you grow and be saved. You have already found out how good the Lord really is.” (I Peter 2:1-3)

YOUR NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST WILL CONTRADICT YOUR OLD SELF

The bible calls you and me a “brand new creation” with a past (some regrets) and yet a future full of hope.

“Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new.” (II Corinthians 5:7)

YOUR NEW POSITION IN CHRIST WILL INSTRUCT AND REFORM YOUR MORAL BEHAVIOR EACH DAY YOU LIVE

The bible calls you a Saint–one consecrated to God, holy. (I Corinthians 1:2) The name “Saint” is not a commentary on your moral behavior–past, present or future, rather your new position in Christ. God no longer sees you as a “Sinner” (noun). You will still be sinful (verb), yet your sins are forgiven and your new position before God is that of one set apart and made to be his.

You now belong. Every Saint has a past–(learn from it but don’t live in it or bow to it) Every Saint has a future–(trust God for it while you live in the present)

Always remember that you never worked so that you could finally be loved and accepted by God. (Titus 3:4-7) The bible reminds us,

“God our Savior showed us
    how good and kind he is.
He saved us because
    of his mercy,
and not because
of any good things
    that we have done.

God washed us by the power
    of the Holy Spirit.
He gave us new birth
    and a fresh beginning.
God sent Jesus Christ
our Savior
    to give us his Spirit.

Jesus treated us much better
    than we deserve.
He made us acceptable to God
and gave us the hope
    of eternal life.

 

ST. PAUL CONSIDERED HIMSELF AS HAVING BEEN THE CHIEF OR WORST OF SINNERS

“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” This saying is true, and it can be trusted. I was the worst sinner of all! But since I was worse than anyone else, God had mercy on me and let me be an example of the endless patience of Christ Jesus. He did this so that others would put their faith in Christ and have eternal life. I pray that honor and glory will always be given to the only God, who lives forever and is the invisible and eternal King! Amen” I Timothy 1:15-17 CEV

I hold an old record. I am still the king of the 100 meter with a trophy to prove it. High school over 30 years ago, but no one has bested me. If you are like me (because of grace) you will want to challenge Paul on his past achievement and self-described award of holding the trophy of greatest sinner.

It is not possible to be a SAINT and a SINNER (noun) at the same time.

Paul never once addressed the “Sinners” in his pastoral epistles–always Saints. This was not because they were morally upstanding-rather because their position in Christ defied their old man and denied him the title of “sinner”.

I am yet a sinful man but my sinfulness is now defined by the process of sanctification–Becoming like Christ-the Christ in me–the hope of glory.

For more reading on Sainthood: https://openhandspublications.com/2016/09/20/saints-and-sinners/

“But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Ephesians 5:8

His unconditional love and acceptance of your faith in him results in the truth that you can do nothing to cause him to stop loving and accepting you as belonging to him. You don’t work to keep your salvation either–you work as a natural demonstration that God has saved you. Good works, for the Christian, are symptomatic, not causal, as relating to redemption and salvation. He will do his good works through you so that you may help others see Him, not so that you can become a self-righteous, puffed up show-off.

YOU ARE NO LONGER OBLIGATED TO SIN OR IT’S POWER, THOUGH YOU WILL STILL FACE SIN AND TEMPTATION. 

The bible calls us to confession. The already-Christian does not confess sin to become a Christian again, (This is not possible) rather to grow as a Christian. Confession is agreeing with God about sin. Confession is necessary for us to agree with God about what is bad and or good in our walk and fellowship with Him. Little growth happens until we learn such openness and honesty.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His truth is not in us.”  I John 1:9-10

The Child of God needs no priest, church or minister as a mediator. Through Christ, the one true mediator, he/she may go directly to his heavenly Father in true repentance and confession.

“There is only one God, and Christ Jesus is the only one who can bring us to God. Jesus was truly human, and He gave Himself to rescue all of us. God showed us this at the right time.” I Timothy 2:5-6

EXPECT HIS LOVING DISCIPLINE–HOPE FOR IT BECAUSE OF ITS PROOF OF YOUR BELONGING

If the new-born Christian chooses not to confess, but to live in rebellion, the love of God can be felt in His discipline. God does not abandon His children, He corrects them.

“When the Lord punishes you, don’t make light of it, and when He corrects you, don’t be discouraged. The Lord corrects the people He loves and disciplines those He calls His own.

Be patient when you are being corrected! This is how God treats His children. Don’t all parents correct their children? God corrects all of His children, and if He doesn’t correct you, then you don’t really belong to Him.” Hebrews 12:5-8

ALL LASTING DEEDS – GOOD WORKS – THAT YOU WILL DO ARE BECAUSE YOU ARE HIS CHILD, (they are fruits) NOT SO THAT YOU MAY EARN OR KEEP HIS FAVOR AND YOUR SALVATION. (roots) 

The bible calls us to trust. “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. Then because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.”   (Philippians 4:6-7)

 

God calls us and equips us to work.

GET BUSY–GO TO WORK (not to become or remain saved, but because you are)

“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

Now, prayerfully find that local church where the bible is held to be God’s Word and love is the true mark of a believer. (I John)

Join with these (equally imperfect as you) people and get busy doing your faith.

Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)

“So work with fear and trembling to discover what it really means to be saved. God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey him.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

We can never work to be saved, but each of us who profess to follow Jesus Christ as his disciple will work harder than ever because of this fact. Religious people work towards a false security of becoming righteous on their own for the pride of being acceptable to God because of some work they did or do. Such people can actually perform amazing things in the name of  “earning and keeping their salvation”.

What if you were told that you had to accomplish a long list of rituals and deeds BEFORE you could earn assurance of heaven? Well, if you believed such a thing, you might well join those who are cultic fanatics in their fervor–AMAZING DEEDS for all the wrong reasons AND TO NO ETERNAL CONSEQUENCE.

 

Remember: Those who work on their own to be acceptable (saved) to God have made the death of Christ of none effect.

“I don’t turn my back on God’s undeserved kindness. If we can be acceptable to God by obeying the law, (being a goody-goody) it was useless for Christ to die.” Galatians 2:21

Know that apart from Christ death and resurrection, nothing can make them or any of us acceptable to God.

Christians are not better than anyone else, though we may well be better off. Rather than creating obnoxious religious-do-gooders, He is making us to become (over our lifetime) true humble Christ-Like servants.

EACH MORNING IS A GIFT — FROM AND TO GOD

“Good morning Lord. This is your day. I am your slave and servant, bought with the price of your blood. Because of your grace, I am even to be called your friend, as long as I obey you. Would you present yourself to the world through me today. As I take up my cross and follow you, burn in me both the knowledge of truth and the powerful love that marks every true disciple. My life has eternal meaning when you are Lord and Master. May it ever be so, in your name–Amen”

 

THE ROLE OF GOD’S WORD TO US

What God has said isn’t only alive and active! It is sharper than any double-edged sword. His word can cut through our spirits and souls and through our joints and marrow, until it discovers the desires and thoughts of our hearts. Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.” Hebrews 4:12-13

Notice that the less you read the bible the more you tend to rely on feelings and poor sources of wisdom for life. Then it is easy to be tricked and deceived.

We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.” Ephesians 4:14-16

FOR YOUR EMOTIONS–Read from the Psalms daily

FOR YOUR MIND AND WISDOM–Read from the Proverbs daily

 

THE ROLE OF GOD’S SPIRIT TO US

 

NOW WATCH WITH JOY AS GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT ACCOMPLISHES THE FOLLOWING THROUGH YOUR LIFE AND MINE:

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”Acts 1:8

Jesus came to them and said:

I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth! Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you. I will be with you always, even until the end of the world.” Matthew 28:18-20

 

THE ROLE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH TO US

The Local Church is:

1-The Bride of Christ: God uses marriage, husband, wife, Christ and church to reveal His  design, character and purpose.

“Honor Christ and put others first. A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord. A husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head and the Savior of the church, which is his own body. Wives should always put their husbands first, as the church puts Christ first.

A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water. Christ did this, so that he would have a glorious and holy church, without faults or spots or wrinkles or any other flaws.

In the same way, a husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself. A husband who loves his wife shows that he loves himself. None of us hate our own bodies. We provide for them and take good care of them, just as Christ does for the church, because we are each part of his body. As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother to get married, and he becomes like one person with his wife.” This is a great mystery, but I understand it to mean Christ and his church. So each husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself, and each wife should respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:21-23)

2-A local Assembling place: In the beginning of the church, people met mostly in homes and the local synagogues and temples. Read the book of Acts for an understanding of how God birthed the church. Just like today, it was marked by the frailties and the high marks of sinful–redeemed humanity.

“Everyone was amazed by the many miracles and wonders that the apostles worked.  All the Lord’s followers often met together, and they shared everything they had. They would sell their property and possessions and give the money to whoever needed it. Day after day they met together in the temple. They broke bread together in different homes and shared their food happily and freely, while praising God. Everyone liked them, and each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.” (Acts 2:43-47)

Christ died for the church (people who gather weekly and associate/witness daily)

Hebrews 10:19-25 has important instruction for us: Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”

–Where there is growth in number:   As the Lord adds to His church, we see clearly His nature and design. His intention was to send His Son to redeem rebels–rebellious sinful people who needed grace and forgiveness. “each day the Lord added to their group others who were being saved.”

–Where there is growth in maturity: The local church is people–people who need to grow in number and people who need to grow in their spirit.

“We never give up. Our bodies are gradually dying, but we ourselves are being made stronger each day. These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing. Things that are seen don’t last forever, but things that are not seen are eternal. That’s why we keep our minds on the things that cannot be seen.” (II Corinthians 4:16-18)

–Where there is Sanctuary — But not A sanctuary. The sanctuary and temple represent the Old Testament system of worship and sacrifice. Christ, the once for all and final sacrifice means that the new temple/sanctuary system has changed. Now, the temple of worship is our body.

“All of you surely know that you are God’s temple and that his Spirit lives in you. Together you are God’s holy temple, and God will destroy anyone who destroys his temple.” (I Corinthians 3:16-17)

THE CHURCH IS PEOPLE, NOT A BUILDING

THE TEMPLE IS A BODY, NOT A BUILDING

THE SANCTUARY IS GOD’S REEFUGE AND PRESENCE, NOT A BUILDING

THE CHRISTIAN WORSHIPS GOD IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH–BUILDING OPTIONAL

THE CHURCH WORSHIPS GOD TOGETHER EACH 1ST DAY OF THE WEEK–SUNDAY  (not the Sabbath)  –BUILDING OPTIONAL

–FOR MORE READING ON THE SABBATH: https://openhandspublications.com/2018/05/22/the-blue-laws-and-sabbatarianism/

 

–Where there is Contention, Immaturity and Strife: 

“My friends, you are acting like the people of this world. That’s why I could not speak to you as spiritual people. You are like babies as far as your faith in Christ is concerned. So I had to treat you like babies and feed you milk. You could not take solid food, and you still cannot, because you are not yet spiritual. You are jealous and argue with each other. This proves that you are not spiritual and that you are acting like the people of this world.” (I Corinthians 3:1-3)

PUT UP WITH ONE ANOTHER

“God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together.” (Colossians 3:12-14)

 

–Where there is a Demonstration of Gifts: There are many verses in the bible about the Gifts of the Spirit. These gifts serve one purpose–Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body.”

“As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God’s people. We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.

Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. As the Scriptures say,

“When he went up to the highest place, he led away many prisoners and gave gifts to people.” When it says, “he went up,” it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe.

Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.

We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.” (Ephesians 4:1-16)

 

–Where there is Koinonia and love: Love is such a signature of God that no one who claims to know Him can do so without reflecting and emanating this love.

“We don’t have to write you about the need to love each other. God has taught you to do this, and you already have shown your love for all of his people in Macedonia. But, my dear friends, we ask you to do even more. Try your best to live quietly, to mind your own business, and to work hard, just as we taught you to do. Then you will be respected by people who are not followers of the Lord, and you won’t have to depend on anyone.” (I Thessalonians 4:9-12)

JESUS SAID:

“But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35)

You and I can claim to be Christian:

–though we sin and disobey God. He will correct and discipline his own. (Hebrews 12)

–though we fail to read His word and grow. He has promised to keep us and grow us up into Christlikeness. He cannot be unfaithful.

–though we ignore His people the church and we fail to worship together weekly.

“Some people have gotten out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord’s coming is getting closer.” (Hebrews 10:25)

But we cannot claim to be Christian if we fail the one litmus test:

“We love because God loved us first. But if we say we love God and don’t love each other, we are liars. We cannot see God. So how can we love God, if we don’t love the people we can see? The commandment that God has given us is: “Love God and love each other!” (I John 4:19-21)

-Where There Is Giving

The Christian will “Love God because He first Loved us.”

The Christian will give because He gave Himself and taught us that “It is better to give than receive.“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20:35)

For More Reading on Giving and the Tithe: https://openhandspublications.com/2017/12/12/tithe-why-not/

 

–Where There is Great Security

The Word of God, useful for all of life, is particularly needed in moments of temptation and doubt. As Jesus was tempted early in His life and ministry, so we to experience a bombardment of evil influence early in our lives as Christians. We need ammunition for this battle. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.” (II Corinthians 10:3-4)

This is what Jesus told Satan in His temptation:

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’ (Matthew 4:1-4)

–Where There Is Going

The bible clearly tells you and me that we are now loved, cared for, kept by God’s power-not our own–Priests, SAINTS, Aliens, Strangers, and many other descriptives. But all of thes pale compared to these two:

You and I are SALT Not the sugar mind you. Our influence in this world is one of preservation and flavor. “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.” (Matthew 5:13)

You and I are LIGHT We are not saved to Sit-n-Soak or to merely warm a pew or chair once a week. We are soldiers on a mission. We are laborers. We are light bearers who no longer have a choice but to shine in a dark world. You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, 15 and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. 16 Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

You and I STINK/PERFUME :https://openhandspublications.com/2018/02/12/whats-that-smell-i-hear/. Please read this for better awareness of our odor in the world and in the church.

You and I are AMBASSADORS Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (II Corinthians 5:20)

Please go back and read all of II Corinthians 5 to understand what “THEREFORE” MEANS. In fact, read all verses that others quote within their CONTEXT. Someone has rightly said, “the text taken out of context leaves only a CON”.

You and I Are COMMISSIONED Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:16-20)

 

MEMORY VERSES:

Perhaps you would make this one of your first memory verses? 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (I Peter 1:3-9)

Please refer to this writing on SECURITY of the Believer and PERSEVERANCE of the Saints

https://openhandspublications.com/2017/01/21/perseverance-of-the-saints/

__________________________________________

ANTICIPATE HIS RETURN

“God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people. He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world. We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus ChristHe gave himself to rescue us from everything that is evil and to make our hearts pure. He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right.

Teach these things, as you use your full authority to encourage and correct people. Make sure you earn everyone’s respect.” (Titus 2:11-15)

 

Finally, three more good verses to commit to memory:

“You have accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord. Now keep on following him. Plant your roots in Christ and let him be the foundation for your life. Be strong in your faith, just as you were taught. And be grateful.”  (Colossians 2:6-7)

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”  (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That’s the most sensible way to serve God. Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him.” (Romans 12:1-2)

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