// what is the gospel?
A personal relationship with God is what life is all about!
The following is designed to help you come to a deeper understanding of what it means to become a follower of Christ. Following Christ will not free you from all of your troubles or make life easy. Sometimes life gets even tougher. But, with God as your Father, you will have access to all you need for true life. This world offers a shallow, self-centered, “counterfeit” kind of life that never truly satisfies. God offers us an abundant life where we find true purpose, fulfillment, and adventure. This is the only way to really live. To have that life we must understand who God is and what prevents us from knowing Him.
“Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23
Each of us is born selfish, wanting our own way and thinking that we are more important than others. God calls that pride and it is the basis of all our sin. God hates sin because it hurts us and hurts others. It is not politically correct to say that we are sinners, but the truth is not politically correct either, and it is the truth of God’s Word that sets us free. Each person must come to the place where he/she realizes and admits that he/she is a sinner. Do you admit that you are a sinner? YES or NO?
“The payment for sin is death…” Romans 6:23
Sin has a consequence. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin. But a much greater death is spiritual death which keeps us from God for all eternity. God cannot accept sin or sinners into His Heaven. The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where unbelievers will be in torment forever. It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain. Each person must understand that he/she deserves death and hell for his/her sins. Do you admit that you deserve death and hell for your sins? YES or NO?
What God Has Provided For US
“God shows His great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners!”Romans 5:8
When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin’s penalty. He bought us out of slavery to sin and death and He paid the price for all of our sins – past, present, and future! He could do this for all of us because being God, He is perfect. He created all of us and, as such, is greater than the sum total of human life. He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us! God loves you as much as He loves His Son, Jesus. Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for all of your sins? YES or NO?
“…but God gives the free gift of life forever in Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:23b
Here is the good news! Salvation is a free gift from God to you! You can’t earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it. Are you willing to ask God for His free gift of mercy and salvation? YES or NO?
What We Need To Do?
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31 (NIV)
To become a Christian you must believe that Jesus and His death for you on the cross provides the only possible way to be forgiven of your sin and be accepted by a perfectly holy God. You must believe Jesus is the only way to receive eternal life in heaven. Do you agree that believing in the person and work of Jesus is the only way to be saved? YES or NO?
“I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” Acts 26:20b (NIV)
In coming to Christ, we must repent, which means to rethink or change our minds. If we have no desire to turn from sin, this shows that there might not have been a change of heart, therefore we may not truly be saved. If we humbly come to Christ and ask for Him to change us, we will have the desire to obey Him. We cannot do this on our own, and this is the difference between true Christianity and merely observing religion. As we believe God and yield to His will, He empowers us to do what is right because we are brand new people with Jesus living in us. Do you desire to change the direction of your life and follow Jesus completely? YES or NO?
Make Jesus Leader Of Your Life
“…If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we declare with our mouths that we believe, and so we are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (NCV)
A Christian must be willing to make Jesus the leader of his/her life along with sharing Him publicly with others. Do you desire to allow Jesus to be the Leader of your whole life? YES or NO?
Receive Jesus Into Your Life
“But to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God!” John 1:12 (NIV)
Take a minute to sign your name and write in the date of your decision below, so you can look back when you doubt, and be reassured that you belong to Him. If you are ready to fully acknowledge your need for Jesus and become a Christian, please take time, right now, to pray the prayer below…
Prayer of Faith
Father God, I am a sinner, I deserve death and hell. Be merciful to me, a sinner, I am yours, forgive me and save me. I turn from my sin and give you myself and my life to do what you will. I want you to be Lord and leader of my whole life. I want to have a close relationship with you all day, every day. I now receive you into my life. Thank you for saving me and cleansing me through your Son, Jesus. Amen.
What Has Now Happened to You As a Result of Becoming a Christian?
No Condemnation From God
“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (NASB)
As a Christian, you are now completely clean before God. “No condemnation” means that God cannot and will not ever hold your sin against you. This should make you so grateful to your Father that you do not want to continue to sin.
You Are Now God’s Temple And Have Close Fellowship with Jesus Everday
“Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you.” 1 Corinthians 6:19 (NIV)
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 (NIV)
As a believer, Jesus wants to have fellowship with you all day long, every day. As you pray, read the Bible, fellowship with other Christians and tell others of Jesus’ love, you will see your relationship with the Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit grow.
You Are Brand New! You Now Have Everything You Need To Live For Jesus
“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness…” 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
We have all the power to do what is right if we will use it.
What Should You Expect?
Changes In Your Life And The Desire To Obey God
Since the Spirit of God now lives within you, you should expect some immediate changes in your life and attitude, and you will continue to change as long as you live here on earth. Some sins will drop away seemingly without effort, while others will continue to be a struggle. (Read 1 John for more teaching on this.)
You should expect that you will start loving others, especially other believers.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:7,8 (NIV)
At times you may doubt that you are a Christian. This is perfectly normal. Satan will try hard to lie to you about the reality of Jesus and what He has done for you. Satan will use your weaknesses, sins, feelings, and struggles to try to convince you that your faith is not real. When he does this, put the cross and resurrection of Jesus back in his face and continually reject his desperate lies.
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24 (NIV)
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus.” Acts 2:38
We pray that God will bless you as we grow together in Him.
Be baptized as soon as possible! Water baptism is one of the ways you first show that you have become a follower of Christ. Baptism is an act of obedience and a symbol of commitment. The word “baptism” actually means “to dip or submerge”. Thus, the symbolism is this: when you go down in the water, you make a public statement showing that your old life of sin has been cleansed, crucified, and buried with Him; and when you come up out of the water, you show you have been raised to walk with Him in newness of life.
Read the Bible and learn to apply God’s teachings to your life. Keeping a simple journal is a great way to record and review how God has been speaking to you. Here is a Bible Reading Plan to help you read the entire Bible in one year.
Pray on a regular basis. Set aside prayer time each day to praise God, give thanks to Him, confess sin to Him, and ask requests of Him for others and yourself. Keeping a simple prayer journal or list is a good way to stay focused in prayer and record God’s answers. Also, develop the practice of praying all throughout the day as you stay aware of God’s presence and enjoy His companionship all day long.
Join A Life Group
We all need to have real fellowship with other Christians. Life Groups include worship, prayer, accountability for spiritual growth, Bible discussion, and service /outreach.
Recovery & Support Groups
These groups are designed to help you in your healing and personal growth. Some examples are: Celebrate Recovery (a Christ-centered 12-step program); Divorce Recovery; Post Abortion Recovery (The Journey); Sex Abuse Recovery (Songs of Joy) & Sexual Addiction Recovery (Fully Alive).
Attend Worship Service Regularly
Attend a lively, Bible teaching church service. We all need ongoing times of corporate worship, prayer, and teaching from God’s word.
Attend this class as soon as possible. This will help you become an active participant at River Valley. This class is designed to give you an important overview and orientation of our church. Click here to learn more.
Get involved in some of the many ways God is working in our church and community. Our desire at River Valley and for you is to “be the church in action” where we all do our part in serving the Lord.
Sharing Jesus With Others
Let people know the decision you have made and what Jesus has done for you. Give them an opportunity to do the same.