Andrew Fountain - Becoming a Christian
Full sermon notes - Becoming a Christian
The Story of Rifqa Bary
- So I want to ask the question this afternoon:
How does someone actually become a Christian?
What do we do?
- When Jesus was on this earth, he called people
- to believe in him
- to come to him
- and to follow him
- They were expecting that Jesus would ask them to do some great task to merit being saved:
- So then they said to him, “What must we do to accomplish the tasks God requires?”
- Jesus replied, “This is the task God requires—to believe in the one whom he sent.” John 6:28-29
In order to be saved people have to simply believe that he was the one who is able to save them and act accordingly. But Jesus didn’t merely bring the “lifeboat”, he is the “lifeboat”. That is why he made statements like “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” John 14:16
But if you really believe that a lifeboat will save you, then of course you will get into it. The same is true with Jesus and that is why he talks about “coming” and “following”.
Many of the people he spoke to were worn out from trying to acheive their own solutions to life’s problems. Jesus’ answer was:
Come to me...
- Tired of trying ot solve their own problems
- “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
- Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
- For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.” Matthew 11:28-30
- “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.” John 7:37-38
- Second video: Brad Barret was an alcoholic with hatred against his mother, but God met him in his darkest time
- So what does it actually mean to “come to him”?
How do we come?
- So what does it actually mean to “come to him”?
- Jesus used this image of drinking when he was talking to a very unsatisified woman. He told her that she simply had to ask him and he would give her “living water” that would satisfy her for life.
- “Coming to Jesus” and “asking him” are two ways of saying the same thing. He says
- “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you.
- For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
- Are there any conditions?
What do we ask him for? We ask him for new life! There are three conditions:
- We believe that he is able to give life.
- We believe he is our only hope
- We believe he is the one to follow (and are willing to)
- Jesus said: …you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.” John 5:40
- “…go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor… Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21
Some of Jesus’ listeners would not let go of their old ways. They were like a passenger of the Titannic stubbornly holding on to the ship rather than get into a lifeboat. Jesus said: …you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.” John 5:40
A very wealthy man came to Jesus, but Jesus identified that his main trust was in his wealth:
- Jesus said to him, “…go sell your possessions and give the money to the poor… Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21
Jesus frequently used the expression “follow me!” By this he meant us to follow his teachings. He used the picture of the foundations of a house:
Following his words
- “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them is like a wise man who built his house on rock.
- The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, but it did not collapse because it had been founded on rock.
- Everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand
- The rain fell, the flood came, and the winds beat against that house, and it collapsed; it was utterly destroyed!” Matthew 7:24-27
At the core of Jesus’ teachings was his “New Commandment”, to love one another. This and his other commands are far too hard for us to keep on our own. But Jesus does not just give us the commands, but the new life that he gives us empowers us to keep them.
It is important to understand that being saved by Jesus is not conditional on us perfectly following him, but us believing that he is the one to follow, which means a commitment to him being our leader.
Will he accept me?
- The good news is that Jesus said “…the one who comes to me I will never send away.” John 6:37
- Third video:
- Davey Falcus, a brutal gang leader & cocaine addict from Newcastle had a vision of Jesus
How do I Pray?
- Prayer is simply speaking to God.
- You don’t have to be in a special place, like a church—God is everywhere
- You don’t have to speak aloud—he knows your thoughts
- You don’t have to try to impress him—he knows you better that you know yourself
- Remember that God knows every bad thought or thing you have done and yet he still wants you to come to him and welcomes you with open arms.
Tell him that:
- You believe that Jesus is your only answer and only hope
- You want him to wipe away every wrong thing you have ever done (and will ever do)
- You want his gift of new life
- You want to follow him now
- Let the one who hears say: “Come!” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wants it take the water of life free of charge. Revelation 22:17
Updated on 2012-11-01 by Andrew Fountain