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Revealing Just How To Become A True Christian.

When the crew of the submarine Squalus realized that they had taken their last dive and were lying helpless at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, 240 feet below the surface of the water, they sent up smoke flares and a buoy with coloring matter to dye the waters and thus attract attention.  Would one of their sister ships find them?  Could they be rescued if their submarine was located?  All help must come from above.  There was no possibility of help from any other direction.  There, in agonizing silence they waited; and every hour seemed an age.

But, within less than an hour after that fatal dive, the submarine Sculpin set out in search of them.  In a few hours the red film on the surface of the water was discovered, then the buoy.  But twenty-four hours passed before any real rescue work could be started.  Think of the long, long hours there in the darkness of that submariner Then a giant, ten-ton diving bell dipped and rose again and again, each time bringing up several men from those awful depths until at last all thirty-three men who were still alive in the submarine had been rescued.  When that great diving bell came for the Squalus crew, not one sailor refused to be rescued.  All were glad to accept the way to safety.

My dear friends, if we are to be saved and have a place in God's kingdom, we must accept God's way of salvation.  Remember, all the help we shall ever get will be from above, not from this earth.  Salvation is from God.  Do you want to be a Christian?  Would you like to be a Christian, but do not know how to begin?  Well, this message is especially for you.  The steps to Christ are few and plain and easy to understand, and we shall just turn to God's Guidebook now for our information.

What must one who would come to God do first of all?

The answer is found in (Hebrews 11:6): 'He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

We must have a true and genuine faith, faith enough to believe that God exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.

That's the first step.  But you say: "I don't have much faith.  How can I get this true and genuine faith in God?"

Well, here's the way as described by the apostle Paul in (Romans 10:17): "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

The word of God, then, as found in the Bible brings faith when we study it and receive it into our hearts.  So at once to follow the Bible path.

Now we come to the second step, which leads us to a change of life.

It is here in (Romans 2:4): "Despisest thou the riches of his goodness [that is, Gods goodness] and forbearance and long-suffering; not knotting that the goodness; of God leadeth thee to repentance?"

So the second step is repentance.  First, by Faith, genuinly believing and trusting in God; second, a true and genuine repentance.  But you I ask, "Are you sure God will forgive me?,

The answer to that question is found in (1 John 1:9): "If we confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from  all unrighteousness."

We read the same thing in (Exodus 34:6-7): 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious , long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and- truth, "Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin."

So you see, our heavenly Father treats us better than we deserve.  Yes, He desires to forgive us.

'For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)

That's what Gods love and goodness led Him to do for us.

So, first of all, we must by having a true and genuine faith, believe in God.  Then we must realize that we are sinners and truly, genuinly repent.

"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out."  (Acts 3:19).

Now, no one is going to truly repent if he isn't sorry for his sins.

 We read in (2 Corinthians 7:9): "Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance.'

Repentance is simply being genuinely and tearfully sorry for our sins and putting them away.  It is not a sorrow for fear of punishment, but a hatred of the sin itself because we know it grieves the heart of God, whether or not we suffer for the sin here on earth.  Is it natural for us, of our own selves, to repent?

Now In (Acts 5:31) we read: "Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour [this is speaking of Jesus], for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."

You know, friends, conviction is not repentance.  It is one thing to be awakened at five o'clock in the morning, but it is another thing to get up.  As the colored woman of the old slave days, said, "Repentance is being so sorry for sin that you quit sinning."

Across the great Zambezi River in Africa, just below the Victoria Falls, there is a great bridge spanning the chasm over the most terrible turmoil of waters on earth.  It was built by engineers working from both sides of the river.  They extended on through the single span until the two arms met above midstream, thus completing the bridge.

True and Genuine Repentance and faith are the arms of the bridge that enables us to pass from earth to heaven.  They unite to make our salvation possible.  Neither of itself is sufficient.  We must believe in God and we must repent.  It is useless, friends. to try to be true Christians if we do not genuinly repent of our sins.  We cannot change ourselves from sinners to believers in any other way.

We read in (Jeremiah 13:23): "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil"

Genuine Repentance is absolutely necessary.  One reason why we have such unhappy lives is that we do not repent.  Many who carry on a form of Christianity- a Counterfeit Christianity, a Christianity in name only, have never ever repented, and therefore have never been happy in their professed Christian experience.  One reason why some religious workers never have a revival is that they have not genuinly repented of their sins - they are still unconverted.  Friend, have you genuinly repented?  Will you repent?

Dr. F. B. Meyer tells of a revival meeting that was dragging along with no signs of success.  Finally one of the leading elders arose and said, "Pastor, I don't think we'll have a revival here as long as Brother Jones and I won't speak to each other." Then he went over to Jones and said: "Brother Jones, you and I haven't spoken to each other for five years.  It's time now to bury the hatchet.  Here's my hand." just then a sob broke the silence.  Another elder arose in the audience and said: "Pastor, I don't think there will be a revival here until I repent.  We can't have a revival as long as I say mean things behind your back and nice things to your face.  I want you to forgive me."

Soon others arose and genuinly confessed their sins and truly tried to set matters right.  It wasn't long before the revival broke out.  Then the blessing of God came upon them and swept over the community for three years.

The next step in becoming a True Christian is confession. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whosoever confesseth and forth them shall have mercy." (Proverbs 28:13).

Confession that leads to the forsaking of sin is the real kind.  But, in addition to this, what else is necessary on the part of the repentant sinner?

"If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not cease."  (Ezekiel 33:15).

Real repentance and confession mean not only to stop sinning, but to do everything possible to make right past wrongs.  No man can steal ten dollars and expect God to forgive him unless he tries to pay back what he has taken.  Otherwise it wouldn't be real repentance or real confession.

But when a person truly repents and confesses, God forgives, for we have already read in (1 John 1:9):
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to for give us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Forgiveness is God's work, not ours.  Now, when we confess, we simply believe that God forgives, and He does.  That's the end of it.  We may or may not feel that our sins are gone, but they  are.  We are not to depend upon feelings; we are to believe God.

The son of a minister strayed from the straight and narrow way into a life of debauchery and sin.  He made a name and great fame for himself in the world of affairs, but allowed himself to slip down to the lowest places.  He described his own condition as that of a drunkard, a dope fiend, and a down-and-outer.  But, after fifteen long years, he gave God a chance to redeem him and he was gloriously saved.  Then he returned home, but only to find that his poor father had died of a broken heart, calling his name; that through all those years his mother had kept a lighted lamp in the window every night and all night.

Friends, God has a light in His window for all His wayward children; and, while the lamp holds out to burn, the wandering sinner may return.  Won't you come   back now, for God will forgive you?

So we have these three important steps: Having a true Faith, TO trust and believe in God, to genuinly repent and to confess our sins. 

Now the Third step is baptism, and the proof for this is found in (Acts 2:38-39):

"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mark 16:16)

The change which comes through true faith, true repentance (confession of sin), a genuine Biblical Baptism and following the Word of God in all obedience, is called the new birth.  Jesus said: "Ye must be born again." (John 3:7).  This is spoken of also as regeneration.  It's a new life, a re-creation by the power of the True Holy Spirit in the heart of the one who believes.

 This is not something that we can work up, not a form of psychology.

It's not a by-product of education or culture, but it's a miracle wrought by the power of the True Holy Spirit of God.  Then the True Christ lives His life within us, a life of perfect obedience.  Can we obey in our own strength?  No, for in (John 15:5) we read, "Without me ye can do nothing." But how much can we do with Christ's help?

 The answer comes to us from (Philippians 4:13): "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

But if we do sin after we have made a start for Christ, should we become discouraged and cease to follow Him?

Never! We read (I John 2:1): "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

A saint, or follower of Jesus, is not necessarily one who never sins, but one who, as soon as he does sin, asks forgiveness of God, believes himself forgiven and goes on rejoicing to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord.  He shall stumble and fall, but he gets up presses forward again.  Such a fall is not counted against him when he repents and asks forgiveness and divine help to live the right life.  But be is to grow stronger and stronger.  Is it possible to be kept from falling?

(Jude 24) answers that question: "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, . . ."

So we have clearly outlined the steps that we need to take in order to become a True Christian: To believe in God, to repent, to confess our sins, to be baptized and obey all the commandments of- the Lord.

Then, in order to keep strong in our Christian life, there are three essentials. just as in our physical life we must breathe, eat, and exercise, so in the spiritual life we must observe these three essentials to success and happiness.  The Christian life is a growth, and we must not expect too great results at first; but, if we follow these three essentials to Christian life and growth, we shall have happiness and joy in Christ's service here on earth.

First, we must eat.  What is the food for spiritual life? "The words that I speak unto you, they  are spirit, and they are life " (John 6:63).

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them, and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart." (Jeremiah 15:16).

Daily reading and studying of the Bible are necessary to spiritual growth and life. If we do not eat this food for the soul, we shall not grow, but shall finally starve spiritually.

Second, we must breathe spiritually.  Prayer is the breath of the soul.  (1 Thessalonians 5:17) tells us to "pray without ceasing." And in (Romans 12:12) we read, "continuing instant in prayer."

"In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God"
( Philippians 4:6)

"Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend." "Ask, and it shall be given you,' said Jesus. (Matthew 7:7.)

Prayer and its answer is a wonderful theme, and a more wonderful experience.  It is the very breath of the soul.

 Without prayer, the spiritual life will perish sooner than. from the lack of any other essential. (See Matthew 7:7 and Mark 11:24.)

Third, we must exercise or engage in the True Christian work.  We are to labor in God's harvest fields. (Matthew 21:28.)

He sets the goals and missions for His True Church. After His resurrection and just before His ascension to heaven, Jesus commanded: "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, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:18–20).

In what part of it? (Mark 16:15) tells us: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

Jesus came into the world- ". . . not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."(Matthew 20:28).

This is service and salvation for others, which is very food, and life, and exercise.

As we take Christ's name, we shall follow in His steps, doing what we can to help the needy, relieve the distressed, and encourage the downhearted.  Most of all, we shall do our utmost, losing no opportunity to point others to "the Lamb of God" which taketh away the sin of the world, (John 1:29).  Feeding on the Word, keeping the heart constantly in the spirit of prayer and consecrating our energies to the eternal welfare of our fellow men -  that's the ideal Christian life, the happiest, most satisfactory life that man can know on this earth.

Let me bear my personal testimony -  Its great to be a True Christian!.  Friend, won't you give God a chance in your life?

Won't you become a True Christian?  Wont you give God a chance in your life? Won't you take these steps-to Christ?

To every Christian reading this, let me say: If you are living for Christ, you are to doing  more than anyone else that you possibly could do to bring men and women to Him.

A missionary in China was telling of  Jesus for the first time to a group of people in an inland town. When he had finished someone spoke up and said "Oh, yes we knew him , he used to live here."

Surprised, the missionary said: "No, He didn't live here.  He lived centuries ago in another land."

The man still insisted that he had seen Jesus, saying: "Not so.  He lived in this village.  We knew Him."

Then the simple country folk took the missionary out to the village cemetery and showed him the grave of a medical missionary who had lived, - healed, served, and died in their community.  Ah, they had seen Jesus in this man, and they thought he was Jesus.

Dear Friends, do people see Jesus in you, in me?  May it be so today.

Let Us Pray Together--

PRAY: "God be merciful to me a sinner. Receive me now for Christ's sake. Cleanse me from my sin by your precious blood, shed on the cross for me; lead me to be Baptized and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach me to pray each day; to read Your will for my life from your word, the Bible; and help me to worship and serve You in the fellowship of your church. I thank you Lord Jesus Christ. AMEN! 

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