Trail Guide–Directions for the Journey of a Lifetime – II
The First Step on the Trail
Security of Your Salvation
If you have decided to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord by faith then you have made the most important decision you will ever make. This is far more significant than the decision to get married, go to college, picking your career. The impact of this one decision will revolutionize your life and will have ripple effects on every aspect of your life. Beginning a journey of faith in Jesus Christ is the first step on the trail.
Take a moment and commemorate this event in your life.
YOUR FIRST STEP ON THE TRAIL
Your Name: __________________________
Date of New Birth: ____________________
Place of New Birth: ___________________
Date Baptized: _______________________
Who was part of helping you make this decision? _____________________________
What was the setting? (worship service, small group, at work) ____________________
What helped you make the decision? ________________________________________
A Word You Need to Know:
It is ok that you don’t know all the answers. If I could give you one word that I believe would help you as you are starting on this journey for your life it would be the word PATIENCE. It will be really easy to get discouraged in these early stages of your new life. You will be challenged in areas that you might never have thought about. If anyone told you that becoming a follower of Jesus was going to make your life trouble-free then I apologize on their behalf, but they lied to you. If anything you will discover that living as a Christ-follower will be among the most difficult things you have ever done.
DON’T MISS FIRST BASE:
One more thought before we move into the study portion of this leg of the journey. If you were not sure what to put in the spaces above. If you can’t remember a specific time in your life that you made a decision to believe in Jesus Christ—I don’t mean that you can’t remember the specific date, but that you can’t remember ever making that decision—then I want you to really examine this. Is it possible that you have not made that choice for yourself? Consider the following
It was 1908 – in the early days of Major League baseball in America. The Chicago Cubs and the New York Giants were battling it out for the National League championship and the opportunity to play in the World Series. New York first baseman Fred Merkle was in position to be a game-winning hero actually. He was on base when a teammate got a hit that would enable Merkle to score. And he thought he had as he crossed home plate. But the Cubs touched second base and claimed that Merkle had missed that base as he was running to score. The umpire ruled that the almost-hero was out at second because he hadn’t touched the base. That mistake ultimately cost his team the championship.
Imagine – you think you’ve made it home safely, but it turns out you’re “out” because you missed a base you failed to touch. That can happen to people when it comes to the “home” that really matters – an eternal home in heaven when we die. There are just too many passages in the Bible that indicate that people who thought they would make it there will be surprised to find that they can’t get into heaven.
Matthew 7, for example, portrays a Judgment Day scene when people will remind Jesus of all the Christian things they have done, and He will say, “Depart from Me – I never knew you.” Somehow, they missed Christ in the middle of all their Christianity. How does that happen? How can you make sure it doesn’t happen to you? You need to make sure that you didn’t miss first base as you played the Christian game.
It is really important that you not be embarrassed right now. If you believe that you might have missed a step now is the time to do something about it. Perhaps you have been in church for a while, and maybe you have even been in ministry, but you realize that you don’t have that “new birth” moment when you made the choice to become a believer in Jesus Christ. Think of this as the entrance to the trail head that you will be hiking on your journey and pray this prayer in faith.
Dear God, I know that I cannot get into heaven by my own efforts. I need You to enter into my life and change me. I can’t do it alone. Please forgive me for all I have done wrong, for turning my back on You and from trying my own way. I believe that Jesus Christ came to die in my place on the cross and He lives to be my Savior and Lord. I accept Him today as King of my life. Please fill my heart with Your presence and give me Your guidance, peace, and eternal life. Thank You for saving me and changing me. I love You Lord. AMEN
Now, go back and fill in the blanks above, and welcome to the family of God. According to Jesus there is a great celebration right now with the angels in heaven. (Luke 15.10)
Be Sure of Where You Stand
One of the things you want as you begin the journey is to know that you have sure footing along the journey. You want to know where you stand with the Lord. So let’s consider a few things together.
God wants you to know that you know.
God doesn’t leave us out here to wonder. There are many assurances given to us in Scripture that show us that we have security as believers in Christ. Often, we may have feelings that cause us to doubt or wonder, but God is asking us to trust in our faith, and the facts that He reveals in His Word.
Your Security is Based in God’s Son
Your faith is placed in what God has accomplished for us in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The whole truth of the Gospel can be summed up in these verses:
Finding Something in your Bible
If you are not sure how to find something in your Bible do not be embarrassed. We all have to learn to walk one step at a time. In the front of your Bible there should be an index listing the pages you will find the beginning of each of the books of the Bible. Locate the book you are looking for. (i.e. John – this is the fourth book in the New Testament) Each book is then divided into chapters. These will be larger numbers appearing in the text. Smaller numbers between the chapters are the verses. So, when you see this:
John 3:16 that would be defined as the book of John, chapter 3, verse 16.
1 John is “First John” and is located near the end of the New Testament and is the first of three books that are letters from John.
1 Corinthians 15:3-4
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…
Your salvation is not based in what you have done, how good you can be. It is based solely in what Christ has done for you in dying on the cross for your sins, and then rising to eternal life in the resurrection.
Using your Bible look up these verses and fill the blanks
“For God so loved ___________________, that He gave His only begotten _______, that whoever _______________________ should not perish, but have __________________.
1 John 5:11-13
And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life ________________.
He who _____________________________; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. 13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may ________________________________.
Your Security is Based in God’s Promises
Unfortunately we have all experienced the hurt of having people break their promises to us, so it might be hard to believe when you hear the promises that God has given us. However, God never lies and He keeps His promises. We don’t always understand what God is doing, but we can rest assured that He is fulfilling His plan and purpose and keeping His promises. Two of those key promises appear below, and these give us sure footing as we walk with Christ in the world we live in.
He Promises that We Shall Be Saved –
9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;
He Promises that We Have Eternal Life
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
Your Security is Based on God’s Faithfulness
The promises of any person are only as reliable as the one who makes the promise. With the Lord we have assurance that He is faithful. When we think about that word faithful the thing that often comes to my mind is the relationships that have been shattered because of one person’s unfaithfulness. Pain, hurt, sorrow, these things are part of life when people are unfaithful. God, however, is always faithful. There are numerous times that He assures us of His steadfastness and faithfulness. Here are just a few of those promises found in God’s word that remind us of God’s faithfulness.
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is FAITHFUL, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Thessalonians 5:24
FAITHFUL is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.
Hebrews 10:23 – Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is FAITHFUL
Your Security is Based on God’s Spirit
There is one more thing that God has given us to assure us of the security of our position with Him. When Jesus was preparing to depart he offered His followers a promise that He would not leave them as orphans. The following passages remind us of Jesus’ promise to send the Spirit to us. Using your Bible look up the verses and fill in the blank.
John 14:16-18 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you ______________________, that He may be with you forever; that is ___________________________, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you. “I will not _______________________________; I will come to you.”
John 14:25-26 “These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the _____________, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will ______________ you all things, and bring to your ______________ all that I said to you.”
John 15:26-27 “When _____________________ comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is _______________________, who proceeds from the Father, He will __________________________________________, and you will _______________________ also, because you have been with Me from the beginning.
Acts 1:8 You shall ______________________ when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be _____________________ both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through ___________________ who was given to us.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also ______________ and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a _________.
Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation– having also believed, you were ___________________ with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a ___________________________, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.
Looking Back at Your First Step on the Trail
It’s important to stop periodically while you are hiking on the trail and review where you are and where you have been. For me it has made all the difference in the world to be able to return to the place where I can regain the sure footing that comes from the assurance of God’s presence and purpose in my life. To be able to recall the things that I acquired at the start of the journey.
My Security is Based on God’s Son
My Security is Based on God’s Promises
My Security is Based on God’s Faithfulness
My Security is Based on God’s Spirit
Take a moment and fill in this journal page. This will become your personal testimony. God wants you to tell your story to people. It’s the primary way God has enabled His story (History) to be proclaimed and shared throughout time.
In Each Section write three or four sentences that best describe that circumstance in your experience before and after becoming a Christ follower.
- Before I became a follower of Jesus Christ my life…
- I became a follower of Jesus Christ by…
- Since becoming a follower of Jesus Christ my life…
(In the Next Post consider Baptism)