If you have recently accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then as a new Christian you will want to grow in your relationship with God and here are what we believe are the key points showing you how you can do so.
Read, study, meditate in and memorise the written Word of God - the Bible (1 Peter 2:2, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 1:2)
Reading and studying the Bible
God is alive and He wants a relationship with you. The moment you put your trust in Jesus this relationship began and God wants you to grow in this relationship with Him. Every relationship is based on communication, listening and speaking. God wants to speak to you and wants to reveal to you what He is like, what His plan for the world is and how we can live to please Him. He does this primarily through the Bible which we also sometimes call ‘the Scriptures’ or ‘the Word of God’
The Bible is a collection of 66 different books written by about 40 different authors on 3 different continents and in 3 different languages. Whilst written by men every word is God breathed (2 Tim 3:16).
39 books make up the Old Testament which is the story of a nation - Israel and 27 books make up the New Testament which is the story of Jesus Christ. The nation of Israel was Gods way of bringing Jesus Christ into the world. Every part of the Bible points forward or back to Jesus. The Bible unfolds as a divine love story between God and the subject of His love, humankind. We learn of His purposes and plan from the beginning of time and throughout history.
Which translation should I choose?
There is no simple answer to this, as every reader is different. Ultimately this has to be the choice of the individual and only you can decide which translation is best suited to you. There are many different translations available and our advice is to research each translation and have a read through them online (Bible.com) before purchasing one. We use the KJV (King James Version) as it is the closest translation from the original Hebrew and Greek writings. We also use the NKJV (New King James Version) as we find it is easier to read (in our opinion) and it does have some of the same key words in scripture as the KJV.
When a reference is made to a verse in the Bible, it is written as one word and two numbers like this:
So John is the book, 3 is the chapter and 16 is the verse
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16
Where to start
There is no right order to read the Bible but from our experience we would advise starting with the book of John, then familiarise yourself with the New Testament then move on to the Old Testament. You cannot read the old without reading the new and vice versa. The reason we suggest this order is because you need to recognise that we are no longer under the the laws in the Old Testament any longer. We now have a covenant as predicted in the Old Testament and written about in the New Testament where the promise that God makes with humanity that He will forgive sin and restore fellowship with us is fulfilled through His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant and His death on the cross is the basis for this promise.
Meditating on and memorising Gods Word
So we’ve looked at reading and studying the Bible. Now an important part of growth is by renewing your mind (Romans 12:2). When we read and study the Bible it is important to meditate on and memorise verses to get Gods Word on the inside of us so that we act on it and apply it in order to change the way we think about our lives, our work, our relationships and everything that we do. It also allows the Holy Spirit to bring verses to our rememberence when we need them most. When you are reading scripture you may come across a verse and it jumps right off at the page at you. When that happens this is the Holy Spirit bearing witness that this is a message to you straight from the heart of God. Scripture confirms the importance of meditating and memorising Gods Word as we can see below,
”My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20-22
James 1:21 tells us to “receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls”
Pray (Matthew 6:6)
Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God and is the primary way for a Christian to communicate and to fellowship with Him. It is the exercise of faith and hope and it develops our relationship with God and demonstrates our trust and utter dependence on Him. There is no special formula for how to pray, it is just simply talking to God and is something as Christians that we should do. Prayer can be audible or silent, private or public, formal or informal. When we pray we should thank Him, praise Him say sorry for the mistakes we make, we can seek guidance, ask for wisdom and discernment and make requests.
What does the Bible tell us about prayer?
We can pray all the time (1 Thessalonians 5:16 -18)
We can pray on our own (Matthew 6:6)
We can pray with others (Matthew 18:19, Acts 12:12)
We should pray about everything (Phillipians 4:6-7)
Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:25)
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25
Upon your acceptance of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit of God joined with your own spirit (1 John 4:13, 1 Corinthians 6:17) and the Holy Spirit now dwells in you (John 14:16-17, Romans 8:11). The Spirit gave us life in the new birth (John 3:6) and on a daily basis you must continue to walk in the Spirit by yielding to His control, following His lead, and allowing Him to exert His influence over you. When you do this you will find that the sinful appetites of the flesh have no more dominion over you.
The Holy Spirit will intercede for you in accordance with the will of God (Romans 8:27), assist you in prayer (Jude 1:20) and lead you into righteousness (Galatians 5:16-18). “He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I (Jesus) said to you (through His Word)” John 14:26 (brackets mine). The Spirit will use the Word of God to teach, rebuke, correct and train you in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16).
He produces His fruit in you if you yield to Him and the “fruits of the Spirit” begin to grow in your life and you experience “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:” Galatians 5:22-23. You will get a healthier outlook on life, becoming happy, stable and developing the ability to create peace around you and it becomes a natural part of your life.
Be baptised in water (Matthew 28:19, John 3:5)
What is baptism
Baptism is a significant next step in your new relationship with Jesus and is an important foundation for Christian life. Baptism is a symbol of Christ’s burial and resurrection and is a symbol of your new life as a Christian. When you are baptised, your entrance into the water identifies you with Christ’s death on the cross, His burial in the tomb and His resurrection from the dead (Colossians 2:12-14). The old life is buried and you rise to walk in a new life (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 6:4) as we are born again (John 3:3). Baptism does not make you a believer; it is a public declaration and demonstration that you already are one having declared your faith in, and commitment to Jesus Christ. Baptism does not ‘save’ you, only your faith in Christ does that (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Jesus himself was baptised by John in the Jordan (Mark1:9).
Baptism is an act of faith and obedience to the commands of Christ. (Matthew 28:19-20)
Baptism connects us to the “body of Christ” – his people in the earth – our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)
We can look at the example of when Jesus was baptised.
“As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water.” Matthew 3:16
The word “baptise” was translated from the Greek word “baptizo” which means to dip, immerse, plunge, submerge or sink. Every account of baptism in the Bible was by water immersion.
As soon as a person decides to repent, believe and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are encouraged to be baptised. (Acts 2:41, Acts 8:12, Acts 8:35-39)
Become a member of a Bible believing, Bible preaching and Bible living church (Hebrews 10:25)
We must recognise that by going to church, it doesn’t make anyone a Christian. Across the world many Christians sit in churches every week without hearing the whole Gospel and not growing in their relationship with Christ. The church is not the building, but the true church on earth is made up of individuals who have repented of sin and have accepted and follow Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Attending the right church is important though as this is where we can experience Christ, meet with our heavenly family, and grow in love and faith as we encouraged by our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. As you look for a church to which you will belong. You should pray and ask God to draw you to a Bible-believing church where He would have you grow in faith, serve in love and lead you into fellowship with others who desire to glorify God in everything you do. So dive into God's Word; seek His will. And ask the Holy Spirit to grant you wisdom and discernment as you look for a church where you can seek God and serve others.
What to look for in a Bible believing church
In a Bible believing church;
The Bible should be preached every week and the focus should be on God’s Word and on relationship with Him.
Jesus is at the centre of worship. All of Scripture directs our attention to Jesus and so should the worship of the local church.
Fellowship, community, and discipleship are priorities. Like the early church that we read about in Acts, we are called to raise up new believers and commit to real relationships with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
There should be an active effort to share the Gospel with others, near and far. Jesus wants us to share the Good News of His death and resurrection with everyone who will listen.
There should be no legalistic messages being preached saying that rules, regulations and other actions of holiness are necessary for God to love and accept us. We are saved by God's grace (undeserved favor) and there is nothing you can do to earn it, except by the faith he gives you to believe and receive it.
Tell others about your salvation (Matthew 10:32) and spread the Good News (Mark 16:15)
Telling others about the Good News of Jesus Christ is His command and He promised to give us the power to do it (Acts 1:8). Jesus wants everyone to know about Him and the only way for that truth to be known is for some one to tell it. We are that 'someone'. We should tell others because they need to know that Jesus loves them and longs to give them life. He desires to rescue each one from the pit and the consequences of sin.
When you give your own personal account of how you encountered Jesus and the work he has done and is doing in you life, then this is known as a Christian testimony. The Bible says that Christians will produce fruit (John 15:8, Matthew 3:10) and your testimony may produce fruit for God’s kingdom. A person searching for the truth may be able to relate to your story, bringing them into the knowledge of God. Every single testimony is unique and it gives us a bit more insight into how God works.
We have covered a lot here and we believe that these key points are foundational in growing in your relationship with Christ. We hope and pray that you allow the Holy Spirit to bring you to spiritual maturity by submitting to Him and walking in the Spirit on a daily basis and that you are “transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2.
We have a lot of material on our website so please check out The Hub where you will find all of our Bible teachings, articles and latest news about Be Free Ministries. We would love to hear about your decision to receive Jesus! Please contact us so we can rejoice with you and pray for you.