How Does One
Become A Christian?
By Tom Roberts
Hear the Gospel
Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20). The Lord is inviting you into His kingdom. He also said, “I am the good shepherd,” and He is the “door of the sheep” (Jn. 10:7, 11). He invites the lost into the fold of safety, for danger is outside. For the lost, Jesus is the good shepherd that leaves the “ninety and nine” and looks for the “sheep that is lost,” for “the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost” (Mt. 18:11-14). Jesus’ sheep hear His voice and follow Him (Jn. 10:27-28) for eternal life. How do the sheep hear the voice of Jesus? We are “called by the gospel” (2 Thess. 2:14), which is “power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). It is by the word of God that faith is produced in the hearts of the lost (Rom. 10:17). Have you heard the gospel?
As the gospel story is read (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Jesus is shown to be the Son of God (Jn. 20:27-31). Our faith rests in Him. We must believe that He is the Son of God, sacrificed for our sins (Mt. 16:13-16; Jn. 8:24). Do you believe?
Repent of Sins
All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and have died spiritually because of sin (Rom. 6:23). We must face our sins and repent. Repentance is a change of mind, followed by a change of life, as illustrated in Matthew 21:28-31. The son “repented” (changed his mind) and “went” (changed his life). This repentance is required before one can be saved (Lk. 13:3-5; Acts 2:36-38). Have you repented?
Confess the Name of Jesus
Jesus warned that we must have the courage of our faith to openly confess Him with the mouth, an oral confession (Rom. 10:10). If we do not have this courage, Jesus will not confess our name as brethren (Mt. 10:32-33). People in the New Testament times confessed Jesus’ name (Acts 4:10-12; 8:37). Have you confessed that Jesus is the Son of God?
Yes, baptism is a Bible doctrine, commanded by Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; Lk. 24:48). Baptism is not administered as a “rite of the church,” as a work of human righteousness or merit, but as an act of faith (Mk. 16:16; Jas. 2:17, 18, 20, 24). Regardless of the animosity toward baptism in the denominational world, and in spite of their denial of its place in salvation, it is administered by the authority of Jesus for the remission of sin.
Baptism is a burial (Rom. 6:1-7; Col. 2:12) in water (Jn. 3:1-5; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:38). It is for (unto, toward) the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) and is viewed in scripture as involved in “washing away sins” (Acts 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). It is understood by Bible students that forgiveness is not in the water, but in the blood of Christ (Mt. 26:26-28; Rom. 6:1-7). However, Jesus has placed the opportunity of reaching that blood in the act of baptism. It is at baptism that the sinner meets the blood of Christ, that the old man of sin dies, and the new birth takes place (Rom. 6:1-7; Jn. 3:1-5).
Baptism is a re-enactment of the sinner for what Jesus did for him (death, burial and resurrection, (1 Cor. 15:1-4). The sinner obeys, in baptism, a “form of the gospel” (Rom. 6:16-18) in that he becomes dead to sin as he repents, is buried in baptism, and arises to a new life in Christ (Rom. 6:1-7). There is no other act of obedience in the New Testament that so fittingly portrays the gospel in our life as baptism. It is an act of faithful obedience (Rom. 1:5; Jn. 6:28-29; 8:39), not an act of merit or of human righteousness (Tit. 3:5). At the time of baptism, Jesus forgives our sins by the power of the blood and adds us to His church (Acts 2:38, 47). Have you been baptized?
Now That I’m A Christian
Disciples of Jesus wear no denominational names or support denominational doctrines. You are not Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc. No such names or denominations existed when Jesus built His church, and you now belong to that church (Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:47). The name of “Christian” is given for you to wear, and you glorify God in that name (Acts 11:26; 4:12; 1 Pet. 4:14-15).
As a Christian, you will meet with other Christians for worship and service (Heb. 10:25; Acts 2:42; 9:26-28; Eph. 4:11-16).
Christians begin as “babes” in Christ, having been born again (Jn. 3:1-5; Rom. 6:1-7; 1 Pet. 1:22-23; 1 Pet. 2:1-2). Each grows toward being a mature Christian (Eph. 4:11-15). They no longer live in sinful lifestyles as in the past (Col. 3:1-17; Gal. 5:19-24). A Christian grows by adding the attributes of grace (2 Pet. 1:2-11). Are you a Christian?
A Preacher Who Wouldn’t Do!
A church was in need of a preacher. One of the elders was interested in finding out just what kind of a preacher the church wanted. In order to do this he composed a letter as though it had been received from a preacher and read it to the committee selecting a new preacher. The letter read like this:
Understanding that you need a preacher, I would like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications that I think you would appreciate. I have been blessed to preach with power and have some success as a writer. Some say that I am a good organizer. I have been a leader in most places I have gone.
Some folks, however, have some things against me. I am over fifty years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than three years at a time. In some places I have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances. I have to admit that I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any wrongdoing. My health is not too good, though I still get a good deal done. I have had to work at my trade to help pay my way.
The churches I have preached in have been small, though located in several large cities. I have not gotten along too well with the religious leaders in different towns where I have preached, and I am sure that they will not recommend me. In fact, some of them have threatened me, taken me to court, and even attacked me physically. I am not too good at keeping records. I have been known even to forget whom I have baptized. However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you, even if I have to work to help with my support.”
The elder read this letter to the committee, and asked if they were interested in the applicant. They replied that he would never do for their church. They were not interested in any unhealthy, trouble-making, contentious, ex-convict; and were insulted that his application had ever been presented! But one of them did ask the preacher’s name, and the elder replied, “The Apostle Paul.” (Edited and widely circulated in church bulletins and publications in the 50’s.)