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CHRISTIANITY - CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY

TRUE CONVERSION TO CHRISTIANITY

Most of this message is a study of the book of 1 John. Our opening Scripture is 1 John 1:5-7 and 1 John 5:20. 1 John 5:13 tells the purpose of this book.

The late Dr. Francis Schaeffer was a great defender of the Christian faith in the mid-twentieth century. He predicted that the American church would become inconsequential because of a false concept of Christian spirituality. Self-professing people claiming to be Christians would talk about God and claim a belief in God while rejecting the true God of the Bible. Instead, they would follow a man-made New Age god.

This has happened as he predicted.
•    People have believed what they were taught in public schools, Evolution.  They are only an animal at the top of the food chain. As just superior animals, it must be OK to act like one. All of this basically removes good values and self-discipline.
•    Another aspect of their learning is that the heavens and earth are several billions of years old. Genesis 1 to 11 correctly state that all creation is only about 6000 years old.
•    Churches teach Bible stories to children but don’t teach them how to defend their faith. All they know are cute little Bible stories with no connection to contextual Biblical understanding. No solid foundation is taught.

A real crisis in Christian churches today is that Christians hardly appear different from the world. What really confuses unsaved people is the “non-Christian” behavior of some Christians. Students are leaving churches in large numbers because they were false converts. Why?
•    Churches are not doing their job in education.
•    Public schools teach against Biblical truth pushing Evolution and Atheism as the truth.
•    The family institution is no longer teaching Christian values and self-discipline.
•    Political correctness and the leaning toward social justice and redistribution of wealth (Socialism) is a war on Christianity.

We hear people say the words “born again” Christian, somehow separating a person what some call only a “nominal professing” Christian. Actually, you are either born again as a “confessing” Christian or you are not a Christian. There is no such thing as a “non-born again” Christian or “nominal” Christian. The true convert is “in Christ,” born again as accepting Christ in their hearts.

1 John gives us 10 signs of a true convert to Christianity--to be born again--to be saved, keeping in mind that we are forgiven through God’s grace when we “slip” into sin at times.
1.    True converts admit they are sinners. They know they can’t go to Heaven by being a “good” person or by doing good works (1 John 1:8).
2.    The true convert, not an habitual sinner, lives a life of obedience by keeping God’s commandments more often than breaking them. While true converts may continue to sin as part of the struggle with sin nature, their life is marked by a desire to pursue holiness and to walk with Jesus in obedience to God’s Word. Holy Spirit conviction for sin is always present (1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:6; 1 John 5:2-4a).
3.    A true convert does not harbor hate, but displays forgiveness, love, and compassion. This is part of practicing God’s grace (1 John 2:9, 11; 1 John 3:15; 1 John 4:16).
4.    A true convert does not love the world or the things of the world or the world’s system of evil ruled by Satan (1 John 2:15).
5.    True converts proclaim Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They defend the exclusivity of Christ in a world of multiple religious systems (1 John 4:15).
6.    A true convert hopes and longs for the return of the Lord (1 John 3:2-3).
7.    A true convert desires to serve and help other Christians (1 John 3:14, 17).
8.    A true convert loves being with true believers and hearing the Word taught. (1 John 5:1).
9.    A true convert rejects false teaching (1 John 2:22, 23).
10.    A true convert remains in the truth and perseveres in the faith (1 John 2:24).

The 10 signs the true Christian in 1 John will help you to take and pass the test of true conversion (2  Corinthians 13:5).

At least 150,000 people daily step off into eternity, and a huge percentage of them are going into the eternal punishment of Hell. I am certain that many are shocked to find themselves not in Heaven. They thought they lived a good life by today’s standards. Many went to church, professed conversion, and were baptized. Many say they believe in Jesus, but that does not make them saved. The Bible says that Satan and his demons believe in Jesus.

Repentance is not a Christian doctrine we hear taught nearly enough and most often not at all. Mark 6:7, 12 explains repentance.
•    True repentance is a “Godly sorrow” for sin.
•    It is turning and going in the opposite direction of a willful sinful lifestyle.
•    True repentance leads to a change in a person’s life, the fruit they produce (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).
People say they are saved because they are sorry for the bad things they do. They may even say they are sorry that they sin. A worldly sorrow leads to death and a Godly sorrow of true repentance leads to salvation. In John 6:28-29, Jesus means to really believe in Him with Godly sorrow in true repentance. You can’t be saved by good works. The only work for salvation was done by Jesus Christ on the cross. It is a free gift if we truly accept it.

Being dunked in water doesn’t save us. Water baptism for the saved is a sign of obedience. We have died to our sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Also, infant baptism is not Biblical but dedication of babies is.
•    Exodus 17:6 is a prophecy of  water in the salvation experience. Moses striking the rock at Horeb brought water pouring out of the rock for the Israelites to drink.
•    In John 3:3, 5, Jesus explains the importance of being born of water and the Spirit.
•    In John 4:7, 9-10, 13-14 Jesus refers to a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
•    In John 7:37-38, Jesus is the Rock with streams of living water will flow from within him.

The foundation and focal point of Christianity is the claim of Christ’s deity (Romans 10:9-10). God Himself, Jesus, came down to Earth to suffer and die  on the cross, and rise from the dead so that all might be saved (John 10:9; Acts 2:21; Acts 4:12; Romans 10:9; Romans 10:13). There is no plus or minus to the cross! We are not saved by works, only by grace through faith. We are not supposed to fully understand the depth of God’s perfect love. But, we are expected to accept it by faith or continue to bear the burden of guilt.
•    New birth in Christ is not just a feeling. It’s a new way of life.
•    Rebirth is not a humanistic reformation. It is a Holy Spirit-led transformation with changed will, changed objective for living, changed affections, and changed disposition.
•    Believers are changed from a self-directed life to a Christ-directed life.
•    Conversion is an event, the experience of moving from darkness to light, from spiritual death to life in Jesus Christ.

The instant you become saved,
•    you are baptized with the Holy Spirit (John 1:33)
•    you become a saint (Romans 1:7) and a priest (Romans 15:16; Revelation 1:5-6)
•    you have at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 1 2:1-11)
•    you begin developing in your faith and growing in God’s grace (1 Peter 2:2).

When you come to Christ, when you truly receive Him in your heart, when you come to the cross where He died for you, when you believe that He is risen and with the Father, your name is written in the book of life. God cannot remember your sins because they are taken away by the blood shed on the cross. You are saved forever. You cannot lose your salvation.

Jesus died on the cross because He loves you. This is wonderful grace!

THE INVITATION
★    You can't depend on your own goodness to get to Heaven. We've all sinned  (Romans 3:23). Jesus paid the penalty for your sins with His death on the cross and His resurrection (John 3:16).
★    To be forgiven and be guaranteed a place in Heaven, you need to repent of sin, confess that you are a sinner, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart (Acts 2:21).
★    You can use the following prayer or your own words, but you must actually believe in your heart that your prayer is real:
              Lord Jesus, I believe You are the Son of God. I confess that I have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed. Please forgive all my wrongdoing and let me live in relationship with You from now on.
              I receive You as my Savior and recognize that the work You accomplished once and for all on the cross was done on my behalf.
              Thank You for saving me. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.
                     In Your name I pray, Amen.

 

    Dr. Nicholas J. Gray, Pastor   Broadway Baptist Church   Sedalia, Missouri   2015