Start with one verse wonders.
Romans 3:23 is often quoted when the decision is being made to come to Christ. While verse 23 is certainly true, Paul finishes his thought in verse 24. It’s truly good news.
When you read John 3:16, zoom out to 3:15-17. There you will discover that God’s redemptive plan through Christ includes you. This is assuring for new believers. He intended to save you. This reflection can lead to praise and worship for His amazing love. Many times these verses couple the fact of God’s grand grace with the hope of eternal life. One of these is Titus 3:5-7, which concludes on giving confidence for believers in their status as “heirs of Jesus Christ”.
Begin a project of reading a gospel and let it start with Luke.
In the first verses of his gospel, Luke details his purpose to his disciple Theophilus “so that you will know the certainty of the things you’ve been taught.” This concept catapults the reader straight to the current day. New believers are being taught many things that come from many sources. The authority of God’s word is the basis for Christian faith. It’s encouraging to see Luke starting his gospel this way as he affirms the faith of Theophilus, and provides assurance for us.
Confess along with Peter.
When Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” He finally responded, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. This declaration is the privilege of all believers. Sing it, read it, say it and live it. Paul said in Romans 10 that if you can confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. New believers soon discover that the initial conversion leads to a daily conversion. This confession becomes a lifelong privilege.
Reflect on What’s Real. Results matter.
If Christianity were only a mystical experience, it would take its place along with all the other religions of men. Instead, the working element of our faith is life changing. Consider what Paul said as he delivered his great treatise to the Roman church. Romans 5:1 introduces the working of grace in the life of a believer: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.2 This result is felt and known in the life of the believer. In fact, passages from Paul regularly rest on the notion of His wonderful grace, and the abiding hope of eternal life. From this launching place in Romans 5, read on through to the end of chapter 8. The great exchange of salvation is described along with passages quoted by the Christians for centuries. From there you might even want to read the whole book!
Stand on the shoulders of giants.
In the New Testament, the apostles declare the truth of the resurrection. Their focus was on the life-changing effect of that faith. Through over 2000 years of Christian history, believers have looked to the written word of God as the source for all they believe. What is most encouraging from the Old Testament to the New, is that the writer’s understood in some way the God event of inspiration that was happening in their life. For example, each Gospel has a unique purpose. In addition to what was said about Luke, Matthew demonstrates how Jesus fulfilled the prophecies of over 4000 years in the making. A reading through Matthew will encourage an encounter with the Old Testament. Mark shows how Jesus was God’s son in power. In his unique style, John details the purpose of his gospel in 1 John 20:30-31:”Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”(ESV)
Believers have experienced the “life in His name” that John describes. In her song “I Love to Tell the Story”, Katherine Hankey described a reality for all believers: “I love to tell the story, for those who know it best, seem hungering and thirsting, to hear it like the rest”. The word of God gives us the confidence that what we’re experiencing is bolted to historical facts of divine intervention. “The reason these were written, should be the reason that we read.
Katherine Hankey, “I Love to Tell the Story”, Baptist Hymnal, 461. Nashville: Convention Press. 461.
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