What Does it Mean to Be a Christian?

Love the Lord your God  with all your heart, soul and mind.
This is the first and greatest commandment.
Matthew 22:37-39

The most important thing in life is to know and love God. It’s a relationship that will affect every area of your life. And a love relationship with God requires total commitment. ALL of your heart and soul andmind… all that you are… your thoughts, attitudes, passions, possessions, relationships, goals and dreams. EVERYTHING!

Jesus said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it”.  Mark 8:34-35

That may sound strange, scary or confusing… but it describes what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. We are sinful people. We’re naturally proud, selfish, lustful and rebellious… and our sin separates us from God. Becoming a Christian is all about giving yourself away to Jesus so that he can live and love through you. Self-denial and self-sacrifice aren’t very popular, but that’s exactly what it takes to follow Jesus. It’s denying your old proud, selfish, immoral desires and giving yourself completely to Jesus.

II Corinthians 5:17 says… “What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun!”

  • Have you ever committed your life to Jesus Christ? If so, how did it happen?
  • Do you know for certain that you have a personal relationship with him?
  • How is your relationship with Jesus making a difference in your life right now?
  • If you died tonight, are you confident that you would be with him for eternity?
  • If so, what difference does that make in your life?
  • If not, is there any good reason not to trust Jesus as your Savior right now?

You must give your life to Jesus in order for him to give his life to you. In order to commit your life to Jesus, here’s what you need to do…

that you’re a sinner and you can’t save yourself. All of us have sinned and the consequence of our sin is “death” – eternal separation from God.  Romans 3:23; 6:23, 10:9, 10:13\
  that Jesus died for you and offers you forgiveness and eternal life. God showed his love for us by sending Jesus to die for us.  Romans 5:8, I John 1:9
  your life completely to him… giving him control of your past, present and future. Experience the full and meaningful life that Jesus wants to give you.  John 10:10

After you choose to become a follower of Jesus, you may wonder “what now?” Here are some next steps that you need to take in order to follow through on your commitment.

It’s important for you to share the decision you’ve made with another person. This will reinforce the commitment in your own life and serve as a witness and encouragement to others.

Following Jesus isn’t a warm, fuzzy feeling! Choosing to become a follower of Jesus is a serious, eternally significant decision that’s much bigger than your temporary emotions. Don’t evaluate your relationship with God based on how you feel at any particular moment.

“Baptism” comes from the Greek word for “submerge.” We use baptism as a public symbol of an inner commitment. It shows a person’s repentance from sin and devotion to Christ. We believe that baptism should take place after a commitment to Jesus because it “paints a picture” of what’s happened. When we’re laid back into the water, it symbolizes Jesus being laid in the grave and our desire to be “dead to sin.” When we are raised out of the water, it symbolizes Jesus’ resurrection and our desire to live a new life in him. It isn’t necessary to be baptized to be a Christian – just like it isn’t necessary to wear a wedding ring in order to be married – but why wouldn’t you?

Contact Kim Grice in the Community Connections office at 817-276-6477.

While choosing to become a follower of Jesus is a personal decision, it ought to have public implications. When you become a Christian, you also become part of the Church made up of all the followers of Jesus across the ages and around the world. A great expression of that reality is joining other Christ-followers each week in a public worship experience.

Reading the Bible is vital to your continued growth as a Christian! Get a translation of the Bible that you can understand (ex: New International Version, Contemporary English Version, New Living Translation) and follow a reading plan. Many of our church members use a reading schedule tied to the pastor’s Sunday sermons. You can sign up to receive the daily readings electronically.

The Christian life is meant to be lived “in community.” We grow best as followers of Jesus when we choose to live in loving, accountable relationships with others. Our church offers a wide variety of Sunday morning Bible study groups for people in different stages of life.

God has blessed you so that you can bless others. When you become a Christian, God’s Spirit comes to live inside you. He gives you “spiritual gifts” that he intends to use to strengthen the Church and minister to other people. You can learn more about your “spiritual gifts” and what your interests are by taking advantage of the self assessments we have available for you.