Congratulations! Welcome to the family of God. You have decided to dedicate your life to following Jesus. You may be wondering what’s next on your journey. We want to help! Join us as we guide you toward the next steps in your walk with Christ.
What does it mean to follow Jesus?
Welcome to the best decision of your life! Your life is not your own, Jesus is your Lord and He will lead you into all life. If you are new to our Church, we are called Northwood Christian Church, and our purpose is to Love God, Love People, and Make Disciples. To be a disciple is to follow Jesus, not following a denomination, a way of doing church, or any specific philosophy, but to follow the teachings of Jesus and to live just like Him.
Let’s start with the question, “What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?” First of all, the way that we are made right by God, is through what the Bible says, we are saved by grace through faith. In other words, we are not made right with God by our own good works, but instead, we are made right by God through the work of Jesus and His death on the cross and resurrection.
Now, who is Jesus? Well, Jesus is the son of God, He was born of a virgin, so He did not inherit the sin-nature of an earthly father, but instead had the heavenly nature of His heavenly father. So Jesus was without sin and never sinned so that He would be the perfect sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins on the cross. Jesus, while on the cross, became sin in our place, and died, paying the price on our behalf. On the third day of His death, He rose from the grave so that anyone who calls on Jesus as Lord would be saved. All their sins are completely forgiven.
Now, as you are invited to follow Jesus and place Him first, you may feel something. You may feel spiritual anticipation, goosebumps, and maybe nothing at all. Ultimately if you do feel something, enjoy it, but following Jesus isn’t about our feelings but about our faith in who He is. All we do is say that “I believe Jesus is the son of God” and that we want to follow Him. We are going to get into his word, learn about Him, and let his spirit empower us to live a life that would please God and make an eternal difference.
So, what do we do at this point? Recognize this. No matter what you’ve done in the past, your sins are forgiven. Not because you have done something good, but because of the goodness of Jesus, the old is gone and you are completely new, in fact, the bible says that anyone who is in Jesus Christ is a new creation or a new person, your sins are completely forgiven and God will not hold them against you.
In fact, one of the things that you want to do is go public and declare that you are a follower of Jesus, and one of the best ways to do this is through baptism. Baptism is a Christian sacrament where we put people into the pool symbolizing that your sins are washed away and then raise them out of the water and this is a picture of being raised by the power of Jesus to walk in your new life.
Romans 6:1 | New Living Translation
Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.
Do not let sin control the way you live; do not give in to sinful desires. Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.
Well then, since God’s grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning? Of course not! Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living.
Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy.
When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Celebrate Your Faith
If you’ve made the decision to follow Christ, baptism is one of the most meaningful next steps you can take. Baptism is a public celebration of your decision to follow Christ.