"But as many as received Him,
to them He gave the right to become children of God,
to those who believe in His name"
If you are reading this because you feel a yearning to get to know Jesus as your Savior, you can be confident that God will receive you. That's the promise of God.
But you may be asking:
"What must I do to be saved?"
"How can I get to know Jesus?"
When Peter, a follower of Jesus, spoke to a crowd of people about Jesus and they felt a deep desire to know Jesus this is what happened:
... when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles:
“Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Then Peter said to them:
“Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
So, in light of that, I suggest that you seek out a Bible-believing, Christian congregation*, and ask the pastor that you wish to learn more about Jesus and be baptized and become a Christian.
*Let me warn you immediately that Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormon's (though called the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints) or other such sects are NOT CHRISTIANS! They may be nice people, but they do not believe the Bible as such (Jehovah's Witnesses have their own perverted translation of the Bible, while Mormon's include a heretical Book of Mormon in their canon). They do not teach salvation by Jesus alone (which is what Jesus Himself said: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.' " ~John 14:6), but rather a system of self-deeds or works which the Bible does not teach: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." ~ Ephesians 2:8.
The Next Step
- If you don't already have one, get a Bible. The Bible is actually a collection of books written by holy men inspired by the Spirit of God. It's subject is God, it teaches of God, and it leads to God. It will instruct you in Christian life. You may ask at a near-by church if they have any "New Believer's" Bibles. Any Christian Bookstore will have the "New Believer's Bible" or suitable Bible. Tell the salesperson that you are a new Christian and he/she will be glad to help you select a Bible that will suit you.
- Next, I suggest that you start reading the Gospel according to John, which is the fourth book of the New Testament. The Bible is divided up into two portions, or Testaments -- the Old Testament (pre-Christ), and the New Testament (from Christ onward). The Gospel of John will help you understand exactly who Jesus was and why He came. You may also choose to read the Psalms and Proverbs found in the middle of the Bible in the Old Testament because these two books respectively show how to praise God and give wisdom for daily life.
- Pray everyday. Prayer is just talking with God. Tell Him what is on your mind, ask Him for His guidance, ask Him to help you in your day, ask Him to forgive you for things you do wrong, ask Him to help those around you come to know Him.
- Above all, PRAISE HIM! God has done a marvelous thing for you! And if you feel like I do about saving you (that is saving you from going to hell to now, through Christ's merits, going to be with Him in heaven) I just thank and praise Him for His incredible grace and mercy. Prayer does not have to be ritualistic (though saying the same things everyday is not bad if you mean it). Just be sure it comes from the heart. In time, God will teach and lead you to pray.
The Model Prayer
A model prayer can be found in Matthew 6:9-13 and again in Luke 11:2-4.
It outlines 7 basic petitions:
Opening: Our Father in heaven
- Relationship with the Father.
- Through what God did on your behalf, you are now a true child of God, and have the right to call God your "father" because He is your true Father. And as His true children, we pray this prayer.
First petition: Hallowed be Thy Name
- Praise of the Father.
- Gods name is of itself Holy, but with this petition, we declare that His name is Holy in our lives as well. What child doesn't love a loving father? So it is right to praise Him.
Second petition: Thy Kingdom Come
- Asking God's rule to be established both here on earth and in our hearts.
- God rules over all regardless of whether we pray this petition or not. But we pray this that His rule be established in us and in our midst -- in our homes, in our schools, in our communities, in our nation.
Third petition: Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven
- Asking God's will to be established both here on earth and in our hearts.
- God's will is done with or without our prayer, but in this petition we ask that it would be done in us and in our lives.
Fourth petition: Give us this day, our daily bread
- Request for sufficiency in daily needs, both material and spiritual.
- Daily bread can be understood as not only the material items such as food and drink, but also the ability, strength and health to work and receive income.
Fifth petition: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us
- Request for forgiveness of sin we still are prone to commit.
- It is written that in baptism we die with Christ and are raised to new life just as He rose from the dead -- we die to sin, and are alive to Christ. We should with this petition "drown" our old, sinful self anew, and through the forgiveness we receive from God, arise to new life in Christ daily.
Sixth petition: Lead us not into temptation
- Protection from bad situations/influences.
- God does not tempt anyone, but with this petition we pray that God uphold, strengthen and protect us from unbelief, sin, and other such things as the devil and this world pull at our desires, so that we can stand in His grace until the end.
Seventh petition: But deliver us from evil
- We pray this that, as His Children, He would protect us as a loving Father.
Closing: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
- God has such as we declare in this petition, and by saying it, we glorify our Father, and acknowledge his majesty.
- By "Amen" we mean -- "So be it", or "Let it be so". And so saying we can be sure that because of the work of Christ on our behalf, God has heard our prayer, the prayer of his children and is sure to answer it.