Saltburn Evangelical Church
My journey to faith in Christ
So you want to know more about starting on the road to follow Jesus Christ.
That’s good, but pause a moment. This isn’t an easy journey, a lifestyle choice for a happy life free from worry and pain. It’s costly, challenging and demanding. In many parts of the world being true to Christ means persecution, even death.
People can laugh, ignore or sneer. But: if Christ is, as He said,the Son of God – if He came and lived a stunning life on earth –
if He bore all the filth and guilt of mankind on a cross at Calvary –
if He conquered death and lives today –
if He is coming back in glory to put wrong right and be our judge –
then when He calls, “Follow me!” there can be only one right response!
So what’s it all about?
Let’s start at the beginning.
God is real!
He is the Creator of all things
He is eternal – Lord of time and space - no beginning, no end
He planned everything, made everything, keeps it all going
He’s not dead, or asleep:
Sees everything, hears everything, knows everything.
He’s not far away:
He cares, loves, gets angry, feels sad.
He is concerned about all His creation … concerned about me.
He loves me, personally, very much indeed.
Happy are those who have the God of Jacob to help them and who depend on the LORD their God, the Creator of heaven, earth, and sea, and all that is in them. He always keeps His promises; He judges in favour of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free and gives sight to the blind. He lifts those who have fallen; He loves His righteous people.
The Bible - PSALM 146:5-8
How can I know what God is like?
I look at the world around me. It didn’t happen by chance.
I see God’s POWER – in the wonders of space, hills and ocean.
I see God’s CARE – for all life, gigantic and microscopic.
I see God’s PLAN – in the laws of science, the design of living things.
“I am the LORD your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves. “Worship no god but me. “Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the LORD your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. But I show my love to thousands of generations of those who love me and obey my laws. “Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I, the LORD your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name. “Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work — neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country. In six days I, the LORD, made the earth, the sky, the sea, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested. That is why I, the LORD, blessed the Sabbath and made it holy. “Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you. “Do not commit murder. “Do not commit adultery. “Do not steal. “Do not accuse anyone falsely. “Do not desire another man's house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.”
The Bible - EXODUS 20:1-17
I look at God’s perfect Law (the Ten Commandments):
I see how pure and just He is.
I see how just and fair He is.
I see how kind and loving He is.
What a great world it would be if we lived by that law!
I can ask any Christian what God is like:
They’ll tell me how they know He loves them.
They’ll tell me how He keeps His promises.
They’ll tell me what He’s doing to transform their lives.
All over the world, God is at work today.
He wants me to know the truth.
The truth about God – the truth about myself:
God is very wise, very pure, very powerful, very just, very loving.
He made me to be His friend.
To be true.
To be wise, pure, strong, just and loving like He is.
But it’s not like that.
I like to think I’m OK.
Clever. In control. Running my life well.
That’s what I pretend to others.
That’s how I kid myself – sometimes.
But if I’m honest I know things aren’t right.
I’m selfish. Often greedy, untruthful, unkind.
I don’t measure up to God’s law.
And I can’t pretend with God.
What’s wrong with me?
Why aren’t I the way God made me to be?
Perhaps I haven’t cared much about it until now,
But now I want to get things straight.
When I look at the sky, which You have made, at the moon and the stars, which You set in their places — what are human beings, that You think of them; mere mortals, that You care for them? Yet You made them inferior only to Yourself; You crowned them with glory and honour.
As the Scriptures say: “There is no one who is righteous, no one who is wise or who worships God. All have turned away from God; they have all gone wrong; no one does what is right, not even one.
The Bible - PSALM 8:3-5 & ROMANS 3:10-12
Rebellion: I have taken God's place
God made me, gave me life, and loves me very much.
Yet, what have I done?
I've ignored God.
I've not thanked Him for the gift of life,and asked Him how to live it.
I've run things myself - and not very successfully.
I've broken His law - many times.
I've put myself in His place: my way, not His.
That means I've rebelled against Him.
Rebellion is serirous: God hates it.
He calls it SIN.
My rebellion makes me selfish.
It cuts me off from other people, spoiling relationships.
It messes up and pollutes God's creation.
Don't think that the LORD is too weak to save you, or too deaf to hear your call for help! It is because of your sins that He doesn't hear you. It is your sins that separate you from God when you try to worship Him. You are guilty...
The Bible - ISAIAH 59:1-3
Worst of all, it cuts me off from God.
That's why I don't know Him.
He won't put up with rebellion.
I can't blame anybody else.
I have rebelled, and God is just.
A choice to rebel is a choice for eternal separation from God ... what Jesus called hell.
Jesus Christ: Son of God
There was one man who was not a rebel against God.
One who was wise, pure, strong, just and loving – perfectly, like God.
Just one – only one.
His only Son, Jesus Christ.
He lived on earth, 2,000 years ago.
He was poor.
He was humble.
But He was tough, strong and brave.
He saw through sham and pretence.
He changed men’s lives with His love and power.
He fully kept God’s law.
A perfect life.
A real man.
But not just a man …
“This is my own dear Son, with whom I am pleased — listen to Him!”
The Bible - MATTHEW 17:5
He was with God before the beginning of time.
He designed and made the universe.
He is King.
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!
Yet for 30 years He gave up His place with God in heaven.
He came to earth.
To show me how to live.
To seek me for His kingdom.
What my rebellion did to the Son of God:
The greatest life ever lived on earth ended in pain.
Jesus was only in His early 30s.
He was hated by jealous people.
Arrested and tried unfairly.
Made fun of.
Nailed to a large wooden cross.
Left to die.
All this, the work of rebels.
Rebels like me.
Jesus was too good for me.
I don’t like to be shown up by someone better.
Jesus was perfect.
My rebellion put Him on the cross.
I am guilty – He wasn’t.
I deserve hell – He didn’t.
Yet Jesus knew He would have to die.
He willingly gave up His life.
God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life.
The Bible - JOHN 3:16
That’s what God sent Him to the world to do.
WHY did God allow His dear Son, His only Son, to suffer?
Separated from God.
For a time God turned His back on His dear Son.
BUT: 3 days later the grave was empty.
HE IS ALIVE!
He smashed rebellion!
He defeated death!
Now He’s back with God His Father … and He’s got power.
Now I needn’t be a rebel any longer.
Now my life can be changed.
Now I can be who God made me to be.
Now I can enter God’s kingdom!
Jesus Christ is Lord!
I am now giving you the choice between life and death, between God’s blessing and God’s curse, and I call heaven and earth to witness the choice you make.
The Bible - DEUTERONOMY 30:19
And God commands me to follow Him.
To obey Him – not do what I want.
To be trained by Him – not follow the crowd.
To be changed by Him – and leave my old life behind.
Some of my friends won’t understand.
They’ll laugh and take the mick … BUT:
Jesus has a right to be obeyed.
Even though He won’t force me.
Jesus Christ says: “Follow me!” I must decide: yes, or no.
One day Christ will return to earth in glory as judge.
I will be accountable for the choice I made:
To stay a rebel and face the consequences?
Or take Christ as Lord and Saviour, and be with Him for eternity?
Forgiveness: Jesus has taken my place
But I’m scared of following Jesus.
I’m not good enough. I couldn’t keep it up.
I could never be as good as God demands.
I’m a rebel – my life is messed up by sin.
And God is angry about my rebellion.
He won’t overlook my guilt.
There’s a price to be paid for rebellion.
That price is death – hell – separation from God.
I have no excuses. I know I’m guilty.
But I want to follow Jesus Christ, and start life afresh.
Is there a way back to God?
Yes – if a ransom could be paid to set me free.
Free from guilt – free from punishment.
IS there any ransom great enough, costly enough?
Yes. Just one. Only one.
God loves me so much He paid the ransom.
He gave His greatest treasure – His only Son – for me.
He came to this world. He lived a perfect life. He died the death I should have died.
He took the punishment for rebellion I should have taken.
He went to hell, separation from God - where I should have gone.
THEN: He rose from death to be my Lord!
Because He gave His life for me I can be forgiven.
I can be set free from guilt and punishment.
I need no longer be a rebel. I CAN follow Jesus Christ – and I will.
Christ Himself carried our sins in His body to the cross, so that we might die to sin, and live to righteousness. It is by His wounds that you have been healed.I created you to be my servant, and I will never forget you. I have swept away your sins like a cloud. Come back to me; I am the One Who saves you.
The Bible - 1 PETER 2:24 & ISAIAH 44:21-22
What I must do:
Think it through.
Then talk to God … in my own words.
Thank Him - For making me and giving me life.
For loving me so very much.
For sending Jesus into the world.
Thank Him - For the example Jesus gave me.
That Jesus died and went to hell instead of me.
For the ransom that freed me from guilt.
That I am no longer separated from God.
Turn away from all my rebellion, all my sin.
Admit all the things in my life that are wrong.
Own up to all the bad words, thoughts, actions.
Tell Him I’m not going to rebel any longer.
Ask Him to clean me up, forgive me, forget all my sin.
Just as He promised.
Promise Him I will now follow and obey Jesus Christ.
He will be my Lord.
Ask Him to fill my life with His Holy Spirit.
Ask Him to help me understand what I should do in future.
Thank Him that He has heard my simple, honest prayer.
That He is now in charge of my life.
JESUS CHRIST is now:
My Redeemer – He has paid the price to set me free from guilt.
My Saviour – He has saved me from Hell, separation from God.
If anyone wants to come with me he must forget self, carry his cross, and follow me.
Whoever wants to save his own life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.
Jesus - MARK 8:34-35
Now I’m a disciple …
I’m a follower of Jesus Christ.
This is just the beginning.
There’s a lot to learn.
From the start I need to be open about my faith.
To go public: nail my colours to the mast!
Never to be ashamed of Christ. Ever.
I need to learn how to speak and listen to God.
How to discover the life He wants me to live now.
How to get to grips with the Bible, to understand its message for me today.
There’s a lot to learn.
I won’t know it all, ever.
I won’t know it all, ever.
But right now God is at work in me.
He’s put right my past – and has plans for my future!
The start of the journey!
There is no better life than that spent following Jesus Christ.
It won’t be an easy road ahead, but it’s the best!
Contact us for help with the next steps.
Tell us about your commitment to Christ as Lord
and Saviour, or ask any questions you have.
We'll be pleased to hear from you ... and we promise not to nag you!
(Bible quotations are from the Good News Bible)