do you want to become a Christian?

Here is how…

First it is important to realise that Christianity is a relationship with God and that this relationship is a spiritual one, because God is spirit. (John 4:24)

In order to become a Christian you have to choose to become one; you are not a Christian by birth, or because you live in a ‘Christian county’, nor does going to church make you a Christian. To become a Christian you need to believe that God is real and that He wants a relationship with you.

You don’t need to be an expert in Christianity in order to make this choice, as many come to faith without knowing anything of the bible, simple faith is all you need.

To become a Christian you need to be born again (John 3:3). Some people call this our second birth but this is not a physical one, which is what puzzled Nicodemus (John 3:4), but a spiritual one. Jesus tells us we are to be born of water (natural birth) and of the spirit (spiritual birth) in order to enter the Kindgom of God (John 3:5-8).

Being Born Again happens when we repent of our past sins (wrong thoughts, words and deeds), believe in the redeeming work of Jesus Christ and ask God to live in our lives through the Holy Spirit. (more details here).

When we do this, God forgives us of our sins, and adopts us into His family (Romans 8:16), we become a child of God and part of the body of Christ. God also enters into our life and dwells with us through the Holy Spirit. This new birth involves every part of the God-head, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Here is an example prayer that some people use in order to become born again. There is nothing special about the words but the words capture the essence of what we have described above; repentance, belief, forgiveness and inviting God into your life.

Prayer…

Father God,
I know that I have sinned against you in my thoughts, words and actions.

There are so many good things that I have not done, and
There are so many sinful things that I have done.
I am sorry for my sins and turn from everything I know to be wrong, and
I ask for forgiveness for all these things.
Jesus, You gave your life for me on the Cross, and
Gratefully I give my life back to you.
Holy Spirit I invite you to come in and live in my life.
Jesus come as my Saviour to cleanse me,
Come as my Lord to lead me, and
Come as my friend to be with me and never leave me.
I choose to live for you and serve you all the days of my life in willing obedience.
Amen.

If you have said this prayer there will have been a spiritual change in your life, God will have accepted you into His family and you will have become born again. Next you need to tell somebody about what you have done. The bible puts it this way “It is with your heart that you believe… and it is with your month that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:10)

So what now?

Meeting together: The bible tells us that as Christians we should not stop meeting together, so it is important that you start attending a Church and going to meetings to learn about the relationship and faith that you have joined.

In our Church here at the Upper Room we have regular bible study meetings during the week, which are an ideal place to start learning about the bible from others. Everyone is learning so don’t feel worried about attending. On Sundays we have our main worship service where we also share words of encouragement and instruction from the bible.

Reading the bible: We are also encouraged to read the bible which is Gods written word to us (2 Timothy 3:16) and it is helpful to learn about what God says of himself, what he says about us and guidance on how to live life as a Christian. At first glance the bible might be a daunting book to read, but don’t worry, the bible is a collection of books put together in a particular order, you don’t need to read it cover to cover at first but you can choose what to read and in what order.

If you are new to reading the bible a suggested order would be the beginning, the middle and the end; Genesis (to understand how things began), the Gospel of Luke (the historical life of Jesus), the book of Acts (the birth of the church), the gospel of John (the spiritual life of Jesus), and the book of Revelation (what will happen at the end of all things).

Talking to God (prayer): You will have already talked to God a little bit, even before you became a Christian, but definitely when you prayer your prayer to become born again.

God both speaks and listens, and we should do the same, we talk to God through our prayers, which can be conversational or formal, and then in any conversation we should spend some time listening. God speaks back to us in thoughts, impressions and words, so if we are sensitive to this we can quickly build up our relationship with Him.

Religion may suggest that God is distant and that He doesn’t speak to people nowadays, but this isn’t true; God is always speaking to us and He has miriads of thoughts about us every day (Psalm 139), we just need to practice listening and being observant to spot when He is speaking, and respond accordingly. This is what some call living by faith.