#0.1 You Must Be Born Again
Before you can benefit from 7 Steps 2 Maturity, you must first be certain that you are a real Christian.
You must be born again! Jesus made it clear by declaring, “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that unless a person is born again (anew, from above), he cannot ever see (know, be acquainted with, and experience) the kingdom of God.” [John 3:3 (AMPLIFIED BIBLE)]
There may be many voices in your life giving contradictory advice, but the only person who matters is God. His opinion is TRUTH. In fact, “Jesus said… I am the Way and the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me.” [John 14:6 (AMPLIFIED BIBLE)]
Therefore understand, it is God alone, not me, that demands a miraculous rebirth must be experienced before anyone can get to heaven. I hope you know that the devil believes in God and is not going to heaven. Believing in God is not the same as being born again. Let me explain.
A long, long time ago the Creator of the Universe dealt with a rebellion in His kingdom. His close servant and trusted friend determined he would no longer take orders from God Almighty. So one third of all His other subjects joined this rebel, who we call the devil or Satan, in a mass rebellion that ended with them being cast out of heaven forever. They were temporarily placed into darkness, left for the time being, until they would be permanently placed into a terrible prison. This place was designed for them, not men. But later men also rebelled in the exact same way. So the Bible says, “He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” [Matthew 25:41 (New King James Version)].
So why is there a hell?
It is very simple, for justice and fairness. God must punish crime in the same way that you understand murderers must be punished by our government. But, eternal beings must be given eternal punishment. Man was created by God and given life with the intention of living forever in direct contact and fellowship with Him.
So how does an eternal prison called hell affect you?
By breaking God’s law people must face eternal punishment. Think of yourself driving down a street and entering a school zone while texting, and not watching the road. You look up after typing a long phrase too late to see a child in your path and you kill her. You failed to obey the law.
But in your perception you expect understanding from the police, after all, you “really” did not mean it! You stubbornly decide it was just an accident and you should be released after you say you are sorry. The parents should understand, right? But, the police come and arrest you for seriously breaking the law.
Your good attitude and intentions do not matter. Your past good life does not count even though all your friends believe you are a good person. And, all the good deeds of your past do not erase this one terrible negligence on your part. You now must face the judge. This one action, yes this one single event, changes everything in your life forever.
Your day in court comes and you face the parents of the dead little girl. The judge enters and calls everyone to attention and your crimes are read aloud for all to hear. You did not take this day seriously and decided to defend yourself without a lawyer. You have a decision to make. You ask to approach the bench and give the judge many compliments to butter him up. You then offer a deal. “I promise to wash your car everyday for the rest of my life if you will call it even.”
Angered the judge blurts out, “The girl’s life is worth far more than a car wash. How dare you insult this court and the child’s parents. Step back from me you wicked idiot!”
“Wait!’ you give a counter proposal. “I will give you a shoe shine each week. And cut the parent’s lawn twice a month.”
“You killed their child and you think that is fair?” screamed the judge.
Okay, okay I will give you $5000 and the parents $10,000, which is all I have!” You know that has to be a good deal and turn to get your debit card.
The judge firmly states, “Stop, there is only one thing valuable enough for your crime. Your life! You have cheapened life to mere money and little acts of kindness. Life is far too valuable. I sentence you to be executed.”
Most refuse to look at spiritual crime seriously. They expect God to understand. And false religion always tries to cheat just like this courtroom story. But just like the devil and all his demons we “… all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” [Romans 3:23 (NKJV)]
We all have broken God’s laws. Sin is a criminal act of breaking the law of God and leaving the results of pain, hurt and destruction on others as real as killing that little girl. God hates all crime and does not want any person treated anyway except through love. God hates all disobedience to His law, because His law is the rule of how to love Him and others.
In God’s court He decides all crime has one verdict and punishment. “For the wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23 (NKJV)]. Spiritual crime is so outrageous in God’s eyes He will not tolerate any weaker punishment than what He already levied against the devil and his angels. The reason is plain and simple. He has to be fair and just. He would be a crooked judge and a criminal himself if He favored anyone over Satan.
But false religion tries to bribe God for acceptance, blessings, and eternal life. False believers try to earn their way to heaven. They think being a community organizer or helping poor people earns them the name of Christian. Some think joining a religion and doing some kind of ritual or spiritual activity is all that is needed.
Is being a nice person good enough for God?
In spite of God’s view of rebellion and sin, many think they get to heaven by being good people according to their judgment, and do not get serious about God’s moral law and rules. False religion tries to make a way to God in their way and by their terms.
But please consider this, a strict fundamental belief that God’s Word is the standard of right and wrong for all people, in every place, and for all time is not false religion. The Bible is absolute truth and God rules over the earth with His standards. Like it or not.
For example, I was born in the U.S.A. and without my consent or choice must follow the authority and law of the land. In the exact same way, your Creator rules the universe and all nations and people fall under His laws and authority. Therefore, strong convictions that God’s Bible is absolutely true, and must be followed, is not false religion, but facing reality.
Everyone knows that there is a clear difference between law abiding citizens and active criminals here in America. Citizens are able and expected to obey the law. But criminals break the law and are punished, and their rights are removed by the judge. Well, the same is true for God’s Word and His Law. God expects you to obey His commands.
But remember God says all have sinned [committed crimes] and are guilty before Jesus, the Eternal Judge. Because the first man and woman rebelled against God, no one can fully follow God’s Law today because we are all born without the strength to obey it. Even so, God looks into our eyes and judges us guilty criminals by His just Laws from the Bible. We can’t get around this!
So how can we become law abiding citizens in God’s eyes, when from birth we are nothing but rebels?
Let’s go back to our courtroom. If false religion tries to bribe the judge for release from punishment, what is true religion? Well here is the Biblical solution.
After the judge gives the verdict of the death penalty, a clamor comes from behind you. In walks a man, and the judge asks, “What is it my son?”
“Father, I will give you my life instead of this guilty, wicked person standing before you. Then fairness will stand and your honor preserved. Life for a life, and the true value of the crime will be paid. Then the devil and all his slaves will never be able to point their fingers in your face and call you a hypocrite.”
The Judge loves His Son, Jesus, but in mercy gives His approval. He allows His Son to be executed for your crime and the crimes of everyone because His son never broke the law in even a small way. He was totally innocent. Because He was innocent, He could be punished for others. This is true religion, justice fulfilled, but mercy given to guilty criminals.
But, He makes His ruling with a very narrow application. This gift of forgiveness will only be given with the following stipulations:
#1. No one who claims they are a good person, innocent of evil, will ever enter His eternal heaven. Only His Law will be the judgment of right and wrong, and His Law will expose their crimes, and their good intentions and motives will not matter.
“There is no one righteous, not even one. There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away; all alike have become useless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they deceive with their tongues. Vipers’ venom is under their lips. Their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and wretchedness are in their paths, and the path of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
Now we know that whatever the law says speaks to those who are subject to the law, so that every mouth may be shut and the whole world may become subject to God’s judgment. For no one will be justified in His sight by the works of the law, because the knowledge of sin ⌊comes⌋ through the law. [Romans 3:10-20 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)]
#2. When any person wanting a relationship with God, the Creator and Judge, approaches Him, they must begin on His terms not theirs. His will and nature are clearly revealed in the Holy Bible, nowhere else. To find God you do not need to search the world, you only need to read the Bible, His love letter to mankind.
So this means… You Must Turn Around And Follow Jesus. There is NO other salvation!
“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” [John 14:6 (NLT)]
God will greatly help you here because the Holy Spirit works powerfully to show you your crimes. Be honest and face the truth about yourself. The Bible is clear and lists sin and remember God’s Word says, “From that time Jesus began to preach, crying out, Repent ( change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:17 (THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE)]
“Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins, turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to show that you have received forgiveness for your sins.” [Acts 2:38 (New Living Translation)]
#1. THE LAW OF GOD MUST BE EXAMINED AND FACED JUST LIKE YOU WOULD IN A COURTROOM Why? because the law of God creates guilt
[To help to see your sin read the following scripture passages: Exodus 20, Matthew 5-7, Galatians 5, Ephesians 2]
A key verse is from the book of Romans, “Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.” [Romans 3:19 (NLT)]
Paul warns us by writing, “When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” [Galatians 5:19-21 (NLT)]
#2. RESPOND TO YOUR GUILTY VERDICT WITH FULL ADMISSION OF YOUR SPECIFIC CRIMES, FOLLOWED WITH DEEP SADNESS – Why? because guilt creates godly sorrow
Paul also wrote, “For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation and deliverance from evil, and it never brings regret; but worldly grief (the hopeless sorrow that is characteristic of the pagan world) is deadly [breeding and ending in death].“ [2 Corinthians 7:10 (THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE)]
#3. FULLY REPENT AND FOLLOW JESUS [JUST LIKE YOU ARE HIS SERVANT], WHO IS YOUR NEW LORD – Why? because only deep godly sorrow creates true repentance
Remember Paul wrote,“For godly grief and the pain God is permitted to direct, produce a repentance that leads and contributes to salvation…”
And he also stated, “Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need.” [Ephesians 4:28 (THE AMPLIFIED BIBLE)]
So understand, true repentance means first to stop your crime, and in our example of a thief, that is only the first step because this is only partial repentance. Next the Bible explains that the thief must get a job and earn his money. But, if you stop here then this is still partial repentance because it does not deal with the heart of the sin, which is GREED. A greedy person steals and cheats, but a fearful or careful greedy person just works hard to stuff his own pockets without stealing. That is why the Bible explains that true and full repentance is only proven when the ex-thief makes a 180 and joyfully gives some of his hard earned money to needy people.
As you can see, true repentance means to stop your way of saying and doing things, change your mind on how you reason and make decisions, and leave your selfish lifestyle behind forever. Then, make the teachings of Jesus your new path in the future. This is the narrow road where you make it your one priority to please and obey Jesus Christ, your brand new boss. You must fully follow His doctrines, His commands, and His example. Repentance is turning away from EVERYTHING Christ says is wrong and evil, and embracing EVERYTHING He says is right and important to do.
This sample prayer will point you in the right direction. Dear God,
I realize you are my Creator and Judge, the only One who gives us all life, and the only one who is good and just. Because of this, you have the right to establish the law of right and wrong for the whole world, so I now bow to your authority. I have broken your law in these ways _____________________________ [fill in the blank], and I am grieved and sorry for how I have acted.
Please forgive me! I accept your offer of forgiveness through Jesus dying in the place of my judgment. I now turn from all the crimes I am practicing, I have no excuses, and I am grateful for your mercy. I choose to follow You, my Lord Jesus by obedience to Your commandments all my days.
REMEMBER, YOU ARE EXPECTED TO LEAVE THE LIFE OF CRIME AND OBEY FROM THIS DAY FORWARD – THIS IS THE NARROW ROAD
Here are some important things to know. The big idea is your relationships with God, your family, friends, and neighbors has changed. Let’s go over some basic things things you need to know for your new life..
1. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” [Matthew 7:12 (NLT)] Make sure you act in love, do not react. God’s concern is that you think about what you would like from others. How do you want them to treat you? What do you want from others? Then do not wait, act first in love toward others. Do you want people to talk to you or include you in activities? Don’t wait speak kindly to others no matter how they speak to you. Read the Bible and see how Jesus speaks, acts, and deals with people. Follow his lead.
2. Not everyone actually follows Jesus, don’t be discouraged. “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’” So do not give up if you find unbelievers everywhere and even in local churches. Befriend some true followers of Jesus and work together to share the Good News.
3. God will be with you as you listen to Him and follow His teaching. “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” [Matthew 7:21-27 (NLT)] You will need to learn to see through “new eyes” read the Bible even if you do not understand it yet. Just ask God to open your eyes.
4. Choose to love others even when they do not give love back to you. “Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” [Matthew 22:37-40 (NLT)]
Make sure you understand this, all the Old Testament is the written instructions on how to fully love God and man. When you hate a person you steal from them, hurt them, lie to them and so on. But when you love God, you prove by obeying what He instructs. And you prove that you love others when you do what God instructs in His Word to do for others.
BUT WHAT IF I FAIL? OF COURSE YOU WILL FAIL MANY TIMES! BUT YOU WILL EXPERIENCE GOD’S MIGHTY GRACE THAT GIVES YOU NEW DESIRES AND STRENGTH TO OBEY YOUR NEW LORD SO TRUST HIM.
“My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world. And we can be sure that we know him if we obey his commandments.”
“If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.” [1 John 2:1-7 (NLT)]
Give yourself a break at first and remember you are a new baby in the faith. Don’t be discouraged, and do not let failure define who you are! You will find God’s strength because He gives His Holy Spirit to you and you will gain the power to obey consistently. Give God time to work inside you, trust Him.
THIS IS IMPORTANT…
- Read your Bible start with John and Matthew 5-7.
- Find a church that teaches the Bible literally, because there you have friends that will help and encourage you. But be careful there are false preachers that will try to deceive you.
- Get baptized to publicly pronounce your faith in Jesus.
- Study the four phases of spiritual life and the seven steps to maturity for a solid foundation.
- You can contact me through the website, KLPTV.COM for any questions and/or if you just need a friend to help you on your spiritual journey.
Welcome to the Narrow Road!
Contact me through the contact page you will find the link on the top menu bar. God bless you as you are now a narrow road follower of Jesus!