Christianity 101 - Chapter 1
Chapter 1 Learning How To Follow Jesus
Chapter 2 Following Jesus By Getting Baptized
Chapter 3 Following Jesus By Going To Church
Chapter 4 How To Choose A Good Church
Chapter 5 Learning To Pray Basic Prayers
Chapter 6 Learning How To Study The Bible
Chapter 7 Learning How To Worship God
Chapter 8 Learning How To Share Your Faith
Chapter 9 Understanding The Will Of God
It has been 33 years since I made the decision to follow Jesus. Sometimes because of the years, I forget that people need to learn the first steps to take in their Christian walk.
So this book is designed to help those that are starting off in their Christian walk and need to learn the basics of faith.
Later it was revised so that it could be used as a basics of Christianity Bible study and is now being used in many nations across the world. It probably isn't everything you need to know about Christianity, but it covers everything you need to start off and develop a strong vibrant relationship with Jesus.
The book is not about do's and don'ts. It is about relationship with God, Jesus, and His people, the church. It comes from that perspective.
The first time people were called Christians were in Antioch.
26 When he found him, he brought him back to Antioch. Both of them stayed there with the church for a full year, teaching large crowds of people. (It was at Antioch that the believers were first called Christians.)
The word Christian literally means "follower of Christ" in the Greek. So this book is geared towards that. It will teach you how to be a follower of Christ.
When I gave my life to Jesus and made the decision to follow Him, I was absolutely ignorant about anything to do with the basics of Christianity and following Jesus.
I grew up in a family that went to church only on holidays and the church they went to was more religious than it was anything else. Absolutely everything I learned after I became a follower of Jesus was new to me.
How I became a follower of Christ was basically a 3 part process even though at the time I wasn't aware of that process.
Today I see the process and I am going to do my best to try to explain that process to you so that you too can become a follower of Jesus.
19 Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
The first time that anyone was asked to follow Jesus was when Jesus approached Simon Peter and Andrew and simply said "Follow me". He did the same with James and John the sons of Zebedee. What transpired for them was a three year journey of getting to know Jesus, letting Jesus change their heart, and carrying on with the works of Jesus.
You cannot follow someone who you do not know. Following Jesus is more than just chasing after Him. It means that you are going to walk in the same footsteps and live the same way as He did.
This takes a deep personal knowledge of who He is and what makes Him think and do the things He does. It takes a personal relationship with Him. If you do not have that personal relationship, then you can go to the Peace With God website that shows you how you can simply start that relationship.
Once you have started that personal relationship with Jesus, then you can start getting to know Him on a personal basis.
The way you do that is by reading about Him and talking to Him. You read about Him in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are four accounts of the life of Jesus and have what you need to know to start learning about how He thought and acted.
As you start reading these accounts of His life, you then start praying and asking Jesus to reveal His heart and His motives as to why He thought and did the things He did.
He will send the Holy Spirit to illuminate the what you are reading so you understand not only the facts, but the reasons and motives for what He did.
This is important because it leads you to the second ingredient in becoming a follower of Jesus.
Many people make the mistake that Christianity is just about following some creed or set of rules and regulations or some ancient traditions. It is not. It is about letting Jesus who is living on the inside of you, change who you are and how you think and the things that motivate you. It is a relationship that changes you from the inside out.
Think about it this way. If you are from the west coast of America, you talk a certain way. You have a western accent that nobody hears because everyone talks like you.
However, if you move to the deep south region of the US, all of a sudden everyone talks funny. To you, they talk with an accent, but to them, you are the one who has an accent.
Over time and hanging around with your new friends, the way you talk begins to change and over time the way you talk and think adapts to your new environment.
When you go back to the west coast to visit family or friends, you have an accent. You have changed.
The same is true with our relationship with Jesus only it is on a more personal and intimate level.
When you start your relationship with Jesus you move from one country to another. You move from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light.
As you spend time with Jesus, you start to change. You take on His values, His priorities, His way of thinking. You start to act and talk like Him.
The only difference is that it is not just language, but it changes who you are on the inside because now it is Him living through you.
We have control of this process. We can draw close to Him and let him change us, or we can move farther away and not listen to that still small voice in our hearts.
If you are going to be a follower of Jesus, then you have to decide to press in and surrender to His leading in your life and the changes that He wants to make. It is not always fun or comfortable but in the end it is very rewarding.
The Christian faith is not just a set of mental disciplines or beliefs. It is a lifestyle of doing the works that Jesus did.
To only know Jesus but not walk as Jesus walked is incomplete. In following Jesus, a person has to be willing to do the things that the person they are following does or has done.
This consists of doing the physical acts that Jesus did, such as laying down your life for your friends, and having compassion on the poor and those trapped in sin.
It also means being willing to be used in supernatural ways by Him as well.
The Answered Prayer
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
The greatest work that any follower of Jesus can do is to lead another person to a personal relationship with Jesus and teach them how to follow Jesus.
However that is not the only supernatural work that we can do. The goal of the follower of Jesus is to be like his Master. That means that we need to allow God to use us to supernaturally touch people as well.
There is balance. We need to do the physical works, and need to be open to letting Jesus do supernatural works through us.
Finally, I want to encourage you that this process is not chronological. It is progressive.
You do not have to learn everything there is to know about Jesus before you start letting Jesus change your heart, and you do not have to have a totally changed heart before you start doing the works of Jesus.
Instead, I have found as I have followed Jesus these 33 years, that these things are progressive. I learn something about Jesus and it changes my heart, as it changes my heart, then I start acting and behaving in ways that are more like Jesus and I put into practice what I have learned and the change that has happened.
Then I progress to something else. I learn something new about Jesus and the process starts all over again.
So my dear brothers and sisters, I hope that this first chapter has helped you know how to start being a follower of Jesus and gets you on the path to a life that is rich with blessings that cannot be contained.
Pastor Duke Taber is the Senior Pastor at The Vineyard Church in San Carlos Ca. He is an alumnus from Life Pacific College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary. He is a husband, father, and grandfather.
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