You may have heard it said that everyone is basically good, but there is nothing further from the truth. We are all born sinners. The Bible says:
Now, our sin is not just evidenced by the gruesome sights we see on the evening news. Sin separates us from God eternally. In other words, the penalty for sin, the Bible says, is death.
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the world, and through it, death. But at that very moment, God made a way for mankind to be restored – to be saved – from death to life. That WAY is Jesus Christ. The Bible says:
In other words, God sent Jesus Christ in our place to pay the death penalty for OUR sin. Jesus paid it all. We cannot try to be good or do religious works in order to earn our way into heaven. The Bible is clear.
Having understood that we are sinners in need of salvation from sin and its death penalty, and realizing that Jesus paid the price for that sin, we now simply receive the free gift of salvation offered to us in Christ.
You can become a Christian right now, wherever you are. You simply confess to God that you know you are a sinner in need of salvation, turn away from your sin (repentance), and that you accept God’s gift through Jesus Christ. While this is not a magic prayer or about the precise words, you can pray in this way:
Dear Jesus, Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I confess that I am a sinner and I need your salvation.I turn away from my sin and turn toward You, my Savior. Come into my life right now, and forgive me for my sin. Change my heart and life and fill me with your Holy Spirit. I commit my life to you now, in Jesus name. Amen.
Even if your words are different, God hears your heart. If you have prayed this prayer, confessing your sins to God, repenting and believing in Jesus Christ, you ARE a Christian!
If you have prayed this prayer, or have questions, please let us know by filing out the contact us form.
We would love to help you on the next steps in your walk with Christ. Meanwhile, to help you grow in your walk with the Lord, you should:
Have you ever missed a meal or two because you were really busy? At some point, your body probably told you it needed food, whether it was hunger pangs or a growling stomach. Whatever the sign, you need to eat.
Now, you could keep ignoring the signs, but your body would gradually begin to break down. In other words, you need to eat to survive.
The same is true of our spiritual lives. If we don’t feed ourselves, we will begin to die spiritually. And one of the most important ways we feed ourselves spiritually is by studying the Bible—God’s Word. In Scripture, King David declared God’s Word to be sweeter than honey (see Psalm 19:10), and Job said that he treasured God’s Word more than his necessary food (see Job 23:12).
Bible study tends to fall into one of three categories. As you grow in your relationship with Christ, you should take advantage of all three on a regular basis.
A directed, or deductive, study is meant to bring about an understanding of Scripture by applying it to everyday life. A directed study will be biblically-based, providing specific biblical principles and ways in which we can put those principles to work each day or in a particular situation.
A sermon at a church service is a form of directed study, but there are also many published Bible studies that fall into this category too.
Also known as inductive Bible study,
discovery learning is more of an individually-based study of God’s Word. Rather than relying on a speaker or a book to direct the process, discovery learning puts on the emphasis on your willingness to get into Scripture.
This could be likened to a search for treasure, in which you are exploring an area and examining everything you find for something of value. In fact, the writer of Psalm 119 uses this analogy when he writes, “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure” (Psalm 119:162).
There are three basic skills that come into play with an inductive study:
Inductive study sounds like a difficult task, but it is something that anyone can do, no matter where you are in your walk with Christ. The secret lies not in having a head for facts, but in having a heart to listen, learn, and obey.
One of the easiest—yet most difficult—methods of studying the Bible is devotional reading or quiet time. This is simply a time of one-on-one fellowship with God through the reading of His Word, worship, and prayer.
First and foremost, make sure you set aside a reasonable amount of time and a quiet place where you can read and pray without distractions. This is time you’re setting aside to spend with God. You don’t want anything to interrupt you during this time.
Have a plan of action. Whether you want to read through the Bible in a year, study one of the gospels in depth, or focus on a single person, there are many resources that can help you in those areas. A good starting point is simply to read a chapter of Scripture a day and keep on going.
Don’t rely too much on outside sources. Devotional books are not bad, and can be a good supplement to your Scripture reading. But remember that the focus on your quiet time should be on reading God’s Word and meditating on it, not what someone else wrote.
Once you’ve read through the passage, consider what God is communicating to you through that piece of Scripture. Maybe it has to do with something you’re going through. Maybe it’s something you’re going to experience, and you just don’t know it yet! Regardless, allow God to speak to you in His still, small voice as you contemplate His Word.
Now, it’s time to pray about it. Talk to God about what you have read, seeking His insight and His will. Ask that He would help you take what you’ve read and apply to your life today.
A great way to remember the things you’re learning is to keep a journal. Write down what you read and what the Lord is speaking to you through it. Write out how it applies to you and how you will respond. This way, you can come back later, see how God has been teaching you all along, and be encouraged by it.
And last bput what you learn into practice. All the quiet time in the world won’t help you if you’re not willing to live out what you’ve learned.
One of the keys to spiritual growth is to become part of a local church.
In its biblical form, the church should provide biblically-sound teaching, genuine worship, an atmosphere in which Christians are able to use their God-given gifts and abilities, and spiritual leadership that will help keep believers accountable.
There are those who might say, “I don’t need to go to church. I like to spend my time alone with God, and I don’t need to be around other Christians.” The reality is that no Christian can endure or prosper long if he or she lives in isolation without the support of a church. No matter how many Christian books, magazines, CDs, and movies you have, they can’t replace the experience and fellowship you get from attending church and being with other believers.
In the book of Hebrews, it says, “Let us not neglect our meeting together, as some do, but encourage each other, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
A model for the modern-day church can be found in the book of Acts, which describes the early days of the church. The first-century church turned the world upside down, spreading the gospel around the known world.
The Bible has plenty to say about the characteristics of a healthy, vibrant church, and you can measure its vitality by comparing its qualities to the characteristics of the first-century church (Acts 2:42, 44-47).
A healthy church meets together regularly, places a high priority on Bible study and develops caring people who concern themselves with the well-being and spiritual development of each member. It recognizes the power of corporate prayer and worship and demonstrates Christ’s love in meaningful ways. Its members desire to minister to others and seek to share God’s good news with others.
In any Biblically-sound, God-centered church, the following beliefs should be obvious:
A healthy church is a growing church, but growth alone should not necessarily be viewed as proof of God’s blessing. The first disciples had a “gladness and a singleness of heart” about the early church. Your church home should be a place you look forward to attending not only on Sundays, but throughout the week.
Conversely, if you feel uncomfortable about your church, it may be the Holy Spirit telling you that church is unscriptural. As you grow in your understanding of the Scriptures and seek God’s will through prayer, you will be able to discern truth from error.
Avoid any group that teaches doctrines, beliefs, or rituals that deviate from the Bible. Many false teachers speak only parts of the truth and their messages have been aptly described as the “skin of the truth stuffed with a lie.”
Most cults are identifiable because they refuse to:
Commonly-known cults are Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-Day Saints or Mormons, Unification Church, Unitarians, Spiritists, and Scientologists.
It has been wisely said, “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” Regular fellowship and participation in the church for a disciple cannot be overemphasized. As you come to church and find your place in it, you will then be in a position to give to others what God has given to us.
The church that is right for you will be a place where you can grow in your love for the Lord and serve Him by contributing to the life of the church. Remember, we are all sinners doing our best to follow God’s teaching. Rely on Him to show you the way.
Also the model for a God-honoring church is in the Scriptures. Study God’s design and pray to be led to the place He has prepared for you. God bless you as you grow in your faithfulness.
How do I talk to God?
Billy Graham: Prayer is simply talking to God—and the most important thing I can say about this is that God wants you to talk to Him! He loves us and He has promised to hear us when we pray. How can you learn to pray? First, understand why prayer is possible.
Prayer is possible because Jesus between us and God—a barrier caused by our sins. You see, sin separates us from God, and because of that we have no right to come before Him. But by His death on the cross, Christ paid the penalty for our sins and removed the barrier. God then gives us the privilege of coming into His presence when we commit our lives to Christ.
The Bible says, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). If you have never done so, ask Christ to come into your life today.
Then understand that God now welcomes you into His presence and promises to hear you—and He cannot lie. The Bible says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us” (1 John 5:14). Trust His promises and learn to bring every concern to Him in prayer.
Does God only hear us when we pray out loud or does He hear silent prayers also? Please forgive me if this is a dumb question, but I didn’t grow up in a religious home and have just become a Christian.
Billy Graham: Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions when you don’t understand something about the Christian life; after all, God wants you to come to know Him more and more each day. Jesus’ disciples repeatedly asked for His help, and so should we. On one occasion they said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).
Yes, God hears our prayers on all occasions, whether we’re praying out loud or praying silently in our hearts and minds. After all, He knows all about us and knows what is going on inside us—both good and bad. The Bible says that God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). The Bible also says, “The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but those of the pure are pleasing to him” (Proverbs 15:26).
God even hears our prayers when we can’t even put them into words—times, for example, when our hearts are too burdened or confused even to speak. The Bible says, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” (Romans 8:26).
One of God’s greatest gifts to us is the privilege of prayer—a privilege that is possible because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. Thank God for the privilege of prayer and learn daily to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Does God really answer prayers?
Billy Graham: Prayer is one of our greatest privileges as God’s children, and even if God doesn’t seem to answer your prayers at first, don’t stop praying. God loves you, and no prayer goes unanswered.
Jesus once told a story about a poor widow who repeatedly asked a corrupt judge to do what was right. (You can read it in Luke 18:1-8.) Repeatedly the judge refused—not because her request was wrong, but because he just didn’t care.
But because of her persistence, he eventually gave in and granted her what she deserved. In a far greater way, Jesus said, God (who is righteous and does care for us) hears the prayers of His people, and we must never give up.
But let me add two things. First, realize that sometimes God is actually answering our prayers when we don’t realize it—and the reason is because His answer may be “No” or “Wait.” Yes, we think we know what’s best for us—but God sees the whole picture, and sometimes He lovingly refuses to give us what we request, because He knows it isn’t according to His perfect plan.
Second, remember that we have the privilege of coming to God only because Jesus Christ died for our sins. Have you given your life to Him? If not, let your first prayer be one of confession and faith, asking Him to come into your life as your Lord and Savior.
The Gospel is simple but powerful.
Here are some tips to share it effectively.
Maybe you’re afraid to share your faith because you don’t know what to say. Or maybe you’re sharing the Gospel but nothing is happening; people aren’t committing their lives to Christ. Are you doing something wrong?
You can’t open someone’s heart to the truth of the Gospel—but God can, by His Spirit. The Apostle Paul wasn’t eloquent, but God used him because he depended on the Holy Spirit to guide him (see 1 Corinthians 2:1-5). God guided many others in the Bible as well—like Moses, who at first asked God to get someone else to lead the Israelites to the Promised Land, or Jonah, who didn’t think the wicked Ninevites deserved God’s mercy and tried to run the other way.
Remember that God does not call the equipped; He equips the called—and as Christians, we are all called to share what Christ has done. Some of Christ’s last words on earth were, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Sharing our faith isn’t just a suggestion, it’s a command. And God is with us when we obey Him.
One of the best ways to share your faith is to live a godly life. Non-Christians often look at Christians as hypocritical because we say one thing but do another. Show those close to you that you care—spend time with them, help meet their needs and offer to listen when they have problems. You might not be able to answer all of their questions, but they can’t deny the reality of what Christ has done in your life. If you find this is hard to do, perhaps God is speaking to you about your own need to walk more closely with Him every day.
Another important part of sharing your faith is to pray for those you interact with. If you can’t think of anyone who isn’t a Christian, pray for God to place someone in your life who needs Him.
Also make a habit of reading the Bible, praying and going to church. (These things shouldn’t be done for attention or for the sake of doing them, but to help you grow in your own faith. Being passionate about Christ will help others see that there’s something different about you, and they will want to know what it is. You can also reflect Christ through kind words, patience, a gentle temperament, choosing to love even difficult people, carefully monitoring what you watch or listen to, and treating others with respect.
At the same time, we must do more than live godly lives. People need to hear the Gospel—to hear that God loves them, Christ died for them and that they can have eternal life. Romans 10:13-14 says, “‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
To share the Gospel, you can follow these 4 simple steps:
1. Tell them about God’s plan—peace and life. God loves you and wants you to experience the peace and life He offers. The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). He has a plan for you.
2. Share our problem—separation from God. Being at peace with God is not automatic. By nature, we are all separated from Him. The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God is holy, but we are human and don’t measure up to His perfect standard. We are sinful, and “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
3. Talk about God’s remedy—the cross. God’s love bridges the gap of separation between you and Him. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave, He paid the penalty for your sins. The Bible says, “‘He Himself bore our sins’ in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by His wounds you have been healed’” (1 Peter 2:24).
4. Our response—receive Christ. You cross the bridge into God’s family when you accept Christ’s free gift of salvation. The Bible says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
To receive Christ, a person needs to do 4 things:
Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Here’s a prayer you can pray to receive Christ:
“Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do your will. In your name, amen.”
More resources to help you share your faith:
Gary Cobb, a BGEA staff member who helps train others to share their faith, shares five things to remember.
1. Understand that your own life is a great part of your witness. If my relationship with Christ isn’t vital, then I really don’t have a lot to share. People not only listen to your words, they look at your life. We still fail and aren’t always a good example, so our only hope is to come to God and surrender to Him. It’s nothing that we can do. It’s God’s work.
2. Realize that we earn the right to be heard by sincerely listening to others. Everyone has a story. You can’t just blunder into a situation and callously share without listening. The Bible says that Jesus was a friend of sinners. That’s our example—to be a friend, to listen to people, see where they are, and then take them where they need to go.
3. Recognize that people are looking for a cure. When you go to the doctor, you don’t say, “I have cancer.” Instead, you describe your symptoms. That’s where most people live. They only see symptoms. “I’m lonely. I’m suffering from a broken relationship. I’m stressed. There’s darkness within me that I don’t know what to do with.” How do we share Christ with someone who is overwhelmed with their symptoms? We know the ultimate cure. It’s Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t die for their symptoms. He died for their sins. Yet, people don’t wake up in the morning and think, “You know, I need to accept Jesus.” They wake up with the symptoms, and so as people who are attempting to rescue those who are lost, we need to start with their symptoms, show them the disease (sin), and take them to the ultimate cure (Jesus).
4. Keep it simple. The Gospel is already simple. Christ died for our sins. He was buried. He rose again. We need to turn away from the things that are wrong in our lives, and accept what Jesus did on the cross for us and receive Him as Lord. Don’t complicate it. So many times we throw in things like our denomination or other doctrines or we use religious terms that a lot of people don’t understand. We end up confusing them and creating barriers. Explain the Gospel in a way that people can understand.
5. Stress the love of God. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). It starts with love, and that’s where we need to start. Ultimately, we have to explain that we’re all sinners and have violated God’s standards, and, because of that, there is a judgment. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23, NIV). But don’t start with that. People know they’ve done a lot of wrong things, but they first need to hear that God is still open to forgiving them.