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i'm on the voyage : becoming a Christ follower

How to become a follower of Jesus.

1. God is loving, morally pure and just...

The one true God is loving and compassionate. He loves us with the greatest love imaginable, and he longs to have an intimate relationship with us. God is also morally pure and separate from all who are immoral. He is just and will one day judge those who continue in their evil deeds, and reward those who turn from evil.1

2. God has given his good laws for us to follow so that we can have a relationship with him...

God’s good laws include: do not put anything above God, do not misuse God’s name, do not murder or cling to resentment, do not have sex outside of a marriage between one man and one woman, do not steal, do not lie, do not long for what others have and do not be greedy.2

3. But we have broken God’s good laws...

We might consider ourselves better than the worst of people, yet there remains within us a tendency to rebel against God’s will, to live for self-pleasure rather than for God and others. The Bible calls the breaking of God’s laws “sin”, and declares that all people have sinned and stand guilty and condemned before God.3

4. The result is separation from God...

Because God is morally pure and separate from all who sin, a wall of separation exists between us and God. This separation is not what we were designed for. That is why we feel as though something is missing in our lives. Our situation is serious because if we continue in our sinful state, the end result will be final separation from God’s goodness after we die. God will not reward our disobedience on earth by allowing us to enter into his kingdom. Instead, he will cast us out his presence, continuing our separation forever.

The Bible calls this terrible state of endless separation “hell”. Hell is described with fearful images such as “a lake of fire” and “outer darkness” to help us understand how awful it will be. Because of our sins, we will experience God’s dreadful anger against sin. We will experience the bitter realization that the bliss of God’s kingdom will be forever out of our reach, and we will remain in hell as a testimony to the consequences of sin and the just judgment of God.4

But fortunately there is good news! God’s love for us is great and he does not wish for anyone to go to such a terrible place! He has provided a way for us to escape from our sins and the endless separation of hell.5

5. Because God loves us he has provided a way for us to escape our separation...

Because of his great love, God sent his son Jesus Christ to rescue us from sin and endless separation from God’s goodness. How did he do it? According to God’s one perfect plan, Jesus died in our place on the cross! He took upon himself the punishment and separation we deserve so that we can have a close, loving relationship with God both now and forever! And having been raised from the dead, Jesus now gives strength and motivation to those who accept his rescue so that they can live a new life that is progressively pleasing to God.6

6. Now you will make the most important decision of your life...

God will not force anyone to accept his rescue. He has created us with the ability to choose because he wants a genuine free will relationship with us. He is reaching out his hand to you right now to save you from your sins, but you must take his hand, personally accept his rescue, and begin living for him.

Do you want to stop living for self-pleasure and start living for God and others? Do you fear endless separation from God in hell? The Bible says that such fear is the first step on the path of wisdom! Are you willing to turn away from your sins, trust in the death of Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and prove your sincerity by living a new life of love for God and others as God gives you the strength?7

If so, here is a prayer that will help you to express your new commitment to God:

“Dear God, I confess that I have sinned and broken your good moral laws. I know that you are morally pure and separate from all who cling to their sins. I am fearful of being banished from your kingdom forever! I accept your loving rescue through your son Jesus, who died for my sins, taking the punishment and separation I deserve upon himself so that I can have a close relationship with you. Thank you that because of Jesus’ death I can have a fresh start in life today. I choose to turn away from the sins that have caused the separation between us. I trust you for strength and motivation to begin keeping your good moral laws. I will diligently cooperate with your efforts to transform my self-oriented nature into one of love for you and love for others. Beginning today, I humbly enter your service and am available to do your will. Amen.”

7. What’s next? A transformed life...

Now that you have accepted God’s rescue through Jesus’ death and have entered into a relationship with him, a wonderful process of moral transformation has begun in your life!8

The key to growing as a Christ follower is to vigorously cooperate with God’s transforming work in your heart. He provides strength and motivation, but evident change will occur only as you diligently keep in step!

Here are some helpful ways you can cooperate with God and grow as a Christ follower:

  1. Arrange with a Voyage Pastor to be baptized as an important first step of obedience to God's commands. Baptism symbolizes your new trust in the death of Jesus for your sins as well as your trust in his resurrection power which will transform you morally. Baptism also symbolize your commitment to put to death your former sinful lifestyle with God's help (symbolized by going under the water) and your commitment to live a new resurrected life for God (symbolized by rising from the water). 
  2. Fall in love with the Bible! Read one to five chapters in a contemporary version of the Bible every day. Make the themes of God's word a regular part of your daily life. Memorize helpful passages and spend time thinking about them. Watch for what God will say to you through the holy scriptures. Begin with the New Testament, starting with the book of Romans. Make yourself a copy of the Voyage bible reading chart
  3. Pray to God as you go about your day and also set aside special times for more focused prayer. You’re relationship with God is to be like that of a child with a loving, caring father. While God is in heaven due to mankind's rejection, heaven has been extended into the very hearts of believers. God is very near you, even within you! When you pray, acknowledge God for his greatness, give him all your concerns, pray for others, and be thankful for all he has done, is doing and will do. When you make requests that are according to his will as revealed in the Bible, you can rest assured that "heavenly levers" have been turned (although you may not see the results right away). Trust in God's character, his broad perspective and his all-wise grasp of the complexities of life. Be patient with necessary delays, they are not uncommon. God uses difficult times to test our faith and to develop within us important character qualities like perseverance and trust. This is why we are told to rejoice even in our difficulties! God is always in control and will work all things--even the bad things--together for our good. 
  4. Gather regularly with the Voyage community to receive biblical instruction from devoted Christian leaders who understand the necessity of growing in knowedge and moral purity. Christian gatherings are also an opportunity to praise God with fellow believers and to serve God and others. 
  5. Get to know a mature, devoted follower of Jesus and ask him/her to meet with you regularly to assist you in your spiritual growth.
  6. Make it your goal to love others and to meet their needs. God-ordained opportunities are all around you now. Remember that most people will find your loving deeds far more convincing than your words. As opportunities arise, share the good news about Jesus with others who are still separated from God and on the path to destruction.
  7. If you ever sin, admit your wrong behavior to God and consider the great dangers of continuing to practice sin. Take time to grieve, mourn and fast over your sins, and always prayerfully devise a plan to better resist temptation in the future. Turn every failure into a learning experience. Trust in God’s love, patience and promised forgiveness through Jesus. His transforming work will not be completed over night, but will become increasingly evident as you grow in your cooperation.9
  8. Grow in your love for God and fear of God; these will motivate you in your quest to be morally pure. Love for God has to do with an intimate father/child relationship with God, but it is more than mere sentimentality; it is expressed in a passionate devotion to obey God's commands and live for his purposes. The fear of God is not simply a matter of reverence, rather it is a healthy response to God's loving warnings regarding his anger toward sin and the future judgment. Our fear of God's wrath gives us the necessary incentive to cooperate with biblical strategies to overcome sin. Certainly a believer's primary relationshp with God is one of love, but fear is a healthy and necessary motivation in times of temptation if we are to overcome sin. To become a God fearing person, consider when you are tempted the Bible’s frequent warning that “no one who continues to practice sin will enter into God’s kingdom.”10
  9. Beware of the modern misconception that becoming a Christ follower does not involve a commitment to turn away from sin, and that it is not necessary for followers of Christ to progressively overcome sin. Sincere believers have a clear resolve to overcome sin, and their evident love for God and others is the proof of their professed devotion.11

1. John 17:3; Isaiah 46:9; Exodus 34:6; Psalm 5:4; Habakkuk 1:13; 1 Timothy 2:3,4

2. Romans 7:10,12; Exodus 20:1-7,12-17; Matthew 5:22, 28; I Corinthians 6:9,10; Romans 1:26, 27

3. Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 2:13; 1 John 1:8

4. Isaiah 59:2; Ephesians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 1:9,10; Matthew 25:41,46; Romans 2:8,9; Matthew 8:12; 22:13; Revelation 14:10,11; 22:14,15; Hebrews 10:26,27,31; 12:17; Ephesians 5:5,6; Luke 13:27; 16:23,24,26

5. 2 Peter 3:9; I Timothy 2:3-6; Matthew 23:37

6. Titus 3:4,5; John 1:29; Ephesians 2:13; John 3:16; Romans 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 3:5; Philippians 2:13; Titus 2:11-14

7. Acts 17:27; John 1:12; Acts 2:37-41; Proverbs 9:10; Ezra 9:4; 10:3; Matthew 10:28; Luke 12:5; 13:1-5; Romans 6:1,2; Colossians 3:5-10; Acts 26:20 ; John 1:9

8. Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Titus 2:14; Philippians 2:12,13

9. 1 John 1:9; 2:1,2; Psalm 32:5; Proverbs 5:3-5; 7:6-27; Hebrews 4:15,16; James 4:8-10; 2 Peter 3:9; 2 Corinthians 3:18

10. Exodus 34:5-7; Romans 11:22; John 14:23,24; 1 John 5:3; Matthew 10:28; 18:8,9; 1 Peter 1:14-17; Philippians 2:12,13; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; 7:1,2; Job 31:1-4,23; Hebrews 10:26; 12:14; 2 Timothy 2:19; Ephesians 5:5,6; Galatians 5:19-25; 6:7-9; 1 John 3:6-10; Revelation 21:7,8; 22:14,15; 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10

11. 2 Peter 3:11,14,16,17; Ephesians 5:5,6; Jude 4; 2 Corinthians 12:21; James 1:27; Matthew 3:8,10; Romans 6:1,2,14,17,18; 12:1,2; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 John 1:5-7; 2:3-6; James 2:14,17,22; Acts 26:20; Luke 13:1-5; Ephesians 4:17-24; Romans 2:6-11; 8:8,9,13,14; 1 Peter 1:14-17; 3:10-12; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Hebrews 3:12,14; 6:11,12; 10:26- 31,36; Matthew 24:13; 2 Timothy 2:19; Philippians 2:12,13; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; 1 John 3:14-20