Next Steps: Week 1

Next Steps: Week 1 Day 1

Video Transcript

Congratulations on your decision to make Jesus the leader and forgiver of your life. I hope our time together over the next few weeks will help you to draw closer to Jesus. I remember when I asked Jesus to lead my life; I had so many questions. How do I understand the Bible, how to pray, what does this new life look like? There were even times when I wondered if I really was a Christian because not everything changed in my life immediately, and I kept on sinning. I wondered if I really was sincere because there were times I didn't feel like I was a Christian, and, to be honest with you, I was having a hard time giving up some things in my life that I needed to give up. I also had a hard time starting new habits that I knew would help me follow Jesus closer. 

That is what these devotionals are all about. It is about helping you understand a little bit more about your new relationship with Jesus because I don't want you to struggle to figure all of this out on your own. I want to help you.  

When I gave my life to Jesus, no one told me how to read the Bible or pray. No one said that there would be days I wouldn't feel as close to God as I do right now. I wanted to be close to God, and I wanted Him to use my life to make an impact; I just didn't have a clue how to live the life I knew I needed to live. 

I want to do for you what I wish someone would have done for me. Every day I want you to spend a few minutes with me, and I want to help you understand how to love God more and how to be used by Him in ways you never thought possible. 

The first thing I want to make sure that you understand is what it is to be a Christian, so let's start all the way back at the beginning. 

In Genesis 2 and 3, God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, and everything was perfect. There was food to be eaten and animals to enjoy. There was land to be discovered and work to be done.   

And then God gave Adam a beautiful wife. I often wonder how Adam felt when he first saw Eve. He hadn't seen anything but lions and tigers and bears and then he saw her. I bet his heart skipped a beat or two. 

They were at peace with each other. They were at peace with themselves. There was no depression, no low self-esteem, no shame, and no guilt. Their marriage was perfect, and to top it all off, they were at peace with God. They walked with God and talked with God, but then sin brought chaos to their world. 

In Genesis chapter 3, Eve is standing next to the only tree that God told her and Adam to not eat from. The Bible says, 

"Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'" 

Satan questioned God by saying, "Did God really say you can't eat from this tree." Understand this is what Satan does to us, even to this day. He tries to make us believe that God is holding out on us, so we will not trust God. 

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." 

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.

And then what did that woman do? She took the fruit to her poor defenseless husband, and what could he do but be supportive. (it's a joke) She took the fruit to Adam, and he ate it too because he was an idiot. The Bible says, 

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Genesis 3:1-7 

At this moment, sin, which is rebellion against God, entered our world, and everything changed. Peace was gone with each other and with God.  Depression and low self-esteem came to be a part of their world, along with guilt and shame and jealousy, just to name a few. 

Adam and Eve hid from God among the trees in the garden because of their sin. They knew they had let God down, so they hid from Him, but God called out to them. It was a call to come clean and to admit what they had done. And God kept calling out to them. Finally, Adam mustered up all the courage he had and came out of hiding, but rather than taking responsibility for what he had done, he blamed Eve, and Eve, in turn, blamed the serpent.  

Think about it. Ever since sin has come into our world, we have been hiding from God and blaming everyone else for the sins that we have committed. 

Because Adam and Eve had rebelled against God, there were now consequences for their sin. God killed an innocent animal, took the animal's skin, and covered their nakedness and shame. This was the first time that innocent blood was shed so that someone could be forgiven of their sin, but it won't be the last time. 

When you get around to reading the Old Testament, you are going to read about an elaborate sacrificial system that the Jewish people observed so they could be forgiven of their sin. In fact, in the Bible, we find out that the only way a person can be forgiven of their sin is for someone to die for that person. 

God said, "without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins." 

Someone innocent has to die for us to be forgiven, so they would bring a lamb to be slaughtered every year. Symbolically, the sin of that person would be placed on that innocent lamb, and that lamb would pay the price for that person's sins for one year. 

The problem was, people kept sinning, so every year, more lambs had to be slaughtered. 

God saw the mess we were in, and He sent His Son, Jesus, who the Bible refers to as the lamb of God, to come and die for our sins. The Bible teaches that Jesus lived a sinless life and was crucified for all of our sins. 

You see, on the cross, Jesus, the lamb of God, who knew no sin, took the sin debt that we owed God upon Himself. The sky grew dark, and Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." God, the Father, is holy and cannot be in the presence of sin. For the first time, Jesus felt separated from God. 

Far more painful than the crown of thorns that was on His head or the nails that were in His hands and feet was this moment, when the weight of all of our sin was placed upon Him. 

On the cross, Jesus paid the sin debt that we owed God. And in doing so, He provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and be made right with God. 

One of the last things that Jesus said right before He died on the cross was the word "Tadeliestie”, which means, "It is finished."

The term "tadelistie" actually means "paid in full." When a person bought something in the first century that they couldn't pay for upfront, they would make an agreement with the person to make payments on the item that they wanted, much like we do with a car or a house. When the final payment was made, they would stamp on the document "Tadelistie," paid in full. It is finished.

Jesus was crying out from the cross that He had now paid in full the sin debt that we owed God and provided a way for us to get to God. And now you know that asking Jesus into your life is as easy as A, B, C or 1, 2, 3. 

 1. We must admit that we have sinned. 

We must admit to God that we have said things and thought things and done things that are wrong, and we must repent of those sins. The word "repent" means to go a different direction. I was doing the wrong things and going the wrong way, and now I don't want to live that way anymore. I want to live my life for Jesus. 

Have you admitted you have sinned, and did you repent of your sins? Again, repenting means to do an about-face. I was going in this direction, living for myself, but now I want to live my life to please Jesus. Have you done that? 

 2. Do you believe that Jesus is God's son who lived a sinless life, dying on the cross, paying the price for your sin, and do you believe that Jesus rose again from the dead three days later, conquering death and the grave? 

 3. And finally, have you committed your life to Jesus? It doesn't mean you will be perfect, but the attitude of your heart is that you would follow Him and love Him a little bit more each day. 

If those three statements are true, and you have prayed and asked Jesus into your life, then you are a Christian, whether you feel like it or not. Our relationship with God is not based on a feeling, but it is based on the fact of what God's word says and promises. 

And the Bible says, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (that means Jesus is the leader of your life) and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 

It doesn't say you might be a Christian, or you could be a Christian. It says you are a Christian, so if doubts about whether or not you are really a Christian come into your mind, remember that you have confessed that Jesus is your leader and that you believe that He died and rose again from the dead. And because of that fact, you are a Christian.