Becoming a disciple of Jesus

Jesus Christ divides  history!

Love and follow Him or loathe and reject Him, we all understand the difference between B.C. and A.D. We talk of that period of world history which was 'Before Christ' against the last two millennia which are measured 'Anno Domini' (in the year of the Lord). But millions of people on our planet insist on going further: not only does Jesus divide human history into two parts but He divides their personal history in the same way. They remember that period of their lives which was 'Before Christ', but they also speak of a new experience - of living life in relationships with Him, as one of His disciples. It is not just that Christ entered this world some 2000 years ago and changed history; He has entered my world and changed the course of my life. Christians can testify that when they received Jesus Chrsit as Saviour and Lord everything changed. They were brought into the experience the apostle Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 5:17:

"...if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!"

By this stage you may have considered some of the most fundamental reasons why it makes sense for you to make that same commitment to Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is the case that you are convinced that such a decision makes sense and now is the time to respond to Jesus. How do you go about doing that? How do you become a Christian? How do you become a disciple of Jesus Christ?

In all things, we must allow the Bible to guide us in this all-important matter.  In Acts 20:21 Paul summed up his years of service for God in this way:

"...I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus."

All that God asks of us is that we come to Him willing to turn from our sin and trusting in Jesus to save us. God offers His 'great salvation' (Hebrews 2:3) to those who face the seriousness of their sin; who appreciate that their lives have fallen short of His standard and offended His holiness and who are willing to accept their guilt but desire to be forgiven, cleansed and set free. So as we come to God burdened by our sin, we are convinced that Jesus is the answer! Our entire hope rests upon Jesus the Son of God who died and rose again to secure our salvation. We take God at His word: if we believe in the Lord Jesus we will be saved (John 3:16; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 10:9).

A word of caution...

Jesus himself bids us 'count the cost' involved in coming to Him (Luke 14:25-33). It means the end of self-rule, for we take up our cross and follow Him. Jesus will freely grant us what this world can never give; lasting peace, true joy, certain hope and eternal life. But make no mistake, our world can take away many 'passing' things: popularity, status, wealth, prospects.  For many people choosing Christ can turn this world into a hard place. If you want proof of that you should check out an organisation such as Open Doors which exists to support persecuted Christians worldwide (www.opendoorsuk.org). To come to Christ is never an easy decision. It is, however, always the right one.

Further help...

Read the Bible - The Bible itself states that its purpose is to make us 'wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus' (2 Timothy 3:15). As a starting point, why not commit to reading one of the four Gospels and acquainting yourself more closely with what Jesus did and said?

Seek out Christians - Don't be afraid to approach someone you know to be a Christian, and tell then you are thinking about the claims of Jesus. Find a Bible-teaching church that is active in sharing the good news of Jesus.  St Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Bangor is one such church family - you'd be made very welcome. We run an annual Christianity Explored course (www.christianityexplored.org) which will bring you into contact with Christians (and other individuals who want to find out more).

Get in touch - please feel free to get in touch with us in St Andrew's, with any questions or concerns you might have.  We'll gladly meet with you over a coffee to chat through what the Lord is doing in your life at this time.  Feel free to contact the minister of St Andrew's, Mark Johnston, on 07736 769 744 or email: mark@StAndrewsBangor.org.uk

And finally...

Be honest with yourself! Nothing is more important than your response to Jesus Christ. No issue is more pressing. No decision has greater consequences. Don't make excuses and don't put it off. Examine the evidence and follow where it leads you.  We pray that you will be drawn to Jesus Christ, giving your life to Him, and becoming one of His disciples.**

[**Excerpt from Geoff McIlrath's book 'Why Jesus? The continuing relevance of Jesus in the 21st century']