STEP ONE: GET STARTED

 

Read through these lessons on your own, or with a friend. The Next Step lessons are designed to help you move forward in your relationship with God.

WHY DOES KNOWING GOD MATTER?

You have just made the most important decision in life. Why does this decision matter?

 

ONE: You matter to God

God started everything in this world in a moment (Gen 1:1), and He also designed you with a specific purpose in mind (Jer 29:11). He made you so you can have a loving relationship with Him as your Father, and healthy relationships with the people around you.

 

TWO: We almost missed out on knowing God

We all make mistakes in life, and when we reject or go against God’s purposes for us, we step into sin (Rom 3:23). Sin separates us from knowing God’s heart and from accessing His presence. Worse still, sin robs us from an eternity with God, so that life is hopeless here on Earth and beyond.

 

THREE: This is why it is so amazing that Jesus came

Only someone who had never sinned despite having the chance to, could be a good enough substitute for our punishment. Jesus Christ came as a man, and died on the cross in our place (John 14:6). When we put our trust in Jesus, God applies what Jesus did on the cross on our lives, and forgives us!

 

FOUR: Your decision to believe Jesus literally changes your destiny

We simply need to believe in Jesus and receive Him into our hearts to gain this forgiveness and new life (John 1:12)! If you have not accepted Him yet, now is the right time to do so!

 

TALK ABOUT IT:
  • Is it hard to believe someone would take your place to be punished?
  • What would believing in Jesus mean for your life now? 

WHAT ARE THE BASICS?

If there were only two things you need in knowing God, they would be: the word and prayer.

 

THE WORD

The Bible is how God preserved the truth about who He is and His purpose for His creation. Our need for God, and how we can live in freedom, is outlined clearly within its pages. As believers of Jesus, everything we put our faith in is based on the Word (Rom 10:17). As we read it, God stirs our hearts to respond in faith to His words (John 6:63)!

 

You can interact more with the Word by:

  • Starting to read it – try the Gospel of John
  • Read daily – it may be a chapter, or just a few verses. Keep it consistent! 
  • Expect to hear God speak as you read.
  • Write down what God speaks to you! 

 

PRAYER

Prayer is communicating with God: hearing Him speak to you and expressing your heart to Him. Hearing God can come through reading the Bible, through other people God speaks through, and through “nudges” you sense in your spirit. Don’t worry about figuring out God’s voice immediately – as you reach out to Him earnestly, He promises to be found by you (Jer 33:3)! God wants a vibrant relationship with you – and that only comes through active communication. Set aside a time each day to quieten yourself and let God speak, and then express your heart and needs to God (Psalm 5:3).

TALK ABOUT IT:
  • What are some ways you can start reading the Word and praying in your daily life?
  • What is something God spoke to you about?

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

Now that you have made a decision to follow Jesus, you can expect that your past, present and future will be changed. Here’s what’s different!

 

YOUR PAST

Before we knew God and His love for us, we were ignorant of His presence and power available to us. Through Jesus’ work on the cross, in which He shed His blood for us, we can be forgiven of our sins. The Holy Spirit shows us our need for Jesus and His work on the cross, and helps us have faith in Him. When we accept Christ by faith in His work (Ephesians 2:8), we are cleansed from our sins and born again in our spirit (John 3:3-6).

 

YOUR PRESENT

Now we can understand spiritual truths and relate with God’s word by faith. We can enjoy God’s love and presence (Romans 5:5)! Through Jesus’ victory on the cross, we are free from our old attitudes, behaviours and habits. We are also no longer open to spiritual attacks and the world’s way of thinking.

 

YOUR FUTURE

We have eternity with God in heaven (John 3:16)! God also promises us a spiritual inheritance with Him forever.

 

TALK ABOUT IT:
  • Is it easy to accept that you have been forgiven?
  • How does knowing that there is an eternity in heaven ahead change your perspective in life?

HOW DO I KNOW FOR SURE?

When you become a Christian, there is an assurance of salvation, and many promises from God that you can claim for yourself. Your life changes and there is a greater desire for the things of God.

 

WHAT DOES GOD PROMISE?
  • Eternal life

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

  • Forgiveness of sins

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. – 1 John 1:9

  • Belonging as a son or daughter

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. – John 1:12 

  • Spiritual blessings

And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. – Romans 8:17

 

HOW DOES SALVATION LOOK LIKE IN MY LIFE?
  • You have a new mindset about sin, God and Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:17).
  • You have a new beginning (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  • Guilt and shame of your past sins are removed (Romans 5:1).
  • You are gradually or immediately no longer stuck in old sinful habits and desires (Ephesians 1:7).

 

WHAT ARE SIGNS THAT I AM SAVED?
  • A hunger to read and study the Bible.
  • A desire to be in church or with other Christians.
  • A knowledge and desire to live life God’s way.
  • A desire to tell others about what Christ has done for you.

 

TALK ABOUT IT:
  • What are some signs that you relate with?
  • What are some ways you can start living in God’s blessings for you?

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE FREE?

After you are saved by faith in the Lord Jesus, God begins a new work in you to set you free from bad habits and any bondages that may exist in your life. God wants you to be totally free so you can be all that He desires for you!

 

WHAT WE ARE
  • Whether we realise it or not, we were all bound spiritually as a consequence of our mistakes. 

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

  • Our sins also gave Satan permission to rule, overpower and curse us (Galatians 5:19-21).
    • Our spiritual understanding was darkened (2 Cor 4:4).
    • Our soul was rejected and wounded.
    • Our bodies are weakened by sickness.
    • Our finances are constantly in lack (Malachi 3:10-12). 

 

WHAT WE HAVE

Christ’s work on the cross provided for us to be free. 

  • But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.

Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. – Galatians 3:13

  • In Christ, the penalty of our sin is paid for, and the power of sin is broken over our lives. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.

The old life is gone; a new life has begun! – 2 Corinthians 5:17

  • As we honour and respond to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, we experience and enjoy the freedom Christ won for us. 

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. – Romans 8:14

 

WHAT WE CAN DO
  • Desire to be set free and to live in freedom.
  • Identify the causes of bondages with the Holy Spirit’s help.
  • Confess and turn away from our sin.
  • Have faith to receive what Christ has done for us, with the Holy Spirit’s help.
  • Pray and fast to strengthen our spirit.

STEP TWO: GET CONNECTED

 

Get plugged into the community here at VFC. You’ll find friends, encouragement, and a family. We were made for relationships, and having healthy connections with other Christians matter! If you are not already connected, you can do so by:

 

  • Joining a Connect Group near you
  • Continuing these Next Steps with one of our leaders
  • Checking out one of our services

STEP THREE: GET SIGNED UP

 

The Next Step Encounter is a retreat and life-changing experience that allows everyone to personally encounter God’s power and reality.

In the meantime, this final step introduces you to the Encounter and what you can expect from it.

WHAT IS AN ENCOUNTER?

  • An encounter with Jesus is the most wonderful experience any person can have. When God created man, He left an empty place in his heart which can only be filled by Himself. We will remain restless until we find our rest in Him.
  • People used by God in the Bible and in Church history all had an “encounter”.

    • Jacob encountered the Lord when his life and all he had were threatened at Peniel, Genesis 32:22-30.
    • Moses had an encounter with the Lord in the burning bush, Exodus 3.
    • Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress when the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, Judges 6:11-27.
    • Isaiah was taken up into the throne-room of the Lord and beheld the glory of the Lord “in the year that King Uzziah died”, Isaiah 6:1-13.
    • Saul of Tarsus was struck down and blinded for three days and three nights when the Lord Jesus Christ arrested him and revealed Himself to him as he journeyed on the road to Damascus to persecute those who believed in the Lord, Acts 9:1-19.
  • What were the results of their encounter with the Lord?
    • Their lives were changed from the inside out.
    • They found their true calling and purpose in life.
    • They were filled with a new love for the Lord and a new passion to share the love and salvation of Christ to those who did not know Him

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THE “NEXT STEP ENCOUNTER”?

  • You can also expect a similar encounter with Jesus that will:
    • Transform your life.
    • Reveal your true calling and purpose in life.
    • Fill you with a new love for Jesus and a passion to share the Gospel.
  • Everyone can experience this because God is no respecter of persons.
  • You will receive a vision of a life of blessing that will also bless many people

HOW CAN I BE PREPARED?

  • The most important preparation is that of your heart.
  • The Lord is already at work in you. The Holy Spirit is stirring a desire in your heart to know the real meaning and purpose in life. Partner with the Lord, do not resist Him. Let Him develop a deep desire in you to know the truth –the truth about Jesus Christ, about yourself, life and death and eternity.
  • The most important preparation you can make is to seek God with a sincere and a humble heart. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble . . . Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” – James 4:6,8
  • Make space in your heart for Jesus to have His way in your life. You can do so by praying out the words below and meaning them from your heart.

“Dear God, I confess I am a sinner. I have sinned against you with my words, my actions and the wrong desires of my heart. Please forgive me. I know now that Jesus Christ is the sinless Son of God. He died on the Cross to save me from my sins. With Your help, I open up my heart and receive Him into my life as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!”