The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them
to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always,
even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
April 6, 2014
1) How to Become a Christian (Paul R. Blake)
2) What Will I Leave Behind? (Frank Himmel)
3) News & Notes
How to Become a Christian
by Paul R. Blake
Having learned how valuable is the Christian life, one might now
ask: "How do I become a Christian and obtain this wonderful new
life?" This is a noble and important question, and it deserves
an answer from the word of God.
The process by which one becomes a Christian, when followed by the
whole of his being, brings new life through salvation in Jesus
Christ. In addition, obedience to the Gospel renews living by
setting him free from sin, bringing peace in this life and hope in
the everlasting life to come. Furthermore, his whole manner of life
is changed by the plan of salvation when it is obeyed in full faith
from the heart. By the plan of salvation, one gains the best
Before one can follow the Divinely ordained plan of salvation, it
naturally follows that he must know it in its original, unchanged
form. There are many schemes of redemption taught by religious
leaders, but the Lord has given only one valid method of becoming a
child of God. There is only "one faith" (Eph. 4:5) given only
"once for all" (Jude 3) by the Father to save man from his
sins. He who desires salvation must humbly and carefully
listen to it. Jesus charged his countrymen with dulling their
hearing so that they would not absorb the word of God (Matt.
13:15-16). Clearly, those who listen can be converted, and
those who hear will be blessed. Therefore, the first step in
becoming a Christian is to hear; to listen to what the Lord has
Hearing brings enlightenment through the knowledge of God,
dispelling the darkness of ignorance. This knowledge has the
power to develop responsive faith within the careful listener.
"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"
(Rom. 10:17). The word of God brightly lights up the way out
of sin and into righteousness. David said in praise to God:
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Ps.
119:105). Knowing the truth by means of whole-heartedly
hearing the word of God gives one the means whereby he can be set
free from his sins. In a prayer, the Savior said to the
Father: "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth" (John
17:17). The reaction of the honest hearer to the preaching of the
truth is best demonstrated by Peter's audience at the close of the
gospel sermon on Pentecost. The hearers immediately asked what
they must do (Acts 2:37). Hearing the word is the first step
to becoming a Christian and obtaining the best life possible.
Hearing is itself a life changing action that provides needed
guidance to the lost listener.
Faith follows hearing the word of God. The careful listener
becomes a believer in God. This belief leads him further along
the path to becoming a Christian. It is essential that the
hearer believe in God and in his plan to be saved from his
sins. The writer of Hebrews clearly states that faith is vital
to anyone who would please God (11:6). Faith provides the
motivation necessary to make the changes that will make one a
Christian. Strong belief moves him to careful obedience to the
Gospel; for without faith, he will not effectively obey and will
remain in a lost condition. The apostle Paul spoke of people who
fell short of pleasing God through a lack of belief. "But they
have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath
believed our report?" (Rom. 10:16). One must believe before he
can become a Christian.
Besides leading unto salvation (Rom. 10:9-10), faith also provides
purpose and meaning to life. A person no longer needs to
wander aimlessly through life, pointlessly living until he
dies. Faith gives one an understanding of who he is, why he is
here, and where he is going when life is over. All important
questions are answered by a well informed faith in God.
A strong faith will generate a change in the believer's moral
purpose in life. The believer must also repent of his sins and
regret a life lived without God's unchanging word. Repentance
becomes the means by which man turns away from sin, changes his
direction in life, and embraces right living. The Ephesians
were told to put off the old man of sin, change their way of
thinking, and to put on the new man (4:22-24). First, one
repents by sorrowing over the sins he has committed, sins that made
it necessary for Christ to die on the cross for him. Second,
he evolves or changes his view of sin and righteousness to conform
to God's way of viewing them. Third, he focuses his attention
and will on doing only those things that please the Lord. If a
believer chooses not to repent, he cannot be saved. In the
words of Jesus Christ: "I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye
shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).
By repentance, one steps even closer to becoming a Christian.
In turning from sin, he develops a better character . . . a
character that will enable him to walk faithfully as a Christian
upon completing his obedience to the Gospel. He is changing
into a better person, which is one of the blessings of becoming a
Besides believing and repenting, God expects the petitioner for
salvation to declare his faith unashamedly before others. When
one confesses Jesus Christ as the Son of God, he professes the
maturity of his faith. He now believes that God took an active
role in sending his only begotten Son into the world to pay the
price for the sins of humankind. He believes that Jesus Christ
is Immanuel (God with us), and that he has the power to save man
from his sins. When one confesses his faith in Jesus, all
witnesses to that confession know that the speaker is moved by the
word of God to obey the Gospel. One who confesses Christ
before men prepares the way for Jesus to declare his name before
God. "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him
will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matt.
When the Ethiopian eunuch heard the preaching of the Gospel, he
responded by desiring immersion. When Philip asked if he
believed, he answered by saying, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the
Son of God" (Acts 8:37). Man will never speak greater or
higher words than these. Confessing Jesus as the Son of God is
a demonstration of courage and a herald of one's desire to become a
Finally, the confessor must be baptized to become a Christian.
It is only through baptism that he becomes a partaker in the death,
burial, and resurrection of the Savior (Rom. 6:3-4). Only in
baptism are sins washed away (Acts 22:16). It is by baptism
that one is saved (Mark 16:16). Baptism puts him in Christ (Gal.
3:27). If one is not baptized, he falls short of his goal of
becoming a Christian.
When one is baptized, he becomes spiritually clean, free from all of
his sins. He enters into the family of God as one of the
Father's cherished children. He has access to all the
blessings, rights, and privileges of that family. There exists
no greater joy than that of the obedient believer who rises from the
waters of baptism as a new creature in Christ.
In view of what is written in Scripture, it is evident that the plan
of salvation not only saves one from sin and makes him a Christian,
but it also changes his life and the way he lives it, making it the
best life possible. Hearing the word enlightens him (2 Tim.
3:15). Believing the word motivates him (Heb. 10:39).
Repenting changes his direction in life (2 Cor. 7:10).
Confessing Jesus as the Christ declares his faith and desire to
become a Christian (Rom. 10:10). Finally, being baptized
changes his life, changes his living, and gives him new life (Rom.
6:6-8). By this process, and this alone, one becomes a
Christian and gains the best life possible.
-- Via Truth Magazine,
What Will I Leave Behind?
by Frank Himmel
Acts chapter 9 tells about a Christian named Dorcas who lived in
Joppa. "This woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and
charity which she continually did" (v. 36). Dorcas fell sick
and died. The disciples washed her body and laid it in an
upper room. They then sent for Peter, who was at nearby Lydda.
"Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought
him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him,
weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to
make while she was with them" (v. 39). Peter had plenty of
material to preach an impressive funeral sermon, but he did
something even greater: he raised her from the dead!
The Bible doesn't reveal any other information about Dorcas.
How old was she? What did she look like? Was she
married? Did she have children or grandchildren? Was she
a woman of considerable means or did she have little? We could
guess, but that's all it would be -- a guess.
What we do know about this woman is enough to raise a question worth
considering. The Bible emphasizes the good she left
behind. Now the question is: What will I leave behind?
I will leave behind whatever material thing I have. "For we
have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out
of it either" (1 Timothy 6:7). What will those rummaging
through my stuff find? Will they find any evidence of a
God-centered life, or will everything point to a life focused on
What will I leave to others? Will there be anyone who can
produce a gift I gave to them? Will anyone have a memory of
how I provided for them in a time of need, the way Dorcas did for
What example will I leave? Will it be one of faithful service
to God? Would it be the kind that might encourage a struggling
Christian to remain faithful? Would it strengthen others to
stand firm for truth?
What words of mine will people remember? Will it be words of
encouragement or mostly complaining? Words of kindness or
words of bitterness and anger? Will anyone remember me having
taught them God's word?
What difference will it make? Will my brethren even miss
me? Will it leave any appreciable void in the local
What will I leave behind?
-- Via The Beacon, January 7, 2014
News & Notes
Candy Wise has been recently diagnosed with breast cancer
that is aggressive and for which she will be having surgery and
receiving chemo. Let those of us who are Christians be
remembering her in our prayers.
Crews will be having rotator cuff surgery April 16.
Let us also be praying that all will go well for him.
And others to remember in prayer for their health: Virginia
Fontenot, Shirley Young, Cheryl Crews, Peggy Lefort, and Terry
and Pam MacDonald.
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom.
10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9,10; Acts
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins
(Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet.
6) Continue in the faith; for, if not, salvation can
be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
CHURCH OF CHRIST
9923 Sunny Cline Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70817
Sunday services: 9:00 AM (Bible class); 10 AM & 6 PM (worship)
Tuesday: 7 PM (Bible class)
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (225) 667-4520
(Gospel Observer website)