"For Those Who Are Passionate About Reaching The Younger Generation"

Five Core Principles Core Principle #2: Leadership Team

Confident in Christ

Dr. Barry St. Clair

If someone asked you the question, "Are you married?" you wouldn't have much trouble answering. You either are or you aren't. The same should be true about answering the question, "Are you a follower of Jesus Christ?" The answer is either yes or no.

Yet you might have some uncertainty concerning your relationship to Jesus. So before we go any further, let's make sure all of us start at the same point. Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Do you know Him personally?
If you have made the decision to begin your relationship with Him, then you have:

  • admitted that you need Jesus to take away your sin and selfishness which once had separated you from God (Isaiah 53:6, Romans. 3:23).
  • turned away from your sins (Mark 1:15).
  • became a child of God by asking Him to take control of your life (John 1:12).
  • believed that Jesus has given you eternal life as He said He would (John 3:16; Revelation 3:20).
  • begun to follow Him in obedience (John 14:15).

Can you say with confidence that each of those statements is true of your life? If not, why not remove any doubt by turning away from your sin and selfishness and turn to Jesus right now. The following prayer will help you express your desire to follow Jesus:

Lord Jesus, I admit that I am sinful and selfish. Right now I turn from my sin. I ask You to come into my life and take control of my life. I want to obey You in everything I do. I thank You that You are now in my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.

If you believe the following statements are true for you, add your signature and today's date.

I am confident that I am a follower of Jesus. Jesus Christ lives inside of me. My life belongs to Him and I am now following Him in obedience. (Mark 1:17, Luke 17:21, John 1:12-13, John 14:21)

Signature: ____________________  Date: ___________________


FAITH, FACT, AND FEELINGS

You can put confidence in the promises God provides. For example, the Apostle Paul says, "If you confess with your mouth, `Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved' (Romans 10:9, author's emphasis). So your decision to ask Jesus into your life is not based on how you feel, but on God's promises (His facts). Some people have an emotional experience when they decide to follow Jesus, others feel nothing at all.

Distinguishing between the following three elements will prevent confusion and provide a clear picture of what you place your confidence in as a follower of Jesus.

Facts. The Bible is God's Word. It tells who Jesus is. It tells of His life, death and resurrection. The facts about who He is are the basis of our faith and feelings.

Faith. Once the facts (the Word of God) are accepted as absolute truth, then we can have confidence that what God says is true. We can then place our faith in those facts.

Feelings. Our feelings cannot always be trusted. Based on circumstances and emotions, our feelings, as important as they are, do not necessarily reflect the facts.

Look at the following diagram: When your faith is exercised in response to fact, your feelings will always follow.

BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP

After entering into a relationship with Christ, we certainly need to develop an ongoing relationship with Him. Let's explore some of the realities about our relation-shi with Jesus that will affect our day-to-day walk with Him.

God created us. In fact, He created us twice! The first time, He created us physically. Read Psalm 139:13-16. Note the care that God gave to our creation.

God also created us spiritually. "We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Ephesians 2:10, author's emphasis). And we are promised that, "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17, author's emphasis). Romans 5:12-19 and 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 describe some of those changes. When we are new creations in Christ our lives begin to change. Those verses tell us that some things are gone: spiritual death, condemnation for sin, the law, etc. As well they tell us some of the things that have "come": God's grace, righteousness, resurrection, etc. Take time to read these passages carefully, making a complete list of what is "gone" and what has "come" as a result of your relationship with Jesus.

God cares for us. A story is told of a judge whose own son came before him in court. The judge asked his son, "How do you plead?" The son replied, "I am guilty." Because the judge was a just man, he had no choice but to sentence his son to a large fine or send him to jail. When the son could not pay the fine, the judge as a loving father stepped down from his bench, paid the large fine himself, and made it possible for his son to go free.
We are not able to pay the penalty for our sin. We stand guilty before God. But the Father proved overwhelmingly, through the sacrifice of His own Son, that He loves and cares for us. As you read John 3:16-18, Romans 5:8 and 1 John 4:9-10 note how much God cares for us.

God changes us. When God brings us from death to life, we change. The presence of Jesus Christ in the lives of Peter and Paul brought about major changes in those two men. What did those changes look like?

Peter before (John 18:15-27)
Peter after (Acts 4:13-20)
Paul before (Acts 26:1-18; Galatians 1:13-14)
Paul after (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Philippians 3:8-12)

When Jesus Christ changed their lives, they gained great purpose and power. The same is true for us! To discover how your own relationship with Christ has already changed you, compile a list of words or phrases that describe your life before and after you began your relationship to Christ. The following verses will help.

BEFORE I FOLLOWED CHRIST I WAS:

John 3:19
Romans 3:10-18
Romans 5:6
1 Corinthians 2:14
Galatians 4:8
Ephesians 5:6
Colossians 1:21
1 Timothy 1:15
1 Peter 1:14

AFTER I BEGAN TO FOLLOW CHRIST I AM:

Romans 8:5-6
2 Corinthians 2:12-16
Galatians 4:4-7
Ephesians 1:3-6
Ephesians 4:24
Ephesians 5:28
Colossians 1:12-13, 22
1 Peter 1:15-23

Coming to know Christ makes us a special person to Him. Even though we don't always feel special, still we can exercise our faith, believe the facts and know it's true.

ACTION POINT > SESSION 4

1. Describe your "confidence in Christ." Describe how you began a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Use the following outline if it helps. Be very specific.

Before I met Christ:



How I met Christ:

 

 

How I have changed since knowing Christ:

 

2. First John offers several answers to the question: How do I know that I have truly become a child of God? Record the evidence and rejoice:

I John 2:3-6

 

I John 3:14,23

 

I John 3:24; 4:13

 

I John 5:1

 

3. Discover what God has done to change your life by reading all of the passages in the section "Building A Relationship" and recording how those changes are true in your life.

SOURCE

This article is from A PERSONAL WALK WITH JESUS CHRIST which is Book One of the series, BUILDING LEADERS FOR JESUS-FOCUSED YOUTH MINISTRY, by Barry St. Clair (pp. 11-15, used by permission). This series of three books is designed for an adult leader to use in training other adults to share leadership in a local youth ministry. Find more about each book by visiting OUR RESOURCES.

AUTHOR

Barry St. Clair is founder and president of Reach Out Youth Solutions, which equips youth workers and young people for strategic ministry through the church around the world. He has worked with youth leaders and young people for over 30 years in evangelism and discipleship. Barry holds both Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministries degrees and is the author of numerous books.