Monday, August 2, 2010

12 Caring for the New Christian

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We must remember that when a person comes to know the Lord Jesus as Saviour, that one is born into the family of God as a spiritual baby. He is just a beginner in the Christian life. Therefore, our responsibilities to him are not ended; rather, they have only begun. In fact, there is a sense in which our responsibility is even greater now that he is saved. The situation is similar to that when a baby is born. The parents wait for the day of the little one's birth, but following that event father and mother have work to do - years of it. Of course, the joys and blessings which come to them through the care of their child make the work well worth it all.

So it is when God has given us the opportunity to point someone to Christ, and that person has been born again. We have the responsibility as an under-shepherd to care for this new Christian.

Now there are certain basic things that new Christians need help on, and some of that help they need immediately. If, for instance, someone should come to know the Lord on Tuesday night, we should not wait until Sunday to begin our followup work with him. We should begin right away on Tuesday night. Then we should seek to be with him again on Wednesday, and continue encouraging and instructing him throughout the week.


The first essential point to cover would be assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are children of God? How does anyone know that he belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ? We can be certain of this, one of Satan's most used tools is doubt, and he will try to bring it into the life of this new Christian sooner or later.

In past years, as I have taught various groups in personal work or counseling, I have asked how many of them have had at least one doubt arise in their minds as to whether or not they were born again. In every instance the majority of hands went up. Since doubt is a common tool of the enemy, we need to forewarn and to prepare the young Christian to meet it.

There are two main reasons, it seems to me, why persons allow doubts to come into their hearts to rob them of assurance of salvation. We are assuming, of course, that these persons have really been born again. The first of these reasons is that too much trust is put in feelings, and they really have nothing to do with salvation. Feelings are not safe guides for they come and go, being governed largely by our physical condition.

I have talked with many a young Christian, and a favorite question of mine is, "How do you know that the Lord Jesus lives in your heart?" Very often the answer is given in this form: "Well, I certainly feel better." My reply might be something like this: "I am delighted that you feel better, but your feelings may leave. There is something far better than trusting in feelings for that assurance of your salvation."

A second reason for lack of assurance, it seems to me, is that Christians fail to realize we can know we are saved. Those who have followed this course of study faithfully and have fulfilled each assignment will have committed to memory I John 5:11,12. These verses relate to assurance of salvation. "And this is the record, God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life." Do you have the Lord Jesus Christ in your heart? Did you receive Him into your heart by faith? If so, you have the Son; and if you have the Son, you have eternal life.

The verse which follows says, "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that you have eternal life." You need not guess; you need not hope; you may know. You may be absolutely certain!

As a further illustration, let us consider Revelation 3:20, the verse which we closed our last lesson. Here we see the Lord Jesus standing at the door of the heart and knocking. Then a plea is made and an assurance given: "If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." I often ask, when dealing with someone about Christ, if he realizes that the Lord Jesus is standing at the door of his heart. When the answer is, "Yes," I say, "Well, how do you know?"

"Well, He says so, 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock.' "

"If He is knocking at your heart's door, what does He want?"

"He wants to come in."

I then point out that Christ will not force His way in. He is waiting to be invited. That is just what this verse says, "If any man hear my voice, and open the door," that is, if we ask Him to come into our hearts and lives He will accept our invitation. The words are, "I will come in to him."

Then I say something like this, "If you have never received the Lord Jesus into your heart, but right now you ask Him to enter, do you think He will do so?"

The person may answer, "I don't think so," or "I don't know." In that case I would go over the verse again and say, "Well, let's look at it once more. 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and I will sup with him [that is, I will live with him], and he with me.' If you ask the Lord Jesus to come into your heart and life right now, do you think He will come in?"

"Well, yes, I think He will."

"How do you know He will?"

"Because He said He would."

That is the answer! You stake your life - in fact your soul - for eternity on the promise of the Lord Jesus. How do I know He came into my heart years ago? Because He promised He would. There are other evidences, but the basic reason for my assurance of salvation lies in the fact that I received Christ by faith, and I am resting upon the promises of His Word.

So, in our care for new Christians, we should see to it that they are grounded immediately on the Word of God, on the assurance of salvation.


What is our next responsibility to a new Christian? We must begin follow-up immediately. By follow-up we mean giving personal spiritual care to the new Christian. Just as a baby needs immediate care, so does each new member born into God's family. We are born into it as babies, not as spiritual adults as we have already seen. There is no spiritual pill that we can give a new Christian to make him grow into spiritual maturity overnight. Instead, God intends that we all should grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Pet. 3:18).

Now, a baby needs to be fed, protected, and trained. In order that this may be accomplished a baby needs a parent. A new Christian, a spiritual baby, needs a parent as well.

The Apostle Paul considered himself a spiritual parent to those whom he had led to Christ. He wrote, "For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel" (I Cor. 4:15).

It is true that we commit a spiritual baby to God, but He also commits it to us. For example, my wife and I have six children, and we have committed them one by one to the Lord. But the Lord also has committed them to us. If our children are not properly fed and protected and trained, we cannot blame God for it, nor can we blame our children. That responsibility we must take ourselves. So it is with new Christians. They must be fed, and taught how to feed themselves from the Bible. They must be protected from the false doctrines and other attacks from the enemy that will come. Young believers need to be trained so that they in turn might reach others for Christ and be spiritual parents to them. All of this involves time and care and prayer and work.

It is evident from this that what happens to young Christians depends on how well they are cared for by us who have had the privilege of leading them to Christ. Another reason young believers need immediate care is that Satan attacks them with doubts, temptations and discouragements.


It was because of our awareness of Satan's methods that we prepared the booklet "Beginning with Christ," formerly called "B Rations." In this we take up the three major attacks of Satan on the young Christian, and show how these attacks can be met. And it is for this same reason that we have asked you to read it carefully and to commit the Bible verses in it to memory. You will be helped in your own spiritual life, and you will have something that will help the person whom you have led to the Lord.


1. Review twelve weeks of notes.

2. Make sure you know your verses word for word and have enrolled in the Topical Memory System.

3. List some evidences that we might expect in the life of a person who has made a sincere decision for Christ.

4. Are we right in assuming that when a convert does not go on he was insincere? State reasons.

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