If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.
No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
I am the bread of life.
Vital points to remember after becoming a Christian
This is the final installment to the series "What to do after becoming a Christian."
Here, we discuss the Bible's warnings about false Christian religions, the Christian's personal responsibility to support his and his
family's needs, and the importance of keeping all of God's commandments.
(Please click here for part 1 of this series.)
(Please click here for part 2 of this series.)
(Please click here for part 3 of this series.)
Understanding the risk of false Christian religions
One of the most underestimated facts of our modern day is the abundant existence of false Christian religions.
Many people new to the faith are naive to this dangerous fact, and are typically quite casual in their view of
Christian churches in general. They have often been raised according to the "religiously correct" viewpoint that
any Christian church is acceptable to Christ.
But the Bible has repeatedly warned Christians to be on the look-out for false Christian religious leaders,
sometimes called "false prophets" or "false teachers." (1 John 4:1; 2 Peter 2:1-2; Matthew 7:15-16; 24:11-12; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Acts 20:29-30;
Matthew 15:14; 1 Timothy 1:3-4; 6:20-21; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; Philippians 3:2-3)
Consider the following Biblical warning:
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
In other words, when you go to look for a church, it's imperative that you do your homework.
(1 John 4:1)
Choosing a church
should be based on whether or not that church is worshiping in spirit and truth, and is teaching and practicing
the truth according to the Bible.
Choosing a church should never be based on location, size of assembly, charisma
of the preacher, sincerity of the preacher/members, attendance of other friends/family members, daycare centers,
youth activities, or anything of the like. If your choice of which church you attend is based on any of these,
you do not understand God's requirements for your life.
Please understand that there are not just a few false Christian religions, but many.
That's why the Bible warns you to
"test the spirits to make sure they are from God" because "many false prophets have gone out into the world."
Note the word "many." Note how this is completely contrary to the religiously correct view that just about
any Christian church is acceptable to God.
Why are there false prophets?
Many new Christians cannot understand why anyone would choose to be a false prophet, or choose to oversee a
false Christian church or religion. The Bible helps us understand the motives:
The time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they
will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will
turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
The Bible here prophesies that men will find the actual teachings of God unattractive and seek to modify
them to "suit their own desires." They will then find Christian religious leaders who are willing to teach
those remodeled Biblical teachings. Such leaders are "false prophets," and those foolish enough to be
enamored by them put themselves at great risk.
As you can see, one motivation of
false prophets appears to be greed. The desire for money is so powerful in them that they are willing to
sacrifice bits of truth in order to maintain their position. And when you observe how incredibly wealthy many
modern evangelists are (in stark contrast to Christ and His apostles), it's easy to see why they would do so.
(2 Timothy 4:1-4)
Therefore, it's crucial that you consider carefully which church you decide to attend regularly, because falling
under the influence of a charismatic false prophet would be disastrous for your future salvation.
Jesus said: "If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into the ditch." (Matthew 15:14)
Being naive to the existence of "many false prophets" in our modern world is equivalent to taking a winter hike up
Mt. Everest in a short-sleeved shirt, or a trek into the Congo of Africa unaware of the dangers that lurk ahead.
Not being prepared will almost certainly cost you your life.
To find out more about the characteristics of false prophets,
please click here.
Supporting your own needs
Christians are required to work and provide for themselves and their families.
(1 Timothy 5:8; 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 3:6-14; Titus 3:14) The Bible says:
Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily
necessities and not live unproductive lives.
When another brother or sister has legitimate needs, we must help them. (Acts 6:1-7; James 2:16)
In fact, God commands us to work not only to provide for ourselves, but to have enough extra to help others as well.
It's important to understand, however, that the church is not responsible to continually assist irresponsible
members who use the church as a type of insurance policy for poor financial decisions. Both "givers and givees" should
understand this, because creating dependency is the opposite of what God intended.
Rather, the church has been designed to help those who really need it—for example, older widows, helpless orphans,
those undergoing tragedies, etc (James 1:27; 1 Timothy 5:16).
This is also related to the church contribution, which takes place every first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).
Church contributions we read about in the Bible were used to support ministers of the church and to help other Christians who were truly in need
(2 Corinthians 8:1-4; Galatians 6:6; 2 Timothy 2:6; 1 Corinthians 9:6-12). Please note that churches are required
to support those who minister to their spiritual needs,
according to their ability. Failure to do so is sin (James 4:17).
Finally, in the process of "working to provide for our families and others," it should never be forgotten to
never let our jobs dominate our lives. We must keep our priorities straight, and
always take proper time out for assemblies, Bible studies, family, and personal
Unfortunately, many American Christians have allowed their work lives (or entertainment) to choke out
these things, and such spiritually unproductive Christians are certainly not pleasing to God (Luke 8:4-15).
The Bible also states:
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that
plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
(1 Timothy 6:9-10)
So, let's resolve to make sure our work is also done in moderation. The wisdom of Proverbs gives us sound advice:
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint.
Don't decide which commands are big and small!
A lot of Christian people make the mistake of thinking they are at liberty to "pick and choose" from God's will.
For some reason, they believe God has given them the personal authority to decide which commands of God are
important and which are not. In other words, they believe they have the right to ignore commandments and
teachings they have decided are "unimportant."
But God did not categorize His commands into "important and unimportant." Instead, He always
emphasized the importance of doing all of His will (Matthew 28:18-20; Deuteronomy 4:2; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Matthew 4:4;
Revelation 22:18-19; etc).
To God, willful disobedience is detestable. When we willfully disobey, it shows that we haven't really made
Christ "Lord," but that we
real "lords" of our lives.
After all, when God instructs you to do one thing, but you decide doing something else
is better, you have made yourself your god. Such would indicate that your faith is not real, because real faith
is accompanied with a sincere attempt at complete obedience (Romans 1:5; James 2:20-26).
Jesus addressed this attitude very early in His ministry when He said:
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,'
will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
So, don't decide for yourself which requirements of the Bible are important and unimportant. Decide to do all of
them, just as God instructed you to do.
And when you fail, don't get discouraged. Recommit yourself and get back on the right path!
And don't forget to ask for the prayers and help of your spiritual family.
(Further recommended reading:
10 Tips for Re-committing your life to Christ.)