» - 4 to - 7 Initial interest in Christ with exposure to the gospel. A willingness to discuss spiritual matters and acceptance of a Supreme Being/Creator/Force/Spirit » - 1 to - 3 Decision to trust in Christ alone for salvation, counting the cost of belief in Christ; and an intellectual understanding of the gospel » 0 = A NEW BIRTH! » Basic Stage of Spiritual Growth +1 to +4 » Assurance of salvation, learning basic truths, involvement in Christian community, removing the old life and developing good habits.
» The move from -7 to -4 is most often tied to a person actually opening the word and getting into an individual study about conversion. » The next step to make a commitment to Christ involves knowing what the Bible does teach about salvation. » God calls people today to die to our old life, pledge our heart and a changed life to God, demonstrate this death to the old by being buried under water, and rise up to live a new life. This is what is needed for Biblical salvation.
» The infant and toddler stage is a time of getting to the basics through major changes. » There can be a lot to put off and a lot to put on. » It takes time to get rid of the old life and to live a new one and Satan wants to pull you away right away while you do not have roots.
» New Believer #1: » 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. » Why did this person not grow?
» New Believer #2: » 20 The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. » What happens here?
» New Believer #3 » 22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. » What happens here? » Again, with no root they dry up.
» New Believer #4 » 23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown." » What happens here? » This person hears the word and understands what God is called them to so they make changes.
» A part of our responsibility for new believers is to help them understand Gods word and the changes that God is calling them to. » It is their responsibility to make the changes, and they are accountable to God for the choices that they make. » We would always like to plant in good soil, but we do not know how people will respond to the word that is planted within them.
» Peter writes to a Gentile audience which is facing persecution for being Christians. » This is in the time of the Emperor Nero and the mass persecution of Christians by the Roman government.
» Throughout 1 st Peter they receive the message to not quit. They are told to be self-controlled and accept their suffering as they look to Jesus. They are told to be in the word of God and to meet together. They are supposed to be good citizens and to submit to the authority of the government.
» Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy.
» 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. » 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, » "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 1PE 1:25 but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.
» Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. » Infants and toddlers need good nutrition! » 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. » A key to the changed life that they desired at the beginning is to be people who crave Gods word.
» If you are young, immature, or lapsed in your faith then it is time to focus on your commitment to Christ, make connecting with the body a priority, remove sin and sinful temptations from your life, commit to the process of holiness, commit to a group study and read Gods word on your own.
» It is important that you learn how to feed and care for yourself. » You are accountable to God for your faith and the condition that it is in.
» For people that we know who are in this category we can offer help to grow by offering, studies, fellowship, and the warning from Gods word about falling away. » They need our protection and to know how much we value them and love to see God at work in their lives. » Next week is our Fathers Day message.