With the most important decision finalized and laying behind you, you may be wondering "Now What?". "Does God care what I do now?" "Can I attend the church of my choice." These are important questions that must be answered; however, addressing these questions assumes that one already believes in God and the Bible as His word to us. Without this foundation, appeals to God as authority and the Bible for answers will be in vain. This foundation must be laid first. If you have questions concerning this foundation, please use the index of topics to the right and jump to the appropriate article.
A Spiritual Transformation
After becoming a Christian, we must content to strive to God's will. In Jesus great Sermon on the Mount, he commands us:
"Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" Matthew 5:48 - NIV Translation
As a disciple of Christ, we live the rest of our lives growing and trying to fulfill this goal. Since Christ gave His life for our eternal salvation, he only asks that we give our life for Him! Please read the following instruction given by the apostle Paul:
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:1-2
So, does He asks that we offer our lives upon a cross? Well, yes, in a sense. We sacrifice our lives by renouncing our will, and making God's will our own. We sacrifice our selfish desires. We become a living sacrifice.
To help aid us in this task, Christ has preserved His perfect life as our example, after which we are to pattern our lives (II Peter 2:21). This involves obeying Jesus' commandments, turning from sin, and adopting Christ's pattern of good works (Ephesians 5:1-7). Therefore, we have to study the Bible which is a record of the events that led up to Jesus' life, His life on earth, and His will for the church (II Timothy 2:15, 3:14-17). In addition to being diligent in Bible study, we must also be characterized by a prayerful life (I Thessalonians 5:17). Christians in a local area also get together to encourage each other and to help each other be constant in reforming their lives through Bible study and prayer (Hebrews 10:23-25).
"The Church of My Choice"
One of the most important aspects of a Christian's life is his, or her, choice to assemble with a local group of Christians, a local church. The question is which one? From simply looking at the above phrase, the use of the words "my choice" suggest that God is not really the focus of such a statement. A question that should then naturally arise from this statement is, "What is God's choice on which church to attend?" The Bible does provide us with a pattern for the church. Assuming that one is convinced that we must not stray from the Biblical pattern, we can then turn to the pages of the Bible to establish a pattern, or set of characteristics of a local church that will be acceptable to God.
Next: God's church
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