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Summary: The first few weeks of a new believer’s walk with Christ is crucial!! As mature Christians, how can we make sure they stick with it? *Handout INCLUDED*

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For a CD of over 100 of sermons by Darrell Stetler II (most complete with handouts), please e-mail darrellstetler2@sbcglobal.net.

Acts Chapter 9 - Saul and Ananias

How to support new Christians.

Keith - shared the gospel with Him at camp.

How can we support a new Christian? Well, the first answer we normally come off with is pray for them. . .and that’s ENTIRELY appropriate. But what else can we do to support someone who is just a new “baby” in Christ?

I believe Acts 9 provides a blueprint that we can follow:

1. Believe in them.

10 ¶ Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and to him the Lord said in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord."

11 So the Lord said to him, "Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying.

12 "And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight."

13 Then Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem.

14 "And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."

15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake."

A) Believe they have changed, even if you haven’t seen it.

Let’s define this: What is a Christian? Someone who has confessed their sin, believes in Jesus as their Savior, and has turned from known sin in their lives.

We tend to put extra requirements in with that:

- Walk this aisle.

- Use 14 Kleenex.

- Pray “clear through.”

- Immediately change in certain ways that “everyone ought to know.”

Sometimes, it happens like Billy Jay, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying we shouldn’t look for fruit – we should. I’m saying, you’re not around, and so you can’t see what is going on in their heart, life, actions, attitudes, and thoughts! Until you see evidence to the contrary, why don’t you go ahead and believe in them.

B) Believe they will change as God gives them light.

Ananias hadn’t seen Paul’s life change. He argued with the Lord, reminding him about the way he used to live.

We spend far too much time

I totally understand the sentiment that says, “WELL. . . I wonder if they REALLY prayed through.”

My problem is this: That attitude does NOTHING to provide the help and support that a new Christian needs!

C) Believe God has an amazing plan for their lives.

15 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.

16 "For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake."

That person who is wrestling with getting off drugs may be a pastor by the time God is done with them.

That person who is still living in the twisted wreck of their dysfunctional family may be a great missionary someday.

That person who is shacked up the first time they pray may turn out to be the person who reaches dozens more of their family that need God.

If you think that they’ll always be an inferior brand of Christian because of their background, you’re flat wrong!

2. Encourage them to take the next step.

- Be filled with the Spirit.

17 And Ananias went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit."

- Be baptized.

18 Immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized.

I can announce things from the pulpit until I’m blue in the face, but on a percentage basis, I’ll never be as effective YOU are if you befriend someone who is a new Christian.

3. Spend time with them.

19 So when he had received food, he was strengthened. Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus.

If we spent as much time involving ourselves in the lives of people who pray at this altar as we do worrying about them, we’d see growth and change. We would see the opposite of what we’d been worrying about, if we take the time to give them the support they need.

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