Summary: How to treat and disciple new Christians, But also how Christians should treat each other and look to how they live as well.
We just celebrated Resurrection Sunday. What an amazing time in History. The moment when we knew for sure that Jesus was who he said he was and did what he said he would do. In many churches around the world and around the block there were people in church who wouldn’t normally be there. That’s awesome, I love to see new faces, don’t you? Oftentimes people will go only on Christmas or Easter, or they were dragged to church by a parent or grandparent. Or closer to what I hope, they were invited by someone in the Congregation to hear the story, the only story that matters. That God loved the world so much that he sent his only son to die for its sin. To reconcile mankind to Himself, to restore broken relationship. Many would have heard how Jesus took our place, how he paid the price we owed, how he conquered death and the grave. That’s awesome and inspiring and it was terrific to see some new people here as well.
After Jesus was resurrected, he came to earth again and according to Luke 24, met with two travellers who were leaving Jerusalem for the town of Emmaus. They didn’t recognize him as he explained all that had happened over the last couple of days. But as they sat to break bread together, their eyes were opened and they recognized him as Jesus. What an incredible picture, it’s the way many people come to faith in Christ.
Often we live, walking down the road of life, existing under the prevenient grace that goes with us before we recognize Jesus for who he is and we accept him. Prevenient grace is basically Jesus walking with us, extending his hand, knocking at the door of our hearts before we have let him in. This is where the two men on the road to Emmaus were at, and it’s where some people were at Saturday night before they met with Jesus on Sunday morning. The thing is, as we carry forward, being Salt & Light in our community, there are plenty of people we know and love who have heard of Jesus but don’t know Jesus, and right now He’s working prevenient in their lives. As He leads them toward forgiveness, towards reconciliation, towards an eternity in heaven, HE has given us the job of caring for and guiding them along their journey with Him.
Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a famous radio host in the States. Her program dealt with relationship issues and requests of personal advice. She’s sold millions of books that have helped many people. I enjoyed her show when I was on the road. One of her best-selling books is “The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands”. In it she outlines some do’s and don’ts for wives to help to insure a successful marriage. I often have thought there should be a book called “The Proper Care and Feeding of New Christians” If I were writing it, it would kind of look like this.
A step by step, easy to read and understand picture book (Used "Safe Baby Handling Tips" by David & Kelly Sopp)
Show First Picture (pg. 4 'Feeding Baby')
The first section in our book, the proper care and feeding would be on Feeding itself
1. Giving right food at the right time. (BABY FEEDING)
There was a movie in the 80’s called Gremlins. A teen boy bought a Mogwai from a reluctant seller. The rules, oh so important, were don’t expose it to light that is too bright, don’t let it get wet, and most importantly do not feed it after midnight. Feeding the Mogwai after midnight would cause him to turn into something he wasn’t meant to be, a Gremlin.
Just like you wouldn’t give a baby a giant turkey leg at 3 in the morning, it isn’t the right food or the right time to eat; we don’t want to burden people with too much too soon. Sometimes people need time to fully grasp and understand that they are saved by grace. People need time to develop spiritual teeth to be able to bite off bigger chunks of what God has to offer.
We can be very zealous when a person is freshly saved. We can try to download the entirety of scripture, and all the commentaries and all the Christian books and everything else there is into a new believer’s life well before they’re ready, before we have earned the right to speak in to their lives. It’s like bringing someone who is dying of thirst a drink. A sip of water from a tap or cup will do much more good than giving them the end of a firehose and turning it on completely soaking them in water.
It’s easy to want to do this though, to pour all we can into a new believers life. There’s something about that new life that reminds us of what it was like when we first found Christ . . . or He found us. Everything was new and fresh, the air was crisper, the birds sang louder, we had a feeling of excitement and joy that pushed us in to wanting more, into needing more of what God had to offer. It’s referred to as the first love in Revelation 2. The Ephesians had lost it, and often we lose it too, but the new Christian is right in the middle of it. And that can and should excite us.