Rev. James A. Vanison, Sr., Author
First of all, Praise the Lord! I wish to congratulate you on the decision
you have just made for Christ. This is the most important step you will
ever make in your life. I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in
1950. I can say to you, from experience, that this is indeed the sweetest
life this side of Heaven. I would rather be a Christian than anything else
in the world, because of the joys we experience right no as we walk with
the Lord, (John 15:11 - John 16:24).
But, thank God, there is a Heaven to gain and a hell to lose, (I Peter 1:3-4,
John 3:17-21). You have just gained heaven and received eternal life,
I rejoice with you in your new found faith. Also, Heaven rejoices,
What Has Taken Place
The moment you believe, the person, Jesus Christ and God the Father comes
into your life, (John 14:23, John 4:14). You become a son of God, (I John
3:2). Your name is written in Heaven, (Luke 10:20). When Christ appears,
you will be changed (I Corinthians 15:51). All of us that come, He will no
wise cast out, (John 6:37). You are a new born babe in Christ, (I Peter
You must feed off God's word.
Keep This in Mind
The first thing the devil is going to do to you, is to attempt to make you
doubt your salvation. When Satan came to Eve in the Garden of Eden, his
first tactic was to cast a doubt upon what God had said. You don't have to
guess that you are saved. God has made a provision whereby you can know
that you are a child of God.
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of
God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on
the name of the son of God," (I John 5:13).
You have not received salvation, or Christ as your Lord and Savior on the
basis of feeling, (Psalms 3-8, Romans 5:1). You are not saved on the basis
of good works, (Ephesians 2:8-10, Galatians 2:16, Romans 9:11). Neither are
you kept saved by feelings or good works, (I Peter 1:5, Psalms 145:10, II
Peter 1:9). Our salvation is based entirely upon the word of God. I know
that I am saved because the Bible says so. The Bible told me that I was a
sinner. For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God, (Romans
3:23). The Bible told me that Jesus Christ loved me and died for my sins.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that
whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,
The Bible told me that if I would receive Jesus Christ into my heart as
Lord and Savior by faith, He would make me a son of God.
He came into his own, and his own received him not, but as many as received
him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that
believe on his name, (John 1:11-12).
I read in Romans 10:13:
For whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
As best I knew, just like you, I believed what God said. I called upon the
Lord, asking forgiveness, and asking Him to come into my heart. I did all
that God asked me to do in His word. I am sure that He always does His
part. He saved me on the basis of His word. He has saved you on the basis
of His word. If you have mad such a commitment to Christ, you need never
doubt that you are saved forever. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the
Lord forever; for in the Lord God is everlasting strength,
Who Keeps Us Saved? God
Just as God is the one who saved you without any help from you or anyone
else, it is also God who keeps you saved without any help from you or
My sheep HEAR MY VOICE and I KNOW THEM, and THEY FOLLOW ME: and I give unto
them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck
them out of my hand; My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and
no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand, (John 10:27-29).
Salvation is for real. You are born into the family of God. What God does
no man can undo. It is impossible to be unborn. God's word stands
forever, (John 3:17). Therefore, if any man be in Christ he is a new
creature, old things are passed away; behold, all things become new, (II
When a man becomes a new person in Christ, he no longer WANTS to live the
old way. He no longer LOVES the things of sin. He is REGENERATED. It is
wonderful to know that you are secure in Christ, (Phil 1:6). You cannot be
saved today and lost tomorrow. If a person professes to be saved and yet
lives a worldly and wicked life, it simply indicates that he has in reality
never been born again in the first place. By their fruits ye shall know
them, (Matthew 7:16-20).
Outward Show of an Inward Work
The first thing God wants you to do, now that you are saved, is to confess
him before men. That is why you need to be baptized. Baptism has nothing
to do with your salvation. You are just as saved now as you will ever be.
However, baptism is your way of saying to the world, I am buried with
Christ -- I no longer live -- I have risen from the dead, I am a NEW
PERSON IN CHRIST. Jesus died for our sins. He was buried, He rose again
from the dead on the third day. This is the Gospel -- the death, burial,
and resurrection of Christ. As we are buried in the water, we are saying
to the world, I have experienced in my heart what the Gospel truly means.
A GENUINE REBORN PERSON.
More than that, God has commanded the Christians to be baptized, if we
refuse to be baptized, we are saying "no" to God's commandment. It is the
first thing he asks us to do for him. In the book of Acts, in the New
Testament, you will find that every convert was baptized immediately AFTER
HE WAS SAVED. Be sure to get started out right. Follow your Lord in a
water baptism right away. Many Christians miss the blessing because they
fail on the first commandment. It is important to do things God's way.
Someone will say, "I was baptized before I was saved." This has happened
to a lot of people today, but baptism is an outward sign of an inward
work. A change must come in your life before you are baptized. To be
scripturally baptized, we must be baptized "AFTER" we have been saved.
After all, baptism is a picture of what has already happened in the heart.
Therefore, it is impossible to be scripturally baptized until you have
first been saved. Baptism before Salvation is simply going down into the
water a dry sinner and coming up a wet sinner.
Someone will say, "I have already been sprinkled." Sprinkling is not found
in the Bible as being baptized. Jesus Christ, in Matthew 3 was immersed
under water. Throughout the New Testament you will find that every
Christian was immersed, not sprinkled. It is impossible to show forth a
picture of the burial and resurrection of Christ went under the earth.
When someone is buried, you don't sprinkle a little dirt over him, you put
him six feet under the ground. He is covered with dirt. That is why
baptism must be, if it is Bible baptism, immersion. Be sure to go all the
way with God.
Bible Reading and Prayer
Now that you have been born into the family of God, you need to grow
spiritually into adulthood. In order to grow you must eat properly. The
Apostle Peter tells us to "desire the sincere milk of the word," Jesus
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat of the flesh of the son of
man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you, (John 6:53)."
The flesh is the word, (John 1:1-14). The flesh profiteth nothing, (John
6:63). What then? We eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God
as we daily read the Bible, and live the Life of Jesus. The Bible is the
perfect, verbally inspired Word of God. The only way for a Christian to
grow into a healthy child of God is to develop the daily habit of reading
his Bible. I suggest you follow the pattern that I, and thousands of
others follow. Get up a little earlier each morning and take time to read
at least some portion of the Scriptures. Don't try to read it all at one
time. Rather, read a reasonable portion at each sitting. I also suggest
that a new convert should read the Gospel of John at least twice through
before he reads any other book of the Bible. After you have read John
through a couple of times, read the whole New Testament. Then go back to
Genesis and begin reading right through the Bible. There are many
Christians who have been saved for years, yet they have never read the
Bible through completely, (Psalms 119:11, Psalms 119:4-24). Please read
Psalms 119. See what the word is.
As you develop this reading habit, several things will happen in your
life. First, God will keep you clean spiritually. "Now ye are clean
through the word which I have spoken unto you," (John 15:3).
God's word will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from God's word.
Secondly, as you learn more about the Bible, God will use you to BLESS
others. You can never be a profitable servant of God until you become a
Along with your Bible reading, learn to spend time each day in prayer.
Bible reading is God's way of speaking to you. Prayer is your way of
speaking to God. The Lord wants to be more that just your Savior. He
wants to be your friend, as well. Fellowship with God is the most
important activity of the Christian. Don't ever forget this fact. No
mater how busy or active you get in your life and service for God,
FELLOWSHIP AND COMMUNION with the Lord Jesus Christ must always be the
most important thing to you. Learn to talk with the Lord about
EVERYTHING. I think it is good to read your Bible and pray at the same
time. By this I mean, read a little and pray a little. Learn to have a
conversation with God. Then, also learn that prayer is to become the very
breath of your spiritual life. It has been my constant joy to spend time
with God in prayer while driving my automobile, sitting at my office desk,
walking through the fields, and many other ways of life. While it is good
to be on your knees in prayer, it is not necessary. There are times when
we can humble ourselves before God in this way. There are other times when
we can be walking or riding and still be very much in prayer.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching
there unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints,
Bible memorization is important, (Psalms 119:171 & 111 & 11).
Every time the church doors are open, the Christian should be there, if not
hindered. This is very vital.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some
is, but exhorting one another and so much the more, as ye see the day
approaching, (Hebrews 10:25).
Find the Sunday School class where you are most blessed. There are classes
for the young people and the children. The same topic is used throughout
the entire Sunday School; the same lesson is taught. This means that the
entire family is studying the same portion of the Bible each Sunday
morning. Get the entire family into the All Bible Sunday School,
immediately. Don't go home after Sunday School. This is always a sign of
spiritual neglect and carelessness. We need a full diet of Christian food
in order to grow properly. We also need the fellowship of God's people.
We cannot get along without each other. More than that, God's word
commands us to be very careful about attending the House of the Lord. The
Sunday evening services are always a highlight. God's people should learn
that Sunday is the Lord's Day. All of it. Give the Lord the complete day
on Sunday and he will bless you for it. Prayer night will prove to be a
great boost to your spiritual strength between Sundays. When the revival
meetings or special services are being held, always try to attend. We
attempt to provide a well-rounded spiritual diet for all God's people.
Take advantage of it.
"Upon the first day of the week, let EVERYONE of you lay by him store, as
God has prospered him, that there be no gathering when I come," (I
Here Paul teaches us that we should bring our offerings to the Lord on
Sunday, the first day of the week. The Bible teaches that tithing is the
spiritual way of giving to God. Every offering is a free-will offering.
The Bible teaches us free-will Giving. We must grow in the grace of
Giving. It is God who gives you the health and the strength to work for
your pay. It is God who has blessed you with your home, your possessions,
your family, and all that you have. Therefore, let us be fair with Him.
Put God first in your finances as you learn the grace of Giving, you will
learn that you cannot out give God. It is impossible. The more you give
God, the more God gives back. We do not give our money with the idea that
we will get something back from God; this would be selfish. However, it is
a fact that God will bless us financially if we put him first.
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness and all these
things shall be added unto you, (Matthew 6:33).
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: For what fellowship
has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what concord has Christ with
Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what
agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the
Living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them; I will
be their God and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing:
and I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my
sons and daughters, saith the Lord almighty, (II Corinthians 6:14-18).
It is essential that Christians live a separated and clean life. Once a
person is converted it is important for him to stay away from the wrong
kind of friends. Although we want to win our friends to Christ, we cannot
afford to hurt our testimony by taking part in things that are not right.
A saved man immediately puts away all use of alcoholic beverages, and all
questionable habits. Christians should have clean habits. Christians
should go to the right places. A Christian has no business involving
himself in questionable things. He needs to come out from among these
things and be separate. This does not mean that he will be a hermit. Not
at all. We are still friends with everybody. But our purpose now is to
win them to the Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot do it by living a sinful and
carnal life. Here at Tree of Life Bible Church, we do not allow our Sunday
School teachers and other workers to perform a ministry here and at the
same time live a worldly life outside. Not only should workers feel a
responsibility to be clean, but every Christian must also live these same
standards of holiness. Jesus Christ lives within every believer. He will
live that Life of Joy and holiness through us if we allow Him to do so.
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present
you bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is your
reasonable service," (Romans 12:1).
Taking Part: Let God Use You
Now that Jesus is your Lord and Savior and you have begun a new life, God
will want to use you in winning others to Himself. You undoubtedly have
unsaved friends, and perhaps members of your family, who need Christ. By
living a changed life before them, by witnessing to them as God gives
opportunity, you can be used in winning many to the Lord. Invite your
friends to attend church with you. This is one way of seeing them accept
the Lord. Learn how to lead a soul to Christ. The best thing you can say
to anyone who needs the Lord is simply your own testimony. Tell them what
the Lord has done for you. The greatest joy any Christian ever experiences
after he is saved, is when he leads another soul to Christ. Also, you may
have some talents that can be used for the Lord. If you sing, your voice
can be a blessing in the choir. In addition, it may be that, in time, you
will be capable of teaching a Sunday School Class or serving in some other
capacity. God has a certain ministry for you, that no one else can do.
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye
should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruit should remain:
Whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you,"
Things to Watch Out for
Now that you are a Christian, the devil will do all he can to turn you
around. There will be many temptations from Satan. One of his greatest
tools is DISCOURAGEMENT. Things will happen to you now that has never
happened before. The devil will see to that. You will be tempted to turn
your back on God and go back to your old life. God never discourages
anyone. Whenever you are discouraged, you can be sure that this is the
devil working. Get on your knees and seek the Lord's help. And read the
Bible. Then, too, there will be trials to test your faith. God wants you
to grow-up into a strong mature Christian. There will be many testings.
Don't be discouraged when these things come. This is God's way of making
"My brethren, count it all Joy when ye fall into diverse temptations:
Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience," (James
1:2-3). The very fact that God is taking you through deep waters simply
proves that He wants to use you and that He loves you. Remember, His grace
is sufficient for every hour of need. Learn to trust Him completely in
every hour of difficulty and trial.
Another tool of the devil is COMPROMISE. If Satan cannot get you to turn
your back upon God completely, he will attempt to get you involved in
things that are not altogether pure. Be careful of this matter.
Another way Satan works is by allowing you to be DISAPPOINTED. You may see
or hear about another Christian who does wrong. It may be someone whom you
had great faith in. Someone may even talk about you and hurt your
feelings. You may be misunderstood by Christian friends who, instead of
trying to help you, may seemingly try to hurt you. You must remember that
Christians are simply human beings like you who have received Christ. All
Christians are capable of making mistakes and doing wrong. We should never
put our faith in people, but in the Lord Jesus Christ only. As we keep our
eyes on Him we will never be disappointed. If the whole world does wrong,
we have no excuse for turning back. Watch out for disappointment.
Determine to serve the Lord, come what may.
The devil will also sometimes disgust a person. Even though a Christian
should strive to live a perfect life through Christ. But there would always
be room for improvement, (I John 1:9 tells us what to do),
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins,
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
As soon as we sin, or make a mistake, simply confess our sins to God, and
turn away from it. Don't get disgusted. The devil will tell you that you
are not saved. He will tell you there is no use trying. If you stumble,
get up and try again. The Christian Life is filled with valleys as well as
mountain tops. Just keep on keeping on. The Lord Jesus who lives in you
is your strength. We have an ADVOCATOR, (I John 2:1-7).
I hope you may grow stronger in your New Life in Christ. These words in
this booklet, through God may enrich your very soul. And bring you safely
home in Glory. I trust that these few remarks will encourage you to make
everyday count for Christ.
II Corinthians 7:1 ... Read