We grow in Christ as we come to Christ.
We must believe.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:10 (NIV)
We enter into a relationship with Christ through believing and we grow by faith.
We must surrender to Christ as Lord
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. John 15:10 (NIV)
There is no salvation without surrendering to Christ as Lord. We grow in Christ as we embrace the fact that He is Lord and I am not. He is God and I am not. He is Master; I am servant.
We must repent
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, Acts 3:19 (NIV)
Repentance means to turn around. We turn around once in an experience known as salvation. We spend the rest of our lives turning more and more toward Him.
We grow as we are saved. One more. Until recently, I never noticed this one:
We must confess
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
Confession is a key part of salvation. We must say it out loud. No secret Christians.
Confession is also a key part of discipleship. If we are to grow in Christ we must say the truth out loud. This is why I believe in discussion oriented teaching. This is why I write Good Questions. Because people are not changed by merely listening to the truth; they must confess the truth.
How are we changed?
I am shocked by how much discussion there is about this these days. As if it were some mystery. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds. The truth sets us free. But, we must confess the truth to be changed by it. What we say is as important as what we hear.
Jesus talked about this. “Nothing outside a man can make him ‘unclean’ by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man that makes him ‘unclean.'” Mark 7:15-16 (NIV) If you would make people clean, lead them to say the truth. Lead them to confess.
This is why Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Jesus knew that when Peter confessed the truth–said it out loud, he would be changed by it.
If you would teach people to live the disciples life, lead them to confess the truth. Ask Good Questions that lead them to not only hear the truth, but to say the truth. As they say the truth, they will be changed by it. Whatever comes out of them makes them clean. Lead them to confess the truth.
If you would lead people into greater faith and confidence, create a conversation that leads them to say, “God is in control; He will work it out.”
If you want people to embrace forgiveness, lead them to confess, “I have confessed my sins to God and believe that He has forgiven me of all my sins.”
If you would create people who are givers, lead them to say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
We are changed by what we say more than what we hear. Lead people to say the truth and be changed by it.