Learn about nurturing new believers! This message, delivered via Skype in Hyderabad, India on Oct. 25, 2017, deals with one of the most important areas for building the church and making disciples for the Lord Jesus Christ. New believers need love, care and a proper diet in the Word of God. Take time to watch or listen and study the notes. This lesson will bless you and help you to help others to know and walk with the Lord.
Notes: Nurturing New Believers
The purpose of this lesson is to help God’s people to cooperate with God’s plan for nurturing new believers in the church.
GOD COMPARES THE CHURCH TO A NURSING MOTHER
Isaiah 66:10-13 Amplified Bible (AMP)
10 Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn over her,
11 That you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breasts, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance and brightness of her glory.
12 For thus says the Lord: Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; then you will be nursed, you will be carried on her hip and trotted [lovingly bounced up and down] on her [God’s maternal] knees.
13 As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem—a type of the church, a nursing mother. New believers need nourishment from their mother (the church), and affectionate love and care.
THE NEEDS OF A NEWBORN CHILD
A documentary on hungry children in Africa stated that the first couple of years are the most critical to a child’s development. They need proper nourishment during that time or they will have problems throughout their lives. Because of this it will become very difficult for them to become productive members of society. So this becomes one of the most critical issues in bringing hope for the future for Africa. They need:
1. PROPER FOOD—macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. Macro-nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, calories, etc.) are by far the most important, but Micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) are also important.
2. LOVE AND CARE—The African children that lacked personal attention, love, care and concern were warped emotionally.
Likewise, if the spiritual children that are born again in our churches lack vital nutrients and loving care in the beginning days of their walk with God, their growth will be stunted and they will become warped emotionally. It is extremely important that we provide for their needs in the beginning days of their walk with God.
Being a nursing mother is not an easy task. It can be demanding, physically and emotionally. New babies and new believers are hungry, demanding, selfish, fussy, sensitive, easily hurt, envious, jealous, and sometimes bite. It can be frustrating and it requires patience. You’ve got to keep loving them, giving them milk, feeding them on the basics until they can grow and begin to feed on the Word themselves.
New believers grow through milk. 1 Peter 2:2 Milk is pre-digested food. It’s our job to eat a good diet ourselves so that we can produce adequate milk for the new babies in the church. One of the biggest things is that we need to be an example for new believers and model before them how to live the Christian life. Somethings are more is caught than taught. Paul said, “What you see in me do…” Philippians 4:9 Follow me as I follow Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1
Tips for caring for new believers and following up on visitors to our churches…
We should have a genuine care for them, but also let them breathe.
We should give them the basics of the faith.
We should progressively teach them how to find answers in the Word.
We should be there to answer questions for them.
We should share testimonies about how God has worked in our own lives.
The process of discipling new believers is not always formal. A pastor told me about a man who came over to his house each day for an hour or so to hang out with him when he was a new believer. One day the new believer asked, “What is this speaking in tongues business?” Then the man taught him the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes the discipleship process takes place when we are just hanging out together or working together, etc. We can show them how to pray, how to seek the Lord, how to live out the Word in our daily life, how to handle relationships, etc.
Use wisdom in your relationships with people of the opposite sex. It is scriptural for men to primarily disciple men and women to primarily disciple women. (1 John 2:13, Titus 2:3-4) One reason is that the bond can become strong and then cause a temptation or a misinterpretation, especially for an immature Christian.
Sometimes we need advice and help in knowing how to care for new believers. My daughter’s baby was crying all the time, not sleeping at night. A team of medical professionals checked her out, recommended changing her feeding program. Fixed problem, baby sleeps 11 hours and is much happier. The Holy Spirit will help us too.
BASIC TEACHING NEEDED TO PRODUCE GROWTH IN NEW BELIEVERS
All the foundational truths from the previous lesson.
1. The foundation of Jesus Christ Himself. 1 Corinthians 3:11
2. The foundation of hearing and doing the word of God. Matthew 7:21-27
3. The foundation of the apostles in the early Church. Acts 2:37-42
4. The foundation of the doctrines of Christ. Hebrews 6:1-3
How to have a devotional life. Spending time with God.
Life through Prayer.
Worship. John 4:23,24, Ephesians 5:18-20
Petition. Philippians 4:6, Mark 11:24
Intercession. 1 Timothy 2:1-6, Ephesians 6:18-19
Praying in other tongues. 1 Corinthians 14.2,4, Jude 20
Life in the Word of God.
Reading. 1 Timothy 4:13
Studying. 2 Timothy 2:15
Confession and Meditation. 1 Timothy 4:15, Hebrews 10:23, Joshua 1:8
Practicing. James 1:22
Understanding the Bible. The Old Testament and the New Testament
The 66 books of the Bible. Sections:
The Pentateuch (Five books of Moses)
Wisdom and Poetic Books
The Epistles (only part written directly to the church
Prophetic (Book of Revelation)
It is not enough to tell new believers that they need to pray and read the Bible. We also must help them to develop an appetite for the Word of God and for the Holy Spirit. Feed them the sincere milk (pre-digested food) of the Word and model a life in the Spirit before them. Show them how to pray and seek the Lord and live in the Word.
TEACHINGS FOR GROWTH AND MATURITY
We are to grow from being infants to children to adolescents to adults. We all are in a maturing process in different areas of our lives. As we mature in the Lord, we are called to get off the bottle and to teach others. Hebrews 5:11-14
We can grow in grace by:
Growing in the Knowledge of Christ. Ephesians 4:13, 2 Peter 1:1-4
Becoming a spiritual rather than a carnal Christian. They were saved, but still baby Christians (carnal). Transformation is needed. 1 Corinthians 3:1-4
Understanding Spirit, Soul and Body. 1 Thessalonians 5:23
Renewing the mind. Romans 12:1-2
Putting on the New Man In your daily life. Ephesians 4:22-24
Praying the Ephesian Prayers. Ephesians. 1:15-23 & 3:14-21
Comprehending the role of repentance and forgiveness and holiness for the Christian believer. 2 Corinthians 7:10, 1 Peter 1:13-16, 1 John 1:9
Renouncing all ties to spiritual and physical wickedness. 2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Acts 8:18-23
Developing our faith. Romans 10:17
Putting on the armor of God. Ephesians 6:10-19
Walking in Love. 1 Corinthians 13 (Amplified), 1 John 1-5
Developing healthy human relationships. Ephesians 5:21-6:9
Enjoying our relationship with God! Knowing Jesus and growing in His grace are tremendous blessings. Don’t live under a heavy yoke of religion, condemnation and spiritual bondage. Enjoy your own personal relationship with God and share that joy with others around you. Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 37:4
Learning about who we are in Christ.
New Creatures. 2 Corinthians 5:17
The Righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Children of God. 1 John 3:1-3
Heirs of God. Galatians 4:7, Romans 8:17
Accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6
One spirit with the Lord. 1 Corinthians 6:17 and much more………
Walking in the fruit of the recreated human spirit. John 15:1-13, Galatians 5:22-23
Satan is going to make his play for the lives of new believers. It may be through temptation of sexual immorality or greed. It may be through disapointment or offense toward other Christians. It may be through condemnation and defeat. We need to help them to protect themselves from the onslaught of the enemy and become overcomers in life.
Practice sharing your testimony and the Gospel message with someone. Lead them in a prayer of salvation and make arrangements to meet with them or bring them to a Bible Study where they can grow in the faith.
Read, study and meditate and practice the scriptures in this lesson. Make them a part of your thinking and vocabulary.