On the Road to Emmaus
After a person becomes a Christian, what’s the next step? First, understand your new place in the universe. You are a child of God. You have a personal connection with God.
When a person accepts Christ as Savior, that person becomes a new creation. The Bible says, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (II Corinthians 5:17, NAS). You begin a brand new life.
New creatures start small. Then they grow. Now you must grow and mature. The Bible says we start our new life as newborn babes. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.” (I Peter 2: 2-3, NAS)
That sounds incredible! What is the next step? We start with baby steps.
Like Newborn Babes
The Bible does not say exactly what steps come next. We could take our cue from the early church. What did the church do in its earliest days? How did believers grow spiritually? According to Acts 2: 42, “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”(NAS) We need Bible study, Christian fellowship, and prayer.
How do we “devote ourselves to the apostles’ teaching” today? The original eleven apostles have died. Well, their teaching is contained in the Bible. We can read the Bible. The Bible also tells us about Jesus Christ. His life and teaching are in the back section of the Bible. This section is called the New Testament.
The front section of the Bible is called the Old Testament. The Old Testament holds the texts studied by Jesus and His disciples. Both sections of the Bible are important.
What is Christian fellowship? It’s spending time with other Christians. You can do this by becoming part of a church. I did not say, “join a church.” Don’t just join a church – become a part of it. Participate in the church. You also could find Christian fellowship in a Bible study or another gathering of Christians. “Breaking of bread” indicates a close fellowship.
Pray. Prayer is talking with God. Prayer can accomplish great things. According to the Bible,
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. . . . confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (James 5: 13, 16, NAS)
Prayer is a talk you have with a close friend. That friend is God. You need to spend time—to fellowship—with God.
Walking with Jesus
Fellowship with God often is compared to a walk. God walked with believers in the past. He walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He spent time walking with Abraham. He spent time speaking with Moses. Jesus also walked. He walked the dusty roads of Palestine with His disciples. They walked together for three years.
Walking together is a good way to get to know someone. It’s also a way to stay connected as you travel through life.
The painting above portrays the gift of walking with God. It was painted by Swedish painter Robert Zund (1826-1909) in 1877. It illustrates a post-Resurrection appearance of Jesus. The story is told in Luke 24: 13-35. Briefly, here’s what happened.
Two of Jesus’ disciples left Jerusalem. It was the Sunday after the Crucifixion. Strange news was stirring in Jerusalem. Jesus’ body was missing. His tomb was empty. These two followers of Jesus were going to Emmaus. This little town lay about seven miles from Jerusalem. The eleven apostles remained in Jerusalem.
As they walked to Emmaus they were joined by Jesus. The Bible says “they were kept from recognizing Him.” Jesus asked “What are you talking about?” They told Him about Jesus of Nazareth, “a prophet, powerful in word and deed.”
They had hoped Jesus was the promised Messiah. But He was crucified and died. Now, on the third day, His body was missing. Some of the women saw angels at His empty tomb. They did not understand. But as they walked together Jesus explained the Scriptures to them. He explained the meaning of His death and Resurrection.
When they recognized Jesus, He disappeared from them. They returned to Jerusalem. They excitedly told the apostles about their walk with Jesus.
An Exciting Trip In Store
God has not changed. He longs to spend time with you. He wants us to remain close to Him. But it’s your choice. You can remain in Him or turn your back. You have that freedom. But if you stay with Him, it’s worth it. Jesus tells us:
As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 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. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. (John 15: 9-11, NIV)
Abide in God’s love. Walk with Jesus. It’s quite a trip and worth every mile.
The Process of Christian Growth
Thus begins the process of Christian growth. What is the projected outcome of your growth? God wants you to become just like Jesus Christ: to love like Jesus loves; to have a total peace that is beyond understanding; to trust in God regardless of the circumstances. The Bible puts it this way:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which come from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (II Corinthians 3: 17-18, NIV)
It’s an amazing life. He is an amazing God.