Summary

As you start your relationship with Jesus, there are major tasks that you should do on a recurring basis to maintain your health (John 14:21). These are also known as rites or sacraments.

Endorsements

Christians throughout the world vary on how to follow these rules, but all are followed among all denominations.

Concepts

Prayer

Prayer is the most basic religious exercise of asking God for guidance (Psalms 31:3). Jesus told us that prayer is to remind us of God’s holiness and will (Matthew 6:9-10), to ask for what we need (Matthew 6:11,13), and to seek forgiveness for our sins (Matthew 6:12). When you ask God for something, you must believe you are really talking to the all-powerful Creator who cares about your needs (Matthew 7:8,11; John 15:7). You must believe He is not just the glorious awe-inspiring King (Matthew 25:31) but a close, personal friend (John 15:14-15). In addition to speaking, prayer is also about quieting your mind and listening to the Holy Spirit (John 16:13). An important part about God’s New Covenant with humanity is that God no longer just lives in heaven: He is living in you (John 14:23). He wants to literally speak to you, not only by reading His words but by listening to “words taught by the Spirit” (I Corinthians 2:12,13).

Repentance and Forgiveness

Repentance, literally “a change of mind,” is feeling remorseful for your sins (II Corinthians 7:10), confessing them (I John 1:9), and making a plan to change (I John 3:6). It leads to reconciling with those you hurt (Matthew 5:23-24) and restoring what you took from them (Luke 19:8). Many believe repentance is just internally believing you’re sorry because all sin is only towards God (Psalms 51:4), but we still are commanded to go up to the person we hurt and ask for their forgiveness (James 5:16; Luke 17:3-4). In addition to repenting, we must also forgive others (Matthew 6:12), because the unforgiving cannot enter heaven (Matthew 6:14-15). Forgiveness is not forgetting what they did (Matthew 12:36); it’s believing they should receive mercy instead of punishment for their sins (Acts 7:60).

Learning

The majority of the book of Proverbs is about telling us to care about knowledge and wisdom because it’s the foundation of respecting God (Proverbs 1:7). The best ways to get knowledge are to read the Bible (II Timothy 3:16) and listen to the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 2:13), but you can also listen to your spiritual teachers (II Timothy 4:2). Be careful to not grow stagnant by relying on your church teachers (I John 2:27; Hebrews 5:11-12).

Accountability

Accountability is the least common discipline practiced because it’s external and embarrassing. Accountability, also known as Confession, is the act of routinely meeting with a friend or religious figure and telling them all of your sins and how God wants you to fix them. When a righteous person prays for you, it has great power to help you overcome the temptation (James 5:16,19-20). Accountability is also about letting someone know your life so deeply that they can test if you’re sinning or not (II Corinthians 13:5). Sometimes our pride blinds us to the truth in the accusations from others (Matthew 5:25).

Fellowship

Fellowship is meeting up with Christians to encourage each other to grow in character and good works (Hebrews 10:24-25). Most people struggle with sinning, and most also say they don’t do enough for God. One of the best ways to fix this is to meet with other believers who are actually succeeding. Many correlate fellowship with a church building, but the “church” is a group of believers (Ephesians 1:22-23; Romans 16:5).

Sacrifice

Sacrifice is giving up what you want by ignoring evil temptations, also known as “crucifying the flesh” (Galatians 5:24). It’s called this because Jesus said the only way to follow Him is to deny your desires by “taking up [your] cross” (Luke 9:23). The cross was the ultimate sacrifice and is the ultimate way to love (John 15:13). We can be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1) by doing anything we can to be made perfect (Romans 12:2; I Peter 2:5).  The first step is to be baptized, showing the world and God that we want to share in His death on the cross through sacrifice (Romans 6:3-4; I Peter 3:21).

Communion

Communion, also known as the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist, is the act of remembering Jesus’ suffering on the cross (Luke 22:19-20) and taking the punishment that we deserve (Romans 3:25). We take communion routinely to proclaim the saving power of Jesusdeath and resurrection (I Corinthians 11:25-26). Communion also nourishes us spiritually with the body and blood of Jesus (John 6:53,60,63).

Serving

There are 20 “spiritual gifts” (I Corinthians 12:4-10,28-31; Ephesians 4:11; Romans 12:6-8; I Peter 4:10-11). Spiritual gifts are given by God to people (I Corinthians 12:7) so that they can serve others (I Peter 4:10) and build them up (Ephesians 4:12), especially to those who are in the most need (I John 3:17). However much you want to serve is up to you, but whoever gives more will get more (II Corinthians 9:6-7).

Worship

We are called to worship God through good character and through knowledge of the Bible (John 4:24). Many think worship is only singing songs (Psalms 98:5), but worship really is attributing positive and true characteristics to the Holy One above all else (Revelation 5:12). The primary way to worship is by living a holy and acceptable life (Romans 12:1).

FAQ

Isn’t only confession, not arbitrary sorrow needed for God’s forgiveness (I John 1:9)?

Implicit in confession is sorrow (Psalms 38:18); confession without sorrow is an unconscious lie (I John 2:4). Although sorrow or remorse might feel arbitrary, sin is divided into 2 categories based on remorse (I John 5:16,17). What determines if a sin leads to death or not is if they plan to do it again (I John 5:18). The only reason why “mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13) is because mercy is only given to those seeking regeneration (Titus 3:5). This salvation is only found with “godly grief” (II Corinthians 7:10).