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"DISAPPOINTMENTS NEW CHRISTIANS FACE"

 

INTRODUCTION

 

1. There is great joy in seeing new Christians grow in the faith

   - 2 Jn 4; 3 Jn 3-4

 

2. Unfortunately not all new Christians grow as they should - cf. Lk 8:

   13-14

 

3. Problems and disappointments often overwhelm them, and some even

   fall away

 

4. This ought to concern older Christians, for we have a responsibility

   to those who are young  in the faith - Ga 6:1-2; Ro 15:1-2

 

[This lesson is designed to help us understand and deal with some of

the disappointments that new Christians face.

 

For example, a problem that is troubling to some is...]

 

I. SAME WEAKNESSES AS BEFORE (Disappointed with themselves)

 

   A. MANY BECOME CHRISTIANS WITH JOYFUL ANTICIPATION - Ac 8:39

      1. Excited about forgiveness of sins

      2.    "      "   the chance to start over

      3.    "      "   the help God is going to give them to change

 

   B. BUT WHEN THEY SOON DISCOVER...

      1. That the temptations are just as strong as before (sometimes

         even stronger!)

      2. They can easily be discouraged and overcome - cf. Lk 8:13

 

   C. HOW CAN WE HELP?

      1. By teaching them that "transformation" is an on-going process

         - Ro 12:1-2; Co 3:5-11

      2. By reminding them of God's willingness to forgive and provide

         strength - 1 Jn 1:9; 2:1; Ph 2:12-13

 

[A stumblingblock to many new Christians is...]

 

II. IMPERFECT CHRISTIANS (Disappointed by their brethren)

 

   A. THEY WITNESS INCONSISTENCY IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS...

      1. They see those who do not practice what they preach

      2. It really hurts when seen in those they had looked up to

      3. But this problem is not a new one - Ga 2:11-14

 

   B. ILL TREATMENT BY CHRISTIANS...

      1. May occur in Bible classes, business meetings, at work, at

         play

      2. Where harsh words can be devastating to those new in the faith

 

   C. WHAT CAN WE DO?

      1. First, set better examples! - cf. 1 Ti 4:12

      2. Confess wrong when it occurs

      3. Help the new Christian realize that older Christians are ALSO

         going through the process of "transformation" - cf. Ph 3:12-14

 

[Then there is the problem of...]

 

III. TRIALS AND TEMPTATIONS (Disappointed by the world)

 

   A. SUCH AS PLEASURES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE WORLD...

      1. Often drawing the new Christian away (e.g., job, family,

         hobbies)

      2. Choking them to the point of unfruitfulness - Lk 8:14

 

   B. AND DISCOURAGEMENT BY UNCOVERTED FRIENDS...

      1. Who want them to come back to the things of the world

      2. As Paul warned in 1 Co 15:33-34

 

   C. WHAT CAN WE DO?

      1. Demonstrate what it means to "seek first the kingdom of God"

         - Mt 6:33

      2. Make it clear by our own example who it is we love the most

         (i.e., not our jobs, hobbies, etc.) - 1 Jn 2:15-17

      3. Develop close friendships with new Christians IN THE LORD

         a. Friendships centered around Christ and His work

         b. Not just social interests

 

[Due to much misinformation about the Christian life, a problem some

new Christians have is...]

 

IV. FALSE CONCEPTIONS ABOUT PROSPERITY (Disappointed by lack of

    success)

 

   A. THINKING THAT NOW ALL OUR PROBLEMS WILL GO AWAY...

      1. An idea propagated by the "gospel of health and wealth"

         teachers

      2. But such is not always the case, even as it was in the days of

         the first century - 1 Pe 1:6-9; Ja 1:2-4

 

   B. WE NEED TO PREPARE NEW CHRISTIANS FOR POSSIBLE ADVERSITY...

      1. Even as Paul did - Ac 14:21-22; 2 Ti 3:12

      2. This need is especially great because Satan often strikes

         hardest when one is new in the faith

 

[Finally, there is often the problem of...]

 

V. TOO MUCH "NEGATIVE" TEACHING (Disappointed by their preachers)

 

   A. SUCH AS CONSTANTLY EXPOSING DENOMINATIONAL ERRORS...

      1. Certainly there is a place for learning about those in error

         - 2 Ti 4:1-2; Ac 20:27

      2. But there can be dangers involved in doing so...

         a. If it is done in an arrogant, self-righteous spirit

         b. If it is done to make us feel good or superior

         c. If it is done to the exclusion of learning what WE need to

            do

      3. If we are not careful, it can create carnal Christians, given

         to strife and envy

 

   B. WHEN "NEGATIVE" TEACHING IS CALLED FOR...

      1. It should be done:

         a. For the purpose of trying to understand and teach those in

            error

         b. Out of love for those in error

      2. It should be done as Paul did it...

         a. With prayer for their souls - Ro 10:1

         b. With recognition for their accomplishments - Ro 10:2-3

      3. It should be done with the qualities mentioned in 2 Ti 2:24-26

 

CONCLUSION

 

1. There may be other disappointments new Christians face, but I have

   found these to be quite common

 

2. Finally, it may help to quickly point that Christians generally go

   through four stages of spiritual growth...

   a. The "ball of fire" stage, following their conversion to Christ

   b. The "reality" stage, when the disappointments start to come in

   c. The "up and down" stage...

      1) Here, people either grow through it to the next stage...

      2) Or they fall away, or become apathetic (i.e., "pew-warmers")

   d. Finally, those who persevere reach the stage of "steady as she

      goes", where growth is progressive and steady:

 

         "But the path of the just is like the shining sun,

            That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day." - Pro 4:18

 

3. To reach that stage where we will grow steadily...

   a. We need to have REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS of problems to come

   b. We need to be sure we are CONVERTED TO CHRIST, not the church,

      teacher, or friend

 

Have YOU been converted to Jesus Christ...?

 

--《Executable Outlines