In order to become a member of ICN, everyone must first be a Christ-follower. As a ministry, the heartbeat of ICN is dedicated to loving and serving the Lord God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength - and to help fulfill the Great Commission.
You might be asking, "What is the Great Commission?"
The Bible tells us the answer in Matthew 28:18-20,
Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
It sounds like one needs to be a disciple, not a Christ-follower. What's the difference?
Technically, a disciple of Jesus Christ is a Christian. Someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. At ICN, we use the term "Christ-follower" because it suggests "faith in action" (James 2:14). Therefore, a Christ-follower is "actively being a disciple" by obeying God's Word (the Bible), loving God and others, and sharing with others how to have a relationship with God and to know Him personally.
It sounds like a Christ-follower is an action oriented Christian. How do I become a Christ-follower and have a personal relationship with God?
God loves you so much, that He has provided a trustworthy instruction manual called - the Bible. In it, He has given you instructions on how to live a life of true love, joy, peace, hope, and a whole lot more . . . including how you can become a Christ-follower.
Most of us think we are good people. Maybe you feel and think that way too. Question: how good do you have to be to become a Christ-follower?
To be sure, you know you aren't perfect, but you think your good outweighs your bad. You believe you are better than most of the people you know. And you are sure you are not as bad as many other people - whether you know them or not.
So you have established you are not perfect, you believe you are better than most. Except you also know in your heart and soul - there has to be more to life than what you see and experience. Is "Am I good enough to be a Christ-follower even the right question? The good news - there is more!
Almost since the beginning of Creation all of us, you included, have rebelled against God. Whether you know it or not, that is called sin. The definition and meaning of the word "sin" is basically "missing the mark". The result of your sin, "missing the mark", is a broken relationship with God. Without a restored relationship with Him, you will ALWAYS have an emptiness in your heart and soul. If left unchanged, the results are permanent death with no chance of restoration with God. The Bible calls that Hell. It is worse than anything and not what you were created for.
Truth be known - most of us know something is really wrong in this world - no matter how much we deny it. Look around. The chaos, the emptiness, and misery runs rampant. All this, despite how hard people try to create peace and a perfect world. Like many others, you try to fill the void and the emptiness with any and every thing this world has to offer.
None of it works because what's missing is a restored relationship with God. So how do you restore your relationship with God?
God knows you can not restore your relationship with Him perfectly, permanently, and personally (period!). Only God can. God alone is perfect and He created a perfect plan with a perfect provision to forgive ALL people, including you of your sin and to be restored into a relationship with Him.
You may think "I need to get things right in my life" before you can accept God's plan. Many people do think that - but it's not true! We already established that above. At best, we are sinners without God's help. Without God's plan - the life you have now is as good as it will ever get. However, accepting and believing His plan CHANGES EVERYTHING!
God's plan is to first - save you from yourself and your sin. He loves you so much that He sent His perfect Son Jesus, to tell you about God and how to have a restored relationship with God personally, and forever. The way Jesus did this was to die for your sins (and everyone else's sin). You might ask, "why did He have to die?"
The Bible says sin causes death. Death on this earth and death after life on this earth - forever. Jesus had no sin, meaning He was perfect and He came to take away your sin. Jesus gave up His life, He died in exchange for, and as the payment for your sin. This and this alone is able to satisfy God's judgement for your (and all of our) sin. This is God's plan, carried out by His Son Jesus, and by the power of His Holy Spirit.
It sounds like God has done it all - do you have to do anything? The Bible says that you have to believe that Jesus died for the forgiveness of your sin and believe that He rose from the dead, and you will have eternal life. At that moment, you will be forgiven, you will be restored in your relationship with God, and you will begin a new life with Him and get to know Him personally.
If this is starting to make sense to you, it is because God is calling out to you. He is helping it to make sense to you. He is calling you right now to repent of your sins. To repent means to turn away from that which God is calling you to turn away from. How do you do that?
What you do is pray to God. To pray means to talk with Him. Start your relationship with God by talking with Him. Admit your sin to Him and ask Him to forgive you of your sin. Ask the Lord to come and save you now. Confess to Him by praying:
"Jesus, I know I am a sinner. I believe You died for the forgiveness of my sin, and that You rose from the dead so that I can have eternal life with You starting now and forever. I am repenting of my sin. I know I am going to need Your help going forward. I invite You into my life to save me. Be my Savior and Lord of my life. Thank you for Your amazing gift to me. Amen."
If you genuinely believe what you just prayed - THEN YOU ARE SAVED! Your sin is forgiven. You are restored in your relationship with God. What great love He has for you! Oh what a Savior!
If you just prayed that prayer and accepted God's gift of forgiveness, salvation, and restoration - then Hallelujah and Amen! We want to celebrate with you.
We recommend you tell someone you know and trust, that is a Christ-follower. They will be so excited and encouraged for you. Work to find and become actively involved in a local church. If you have any questions, then write us in the Contact Us section of the website. We want to encourage you any way we can in your newly restored relationship with the Lord.
You may be so excited, you are asking "What's next? What do I do now?" For the first time in your life, you can spend time with God and ask Him what's next! Get a copy of a Bible, your personal instruction manual and love letter and start reading.
He created you. He knows you. You already know He loves you. So what is His plan with and for you? Ask Him. You have already started talking with Him. And then, take time to listen and obey. When you have more questions for Him, ask Him. He loves talking with and living life with His people!
From all of us at ICN, welcome to this AMAZING and adventurous life worth living. The life of being . . . a Christ-follower!
“So then, while we have opportunity, let's do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
As God’s chosen people, the Vision of ICN is to offer Christ-followers a world-class online membership community focused on building biblical maturity together by living daily and intentionally in a manner worthy of being called God’s children.
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