Hey, Shia…can I call you Shia?
You don’t know me and you’ve probably never heard of our blog here, but given your recent statements about converting to Christianity, I wanted to offer you some counsel. There are and will be many more who doubt your professed conversion to Christianity. I have my own opinions but I will gladly admit that—in the final analysis—I don’t know your heart. There are many who will read the interview in which you talk about your conversion to Christianity and doubt the veracity of your testimony based on the fact that you use strong profanity throughout it. Well, I don’t think your justification rests upon whether or not you use profanity, but your sanctification surely does (I’ll get to that in a moment). I am writing this open letter to you under the assumption that Jesus Christ has saved you unto Himself and—if I’m wrong—then no harm, no foul. Saved or not, I pray this counsel helps you as you take it to heart.
1.) Find a good local church.
There’s a wealth of churches out there. I don’t live in Southern California, but I can only assume that it—like everywhere else—contains its fair share of good churches and bad ones. By “good” churches I mean churches that preach and stand upon the Gospel of Jesus Christ and practice exposition of the inspired, inerrant Biblical text. By “bad churches,” I mean every other church. If you have been truly born again by the Spirit of God and confess Jesus Christ as Savior of your soul, Lord of your life, and King of this universe, then you should have in you right now a desire to know more about Christ. As Jesus said, “if you love Me, you will keep my commandments (John 14:15).” This means simply that—those of us who truly love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will obey Him. This, however, doesn’t mean that we will live perfect lives and not ever have to be concerned about any indwelling sin (1 John 1:8). This brings us to one major reason why you need to seek out a Bible-believing and Bible-preaching church: sanctification. You need to be involved in a local body of believers covenanted together for a singular purpose: to glorify God in every area of life (1 Corinthians 10:31). You need discipleship lead by godly elders who have been charged with shepherding your soul (1 Peter 5:1-3). You need fellowship with like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ (Hebrews 10:25) with whom you may have nothing else in common but the blood of Jesus Christ. That is enough. That is more than enough.
2.) Get baptized.
Disciples of Jesus Christ are to be baptized (Matthew 28:19). Baptism is one way that you testify to those in the Church (the local church and the universal Church) that you have died along with Jesus Christ and have risen again along with Jesus Christ. If you are truly a Christian, this means that you died the same death that Christ died and it also means that you were raised to new life through Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6:10-11). This is the Gospel. By getting baptized, you are obeying Jesus Christ and proclaiming His death—which is your death—and His resurrection—which is your new life. Let’s say you find a good elder-lead local church and get baptized. What’s next?
3.) Drink the pure milk of the word of God.
When a baby is born, his/her first desire is for the mother’s pure milk. In the same way, when a soul is regenerated by Jesus Christ, when a heart of stone is replaced with a new heart of flesh, this new creation in Christ will desire the pure milk of God’s word (1 Peter 2:2). Through reading the word of God every day, you will grow and mature into the man Christ has called and equipped you to be (Hebrews 6:1). Read the word, pray over the word, discuss the word with your covenant community, joyfully listen to the word preached, and share the word with others who desperately need to hear about Jesus Christ and how He is mighty to save sinners.
3.) Act for the glory of God.
I believe God has blessed you with an immense talent to act. You were made to worship God—as we all are. Many people suppress the knowledge that they were made by an all-powerful God and live out their entire lives in that suppression of the truth (Romans 1:18-20). If you have been saved and set apart by God, then you are now free to worship Him through the talents He has given you. An unfortunate stripe of fundamentalism has taken hold within the Church that proclaims the film/TV/theatre industry as inherently sinful and wicked. This is not true. The arts are a gift from God. Our God is a creative God; just read Genesis 1-2 if you doubt this. God gifts us with creativity and desires us to use this creativity in pursuits that honor and glorify Christ. So, don’t think you have to leave the film industry when you become a Christian. Definitely don’t think you have to now star in pseudo-Christian schlock like Left Behind or God Is Not Dead. Make God-glorifying art that points to the beauty of Christ and reflects the truths of Scripture.
In other words, make good art.
And that Shia – is all you need to get started on your new found journey in the Christian faith. Find a good church, get baptized and then continue doing what you do best for the building of Christ’s Kingdom.
Welcome to the Covenant.
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