What We Believe

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THE SCRIPTURES

We believe the Bible, consisting of the sixty six books of the Old and New Testament, is God’s authoritative Word, God’s Truth that He has revealed to us. We believe it is verbally inspired (i.e. every word is “God–breathed”) and is therefore true and trustworthy, totally without error. No other writings, experiences or traditions of any kind are inspired in this sense. We also believe that it is the only infallible rule for life and faith. We believe that the Bible is His perfect and complete revelation. God speaks to us through His written Word by His Holy Spirit. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God – breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Peter 1:20-21 Above all, you must understand no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:12-13 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us, this is what we speak, not in words taught buy human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. Psalm 119:89 Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.

THE GODHEAD

We believe that there is only one living and true God. He is Sovereign Ruler of the universe , but at the same time, a personal God who has revealed Himself to mankind. He concerns himself mercifully in the affairs of men, He hears and answers prayer. He is the infinite in every attribute or perfection. He is Spirit, Eternal, Self-Existent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, Holy, Love and Truth. We believe that, in the unity of the Godhead, there are three Persons. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Who are one in essence and equal in every divine perfection. Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 1 Corinthians 8:6 …yet for us there is but one God, The Father, from Whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through Whom all things came and through whom we live. Matthew 28:19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…

THE PERSON AND WORK OF JESUS CHRIST

We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Second Person of the Trinity. We believe in the absolute Deity of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; that He has existed from all eternity co-equal with the Father and the Spirit, and that He was actively involved in Creation. We believe that in the Incarnation, He was born of a virgin and “became flesh”. He never ceased to be God for one instant and was at the same time perfect humanity and undiminished Deity, united in one Person – the God-Man. We believe that in the fullness of time, He voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross as their substitute. His act of obedience satisfied the righteous demand of a Holy God, and accomplished salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He was resurrected from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and Man, continually makes intercession for His own. He shall come again to earth , personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God. John 1:1-3, 14, 18 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made… The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth… no one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Fathers side, has made Him known. Colossians 1:15-19 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all of creation. For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning and the first born from among the dead, so that in everything He might have the supremacy, For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him…. 1 John 5:20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him Who is true. And we are in Him Who is true – even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. Additional verses: John 8:58; John 20:27-31

THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

We believe that the Holy Spirit is not a force but a person, having all the attributes of deity and equal with the Father and the Son. We believe He restrains evil in the world and convicts men of sin. He also regenerates those who receive Christ as Savior and, at the moment of salvation, baptizes them into the church, the Body of Christ. He indwells permanently and seals every true believer to the day of redemption. He also spiritually gifts every believer. We also believe that the Holy Spirit guides every believer in understanding His Word and applying it to our lives. He empowers us, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character and to bear fruit to the glory of God. John 14:16-17 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. John 16:8 When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: Romans 8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

CREATION

We accept the Genesis account of creation, believing that God created the heavens and the earth, including all life and specifically man, by direct immediate acts, and not by the strictly natural process of a godless, purposeless evolution. Genesis 1:1, 27 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… so God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. Colossians 1:16, 17 For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. We believe, regarding the creation and the fall of man, that man – body, soul and spirit – is a direct creation of God. The “Image of God” refers to a personal and moral likeness (not physical) and includes intellect, emotion, and volition, as well as knowledge, righteousness and holiness. Man was created for the purpose of mutual love and fellowship between him and his Creator. We believe sin is most basically hostility toward God, a rebellion and defiance of Him as the one with complete and rightful authority over us. It, therefore, also includes an absence of righteousness and specific acts of disobedience to God. Man is guilty before the holy God in three ways: because of his own willful defiance and sinful choices, because of his depraved nature which is hostile toward God, and because of Adam’s sin, who was the representative head of the human race. So man is universally sinful in practice and by nature, and as a result, he is alienated from God and under His wrath. The result of sin is physical and spiritual death. Genesis 2:7 the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 3:2-3, 6 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it or you will surely die.’” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate it. Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned… Romans 1:18-21 the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them., because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 3:9-12, 23 What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written : “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God… Additional verses: Romans 5:15-19; Ephesians 2:1

SALVATION

We believe that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace through the mediatorial work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In dying on the cross voluntarily as our substitute, Christ both paid the ransom and for sin and provided a satisfaction for sin. He rose physically form the grave on the third day, perfectly completing the work of atonement and making it possible for man to be reconciled to God. We believe that salvation involves three tenses: that we have been saved from the penalty of sin; that we are being saved from the power of sin; and that we will be perfectly saved from the presence of sin. We also believe that salvation can only be understood as a paradox: that God, before the foundation of the world, sovereignly and according to the pleasure of His will chose individuals to be eternally saved, and yet at the same time, every person stands accountable before God and has the potential to be saved by genuinely acknowledging Jesus Christ as Lord and putting full dependence on His work on the cross. We believe, too, that salvation is by grace alone. In other words, we are saved not because of anything we have done or can possibly do in the future, but in spite of the fact we are undeserving. Even the acts of repenting and believing do not make us worthy of His love and goodness. At the moment of salvation, we are justified – declared righteous in God’s sight – and become children of God by both a spiritual birth and a spiritual adoption. We believe that genuine salvation involves acknowledging and trusting Jesus Christ as both Lord and Savior. It is impossible to separate who He is from what He did. In fact, the effectiveness of what He did, that is His work on the cross, is dependent on Who He is, the true God with absolute authority over His creation, and over us. And it is inadequate simply to “believe” on his work without also responding to His Lordship. John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son. That whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son in to the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. Romans 3:23-25 …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus Christ. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood. He did this to demonstrate His justice, because in His forbearance He had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished… Romans 5:1-, 9 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ…Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him! Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, that “Jesus is Lord”, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18, 21 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… God made Him Who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is by the grace of God – not by works so that no one can boast. Titus 3:5-7 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, Whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to our sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed. 1 John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Additional verses: Acts 16:30-31; Romans 8:1-3; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 2:14; 1 Peter 3:18

THE SECURITY OF THE SAINTS

We believe that all who truly acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of their lives and trust Him as their personal Savior are born from above and are eternally secure in Christ in a relationship forged by God which He will not break and which cannot be broken. This does not mean that the believer can just continue to follow a sinful pattern of life. The genuine acknowledgement of Christ as Lord and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit guarantee that we are new creations in Christ. Therefore every true believer should not continue in a sinful pattern of life. Romans 8:35-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present or the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 1:13-14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of His glory. Additional verses: John 10:28-29; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 1 Peter 1:3-5

SANCTIFICATION

We believe that the Holy Spirit sets apart believers to do God’s work. However, each believer retains his sinful nature and has need for daily purification. This can be appropriated through prayer, the study of God’s Word, fellowship with other believers, and through a total dependence on God and the strength He gives to lead a life pleasing to Him. 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him… For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:15-16 But just as He Who called you is Holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” Additional verses: 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 12:14

THE CHURCH

We believe in the Universal Church, which is the Body of Christ, which started at Pentecost and which includes all true Christians of every age and location. We believe in the local church, that it is essentially a microcosm of the Universal Church, and that it is where mutual responsibility and accountability can be effectively carried out. We believe that a local church is a congregation of immersed believers, committed to each other by a covenant of faith and their common fellowship of the gospel. We believe that the local church is to observe the ordinances of Christ, is to be governed by His Word, and is to faithfully exercise the spiritual gifts given for the purpose of building up the church. We believe that the local church is Biblically defined as having two groups of leaders: “elders” (also called “pastors” and “overseers”) and “deacons.” Their qualifications are clearly delineated in the Scriptures. We believe the true purpose and mission of the church is to worship God, to edify the Body, and to present the truths of God’s Word and specifically the gospel to those who do not yet have a relationship with Him. We further affirm that true unity and oneness is God’s will for the church, and that, through unity, God is most supremely glorified. We hold that the local church has the right to self- government, free from the interference of any ecclesiastical hierarchy, and that the one and only Head is Christ. We also believe that it is Scriptural for Bible believing churches to co-operate with each other in contending for the faith and for the work of the Gospel. Acts 2:41-42 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer. Ephesians 1:22-23 And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be Head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 1 Corinthians 1:12-13, 27 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all it’s parts are many, they form one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given one spirit to drink… Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. Romans 15:5-6 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 4:11-12 It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service… Additional verses: Ephesians 2:19-22; Ephesians 3:10-11; Colossians 1:18; Philippians 1:1

THE ORDINANCES OF THE LOCAL CHURCH

We believe that there are two local church ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism is the immersion of a believer in water and is properly called “believer’s baptism”. It symbolizes in a beautiful and solemn way our faith in a crucified, buried and risen Savior, and the believer’s identification with Christ. Acts 2:41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 8:36,38-39 As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said “Look, here is water, Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up from the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again. But went on his way rejoicing. Additional verses: Acts 16:31-34; Acts 18:8 The Lord’s Supper is the commemoration and celebration of our Lord’s death and resurrection until He comes and of our continual fellowship with Him and with one another. The elements – the cup and the bread – are merely symbols representing respectively His blood and His body, both physical and figurative (i.e. the Church). Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship and the breaking of bread and to prayer. 1 Corinthians 11:23-30 For I received from the Lord what I passed on to you: The Lord Jesus Christ, on the night He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself…

HUMAN DESTINY AND THE ETERNAL STATE

We believe that there is a radical and essential difference between the righteous and the wicked; that only those who, through faith, are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and sanctified by the Spirit of God are truly righteous in God’s sight. We believe that all others who do not acknowledge Christ as Lord and put their full dependence in His work on the cross for their forgiveness and salvation continue in rebellion and unbelief, and therefore stand condemned before God. This distinction continues after death, as believers are assured ever-lasting conscious joy in the presence of God in heaven and unbelievers everlasting conscious suffering, being eternally separated from God and His goodness and His love (hell). John 5:11-12 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. Revelation 20:12-13, 15 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done… If anyone’s name was not found in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. Additional verses: John 3:16-18

THE PROMISED RETRUN OF CHRIST

We believe the Lord Jesus will physically return to the earth to establish His millennial kingdom. It is not possible to know the hour or the day of His coming; nevertheless every true believer should live in earnest expectation of His return. When He comes in the air the church will be caught up to meet Him, both the dead and living believers . At this time all true believers will appear before the judgment seat of Christ, to be judged, not for sins but for rewards. Following this event there will be a time of judgment on earth, the great tribulation, in which the wrath of God will be poured out on the unsaved because of their rejection of God and His Son. God’s wrath will not affect believers as the Church is exempt from the wrath of God. After these events Christ will return to earth and reign for 1,000 years. Matthew 24:36,42 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. Revelation 7:13-15 Then one of the elders asked me, ”These in white robes – who are they and where do they come from?” I answered, “Sir you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation ; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore, “They are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night in His temple;… Revelation 20:4 …they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Additional verses: Revelation 12-13,15