What We Teach
SOME THINGS WE TEACH
Although we do not have a formal "creed" other than the inspired scriptures alone, we’re supplying a list of things here for your inspection that we believe are biblical truths that are foundational for our unity in Christ:
· We believe that the holy scriptures found in the Bible are fully inspired by God, that they are entirely trustworthy, and that they are the authority for faith and life.
· We believe that there is one God, that He is personal, almighty and perfect; that He created all things, and that He exists eternally.
· We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that Jesus was miraculously born of the virgin Mary and lived a sinless life. We believe Jesus died in our place atoning for all human sin, rose bodily from the dead, and ascended to the Father’s side.
· We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit accomplished chiefly through the word of God, and that Christians are enabled to live a godly life by the Spirit dwelling in us. The Holy Spirit also empowers believers for service.
· We believe in the value and dignity of all people, created in God's image to live in love and holiness, but presently alienated from God having all become sinners eventually in human life by virtue of our present natural sinful environment and by choice.
· We believe that God in His great love for us has provided forgiveness for all who confess their sinfulness and put their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
· We believe that salvation cannot be gained by human effort, but only through God's grace in the redemption He provided in Jesus Christ; a covenant invitation which is responded to by faith and which leads to a life devoted to obeying God.
· We believe that all those who have believed the gospel and responded to receive the gift of grace offered through Jesus together constitute Jesus' "church" (spiritual assembly of people). We believe that this universal aspect of Jesus church is manifested in local churches which are to fulfill the Lord's commands to minister to fellow Christians and to make even more disciples throughout the world. The purpose of the church is to glorify God by building its members up in the faith, by instruction of the word, by demonstrating fellowship, and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world. The formation of the church, the body of Christ, began on the first day of Pentecost following Jesus' resurrection and will be completed at the second coming of Christ.
· We believe in baptism by immersion for the remission of sins. Water baptism, in conjunction with exhibited faith and provided grace, is the emblematic method chosen by God to signal our desire for Him to cleanse us of our sins and place us into Christ and the new covenant arrangement purchased through Christ. We understand baptism to be a confessional expression of authentic faith and repentance, rather than a "work" that earns salvation. It is an act of passive submission to the belief of the total sufficiency of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to save us from sin.
· We believe that Christians are called to adopt a life of discipleship that imitates Christ's own. He is our perfect model in all things. As we yield to the Holy Spirit's power, we pursue all that is holy and learn to abhor the sinful things that once appealed to us. By that same power, we seek to honor God with spiritual worship, unity with our fellow believers, and service to our neighbors.
· As Christians, we collectively observe the sharing of the bread and the fruit of the vine as the Communion that unites every Christian in remembrance of Jesus, preach the word, pray together to God, support God’s work financially, and edifyingly sing praises with our voices to God in worship. We believe that we should cooperate in all possible and acceptable ways in God's work with our fellow believers, being patient with one another in our differences over various opinions.
· We believe the Scriptures clearly teach that there is a conscious personal existence after death. We believe in the personal return of Jesus Christ, who will judge in equity and justice all people who have ever lived, giving over those who were unrepentant to eternal condemnation, but receiving the faithful redeemed into eternal life in God’s eternal Presence
PLAN OF SALVATION
The Bible is very clear about what it takes to become a Christian. Unfortunately, many in the world teach something different. Some think faith alone saves. Some think that a simple prayer to God will save them. Some think that being kind and loving is all that is needed. But what does God say through His word?
We Must HEAR the Word
· Without first hearing the word of God, we would never know we are sinners and that the "wages of sin" are spiritual death (Rom. 3:23; Rom. 6:23). Without hearing, we wouldn't know of Jesus' sacrifice for our sins and our need for him.
We Must BELIEVE What We Hear
· Merely hearing the word of God doesn't save. We must believe what we hear. In John 8:24 Jesus says, "…if you believe not that I am He, you shall die in your sins." But belief is not enough. In Matthew 7:21, we learn that just declaring our belief is not enough - we must "do" what God demands of us in response.
We Must REPENT of Our Sins
· Sin is what separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). Therefore, if we intend to seek God's forgiveness, we must be willing to repent of our sins. Repentance means "turning away from sin" and making the effort to sin no more. If we aren't willing to repent of our sins, we cannot be saved (Acts 3:19; Luke 13:3).
We Must CONFESS Our Faith
· Those who wish to be saved must confess their faith in Jesus. It was Jesus Christ himself who said, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 10:32; 1 John 4:15)
We Must Be BAPTIZED
· There is considerable religious confusion about baptism. Some think baptism isn't necessary, others believe we are saved before we are baptized. Note what the Bible says baptism does:
· Baptism is also one thing that saves us. (1 Pet. 3:21)
· Baptism washes away sins. (Acts 22:16; 1 Cor. 6:11)
· Baptism gives entry "into" Christ. (Rom. 6:3; Gal 3:27)
· In other words, our sins are not washed away, and we are not "in Christ" until we are baptized. Since baptism is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), we are still in our sins until we are baptized. We should also realize that baptism is a burial or immersion--not sprinkling (Rom. 6:3-4) and baptism is for those who are able to believe for themselves, not infants (Mark 16:16). Is baptism a work? In one sense it is, but Jesus says belief is a work too (John 6:29). Are we saved by our own works done to "earn" salvation? No! But we must still do all things that God requires us to do in order to be saved, including being baptized for the forgiveness of our sins. We are saved by the mercy and grace of God, but He demands we be baptized to wash away our sins. God does the "earning"work, if we will just follow His instructions.
We Must Remain FAITHFUL
· While baptism puts us into Christ and washes away our sins, we must still strive to be obedient and faithful to God, otherwise, outright disobedience will cause us to potentially leave Christ and be lost. The scriptures state to Christians "…be you faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life" (Rev. 2:10). Some suggest that once we are saved, we cannot be lost. Doesn't that contradict what Hebrews 6:4-6 says?
Check out the verses above with your own Bible, pray to God for understanding, and please give this some serious thought.