Wednesday, August 19, 2009
- we gather
- we sing
- hear a sermon
- sing some more
- collect offering
- and go back home to gather to do the same thing again the next week
This is for the majority the same sequence of events no matter what denomination you are.
The question is, when does the gathered church ever do and become the church? I mean, when do we actually start doing the evangelizing, the mercy giving, the grace extending, the ministering to the poor, praying for our neighbor thing? Are followers of Christ suppose to do these things all on their own? When does the gathered church ever live out its mandate to be the church?
Our generation, more than ever, is an activistic generation. The only thing that gives the church its street credibility is when we actually live out the ministry and the mission of the church. And most of the time its when we are involved in some kind of community re-building or blood drive or something in like manner. All those things are well and good and should be done but what is it that Christ mandated us to do? "GO, and preach the Gospel" or in the exact words of Matt. 28 19-20 "Go ye therefore and teach all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commended you, and lo I am with you always even to the end of the World."
The church is great at gathering and huddling. But when does the church break out of the huddle to start being the church?
I am beginning to question the way we've been doing church. Maybe, when the Bible lesson is about sharing our faith, we ought to hear that message, and then immediately go out to the Starbucks, the Walmart, and our neighborhood or wherever and actually start sharing our faith. Maybe, when the lesson is about meeting each others' needs, we break right from the huddle right there in the church and the church gathers with one another to start meeting each others' needs.
The church needs to do and be more than the gathered faithful. The church must become the sent faithful into a world that needs what only God can offer, and that is Redemption through the Blood of Jesus Christ.
WHAT WE BELIEVE
1 - The Word of GOD - we believe both the Old and New Testament scriptures as preserved are the inerrant, infallible, inspired Word of God. All complete and sufficient, and are authoritative for faith and practice in the believers relationship with God. ( Ps. 119:160; Ps. 12:6-7; Pro. 30:5a; II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:19-21)
2 - The One True God - the Bible teaches in the one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three distinct persons but without division of nature, essence or being. Co-equal in power and glory and having a distinct ministry in God’s relation to His creation and people. (Gen. 1:1 Exo. 15:11; Deut. 6:4; Ps. 83:18; 139:7-9; Matt. 28:19; Jn 10:30; 15:26; Acts 5:3-4; II Corin 13:14)
3 - The Lord Jesus Christ - the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the second person of the Triune God. Jesus is God in flesh, the “God Man”, begotten of the Holy Spirit, was born of the virgin Mary, was tempted as we are, yet without sin. Being the perfect “Lamb of God” he freely gave His life to redeem the sins of man. He gave himself in death on the cross, bearing the sins of the world, arose from the grave conquering death and ascended into Heaven as the intercessor and the advocate before the Father for all those that will receive Him as Saviour. (Isa 7:14; Matt 1:18 - 25; Jn 1:1, 14; 3:16; Gal 4:4, 5; Col 2:9; Phil 2:6-10; I Corin 15:3-7; Heb 4:14 - 17; I Jn 2:1, 2)
4 - The Holy Spirit - we believe the Holy Spirit is the third divine person of the Trinity that instantaneously and supernaturally indwells the hearts of those that receive the Lord Jesus as Saviour. He regenerates, seals, anoints, guides, teaches and baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ. The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement. ( Jn 3:5; 14:16, 17, 26; Jn 16:7-14; Rom 8:9; I Corin 12: 12 - 14; II Corin 3:6, 18; Eph 1:13, 14; 5:18; Matt 28:19; I Peter 1:2)
5 - Mankind - man was created in the image and likeness of God. By choice man chose to sin and disobey God and is by inherited nature, born in sin, and sinful. Being born in sin man is alienated from a relationship with God, and is under the condemnation of God with no means of salvation within himself. ( Gen 1:27; 2:17; 3:6; Psm 51:5; 58:3; Rom 3:23; 5:12-21; I Corin 2:14; Gal 3:11 )
6 - Salvation by Grace Through Faith - God loves man enough, “ in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”. Mans salvation / redemption was purchased by the Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. Christ paid the sin debt for man by his vicarious death. Mans only obligation is to admit his helplessness in his sin nature, repent of his sins, and by faith trust solely in the finished work of the cross and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Salvation cannot be earned, it is the “gift of God” to all those that will freely accept it. ( Eph 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5; Jn 1:12; 3:14, 10:28, 29; Rom 8:1; Phil 1:6; II Pet 3:9; I Jn 2:2; I Corin 15: 1 - 4; Rev 22:17 )
7 - Eternal Security - those that trust in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ are “sealed unto the day of redemption” and eternally saved. ( Jn 3:8; Gal 3:24 - 26; I Jn 5: 11-13; Jn 3:16; Jn 6:36-40)
8 - Satan - is literal and personal, was created holy but through pride and wicked ambition rebelled against God, cast from Heaven and given limited reign of the earth with evil spirits. Defeated at Calvary, but God allows his devices to be used, but only to bring glory to the Lord Jesus. The Christian has the power of resistance and victory through the Blood of Christ. His doom is certain ( Isa. 14:14 - 21, Jn. 16:11; Eph. 2: 1 - 4; Rev. 20: 10)
9 - Heaven and Hell - the Bible teaches there is a literal Heaven being prepared for the saints of God and a literal Hell for those that reject the Lord Jesus. ( Jn. 14:1-6, Matt 31 - 34; Rev. 20:11 - 15; Matt 25:41, 45, 46; Luke 16:19-31 )
10 - The Local Church, Baptism, Communion - the Bible teaches the assembling together of Baptized, immersed, believers that worship the Lord in Spirit and truth, in unity and harmony, and without confusion. Each Church is to carry out the “Great Commission” and observe Baptism by immersion, and the taking the of Lord’s Supper. ( Acts 2:38, Acts 16: 30-33 1st Corin. 11:23 - 32 I Corin 12:13; Eph 1:22, 23; 4:11-15; Gal 1:22 )
11 - Missions - The Local Church is to actively support the Gospel Message that is carried to the nations abroad, thus having a part in fulfilling the great commission given by the Lord. ( Matt. 28: 19 & 20)
12 - Second Coming - The Bible teaches the pretribulational, premillennial and imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. First is the “catching away” of the saints, then a seven year period of tribulation, then the Second Coming of the Lord to rule and to reign the earth for the millennium. ( Matt. 24:44, John 14:1 - 3, 1st Corin. 15: 51 - 57, 1st Thess. 4:13 - 18 )