God can be known, and that is the whole reason we gather to worship him and go out to tell people about him. One thing we must be careful to do is to know God as he defines himself, not as we imagine he should be. We believe some things must be held as essential to understanding and being in relationship with God.
There is only one God who is Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. God is the Creator of all things and made them good. We are made to worship, which is why we pursue things in life. God is our ultimate pursuit, because He is the one pursuing us. This is what it means to live in relationship with God. He is the initiator of relationship and is fulfilling it through Jesus. (Helpful Scriptures: Genesis 1-2, Deuteronomy 6, Ecclesiastes 1-2, 12:13-14, Matthew 6, John 1)
God’s Word is reliable, flawless, inspired, and God-breathed. His Word was received by men and ‘carried along by the Holy Spirit’ (2 Peter 1:21). His Word lights our path. It guards, penetrates, purifies and transforms our heart. The goal of God’s Word is to grow us in our maturity to look more like Jesus. (Helpful Scriptures: 2 Samuel 22:31, Psalm 119, John 15, Romans 12, Colossians 1, Philippians 2).
Man was created in the image of God. We reflect the Creator and have our being in Him. God created all things good, including humans, but we chose rebellion, which broke peace between God, ourselves, others, and all of creation. We live as people in need of God’s grace, which is found only in Jesus. We look to relationships, success, jobs, cars and anything else for our identity, but in Christ we find our identity for all parts of our being. (Helpful Scriptures: Genesis 1,3,Romans 1-3).
He has always existed with God and the Holy Spirit. He is fully God, and left Heaven to save us by redeeming all things that we have done away from God. He is the only Son of the Living God and was born of a virgin, died for our sins, was buried, and then raised to life to defeat sin and death. His death satisfied God’s wrath towards our sin, which allows that act of love to be a substitutionary death for us. He is our only hope to be saved from God’s wrath toward sin. He demonstrated what it’s like to be fully human by being fully dependent on God. He chose serving others over being served. He also challenged the disciples and us to live by the Holy Spirit and to make disciples of all nations, who would make other disciples. All this is accomplished through our love for God and others. Jesus is the ultimate example of what it means to be human and obey God. (Helpful Scriptures: Philippians 2, Matthew 28, Mark 12, John 1,14,15, Isaiah 53, Acts 4).
He is the Counselor that Jesus promised He’d send when He left earth. In the Old Testament the Holy Spirit would ‘come upon’ people, but in the New Testament He ‘lives within’ the hearts of people. Jesus did all things by the power of the Holy Spirit. The same power that was available to Jesus, He has made available to us through the Holy Spirit. It is the power of the Holy Spirit that we depend upon to resist the sin that Satan tempts us with. The Spirit transforms us, and we continue to live life always in obedience to the Holy Spirit. We are a Church that moves together as we follow the Spirit’s prompting and callings in our life.
The Spirit teaches, reminds, convicts, and guides us into all Truth. The Spirit gives us power to be free from sin and overcome all things. We are to be filled, bear fruit, keep in step with, and stay submitted to the Holy Spirit. All of this is so that Jesus would be seen in us and others may know of His grace. We cannot live a life that Jesus has called us to on our own. We can only live as followers of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. (Helpful Scriptures: Judges 6, John 14,16, Acts 2, 2 Corinthians 3, Galatians 5, Ephesians 5).
God created all things good. Sin entered the world through man’s choice to live opposite of God. But God is faithful and does not leave His creation. He actually seeks to redeem all things and had Jesus pay the price of our sins on the cross.
God’s plan is that we would repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38), which means to turn our hearts away from sin. It means allowing Jesus to be the leader of our life and accept the grace that God extends to us through Jesus’ death on the cross. We do not have enough goods, accomplishments, or ability to make up for our sin. Christ alone is our hope of salvation, and we make ourselves available to Him and publicly confess this through our baptism.
We are to also grow in our salvation, so we can help Him redeem the world (Colossians 1). Christ does not want us to just repent, be baptized and believe, but to now live out salvation in our everyday life. That is also why we look to Christ not just for the forgiveness of sin, but for the power to love the way He loved others and to make disciples the way He did. Jesus was called a “friend of sinners.” Jesus mixed it up with people far from God. This is risky living, but He promises to go with us and never forsake us. (Helpful Scriptures: Genesis 1-3, Acts 1, Ephesians 2, Colossians 1, 1 Peter 2, Romans 1, 2 Corinthians 6, 2 Peter 3).
Our foundation is Jesus. He is the Head of the Church, which is the body. We have no purpose as a Church without Jesus. He is Senior Pastor, CEO, the Man in Charge. With that view of Jesus, we live out His Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, to go and make disciples, baptizing, and teaching them to obey all the commands of Jesus. That is the mission. We are the hands and feet to carry out this mission. The Gospel of Jesus is our message and way of life. The Elders are the overseers of the body and serve to maintain the health of the Church. The Church exists for those who are apart from it. Jesus is passionate about His creation, He gave His life and now seeks us to be His people to redeem this world.
The Church is made up of people who have a past, need a Savior, and desire to see amazing things done in this world. Jesus is the answer and He has promised us the Holy Spirit. The only question is, will you align all that you are with Jesus, this community called the Church, and change the world? (Helpful Scriptures:Matthew 16, Acts 20, Ephesians 5, Colossians 1, Revelation 19, 21).
As Augustine says, “In essentials - unity. In non-essentials - liberty. In all things - charity.” This is our heart.