THE HOLY SCRIPTURES
When the Prophet Jeremiah found and took in God’s words, they became to him the joy and rejoicing of his heart! (Jer. 15:16), yes also, King David wrote that the Scriptures rejoice the heart (Psalm 19:8), God’s word is living and active (Hebrews 4:12), the word of God works effectively in those who believe it (I Thessalonians 2:13), God’s word is perfect to convert the soul (Psalm 19:7). It’s the Holy Scriptures which make us wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (II Timothy 3:15). Saving faith comes by hearing the word of Christ. (Romans 17:10) We learn from the prayer of Jesus Christ, that the truth of God’s word is able to make us holy (John 17:17); we also learn from Christ that we are to live in dependence upon God’s word (Duet. 8:3 & Matthew 4:4) We see revival and worship to God break out in Nehemiah 8 and it was because of the Scriptures! They were being read, explained and understood by the people who in response worshipped the Lord! (8:6) Toward this glorious occasion Ezra the priest and scribe, had set his heart to seek, to do, and to teach the Law of the Lord in Israel (Ezra 7:10) So too today pastors are to prioritize the study and the teaching/preaching of the Holy Scriptures in the churches where they serve. (I Timothy 2:15, 4:2) We believe the canon of Scripture has been closed and there is no new biblical revelation/visions being given by God to man (Hebrews 1:2, Jude 3). We believe that, whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one interpretation. The meaning of hard to understand passages of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20).
We believe as is taught in both the Old & New Testaments, there is but one Lord God (Duet.6:4), there is but one God and Father (Ephesians 4:6) Yes, one God who by nature is loving, compassionate, and forgiving. (Exodus 34:6,7, Numbers 14:18) Yet as is taught in the Scriptures, God exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, known as the Holy Trinity. (John 1:1,14, Titus 2:13, Acts 5:3,4, Matthew 28:19) Each of the three members of the Trinity is equally deserving of our obedience and worship. God created the world in six literal days (Genesis 1:1-2:2).
God the Father. God the Father, is the first Person of the Trinity, of who are all things (I Corinthians 8:6). He sovereignly and powerfully changes: the times, the seasons, and the rulers in this world (Daniel 2:21, Acts 1:7), and with His words He spoke this world into existence in six literal days (Genesis 1). He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Ephesians 1:11). In His sovereignty He is neither the author nor approver of sin (Habakkuk 1:13; John 8:38-47). He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Ephesians 1:4-6); He saves from sin all who come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ; He adopts as His own all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5; Hebrews 12:5-9).
God the Son-Jesus Christ. Christ is the Mediator between God and man and there is salvation in no other (John 14:6, ITimothy 2:5, Act 4:12). Jesus Christ is the second Person of the Trinity and is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9). All things were created and at present are held together through Christ. (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:2). When Jesus Christ came to earth, God became man. Temporarily surrendering only His prerogatives but not His divine nature. During His time on earth, Christ was 100% God and 100% man. (Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 2:9). Christ was born of the virgin Mary having been conceived by the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:20,23, 25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1, 14) The Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 5:8; 1 Peter 2:24). In the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus’ bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Romans 1:4; 4:25; 6:5-10; 1 Corinthians 15:20, 23). God through Jesus Christ will judge all of mankind. (John 5:22-23).Believers (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matthew 25:31-46). Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:11-15).
God the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is divine, eternal, possesses personhood and emotion. (Hebrews 9:14, Acts 5:3,4, Ephesian 4:30) The Holy Spirit is coequal and consubstancial with the Father and the Son (Matthew 28:19). All true believers are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9-11).
We teach that the work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost, when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16-17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the Body of Christ, which is His church (1 Corinthians 12:13). The broad scope of His divine activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign Agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 1:13).
We teach that the Holy Spirit is the divine Teacher, who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God’s revelation, the Bible (2 Peter 1:19-21). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (John 16:13; Romans 8:9; Ephesians 5:18; 1 John 2:20, 27).
We teach that the Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).
We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today, and that speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:7-12; Hebrews 2:1-4).
God formed man from the dust of the earth, man did not evolve (Genesis 2:7). God created Adam & Eve in His own image (Genesis 1:27). They were tempted by Satan, disobeyed God and thus sin and death entered the world spreading to all of mankind. (Genesis 3, Romans 5:12) God again affirmed His image in man even after the man’s fall in the garden and the flood (Genesis 9:6) This together with man’s eternal soul (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and man’s God given conscience (Romans 2:15), vastly distinguishes man from the animals. Since the fall of Adam & Eve, man’s heart has been depraved, continually wicked and evil (Genesis 6:5) it is a heart that is deceitful above all else and can not be known except by God (Jeremiah 17:9). Man is spiritually dead in sin and is condemned under God’s wrath (Ephesians 2:1:3) By God’s Spirit and grace, man needs to repent from sin and be spiritually born again (Acts 11:18,17:30, John 3:3-5).
Salvation comes to mankind as a gift, by God’s grace, through faith in Christ and our salvation comes not as a result of our good works. (Ephesians 2:8,9, Isaiah 64:6) Through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and through His resurrection, our salvation is made possible (Titus 2:14, II Corinthians 5:19, I Peter 3:18, John 3:16).
Man’s salvation is comprised of: repentance from sin (Acts 18:30, II Corinthians 7:10), regeneration by the Holy Spirit and by the Word of God (John 3:3-7, 5:24, Titus 3:5), God’s sovereign election (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 1:4-11), justification (from the guilt of sin leading death) by faith (Habakkuk 2:4, Romans 3:26-28, 5:1), Christ on the cross bore the punishment for our sins (I Peter 2:24), and thus we through faith in Christ are justified! Sanctification whereby we are progressively made more holy, more Christ like by the Holy Spirit and by God’s Word (Philippians 1:6, Romans 8:13, II Corinthians 3:18, John 17:17. For those who have placed their faith in Christ, their salvation assured from start to finish because God Almighty is involved, “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called, whom He called, these He also justified and whom he justified, these He also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
Christ’s church is invincible (Matthew 16:18). The Church is the pillar and support of God’s truth as revealed in the scriptures (I Timothy 3:15). Christ gave His life for His possession the Church (Titus 2:14). The church is symbolized as Christ’s body (Ephesians 4:12), of which He is the head (Ephesians 5:23).
The church began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47). The church is distinct from Israel and does not replace the nation of Israel as the recipient of God’s Old Testament prophetic promises (I Samuel 12:22, I Kings 6:13, Romans 11:26-27)
The church is not a building but is God’s spiritual organization on earth comprised of all present day born-again believers. They are all a part of Christ’s universal church. (Ephesians 3:19-22). Scripture also refers to the local church where born-again believers regularly gather together for corporate worship (Colossians 1:1-4). The New Testament has no indication that believers are to be independent from the local church.
We believe in the autonomy of the local church, each being lead by a plurality of godly elders/pastors. (Titus 1:5). Each church being free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations. Those who serve as pastors/church leaders are to be biblically qualified to do so, e.g., above reproach, the husband of one wife, able to teach, in control of his family, not addicted to alcohol, etc. (I Timothy 3:1-7, Titus 1:5-9)
Water baptism and the Lord’s supper (holy communion) are the two ordinances for the church. Baptism by immersion in water is an act of obedience for the believer following salvation. It is symbolic of the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to new life. (Matthew 28:19, Acts 8:38, 10:47-48, Romans 6:3-4) The Lord’s supper is to be served in the church regularly in celebration and commemoration of our fellowship with Christ, in proclamation of His death until He comes. ( Luke 22:19-20, I Corinthians 11:23)
Psalm 148:2-5 indicates that the angels are God’s creative product. Originally God created one class of angels and they were holy. Due to an angelic rebellion (Isaiah 14:12-17), there became two classes of angels angels, holy and fallen. Holy Angels are still created beings and as such we should not worship them (Revelation 19:10). Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:6-7, 14; 2:6-7; Revelation 5:11-14; 19:10; 22:9). Fallen Angels, e.g., Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Genesis 3:1-15).
Physical death involves no loss of our immaterial consciousness (Revelation 6:9-11), that the soul of the redeemed passes immediately into the presence of Christ (Luke 23:43; Philippians 1:23; 2 Corinthians 5:8) There is a separation of soul and body (Philippians 1:21-24), and that, for the redeemed, such separation will continue until the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17), which initiates the first resurrection (Revelation 20:4-6), when our soul and body will be reunited to be glorified forever with our Lord (Philippians 3:21; 1 Corinthians 15:35-44, 50-54). Until that time, the souls of the redeemed in Christ remain in joyful fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8). There will be a bodily resurrection of all men, the saved to eternal life (John 6:39; Romans 8:10-11, 19-23; 2 Corinthians 4:14), and the unsaved to judgment and everlasting punishment (Daniel 12:2; John 5:29; Revelation 20:13-15).
The souls of the unsaved at death are kept under punishment until the second resurrection (Luke 16:19-26; Revelation 20:13-15), when the soul and the resurrection body will be united (John 5:28-29). They shall then appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15) and shall be cast into hell, the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41-46), cut off from the life of God forever (Daniel 12:2; Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).
There will be a bodily glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16; Titus 2:13), at which time the rapture of Christ’s church will occur! (1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:15- 5:11) Christ will reward believers according to their works (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
Immediately following the removal of the church from the earth, the seven year tribulation will occur. (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) The righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jeremiah 30:7; Daniel 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12; Revelation 16). These judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matthew 24:27-31; 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-12). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Daniel 12:2-3; Revelation 20:4-6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 24:15-31; 25:31-46).
After the tribulation period will be Christ’s second coming to earth. As Christ physically ascended He will return in glory to execute judgment and usher in the millennial kingdom. Christ will reign on earth for 1,000 years during which time there will be justice and peace in fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel. (Acts1:8-11, Revelation 19:11-21, 20:1-7, Ezekiel 37:21-28, Isaiah 11:9)
Following the release of Satan after the 1,000-year reign of Christ (Revelation 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth and gather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9). Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10), whereupon Christ, who is the Judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne Judgment. This resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (John 5:28-29), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15).
Eternity. After the closing of the millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Revelation 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Peter 3:10) and replaced with a new earth, wherein only righteousness dwells (Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 20:15; 21:1-27; 22:1-21). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Revelation 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Revelation 21-22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24-28), that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Corinthians 15:28).