THIS WE BELIEVE
Christian beliefs help us make sense of the world we live in. How can we explain the presence of both incredible beauty and ugliness in the world? Why do we see not only supreme Goodness but also diabolical evil? A knowledge of basic Christian beliefs helps us wrestle with questions that have baffled people for centuries.
Second, Christian beliefs strengthen our identity in Christ. Our culture urges us to seek our identity in our possessions, our personal achievements or our career. Yet, Scripture tells us our identity is not derived from these things. It does not depend on how others see us, but how God sees us. As we learn the essential beliefs of Christianity, we begin to discover who we really are.
Third, Christian beliefs not only guide our thinking but also direct our behavior. In our day, we desperately need men and women of integrity, people who are living examples of Biblical values. The Holy Spirit gradually transforms us into the likeness of Christ himself. Christian beliefs build Christian character.
Finally and most importantly, Christian beliefs help us draw near to God. As we look into the Scriptures, we come to know the Author of Scripture. Biblical truths become a window into the heart and mind of God. In our day there is a wishy-washy relativism that masquerades as faith. It says "It doesn't matter what you believe, just as long as you believe." "All roads lead to God." "The important thing is to be sincere." If we know what we believe, we will resist shallow claims. God is personal and seeks a continuing love relationship with us that is real and personal. He has told us about Himself and what He requires of us. All the rich knowledge of God is expressed through our Christian beliefs.
If we approach the Scriptures with humility and a willing heart, Christian beliefs will strengthen our faith and ignite our souls.
The Bible is the historical record of God's working, actually written by man but inspired by God's Spirit and contains no error. It is truth provided for the believer as a tool to know the heart of God. It reveals the plan, purposes and will of God for all time.
God in Three Persons
There is one and only One living and true God. He is an intelligent spiritual and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence and obedience. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit with distinct personal attributes but without division of nature, essence or being.
God the Father
God as Father is the Giver and Sustainer of life, the seen and unseen. He is all loving, all just, all wise and all powerful. He is the true God and the One who judges righteously and tests the heart and mind. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ; however, He is fatherly toward all men.
God the Son
God as Son is the perfect representation for the Father in human form. He is fully human and fully divine. He is equal with God the Father but humbled himself by taking on the form of a servant and became obedient to death on across. He knew that only through the shedding of His blood would the sinless Lamb of God be able to secure forgiveness and remission of sins. He arose on the third day following His death as He declared and now lives and reigns with the Father in glory awaiting His final triumphant return. He lives in all believers as the living, ever present Lord.
God the Holy Spirit
God as Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and unrighteousness, works in the life of each believer to produce godly character qualities and demonstrates Himself, in the life of the church, through special abilities given to each believer to carry out the work of the church. He is Comforter, Teacher, Wisdom and Counselor.
Man was created by a special work of God, in His image and is the finest of creation - God Said, "It is very good!" Man was created innocent but with a free choice where by he sinned against God and fell from his original state. Because Christ died for all, every person is worthy of respect in Christian love.
Salvation is the gift of God for all humanity and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. It was obtained by the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross. He shed His own blood for our sin that we might be rightly related to God.
Grace is the unmerited favor of God and shows us His goodness. All who have accepted Christ and are set apart will never fall from grace but will endure to the end. Believers may sin and grieve the Holy Spirit, but they will be kept by the power of God.
When one becomes a believer, he is free from sin's penalty of death but not from sin's temptation. A battle rages within the believer between the carnal and spiritual natures. When the believer confesses sin, Christ forgives and cleanses from sin. Sinning grieves the Holy Spirit, brings shame on the cause of Christ, hinders a believer's relationship with God and others and causes the believer to endure the consequences of sin.
The church is a group of believers brought together by the Spirit of God to carry out the Great Commandment by practicing the Great Commission and observing the two ordinances of the church - baptism and the Lord's Supper. Each church is an autonomous body operating under the leadership of Christ as the Head of the Church.
Baptism is an outward expression of the inward change that has occurred in the life of the believer. It is an identification with Christ by picturing his death, burial, and resurrection. It is the first commandment a Christian is given by the Lord Jesus.
The Lord's Supper
The Lord's Supper is an opportunity for personal examination and reflections. We observe the "Lord's death until He comes." The bread and cup are symbols of His body and blood which were broken and spilled out for our salvation and is done in remembrance of Him until He comes again.
We must see worship from two sides - adoration and service. Worship could be defined as pure adoration, the redeemed person contemplating and praising God in His holy perfection. Reverential adoration and committed service are both prominent expressions of the biblical concept of worship. True worship involves a willingness to serve in genuine service to God and must be accompanied by a sense of reverence and adoration.
Ministering as a disciple calls for us to know the will of God and to know our own interests, resources and skills. Such knowledge can be helped by human tests and analyses, but it is basically a spiritual knowledge revealed by God, the Creator, and Giver of personal skills. Many Christians are in spiritual poverty, unaware of the potential that God has given them. They are unaware of the gifts that God has given them. Their gifts lie like unwrapped presents, unused and neglected. Their potential for Christian ministry is squandered. The needs of our world are too great for us to allow any spiritual gift to be wasted. You must learn to unwrap your gifts and dedicate them and yourselves to the ministries God has for you.