God is the Creator of the entire universe. He is one Triune God, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-co-eternal in being, co-eternal in nature, co-equal in power and glory, having the same attributes and perfections. He is the one and only true God. The best, most enduring joy is found in Him. He is our greatest need and the only One who can satisfy the deepest longings of our lives.
(Further Reading: Genesis 1:1-31; John 1:1-4; Colossians 1:15-17; I John 5:7)
God revealed Himself and His purposes in a book called the Bible. It was written by men divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and is the record of God's revelation of Himself to mankind. The teachings of this Book are the highest authority for everything we believe and practice. It is completely relevant for our daily lives, and it contains everything we need to know to do God's will. It is trustworthy and completely accurate in telling us the story of God's loving initiative in rescuing us from the effects of our sin and setting everything right under the reign of Christ.
(Further Reading: Romans 12:1-2; I Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:20-21; II Timothy 3:16-17)
Best news ever: That God is reconciling the world to Himself in Jesus Christ, and all who trust in and submit to Jesus as King become part of His forever Kingdom. All their sins are forgiven, they are adopted into God's family, and enjoy the promise of eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
(Further Reading: I Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16; Matthew 28:19-20)
Jesus is the story of God becoming a man to save the ones He loves, and that includes everyone. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin so he might redeem mankind. He is the only plan for bringing people who are broken, enemies of God, imperfect, and hopeless into a right relationship with God. He lived a perfect, sinless life, so that He could take our place in satisfying God's demands for perfection. Jesus defeated death in His resurrection so that we could have life. He is the King of all the universe, head of the church, hope of the world, and is soon returning to the earth to restore all things.
(Further Reading: Luke 23; Luke 24; John 1; John 3:16-18; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 3:16-17;
Acts 4:12; I Timothy 2:3-6; Titus 3:4-7; Hebrews 4:14-15)
Jesus did not come to take perfect people to heaven. He came to save people who know they need a Savior. Mankind was made in the image of God, but through Adam's sin all of humankind fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became separated from God. Relationship with God was broken. Everyone has violated God's Law (The Ten Commandments), and because of that we cannot attain a right relationship with God by any means of our own. The only hope we have is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, provides the only way of salvation and forgiveness of sin.
Salvation occurs when a person places their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, as sufficient payment for their sin, making Jesus the King of their life. Salvation is a gift from God to broken people, and cannot be earned through their own efforts. For all of His followers, we are in the process of becoming what He calls us to be.
(Further Reading: Romans 3:9-28; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:1-9)
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God who reveals our brokenness and sinfulness and draws our hearts and consciousness toward Jesus. He convicts people of their sin, God's righteousness, and coming judgment.
When a person places their faith in Christ they are immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit, given new life, and made a son or daughter of God. The Holy Spirit secures us as God's children. He comforts, guides and directs the children of God for the rest of their lives.
Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, exercises His leadership by giving gifts to His people that are to be used in the context of the local church. Each of us has a spiritual gift or gifts that contribute to the health and effectiveness of the church. Without each gift, the church's life is diminished. We serve best, most productively, and experience the most pleasure by serving in our area of giftedness.
We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's presence in our lives more than any spiritual gift someone may possess. In other words, being like Jesus is more important than having great talent. God is working everything in our lives together for His highest good. He will continue to shape our lives to clearly reflect the character of Jesus.
(Further Reading: John 14:16-17, 26; John 16:8-15; I Corinthians 2:10-16; Romans 8:1-17, 26-27; Romans 12; Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4; I Corinthians 3:16-17)
The church is a local community of baptized believers, unified through faith in Christ, living life on Jesus’ mission together. It is committed to the teachings of Christ, to obeying all of His commands, and it seeks to bring the gospel to the entire world, beginning in their own neighborhood. The church works together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ. The church is not a building, but a group of people whom Jesus has sent out as missionaries to their neighbors, their cities, and their world.
When God's story is central to everyone else's story, living on mission together is exciting. When God is at work transforming people in His name, our shared life as Christians is deeply meaningful. Two special ways we celebrate the story of God as a church is through baptism (immersion in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) and communion (a holy ritual where we remember the body and blood of Jesus).
(Further Reading: Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:20-21; 5:21-30;
Acts 2:41-42; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26;12:12-27)
Mankind was created to exist forever. He will either exist eternally separate from God by sin, or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with God is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence.
Once someone has truly accepted Christ as their personal Savior, that Salvation cannot be lost. The salvation that Jesus Christ gives is eternal. Salvation is by God's grace alone and not by any work of man.
(Further Reading: John 3:16, 36; John 10:27-30; Romans 6:23;
1 John 2:25; 5:11-13; Revelation 20:15)