BEING REAL WITH GOD, OURSELVES, AND OTHERS

Scripture tells us who God is and how we can have a relationship with Him. This involves taking Him at His word and submitting our lives to Him (Jn.10:14,27). As those who are created in the image of God, we are designed to have relationship with God. God has revealed Himself throughout history to mankind, just as He is revealing Himself to us today.

 

The truth about God has been preserved in the collection of writings called the Holy Bible. These Scriptures teach us about God – His nature, His character and His dealings with us. We have come to believe the truth of God in the Bible and seek to understand Him, submitting our thoughts and reasoning to the revelation of God. As we do this, His truth re-directs our thinking about God so that we are worshipping the one true, living God (2Tim.3:16). We have come to believe and experience God to be holy – perfect and eternal in all of His attributes.

 

The Scriptures teach us that God is love (1Jn.4:8). Love is a relational term. Having been designed by God for relationship, we have the opportunity to have an intimate love relationship with God. We seek to have that relationship with Him by submitting to Him, believing that He is good and that He loves us. Believing and placing our trust in the promises of God in the Scriptures is called faith. Our faith in the promises of Scripture doesn’t make them real or true; the Scriptures are true whether we believe them or not. Our faith in the promises of God makes them real for us. For example, God designed the way for us to be saved through His Son, Jesus Christ, so by believing in Him as our savior, we are saved. Believing makes it true for us, including us in His salvation. In believing that God is good and that He loves us, by the grace of God, we discover the opportunity to have His love flowing through our lives. We love God because He first loved us (1Jn.4:19).

 

Being real, or genuine, with God also involves receiving the truth of His word. Therefore, we commit ourselves to the regular study of His word in our worship services, so that we know we are worshipping Him correctly. Moreover, as we submit to God, He promises to direct our lives. That’s good news, because God is good. Having a relationship with God means we have His Spirit living within us, and the Spirit of God directs us into all truth (Jn.16:13). Being real with God, we grow not only in the truth about God, but also in the truth God reveals about ourselves and others.

Scripture tells us about who we are and how God loves us. He desires to transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus (Rom.8:28,29). This involves living our lives by faith (2Cor.5:7). As believers in the truth of God, we desire to be taught by Him. When God shows us the truth about ourselves, we must be willing to accept that truth and look to Him for direction. When we choose to submit to what God teaches us about ourselves, our lives change.

 

We find that His truth brings us to a place of decision – “Am I going to live my life in light of what God says or what I say?”

 

As we choose to live in what He says, we find that our perspectives, motives and desires change. We seek to live out who God has called us to be in Christ.

 

In relationship with the Lord, His word brings an honest view of ourselves and a selfless humility into our lives (Rom.12:3). We find that being dependent upon Him is what He desires for us. We learn that we are like sheep and that He is to be our Shepherd (Ps.95:7; Jn.10:7-30). We need Him to shepherd us, for it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps (Jer.10:23).

 

We have come to believe that we can trust God to direct our lives. Since we have believed lies about God and ourselves in the past, we need His truth to replace them. We are set free and cleansed by His truth (Jn.8:32; 15:3). We learn that we are loved by God and that He desires to transform us into the image of His Son, Jesus (Rom.8:28,29). Although transformation is never easy, it is necessary in order to continue to walk by faith in the living God. We’re to walk in newness of life. As we choose this walk of faith, we experience the peace of God, His joy, and the great purpose of His calling upon us. Therefore, we seek to live our lives in the light of who God is and who He says we are.

 

This journey is made more dynamic as we come to understand that we are part of the body of Christ. As we gather with other believers, we discover that we have purpose together with them. If Jesus is our savior, then we have His Holy Spirit living within us (Rom.8:9, 16). We have this in common with all other believers, and God uses us as a group, the Church. Being real with God and real with ourselves involves personal growth. As we grow to understand the truth that God reveals to us about ourselves, we discover a great need for Him to direct us in how we live and how we relate to others.

Scripture tells us how we are to relate to others. We are members of the body of Christ, the Church (Eph.2:19-22). So, we look out not only for our own interests but also for the interests of others (Phil.2:4). We are ambassadors for Christ in this world, so we reach out to others with the love, truth and hope of the Gospel, desiring to see other people come into a relationship with Jesus (2Cor.5:20).

 

As we submit to the truth about God and allow Him to change us, we find ourselves learning how God wants us to relate to others. He gives us direction for our relationships with other people.

 

His word becomes our resource for how to have and maintain healthy relationships with believers and also with those who have not placed their faith in Christ.

 

First, we are members of the Church – the body of Christ on earth. We are to gather together and encourage one another in faith, love and good works (Heb.10:25). We discover that, as a body of believers, He speaks to us and calls us to serve Him together. By God’s word we learn how to have healthy relationships within the church, and we desire to be faithful to the Lord in those relationships. Being a part of the body of Christ is His design and used by Him to transform us into His image. Relationships with others are huge blessings that can be very complex; we need His Spirit to guide us and teach us how to maintain these blessings.

 

Secondly, we are His ambassadors to the unbelieving world. We’re to rightly represent the truth about God – His loving grace, perfect righteousness and true holiness – to a needy world. We want to personally introduce others to Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, if someone wants to meet Jesus, God will direct them to us, the body of Christ. As we share the message of Jesus with them, they have the opportunity to believe the message and start a relationship with Him. Jesus promises to receive all those who come to Him and to make His home within them (Jn.14:23). As new believers are introduced to the body of Christ, we are used by the Lord to affirm their need to be real with God, themselves and others. We all grow together in the grace of God. In relationships with people who continue to reject Christ, we are called to continue to love them, not in a spirit of self-righteousness, but in a spirit of meekness and compassion, looking to be a reflection of God’s love and truth. May His Spirit be our guide as we seek to be real with others.

1. We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, fully inspired, without error in the original documents, and the infallible rule of faith and practice for all generations. The Word of God is the foundation upon which this church operates and the basis for which this church is governed. (Isaiah 28:13; Nehemiah 8:8; Acts 20:27; John 17:17; 2Timothy 3:16,17; Hebrews 4:12; 1Peter 1:23-25; 2Peter 1:3,4,21)

 

2. We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal in power and glory. This triune God created all, upholds all, and governs all things. (Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 44:6,8; 46:9,10; 48:16; Matthew 28:19-20; John 10:30; Acts 5:3,4; Hebrews 1:3)

 

2a. We believe in the person of God the Father, an infinite, eternal, personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power and love; He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; He hears and answers prayer. He saves from sin and death all those who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalms 90:2; Psalms 102:27; John 3:16; 4:24; 1Timothy 1:17; Titus 1:3)

 

2b. We believe in the person of Jesus Christ, God's only begotten Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles and teachings, his substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, and His future, personal, visible return to earth. He perpetually intercedes for His people. (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 1:23; Mark 16:19; Luke 1:34,35; John 1:1,2; 8:58; 11:25; 1Corinthians 15:3,4; 1Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8; 1John 1:2; Revelation 1:8)

 

2c. We believe in the person of the Holy Spirit, Who came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment; and to regenerate, seal, sanctify and empower for ministry all who believe in Christ Jesus. (John 14:16,17; 16:8-11; 20:22; Acts 1:8; 8:17; Romans 8:13,26; 15:13; 2Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 1:13,14; Hebrews 9:14)

 

3. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every one who has placed their faith in Jesus Christ and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, and guide. (John 6:13; 14:16,17; 16:13-15; Romans 8:26)

 

3a. We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit in the Body of Christ and in the exercise of all biblical gifts of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, according to the instructions given to us in Scripture. We believe in the baptism with the Holy Spirit as a distinct and separate experience to that of regeneration, occurring either subsequent to or simultaneous with salvation. The supreme evidence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer is the fruit of the Spirit, love. (1Corinthians 12-14; 1Corinthians 12:7; 14:1,26; Acts 13:2-4; Acts 15:28; Galatians 5:22)

 

4. We believe that all people are sinners by nature and choice. Therefore, they are under condemnation. Because of this, all people are in need of a savior, and God provides the Savior in Christ Jesus so that all who come to Him by faith may be saved. God saves and regenerates those who by faith confess the Lord Jesus and believe in their hearts that God has raised Him from the dead. (Ephesians 2:1-3,8,9; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9,10; Titus 3:5)

 

5. We believe in the universal church, the living, spiritual body of Christ, of which Christ is the head and all who are born again are members. (Romans 12:4,5; 1Corinthians 12:12,13; Ephesians 2:19-22)

 

5a. We believe in the pattern and principle of male leadership and responsibility in both the home and the church, according to the sacrificial example of Jesus. This is not an issue of equality, ability, giftedness, or anointing; but simply regarding the roles that God establishes for the church and marriage. Therefore, we believe this limits the role of the teaching pastor within the church to qualified men. (1Corinthians 11:3,11,12; 1Timothy 2:8-14; 3:1-7)

 

6. We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ instituted two ordinances for the church: (a) full immersion water baptism of believers, and (b) the Lord's Supper. (Matthew 28:19; Luke 22:19,20; Acts 2:38; 1Corinthians 11:23-26)

 

6a. We also believe that the Lord Jesus Christ validated the ordinance of marriage. God instituted monogamous marriage between one male and one female as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. Therefore, we perform marriages in accordance with the Bible consistent with the Old and New Testaments. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; John 4:16-18; Romans 1:18-32; 1Corinthians 5:9-11; 6:9-11; 7:2)

 

7. We believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ, which is His personal, visible return to earth and the establishment of His millennial kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal blessing of the righteous, and the endless separation of the wicked. (Matthew 16:27; Acts 1:11; Revelation 19:11-16; 20:11-15)

 

8. We believe in a literal Heaven and a literal Hell and that all those who place their faith, hope and trust in Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord; while those who are without faith and reject Jesus’ free gift of salvation, will spend eternity separated from the Lord. (Psalm 9:17; Matthew 5:3; 5:22; 18:9; 25:31-34; Mark 9:42-49; Luke 12:5; John 3:18; Hebrews 12:23; 1Peter 1:4; Revelation 14:10-11; 20:11-15)

 

9. We believe in the pre-tribulation rapture of the church where all believers in Christ will meet the Lord in the air and be taken out of this world prior to the Great Tribulation that will come upon the earth. After the rapture, God deals with the nation of Israel again and all Israel will be saved. (Isaiah 26:20; Matthew 24:29-31; Luke 21:36; Romans 1:18; 5:9; 11:25,26; 1Thessalonians 1:10; 4:13-16; 5:9; 2Peter 2:7-9; Revelation 3:10; 4:1; 5:8-10; 7:13,14)