The basis for personal growth in the Body of Christ.
For the Christian, beliefs form the basis for personal growth and effectiveness in achieving our role in the Body of Christ. They must be firmly grounded in the will of God, the Son of God, and the word of God. This requires faith, a gift from God, and is expressed with thought and action to produce tangible character.
To be effective, belief must be grounded firmly in the knowledge, wisdom, and will of God. It aligns with our values, is viewed through our presuppositions, and enables us to act in a way that fulfills our role in the Body of Christ.
Because they are lived, beliefs require both thought and expression. As such they must be reviewed regularly as we grow in our knowledge and wisdom of God.
The Bible is God’s message to humanity. It is timeless, profitable, and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is comprised of 66 books(1) from numerous authors inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. The Old and New Testament Scriptures are the revelation of our initial creation, downfall, redemption, and restoration. An underlying theme throughout scripture is God’s work of kingdom-building. This is expressed in the work of Jesus Christ (Yeshua) as the God of the Old Testament and as the Lamb of God in the New Testament. Both point to the work of the new creation by the Son of God as he prepares the kingdom to be handed over to the Father (Yahweh) in the age to come.
(II Timothy 3:12-17, II Peter 1:16-21, I Thessalonians 2:9-13, Isaiah 40; 1 Corinthian 15:20-26; 2 Corinthians 5:16-20)
The Godhead (the Divine Realm) consists of the Father (Yahweh), the Son – Jesus Christ (Yeshua), and the Holy Spirit.
Together, the Godhead is responsible for the creation of all things visible and invisible. The Godhead is characterized as love, holy, just, righteous, merciful, all-knowing, all-powerful, without beginning and without end.
(Genesis 1; 2; Deuteronomy 7:9; Isaiah 11:1-5; 45:1-13; Psalm 90:2; 103:17-18; Colossians 1:12-20, Matthew 28:18-19, Hebrews 1:1-4)
God the Father (Yahweh) is purposeful and proactive in all that he does, knowing the beginning from the end.
(Genesis 1; 7:4; 9:15-16; 12:1-4; 48:3-5; Exodus 3; 4:21-23; 6:1-13; Joel 2; 3; Ezekiel 14:21-23; Zechariah 3; 10; 12; Matthew 11:27-29; Romans 9:14-16; Revelation 21:6-8)
He is made known to all through:
- The creation; the visible universe with all that that entails, and the unseen realms
- His inspired word
- The life, work, and teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God
- The fruits of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the faithful
The Lord Jesus Christ (Yeshua) is the express image of God in bodily form. He is the Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born to the virgin Mary; fully God and fully man. Through his death on the cross he took upon himself the sin of the world. He was buried and resurrected to eternal life after three days. He was received into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. The Lord Jesus himself will come again in power and great glory to gather his saints and to judge the world in righteousness.
(Matthew 1:20-21; 17:1-5; Acts 2:14-41; Romans 8:1-11; Fourth Gospel 1:1-34; Colossians 2:9-10; Galatians 1; Hebrews 1:1-4; Revelation 1:4-8)
The Holy Spirit is the power of God. Since the creation, the Holy Spirit has played a vital role in God’s work. The Holy Spirit lives in all believers and gives new life to them; the Spirit of power, of love, and of a sound mind. The gift of the Holy Spirit is the guarantor of eternal life for the believer. It is by the Holy Spirit that believers are called, convicted of sin, led through repentance, and brought into the family of God as a new creation. By the guidance of the Holy Spirit, faithful believers can live anew and grow in the mind of Christ, trust in God, and in love toward others.
(Genesis 1:1; Compare Isaiah 6:8-10 with Acts 28:25-28; Matthew 3:11; Acts 5:3-4; Fourth Gospel 15:26; 1 Corinthians 12:12-20; Ephesians 1:11-23)
Humanity & The Physical Realm
Since the creation, the Godhead has shown its desire to create in humanity a progeny who will ultimately share in the divine realm. For these children, their existence begins in the physical realm. To ensure that we can live together in a fruitful relationship, not just for a short lifetime now, but for all eternity, God must ensure that we possess the character necessary to do so. The nature of that character is clearly understood by those in whom God’s Holy Spirit dwells; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These are the virtues God possesses and he seeks the same for his children.
One essential means God uses to achieve this is through the death and resurrection of the Lamb of God; our Lord Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Through him all humanity has been redeemed. In him all humanity can be made into a new creation. One need only acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, turn from their ignorance and sin, and embrace the knowledge and truth of God which leads to eternal life.
(Genesis 1:26-28; 2:5-9, 20-25; 3:22-24; Hosea 11; Jeremiah 31; Romans 5:12-21; Romans 6; Fourth Gospel 3:1-21; 4:23-24; 5:36-46; Deuteronomy 28:13-14; Nehemiah 9:27-29; Proverbs 13:14; 14:27; Jeremiah 23:21-23; Acts 14:15-18; 26:15-18; 1 Thessalonians 1:8-10)
The Spirit Realm
The Spirit realm(2) existed before the physical realm. Aside from the Godhead, it consists of created spirit beings having various forms and roles. Beney Elohim are those spirit beings with higher levels of responsibility or jurisdiction. Malak (angels) function in the role of messenger. Those in the spirit realm appear to exhibit traits similar to those imparted to humanity; intelligence, self-awareness, free will, knowledge of good and evil, reasoning ability, language, and ability to commune with God. They also possess a trait distinct from humanity currently; a form of immortality. Some within the spirit realm oppose the work and will of God as it relates to humanity. However, the will of God is not undone by the deceit of devils.
The Faithful in Christ
The NT Church is an extension of the covenant God established in faith with Abraham. Each Christian is equipped by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to function within the larger body of Christ. Every Christian is called to be part of Christ’s holy and royal priesthood – he being the High Priest.
Since before Abraham, God has called people into personal relationship with him. The fruit of that relationship, though not without personal benefits, is always intended for the benefit of others. By the power of God’s Holy Spirit, the faithful are equipped for discipleship, to be servants in the service of all humanity, to live and proclaim the gospel to all the world, to resist the powers of evil, to overcome the world, and to share in Christ’s death and his life-giving resurrection.
God promises to all who have faith in him forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace, the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in his coming kingdom which has no end.
The primary role of Christians in the community is to:
- Worship God in Spirit and in truth
(Fourth Gospel 4:23-24; 12:24-26, 34-35; 14:15-21, 26-27; 17:14-26; Romans 6; 7; 8)
- Continue in Christ, and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord
(Fourth Gospel 5:36-46; 6:27-29, 44-51; 8:12, 31-36; 10:27-30; 11:25-27; 12:35-36, 44-50; 13:12-17; 14:1-7; 16:7-11, 13-15; Ephesians 2:13-22)
- Bear fruit worthy of repentance; fruit of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives
(Matthew 3:8-11; 2 Corinthians 6:1-10; Galatians 5:16-25; Ephesians 4:1-8; Colossians 3:12-17)
- Do the good works God has prepared for us
(Fourth Gospel 9:4-7, 35-39; 15:1-17, 26-27; 20:21-23; Ephesians 2:8-10)
- Proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God to the whole world
(Mark 16:15-17; Luke 4:16-19, 42-44; 24:44-49; Fourth Gospel 20:21-23)
- Make disciples(3), baptize, and teach observance of Christ’s commandments
(Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 8:4-15; 1 Corinthians 2; Ephesians 4; Colossians 1:24-29; Hebrews 5:11-14)
Baptism (Water, Spirit, and Fire)
Water baptism is more than an outward expression of one’s faith. It identifies the believer with Christ in his death, his burial, and especially his resurrection to eternal life. In this Christ has defined the method of redemption within which we can rest. It is in God’s faithfulness that we trust; to complete in us what he has already done in Christ Jesus.
Through the laying on of hands and baptism in the Holy Spirit the believer is made into a new creation in Christ. It is expected that he/she will grow in the grace and knowledge of God and in the fruits of the Holy Spirit; the character of Christ.
Fire represents the refining process of character development essential in a Christian’s life. It is the non-physical nature of maturity in wisdom and the character of Christ which can survive the fiery trials that life provides. Without further character development, the Christian becomes an unprofitable servant.
(Romans 6:1-14; Romans 8:10-11; Colossians 3:1-17; Acts 8:14-17; Galatians 3:23-29; 1 Corinthians 3:10-14; 2 Corinthians 5:16-20; 1 Peter 1:3-9)
The work of the Godhead continues to move mankind from the physical creation into which he was born toward the spiritual creation for which he is destined. More importantly, the nature of that spiritual creation is not merely angelic, as some would think, it is divine. Yahweh Elohim, whom we refer to as God the Father, has sought to create children who ultimately share in the divine realm. It is in that divine realm where we, as God’s children and co-heirs with Jesus Christ, will inherit all that he has created – seen and unseen.
(Fourth Gospel 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:16-20; Isaiah 43:16-21; Ephesians 4:17-24; Romans 6:15-23; Revelation 21:1-7)
1) We adhere to the belief that the authorship of the Fourth Gospel has been misrepresented. Typically this authorship is attributed to John the brother of James and author of the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ. I have concluded on the side of such authors as J. Phillips, Edward Reaugh Smith, and Tobias Skinner who have shown conclusively John could not be the sole author and instead attribute primary authorship to Lazarus – the disciple whom Christ loved. Due to this, I will refer to the book as the Fourth Gospel.
2) For a thorough explanation of the spirit realm, I suggest reading Dr. Michael S. Heiser’s The Unseen Realm.
3) The process of making disciples is framed with the understanding that mature Christians lead the immature along the pathway to a deeper understanding and relationship with God. This is a primary reason for administrative offices within the church and why those offices are occupied by mature Christians. The leadership of the mature is to be a mentoring one, not an authoritative one; following Christ’s own example. Also, making disciples involves only a supportive cause in the conversion process. It is not the primary cause, nor can it ever be. God alone calls believers to himself. The role of the Christian community is to provide the fertile ground where the seed planted by God and nourished by the Holy Spirit can grow to its fullness.