“He that believeth on me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.” ~ John 7:38
“I am the vine. You are the branches. Abide in me and you will bear much fruit; for apart from me, you can do nothing.” ~ John 15:5
The Godhead & Trinity
One God eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The Authority of the Word
The Bible is the inspired, infallible Word of God. It is supreme over any popular teaching or living person who claims to be an apostle or otherwise. Any teaching that directly contradicts Scripture is to be discarded as heresy. The Bible is not subject to a liberal interpretation. Jesus said we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven. A little child doesn’t need a theology degree to understand what Jesus wants. Therefore, Biblical interpretation should adhere to the plain meaning of the text such that it is simple and even a child can understand it.
Supremacy of Christ
Jesus Christ is the only Son of God and the only means of salvation and deliverance from eternal judgment. Christianity is supreme over all other religions. There are not many paths to God. There is one, only one name given under heaven by which we must be saved.
Jesus Incarnate & His Work
Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, lived a sinless life, was fully God and man, worked miracles, fulfilled all Biblical prophecy about the Messiah, was crucified, buried, and raised to life again on the third day. He sits forever enthroned at the right hand of God and has completely overcome death. He has redeemed all that was lost at the fall of mankind.
Jesus Christ is coming again. He will literally come on the clouds of glory and we, the saints, will be caught up with him in the air. Those who have died will be raised to life. The whole earth will witness this event and those who have hated him will flee and mourn. All the earth will stand judgment before him and every knee will bow.
Eternal Judgment & Salvation
Mankind is inherently sinful and wicked by nature. Sin entered the world through Adam and Eve and continues in all of mankind to this day. Man is under God’s wrath by virtue of original sin unless he comes to repentance and salvation through Jesus Christ.
The cross was the payment for the sin of mankind. It is all sufficient, all powerful, and disarmed every work of the devil who now sits like a piece of driftwood bouncing on the waves of the ocean in the midst of a hurricane.
Salvation must be received. It is not automatic. One must have faith in the death and resurrection of Christ, repent of sin, be baptized, and follow Christ’s example in humble submission by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is by grace you have been saved, however the evidence of that grace is a surrendered, holy and obedient life. Anyone who does not exhibit holiness has neither seen him nor known him.
It is possible for those who have once been enlightened to lose their salvation through willful, persistent sinful rebellion. Their end condition will be worse than if they had never believed at all. This is why the apostle Paul says to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” and Jesus tells the church in Revelation that, “He who endures to the end shall be saved.”
Heaven & Hell
Heaven and Hell are literal and eternal places. There will be no partying in Hell. It is a place of unimaginable suffering and torment. It was originally prepared for Satan and his demons but will also be the final destination of the wicked and those who hate God and the truth. It is a raging lake of fire, and there will be no hope, no love, no comfort, and no end to the torture. It is a place where men will long for death but will not find it. Have you ever picked up a live coal in your hand?
Heaven on the other hand is the reward of the righteous. Those who have repented and follow Jesus with a pure heart will inherit an everlasting kingdom. Heaven will not be boring where everyone floats around with halos and harps in baby diapers. Heaven will be glorious beyond imagination. Earth is but a mere shadow of what Heaven will be like. There will be no more sickness, death, suffering, separation or tears. There will be new worlds, sounds, colors, creatures and experiences beyond our present comprehension. Most of all we will be with one another, the saints, and our glorious God and Savior forever and ever. Amen.
The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ given to the church until Christ returns again. The work of the Holy Spirit includes: convicting sinners of their sin, healings and miracles in confirmation of the gospel, power for holy living, divine revelations and prophetic utterances, foretelling of future events, comforting and guiding the believer, teaching and revealing all truth, and glorifying Jesus Christ.
The fruit of the Spirit, the supernatural gifts, and the practical gifts are all still for today and never ceased.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from conversion though the two can happen simultaneously. The initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is tongues and prophecy. This empowerment is commanded in the book of Acts and is for all believers both men and women. It is “The Promise of the Father” and was so necessary that Jesus forbid his disciples from doing any thing or going anywhere until they were clothed with power from on high. It is foolishness to think we can walk in power, holiness, or be witnesses of the gospel without the overflowing power of the Holy Spirit.
The supernatural gifts of the Spirit are still for today as enumerated in 1 Corinthians 12. They are available to every believer. Some have a propensity for and stronger functioning in certain gifts. The gifts of the Spirit are not an endorsement of a person’s character or teaching. This is often confused. The gifts are meant to build up the body of Christ and confirm the gospel. A gift by definition is not earned.
The fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5) comes as we abide in Christ. By definition, it takes time. The mark of a mature Christian is patience. (James 1)
Repentance is a transformed mind resulting in transformed behavior. Often I’ve heard it taught that “thinking of ourselves differently” somehow equals repentance. I reject this as false. John the Baptist and other apostles like Paul and John all testify that true repentance is proven by our deeds. James writes that faith without works is dead. Jesus declares that he will reject many on the day of judgment who claimed to be Christian but walked in unrepentant sin. He will say to them, “Depart from me you who practice lawlessness.” Thus anyone who claims to have repented by “thinking differently” and is still going around sinning willfully is deceived and not a genuine believer. People in this camp will accuse you of being legalistic for insisting that holiness is a sign of genuine repentance. Search yourself right now in Jesus’ name and see whether you are truly walking in full obedience and holiness before God.
God loves you desperately and has made every provision for your salvation. He is also wise and just. He will not tolerate sin. He will execute wrath on those who are disobedient, both in the present age and in the age to come.
Prayer, Fasting & the Saints
Prayer and fasting are normative for the church. This practice extends from the Old to the New Testaments.
Fasting means going without food. It is possible to fast things like entertainment but this is not true fasting. True fasting is generally water only or no food and no water. It should also include a separation from distractions such as media, entertainment and the like in order to devote oneself fully to God.
Certain demonic powers and strongholds will not be broken except through prayer and fasting.
Prayer is an ongoing lifestyle of communion with and reliance on God’s power. He delights to hear the prayers of his saints and it is his method of provision, healing, deliverance, guidance and communion for all his children. Pray without ceasing!
We should honor the saints but not pray to or worship them. God wants us to have our own direct relationship with him. Jesus taught us to pray, “Our Father”… not “Our Mother Mary.”
Satan, Angels & Demons
Satan, or Lucifer, was once one of the chief angels of Heaven. He was cast out due to his rebellion against God Almighty in seeking to make himself God. Satan opposes the church, deceives the nations, and is described as the thief, dragon, serpent, Accuser of the Brethren, Father of Lies, and the Lord of the Flies. He will be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented forever when Christ comes again to judge the earth. Satan hates humanity since we bear the image of God.
Angels are God’s holy messengers. They vary in power, might and purpose. They appear all throughout Scripture and exist to: worship God, do his bidding, and aid those who will inherit salvation. They war in the heavenly realm against the powers of darkness belonging to Satan.
Demons are lower level spirits that were once the angels of God but rebelled and followed Satan. Demons can torment and even possess people.
The spirit world is more real than the material. There are angels and demons caught in an eternal struggle for your soul and mine.
Angels and demons exert great influence over human affairs on earth.
With all the present confusion, we must define love as the Word of God defines it. God is love. Jesus modeled what love looks like in laying down his life. Some have abused and twisted the meaning of this word to be sexual or akin to universal acceptance of everything.
Real love does not just tolerate anything. It is deception to equate love with tolerance. Love is active, working for the best of others and giving sacrificially. Love shows mercy at times, but at other times mercy is not what is required. Sometimes in the course of events, it is necessary to discipline, punish, say no, correct, or rebuke as a sign of love. (Tough Love) Those who fail to do this are actually being cowards and unloving.
“In this God demonstrates his love for us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8)
“Greater love has no man than this. That he lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:16)
The Gospel Defined
The gospel means good news. It is the restoration of all that was lost because of sin. This includes physical healing, emotional wholeness, new spiritual life and forgiveness of sin. The gospel fully restores us to right relationship with God and man.
In order to be authentic, the gospel message must include: the sinful state of mankind and impending doom of eternal judgment, the glorious mercy of God expressed through his Son Jesus Christ, Christ crucified and raised again to life for the remission of sin, and the need for human response through repentance and baptism as a sign of conversion.
Simply telling people that God loves them is not preaching the gospel. Many people stop after… “For God so loved the world…” but they are too cowardly to tell people that unless they believe in the Son of God, they will perish. (Read all of John 3:16 & 3:36)
Doing good works is not preaching the gospel. We can give out all the food and socks we want. We can build schools in Africa or homes in Mexico, but if we don’t command people to repent and believe the gospel… we’ve done them a huge disservice. We’ve deceived ourselves into thinking we’re saving souls when we’re simply filling bellies. (We should do good works but not in lieu of preaching.)
Simply giving someone a prophetic word or praying for healing is not preaching the gospel. What good is it for their body to be healed if their soul perishes? Preach!
Judgment, Mercy & God’s Character
The judgments of God are still absolutely in effect today as in the Old Testament. There is no change of God’s character. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Nations, cities, and individuals who continue to shake their fists at God and sin to His face will experience judgment. God’s first choice is always to show mercy. He generally sends preachers and prophets to the people to tell them to repent. Then he waits patiently. If no real repentance occurs, the cup of iniquity will eventually be filled and destruction will ensue. Judgment is only averted through repentance and abiding under the umbrella of the blood of Jesus and the cross
There are judgments here in this life and eternal judgments in the one to come. Sometimes in His mercy, God will allow judgment now so that a soul can be spared from eternal judgment. Those who say we should bless wicked cities instead of preaching the gospel and who keep crying, “Peace, peace when there is no peace” are deluded, false prophets.
Homosexuality is sin. There is no provision for homosexual practice or marriage in Scripture. Churches who ordain openly practicing homosexuals or that teach that homosexuality is not wrong are deceived and a synagogue of Satan. Furthermore, sexual immorality of any kind is also sin. The sexual union of a man and woman is to be honored inside of the covenant of marriage. Adultery and fornication are wicked as well in God’s sight. All such sins will be judged.
Sovereignty, Free Will & Delegated Authority
Not everything that happens on earth is the will of God. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” If everything automatically happened the way God intended, it would be futile to pray such a prayer. No, God has delegated authority on earth to man. As the old saying goes, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
God’s purposes, power and kingdom are released through His Church here on earth. Why do you think God always sent a prophet to speak to mankind? In order to be effective, the Church must be prayerful, filled with the Holy Spirit, and obedient to the Word of God.
God is sovereign and there are certain immutable prophecies that will come to pass with or without the cooperation of man, such as the second coming of Christ and the final judgments. God can technically do whatever he wants but has chosen of himself to delegate authority to men and angels.
Much of what happens on earth hangs in the balance because of this delegated authority. Thus, we will be judged for what we did with what we were given. Eternal souls can be lost because of the laziness or disobedience of the church.
Mankind has been given free will. Thus, man will be rightly judged for his sins before a holy God. It is possible for man to resist the Holy Spirit and willingly choose to go to Hell. It is equally possible to resist temptation and choose to obey God and receive his salvation.
It is not for us to criticize God for whether or not every person got the same number of chances to repent and receive the gospel. God will judge rightly depending on what each person was given.
Baptism & Communion
Water baptism and holy communion are sacraments that Christ commanded his followers to observe. They are more than mere symbols. Real spiritual power is imparted to free us from the grip of the devil and the pull of sin.
Water baptism should be administered as soon as possible upon confession of faith in Christ. It is the identification with the death and resurrection of Christ and the breaking of demonic power and association with the old life of sin. It is a ceremony of the conversion experience and regeneration by the Holy Spirit.
The requirement of classes, membership to a specific church, or any other hindrance of this sacrament is unbiblical and dangerous. Baptisms can be performed by anyone who is a believer and follower of Christ.
In certain very rare circumstances such as someone receiving Christ on their death bed such as the thief on the cross, confession and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ are sufficient for salvation. In all other cases, every believer should be water baptized after confession and repentance.
Infant baptisms are not a once and for all salvation guarantee. Each man must make his own decision to follow Christ, repent of sin, and be baptized in order to be saved. For this reason, I prefer infant dedications to the Lord wherein they will hopefully make a decision to follow Christ as they mature.
Abortion & Redemption
There were three times in history where Satan launched an all out attack against the unborn. The first was during the time of Moses. The second was at the birth of Christ. And now he is doing it again. What does this tell us? We are living in an age where God is raising up a generation of deliverers before the second coming of Christ. Satan’s purpose is to kill the holy seed before it can reach maturity. But he will fail just as he did in the past.
All the precious children killed in the great genocide (aborted at the hands of murderous doctors and deceived women) will be in Heaven. Jesus said that if they are blind they would not be guilty of sin. But since they claim to see, their guilt remains. I do not presume to know exactly when God will hold a young child to account for his/her actions but at some point, they will have grown wise enough to know the good and reject the evil. This doctrine is often referred to as the “age of accountability.”
If you are contemplating abortion, please don’t. You would be murdering a life that God has created. Consider giving your baby up for adoption.
If you have had an abortion(s) in your past, there is healing and forgiveness for you if you repent and turn to Jesus Christ.
The Mission of the Church
It is the business of every Christian to fulfill the Great Commission in Matthew 28 to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.
Pew filling, song singing, class attending, luke-warm Christianity that doesn’t forcefully and lovingly break into the rest of life and cares nothing for the world that is on its way to Hell is an offense to God. We are on a mission.
The Christian life will include persecution and suffering. Anyone who teaches otherwise is a heretic. (The desire to avoid persecution is at the root of the false prosperity gospel.) The Bible plainly declares through every example in Scripture a life of refinement through suffering. Christ learned obedience through suffering. Paul writes that all who desire to live godly in Christ will suffer persecution.
In our journey of maturity in Christ, persecution and suffering will test us and make us more like Jesus. Embrace it! And rejoice that you get to participate in the sufferings of Christ so that you may also partake of his glory.
All available technological means ought to be employed to distribute and proclaim the gospel.
Water baptism should be by full immersion unless this is not possible.
Church is not a building or something we go to. We are the church. Therefore, large corporate gathering and small intimate gatherings are all legitimate. Church is expressed wherever “two or three are gathered together in Jesus’ name.”
Worship can and should include all the Biblical examples such as music, singing, dancing, bowing down, clapping, lifting of our hands, shouts of joy and the like. There is a time to be silent, but most Biblical worship was exciting and active. Quiet reservedness out of the fear of man does not please God. Worship is also reflected through our financial giving and making sacrifices to God of our lives and time.
God is fun. We still get to enjoy life and the pleasures of life as long as they don’t become an idol. By pleasures I certainly don’t mean sin of any kind.
Government & Authority
We believe in gender roles and submission to authority. Authority is expressed in Christ’s submission to the Father and in the disciples’ submission to Christ. Submission means obedience.
Both men and women must learn submission within God’s order. Men should be submitted to the Word of God (its general principles and teachings) as well as connected to other mature men of God to whom they must give account. This may be a pastor, group of peers, elders or other form of Biblical government. We are all ultimately accountable to God, but God uses men to express his rule on earth. Honoring authority honors God.
In the church, God has appointed the five fold ministry to govern, equip and strengthen his people. In some cases a prophet is raised up who confronts the establishment. This is not rebellion, but rather God setting his house in order through his prophet. (This happens historically when the church or Israel has reached such a state of corruption that the government is an abomination to God due to wickedness.)
In general also men should submit to the laws of the land unless these laws directly violate God’s laws. We must render unto Caesar what is his while not giving him what is God’s. A man ought to obey his employer in like fashion.
Regarding gender roles, God has assigned men to lead the church and their own households. Paul’s exhortation to submit to one another in Ephesians is not an abolition of gender roles or a proof text of egalitarianism. We read this as a general attitude of yieldedness to our brethren in Christ. (i.e. a humble attitude) Throughout both the Old and New Testaments including the epistles, the clear distinction of male government is given. This is God’s righteous order. (Even secular evidence bears witness to the importance and influence of the man over his family and in the home. This is precisely why the devil has tried to destroy godly male leadership.)
We now live in a day and age of mass confusion and deception about gender roles, gender identity and sexuality. The desire to reverse men and women’s roles or to undo one’s natural sex and all other such perversions are sinful and demonic in nature. This is the operation of the Jezebel spirit.
Women are not to be apostles, teaching, or leading men. The Bible testifies to the participation but not the authority of women in the work of ministry. There are many places in Scripture where women were used by God to accomplish wonderful things, which we celebrate. But this isn’t to be confused with putting a woman in a position of authority over a man. In the home, women should be submitted to their husbands as unto the Lord (unless the husband entices the wife to commit sin.) A woman’s submission does not mean she is oppressed. On the contrary, God values her submission.
Lastly, children should obey their parents until they grow up and become independent. Afterwards, they are to continue to honor their mother and father.
Those who are offended by God’s order are ignorant of Scripture. The kingdom of God has hierarchy and does not declare that all government, giftings or callings are equal. (We will be judged equally based on what we were given.)
We do not believe one’s worth is defined by wealth, power or status. Renouncing that lie sets us free from covetousness.
In conclusion, government is God’s idea. Jesus said that, “To whom much is given, much will be required.” and the apostle James reminds us that, “Those who teach will be judged more strictly.” Those who occupy places of authority need to take those positions seriously with a righteous measure of fear because God will hold such men accountable. Jesus modeled that kingdom power and authority should be used to serve humanity and not for selfish purposes. Let those appointed to lead do so with truth and love.