Encouragement

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing. -Zephaniah 3:17
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Saturday, 30 September 2006 15:27

The Scriptures

The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God's revelation of Himself to man. It is a Perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true Center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.


Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; 17:19; Joshua 8:34; Psalms 19:7-10; 119:11; 89, 105, 140; Isaiah 34:16, 40:8; Jeremiah 15:14, 36; Matthew 5:17-18, 22-29; Luke 21:33, 24:44-46; John 5:39, 16:13-15, 17:17; Acts 2:16, 17:11; Romans 15:4, 16:25-26; II Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2, 4:12; I Peter 1:25, II Peter 1:19-21


God


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. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. 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.


A. God the Father

God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace. He is all powerful, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.

Genesis 1:1; 2:7; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11; 20:1; Leviticus 2:22; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; I Chronicles. 29:10; Psalms 19:1-3; Isaiah 43:4; 15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; 17:13; Matthew 6:9; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-13; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; Romans 8:14.15; I Corinthians 8:4; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15; I Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 11:4; 12:9; I Peter 1:17; I John 5:7


B. God the Son

Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ he was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before His crucifixion. He ascended into heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One mediator, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells in all believers as the living and ever present Lord.

Genesis 18:1; Psalms 2:1; 110:1; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16; 27; 17:5, 27; 28:1-6; 19; Mark 1:1, 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18, 29; 10:30, 38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 16:15-16, 28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20, 28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5, 20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:21; 8:1-3, 34; 10:4; I Corinthians 30; 2:2, 8:6; 15:1-8, 24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; I Thessalonians 4:14-18; I Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15, 24-28; 12:2, 13:8; I Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; I John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; II John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16


C. God the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers, and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the assurance of God to bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.

Genesis 1:2; Judge 14:6; Job 26:13; Psalms 51:11; 139:7; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 3:16; 4.1; 12:28-32; 28:19; Mark 1:10,12; Luke 1:35; 4:1, 18-19; 11:13; 12:12; 24:29; John 4:24; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:14, 38; 4:31; 5:36; 3, 7:55; 8:17, 39; 10:44; 13:2; 15:28; 16:6; 19:1.6; Romans 8:9-11, 14-16, 26-27; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14, 3:16; 2:3-11; Galatians 4.6; Ephesians 4:30; 5:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:9; 1 Timothy 3:16; 4:1; 2 Timothy 1:14; 3:16; Hebrews 9:8, l4; 2 Peter 1-21; 1 John 4:13; 5:6-7; Revelation 1:10; 22:17


Man


Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence; whereby his posterity inherits a nature and an environment inclined toward Sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore every man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

Genesis 1:26-30; 2:5, 7, 18-22; 3; 9:6; Psalms 1; 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Matthew 16:26; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18, 23; 5:6,12,19; 6:6;7:14-25; 8:14-18, 29; I Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19, 21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22, 3:9-11


Salvation


Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, sanctification and glorification.


A. Regeneration

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness off all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.


B. Sanctification

Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual perfection through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.


C. Glorification

Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22 to 28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14, 29; 3:3-21, 36; 5:24; 10:9, 28-29; 15:1-6; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18, 29-39; 10:9-10, 13; 13:11-14; I Corinthians 1:18, 30; 6:19-20; 15:10; II Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:17; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; II Timothy 1:12; Titus 11-14; I Thessalonians 5:23-24; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8, 14; James 2:14-26; I Peter 1:2-23; I John 1:6 to 2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1 to 22:5


God's Purpose of Grace


Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a glorious display of God's sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-8; I Samuel 8:4-7, 19-22; Isaiah 5:1-7; Jeremiah 31:31; Matthew 16:18-19; 21:28-45; 24:22; 31; 25:34; Luke 1:68-79; 2:29-32; 19:41-44; 24:44-48; John 1:12-14; 3:16; 5:24; 6:44-45, 65; 10:27-29; 15:16; 17:6, 12, 17-18; Acts 20:32; Romans 5:9-10; 8:28-39; 10:12-15; 11:5-7, 26-36; I Corinthians 1:1-2; 15:24-28; Ephesians 1:4-23; 2:1-10; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:12-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; II Timothy 1:12; 2:10, 19; Hebrews 11:39-12:2; I Peter 1:2-5, 13; 2:4-10; I John 1:7-9;2:19; 3:2


The Church


A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ, committed to His teachings, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth.

This church is an autonomous body, operating through democratic processes under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In such a congregation members are equally responsible. The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages.

Matthew 16:15-19; 18:15-20; Acts 2:41-42, 47; 5:11-14; 6:3-6; 13:1-3; 14:23, 27; 15:1-30; 16:5; 20:28; Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:2; 3:16, 5:4-5; 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:18-11, 21; 5:22-32; Philippians 1:1; Colossians 1:18; I Timothy 3:1-15; 4:14; I Peter 5:14; Revelation 2-3; 21:2-3


The Lord's Day


The first day of the week is the Lord's Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, and by refraining from worldly amusements, and resting from secular employments, work of necessity and mercy only being excepted.

Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1; Mark 2:27-28; 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-3, 33-36; John 4:21-24; 20:1, 19-28; Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:1-2; Colossians 2:16; 3:16; Revelation 1:10


The Kingdom


The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.

Genesis 1:1; lsaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10, 23; 12:25-28, 3:1-52; 25:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; I Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10, 16, 12:28, I Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6, 9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-2


Last Things


God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised, and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

Isaiah 2:4; 11:9; Matthew 16:27; 18:8-9; 19:28; 24, 27, 30, 36, 44; 25:31-46; 26:64; Mark 8.38; 9:43-48; Luke 12:40, 48, 16:19-26; 17:22-37; 21:27-28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:11; 17:31; Romans 14:10; I Corinthians 4:5; 15:24-28; 35-58; II Corinthians 5:10; Philippians 3:20-21; Colossians 1:5; 3:4; I Thessalonians 4:14-18; 5:1; II Thessalonians 1:7; 2; I Timothy 6:14; II Timothy 4:1, 8; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 9:27-28; James 5:8; II Peter 3:7. I John 2:28


Evangelism & Missions


It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man's spirit of God's Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary effort on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ. It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by personal effort and by all other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ.

Genesis 12:1-3; Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 6:1-8; Matthew 9:37-38; 10:5-15; 13:18-30, 37-43; 16:19, 22:9-10; 24:14; 28:18-20; Luke 10:1-18; 242:46-53; John 14:11-12; 15:7-8, 16, 17:15; 20:21; Acts 1:8; 2; 8:26-40; 10:42-48; 13:2-3; Romans 10:13-15; Ephesians 3:1-11; Thessalonians 1:8; II Timothy 4:5; Hebrews 2:1-3;.11:39-12:2; I Peter 2:4-10; Revelation 22:17


Education


The cause of education in the kingdom of Christ is co-ordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian schools is necessary to complete spiritual program for Christ's people.

In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the preeminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the Scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5, 9, 14; 6:1-10; 31:12-13; Nehemiah 8:1-8; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:7; 119:11; Proverbs 3:13; 4:1-10; 8:1-7, 11; 15:14; Ecclesiastes 7:19; Matthew 5:2; 7:24; 28:19-20; Luke 2:40; I Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 4:11-16; Philippians 4:8; Colossians 2:3, 8-9; I Timothy 1:3-7; II Timothy 2:15; 3:14-17; Hebrews 5:12-6:3; James 1:5; 3:17


Stewardship


God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are we owe to Him. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore under obligation,to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer's cause on earth.

Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-32; Deuteronomy 8:18; Malachi 3:8-12; Matthew 6:1-4, 19-21; 19:21; 23:3; 25:14-29; Luke 12:16-21, 42; 16:1-13; Acts 2:44-47; 5:1-11; 17:24-25; 20:35; Romans 6:6-22; 12:1-2; I Corinthians 4:1-2; 6:19-20; 12; 16:1-4; Corinthians 8-9; 12:15; Philippians 4:10-19; I Peter 1:18-19


Cooperation


Christ's people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be obtained is self-justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed In the New Testament.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; I Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; II Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:16; Philippians 1:15-18

Last Updated on Friday, 24 October 2008 07:27
 

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