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WHAT TO EXPECT 2017-11-21T11:02:13+00:00

WHAT WE TEACH

Salvation

Salvation is wholly of God by grace on the basis of the redemption of Jesus Christ, the merit of His shed blood, and not on the basis of human merit or works (John 1:12; Eph. 1:7; 2: 8-10; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, sanctification, and glorification. (Rom. 8:29-30; Heb. 9:14, 22)

Regeneration, or the new birth, is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, wrought by 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. It is instantaneous in occurrence and eternal in duration.

a. Justification before God is an act of God (Rom. 8:33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; Isa. 55:6-7), and confess Him as sovereign Lord (Rom. 10:9-10; 1 Cor. 12:3; 2 Cor. 4:5; Phil. 2:11). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Rom. 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Col. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21).

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.

b. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart unto God by justification, and is therefore declared to be holy and identified as a saint. This sanctification is positional and instantaneous and should not be confused with progressive sanctification. This sanctification has to do with the believer’s standing, not his present walk or condition (Acts 20:32; 1 Cor.1:2, 30; 6:11; 2 Thess. 2:13; Heb. 2:11; 3:1; 10:10, 14; 13:12; 1 Pet. 1:2).

There is also a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more Christ-like (John 17:17, 19; Rom. 6:1-22; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Thess. 4:3-4; 5:23).

In this respect, the believer is involved in a daily conflict – the new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh – for which victory is provided through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, the struggle stays with the believer throughout this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims of the eradication of sin in this life are unscriptural. Eradication of sin is not possible, but the Holy Spirit does provide for victory over sin (Gal. 5:16-25; Eph. 4:22-24; Phil. 3:12; Col. 3:9-10; 1 Pet. 1:14-16; 1 John 3:5-9).

c. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed in the presence of God. In the glorified state, sin is eradicated in the life and body of the believer, thus believers possess an immortal body (1 Cor. 15: 52-54; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3: 1-2).

The Sovereignty of God and Election

The God of the Bible is the creator of the whole visible and invisible universe and He is the sovereign ruler of it. From all eternity, He freely and unchangeably, in His most holy wisdom, ordained whatsoever comes to pass. To use the words of Paul, God does “all things according to the counsel of His will” (Ephesians 1:11), having sovereign control of all events from the events of rulers and nations (Daniel 4:25, 32, 34-35) to the flight of a sparrow (Matthew 10:29).

In particular, God’s sovereignty is worked out in the area of salvation. To ensure that the salvation of sinners abounds to the praise of God’s glory, God saves His people by grace alone apart from works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). The sovereignty of God’s grace is seen in God’s unconditional election of His people out of the mass of sinful humanity for salvation (Romans 8:29, 9:6-23; Ephesians 1:4), the glorious atonement of Christ which actually accomplishes the salvation of God’s people (I Peter 3:18), the irresistible grace of God’s effectual call (Romans 8:30; I Peter 2:9) and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:26ff; John 3:4; Titus 3:5) which enable and move a person to respond to the gospel of Christ in saving faith, and God’s persevering in grace with his saints (I Peter 1:5; Jude 1; John 10:28-30; Philippians 1:6) so that His people will in fact persevere to the end and be saved. It is consistent with and does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (John 3:18-19, 36; 5:40; Rom. 9:22-23; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Rev. 22:17). It is a glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility.

Spiritual Gifts

We teach, in this respect, that God the Holy Spirit is sovereign in the bestowing of all His gifts for the perfecting of the saints today, and that the gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongues, and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of authenticating the message and ministry of the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers, and therefore have ceased in operation (1 Cor. 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12; Heb. 2:1-4).

There were two kinds of gifts given to the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing (as stated, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostle’s message), and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. With the New Testament revelation now complete, Scripture becomes the sole test of the authenticity of a man’s message, and confirming gifts of a miraculous nature are no longer necessary to validate a man or his message (1 Cor. 13:8-12). Miraculous gifts can even be counterfeited by Satan so as to deceive even believers (1 Cor. 13:13-14:12; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Rev. 13:13-14). The only gifts in operation today are those nonrevelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Rom. 12:6-8). No one possesses the gift of healing today, but God does hear and answer the prayer of faith and will answer in accordance with His own perfect will for the sick, suffering, and afflicted (Lk. 18:1-6; John 5:7-9; 2 Cor. 12: 6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14-15).

Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper (Acts 2:38-42). We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28-19; Acts 8:36-39). It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin, and in resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible Body of Christ (Acts 2:41-42). Being a church ordinance, it is a prerequisite to the privileges of church membership (Rom. 6:3-6).

The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act commemorating and proclaiming the covenant secured by Christ’s death until He comes, and should always be preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Cor. 11:28-32). Whereas the elements of Communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, participation in the Lord’s Supper is nevertheless and an actual communion with the risen and living Christ, who indwells every believer, and so is spiritually present in the worship His saints at the Table, fellowshipping with them and enabling them to persevere in faith according to His sovereign grace (1 Cor. 10:16).

WHAT TO EXPECT

During the Service

Our services typically last approximately 90 minutes. We normally begin with a musical prelude, followed by a reading of a Psalm and congregational singing. We then have public Scripture reading, followed by prayer and singing to prepare our hearts for the sermon. We close the service with the offering, announcements, and the final benediction. We normally administer the Lord’s Supper on the first Sunday morning of each month.

Childcare

Nursery is available for infants and children through age 3 for all church services.

Children’s Church is held during the pastor’s sermon on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of each month for children age 4 through 4th grade.

The Sermon

Since we endeavor for all aspects of our worship to be shaped and permeated by the Word of God, we value fervent, Biblical, expository, Spirit-anointed, God-exalting, personally-helpful preaching. Sermons are typically 45-60 minutes. Listen online.

Music and Singing

Because we believe that worship is primarily about God, our worship services are designed mainly for the benefit of believers to express corporately their passion for the greatness of God with such joy and reverence that unbelievers who are present may also be awakened and give Him glory.

Again, because we believe that worship is primarily about God, we do not give priority of consideration to questions of personal preference or opinions about style. Rather, we value the importance and variety of old and new, historic and current. So, we pray that “the Holy Spirit may lead us into ways of worship that are continuous with the historic witness of worship given to the church throughout its history in the world, and at the same time He may lead us into the discovery of new forms and patterns that meet the needs of the people of our day” (R. Webber, “Worship Old and New”). We will continue to be a “both/and” people that cherishes all the richness and freshness of a blend of casual and formal, contemporary and traditional, in our musical repertoire so that heartfelt joy and God-centered reverence is fostered among us.

We believe that musical instruments are to be an aid to worship, so we seek to use them in such a way that they do not distract attention from God to man, overpower the voices of the congregation, or manipulate the emotions, but rather assist in expressing genuine heartfelt worship toward God. Thus, we encourage freedom in worship that is God-honoring and authentic, allowing for Biblically appropriate responses to God’s multifaceted glory as we linger for extended periods in His presence.

View a recent Sunday Bulletin and get an idea of some of the songs we sing.