God is the author of life’s story.
God is the Creator of the entire universe. He is one triune God, eternally existing in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; co-eternal in being, co-eternal in nature, co-equal in power and glory, having the same attributes and perfections. He is the one and only true God. The best, most enduring joy is found in Him. He is our greatest need and the only One who can satisfy the deepest longings of our lives. (Further Reading: Genesis 1:1-31; Colossians 1:15-17; I John 5:7; John 1:1-4)
God tells us His story in a book.
God revealed Himself and His purposes in a book, the Bible. It was written by men divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. The teachings of this Book are the highest authority for everything we believe and practice. It is completely relevant for our daily lives, and it contains everything we need to know to do God’s will. It is trustworthy and completely accurate in telling us the story of God’s loving initiative in rescuing us from the effects of our sin and setting everything right under the reign of Christ. (Further Reading: Romans 12:1-2; I Peter 1:23-25; II Peter 1:20-21; II Timothy 3:16-17)
It’s a true story.
God’s story is true in that it is consistent with His own nature. God desires for people to know and live the truth. That truth is found in the person of Jesus as revealed in the Bible. Even though our understanding of God is incomplete, He is, nevertheless, the standard of all that is true. Because the story is true, it fits with our own experience of life in all of its complexity. (Further Reading: John 14:6; I Timothy 2:3-4; John 8:32; James 1:17-18; I John 5:20)
It’s the story of a King and His people.
God is establishing a Kingdom. He is extending the reign of His Son, Jesus Christ, over all the earth. The Bible calls us to seek the realization of this Kingdom as our first priority in life. Jesus taught us to pray, “Father, Your Kingdom come.” Wherever Jesus is acknowledged as King in personal repentance, faith, and obedience, there the Kingdom manifests itself. It is, therefore, a present reality, but its fullest expression is still to come. Our goal is not the advancement of a single church, association, or movement, but this Kingdom of Jesus Christ. (Further Reading: Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Matthew 4:23; Matthew 6:10; Matthew 6:33; Matthew 7:13; Matthew 18:3; Luke 1:33; John 3:3; John 18:36; Romans 14:17; I Corinthians 4:20; Colos-sians 1:13; Hebrews 12:28)
It is a story of Good News!
Best news ever: That God is reconciling the world to Himself in Jesus Christ, and all who submit to Jesus as King become part of His forever Kingdom. All their sins are forgiven, they are adopted into God’s family and enjoy the promise of eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. (Further Reading: I Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 1:16; Matthew 28:19-20)
Jesus is the star of God’s story.
Jesus is the story of God becoming a man to save the ones He loves, and that includes everyone. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin that He might redeem mankind. He is the only plan for bringing people who are broken, enemies of God, imperfect, and hopeless into a right relationship with God. He lived a perfect, sinless life, so that He could take our place in satisfying God’s demands for perfection. Jesus defeated death in His resurrection so that we could have life. He is the King of all the universe, head of the Church, hope of the world, and is soon returning to the earth to restore all things. (Further Reading: Luke 23; Luke 24; John 1; John 3:16-18; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 3:16-17; Acts 4:12; I Timothy 2:3-6; Titus 3:4-7; Hebrews 4:14-15)
The story has the power to transform your life.
Jesus did not come to take perfect people to heaven. He came to save people who know they need a Savior. Mankind was made in the image of God, but through Adam’s sin the race fell, inherited a sinful nature, and became separated from God. Relationship with God was broken. Everyone has violated God’s Law (The Ten Commandments), and because of that we cannot attain a right relationship with God by any means of our own. The only hope we have is through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The blood of Jesus, shed on the cross, provides the only way of salvation and forgiveness of sin.
Salvation occurs when a person places their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus as sufficient payment for their sin, making Jesus the King of their life. Salvation is a gift from God to broken people and cannot be earned through their own efforts.
Those who know their own spiritual bankruptcy are those most blessed by God. Life change is experienced only as we acknowledge our frailties, imperfections, and tendencies to rebel against Christ’s reign. As His followers we are in the process of becoming what He calls us to be. (Further Reading: Romans 3:9-28; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-13; Ephesians 2:1-9)
Families are for learning the story.
The primary context for growing disciples of Jesus Christ is the family. It is here that children learn to love, trust, and treasure Christ. It is within the closest relationships of the family that the fruit of the Holy Spirit is most clearly displayed. How we behave in relationships with those closest to us is what validates the authenticity of our Christian faith. Christ-centered marriages and families become a showcase for the Gospel. The church bears the responsibility of equipping parents to disciple their children. The parents are to assume the role of primary teachers and not abdicate it to the church, school, government, media, or the child’s peers. (Further Reading: Ephesians 5:21-6:4; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Colossians 3:18-20)
THE HOLY SPIRIT
You are part of God’s story.
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God who reveals our brokenness and sinfulness and draws our hearts and consciouses toward Jesus. He convicts people of their sin, God’s righteousness, and coming judgment.
When a person places their faith in Christ they are immediately indwelt by the Holy Spirit, given new life, and made a child of God. The Holy Spirit secures us as God’s children. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, exercises His leadership by giving gifts to His people that are to be used in the context of the local church. Each of us has a spiritual gift or gifts that contribute to the health and effectiveness of the church. Without each gift, the church’s life is diminished. We serve best, most productively, and experience the most pleasure by serving in our area of giftedness.
We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life more than any gifts someone may have. In other words, being like Jesus is more important than having great talent. God is working everything in our lives together for the highest good so that we might more clearly reflect the character of Jesus. (Further Reading: John 14:16-17, 26; John 16:8-15; I Corinthians 2:10-16; Romans 8:1-17, 26-27; Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 1:13-14; I Corinthians 3:16-17)
God wants us to tell His story.
History has not come to a close because God has not saved all those He intends to save. The church does not exist for herself but is to be a means of reaching others with the great news of what God has done and is doing through Jesus Christ. We are God’s method of communicating His story to those who have never heard it, have grown hardened toward it, or don’t believe the story is for them. Therefore we believe we must be strategic and intentional with the Gospel as we go about our daily lives. The mandate Jesus gave us was to make disciples who make disciples. (Further Reading: Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; I Timothy 3:3-6)
Church is for celebrating and living out the story.
The church is a local community of baptized believers, unified through faith in Christ. It is committed to the teachings of Christ, to obeying all of His commands, and to seek to bring the gospel to the entire world, beginning in their own backyard. The church works together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ.
The church is not a building, but a group of people whom Jesus has sent out as missionaries to their neighbors, their cities, and their world.
Church is exciting only when God’s story is central to everyone else’s story. When God is at work advancing the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and transforming people in His name, our shared life as Christians is deeply meaningful. Two special ways we celebrate the story of God is through baptism (immersion in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) and the Lord’s Supper (a holy ritual where we remember the body and blood of Jesus). (Further Reading: Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:20-21; 5:21-30; Acts 2:41-42; I Corinthians 11:23-26; 12:12-27)
God’s story is a never ending story.
Mankind was created to exist forever. He will either exist eternally separate from God by sin or in union with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with God is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. (Further Reading: John 3:16, 36; Romans 6:23; 1 John 2:25; 5:11-13; Revelation 20:15)
“In the essential beliefs,we have unity. In the non-essential beliefs, we have liberty. In all our beliefs, we show charity (love).” ~Augustine