God is the superhuman, supernatural existence, which created the universe, the world, mankind, all life forms, animals and plants and all inanimate existence that is contained in the universe. He also created the general heavens and the Heaven of heavens where he abides, and angelic beings.
He is not the author of any form of moral evil. He is self-existent, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, all wise, holy, just, and good.
He is comprised of three distinct personalities: God the Father, God the Son [Jesus] and God the Holy Ghost. They are all Spirit and are three in One.
- Self-Existent ---- John 5:26, Psalm 36:7
- Eternity---- Psalm 90:2, Isaiah 57:15
- Spirituality---- John 4:24
- Unity----Isaiah 45:21
- Immutability----Malachi 3:6, James 1:17
- Omnipresence----Jeremiah 23:24, Acts 17:27-28
- Omniscience----Acts 15:18, Hebrews 4:13
- Omnipotence----Romans 1:20, Matthew 19:26
- Wisdom----Daniel 2:20, Romans 11:33
- Holiness and Truth----1 Peter 1:16, Hab. 1:13, Titus 1:2
- Justice----Psalm 89:14, Acts 10:34-35
- Goodness----Romans 2:4, John 3:16, Psalm 136:26, 1Peter 5:10
- Faithfulness----2Thess 3:3, Hebrews 11:11, Isaiah 26:1, 1 Cor.10:13
The Bible is the inspired Word of God and it expresses the mind of God, his will and purpose for mankind. It is written in a majestic simplicity such that the unlearned can know its truth. It laws, revelations, prophecies, moral code are not only divine but also eternal.
It contains the answers to all things pertaining to life and godliness (1Peter 1:3). It holds the key to life and death and solves the problem of sin. Although those who penned the Bible were divinely inspired, they do not claim authorship for its writings (2 Peter 1:21).
To understand its truths one must have the aid of the Spirit of God. We solicit his aid as a penitent, one seeking to be delivered from sin or as a child of God seeking to know how to perform more perfectly its mandates.
It is our belief that the King James Version of the Bible best expresses the written word of God although we use the aid of other translations in study.
God created man in His image on the sixth day of creation (Genesis1:26). He was created in the image of God, in that he possessed God’s characteristic holiness. He also became a “living soul”, which is the eternal part of man. Man was given one moral law in the Garden of Eden, which he disobeyed and thereby lost his holy estate. Disobedience to God’s law caused sin to enter into what was intended to be a paradise for man. Man was driven out of the garden, lest he eat of the Tree of Life and live forever in a sinful condition. With the garden closed to man, there would be no possibility of a physical state of paradise on earth. Therefore, all of Adam and Eve’s procreation would be born in the image of Adam’s carnal nature and not God’s nature of holiness.
PROBLEM OF SIN
Sin is an unfortunate fact that exists as a result of disobedience to the laws of God. Man is personally responsible to seek God for a way out of the state of sin. Man’s disobedience went directly against God’s will and purpose for his prized creation.
Several scriptures let us know that sin is a universal problem to all mankind. (Psalm 51:5, Isaiah 53:6, Roman 3:23, 1 John 1:18)
PLAN OF REDEMPTION
Since man forfeited his right to inhabit a physical paradise where all of his physical and spiritual needs would be met, God immediately set about to initiate a plan to provide man with a spiritual paradise where he could dwell on earth.
Since death entered into the world by sin, God also prepared a place in the Heaven of heavens where he dwells for man to abide after his life on earth has ended. Man cannot redeem himself from sin; it took a power outside of man to bring about his return to God and his Holiness.
After God spoke to the woman promising the Messiah (Genesis 3:15), he also spoke to Abraham in Genesis 22:18 promising all nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed.
The Mosaic Law was as a ‘schoolmaster’ pointing with laser precision to Christ, the Redeemer (Gal 3:24). Moses, himself spoke of Christ in Deuteronomy 18:15.
The prophets repeatedly foretold of God providing a plan of salvation for the souls of mankind. (Psalms 2:2, 45:2; Isaiah 9:6, 61:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Ezekiel 17:22; Daniel 2:34,44; 9:25; Micah 5:2; Haggai 2:7; Zechariah 6:12-13, 9:9, 13:1; Malachi 3:1)
CHRIST AND THE ATONEMENT
Since sin was a universal problem affecting all men born into the world, the resolving of the problem necessitated a power both human and divine. Isaiah 59:16 states, “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was not intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him”.
Man’s humanity could not save him and he possessed no divinity in his character to save himself, therefore it was of necessity that His Son be made flesh, thus the Incarnation of the Word (John 1:14). A virgin was sought, a godly woman in whom the seed of the Word could be planted. God chose the handmaid Mary in Luke 1:30-31. Prophecy concerning this even is found in Isaiah 7:14-16.
We need not think that it was impossible for Christ to fail, for as long as a man is in the flesh, failure becomes plausible. Christ chose to trust in His divine attributes, which were not subject to failure. He lived a consistent, holy, Godly, sinless life. As 1Peter 2:22 states, "who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth."
An atonement for the sins of the world was needed. Christ alone met the requirements. The Old Testament set the pattern of animal sacrifice and shedding of blood for sin. However, more than animal blood was needed (Hebrews 9:22; 10:1-10).
Christ's vicarious suffering and sacrifice for sin satisfied God's justice such that the sentence of death on all mankind was annulled when man accepted the terms of the atonement. The death and resurrection of Jesus made it possible for man to be reconciled back to God. (Matthew 1:21; Isaiah 25:8; Luke 1:79; John 5:24; Roman 5:19-21)
CONDITIONS FOR SALVATION
Even though Christ made atonement for the sins of the world, reaping the benefits is on condition. That condition is that the individual must repent of their sins. [Matthew 3:2; Luke 13:2-3; Acts 3:19, 8:22, 17:30] However, before one can repent, he must become spiritually awakened to such a need. It is the work of the Word and the Spirit to visit the soul of man and cause him to become consciously aware that he is a sinner and only in his acknowledgement of the blood of Christ and repentance can he be saved from the sentence of eternal death. [John 6:55; Acts 4:12; 1Cor 1:21]
Conviction is another term for spiritual awakening. As the soul is awakened to how his sins have grieved and pierced the heart of God, his honest acknowledgement of his sinful condition will cause him to become godly sorrowful. [2Cor 7:10-11] Godly sorrow or contrition, which is regret for living sinful before God, causes one to be willing to repent. Repentance involves confessing and forsaking the life of sin; as one becomes sorry enough to quit sinful living and also to make restitution for past sins.
Restitution means: the act of making good any loss, injury or damage; restoration. God demonstrates his pleasure with our contrition by justifying us by the blood of Jesus. [Psalm 34:18; 51:17]
The meaning of salvation is deliverance from sin, which through the blood of Jesus grants the individual the ability to live a sin-free life. Through faith in the blood of Jesus one possesses power to refuse sinful temptations and choose to be right. Salvation is a definite, positive spiritual work in the heart. [Ezekiel 36:25-26]
Justification is the legal term used to express salvation. Which means that all our sins have been laid on Jesus the sacrificial Lamb and taken away [Psalm 103:12]. His righteousness is imputed to us by faith. [Romans 4:1-8; 5:1] Conversion is another term for the work wrought in the heart, mind and spirit. [Psalm 51:13; Acts 3:19; Matthew 18:3; Luke 22:32]
A HOLY LIFE
Matthew 1:21 states, “and she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The New Will and Testament left by Jesus at his death and resurrection enables man to live a holy life. Holy means without sin. It is taught throughout the New Testament that God expects us to live holy. Jesus taught that the gospel standard was living free from sin. [John 8:3-11, 34-36] the apostle declares “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” [1Peter 2:21-22] Paul also taught living a holy life. [1 Cor. 15:34-35; Romans 6:1-2, 11-12, 14, 17-18, 22]. The apostle John taught in his epistles that …” the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” [1John 1:7-9]. Also 1 John 3:6, 5:13 teaches the same principle of a sinless life.
According to the scriptures, worldliness is sin, besides the transgression of God’s laws. Sin is also defined in 1John 3:4; 5:17; James 4:17. However, in 1 John 2:15-16 we are taught that to partake of the spirit of the world is sin. Jesus taught in John 17:14-16 that God’s people are not of the world and prayed that they be kept from the evil of the world. We are taught not set to our affection on the things of this world [Col 3:1-2]. Other scriptures teach us to forsake the world in Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:2; Galatians 1:4; John 15:19; 2 Timothy 2:22.
The apostle Paul warns us not to be conformed to this world in Romans 12:2. We are taught to adorn our lives with the fruit of the Spirit in Gal 5:22-23 when we display the beauties of salvation to the lost world.
Sanctification is the second phase of the work of salvation. It is commonly referred to as the second work of grace. After one repents of his volition or committed sins, assuming full responsibility for his sins through repentance, another need manifests itself. There it is soon discovered, ‘a foe’ in the temple not subject to God. The Adamic nature or the inherent sin, or the ‘sin principle’ is what all men are born with after the fall in the garden. There is a definite inclination after being justified to be selfish and to be disinclined to suffer. If left to its own devices, it will lead a man back into sin. The need for sanctification is symbolized in type in the Old Testament by the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. The crossing of the Red Sea symbolizes justification and the crossing of Jordan symbolizes sanctification.
Also, 1Kings 19:4-8 teaches us that the angel of the Lord touched the prophet Elijah once and then twice,” because the journey is too great for thee”. Another type is found in the New Testament in Mark 8:22-25 we see that when the blind man received the first touch he saw men as trees, but after the second touch, he ‘saw’ every man clearly. Sanctification involves consecration, a cleansing of inherent sin, and infilling of the Holy Ghost. Webster states sanctification as: the act of God’s grace by which the affections of men are purified, or alienated from sin and the world and exalted to a supreme love to God. Scriptures referring to this subject include: 2 Thess. 2:13; Rom 12:1-2; John 17:17 Eph 5:25-26; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Thess. 5:23-24; 2 Tim 2:21.
The New Testament does not teach that speaking in tongues is evidence of having received the Holy Ghost. In Acts 2:1-8 we notice the disciples heard each other praising God in his own native tongue or language, without the need of an interpreter. Paul exhorts the brethren in 1Cor. 14:27-28 that speaking in an unknown tongue or language was not to be permitted in their assemblies without an interpreter. That is if a congregation is predominately Greek and one begins to testify or prophesy in Italian, he could not edify the congregation, because they do not know the language. Again, sanctification is for those that are justified and not for the unsaved. 1Cor. 14:22 is very clear, “wherefore tongues (as witnessed in Acts) are for a sign, not to them that believe, but for them which believe not.”
We must first understand that divine healing is a righteous principle that was in the mind of God before the foundation of the world, as were all principles of Truth.
The Old Testament taught divine healing as God told Moses in Exodus 15:26 …”I am the Lord who healeth thee”. Also in Psalms 103:2-3…”who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thine diseases.” God worked miracles of healing thru Elijah in 1 Kings 4:32:37. However, it was made one of the benefits of salvation by Christ. There was a provision in the atonement, not only for the redemption of the soul, but also for the redemption of the body. Jesus said in Matthew 9:5…”for whether it is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee’ or to say Arise and walk”. It was prophesied in Isaiah 53:5 “… and with his stripes we are healed”. Jesus performed more miracles of healing than could be recorded in the Bible, but he commissioned his disciples as he sent them forth, “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8 before he ascended to sit at his Father’s right hand, he commissioned them to, “… go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover”. Mark 16:15-18.
The Acts of the Apostles gives us examples of the above scripture being fulfilled. Also, 3 John 2 states,
“beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
When we live holy before God we can expect God to heal us of our physical afflictions. God gave instruction to the church as to what to do when we are sick, in James 5:14-16 ”Is any sick among you? let him call the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; an if he hath committed sin; they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” It was not a benefit merely for the Early Morning Church, but was meant as a permanent benefit offered to the Church of all ages. [Heb 13:8]
UNITY OF BELIEVERS
In John 10:1-16 we are informed that “…there shall be one fold and one shepherd” [verse 16]. Jesus declares that he is the door of entrance into the sheepfold [verse 7]. Jesus knows his sheep by name and the sheep likewise ‘know his voice and will not follow the voice of a stranger [verses 4-5]. He also says “…the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” and that a hireling, who is not the shepherd “careth not for the sheep” [verse 13].
The 17th chapter of John finds Jesus praying for the ones of his disciples (sheep) and he also gives conditions of this unity or oneness of believers. First, they must be believers, that are justified and not of this world [vs.6,9,14,17]. Second, they must also “keep the word”. [vs. 6] Holy Father keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.” [vs. 11] They can only be kept through the name of God, not the name of Christ, or the Holy Ghost, but “ through thine own name”. We also learn that to achieve perfected unity, believers must be sanctified [vs. 17-21].
The bible contains many scriptures declaring that Christ has one body, or one Church, and that he is the head of the body. [Eph. 2:16; Col 3:15; 1 Cor 12;13; Col 1:13; Eph5:30]. This body or church of God can only have unity through the Spirit of God [Eph. 4:3]. Ephesians 4:4-16 teaches us that “there is one body, on Spirit, one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in you all.” God’s people also have ‘no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness’. [Eph 5:11]. They also possess ‘one mind’ as they strive for the faith of the gospel. [Phil 1:27]
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
Jesus established an eternal truth to his disciples as he taught them that he would build his church ‘upon this rock…. And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it’. [Matt 16:18] The apostle Paul further taught in Ephesians 2:20 that his church was ‘built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone’. This scripture certainly eliminates any thought of the Church being built on Peter. True enough, Cephas does mean a stone, but he was just one of the stones the Church was built on and not the ‘chief cornerstone.’
Moses’ tabernacle and the temple at Jerusalem were a type of the Church. [Exodus 25:8; 1Kings 8:10; Zech 6:12-13]. We also have reference to the Old Testament building representing the Church in Hebrew 9:1-14; 1Timothy 3:5; 1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 2:20-22.
Salvation is the only means of access into the Church [John 10:9; 1Cor 12:13; John 3:3, 1:12-13; Psalm 87:5-6.]
It is a spiritually organized institution. [1 Cor.12:13, 18] It was born or fully organized on the day of Pentecost in AD 33.
The only means of evil from the church is sin in our life. There is no unsaved people in the Church [ John 10:9-10; Exodus 32:33; Ephesians 5:27.]
God himself named his church [Eph 3:14-15]. The scripture teaches that every local church was simply the church of God. [Gal 1:13; 1 Cor1:2, 11-22; 2 Cor 1:1] As such, no man could join God’s church, but must be saved. [Acts 2:41-47, 5:13-14] God promises to ‘spue thee out of my mouth’ [Rev. 3:16] if we do not met conditions of holiness. God is responsible for ministers taking the oversight of a local congregation. [Acts 20:28] God alone gives out his gifts. [1 Cor. 12:18,28-31]
All members of the Church of God are equal in the sight of God. [1Cor 12:13; Gal. 3:28] the bible teaches no ecclesiastical hierarchy in the church, but rather equality of members. The term bishop in the New Testament does not mean what the sect world has made it to mean. It simply means ‘overseer’, elder or pastor and not one having oversight over a district of ministers.
Women and men are of equal status in the church of God. [Gal 3:28]
Baptism as a Greek word means only one thing--- immersion. It does not mean to pour or sprinkle with water, but to be immersed. Believers are only to be baptized and not infants. [Mark 16:15-16; Acts 8:12]. Baptism is according to 1Peter 3:21, “ the answer of a good conscience toward God”. Baptism is a burial symbolic of one dying to sin and being resurrected to “walk in the newness of life” [Romans 6:4]
The conditions for baptism is to first bring forth fruit meet for repentance. Matt 3:7-8 which means being contrite or having godly sorrow. [2 Cor. 7:10] Afterward one is in an attitude of heart to confess their sins. Matthew 3:1-6 it is an ordinance of the New Testament Church established by Jesus. He made himself an example of baptism in Matt 3:13-17. God expressed his approval by saying, “ this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
THE LORD’S SUPPER
The term the Lord’s Supper is found in 1 Corinthians 11:20. It is the ordinance of the New Testament Church and was instituted by Jesus himself in Matthew 26:26-28. It is not a regular meal, as Paul admonished the brethren in 1 Corinthians 11:20-22. He goes on to describe what the Lord gave him to deliver to the Church in vs. 23-26 of the same chapter. He specifies its purpose ‘this do in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come.’ It is a memorial service for the express purpose of reminding us of the great price that was paid for the remission of our sins. It is also a type of our fellowship of his sufferings. [Philippians 3:10]
Those who are not redeemed by the blood of the Lamb are not worthy of partaking of the Lord’s body. [1 Corinthians 11:27-29] We are to continue to honor this ordinance ‘till he comes.’
Jesus also instituted the ordinance of feetwashing. Many exclude this ordinance as not being necessary to practice, however, the scriptures say otherwise. Jesus, after the Passover supper was ended, arose from supper, ‘laid aside his garments and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded’ [John 13:2-17] He teaches that it was a test of fellowship in that he told Peter, ‘…if I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.” He explains that it has nothing to do with the Old Testament custom of offering a basin of water to a traveler to was his own feet; but that he was establishing something that he wanted them to practice after he ascended to heaven. He says ‘If I therefore, your Lord and master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet’. The word “ought”, carries the weight of a command. In conclusion he says, ‘if you know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.’