BELIEFS

According to the Bible, Jesus was much more than a good man or a good teacher. Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be God. While it seems hard to believe in our present day, it was no easier to believe 2,000 years ago. Even his own brothers doubted that he was God (John 7:5). 

After several years of performing miracles and teaching about the kingdom of God, Jesus was betrayed by one of his closest friends, arrested, beaten, and brutally executed. But on the following Sunday morning, the tomb where Jesus’ body had been laid was empty. He appeared to his followers, and many who doubted him before – including his earthly brothers who at one time thought he was crazy – all came to believe that Jesus was both God and the Savior who had come to offer his life for the forgiveness of sins.

WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS?

If you’re not sure and you’d like to talk to someone, please contact us or attend a worship service this weekend. You can also learn more by reading our Statement of Faith and Church Covenant. We’d love to meet you and help you understand what the Bible says about Jesus. Nothing is more important!

STATEMENT OF FAITH

THE SCRIPTURES

We believe Scripture, or the Bible, is the Word of God written to man. The Bible consists of the 66 books of Genesis to Revelation. God inspired human authors who, using their own unique gifts, passions, and communication style, wrote His Word (2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20–21). The Scriptures are inerrant in everything they address, including matters of faith, science, and history (Proverbs 30:5). The Scriptures are infallible and achieve the ends for which God intended them (Isaiah 55:11). The Scriptures are clear, “making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). The Scriptures are sufficient for faith and practice, and “are useful for teaching, correcting, rebuking, and training in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:17).

GOD

We believe God is the eternal, uncreated Creator and Sustainer of all things (Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16–17). He is the First and the Last, and beside him there is no god (Isaiah 44:6). This one God exists in three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2; Deuteronomy 6:4–5; Matthew 3:16–17) and each member of the Trinity is fully God. God is holy (Isaiah 6:3), unchanging (Malachi 3:6), omniscient (Isaiah 46:10), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7–8), omnipotent (Job 42:2; Luke 1:37), just (Deuteronomy 32:4), gracious (Exodus 33:19), and loving (1 John 4:8).

A. GOD THE FATHER
We believe God the Father is the infinite personal Spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He infallibly foreknows all that comes to pass, that He concerns himself mercifully with the affairs of men, that He hears and answers prayer, and that He saves from sin and death all that come to him through Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:9; Luke 10:21–22; John 3:16; John 6:27; Romans 1:7; 1 Timothy 1:1–2; 1 Timothy 2:5–6; 1 Peter 1:3; Revelation 1:6).

B. GOD THE SON
We believe Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, that He came in the flesh and was born of a virgin, and lived a sinless, miraculous life (John 8:46, 18:38b, 19:4, 21:25). He was in very nature God, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant (Philippians 2:4–5). He taught that He alone was the means by which man would be reconciled to God. He believed and proved that He was equal to God, eliciting the anger of His enemies according to the predestined purpose of God. (John 5:18, 10:30–33, 14:6; Acts 4:28) He was tempted in every way, just as we are, and yet never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). According to the Father’s perfect plan laid out in eternity past, He gave himself up freely as a ransom for our sins (Mark 10:45; John 10:18; Acts 4:28; Ephesians 1:3–6; Philippians 2:6–11; Revelation 13:8). He was crucified by sinful men (Acts 2:36), and rose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4). Today, He sits at the right hand of the Father until His second coming, for which we expectantly wait (Acts 1:9–11; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:9–10; Revelation 1:7)

C. GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe the Holy Spirit is fully God (Genesis 1:2; Acts 5:3–5). He is given as our Helper (John 14:26) and is the Deposit who guarantees the inheritance of every believer (Ephesians 1:13–14). He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7–11). He is the leading agent in the planting and building up of the church, since His job is to testify of Jesus and to the truthfulness of the Gospel (Acts 1:8, John 15:26). The Holy Spirit gives gifts to each believer for the edification of the church and the proclamation of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 12:7, 14:22). While every believer is told to earnestly desire spiritual gifts, the Holy Spirit alone decides which spiritual gifts each believer receives (1 Corinthians 12:4–7, 11).

MAN

We believe God created man on the 6th day in His own image and likeness (Genesis 1:26–27). He created man morally perfect with a free will to choose good or evil (Ecclesiastes 7:29; Genesis 2:16–17). Our first parents, Adam and Eve, were able to choose to obey God and live under blessing or to disobey God and die under a curse. They chose to disobey God, and they died spiritually. Every part of man was affected by this original sin. All the areas of man’s self – his will, desires, mind, body, and conscience – were affected by the fall (Jeremiah 17:9). God cursed man with immediate spiritual death (separation from God) and eventual physical death (Genesis 3:19). Because of their choice, their posterity is given a sinful nature at conception and is held equally responsible for Adam and Eve’s disobedience (Psalms 51:5). Every person also chooses of his own free will to disobey God as revealed in Scripture (Galatians 3:10; James 2:10); therefore, every person is a sinner by nature and by choice (Psalm 14:1–3). As a result, every person is an enemy of God (Job 15:14; 25:4), under His righteous wrath, and without excuse (Romans 1:18–32). Man is dead in trespasses and sins, and apart from the grace of God cannot and will not seek after God (Jeremiah 13:23; John 6:44; Romans 3:10–18, 8:5–8; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1–3; Colossians 2:13).

THE GOSPEL

We believe that because every person has sinned against God by refusing to honor him as God and obey His Law, God is under no obligation to save anyone from His wrath. In fact, all men deserve eternal punishment (Romans 1:16–32). The Gospel is the Good News that God has chosen to save some undeserving sinners from His righteous wrath for His own glory (Ephesians 2:5–7; Titus 3:4–7). He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to do what man could not do and would not do, live a sinless life and submit perfectly to God. Jesus gave himself up in our place and on our behalf (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2). He then rose from the dead on the third day, victorious over sin and death (1 Corinthians 15:3–4, 17).

SALVATION

We believe salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His death and resurrection obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, conversion, justification, sanctification, and glorification (John 3:16, 6:44; Acts 2:37–38, 4:12, 11:18, 17:30; Romans 4:1–5; 2 Corinthians 7:10–11; 2 Timothy 2:25).

A. REGENERATION
We believe regeneration is a change of heart given by the Holy Spirit who gives life to those dead in trespasses and sins. In regeneration the Holy Spirit grants the ability to understand the Word of God, to exercise saving faith in the Word of God, and to love and practice holiness (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1–6; Titus 3:5; 1 John 5:1).

B. CONVERSION
We believe repentance and faith are required by God for salvation. While two distinct principles, they are not two separate acts. A regenerate person turns from sin (repentance) and turns to Christ (faith) as a result of his new nature given at regeneration (John 6:44; Acts 2:37–38, 11:18, 17:30; Romans 4:1–5; 2 Corinthians 7:10–11; 2 Timothy 2:25). God has promised to save any who repent of their sins and trust in the finished work of Christ alone for forgiveness and reconciliation with God (John 3:16, 6:37; Acts 4:12).

C. JUSTIFICATION
We believe God chooses to justify, or declare both not guilty and righteous, every person who repents of sin and believes the Gospel. Though no person is righteous, God counts a believer’s faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection as righteousness (Romans 4:1–5). Through faith, the righteousness of Christ is credited to the believer, and the believer’s guilt through sin is credited to Christ. No believer is justified by works of the Law, but each believer displays evidence of justification by doing good works (Galatians 2:15–16; James 2:20–24). Salvation is the work of God from start to finish, not a work of man, so that no man may boast (Romans 9:11; Ephesians 2:8–9) or despair (John 10:28–30). Those God has predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified He also glorified (Romans 8:30).

D. SANCTIFICATION
We believe sanctification is the lifelong process of becoming like Christ. Those who have been justified are also sanctified by God’s Word and Spirit dwelling in them. God chose us to obey him and be holy (Titus 2:11–14; 1 Peter 1:2). In becoming like him, we know him more intimately and display His glory. The process of sanctification will culminate in the resurrection of our physical bodies when we will be without sin (John 17:19; Romans 8:29–30; 1 Peter 1:23; Revelation 21:1–8, 22–27).

E. GLORIFICATION
We believe glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the believer (Romans 8:29–39, Revelation 21:1–22:5).

THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH

We believe every person who repents of sin and believes the Gospel is a member of the Universal Church, which consists of all believers who have lived, are living, and will ever live (Colossians 1:24). The Universal Church is the only institution that will not and cannot be defeated (Matthew 16:18). Christ died for His Bride, the Church, and will sanctify the Church to present her to himself without spot or blemish (Ephesians 5:25–27).

THE LOCAL CHURCH

A. THE CONSTITUTION OF THE LOCAL CHURCH
We believe the local church is a visible expression of the Universal Church, and we believe God has called every believer to join a local church. A local church is made up of a group of living believers who have covenanted together to preach the Gospel, to care for one another and others, and to live distinct lives under the authority of God’s Word (Acts 2:42–47, 11:26, 12:5, 14:23). God has graciously given each believer spiritual gifts, which include but are not limited to those listed in Romans 12:4–8, 1 Corinthians 12:4–11 and 27–28, Ephesians 4:11–12, and 1 Peter 4:9–11. These gifts are to be used to honor God, to build up the church, and to evangelize the lost; they should never be used to draw attention to one’s self (1 Corinthians 13:1–3, 14:12). As Christ’s ambassadors, believers have the joy and privilege of caring for the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed.

B. LEADERSHIP
We believe God has graciously given elders and deacons to serve the church. The elders are set aside by God to lead the church, to equip the saints, to preach the Word, and to pray (Ephesians 4:11–12; 1 Timothy 3:1–7, 5:17–18). Their leading, equipping, preaching, and praying are to be done humbly in service to God and to His church. Leaders are to shepherd the flock willingly, not under compulsion or for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in their charge, but serving as examples to the flock (1 Peter 5:2–3). In response, believers are exhorted to submit and to obey their leadership (Hebrews 13:17). Deacons are set aside by God to serve the church and to free the elders to devote themselves to prayer and ministry of the word. (Acts 6:1–7; 1 Timothy 3:8–13).

ROLES OF MEN AND WOMEN

We believe both men and women were created in the image and likeness of God, and therefore have equal worth and dignity. We also believe that men and women have distinct roles in the home and in the church, just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have distinct roles in the Trinity.

In the home, husbands are called to love their wives as themselves, and wives are called to submit to and respect their own husbands.

In the church, every believer is called to use his or her spiritual gifts to build up the body of Christ. Women are permitted to teach; however, they are not permitted to teach or exercise authority over men.

By submitting to God’s wisdom in these areas, men and women are able to flourish in both the home and the church.

MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE
A. MARRIAGE
We believe marriage was ordained by God at creation to be between one man and one woman until they are parted by death. Any other form of “marriage” is contrary to the Scriptures. Marriage is a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and his church, and thus serves as a living symbol of the Gospel. (Gen. 1:26-28, 2:18-25; Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:4-6; Lev. 18:22; 20:13a; Rom. 1:26-27; Eph. 5:22-33)

B. DIVORCE
Though never required, we believe that divorce is permissible in cases of adultery or abandonment. God allows divorce because of the hardness of the human heart (Mark 10:11-12; Matt. 19:1-12; 1 Cor. 7:10-16).

EVANGELISM AND DISCIPLESHIP

We believe that the church and individual believers are God’s means for proclaiming the Gospel by which He draws people to Himself, regenerates souls, and grants repentance and faith unto sanctifying perseverance. The proclamation of the biblical Gospel to all peoples is the joyful duty of every Christian in obedience to the commission of Jesus to make disciples, to baptize, and to teach them to obey His commands (Romans 10:14–15; Matthew 28:18–20). The local church and every individual believer have a responsibility to obey and to teach the commands of Christ to those under their care.

THE ORDINANCES

We believe God has given two ordinances to His church: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

A. BAPTISM
We believe Jesus commanded every believer to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18–20). Baptism by immersion serves as a symbol of being buried with Christ and being raised to walk in new life and as such is to be performed only on professing believers (Romans 6:4–6). Baptism is a matter of obedience, not salvation. It does not confer favor from God beyond the blessings that come from obedience to God. (Luke 23:43; 1 Corinthians 1:13–17).

B. THE LORD’S SUPPER
We believe the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ on the night He was betrayed (1 Corinthians 11:23). The Lord’s Supper consists of bread, which represents his body broken for believers, and the fruit of the vine, which represents His blood shed for believers (1 Corinthians 11:24–25). The Lord’s Supper reminds us that Jesus died, rose, and is coming again (1 Corinthians 11:26). We believe this ordinance is to be observed regularly by all baptized believers in obedience to Christ (1 Corinthians 11:25). Unbelievers should not observe the Lord’s Supper because they do not trust in the sacrifice of Christ represented in the elements. Believers living in unrepentant sin or in disunity with other Christians should not observe the Lord’s Supper either, since they would be eating and drinking judgment on themselves (1 Corinthians 11:27-30, Matthew 5:23-24)

ETERNITY

We believe the full consummation of the Kingdom of God awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age. We believe that every person will spend eternity in a literal place of blessing called Heaven or a literal place of cursing called Hell (Matthew 25:31–33). Every person who has repented of sin and has believed the Gospel will spend eternity in Heaven worshiping God and enjoying His blessings (Matthew 25:34–40; Philippians 3:20; 1 Peter 1:3–5). Every person who has not repented of sin and believed the Gospel will spend eternity in Hell enduring God’s righteous wrath. (Matthew 25:41–46, Ephesians 5:6, Revelation 21:8). As such, we desire that every person examine themselves and test themselves to see whether they are in the faith revealed in the Scriptures, and we encourage every person to repent of sin and to believe the Gospel (Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 13:5).

CHURCH COVENANT

READ OUR CHURCH COVENANT

We exist to preserve and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to make mature disciples of all nations for the glory of God.

We believe God, in His infinite wisdom and sovereign grace, has called and joined together every member of New Life Baptist Church as a visible expression of His Church on the earth. As a result, we agree to work and to pray for the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 1:22, 4:3, John 17:21–23, 1 Peter 3:8, Romans 14:19, 1 Corinthians 1:10, Colossians 3:13–15, Hebrews 12:14)

We will uphold the Statement of Faith, ordinances, and discipline of the church. We will submit to the recognized leadership. We will admonish those who are disobedient to the Word, encourage the timid, help the weak, exercise patience toward all, and work for reconciliation. We will ask God for grace to speak, think, and act toward one another in love at all times. (Hebrews 13:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 1 Corinthians 13, Colossians 1:11)

We will support God’s work in and through New Life by cheerfully, regularly, and humbly giving our time, talents, and treasures. We will serve with the strength God supplies, that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 9:7, Acts 2:44–45, 20:35, 1 Peter 4:11)

We will meet regularly to worship God, to edify one another, and to guard ourselves against the deceitfulness of sin. If we move from this place, we will unite with another local church where we can carry out the spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word. (Hebrews 10:25, 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Ephesians 4:29–32)

We will fulfill the law of Christ by bearing one another’s burdens, rejoicing with those who rejoice, and mourning with those who mourn. (Galatians 6:2, Romans 12:15, John 13:34)

We will strive to make true disciples of Christ beginning in our homes and spheres of influence by sharing the message of reconciliation entrusted to us whenever and wherever God gives opportunity. We will build multigenerational faithfulness by telling the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done. (2 Corinthians 5:18–20; Matthew 28:18–20; Romans 10:14–15, Psalm 78:4-7)

We will live in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all His power; that the watching world may observe our holy and distinct lives and glorify our Father in heaven. (Colossians 1:10–12, Matthew 5:16, Philippians 2:14–15, 2 Thessalonians 1:10–12, 1 Peter 2:12)

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Amen.