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How often have you heard the statement, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” that counts? While this axiom may hold true when it comes to expanding your social network or advancing your career, it’s a foregone conclusion when it comes to securing eternal life. Said differently, regardless of how you measure success in this life, nothing is more important than knowing God personally. Since the beginning of time, no topic has received more scrutiny and written analysis than that of the person and work of Jesus Christ. The purpose of this document though, is to simply provide a concise and forthright explanation of how we can come to know Him; how we can be sure He knows us, and how our knowing and being known best manifests itself in this generation.
Why should we assign such gravity to our personal beliefs? Few passages in Scripture could be more personally troubling than those found in the Gospel accounts, where Jesus makes such tragic declarations to supposed believers: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. (Matt 7:21-23) While God is omniscient, knowing all things, being known by God assumes a level of relational intimacy reciprocated by us, demonstrated by love and obedience. Simply stated, God’s will for everyone in this life is that we: 1) arrive at a saving, relational knowledge of Christ, 2) that we glorify God by living set-apart from the world we serve, 3) that we yield our lives to the power of the Holy Spirit, and 4) that we be prepared to face and persevere through trials for leading godly lives. And once we’re saved, sanctified, and Spirit-filled, pursuing the desires of our hearts are left to us, as God’s will and ours would be one and the same. As for determining whether the faith we hold is genuine, Scripture is also replete with parables and proof texts that provide assurance for our souls and affirmation in our hearts. Suffice to say, what starts with the Spirit’s quickening, providing the ability to believe, is followed by spiritual formation founded upon doctrinal truth and brought to maturity in Christ, through God’s Word, prayer and fellowship. With these dynamics in mind, we devote the balance of this document to reference articles that speak directly to salvation, assurance, foundational principles of the faith and ministry imperatives, as follows: The Four Spiritual Laws Knowing That You Know Our Statement of Beliefs The Lausanne Covenant
THE FOUR SPIRITUAL LAWS
Just as there are physical laws that govern the physical universe, so are there spiritual laws which govern your relationship with God. 1. God LOVES you and offers a wonderful PLAN for your life. God's Love "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16 NIV). God's Plan [Christ speaking] "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" [that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10). Why is it that most people are not experiencing the abundant life? Because... 2. Man is SINFUL and SEPARATED from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life. Man Is Sinful "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Man was created to have fellowship with God; but, because of his stubborn selfwill, he chose to go his own independent way, and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is an evidence of what the Bible calls sin.
Man Is Separated "The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).
This diagram illustrates that God is holy and man is sinful. A great gulf separates the two. The arrows illustrate that man is continually trying to reach God and the abundant life through his own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion but he inevitably fails. The third law explains the only way to bridge this gulf... 3. Jesus Christ is God's ONLY provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life. He Died in Our Place "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). He Rose From the Dead "Christ died for our sins...He was buried...He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures...He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred..." (1 Corinthians 15:3-6). He Is the Only Way to God "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'" (John 14:6).
This diagram illustrates that God has bridged the gulf which separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins. It is not enough just to know these three laws... 4. We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives. We Must Receive Christ "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12) We Receive Christ through Faith "By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9). When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth (Read John 3:1-8.) We Receive Christ by Personal Invitation [Christ speaking] "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him" (Revelation 3:20).
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. We receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will. These two circles represent two kinds of lives:
Which circle best describes your life? Which circle would you like to have represent your life?
The following explains how you can receive Christ: You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer (Prayer is talking to God) God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer: "Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be."
Knowing That You Know
Understanding that we may be the Rapture Generation, many Church leaders seek to energize their base for outreach. Unfortunately, Barna Research indicates that Biblical literacy inside the Church is falling, with many congregants holding a false assurance of their own salvation. Given these findings, how are we to share a saving faith that we don’t already first possess? Tragically, the Lord Jesus confirms that many “religious” people will only come to terms with their presumption of meriting heaven after hearing the statement, “depart from me, I never knew you” (Matt. 7:21-23). The 18th century preacher, Jonathan Edwards faced a similar quandary, when attempting to discern the extent of genuine “saving operations” during seeming widespread revival. Although heightened emotional experiences were common, many were void of evidences to validate conversion. Edwards drew a distinction between “saving” versus “common” operations of the Holy Spirit, with saving operations producing salvation, and the latter resulting in sobering influences that fell short of “inward saving renewal.” He acknowledged the supreme proof of a true conversion was the presence of “holy affections” in the life of the believer. Fortunately, professing Christians (and those we seek to lead to a saving knowledge of Christ), can know with certainty whether the Holy Spirit has performed a saving operation in their life. Dr. John MacArthur suggests that many proofs are contained in Scripture (e.g. 1 John) for assurance. Just a few are as follows: 1. Has there been a time when you’ve trusted Christ for your salvation (Rom 10:910)? Either devoted as a child, or broken as an adult (Isa 57:15), did you receive the gift? (Jn 1:12)
2. Have you enjoyed fellowship with Christ and the Father (1Jn 1:2-3)? A relationship with God is basic to salvation (1Cor 1:9). The experience of Christ living through us (Gal 2:20) is fundamental. 3. Are you sensitive to sin (1Jn 1:5-10)? Light and darkness do not peacefully coexist (Rom 7:14-25). Christians are faithful to confess known sin (1Jn 1:9). 4. Do you obey God’s Word (1Jn 2:3)? This is motivated by a desire based on gratitude (not obligation), with a pattern of obedience (not perfection). In short, we “walk the talk” (1Jn 2:6). 5. Do you reject the evil of this world (1 Jn 2:15)? The world’s system is under the domination of God’s enemies (1 Jn 5:19). We’re to be in the world, but not of the world (Jn 17:14-16). 6. Do you eagerly await Christ’s return (1 Jn 3:2-3)? Upon Christ’s return, we will be transformed (Phil 3:20-21). It’s the hope of Christ-likeness that compels us to purity (2Ti 2:11-13). 7. Do you see a decreasing pattern of sin in your life (1Jn 3:4-10)? Unbroken patterns of sin are characteristic of the unregenerate. Servants of the Lord are no longer slaves to sin (Rom 6:14, 17-18). 8. Do you love other Christians (1Jn 3:10)? It’s a natural Christian distinctive (1Th 4:9; Jn 13:35). Love expresses itself by meeting needs (Gal 6:10). 9. Do you experience answered prayer (1Jn 3:22)? God answers believer’s prayers (1Jn 5:13-15). God doesn’t necessarily respond to those out of fellowship with Him (Ps 66:18). 10. Do you experience the ministry of the Holy Spirit (1Jn 4:13)? By the Holy Spirit we confess Jesus as Savior (1Jn 4:14). The Holy Spirit is our resident Truth Teacher (1Jn 2:27), eliciting our fellowship (Gal 4:6) and praise (Eph 5:19), while we yield to the fruit of His Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).
11. Can you discern between spiritual truth and error (1Jn 4:1-3)? False religions deny who Jesus is and what he accomplished (Rom 4:25), failing to confess of the divine Lord (1Jn 4:2-3; 5:1), or commit to the divine Word (1Jn 4:5-6). 12. Have you suffered rejection because of your faith (1Jn 3:13)? While there is no virtue in being obnoxious, Christians may suffer for being righteous (1Pet 2:1923), which acts as a rebuke (1Pet 4:4). Men and women of God who have a settled assurance that they belong to Him, will most certainly energize the next “Great Awakening” through the bold proclamation of the Gospel. As such, the Spirit of God invites each of us to find our rest in His security (Rom 8:16)—the blessed assurance for our souls. Roy Tanner
Statement of Beliefs
The Bible refers to a "common salvation" that all Christians share, and it instructs us to "contend for the faith, that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3). This command was given to reduce any confusion or error in our belief system that would hinder our knowledge and love for God, who desires to be worshipped in "spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). With these two admonitions in mind, the following material has been developed (by the Master's College & Theological Seminary) as a quick reference guide, comprising the essential beliefs of the Evangelical Christian Community:
The Holy Scriptures 1. The Bible is God's written revelation to man, and thus the 66 books of the Bible given to us by the Holy Spirit constitute the plenary (inspired equally in all parts) Word of God (1 Cor. 2:7-14; 2 Pet. 1:20,21). 2. The Word of God is an objective, progressive and propositional revelation (1 Cor. 2:13; 1 Thess. 2:13), verbally inspired in every word (2 Tim. 3:16), absolutely inerrant in the original documents, infallible, and God-breathed. 3. We affirm the literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of Scripture, which for example affirms the belief that the opening chapters of Genesis present creation in six literal days (Gen. 1:31; Ex. 31:17). 4. As a result, the Bible constitutes the only infallible rule of faith and practice (Matt. 5:18; 24:35; John 10:35; 16:12,13; 17:17; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Heb. 4:12; 2 Pet. 1:20,21). 5. God spoke in His written Word by a process of dual authorship. The Holy Spirit so superintended the human authors that, through their individual personalities and different styles of writing, they composed and recorded God's Word to man (2 Pet. 1:20,21) without error in the whole or in the part (Matt. 5:18; 2 Tim. 3:16).
6. Whereas there may be several applications of any given passage of Scripture, there is but one true interpretation. The meaning of Scripture is to be found as one diligently applies the literal, grammatical-historical method of interpretation under the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit (John 7:17; 16:12-15; 1 Cor. 2:7-15; 1 John 2:20). It is the responsibility of believers to ascertain carefully the true intent and meaning of Scripture, recognizing that proper application is binding on all generations. Yet the truth of Scripture stands in judgment of men; never do men stand in judgment of it.
God We affirm that there is but one living and true God (Deut. 6:4; Is. 45:5-7; 1 Cor. 8:4), an infinite, all-knowing Spirit (John 4:24), perfect in all His attributes, one in essence, eternally existing in three Persons-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14)-each equally deserving worship and obedience. God the Father 1. We affirm that God the Father, the first person of the Trinity, orders and disposes all things according to His own purpose and grace (Ps. 145:8,9; 1 Cor. 8:6). 2. His fatherhood involves both His designation within the Trinity and His relationship with mankind. As Creator He is Father to all men (Eph. 4:6), but He is Spiritual Father only to believers (Rom. 8:14; 2 Cor. 6:18). 3. He is the Creator of all things (Gen. 1:1-31; Eph. 3:9). As the only absolute and omnipotent ruler in the universe, He is sovereign in creation, providence, and redemption (Ps. 103:19; Rom. 11:36). 4. He has decreed for His own glory all things that come to pass (Eph. 1:11). He continually upholds, directs, and governs all creatures and events (1 Chr. 29:11).
5. In His sovereignty though, He is neither author nor approver of sin (Hab. 1:13), nor does He abridge the accountability of moral, intelligent creatures (1 Pet. 1:17). 6. He has graciously chosen from eternity past those whom He would have as His own (Eph. 1:4-6); conversely, He saves from sin all those who come to Him; and He becomes, upon adoption, Father to His own (John 1:12; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Heb. 12:5-9). God the Son 1. Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, possesses all the divine excellencies, and in these He is coequal, consubstantial, and coeternal with the Father (John 10:30; 14:9). 2. We also affirm that God the Father created "the heavens and the earth and all that is in them" according to His own will, through His Son, Jesus Christ, by whom all things continue in existence and in operations (John 1:3; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:2). 3. In the incarnation (God becoming man) Christ surrendered only the prerogatives of deity but nothing of the divine essence, either in degree or kind. In His incarnation, the eternally existing second person of the Trinity accepted all the essential characteristics of humanity and so became the God-man (Phil. 2:5-8; Col. 2:9). As a result, Jesus Christ represents humanity and deity in indivisible oneness (Mic. 5:2; John 5:23; 14:9,10; Col. 2:9). 4. Our Lord Jesus Christ was virgin born (Is. 7:14; Matt. 1:23,25; Luke 1:26-35); that He was God incarnate (John 1:1,14); and that the purpose of the incarnation was to reveal God, redeem men, and rule over God's kingdom (Ps. 2:7-9; Is. 9:6; John 1:29; Phil. 2:9-11; Heb. 7:25,26; 1 Pet. 1:18,19). 5. Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through the shedding of His blood and sacrificial death on the cross and that His death was voluntary, vicarious, substitutionary, propitiatory, and redemptive (John 10:15; Rom. 3:24,25; 5:8; 1 Pet. 2:24).
6. On the basis of the efficacy of the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, the believing sinner is freed from the punishment, the penalty, the power, and one day the very presence of sin; and that he is declared righteous, given eternal life, and adopted into God’s family (Rom. 3:25; 5:8,9; 2 Cor. 5:14,15; 1 Pet. 2:24; 3:18). 7. Our justification is made sure by His literal, physical resurrection from the dead and that He is now ascended to the right hand of the Father, where He now mediates as our Advocate and High-Priest (Matt. 28:6; Luke 24:38,39; Acts 2:30,31; Rom. 4:25; 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24; 1 John 2:1). 8. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave, God confirmed the deity of His Son and gave proof that God has accepted the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Jesus' bodily resurrection is also the guarantee of a future resurrection life for all believers (John 5:26-29; 14:19; Rom. 4:25;6:5-10; 1 Cor. 15:20,23). 9. Jesus Christ will return to receive the church, which is His body, unto Himself at the Rapture and, returning with His church in glory, will establish His millennial kingdom on earth (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 20). 10. We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ is the one through whom God will judge all mankind (John 5:22,23): · Believers (1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10); · Living inhabitants of the earth at His glorious return (Matt. 25:31-46); and · Unbelieving dead at the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11-15). As the mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), the head of His body the church (Eph. 1:22; 5:23; Col. 1:18), and the coming universal King who will reign on the throne of David (Is. 9:6,7; Ezek. 37:24-28; Luke 1:31-33), He is the final judge of all who fail to place their trust in Him as Lord and Savior (Matt. 25:14-46; Acts 17:30,31). God the Holy Spirit 1. We affirm that the Holy Spirit is a divine person, eternal, underived, possessing all the attributes of personality and deity, including intellect (1 Cor. 2:10-13), emotions (Ep 4:30), will (1Cor 12:11), eternal (Heb 9:14), omnipresence (Ps 139:710), omniscience (Is 40:13,14), omnipotence (Rom 15:13), and truth (Jn 16:13).
2. In all the divine attributes He is coequal and consubstantial with the Father and the Son (Matt. 28:19; Acts 5:3,4; 28:25,26; 1 Cor. 12:4-6; 2 Cor. 13:14; and Jer. 31:31-34 with Heb. 10:15-17). 3. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to execute the divine will with relation to all mankind. We recognize His sovereign activity in the creation(Gen. 1:2), the incarnation (Matt. 1:18), the written revelation (2 Pet. 1:20,21), and the work of salvation (John 3:5-7). 4. A unique work of the Holy Spirit in this age began at Pentecost when He came from the Father as promised by Christ (John 14:16,17; 15:26) to initiate and complete the building of the body of Christ. His activity includes convicting the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ and transforming believers into the image of Christ (John 16:7-9; Acts 1:5; 2:4; Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 2:22). 5. The Holy Spirit is the supernatural and sovereign agent in regeneration, baptizing all believers into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). The Holy Spirit also indwells, sanctifies, instructs, empowers them for service, and seals them unto the day of redemption (Rom. 8:9-11; 2 Cor. 3:6; Eph. 1:13). 6. The Holy Spirit is the divine teacher who guided the apostles and prophets into all truth as they committed to writing God's revelation, the Bible (2 Pet. 1:19-21). Every believer possesses the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation, and it is the duty of all those born of the Spirit to be filled with (controlled by) the Spirit (Rom. 8:9-11; Eph. 5:18; 1 John 2:20,27). 7. The Holy Spirit administers spiritual gifts to the church. The Holy Spirit glorifies neither Himself nor His gifts by ostentatious displays, but He does glorify Christ by implementing His work of redeeming the lost and building up believers in the most holy faith (John 16:13,14; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; 2 Cor. 3:18).
8. 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 speaking in tongues and the working of sign miracles in the beginning days of the church were for the purpose of pointing to and authenticating the apostles as revealers of divine truth, and were never intended to be characteristic of the lives of believers (1 Cor. 12:4-11; 13:8-10; 2 Cor. 12:12; Eph. 4:7-12; Heb. 2:1-4).
Man 1. We affirm that humanity (man) was directly and immediately created by God in His image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Gen. 2:7,15-25; James 3:9). 2. God's intention in the creation of man was that man should glorify God, enjoy God's fellowship, live his life in the will of God, and by this accomplish God's purpose for man in the world (Is. 43:7; Col. 1:16; Rev. 4:11). 3. In Adam's sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, man lost his innocence; incurred the penalty of spiritual and physical death; became subject to the wrath of God; and became inherently corrupt and utterly incapable of choosing or doing that which is acceptable to God apart from divine grace. With no recuperative powers to enable him to recover himself, man is hopelessly lost. Man's salvation is thereby wholly of God's grace through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ (Gen. 2:16,17; 3:1-19; John 3:36; Rom. 3:23; 6:23; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 2:13,14; 1 John 1:8). 4. Because all men were in Adam, a nature corrupted by Adam's sin has been transmitted to all men of all ages, Jesus Christ being the only exception. All men are thus sinners by nature, by choice, and by divine declaration (Ps. 14:1-3; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:9-18,23; 5:10-12).
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. 1:4-7; 2:8-10; 1 Pet. 1:18,19).
Election 1. Election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies (Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4-11; 2 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:1,2). 2. Sovereign election does not contradict or negate the responsibility of man to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Ezek. 18:23,32; 33:11; John 3:18,19,36; 5:40; 2 Thess. 2:10-12; Rev. 22:17). Nevertheless, since sovereign grace includes the means of receiving the gift of salvation as well as the gift itself, sovereign election will result in what God determines. All whom the Father calls to Himself will come in faith and all who come in faith the Father will receive (John 6:3740,44; Acts 13:48; James 4:8). 3. We affirm that the unmerited favor that God grants to totally depraved sinners is not related to any initiative of their own part nor to God's anticipation of what they might do by their own will, but is solely of His sovereign grace and mercy (Eph. 1:4-7; Titus 3:4-7; 1 Pet. 1:2). 4. We affirm that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Rom. 9:11-16). This sovereignty will always exalt the will of God in a manner totally consistent with His character as revealed in the life of our Lord Jesus Christ (Matt. 11:25-28; 2 Tim. 1:9). Regeneration 1. Regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-8; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. 2. Genuine regeneration is manifested by fruits worthy of repentance as demonstrated in righteous attitudes and conduct. Good works will be its proper evidence & fruit (1 Cor 6:19,20; Eph 5:17-21; Phil 2:12b; Col 3:12-17; 2Pet 1:4-11).
3. This obedience causes the believer to be increasingly conformed to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:18). Such a conformity is climaxed in the believer's glorification at Christ's coming (Rom. 8:16,17; 2 Pet. 1:4; 1 John 3:2,3).
Justification Justification before God is an act of God (Rom. 8:30,33) by which He declares righteous those who, through faith in Christ, repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10; Is. 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 placing of our sins on Christ (Col. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:24) and the imputation of Christ's righteousness to us (1 Cor. 1:2,30; 6:11; 2 Cor. 5:21). By this means God is enabled to "be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26).
Sanctification We affirm that every believer is sanctified (set apart) unto God by justification and is therefore declared to be holy and is therefore 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). 1. There is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the likeness of Christ 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 like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17,19; Rom. 6:1-22; 2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Thess. 4:3,4; 5:23).
2. In this respect, we affirm that every saved person is involved in a daily conflictthe new creation in Christ doing battle against the flesh-but adequate provision is made for victory through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The struggle nevertheless stays with the believer all through this earthly life and is never completely ended. All claims to 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; 1John 3:5-9).
Security 1. We affirm that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Rom. 5:9,10; 8:1,3139; 1 Cor. 1:4-9; Eph. 4:30; Heb. 7:25; 13:5; 1 Pet. 1:4,5; Jude 24). 2. We affirm that it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation through the testimony of God's Word, which however, clearly forbids the use of Christian liberty as an excuse for sinful living and carnality (Rom. 6:1522; 13:13,14; Gal. 5:13,16,17,25,26; Titus 2:11-14).
The Church All who place their faith in Jesus Christ are immediately placed by the Holy Spirit into one united spiritual body, the church (1 Cor. 12:12,13), the bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:23-32; Rev. 19:7,8), of which Christ is the head (Eph. 1:22; 4:15; Col. 1:18). 1. We affirm that the formation of the church, the body of Christ, began on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21,38-47) and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own at the Rapture (1 Cor. 15:51,52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18). 2. The church is thus a unique spiritual organism designed by Christ, made up of all born-again believers in this present age (Eph. 2:11-3:6). The church is distinct from Israel (1 Cor. 10:32), a mystery not revealed until this age (Eph. 3:1-6; 5:32).
3. I affirm that the establishment and continuity of local churches is clearly taught and defined in the New Testament Scriptures (Acts 14:23,27; 20:17,28; Gal. 1:2; Phil. 1:1; 1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess. 1:1) and that the members of the one scriptural body are directed to associate themselves together in local assemblies (1 Cor. 11:18-20; Heb. 10:25). 4. We affirm that the one supreme authority for the church is Christ (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18) and that church leadership, gifts, order, discipline, and worship are all appointed through His sovereignty as found in the Scriptures. The biblically designated officers serving under Christ and over the assembly are elders (males, who are also called bishops, pastors, and pastor-teachers; Acts 20:28; Eph. 4:11) and deacons, both of whom must meet biblical qualification (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Pet. 5:1-5). 5. These leaders lead or rule as servants of Christ (1 Tim. 5:17-22) and have His authority in directing the church. The congregation is to submit to their leadership (Heb. 13:7,17). 6. We affirm the importance of discipleship (Matt. 28:19,20; 2 Tim. 2:2), mutual accountability of all believers to each other (Matt. 18:15-17), as well as the need for discipline for sinning members of the congregation in accord with the standards of Scripture (Matt. 18:15-22; Acts 5:1-11; 1 Cor. 5:1-13; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 1:19,20; Titus 1:10-16). 7. We affirm the autonomy of the local church, free from any external authority or control, with the right of self-government and freedom from the interference of any hierarchy of individuals or organizations (Titus 1:5). 8. We affirm that it is scriptural for true churches to cooperate with each other for the presentation and propagation of the faith. Local churches, however, through their pastors and their interpretation and application of Scripture, should be the sole judges of the measure and method of their cooperation (Acts 15:19-31; 20:28; 1 Cor. 5:4-7,13; 1 Pet. 5:1-4).
9. The purpose of the church then, is to glorify God (Eph. 3:21) by building itself up in the faith (Eph. 4:13-16), by instruction of the Word (2 Tim. 2:2,15; 3:16,17), by fellowship (Acts 2:47; 1 John 1:3), by keeping the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42) and by advancing and communicating the gospel to the entire world (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8). 10. We affirm the calling of all saints to the work of service (1 Cor. 15:58; Eph. 4:12; Rev. 22:12). 11. We affirm the need of the church to cooperate with God as He accomplishes His purpose in the world. To that end, He gives the church spiritual gifts. First, He gives men chosen for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Eph. 4:7-12) and He also gives unique and special spiritual abilities to each member of the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Pet. 4:10,11). 12. We affirm that there were two kinds of gifts given the early church: miraculous gifts of divine revelation and healing, given temporarily in the apostolic era for the purpose of confirming the authenticity of the apostles' message (Heb. 2:3,4; 2 Cor. 12:12); and ministering gifts, given to equip believers for edifying one another. 13. 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 (Matt. 24:24). The only gifts in operation today are those non-revelatory equipping gifts given for edification (Rom. 12:6-8). 14. We affirm that no one possesses the gift of healing today but that 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 (Luke 18:1-8; John 5:7-9; 2 Cor. 12:6-10; James 5:13-16; 1 John 5:14,15).
15. We affirm that two ordinances have been committed to the local church: baptism and the Lord's Supper (Acts 2:38-42). Christian baptism by immersion (Acts 8:36-39) is the solemn and beautiful testimony of a believer showing forth his faith in the crucified, buried, and risen Savior, and his union with Him in death to sin and resurrection to a new life (Rom. 6: 1-11). It is also a sign of fellowship and identification with the visible body of Christ (Acts 2:41,42). 16. The Lord's Supper is the commemoration and proclamation of His death until He comes, and should be always preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Cor. 11:23-32). We also teach that whereas the elements of communion are only representative of the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lord's Supper is nevertheless an actual Communion with the risen Christ who is present in a unique way, fellowshipping with His people (1 Cor. 10:16).
Angels Holy Angels 1. I affirm that angels are created beings and are therefore not to be worshiped. Although they are a higher order of creation than man, they are created to serve God and to worship Him (Luke 2:9-14; Heb. 1:6,7,14; 2:6,7; Rev. 5:11-14). Fallen Angels 2. We affirm that Satan is a created angel and the author of sin. He incurred the judgment of God by rebelling against his Creator (Is. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19), by taking numerous angels with him in his fall (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:1-14), and by introducing sin into the human race by his temptation of Eve (Gen. 3:1-15). 3. Satan is the open and declared enemy of God and man (Is. 14:13,14; Matt. 4:111; Rev. 12:9,10), the prince of this world who has been defeated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom. 16:20) and that he shall be eternally punished in the lake of fire (Is. 14:12-17; Ezek. 28:11-19; Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
Last Things (Eschatology) The Rapture of the Church I affirm the personal, bodily return of our Lord Jesus Christ before the seven-year tribulation (1 Thess. 4:16; Titus 2:13) to translate His church from this earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Cor. 15:51-53; 1 Thess. 4:15-5:11) and, between this event and His glorious return with His saints, to reward believers according to their works (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). The Tribulation Period I affirm that immediately following the removal of the church from the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Thess. 4:13-18) the righteous judgments of God will be poured out upon an unbelieving world (Jer. 30:7; Dan. 9:27; 12:1; 2 Thess. 2:7-12; Rev. 16), and that these judgments will be climaxed by the return of Christ in glory to the earth (Matt. 24:27-31; 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 2:7-12). At that time the Old Testament and tribulation saints will be raised and the living will be judged (Dan. 12:2,3; Rev. 20:4-6). This period includes the seventieth week of Daniel's prophecy (Dan. 9:2427; Matt. 24:15-31; 25:31-46). The Second Coming and the Millennial Reign 1. After the tribulation period, Christ will come to earth to occupy the throne of David (Matt. 25:31; Luke 1:32,33; Acts 1:10,11; 2:29,30) and establish His messianic kingdom for a thousand years on the earth (Rev. 20:1-7). During this time the resurrected saints will reign with Him over Israel and all the nations of the earth (Ezek. 37:21-28; Dan. 7:17-22; Rev. 19:11-16). This reign will be preceded by the overthrow of the Antichrist and the False Prophet, and by the removal of Satan from the world (Dan. 7:17-27; Rev. 20:1-6). 2. The kingdom itself will be the fulfillment of God's promise to Israel (Is. 65:1725; Ezek. 37:21-28; Zech. 8:1-17) to restore them to the land which they forfeited through their disobedience (Deut. 28:15-68). The result of their disobedience was that Israel was temporarily set aside (Matt. 21:43; Rom. 11: 1-26) but will again be awakened through repentance to enter into the land of blessing (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:22-32; Rom. 11:25-29).
3. This time of our Lord's reign will be characterized by harmony, justice, peace, righteousness, and long life (Is. 11; 65:17-25; Ezek. 36:33-38), and will be brought to an end with the release of Satan (Rev. 20:7). The Judgment of the Lost I affirm that following the release of Satan after the thousand year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:7), Satan will deceive the nations of the earth andgather them to battle against the saints and the beloved city, at which time Satan and his army will be devoured by fire from heaven (Rev. 20:9). 1. Following this, Satan will be thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10) whereupon Christ, who is the judge of all men (John 5:22), will resurrect and judge the great and small at the Great White Throne judgment. 2. This resurrection of the unsaved dead to judgment will be a physical resurrection, whereupon receiving their judgment (John 5:28,29), they will be committed to an eternal conscious punishment in the lake of fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11-15). Eternity I affirm that after the closing of the Millennium, the temporary release of Satan, and the judgment of unbelievers (2 Thess. 1:9; Rev. 20:7-15), the saved will enter the eternal state of glory with God, after which the elements of this earth are to be dissolved (2 Pet. 3:10) and replaced with a new earth wherein only righteousness dwells (Eph. 5:5; Rev. 20:15,21,22). Following this, the heavenly city will come down out of heaven (Rev. 21:2) and will be the dwelling place of the saints, where they will enjoy forever fellowship with God and one another (John 17:3; Rev. 21,22). Our Lord Jesus Christ, having fulfilled His redemptive mission, will then deliver up the kingdom to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:23-28) that in all spheres the triune God may reign forever and ever (1 Cor. 15:28).
The Lausanne Covenant
INTRODUCTION We, members of the Church of Jesus Christ, from more than 150 nations, participants in the International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne, praise God for his great salvation and rejoice in the fellowship he has given us with himself and with each other. We are deeply stirred by what God is doing in our day, moved to penitence by our failures and challenged by the unfinished task of evangelization. We believe the Gospel is God's good news for the whole world, and we are determined by his grace to obey Christ's commission to proclaim it to all mankind and to make disciples of every nation. We desire, therefore, to affirm our faith and our resolve, and to make public our covenant.
1. THE PURPOSE OF GOD We affirm our belief in the one-eternal God, Creator and Lord of the world, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who govern all things according to the purpose of his will. He has been calling out from the world a people for himself, and sending his people back into the world to be his servants and his witnesses, for the extension of his kingdom, the building up of Christ's body, and the glory of his name. We confess with shame that we have often denied our calling and failed in our mission, by becoming conformed to the world or by withdrawing from it. Yet we rejoice that even when borne by earthen vessels the gospel is still a precious treasure. To the task of making that treasure known in the power of the Holy Spirit we desire to dedicate ourselves anew. (Isa. 40:28; Matt. 28:19; Eph. 1:11; Acts 15:14; John 17:6, 18; Eph 4:12; 1 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 12:2; II Cor. 4:7)
2. THE AUTHORITY AND POWER OF THE BIBLE We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice. We also affirm the power of God's word to accomplish his purpose of salvation. The message of the Bible is addressed to all men and women. For God's revelation in Christ and in Scripture is unchangeable. Through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God's people in every culture to perceive its truth freshly through their own eyes and thus discloses to the whole Church ever more of the many-colored wisdom of God. (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11; 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 1:16, Matt. 5:17,18; Jude 3; Eph. 1:17,18; 3:10,18)
3. THE UNIQUENESS AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST We affirm that there is only one Savior and only one gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognize that everyone has some knowledge of God through his general revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for people suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God-man, who gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only mediator between God and people. There is no other name by which we must be saved. All men and women are perishing because of sin, but God loves everyone, not wishing that any should perish but that all should repent. Yet those who reject Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. To proclaim Jesus as "the Savior of the world" is not to affirm that all people are either automatically or ultimately saved, still less to affirm that all religions offer salvation in Christ. Rather it is to proclaim God's love for a world of sinners and to invite everyone to respond to him as Savior and Lord in the wholehearted personal commitment of repentance and faith. Jesus Christ has been exalted above every other name; we long for the day when every knee shall bow to him and every tongue shall confess him Lord.
(Gal. 1:6-9;Rom. 1:18-32; I Tim. 2:5,6; Acts 4:12; John 3:16-19; II Pet. 3:9; II Thess. 1:7-9;John 4:42; Matt. 11:28; Eph. 1:20,21; Phil. 2:9-11)
4. THE NATURE OF EVANGELISM To evangelize is to spread the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead according to the Scriptures, and that as the reigning Lord he now offers the forgiveness of sins and the liberating gifts of the Spirit to all who repent and believe. Our Christian presence in the world is indispensable to evangelism, and so is that kind of dialogue whose purpose is to listen sensitively in order to understand. But evangelism itself is the proclamation of the historical, biblical Christ as Savior and Lord, with a view to persuading people to come to him personally and so be reconciled to God. In issuing the gospel invitation we have no liberty to conceal the cost of discipleship. Jesus still calls all who would follow him to deny themselves, take up their cross, and identify themselves with his new community. The results of evangelism include obedience to Christ, incorporation into his Church and responsible service in the world. (I Cor. 15:3,4; Acts 2: 32-39; John 20:21; I Cor. 1:23; II Cor. 4:5; 5:11,20; Luke 14:25-33; Mark 8:34; Acts 2:40,47; Mark 10:43-45)
5. CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY We affirm that God is both the Creator and the Judge of all men. We therefore should share his concern for justice and reconciliation throughout human society and for the liberation of men and women from every kind of oppression. Because men and women are made in the image of God, every person, regardless of race, religion, color, culture, class, sex or age, has an intrinsic dignity because of which he or she should be respected and served, not exploited. Here too we express penitence both for our neglect and for having sometimes regarded evangelism and social concern as mutually exclusive. Although reconciliation with other people is not reconciliation with God, nor is social action evangelism, nor is political liberation salvation, nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and sociopolitical involvement are both part of our Christian duty.
For both are necessary expressions of our doctrines of God and man, our love for our neighbor and our obedience to Jesus Christ. The message of salvation implies also a message of judgment upon every form of alienation, oppression and discrimination, and we should not be afraid to denounce evil and injustice wherever they exist. When people receive Christ they are born again into his kingdom and must seek not only to exhibit but also to spread its righteousness in the midst of an unrighteous world. The salvation we claim should be transforming us in the totality of our personal and social responsibilities. Faith without works is dead. (Acts 17:26,31; Gen. 18:25; Isa. 1:17; Psa. 45:7; Gen. 1:26,27; Jas. 3:9; Lev. 19:18; Luke 6:27,35; Jas. 2:14-26; Jn. 3:3,5; Matt. 5:20; 6:33; II Cor. 3:18; Jas. 2:20)
6. THE CHURCH AND EVANGELISM We affirm that Christ sends his redeemed people into the world as the Father sent him, and that this calls for a similar deep and costly penetration of the world. We need to break out of our ecclesiastical ghettos and permeate non-Christian society. In the Church's mission of sacrificial service evangelism is primary. World evangelization requires the whole Church to take the whole gospel to the whole world. The Church is at the very center of God's cosmic purpose and is his appointed means of spreading the gospel. But a church which preaches the cross must itself be marked by the cross. It becomes a stumbling block to evangelism when it betrays the gospel or lacks a living faith in God, a genuine love for people, or scrupulous honesty in all things including promotion and finance. The church is the community of God's people rather than an institution, and must not be identified with any particular culture, social or political system, or human ideology. (John 17:18; 20:21; Matt. 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 20:27; Eph. 1:9,10; 3:9-11; Gal. 6:14,17; II Cor. 6:3,4; II Tim. 2:19-21; Phil. 1:27)
7. COOPERATION IN EVANGELISM We affirm that the Church's visible unity in truth is God's purpose. Evangelism also summons us to unity, because our oneness strengthens our witness, just as our disunity undermines our gospel of reconciliation. We recognize, however, that organizational unity may take many forms and does not necessarily forward evangelism. Yet we who share the same biblical faith should be closely united in fellowship, work and witness. We confess that our testimony has sometimes been marred by a sinful individualism and needless duplication. We pledge ourselves to seek a deeper unity in truth, worship, holiness and mission. We urge the development of regional and functional cooperation for the furtherance of the Church's mission, for strategic planning, for mutual encouragement, and for the sharing of resources and experience. (John 17:21,23; Eph. 4:3,4; John 13:35; Phil. 1:27; John 17:11-23)
8. CHURCHES IN EVANGELISTIC PARTNERSHIP We rejoice that a new missionary era has dawned. The dominant role of western missions is fast disappearing. God is raising up from the younger churches a great new resource for world evangelization, and is thus demonstrating that the responsibility to evangelize belongs to the whole body of Christ. All churches should therefore be asking God and themselves what they should be doing both to reach their own area and to send missionaries to other parts of the world. A reevaluation of our missionary responsibility and role should be continuous. Thus a growing partnership of churches will develop and the universal character of Christ's Church will be more clearly exhibited. We also thank God for agencies which labor in Bible translation, theological education, the mass media, Christian literature, evangelism, missions, church renewal and other specialist fields. They too should engage in constant self-examination to evaluate their effectiveness as part of the Church's mission. (Rom. 1:8; Phil. 1:5; 4:15; Acts 13:1-3, I Thess. 1:6-8)
9. THE URGENCY OF THE EVANGELISTIC TASK More than 2,700 million people, which is more than two-thirds of all humanity, have yet to be evangelized. We are ashamed that so many have been neglected; it is a standing rebuke to us and to the whole Church. There is now, however, in many parts of the world an unprecedented receptivity to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are convinced that this is the time for churches and para-church agencies to pray earnestly for the salvation of the unreached and to launch new efforts to achieve world evangelization. A reduction of foreign missionaries and money in an evangelized country may sometimes be necessary to facilitate the national church's growth in self-reliance and to release resources for un-reached areas. Missionaries should flow ever more freely from and to all six continents in a spirit of humble service. The goal should be, by all available means and at the earliest possible time, that every person will have the opportunity to hear, understand, and to receive the good news. We cannot hope to attain this goal without sacrifice. All of us are shocked by the poverty of millions and disturbed by the injustices which cause it. Those of us who live in affluent circumstances accept our duty to develop a simple life-style in order to contribute more generously to both relief and evangelism. (John 9:4; Matt. 9:35-38; Rom. 9:1-3; I Cor. 9:19-23; Mark 16:15; Isa. 58:6,7; Jas. 1:27; 2:1-9; Matt. 25:31-46; Acts 2:44,45; 4:34,35)
10. EVANGELISM AND CULTURE The development of strategies for world evangelization calls for imaginative pioneering methods. Under God, the result will be the rise of churches deeply rooted in Christ and closely related to their culture. Culture must always be tested and judged by Scripture. Because men and women are God's creatures, some of their culture is rich in beauty and goodness. Because they are fallen, all of it is tainted with sin and some of it is demonic. The gospel does not presuppose the superiority of any culture to another, but evaluates all cultures according to its own criteria of truth and righteousness, and insists on moral absolutes in every culture. Missions have all too frequently exported with the gospel an alien culture and churches have sometimes been in bondage to culture rather than to Scripture.
Christ's evangelists must humbly seek to empty themselves of all but their personal authenticity in order to become the servants of others, and churches must seek to transform and enrich culture, all for the glory of God. (Mark 7:8,9,13; Gen. 4:21,22; I Cor. 9:19-23; Phil. 2:5-7; II Cor. 4:5)
11. EDUCATION AND LEADERSHIP We confess that we have sometimes pursued church growth at the expense of church depth, and divorced evangelism from Christian nurture. We also acknowledge that some of our missions have been too slow to equip and encourage national leaders to assume their rightful responsibilities. Yet we are committed to indigenous principles, and long that every church will have national leaders who manifest a Christian style of leadership in terms not of domination but of service. We recognize that there is a great need to improve theological education, especially for church leaders. In every nation and culture there should be an effective training programme for pastors and laity in doctrine, discipleship, evangelism, nurture and service. Such training programmes should not rely on any stereotyped methodology but should be developed by creative local initiatives according to biblical standards. (Col. I:27,28; Acts 14:23; Tit. 1:5,9; Mark 10:42-45; Eph. 4:11,12)
12. SPIRITUAL CONFLICT We believe that we are engaged in constant spiritual warfare with the principalities and powers of evil, who are seeking to overthrow the Church and frustrate its task of world evangelization. We know our need to equip ourselves with God's armor and to fight this battle with the spiritual weapons of truth and prayer. For we detect the activity of our enemy, not only in false ideologies outside the Church, but also inside it in false gospels which twist Scripture and put people in the place of God. We need both watchfulness and discernment to safeguard the biblical gospel.
We acknowledge that we ourselves are not immune to worldliness of thoughts and action, that is, to a surrender to secularism. For example, although careful studies of church growth, both numerical and spiritual, are right and valuable, we have sometimes neglected them. At other times, desirous to ensure a response to the gospel, we have compromised our message, manipulated our hearers through pressure techniques, and become unduly preoccupied with statistics or even dishonest in our use of them. All this is worldly. The Church must be in the world; the world must not be in the Church. (Eph. 6:12; II Cor. 4:3,4; Eph. 6:11,13-18; II Cor. 10:3-5; I John 2:18-26; 4:1-3; Gal. 1:6-9; II Cor. 2:17; 4:2; John 17:15)
13. FREEDOM AND PERSECUTION It is the God-appointed duty of every government to secure conditions of peace, justice and liberty in which the Church may obey God, serve the Lord Jesus Christ, and preach the gospel without interference. We therefore pray for the leaders of nations and call upon them to guarantee freedom of thought and conscience, and freedom to practice and propagate religion in accordance with the will of God and as set forth in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We also express our deep concern for all who have been unjustly imprisoned, and especially for those who are suffering for their testimony to the Lord Jesus. We promise to pray and work for their freedom. At the same time we refuse to be intimidated by their fate. God helping us, we too will seek to stand against injustice and to remain faithful to the gospel, whatever the cost. We do not forget the warnings of Jesus that persecution is inevitable. (I Tim. 1:1-4, Acts 4:19; 5:29; Col. 3:24; Heb. 13:1-3; Luke 4:18; Gal. 5:11; 6:12; Matt. 5:10-12; John 15:18-21)
14. THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Father sent his Spirit to bear witness to his Son; without his witness ours is futile. Conviction of sin, faith in Christ, new birth and Christian growth are all his work.
Further, the Holy Spirit is a missionary spirit; thus evangelism should arise spontaneously from a Spirit-filled church. A church that is not a missionary church is contradicting itself and quenching the Spirit. Worldwide evangelization will become a realistic possibility only when the Spirit renews the Church in truth and wisdom, faith, holiness, love and power. We therefore call upon all Christians to pray for such a visitation of the sovereign Spirit of God that all his fruit may appear in all his people and that all his gifts may enrich the body of Christ. Only then will the whole world become a fit instrument in his hands, that the whole earth may hear his voice. (I Cor. 2:4; John 15:26;27; 16:8-11; I Cor. 12:3; John 3:6-8; II Cor. 3:18; John 7:3739; I Thess. 5:19; Acts 1:8; Psa. 85:4-7; 67:1-3; Gal. 5:22,23; I Cor. 12:4-31; Rom. 12:3-8)
15. THE RETURN OF CHRIST We believe that Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly, in power and glory, to consummate his salvation and his judgment. This promise of his coming is a further spur to our evangelism, for we remember his words that the gospel must first be preached to all nations. We believe that the interim period between Christ's ascension and return is to be filled with the mission of the people of God, who have no liberty to stop before the end. We also remember his warning that false Christ’s and false prophets will arise as precursors of the final Antichrist. We therefore reject as a proud, self-confident dream the notion that people can ever build a utopia on earth. Our Christian confidence is that God will perfect his kingdom, and we look forward with eager anticipation to that day, and to the new heaven and earth in which righteousness will dwell and God will reign forever. Meanwhile, we rededicate ourselves to the service of Christ and of people in joyful submission to his authority over the whole of our lives. (Mark 14:62; Heb. 9:28; Mark 13:10; Acts 1:8-11; Matt. 28:20; Mark 13:21-23; John 2:18; 4:1-3; Luke 12:32; Rev. 21:1-5; II Pet. 3:13; Matt. 28:18)
CONCLUSION Therefore, in the light of this our faith and our resolve, we enter into a solemn covenant with God and with each other, to pray, to plan and to work together for the evangelization of the whole world. We call upon others to join us. May God help us by his grace and for his glory to be faithful to this our covenant! Amen, Alleluia!
Editors Biographical Summary & Links In the public sector, Roy Tanner has served on the FL Taxpayer Budget Review Board, as a Governing Member for the NFIB, and as Chair for American Citizen Alliance, a conservative advocacy group. Mr. Tanner was also an independent candidate for the US Senate (FL) in 2006... In the private sector, he is a Business Analyst, a GLG Council Adviser and the Managing Member of Alliance Professional Services...As senior editor of AD 2018, he also supplies thought leadership from a biblical worldview...Mr. Tanner's career has been devoted to promoting greater productivity and cultures of excellence, while his lay ministry seeks to spread the Good News and bring believers to maturity in Christ. The Editor’s topical collections are organized at: http://www.scribd.com/Servant%20Leader For biblical research and commentary on "Predictive Prophecy" see: http://www.scribd.com/document_collections/2365218 For lay-ministry content also see, "Spiritual Outreach" at: http://www.scribd.com/document_collections/2365191 Other collections there also include: Political content such as, "The Prescient Politico" at: http://www.scribd.com/document_collections/2436315 For conservative content see, "Civic Engagement" at: http://www.scribd.com/document_collections/2365176 For business content see, "Entrepreneurial Economy" at: http://www.scribd.com/document_collections/2409759 For archive links to his other blog commentary see: http://myessaysarchive.blogspot.com/ For his prophecy/outreach blog see: http://ad2018.blogspot.com/ To connect with the Editor, also visit his social media links at: For his facebook link please see: http://www.facebook.com/people/Roy-Tanner/100000088339367 For his Linked-In public profile see: http://www.linkedin.com/in/rjtanner
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