Believers For Christ - Statement of Faith

[Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from Gospel Fellowships - Principles for the Gathering of Believers, Pages 370-377 (282-291 printed version)]

1. The Bible

We believe that all 66 Books of the Bible are God-breathed [2 Timothy 3:16]. They were inspired by God through the Holy Spirit to the prophets and Apostles who composed them [Hebrews 1:1, 1 Peter 1:10]. The Bible is complete and inerrant truth. It has the highest authority. Nobody is allowed to distort it in any way [Romans 3:4, Revelation 22:18-19].

The Bible clearly states God’s purpose of redemption of mankind [John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9]. The Bible is the highest standard of our Christian life and ministry. We are against any denials of the Bible; we are against any teaching or theories that regard the Bible as out of date, or as erroneous; we are also against the practice of believing only in selected sections of the Scripture [Psalm 19:7–9, Acts 20:27]. We want to emphasize that the Scriptures must be interpreted in light of their historical context and within the overall context of scriptural teachings. While interpreting the Bible, one must seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the principle of interpreting the Scripture by the Scripture [1 John 2:27, 1 Corinthians 2:13]. The interpretation should be coherent and consistent, but not based on isolated verses. Biblical interpretation should take into account the orthodox faith that has been taken as the heritage of the Church down through history. We are against the interpretation of the Scripture merely according to one’s own will, or by subjective spiritualization [2 Peter 1:20].

2. Triune God

We believe in the only one true God [John 17:3, Ephesians 4:5], the eternally self-existing triune God who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit [Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14]. While sharing the same nature, the same honor and the same glory, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct persons who have different functional roles in the work of redemption. The Father planned salvation; the Son fulfilled salvation; while the Holy Spirit applies the salvation [Ephesians 1:5]. However, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are not separate and independent of each other. They are one in unity. The Son reveals the Father [Luke 10:22]; the Holy Spirit reveals the Son [1 Corinthians 2:10, 1 Corinthians 12:3]; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are together worshipped and praised. We pray to the Father through the Holy Spirit in the Name of the Son [1 Corinthians 1:2].

We believe that God created the universe and all things, and He created man in His own image [Genesis 1:27]. God has all things in His own control and sustains all things [Hebrews 1:3]. He is the Lord of human history. The almighty God is a righteous, holy, faithful and loving God. He is omniscient [Psalms 147:5, Hebrews 4:13, Psalms 139:4], omnipresent [Acts 17:24, Jeremiah 23:23-24, Psalms 139:7-12] and omnipotent [Matthew 19:26, Jeremiah 32:27, Psalms 147:5]. He manifests His sovereignty throughout human history [Revelation 4:11, Proverbs 16:4]. The Son and the Holy Spirit are eternal: the Son has the relationship of Son to the Father, but is not created [John 1:1-3, Proverbs 30:4, Hebrews 1:3]; the Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son.

God is spirit. He has no visible form or shape. Christians should worship Him in spirit and in truth [John 4:24]. Christians have no other object of worship apart from this triune God. We reject wrong explanations of the trinity, such as one body with three forms (like water, ice, and vapor), or one body with three identities (like the sun, light, and heat; or the son, the father and the husband).

3. Christ 

We believe that Jesus is God’s unique Son, that He is the Word who became flesh and came to this world [John 1:14, John 3:16]. In His perfect humanity, He was tempted yet never sinned [Hebrews 4:15]. He gave Himself to the death on the cross and shed His blood to redeem everyone who has faith in Him from sin and death [Matthew 20:28, Galatians 3:13, 1 Peter 2:24]. He rose from death, ascended to heaven, was seated at the right hand of the Father, received Holy Spirit from the Father, and sent the Spirit to those who believe in Him [Acts 2:33]. At the end of the age, Jesus is going to come back to judge the world [2 Thessalonians 1:7-8].

Christians receive the status of sonship from God, but they remain human; they never become God [Romans 8:15].

Nobody knows the exact date of Jesus’ return, but we are confident that Jesus will return, and we can also know some of the signs of His return [Matthew 24-25].

We are against any teaching that says Jesus has come the second time in His incarnated form [2 Thessalonians 2:3]. We are opposed to anyone who claims himself to be Christ [Matthew 24:4-5]. Any teaching that claims Jesus has already returned is a heresy.

4. Redemption 

We believe if a person has confessed his sin and repented [Mark 1:14-15, Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38], if he has believed in Jesus as the Son of God who died for our sin on the cross and resurrected from death on the third day [1 Corinthians 15:4] to pardon our sins [Ephesians 1:7], and if he has received the Holy Spirit [Ephesians 1:13] that God has promised, then he is born again and saved [John 3:3]. It is by grace and through faith that we are saved [Ephesians 2:8]. By faith we are justified; by faith, we receive the Holy Spirit, and by faith, we become the sons of God.

We believe that God can keep His children completely in Jesus Christ [Jude 1:24, John 10:28], while the believers are obligated to hold on to their faith firmly till the end [Hebrews 3:14].

We believe that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is an evidence of salvation and that the Spirit of God testifies with our spirits that we are children of God [Romans 8:16].

We are against the practice of taking any specific phenomenon or personal experiences as common criterions of salvation for all.

We are against any doctrine that teaches a saved person is allowed to freely sin under God’s grace [Romans 6:1-2, Titus 2:12]. We are against the teaching of multi-salvation (that one can lose but then gain back his salvation many times); we are also against salvation by keeping the law [Galatians 2:21].

5. The Holy Spirit 

We believe the Holy Spirit is the third person in the Godhead. He is the Spirit of God [2 Corinthians 3:17], the Spirit of Christ [Romans 8:9], the Spirit of truth [John 16:13], and the Spirit of holiness [Romans 1:4].

The illumination of the Holy Spirit convicts man of his sins brings him to the knowledge of the truth, leads him to faith in Christ and therefore to being born again and salvation. The Holy Spirit leads believers into the truth, teaches them to understand the truth, and guides them to submission to Christ as well as to the fruitfulness of the abundant life. The Holy Spirit bestows upon believers all kinds of power, and witnesses the powerful deeds of God with signs and wonders [Romans 15:19]. The Holy Spirit searches all things [1 Corinthians 2:10].

In Christ, God grants a diversity of gifts of the Holy Spirit to the Church so as to manifest the glory of Christ [1 Corinthians 12:14]. With faith and desire, Christians can experience the pouring down of the Holy Spirit on them and be filled with the Holy Spirit [Joel 2:28, Ephesians 5:18].

We deny any doctrine that teaches the cessation of signs and wonders or the termination of the gifts of the Holy Spirit after the age of the Apostles.

We don’t forbid the speaking of tongues [1 Corinthians 14:39], neither do we force people to speak in tongues, or insist that speaking in tongues is the evidence of salvation.

We refute the view that the Holy Spirit is merely a kind of inspiration instead of being a personal member of the Godhead.

6. The Church 

We believe that the Church is composed of all who are called by God in Jesus Christ [1 Corinthians 1:2].

Christ is the Head of the Church. The Church is the body of Christ [Colossians 1:18], the house of God, and the pillar and foundation of truth [1 Timothy 3:15].

The Church is both regional and universal. It consists of all Churches of sound faith currently existing around the world, as well as the Churches of the saints down through history.

The Church should be governed according to Biblical principles. Its spiritual ministry should not be controlled or dominated by secular powers.

Brothers and sisters in the Church are members of one body, with each fulfilling its roles [Romans 12:4]. The body builds itself up in love and grows into Him who is the head. The universal Church should reach unity in the faith and in the Holy Spirit, and be united into one in Christ [Ephesians 4:13].

The purpose of the Church is to proclaim the Gospel, to teach and shepherd believers, to build and send missionaries, to denounce heresies and uphold truth, and to defend the Word. As Christians gather together in the Name of the Lord, the number of people meeting together or the location of the meeting should not be limited. Each believer is a priest [1 Peter 2:9], and each has the right and obligation to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth [Mark 16:15].

We are against the alliance between the Church and politics, or any politics intermingled into the Church. We are against the Church’s dependence on foreign political powers for its growth.

We are against the Church’s participation in any activities that undermine the solidarity of national people groups or the unification of the state.

7. The Last Days 

We believe Christ will return, but no one except the Father knows the date of His return [Matthew 24:36]. On the day when Christ returns, He will come in glory and power on the clouds with the angels [Mark 13:26, Revelation 1:7]. On that day, the angels will blow the trumpet, and those who were dead in Christ will rise first. After that, all born again Christians who are still alive will also be transformed [1 Corinthians 15:51-53]. Their bodies will all be glorified, and they will all be caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].

The saints will then reign together with Christ for a thousand years [Revelation 20:4], during which Satan will be cast into the Abyss. When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released temporarily and will go out to deceive the nations until he is finally thrown into the lake of burning sulfur [Revelation 20:10]. After that, Christ will sit on the great white throne to judge men from each nation, tribe, and people. Everyone will rise from the dead and be judged before the throne. If anyone’s name is not found written in the Book of life, he will be thrown into the lake of fire. The former heaven and earth will be consumed by fire. Death and Hades will also be thrown into the fire [Revelation 20:11-15].

Those whose names are found written in the Book of life will enter into the new heaven and the new earth, living there with God forever [Revelation 21:1-3]. We believe that while waiting for the coming of the Lord, believers should serve the Lord with great diligence, preach the Word of life [2 Timothy 4:2], and bear abundant fruits in their words, actions, faith, love, and holiness. We also believe that those who do this shall receive all kinds of rewards [James 1:12, Revelation 22:12, Matthew 25:21].

As for whether the rapture happens before, during or after the great tribulation, we recognize that each denomination has its own conviction, and therefore there is no absolute conclusion in regard to this. The duty of each Christian is to be alert [1 Thessalonians 5:6] and prepare himself for the coming of the Lord [Matthew 25:1-13].

Concluding Exhortations 

We give our thanks and praise to our Almighty Heavenly Father who has led us to draft this Statement of Faith. Our desire is that the Holy Spirit will move brothers and sisters in more Churches to accept and identify themselves with this Statement and to read the Statement in the Churches so as to strengthen the faith of the believers in resisting heresies and cults so that together we can welcome the great revival of the Church.

May the Lord bless the Church in the world. May the Lord bless the peoples of all Nations. May praises and glory be unto our true and triune God. Amen!

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A printable PDF of the above text is available HERE.  God bless you!

TRUE APOSTLES

By Josh Adkins

The recent apostolic resurgence/movement is in many ways a godly thing. The Lord has always commissioned leaders to help advance His kingdom, and it’s wonderful to see many awakened to this previously overlooked calling. However, this generation really needs to get clear about a few things in regard to the apostolic:

If you are ACTUALLY called as an apostle (many who claim to be are not), it’s an invitation to die. Stop. Before you print up new business cards or change your Facebook profile, read that again: You are called to DEATH.

For some that literally means martyrdom. For others, it will mean laying down your livelihood for the body of Christ. You will be persecuted more than most in your pioneering. You may be poor while others made rich. You may experience struggle and suffering while others comfort. Yet, you are called to love even more deeply!

Before all of this, you will likely be tested and tried by fire - not because of sin, but to fulfill all righteousness (not the salvation kind, but sanctification). You may be rejected by many. What you do in these seasons will determine if God can entrust you with governing His people.

The Lord may endue you with great wisdom and supernatural power, but not to flaunt - to serve. To be a true “sent one” is to be on the front lines, often taking the greatest blows to protect those you lead. This is your call. I’m not saying the Lord may not bless you with some wonderful things along the way, but as a whole, imitating Christ is your destiny!

Now, here’s what being an apostle of God SHOULD NOT look like: wearing fancier clothes, nicer shoes, or driving a nicer car than anyone in your community as a reward for being called. It doesn’t look like saying the word “apostle” or “apostolic” every time you talk to someone about your ministry or on social media broadcasts. It’s not demanding people address you by title, as if your name changed. Your name didn’t change; His grace came.

Also, you’re not automatically more spiritual than others. You may be spiritual or you may not be. That depends on your life in the secret place with God, not as a result of a title. You’re not allowed to lord over people, even in “steering the ship.” Condescension is not the way of the kingdom of God.

True apostles have authority, but to be floors, foundations, and trampolines for others to be launched into their destinies. In that authority, God will affirm you, but He will also correct you more strictly! You are to go lower, be kinder, serve longer, and work harder than anyone, so that those you plant, raise up and send out will flourish in Christ Jesus!

For Scriptural references, read the New Testament again. Not desiring to be mean, but we leaders really need to grow up and stop receiving validation by fleshly means. Our worth should come from the Father, in merely being His son or daughter.

I hope this helps someone take down their Facebook title and instead serve in love today!

[P.S. Basically the same goes for true prophets.]

Editor's note:  The above text was originally posted HERE on 2/9/2019.  God bless you!

Sackcloth and Ashes

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes."
~Jesus of Nazareth (Luke 10:13 NKJV)

What mighty work was done in Chorazin and Bethsaida?

Answer: The Bible does not specifically record the works which were done in Chorazin. However, in Bethsaida, it is specifically recorded that Jesus opened the eyes of at least one blind man (read Mark 8:22-26).

In this land, in the United States of America, have you ever seen a mighty work of God?

Here is a specific testimony ... one of many which are available ... of blind eyes opened in the name of Jesus Christ in the United States. This is the exact kind of mighty work that Jesus did in Bethsaida ... and He is still doing today.

Testimony link: https://youtu.be/8myl-bbiKgw



Many mighty works have been done in this land!

Yet, in this land, have you ever seen anyone truly repent?

What does true repentance look like?

Would you say that this land better or worse than Chorazin and Bethsaida?

The words of Jesus: "Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!"

What can I do personally to change the nature of this land?

Can I make a Blog post about repentance -or- can I truly repent and believe and live the Gospel of Jesus Christ -or- can I do both?

What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

Answer: http://www.believersforchrist.com/2018/08/gospel.html

What are sackcloth and ashes?

Answer: https://www.gotquestions.org/sackcloth-and-ashes.html

What do sackcloth and ashes look like in 2019 U.S. America?

I've heard many preach about repentance. Many will tell you what they think repentance is -or- they will tell you how it should look to satisfy their eyes. "Oh look: He's really repenting." But the truth is, repentance seems to be more of a mystery and point of debate than a real and true way of life. Many preach repentance as a work in itself ... missing the point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ entirely ...

Repentance is the proper response to the mighty works of God being present in the land.

Look again at Luke 10:13: Repentance is what Jesus expects as a result of His mighty works.

Repentance is the proper response to the presence of God.

The mighty works are present. I've seen them.

But where is the example of repentance that satisfies God?

I need that example in my life.

I need to be that example.

That example is the outflow of the true heart towards God.

Prayer: God, make my heart pure in Your sight.

Photo Credit:  Walking With A Limp

Have you come to “WHEN” yet?

"And the Lord turned the captivity of Job WHEN he prayed for his friends." (Job 42:10)

The plaintive, self-centred, morbid kind of prayer, a dead-set that I want to be right, is never found in the New Testament. The fact that I am trying to be right with God is a sign that I am rebelling against the Atonement. ‘Lord, I will purify my heart if You will answer my prayer; I will walk rightly if You will help me.’ I cannot make myself right with God, I cannot make my life perfect; I can only be right with God if I accept the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. Am I humble enough to accept it? I have to resign every kind of claim and cease from every effort, and leave myself entirely alone in His hands, and then begin to pour out in the priestly work of intercession. There is much prayer that arises from real disbelief in the Atonement. Jesus is not beginning to save us, He has saved us, the thing is done, and it is an insult to ask Him to do it.

If you are not getting the hundredfold more, not getting insight into God’s word, then start praying for your friends, enter into the ministry of the interior. “The Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.” The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer. Wherever God puts you in circumstances, pray immediately, pray that His Atonement may be realized in other lives as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now; pray for those with whom you come in contact now.

Source: Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

Cursed is the Man who trusts in Man

Thus says the Lord:
Notice closely the reflection of this man's gaze.
He is looking unto the cross of Christ.
His HOPE is the LORD!

“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

(Jeremiah 17:5-8 NKJV)

If you put your hope in anything other than the Lord, you will be let down. For example, if you put your hope in your husband ... he will let you down. If you put your hope in your wife ... she will let you down. If you put your hope in yourself ... you will let yourself down. If you put your hope in your family (or even your church family) ... they will let you down ... REMEMBER ... Jesus was destined to the cross. None of his followers were meant to stop Him from fulfilling His purpose there. But LOOK, one of his faithful (Peter) tried to stop Him ... To which, Jesus spoke: "Get behind me Satan."

Furthermore, if you put your hope in your organization (even your church organization) ... it will let you down. If you put your hope in your country (even if your country appears to be the best) ... it will let you down ... REMEMBER ... The battle of Ai (Canaan) in the Bible ... In the Book of Joshua, chapters 7 and 8 ... The Israelites were only the best when their men were completely obedient to God ... If you put your hope in your leaders (even if your leaders appear to be the best) ... they will let you down ... REMEMBER ... Uriah the Hittite and David ... David was one of the best leaders of all time ... But David betrayed Uriah and his entire nation ... Men are unfaithful ... But God is faithful ... Put your trust in God and serve men through Christ ... Then, like Uriah the Hittite and Stephen the Martyr, even in death ... You shall be found faithful.

Does your theology violate the will and intention of God?

For example:  Some believe theologically that God picks and chooses the people that He saves.

One of the problems with this theological belief is that it opens the door for a person to believe that they are not chosen for salvation.  Or, in other words, it opens the door for one to believe that they are actually chosen for destruction.  It allows room for someone to think that they are unsaveable ... "So why try to place my faith in God? He has already chosen to hate me. I'm already disqualified. Look at what I have done.  I'm a mess. Oh well, I might as well enjoy myself and partake in as much sin as possible before I die." ... This is the kind of path that a person can follow when the idea of "election" is mishandled.  It opens the door to doubt and leaves room for lies to remain.  This leads to destruction. Doubt, lies, and destruction are not fruit of The Holy Spirit.

The truth about God's actual will and intention...

"The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9 AMP)

"[For; Indeed] God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world guilty [condemn the world], but to save the world through him." (John 3:17 EXB)

Our proper response to his will and intention...

"Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?" (Romans 6:1-2 NLT)

This is what the Scripture says:

“Today listen to what he says [if you hear his voice…].  Do not be stubborn [do not harden your hearts] as in the past when you turned against God [as in the rebellion; Ps. 95:7–8; referring to Ex. 17:1–7].”  (Hebrews 3:15 EXB)

"But you, dear friends, must continue to build your most holy faith for your own benefit. Furthermore, continue to pray in the Holy Spirit. Remain in God’s love as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, which brings eternal life. Show mercy to those who have doubts. Save others by snatching them from the fire. To others, show mercy with fear, hating even the clothes stained by their sinful lives. Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand joyful and faultless in his glorious presence, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus the Messiah, our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time and for all eternity! Amen." (Jude 1:20-25 ISV)

God bless you!

More on the subject of the will of God...  10 Facts About the Will of God

Reconciled Theology

ENMITY

The carnal mind remembers doubt.

"Because the carnal mind is ENMITY against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Romans 8:7 KJV)

Webster's definition of ENMITY: positive, active, and typically mutual hatred or ill will.

What is ENMITY against God?

Look at Romans 8:7 again: ENMITY against God is the carnal mind.

The carnal mind = ENMITY against God = active hatred against God.

The carnal mind will remember all the possible reasons it has encountered that might cause you to doubt. It, being an active enemy of God, will remind you of these reasons. Some of these reasons it can quickly find in the Bible. It will cause you to imagine that you are an amazing Bible scholar in coming up with all the reasons why God won't do what He says He will do by faith.

This is why, almost miraculously, even some of the most novice Bible readers can recall so many of the few reasons in the Bible that can be used to cast doubt. It is the nature of the carnal mind to doubt. Faith pleases God. The enemy of faith is doubt.

The carnal mind remembers doubt.

The carnal mind cannot remember faith.

This is why so many quickly remember things such as Paul's thorn and yet can't seem to understand that the nature of Paul's thorn is not clearly stated in the Bible. This is the work of the carnal mind. It grabs hold of vagueness and builds castles of doubt with its imaginations. And from these strongholds it wages war against God and against His body of Christ.

Remember: The carnal mind = ENMITY against God = active hatred against God.

Paul dealt with this very thing in the body of believers at Corinth when he wrote to them: "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" (1 Corinthians 3:3 KJV)

What is said of envy and strife?

"For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." (James 3:16 KJV)

The carnal mind is the reason why so many remember that Jesus couldn't do many mighty miracles in His home town and yet can't seem to remember that He healed sick people in His home town AND that He was in His home town before the cross AND that He healed ALL that came to Him. And yet it also can't remember the reason for the hindrance ... unbelief (doubt).

It's not the church's fault that people doubt.

It is the carnal mind.

Believer in Christ: Stop being mad at the church. The carnal mind is the enemy of the church ... Not you. For you have the mind of Christ.

Believer in Christ: Stop blaming the members of the church for everything that goes wrong in the world. The church is not the problem of the world.

The members of the church (the members of the body of Christ) are not your enemy.

Your enemy is God's enemy.

God's enemy is the carnal mind.

"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
(Romans 8:6 KJV)

Beloved, build up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. (Jude 1:20-21 KJV)

God bless you.