OUR PURPOSE IN THIS LIFE
- First and foremost, our purpose is to seek and find God (as Paul said in Acts 17:24-28), who has revealed himself to us in Jesus Christ through the Word, and to understand and believe that Jesus is Savior.
- Once God has called us to faith through the Word, we are to live a new life which shows respect for God and acts upon respect for God by obeying his will. We are to turn away from a sinful life style which disobeys God’s Will. In short, once saved, our purpose is to love God foremost and to love our neighbors.
- Obeying God’s will is not a burden but frees us from the bondage of sin.
- Since we know God’s love for us and his blessings in our lives, we share these truths with others. Through the Gospel, and our loving actions and speech, our mission is to share with all people that Jesus is the Savior.
John 1:1-18; Psalm 148; Psalm 150; Romans 12:1-21; 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Matthew 11:28-30; Mark 12:28-34; Matthew 28:18-19; Acts 1:8
- The Bible is God’s Word. At times the Bible is called “the Word” or also “the Scriptures.” All are references to the truth of what God has given us in the Bible.
- The human authors were guided by the supernatural influence of the Holy Spirit, a process called inspiration. The authors did not write their own religious opinions, but were inspired by the Spirit.
- The Bible is the only source of the message of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
- The Word is the source of all true understanding about God, and the truth for Christian beliefs and living.
- Being inspired by the Holy Spirit, the Bible is completely free of mistakes, errors or contradictions.
- We do not recognize the apocryphal books as part of the Word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119: 105, 160; Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 30:5
- People were originally created in the spiritual image of God and were sinless and holy.
- Since the fall of mankind into sin, the previous point is no longer true. Now, all people are born sinful and are constantly inclined to sin by nature. We lost that pure image of God.
- We see the reality of our fall into sin in people around us, and if we are honest, in ourselves. We may not be awful or obviously wicked people, but we are not perfect.
- If it was not for the love of God and the forgiveness of sins earned by Jesus, all people would be spiritually lost and dead because of their sins.
- Through faith in Christ we are forgiven our sins, new-born, and are given the ability to serve God, live for his purposes and enjoy his blessings.
Genesis 1:27; Romans 5:12-21; Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1-5; Luke 15; Luke 19:10; John 3:1-21; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
- Salvation is God’s free gift to us through Jesus.
- It is a gift and comes to us through no effort or decision on our part. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or a life of goodness and kindness.
- God earned salvation for us because of his love and grace. He sent his son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life and to die a sacrificial death as our substitute. It is through the work of Jesus that salvation became ours.
- We receive the gift of salvation and forgiveness by faith.
- Even faith is not to our credit, for there too, God provides his Holy Spirit to create faith in our hearts and minds.
- Salvation comes to lost mankind by grace alone, through faith alone, in God’s Word alone.
Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 14:6; John 15:5-16, Romans 3:20-26; Acts 16:31; Romans 10:17
JESUS IS THE ONLY SAVIOR
- Jesus Christ is true God and Son of God being equal with God. He is equal with the Father in power, authority and majesty.
- Jesus Christ is also true man having taken on our nature so that he could save us.
- Jesus is both true God and true man.
- He lived a sinless life and offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross.
- He physically rose from the dead after three days and demonstrated his power and victory over sin and death.
- He ascended to heaven to govern the world. From there he will one day return to earth to judge men and women on the basis of their faith or unbelief in him as Savior and Lord.
- Jesus lives and rules eternally as King of kings and Lord of lords.
Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5; John 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 1:3-4; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Timothy 6: 14-15; Titus 2:13
THE HOLY SPIRIT
- The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son in power, authority and majesty.
- Since we cannot by our own thoughts or choices believe in Jesus Christ or come to him, the Holy Spirit calls us to faith through the good news of Jesus Christ.
- The Spirit makes us aware of our sin and our deep need for Christ.
- He also draws us to Christ by working through the Word of God and Baptism.
- After drawing us to faith, the Holy Spirit continues renewing us through word and sacrament – giving us power for Christian living, leading us to understand spiritual truth, and guiding us to do what pleases God.
- As Christians, we strive to live under his wisdom and Will daily.
2 Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13; John 14:16-17; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 5:18
OUR LIFE MOTIVATED BY GOD
- Paul the apostle very clearly tells us what a life motivated by the love of God looks like: “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”1 Corinthians 5:14-15
- Paul adds in his letter to the Galatians that a Christian’s spiritual life is fulfilling and joyful: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” -- Galatians 5:22
- Jesus wants us to have a full life, and a fulfilling life, as he once told his disciples: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” -- John 10:10
GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER
- We gather together as congregations to be strengthened by God’s Word and sacraments. Our faith is strengthened. We are encouraged to lead a Christian life. While these things also happen at home, the church and worship offers one of the best opportunities for growth for most people. Hebrews 5:12-14.
- Worship is a part of showing God how much we respect him and his work in our lives. Those who do not worship with their church are showing a weakness in their respect of the Lord who saved them. Matthew 10:32-33
- The gathering of believers, church, provides a major opportunity to share the gift that God has given us. Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Peter 3:15
- The congregation of believers is the perfect opportunity to strengthen each other. When one person or family is feeling badly, others can strengthen. The fellowship of believers is a tremendous blessing. Hebrews 10:24,25; John 13:34-35
- God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe.
- He has existed from eternity.
- There is only one God, who is three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three persons are equal in power, authority and majesty.
- God’s main quality is Love followed by his Justice (Exodus 34:5-8)
- God the Father’s special work was to create the universe in which we live.
- He made us along with every creature, gave us our bodies and souls, as well as our gifts and abilities.
- He daily preserves us by richly and daily providing all that we need for our bodies and lives.
Genesis 1:1, 26, 27; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Genesis 1:1-2:3; Psalm 33:6-9; Job 10:10-12; Job 38:36; Psalm 36:6-7; Psalm 145:15-16
THE LIFE TO COME
- People were created to exist forever, to have an eternal soul (not in the sense of reincarnation).
- If a person does not turn to Jesus for forgiveness of sins, they will exist eternally but separated from God by sin. To be eternally separated from God is eternal death or hell.
- The faith or unbelief in Jesus and his forgiveness is at the foundation of Jesus’ judgment. Life is the time to get to know God, but sadly some will reject the Savior. We do not believe or teach purgatory.
- A person who turns to God for forgiveness will be eternally with God through the forgiveness and salvation won by Christ. They will be taken to heaven.
- Heaven and hell are real places where all mankind will exist eternally, dependent upon a person’s faith or unbelief.
- In eternity, our bodies and souls are reunited either to suffer the pains of hell or to enjoy the eternal blessings of heaven.
John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23