Beliefs

There is a vertical way (relationship with God) and horizontal way (relationship with others) that we were made to live which is in the shape of a cross. We were literally designed with the cross in the center of our lives, and created for the cross to be the center and focus of our lives (relating to God by faith, and one another in love). For God, it has always been about the cross. It is the purpose for which we were made.

Jesus died on the cross in order to restore the cross within each one of us and make it possible for us to once again have and enjoy those relationships as God intended. The way we are able to have and enjoy those relationships is through faith in Jesus Christ.

At First Lutheran, we are committed to helping you discover and begin that relationship with god through Christ by sharing God’s Word and His love with you in every ministy and activity we offer. It’s the heart and motivation for all we do at First Lutheran

1. ABOUT GOD

God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe.
He has eternally existed in three personalities: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God.

Genesis 1:1, 26,27; 3:22; Psalm 90:2; Matthew 28:19; I Peter 1:2; II Corinthians 13:14

2. ABOUT JESUS CHRIST

Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again some day to earth to reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

Matthew 1:22, 23; Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1-5, 14:10-30; Hebrews 4:14, 15; I Corinthians 15:3, 4; Romans 1:3, 4; Acts 1:9-11; I Timothy 6:14, 15; Titus 2:13

3. ABOUT THE HOLY SPIRIT

The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men and women aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. He gives every believer a spiritual gift when they are saved. As Christians we seek to live under His control daily.

II Corinthians 3:17; John 16:7-13; 14:16, 17; Acts 1:8; I Corinthians 2:12, 3:16; Ephesians 1:13; Galations 5:25; Ephesians 5:18

4. ABOUT THE BIBLE

The bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture of error.

II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:20, 21; II Timothy 1:13; Psalm 119:105, 160, 12:6; Proverbs 30:5

5. ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS

People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character. People are the supreme object of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes many problems in life.

Genesis 1:27; Psalm 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:1-2

6. ABOUT SALVATION

Salvation is God’s free gift to us received by grace through faith. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only byt trusting in Jesus Christ as God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into his life by faith.

Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8, 9; John 14:6, 1:12; Titus 3:5; Galatians 3:26; Romans 5:1

7. ABOUT ETERNAL SECURITY

Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer can be secure in that salvation for eternity. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security.

John 10:29; II Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 7:25; 10:10, 14; I Peter 1:3-5

8. ABOUT ETERNITY

People were crated to exist forever. We will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existance.

John 3:16; John 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 8:17-18; Revelation 20:15; I Corinthians 2:7-9

OUR VALUES

Beliefts are not worth much unless they are translated into actions. Based on what the Bible teaches, we feel very strongly about the following practices;

We are committed to…

Worshiping as a congregation corporately and worshiping as a lifestyle individually

Praying for our world, city, neighbors, and neighborhoods; praying for those who do not know Jesus; Praying for our marriages and our families; and praying in and over all the ministires of First Lutheran

Reaching relationally, creatively, and sacrificially resulting in new believers

Growing spiritually resulting inlives being transformed

Serving sacrificially the hurting, helpless, and hopeless

Partnering with others to reach, grow, and serve

Multiplying resulting in more leaders, small groups, ministries, and churches

First Lutheran Church is a Christian church, part of the worldwide Christian Church.  We believe that there is only one true God, who reveals himself in the Bible as being three persons in one God– Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  (Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, spoken through human authors.  It is trustworthy and without error.  Its main message is the gift of eternal life found in Jesus, the only Son of God.

First Lutheran Church is also a fellowship of Lutheran Christians.  We are affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a Biblically conservative church body.

Our congregation is called “Lutheran” because we follow the Bible based teachings of Martin Luther, which were the driving force for the Reformation of the Church in the 16th century.  God used Luther to proclaim again the Biblical truth that in Jesus Christ, God is loving and merciful.  Forgiveness and eternal life are gifts that God wants to give people through faith in Jesus.

During the time of the Reformation, much of the church was reformed and revitalized and brought back to its Biblical roots.  The teachings of the Lutherans were gathered together in the Book of Concord of 1580, and are used as a confession of faith by our church body.

Three main Biblical teachings are important to Lutherans.  They are:

  • Grace Alone. The Bible teaches that we are saved from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation only by God’s grace, his undeserved favor toward us.  Human beings cannot earn their way to heaven.  God, in his rich mercy, wants us to have eternal life with Him.  See Ephesians 2:8-10.
  • Faith Alone. Faith is the only way which we can receive God’s gifts of grace.  Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, and is a creation not of man, but of God.  1 Corinthians 12:3 says, “No one can say Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit.”
    Faith is created and sustained by God working through his Word, through Baptism, and through the Lord’s Supper.
  • Scripture Alone. The writings of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible are the only rule and norm by which all doctrines and teachers are measured and judged (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is called a “confessional” church body because we publicly confess our faith.  We believe that the three ecumenical creeds are faithful declarations of the Christian faith.  These include the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.

Our church is also a sacramental church.  We teach and practice two sacraments, or sacred acts:  Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper.  In the Lutheran church these, along with God’s Word, are called “Means of Grace.”  In other words, the Word, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper are “vehicles” or means of God giving his grace to his people.

We believe that baptism is first and foremost God’s work, where he forgives sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this.  See Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:20-21; Titus 3:5-7; Acts 2:38 etc.  Because the Bible teaches that Baptism begins with God’s action of grace, we baptize children and infants as well as adults.

We believe that in the Lord’s Supper, along with the bread and wine, the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ is actually given and received by those who eat and drink.  Jesus himself declares, “This is my body…This is my blood.”  See Matthew 26:26-28.  The Bible teaches also that our sins are forgiven, for Jesus says in Matthew 26:28, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  Because 1 Corinthians 11:28 says that we are to examine ourselves before we eat and drink, a period of instruction is appropriate before communing at the altar.

For a fuller explanation of many Lutheran beliefs and practices, we encourage you to look at the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s web site.

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