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Basic Beliefs

 

Basics

The Basics

The Bible, God’s word to us, is the basis for our belief and is central to our relationship with God and each other. while there are some areas where sincere Christians agree to disagree [Romans 14:1-15:7; 2 Timothy 2:23-24; Titus 3:9], the Bible makes clear that certain truths are essential convictions of the Christian faith. LifeVINE considers some of these to be the following:

  1. The Bible [all sixty-six books that comprise Old and New Testaments] is the true written message of God to us. We believe the writers of the Bible were inspired by God (the Author) to write His revelation and are therefore completely trustworthy. The Bible is the final authority on all matters of to which it speaks. [Psalm 19:7-11; 119:105; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20-21]
  2. There is one true and living God, who exists forever in perfect community as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – each possessing all the attributes of deity and deserving of our worship and obedience. [Genesis 1:26-27; Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 45:5-7; Matthew 28:19;  1 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 1:15-17; Hebrews 1:8]
  3. Jesus Christ is fully man and fully God. He is the perfect reflection and embodiment of God’s character and glory. He lived a sinless life and offered Himself as the only perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross.  All who believe in Him are declared righteous on the basis of His death. He rose physically from the dead and has been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Someday soon He will return again to earth for whosoever has surrendered to Him as Lord and trusted in Him as Savior. His disciples will reign with Him forever.  [Matthew 1:18-25; John 1:14; 8:40-58; 10:30; 11:33; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 5:8-10; Colossians 1:15-17; Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 1:8]
  4. Humans are created in the image of God, but each one has fallen short of God’s perfect standard and is in need of salvation.  God loves us and by His grace has provided one way to be forgiven of all our sin and be reconciled to Him.     [Genesis 1:26; Romans 3:23; 5:12-19; Ephesians 2:1-3, 4:18-19; Romans 6:23, 10:9-10, 1 Timothy 2:3-6]
  5. Salvation from our sin filled condition is a free gift from God to us. It is not something we earn, deserve, merit or purchase. It is offered in grace and received by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Those who believe in Jesus Christ and call on His name are made right with God and given eternal life.  Those men and women who hear the Gospel and believe, initially demonstrate their faith in the Gospel of Christ (i.e. the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ) by repenting and being baptized, washing away their sin, calling on His name.  [John 3:16, 14:6; Romans 3:28, 8:31-39; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:26-27; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Acts 2:38-41; 22:16]

LifeVine Ministries will aggressively utilize methodologies and strategies in an attempt to reach people who are far from God. Rather than run from culture, we have chosen to harness it, to connect with people and show them God’s timeless truths.  We believe in and maintain a strong Biblical position, that strives to continually submit to God’s will and the Lordship of Jesus Christ while embracing the guidance, work and empowerment of His Holy Spirit.

The Word of God

The Bible – God’s Revelation to us

The Bible is God’s Word to all people. It was written by human authors under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because it was inspired by God, the Bible is truth without any mixture of error and is completely relevant to our daily lives. (Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Psalms 119:11, 89, 105; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 22:29; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 3:16)

Trinity

Trinity – God: Three in One

God has existed for all eternity.  He is the beginning and the end.  He exists as one eternal being and has revealed Himself to us in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Although each member of the Trinity (Godhead) serves different functions, they each possess equal power, authority, essence and nature. (Deuteronomy 6:4; Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 1:35; John 5:21-23; 14:10, 16; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Hebrews 1:8-10; James 2:19)

The Father

The Father – God is great, God is good, God is love

God is great: He is all powerful, all knowing, ever present, unchanging, completely worthy of our trust, and above all, holy. It is in Him that we live, move and exist. God is good: He is our Father. He is loving, compassionate, and faithful to His people and His promises.

(Exodus 3:14; Numbers 23:19; Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; Psalm 11:4-6; Malachi 3:6 John 3:16; 4:24; 5:26; 14:1; Acts 17:28; Romans 3:3-4)

The Son

The Son – God became man

Jesus Christ is completely human, but at the same time completely God.  Jesus was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23-25). He is the only way for bringing people who are enemies of God back into a right relationship with God.  He lived a perfect life and by His own authority chose to die in our place to pay our debt of sin and therefore became the substitution for us and satisfied God’s demands for perfection, holiness and justice. He conquered death in His resurrection so that we could have life. (Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 14:33; 16:16; 28:5-6; Luke 22:70; 24:46-47; John 1:1, 14; 10:30; 11:25-27; 17:1-5; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 8:1-3; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; Gal 4:4-5; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:15; 2:9; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16)

Jesus will return to earth visibly to fulfill history and judge all mankind according to the eternal plan of God.  He will return in a majestic and triumphant second coming. We do not hold to any particular position on how the second coming will happen. (John 5:22-23; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Corinthians 5:10)

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit – God is always present

The Holy Spirit is a divine person, coequal with the Father and the Son in all the divine attributes (Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 13:14). He convicts the minds of sinners, awakens in them recognition of their need for a Savior and offers them new life in Christ.  At the point of salvation, He indwells every believer and equips him or her for personal growth and service to the church (John 16:7-9; Acts 2:38; 1 Corinthians 12:13; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:22). The indwelling of the Spirit is a divine guarantee of a believer’s salvation until the day of redemption (Romans 8:9; Ephesians 1:13-14).

His indwelling presence in our life assures us of our relationship with Christ. He guides believers into all truth, and exalts Christ.  Through believers He convicts people of their sin, God’s righteousness, and the coming judgment. He regenerates and comforts us, gives us spiritual gifts, and makes us more like Christ. (Genesis 1:2; Psalms 51:11; 139:7 ff.; Isaiah 61:1-3; Joel 2:28-32; Mark 1:10; Luke 1:35; 4:1; 11:13; 12:12; John 15:26; 16:7-14; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 13:2; Romans 8:9-11, 14-16, 26-27; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2 Peter 1:21; Revelation 22:17)

The Holy Spirit endows Christians with spiritual gifts that He has specifically chosen for each of us. These gifts are intended to strengthen the Church to serve one another and glorify Christ (John 16:13-14; Acts 1:8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

Eternity

Eternity – Forever somewhere

Man was created to exist forever. He will either exist eternally separated from God because of sin and unbelief in the Gospel, or he will exist forever  in union with God because of forgiveness and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is heaven.  Heaven and Hell are places of eternal existence. (John 3:16, 36; Romans 6:23; 1 John 2:25; 5:11-13; Revelation 20:15)

Man

Man – God’s image bearers

Man is made in the image of God and is the supreme object of His creation. Man was created to have fellowship with God, but became separated in that relationship through sinful disobedience. As a result, man cannot attain a right relationship with God through his own effort. Every human personality is uniquely created, possesses dignity, and should be valued and respected in Christian love. (Genesis 1:26-30; 2:7, 18-22; 3; Psalms 8:3-6; 32:1-5; 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 17:5; Acts 17:26-31; Romans 1:19-32; 3:10-18, 23; 5:6; 6:6; 7:14-25; 1 Corinthians 1:21-31; 15:19, 21-22; Ephesians 2:1-22; Colossians 1:21-22; 3:9-11)

Salvation

Salvation – God’s only way

The central purpose of God’s revelation in Scripture is to call all people into an intimate relationship with Him. God originally created human beings to have fellowship with Him and to glorify Him (Isaiah 43:7; Colossians 1:16) but we humans defied God by sinfully choosing to go our own way.  As a result of sin, people suffered alienation from God and the corruption of our human nature (Psalms 51:5; Romans 3:23; Ephesians 2:1-4).  The salvation of humankind, therefore, is completely a work of God’s free grace, not the result of human works or goodness. This salvation is a gift, made available through faith in Jesus Christ and Him only (John 1:12; John 10:18-27; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Peter 1:18-19).

The blood of Jesus Christ, His death on the cross, provides the only way for people to be saved from their sin.  Salvation is the forgiveness of sin and being reconciled to God. Salvation occurs when people place their faith in Jesus Christ, His death as the only sufficient payment for their sin and His resurrection as proof that He is God and the giver of eternal life. Salvation is a gift from God and it cannot be earned or merited by anything we do.  We do not deserve any goodness from God. We deserve His wrath; we deserve death as a result of sin.  But God loves us so much He doesn’t want any person to perish but each one of us to live eternally with Him.  So because He is full of Grace He solved our sin problem by sending His Son to take what we deserve upon Himself.  He lived a sinless life, and so was qualified to pay for our sins by dying on the cross as our Substitute (John 10:15; Romans 3:24-25; 1 Peter 2:22-23).  He provided the only way to be forgiven and reconciled to God.  Jesus died our death; He paid our penalty (1 Peter 2:24-25; 3:18).  The Bible says Satan had the power of death and Jesus is Life and Light of man.  Jesus conquered the power of Satan by rising from death to Life, therefore proving He alone has the power and authority to give us life (Hebrews 2:14; John 10:10; 14:6).

When a person hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ (speaking of the fact and purpose of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, and that He is Lord and Savior, the Son of the only true God) they may respond by rejecting or by receiving the Gospel and its promises.  When a person chooses to receive the Gospel they are choosing to enter into a covenant with God by believing in Jesus and the truths of the Gospel (Romans 10:8-13).  Believing the Gospel leads to admitting (repenting and confessing) that you are a sinner undeserving of heaven, appealing to God’s mercy and Grace to forgive you and by faith surrendering to Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Believing the Gospel is Trusting the work of Jesus… that His death, burial and resurrection is the only way you are able to be forgiven and made right with God.

Our response to the Gospel:

In the Bible people responded to the Gospel with their mind by hearing and considering, with the heart by believing and repenting, with their mouth by confessing, and with their body by being baptized in the name of Jesus (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

When the Gospel was preached, baptism was included as a response to believing in Jesus for Salvation.  God promises when a sinner by faith calls on the name of the Lord they will be saved.  In Baptism we appeal to God for a clean conscience through faith in the power and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21-22; Acts 3:38; 8:12; 8:35-38; 16:14-15; 16:25-34; 22:16).

God responds to our repentance from our evil ways and to faith in Him by:

  • Forgiving our sins
  • Indwelling us with the gift of His Holy Spirit
  • Giving us Eternal Life with Him
  • …plus many, many more blessings

(Isaiah 1:18; 53:5-6; 55:7; Matthew 1:21; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:12; 3:16, 36; 5:24;Acts 2:21; 4:12;16:30-31; Romans 1:16-18; 3:23-25; 5:8-10; 6; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; Ephesians 2:8-10;Philippians 2:12-13;Hebrews 9:24-28; Revelation 3:20)

Baptism

Baptism

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus instructed his disciples to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Furthermore, in Acts 2:38, Peter told the crowd, ” Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” This gift of the Holy Spirit ensures that the Christian has the spiritual power to live for Christ.  (See section “The Holy Spirit” above.)  In Acts 2:38-41, Acts 8:35-39, and Acts 16:31-33, baptism occurred soon after confession of faith. Paul taught in Romans 6:3-4 that “all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death” and that “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” As in the case of other Bible doctrines, we base our practice and teachings on these and other clear teachings from God’s word.

Communion

Lord’s Supper

The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is to remember Christ’s death until He comes, and should always be preceded by solemn self-examination (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). Even though the bread and cup 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 spiritual way, in fellowship with His people (1 Corinthians 10:16). The church is free to choose the frequency of celebrating the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).  At LifeVine we choose to celebrate the Lord’s Supper weekly (Acts 20:7).

The Church

The Church – God’s community

The Church is the people of God.  The Church is a community of baptized believers unified through faith in Christ.  All Christians are part of one united spiritual body, the church (Ephesians 4:4), the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2), of which Christ is the head (Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 1:18).   The Church is committed to the teachings of Christ, to obeying His commands, and seeks to bring the Gospel to the world.  The Church works together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ.  The Church can do nothing apart from Jesus.  The Church loves God and is empowered to love people of every ethnicity, tribe, nation, culture and generation.  The Church is empowered by the Holy Spirit to make disciples that make disciples. (Matthew 16:18-19; 18:15-20; Acts 1:8; 2:41-47; 5:11-14; 13:1-3; 14:23; 16:5; 20:28; 1 Corinthians 7:17; 9:13-14; 12; Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:19-22; 3:10-12; 5:22-32; Colossians 1:18; 3:15; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1 Peter 5:1-4; Revelation 21:2-3)

Scripture directs believers to gather together to devote themselves to worship, prayer, teaching of the Word, the Lord’s Supper, fellowship, service to the body, and outreach to the world (Acts 1:8; Acts 2:38-42; Ephesians 4:12).

Wherever God’s people meet regularly, this is the local expression of the church (Acts 20:17; Galatians 1:2; Hebrews 10:25). Under the protection and oversight of leaders, devoted to the Chief Shepherd (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-11), its members are to work together in love and unity, intent on the ultimate purpose of glorifying Christ and making disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 3:21).