Presence. Power. Purpose
A church Vision, Mission and Belief Statement are a collection of Biblical principles and beliefs that a body of believers voluntarily unit under, accepting each principle as an essential God-given truth. The statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs. The Bible itself, as the inspired and infallible word of God that speaks with final authority concerning truth, morality and the proper conduct of mankind is the sole and final source of all that we believe.
We are glad that you have chosen to take a deeper look at who we are and what we believe. Messiah's House is built on the ministry of the Messiah found in Isaiah 61. According to Luke 4, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy found in Isaiah and through faith in Him there is healing, deliverance, comfort, and joy! I believe that you will find Messiah's House to be a place of authentic people who are pursuing intimacy with God. The Bible is our standard for living and we are passionate about the good news of Jesus Christ. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. JASON CRAFT | SENIOR PASTOR
The leadership of Messiah’s House looks to create an environment where everything we do is out of being aware of the presence of God. We believe this is our highest privilege. We also believe in the power of God to move through the operation of the Holy Spirit in the church. We believe bodies can be healed, prophetic words of encouragement can be given and received, and that signs and wonders are the inheritance of God’s children. Messiah’s House is a place in which the saints become equipped for the work of the Kingdom, to love the world around us. We are committed to discovering in every season God’s purpose for the life of our city, the life of our church, and the individual lives of those who are a part of our spiritual family. We love what we do.
ENCOUNTER GOD’S PRESENCE Our greatest desire as a community is to encounter the fullness of God’s presence. In John 17:3, Jesus described eternal life in terms of knowing “the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” So, what is “knowing God”? Knowing indicates that there is an intimate relationship. God wants to meet with us and be in union with us. Our hope at Messiah’s House is for people to really know God, not just know about Him. Everything we do as a church centers around our desire to know God and to worship Him. EXPERIENCE HIS POWER Acts 10:38 tells us “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him." Here at Messiah’s House, we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit! We believe that nothing is impossible for God! We desire to see people saved, delivered, healed, and set free. We are a people who seek to be led by the Spirit of God and we welcome all of His gifts. DISCOVER HIS PURPOSE Messiah’s House is a place where Believers are equipped to advance the Kingdom of God. We are a Kingdom minded people and we believe that God has a plan for each and every person. We are committed to discovering His purpose for ourselves and our church. We know God has a purpose for our church and a reason for Him placing us in downtown Amarillo, Texas. As we discover and live out His purpose in our life, we want to impact our city, our nation, and our world with the “Good News” of Jesus Christ.
Father, We give you thanks that your presence is more than enough for us. Thank you that you lead us by your Spirit into a place of intimacy and direct our hearts into your love. We thank you for Messiah’s House and how you have used this place to bring healing; and have given us freedom from the wounds of our enemy. We praise you for how you have redeemed and restored your precious bride and made us a light in the darkness. Thank you for the joy that we experience together; and for the way you reveal yourself to us. We bless you for your love and faithfulness. With prayerful hearts Father, we cry out to you for your grace and supernatural power. Help us as we care for your people… nurturing them and leading them into an ever-increasing hunger and thirst for righteousness. Bring your power to remove the chains of the adversary and set the captives free. Help us to grow spiritual disciples, mature in the faith, with a steadfast trust that causes us to be a light to all those who are near. Use us to launch a movement for the glory of your name and your Kingdom. Father, we know you have a future for Messiah’s House. We declare your goodness and claim your promise that your remnant is larger and stronger than we can see. We know that your purpose is bigger than we could hope for or imagine. Your plan is greater than restoration. You desire your children to live the abundant life provided by Jesus. We declare that we are entering a season of growth fueled by compassion and commitment with your Spirit as our source of life. We trust you to send us the resources to fulfill your plan as you build your church in your own time. We trust that we will receive the reward of our faithfulness to your call. Amen
THE BIBLE The Bible does not merely “contain” the Word of God; it “is” the Word of God. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 4:12) The Bible is “inspired” which literally means “God-breathed”. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:21) God’s Word is reliable, true, and eternal. (Psalm 119:89; Matthew 5:18; 1 Peter 1:25) The Word of God is not to be diluted with personal opinions or modified through traditions of men. (Deuteronomy 4:2; Deuteronomy 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:19) The Bible is the infallible and inerrant Word of God. (1 Kings 8:56; Psalm 111:7; Ezekiel 12:25; Matthew 5:18; Psalm 119:160) GOD We believe in a triune God. (Genesis. 1:26) The Trinity is an unfathomable, and yet unmistakable doctrine in the Scripture. It is unquestionably how God has revealed Himself – as one God eternally existing in three Persons. The Scriptures are clear that these three Persons together are one and only one God. (Deuteronomy. 6:4, John 10:30; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Romans 8:9; John 14:16, 18, 23) There is only one God, yet He exists, and always has existed, as a Trinity of Persons – the Father, the Son, and the Spirit (John 1:1-2) GOD THE FATHER God is the Creator of everything in existence. Genesis 1:1; Colossians 1:16-17 God is an equal part of the Trinity. 2 Corinthians 13:14; Matthew 28:19 God has attributes that define His divine nature: Omniscience (All-knowing) – Psalm 147:4-5 Omnipresence (All-present) – Psalm 139:8 Omnipotent (All-powerful) – Matthew 19:26 God is eternal – He always has been and always will be. Psalm 90:2; Psalm 102:24-27 God is immutable – He does not change. Malachi 3:6; James 1:17 God is holy. Isaiah 57:15; Psalm 99:9 God is merciful. Psalm 103:8; Psalm 86:15 God is love. 1 John 4:8-16; John 3:16 God is a Heavenly Father to all who accept His plan of salvation. Ephesians 2:19; Galatians 4:4-7 GOD THE SON, JESUS CHRIST: Jesus was literally “God in the Flesh.” He came to this earth born of a virgin. Jesus grew up in all respects as any child growing up into manhood would; yet was without sin. Isaiah 7:14; John 17:5; Colossians 1:15-19; Luke 2:52 Jesus (an equal part of the Trinity) came as a “spotless lamb” in order to provide a once-and-for-all sacrifice for sin. Hebrews 10:1-10; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 Corinthians 5:7 Jesus died on the cross to shed His blood as an atonement (payment) for the sins of everyone who would accept Him as Savior. Isaiah 53:6; 2 Corinthians 5:19; 1 Timothy 2:6; John 1:29; John 3:16-17 Jesus was bodily resurrected from the tomb on the third day after His physical death on the cross. 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Matthew 28:6 Today Jesus is risen, exalted, and seated at the right hand of the Father. He is to be worshiped in spirit and truth. His name is to have singular importance to us. Philippians 2:9; Ephesians 1:20-21; Colossians 3:1 Jesus will return to this earth; for His bride – the church, made up of those who from the heart believe in Him, and for the final judgment of the world. John 14:2-3; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 19:11-16 GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT The Holy Spirit is an equal part of the Trinity and has His own distinct personality and ministry. John 14:16; Acts 5:3-4; 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 Some of the works of the Holy Spirit are: Conviction of sin – John 16:8-11 Bearing witness of Christ – Acts 5:32 Indwelling of believers – Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 6:19 Sealing our salvation – Ephesians 1:13-14 Filling of believers – Ephesians 5:18 Empowering believers with the heart of Jesus – Galatians 5:22-23 Granting and empowering spiritual gifts in believers – Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11; Ephesians 4:11-12 Guiding believers – Romans 8:14 Anointing believers with special abilities for specific purposes – 1 John 2:27; Luke 4:18; Authoring of the scriptures – 2 Peter 1:20-21 The comforter for Christians – John 15:26; John 16:7 Assisting the believer’s prayers – Romans 8:26-27; Galatians 4:6 Teaches us – 1 John 2:27; John 16:13 A Brief Perspective on the Gifts of the Spirit The Holy Spirit is the sovereign Giver of spiritual gifts: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit . . . but one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 All the gifts are possible today and may be dispensed to any believer as the Spirit chooses, either at the time of conversion or after, as in the case of Timothy: “And for this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.” 2 Timothy 1:6 It is interesting to note that when the Spirit was poured out upon the Church in Acts 2 and 3000 were converted in one day, there is not a specific indication that the 3000 were necessarily visited by the same phenomena as were the disciples in the upper room. Peter instructed, “Repent and be baptized . . . and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38) The statements in Acts 2 are silent as to whether any or all of the 3000 were then touched by tongues of fire or spoke with “other tongues." We do not know with certainty what the manifestation of the Spirit’s coming upon the 3000 were; they may have spoken with “tongues” or they may have not. They could have, or they could not have – both possibilities we still believe to be true in the Church today. What we do know is that their hearts and lifestyles were radically changed by the coming of the Spirit, such that a love for prayer; an overflow of perpetual praise; an insatiable hunger for the apostle’s teaching; and a compassion for each other absolutely consumed them. (Acts 2:42-47) No singular gift, then; can be said to be proof of either the Spirit’s baptism or His filling. It is the “un-boxable” Spirit who distributes gifts “to each one individually just as He wills” and who “has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member (all had the same gift), where would the body be?” 1 Corinthians 12:18-31 A Brief Perspective on the Baptism or Filling of the Holy Spirit In the section below entitled, “Salvation," it is declared that being “born again” is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit’s ministry within the sinner of bringing him to conviction of his sin, awakening within him repentance (or a turning from his sins), granting faith in Christ’s death as payment for his sins, and then bringing the life of Christ into his spirit. There is, however, a further work of the Holy Spirit in empowering the believer for service or ministry in the Kingdom. This further work may occur almost simultaneously with the moment of his being “born again," or it may occur as in the case of the 120 (Acts 1:1-14; Acts 2:1-4) or the Apostle Paul (Acts 9:1-19). In both of these instances, the ones “receiving the Spirit” had been convicted of their sins, had repented, and were trusting Jesus as the Christ who had been put to death for their sins, who was buried and raised again according to the Scriptures (“The Gospel” according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The living Jesus had come to them and spoken to them – they certainly knew He was alive from the dead. According to Paul’s listing of the ingredients of the Gospel that must be believed in order to be saved, they assuredly must have been convinced of each of them. They were “born again.” Yet what they needed beyond salvation was the Power of the Risen Christ to strengthen and enable them for the supernatural tasks assigned them. They received that Spirit in what has been alternately called the Baptism or the Filling of the Spirit. Our position is not to argue terms, but to appreciate the reality of the Father’s desire; that not only does He long for His children to be saved from their sins by faith in Jesus’ death for them (one operation of the Holy Spirit within them), but also that their hearts be drenched in fire (Luke 3:16) and that they be clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49) by the coming on them of the Spirit in power. Such a drenching in fire (a burning in the heart for love of Jesus and a zeal to serve Him) and a clothing with power from on High for effective service, we earnestly believe is one of the “new covenant” blessings that we are to fervently seek from the Lord. The need for fresh fillings of the Holy Spirit may be repeated throughout our lives, as was the case with the Apostles in Acts 4:23-31, and those times of great need are satisfied by the Spirit’s heart to make real, continually within us, the life of the exalted Jesus. John 16:14-15 MAN God created man in His own image. Genesis 1:26; Colossians 3:10; James 3:9 Outside of Jesus, every person who has ever lived has committed sin. Romans 3:10,23 Because of our sin nature (inherited from Adam) and the sins resulting from it; everyone will die physically and will then face eternal death if he/she has not accepted by faith Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for his/her sins. Romans 5:12,19; Psalm 14 Man is saved from guilt and certain punishment of his sins by Grace (the offering up of Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world) and through faith (faith in the fact that Jesus was dying and did die for “my” sins, that He was buried, and that He was raised from the dead). Man was created with a physical nature (“. . .out of the dust was formed flesh”) and man also has a spiritual nature. (“ . . .was breathed into him the breath of life”) – Genesis 2:7; 2 Corinthians 4:16. SALVATION Sin literally means to “miss the mark." Sin is anything contrary to the character of God – as revealed in the Bible. Psalm 51:4; Romans 5:12-21 To sin or to rebel against God’s laws is the very nature of all mankind; no one has to learn how to sin. All have sinned and need the Savior. Romans 3:10, 23; 5:8; Ephesians 2:3-10 The sin nature can “blind” a person so that the need for salvation is obscured. Ephesians 4:18; I Corinthians 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4 From God’s perspective, the plan to provide a way of escape from the certain eternal death all mankind faces because of their sin (John 3:3, 5-8), has existed “from before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), and has become known to the world in the first coming of Jesus of Nazareth (John 1:10-14). On the human, experiential side, salvation for the individual begins with the Holy Spirit’s convicting the heart of the sinner that he/she is guilty of breaking God’s Law and rejecting Jesus Christ (John 16:8, 9) and is, therefore, guilty of causing the death of Jesus of Nazareth, who came as “the Lamb of God” to “take away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), and who “Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (1 Peter 2:24). Repentance (a deep and remaining change of attitude toward “my sin” and toward the one true, living and holy God before whom I stand as guilty and condemned because of my sin) then rises in the sinner’s heart by the steady working of the Holy Spirit, pointing the sinner toward his/her only hope to escape judgment and receiving mercy—the cross and empty tomb of Jesus Christ! (Luke 13:3; John 16:7-11; Acts 3:19) Specific and personal faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood on the cross in payment for “my” sin, and faith that He literally died and literally was raised from the dead, is the only way that a person’s sins can be forgiven in the eyes of God. Romans 5:8-9; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8, 9; Colossians 1:13-14 All of salvation is all of God – “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins” – incapable of any signs of spiritual life: unable to repent, powerless to produce the kind of faith in Christ’s death that saves from sin, incapable of obeying God lastingly – the unbeliever is spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1), until God in His mercy and His Spirit begins to bring life to a dead heart. Thus, “by grace (by God’s enabling power and undeserved mercy) you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not the result of works, that no one should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9) The function of salvation is to make people new, not just make them behave. “Being saved” or being “born again” means not only being saved from the guilt and penalty of sins but also being saved from the power of sin to control a life. How? It is Jesus Christ, in the form of His invisible Spirit, actually alive in the bodies of those who have surrendered their lives to Him. His Presence changes us and keeps us changed! 2 Corinthians 5:17; John 5:24; 2 Peter 1:4 Galatians 2:20 THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER Because the sinner is saved solely by the grace of God, he/she is kept “saved” by the same undeserved mercy of God. God has reached down (before the sinner ever reached up – John 6:44) and taken hold of the sinner’s soul, rescued it, cleansed it, forgave it through the death of Christ, and now possesses it through the indwelling Spirit. Since God is the One who initiates salvation, He is the only One who can terminate it, and He has said, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). He also promised: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hands. I and the Father are one” (John 10:27-30). The picture of Salvation is not that of the sinner trying desperately to keep holding on to the Father’s hand, but that of the Father graciously and powerfully gripping and holding on to the forgiven sinner’s hand. The believer is secure eternally because it is the Father who is holding on to him/her, not because the sinner is fortunate enough in this life not ever to let his/her grip of faith or good works slip! It is BY GRACE that you have been saved, and that you are KEPT! ASSURANCE OF SALVATION The sinner is saved from sin on the basis of God-given faith in the facts of the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3,4); but the believer experiences the assurance in his/her heart that he/she is truly forgiven, cleansed and accepted as a child of God, and is treasured and precious to the Father as “the Spirit of adoption bears witness with (testifies jointly with) our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ…” Romans 8:15-17 The assurance of salvation is singularly a manifestation of the Holy Spirit of Jesus at work in the believer convincing him of his place in the facts of the Gospel and revealing in the depth of his spirit the heart of Abba Father toward His child. “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:6-7 THE CHURCH The word church originated from a Greek word (ecclesia) which means “called out ones." The true church is made up of all people who have accepted Jesus as Savior and followed Him in believer’s baptism. They have (by the power of the Spirit) been rescued from the world’s former control of their hearts and lives, and are seeking to live “in community” with one another. Matthew 16:18; Acts 4:32-37; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 2:1-6; 5:25-27; Romans 8:30 The primary characteristics of a New Testament church are found in Acts 2: (v 38) people were saved and baptized (v 40) their affection was on things that would matter after death (v 42) study – fellowship – breaking bread – prayer (v 44) a strong bond of unity (v 45) compassion was put into action (v 46) frequent joining together for mutual encouragement (v 47) consistent and exuberant praise to God The church was founded BY Jesus – FOR Jesus. Matthew 16:16-18; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:7 Individuals are to come together as equal parts for the common good of the whole group. Each member of a church is a piece of the whole picture. Ephesians 4:1-4, 15-16; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Romans 12:4-5 Members of a church are to take on responsibilities in order to serve the Lord through the body of believers they have joined with. It is the “teamwork” aspect of everyone having a part and contributing that makes a church more of a living organism than just an organization. Some of the important ministries of a church: Worship – Ephesians 1:4-6; Hebrews 13:15-16 Evangelism (sharing Jesus with those who need to know Him) Matthew 28:19-20 Teaching/discipleship – Ephesians 4:11-15 Use of spiritual gifts – Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 Sharing generously - 2 Corinthians 8:5; 2 Corinthians 9:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2 Scripture established the leaders of the local church as being pastors, elders and deacons (1 Timothy 3:1-13). The pastors and elders are to oversee the total ministry of the church in the light of Biblical instruction, encouraging its spiritual health and maturity, and the deacons are to serve under the leadership of the pastors, tending to the tangible, material needs of the fellowship, thereby contributing to peace in the fellowship (Acts 6:1-6). Pastors, elders and deacons must also be deeply committed to and actively involved in sharing the gospel (Acts 4:8-12; Acts 6:8–7:60). The New Testament, in addition to its teaching regarding the local church, also speaks of the church as “the body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14), which includes all of the believers in Christ throughout the world, throughout all time. Ephesians 2:19-22; Revelation 5:9-10 BAPTISM Baptism is a word that was brought out of the Greek language without being translated. The Greek word “baptizo” means: plunge, immerse, submerge, to dip in entirety. Jesus was baptized to establish an example for believers to follow. Matthew 3:16-17 New believers were baptized following their repentance from their sins and putting their faith in Christ. Acts 2:37-41; 8:35-38 The New Testament teaches that sinners are forgiven and made right with God solely through faith in what Christ did for them on the cross (John 3:16-18; John 5:24; Acts 4:12; Acts 16:30-31; 1 Peter 1:18-23), not because they did something to earn forgiveness, such as by being baptized (Ephesians 2:8-9). Baptism does not wash away sin; it is purely a symbolic act, indicating that before entering the water, the one being baptized has been united by faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—that he has died to sin and is embarking on a new way of life. Romans 6:3-11 Though baptism is symbolic, it is still a specific act of obedience, important for the sake of keeping the commands of Jesus—“Repent and be baptized…” (Acts 2:38) THE LORD’S SUPPER (COMMUNION) The Lord’s Supper, also called communion, was instituted by Jesus. Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16 The elements of communion are the symbolic body (the unleavened bread) and blood (“the fruit of the vine”) of Christ. Jesus often would use analogies to illustrate or emphasize a particular point. “I am the Vine.” (John 15); “I am the Door.” (John 10:9) Throughout the New Testament, there are references made to believers taking communion. Acts 2:46; Acts 20:7 It is to be done in obedience to the instructions of Jesus. –1 Corinthians 11:23-26 The Lord’s Supper is to be a time of examination and remembrance. 1 Corinthians 11:24-34 The Lord’s Supper is to be a time of unity. 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; Luke 22:15 PRAISE & WORSHIP Worship is our response to God. Psalm 89:6-7 Worship is essentially “worth-ship” and worship is due unto the Lord, for He alone is worthy of worship. Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:12 Authentic worship will have little or nothing to do with buildings, physical symbols, or other participants, but will focus entirely on the Lord. Psalm 100; John 4:22-24 Several key Hebrew words for worship express a more complete idea of what worship is: Yadah: to hold out the hand, to extend hands in reverence. Genesis 29:35; 2 Chronicles 7:6; Psalm 107:8 Halal: to be clear, to make a show, to boast, to rave over, to celebrate. 1 Chronicles 20: 19-21; Psalm 69:30 Barak: to kneel, to adore, to bless. Judges 5:2 Zamar: to strike with the fingers, to use an instrument or voice. Psalm 21:13; Psalm 57:7; Psalm 108:1 Shabach: to shout, to cry in a loud voice. Psalm 63:3; Psalm 117:1; Psalm 145:4 Worshiping the Lord may take many legitimate and appropriate forms: Words – Psalm 9:1 Shouts – Psalm 95:1 Bowing – Psalm 95:6 Songs, Psalms – Psalm 104:33; Ephesians 5:19-20 Dance – Psalm 150:4; Psalm 149:3 Raised hands – Psalm 134:2 Stillness – Psalm 46:10 Sitting – 2 Samuel 7:18 An inescapable key in true worship is that it be authentic, straight from the heart, and focused on the living God, who calls us to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23) – not hypocritically playing a religious game within ourselves or critically watching and judging the worship motives of others. Hands raised or lowered, voices loud or soft, feet standing or dancing – all are possible postures of worship, but it is the condition of the heart that remains the most essential, and it is only the Spirit who can enable us to worship the Father “in spirit and in truth”. STEWARDSHIP According to Scripture, believers should recognize that everything we have is entrusted to us to use for the glory of God and for helping others. We should give of ourselves (Romans 12:1), and of our material possessions regularly (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), generously, and cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) for the advancement of the Kingdom of our dear Savior! It appears that the primary way of funding the spread of the Gospel in the first century was through tithes and offerings given through local churches, to assist men such as the missionary Paul and to meet the needs such as famine relief (Philippians 4:14-19). The principle of giving generously through a local church, whose ministry and vision bear witness with the believer’s personal convictions, using the tithe or the first 10% of our income as the beginning point, is a practice God faithfully blesses. Malachi 3:10 instructs, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.” Acts 2:44-45 and 4:34-35 indicate that the church became, evidently, “the storehouse” in which goods were gathered and then distributed by the apostles to the poor in the church: “For there was not a needy person among them, for all who were owners of land or houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales, and lay them at the apostles’ feet; and they would be distributed to each, as any had need” (Acts 4:34-35). Paul lifts high the “Law of the Harvest” in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7: “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully. Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.” THE PURITY OF THE FELLOWSHIP When a believer falls into sin and remains in it, not only is he being hurt, but the entire body of Christ is to some degree affected. Worst of all, the Savior is grieved and the reputation of His Church is damaged. Diligence must be given to keeping the fellowship pure. (1 Corinthians 5) Matthew 18:15-17 is the pattern to be followed should a church member become ensnared by sin: “And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.” ----- in other words, if a brother or sister in Christ repeatedly ignores the pleas of the family of God to leave the sin and return to the commandments of Scripture, the Church is instructed by Jesus Christ himself to put the rebellious one out of the fellowship of the Church. Certainly, however, when there is a clear change of both heart and behavior, the brother or sister may be restored to full fellowship. The Savior spoke such serious words of commandment to His Church because He knew that even the thought of such a procedure would discourage sin and encourage purity among His own. THE UNITY OF THE FELLOWSHIP Few things are any more wonderful for a believer than to be a part of a congregation that is of the same heart and mind, accomplishing together in gladness and joy the will of the Father. Their unity is a key to their spiritual power, and is a treasure worth protecting at all costs. Ephesians 4:3 Paul instructed Titus, a pastor to “reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned” (Titus 3:10-11). The NIV translates: “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” The seriousness of the sin of sowing discord among the brethren caused Paul, led by the Holy Spirit, to make such a strong statement. The desire for restoration is obvious: to “reject” should come only after a first and second warning. Then, if the warnings went unheeded, there was to be a severing of the bonds of fellowship between the church and the individual – permanently if he refused to repent of his sin; or temporarily, it may be assumed, if repentance developed in his heart. Titus 3:10-11 are the guidelines for our church, should it ever face problems with divisive, factious individuals or groups. If first and second attempts by one of the pastors and a group of church leaders to silence the factious man or woman fail, the membership secretary will remove the individual’s name from the church membership roll permanently or until such time as a genuine change of heart is clearly evidenced by the individual. At that time, the individual may request membership once again, and full fellowship may be restored. CHRISTIAN LIFE We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the well-being of his fellow men, that his conduct should be blameless before the world, that he should be a faithful steward of his possessions and that he should seek to realize for himself and others the full stature of maturity in Christ. (John 14:15; Romans 12:1-3; 1 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6-9; Colossians 1:9,10; Hebrews 12:1,2; 1 John 2:3-6.) EVANGELISM Jesus gave us what is know as the “Great Commission” in Matthew 28: 19-20. The mission of the Church universal is to glorify God by making disciples through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The mission of the church is also highlighted in 2 Corinthians 5. As those who have been reconciled to God through the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are now ambassadors of reconciliation to a lost and broken world. We plead, implore, reason, pray, serve, teach and gather to see God glorified through reconciliation. MARRIAGE We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female. These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Genesis. 1:26-27) We believe the term “marriage” has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture. (Genesis. 2:18-25) We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Corinthians 6:18; 7:2-5; Hebrews 13:4) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matthew 15:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) We believe that God offers redemption and restoration to all who confess and forsake their sin, seeking His mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity. (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31) Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are neither in accordance with Scripture nor the doctrines of Messiah’s House. SANCTITY OF LIFE We believe that all human life is sacred and created by God in His image. Human life is of inestimable worth in all its dimensions, including pre-born babies, the aged, the physically or mentally challenged, and every other stage or condition from conception through natural death. We are therefore called to defend, protect, and value all human life. (Psalm. 139) COMMUNITY We are all created in the image of God who, in His nature, is community. The Biblical expression of God is the Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. The fact that God is a community of persons who live to love and give to one another speaks to the undying need for us to connect not only with God but also with others. Jesus knew this and even prayed for this on the last night of his life (John 17:20-23). Therefore, community is not just something that we “do” but it is something that we intentionally pursue.