What do we believe

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The Story of God

The very essence and nature of the God who created the universe is self-sacrificing love, and his desire—even before the foundations of the world—has been to have relationship with his creation. This God is a good King, and he created human beings in his image to represent him accurately and to serve as his regents on the earth, establishing his kingdom so the whole world will know God’s love for his creation. Sadly, the first human beings gave ear to lies about God, falling for the temptations offered them by an evil king known as“The Accuser.” His goal is to overthrow the rule and reign of the true God and instead place Self on the throne. In choosing to believe The Accuser, humans abandoned the intimate relationship they had with God, and experienced shame, guilt, fear, distrust, and ultimately death—a curse that fell upon humanity from that time on.

Though human beings abandoned God and their hearts became darkened by sin, God never abandoned human beings. He has been pursuing relationship with them ever since, despite the fact that they continue to put Self on the throne and make themselves enemies of God. To convince human beings of his true nature, God sent messengers called prophets to tell the world about him, but because of humanity’s darkened hearts, the truth of the message was always obscured; people never had a clear picture of what God was really like. Often these messages would serve to bring conviction, provoking people to try to turn back to God through righteous acts, thinking that God ultimately desired performance. What human beings couldn’t see was that the true love of God is grace, and grace can never be earned; it can only be received in humility. It is impossible to receive grace if you are trying to work for it.it forever powerless.

After centuries of God speaking through these prophetic messengers and people trying to please God through performance, he ensured the truth of the message would no longer be obscured. He packaged the message of his love for the world in a person—a Son, Jesus Christ. Because Jesus is the exact image of the invisible God, he represented God perfectly, embodying the very nature and essence of the One who is love. Jesus’ mission was to fulfill the assignment that the first human beings had failed to do—show the world what God is really like and establish his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. What Jesus revealed about God is that he is not only King of the universe, but also a good, good Father. Jesus devoted his entire earthly ministry to this goal—revealing the heart of the Father—and he did it through words (the proclamation of the good news), through actions (healing the sick, raising the dead, delivering people from demonic torment), and through his life laid down in love for them on a Roman cross. Not only did this act reveal God’s self-sacrificing love for those who had made him their enemy, but it also took the weight of the curse that had fallen on all human beings—the curse of shame, guilt, fear, distrust, and death—and rendered it forever powerless.

Jesus’ one perfect act of self-sacrificing love made it possible for human beings to draw near to God in relationship again by trusting God’s love for them through Jesus, rather than by trying to earn his love through their own performance. Throughout Jesus’ entire earthly ministry, he never relied on Self, but trusted his Father completely, wholly relying on the leading and power of the Holy Spirit and refusing to listen to the lies of the Accuser. Because he never gave in to temptation and sin, the curse of death was unable to hold Jesus in the grave, and on the third day following his crucifixion, he rose from the dead. With the power of sin and death overthrown, Jesus revealed himself to his followers, confirming his victory, after which he ascended to heaven where he is seated on the throne. As Jesus was leaving, his disciples were at a loss, thinking that their King who had just demonstrated his greatness over sin and death was now abandoning them. But God’s plan from the beginning was not merely that he would take on flesh and live among them as an individual, walking the dusty roads of Israel and doing the amazing works he did.

His plan was that his personal Presence would dwell in a people, who would fill the whole earth and have dominion over it. This Spirit-filled people would follow his voice, doing the works that Jesus did and even greater works. This people—no longer made up only of Israelites, but of individuals from every race, tribe, nation, and language—are known in Scripture as The Body of Christ, and Jesus himself is the governing Head of this Body. All those with faith in Jesus Christ are the members that together make up this Body. As the Body of Christ yields to its Head, fully trusting God and following the leading of the Holy Spirit just as Jesus did when he lived as an individual on the earth, God’s mission is being accomplished and his kingdom is being established. This kingdom is a kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy through relationship with God, and it works its way through the cracks in the systems of this world as those who are a part of the Body of Christ living in the world refuse to be governed by Self, and instead surrender to the self-sacrificing rule and reign of Christ.

The Bible has described this kingdom as a kingdom of light, and just as darkness has no power over light, so also the rule and reign of Satan with its fear, restlessness, power-mongering, and manipulation cannot ultimately overcome the power of hope, joy, peace, righteousness, and freedom through the self-sacrificing love of Christ. Though it may appear at times like “darkness is covering the surface of the earth,”nevertheless, the light has come, and those who are of the light are called to“arise, and shine!” A day is coming when Christ will return to consummate his kingdom, obliterating once and for all the remaining influences of The Accuser. When all is finally restored, the renewed heavens and earth will be even more glorious than creation was in the beginning, and all will finally know that God’sheart towards his creation has always been that of self-sacrificing love.

God has done everything necessary to bring this beautiful plan to pass through the finished work of Christ on the cross and through his Word and Spirit which are always at work in the world. However, God is not establishing his kingdom single-handedly. Like a father giving his children tools and instructions so they can be a part of building the family home, God is equipping his Church to partner with him in establishing his kingdom of righteousness, peace, joy, and the Father’s love. We of Vernon House of Faith are a part of this Church, and our desire is to yield to God’s Spirit and be equipped as partners with him in accomplishing a plan that is very good news.

The good news we believe and teach

God, Creation, and Kingdom

♦ We believe the God of the Bible is a Living God who speaks and acts today in ways that are consistent with how he spoke and acted in the story of the Bible.

♦ We believe this God is the Creator of the universe and a good Father whose nature and essence is love, and whose ultimate desire is for his creation to experience that love through relationship with him.

♦ We believe God’s plan from the beginning was to raise up a people—a family,actually!—that has relationship with God and is able to accurately represent him to the rest of creation.

♦ We believe God in his wisdom created the natural realm to point people to spiritual realities, so that human beings would begin to understand certain truths intuitively—like how seeds being sown in the ground point to Christ’s death and resurrection, or howmarriage being between one man and one woman points to Christ, the Bridegroom, being united to his Bride, the Church.

♦ We believe that the relational intimacy the first human beings had with God and with one another in the beginning was fractured when they chose independence and disobedience, rather than trust and obedience.

♦ We believe that this original rebellion against God has resulted in a condition that has affected all of humanity from the first human beings on, making it impossible for humans to reflect the true nature of God accurately, apart from being rescued from themselves—a plan which God would bring to pass through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

♦ We believe that there is an ongoing battle between two kingdoms—the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan—but these two kingdoms are in no way equal. The Kingdom of God is greater than the Kingdom of Satan, just as light is greater than darkness.

♦ We believe that since the initial rebellion of human beings, Satan has sought to twist, distort, pervert, and counterfeit the truth of God and the order of God’s creation, making darkness appear as light and light appear as darkness, but the Light of the world has come in the person of Jesus Christ, and darkness cannot overpower him!

Jesus Christ and the Redemption of Creation

♦ We believe that God’s Father-heart has always longed for reconciliation with his estranged children, and so he sent his Son Jesus into the world, born of a virgin in human flesh to carry out his plan of redemption and reconciliation.

♦ We believe Jesus’ mission was to show the world what the Father is really like, and to usher in the kingdom of God, destroying the works of the devil in the process, and making a way for broken relationships to be restored.

♦ We believe this mission of Jesus was carried out through his teachings, miracles, deliverance, healings, forgiveness, and ultimately through his own death on the cross—the quintessential expression of self-sacrificing love—an act which simultaneously revealed the heart of the Father for his creation and disarmed the powers of darkness.

♦ We believe this Jesus did not remain dead but rose again in a new resurrection body on the third day, and that he ascended to heaven where he lives always to intercede for us.

♦  We believe this Jesus is fully divine and fully human and that everything he accomplished through his life, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension was accomplished not through the use of his own divine power but through the power of the Holy Spirit as Jesus entrusted himself to the Father.

The Church and the Mission of God

♦ We believe that everyone who believes in Jesus and receives him undergoes a spiritual re-birth where they are born of the Spirit into the family of God, the Church.

♦  We believe that the baptism of the confessing believer and participation in the Lord’s Supper are practices that Jesus instructed his Church to engage in as expressions of our participation in the death and life of Christ, as our proclamation of the work of Christ until he returns, and as a public declaration of our incorporation into the fellowship of the family of God.

♦  We believe that the Church is the Body of Christ, and each individual believer is a member of the Body, of which Christ himself is the Head.

♦  We believe that just like an arm or ear or foot has no life, purpose, or function if severed from a body, so also individual believers are unable to fully experience the life God has for them and the purpose for their existence if they are independent and intentionally unattached to a local church Body.

♦  We believe the Church is called—as Jesus was—to reflect the Father accurately and to establish his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

♦  We believe that the Church is called to be in the world as a light shining in a dark place, not taking its cues from the world, but taking its cues from the Word and Spirit of God—loving God, one another, and others, in order that the world would believe that God has sent Jesus, and that they, too, would surrender to him and be transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of his glorious light.

♦  We believe that Jesus’ utter rejection of self-reliance and his utter dependence on his Father is the way God originally intended human beings to live and is therefore the model all believers are called to live by. This is the essence of a life of faith.

♦  We believe that following Jesus’ example and life is impossible apart from relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, whom God has made available to live in all those who are now regenerated by the blood of the new covenant through Jesus’ death on the cross.

♦  We believe it is the standing mandate and commission to the Church to make disciples and multiply churches, that the glory of God would cover the earth.

The Word and Spirit of God

♦ We believe that the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Spirit of God, and the standard by which we measure all revelation of truth.

♦ We believe God still speaks today and that this is referred to in Scripture as the proceeding word or the prophetic word; all proceeding and prophetic words are weighed and discerned by the preceding, written word of God.

♦ We believe Jesus is the Incarnate Word—the clearest communication of the love of God in the form of human flesh; if we want to see what God is really like, we look at Jesus.

♦ We believe the only way to read and truly understand the Scriptures is by having a relationship with the Author, and we believe that the only way to have true fellowshipand unhindered communion with the Author is by submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord and King, being born again, yielding to the Holy Spirit, and walking in obedience to the word.

♦ We believe the same Holy Spirit who inspired human authors to write the Scriptures sheds light on the Scriptures for those who are seeking the Truth, as the Bible promised that the Holy Spirit would guide us in the truth and reveal God’s heart through his written word.

♦ We believe that everything God does he does by his Word and by his Spirit—from the creation of the universe to the re-creation of the human heart, to the re-creating of the heavens and earth, where everything that was broken and darkened by human rebellion will be made right.

New Creation and Kingdom

♦ We believe that God’s plan for a new creation begins in each heart that receives Jesus and undergoes a spiritual rebirth where the corrupt nature dies and we receive a brand new spirit that is then filled with the Holy Spirit.

♦ We believe that as we yield to the Holy Spirit, he transforms us so that we look more and more like Jesus, and are thereby empowered to represent God with increasing accuracy, as God intended from the beginning.

♦ We believe that God’s loving rule and reign that was ushered in when Jesus Christ came in the flesh will eventually be established fully when he returns and unites all things in himself—things in heaven and things on the earth, at which time he will finish setting all things right that went wrong when the first human beings rebelled.

♦ We believe that all this is very good news that the world needs to hear, and that the Church is called to proclaim this good news through words, actions, and lives lived in the world, resourced by the Kingdom of God through his Holy Spirit.

The Nature of Truth and Revelation

♦ We believe that no statement of faith can be comprehensive because we are finite beings and God is eternal.

♦ We believe that Truth is ultimately revealed in the person of Jesus Christ, and that while this statement of beliefs is made up of propositions, these propositions have arisen out of relationship with Jesus Christ—not only our personal relationship with him, but the Church’s relationship with Christ over the centuries.

♦ We believe that while Truth is absolute (in the sense of Jesus being real and faithful, and the nature of God being unchanging), it is also always unfolding as our relationship with Jesus grows—as is the case with every relationship where the closer you grow in intimacy, the more you get to know about the person.

♦ We believe that God’s revelation of truth has always been progressive (Paul had a clearer revelation of God than Moses did, and Moses had a clearer revelation than Abraham did) and this progressive revelation of truth will continue throughout eternity, since God is an eternal, infinite God.

♦ We believe that the development of doctrine is not an individual exercise but a corporate process whereby the Church, in submission to Christ, in the pursuit of truth, and led by his Holy Spirit over time, comes to an increasingly clear understanding of God’s revelation of his nature and will, as seen in the Scriptures.

♦ We believe that the development of all doctrine is a historical process that takes into consideration the whole revelation of the Scriptures as well as the theological contributions of godly men and women in the Church throughout the ages, and is not developed simply by individuals taking particular verses and putting them together to construct a theological position.

♦ We believe that all future revelation of the nature and character of God and the truth that is in Jesus Christ will always cohere with the written word of God, since God is not the author of confusion.

♦ We believe that the same Holy Spirit who inspired human authors to write down the Scriptures for the Church has also preserved the Scriptures and guided the people of God in the development of doctrine, being faithful to bring correctives at times through revival and reformation, where hearts turned back to God in true repentance, so that when we take the whole of Church history into account, it is still possible to determine what may be considered “orthodox” doctrine, and what is a departure from orthodoxy.

Why did we put it this way?

We are not trying to re-invent the wheel. Historically, the Christian Church went to great pains to preserve the central doctrines of the faith in creeds that were passed down through the centuries. We stand in agreement with these creeds. However, studying the history of the early centuries of the Church reveals that the primary focus of the councils had to do with establishing the truth about the nature of Christ (being fully human and fully divine) and the doctrine of the Trinity. While these are central to our understanding of the nature of God as he has revealed himself, and we are grateful for the work that the Church Fathers did to clarify these important doctrines, we also understand that Jesus’ primary message about the Kingdom of God breaking in was virtually unmentioned in these creeds. Because we see the message of the Kingdom as central to the mission of Jesus and the Church, we have woven it into our statement of beliefs.