The Bible is God’s perfect revelation of Himself to humanity written through divinely inspired human authors. As God’s Word, the Bible is totally true and completely authoritative for life. It is the standard of truth by which all beliefs and actions should be developed and evaluated. All Scripture is centered fully on Jesus and seeks to connect us to Him in all aspects of our lives.
What is the Bible?
What is the Gospel?
The Gospel is the central story of Scripture and the whole universe. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the foundation and center of our faith. Check out the five-part summary of the Gospel.
- God has existed forever as one God in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and is perfect in every aspect of existence (Isaiah 6:3).
- When God created the universe, the earth and all that is in it, everything was good (Genesis 1). The first humans lived in perfect relationship with God and were created to reflect God uniquely by having been created in His image (Genesis 1:27).
- The problem is humanity chose to break that relationship with God by rebelling against His good law. The first humans, Adam and Eve, did this while they lived in the perfect creation of God (Genesis 3), and as a result sin, which is rebellion against God, entered the world. The consequences of sin are death and brokenness (Romans 5:12), and the whole world experiences the evil and brokenness all around us as a result of their sin.
- The reality, though, is that we have all sinned and are responsible for the brokenness in the world (Romans 3:23). We have each chosen to break God’s law. Whether we’ve lied, lashed out in anger, gossiped about other people, or made any number of other selfish choices, we all have to admit that we have sinned.
- Not only did death and brokenness enter the world through sin, but our relationship with God has been severed, too. Since God is perfect and just in every way, He cannot be in the presence of sin, and He must punish sinners. We now deserve death and eternity apart from God (Romans 6:23).
- At this point, while the Gospel story certainly explains the broken state of our world, the suffering all around us, and our natural tendency to sin, it’s not very good news. But that’s not the end of the story…
- This is where the story gets good. Not only is God perfectly just toward sin, but he is also perfectly loving toward sinners. According to Scripture, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God’s love is so immense that He wasn’t satisfied with leaving humanity without hope, life, or a relationship with Him.
- So, God made a way for us to have our sins forgiven, our relationship restored, and eternal life secured. Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, came to earth and lived a perfect, sinless life that we can never live (Hebrews 4:15). He went to die on a cross so that He could take the punishment from God for our sins and give us His life and righteousness (1 Peter 3:18). He became our substitute before God, and He proved that He accomplished this by rising from his grave three days later (Acts 17:31).
- Jesus did all this for us so that we could be saved by grace through faith, which is an absolutely incredible free gift that we don’t deserve and could never earn (Ephesians 2:8).
After Jesus rose from the dead and spent a brief time with his closest followers, He ascended into heaven where He waits yet today to return again to earth to establish His eternal kingdom. In His own time, Jesus will return to earth physically and finish the work he started restoring those who believe into a full relationship with God. Those who believe will experience His glorious new creation for all of eternity while those who choose not to believe with experience separation from God for all of eternity (Revelation 21:1-8).
- So how do we get to enjoy the good news of this story? Jesus calls us to “repent and believe.” Essentially, repent means we turn from our sin (Luke 13:3). We ask for forgiveness, and we choose to begin obeying God instead of going our own way. It doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but rather that we choose to change directions.
- In addition to repenting, we are also called to believe or trust in Jesus. Rather than trusting in ourselves to be good enough to get to heaven or God, we trust in what Jesus did. He is the only way for salvation (John 14:6), and in order to be saved, we must believe that what He did on the cross is sufficient for our salvation (Romans 10:9-10).
- You can turn and trust in Jesus today. Simply talk to God in prayer. Admit that you are a sinner and ask for forgiveness. Express your belief in and thankfulness for Jesus. And share that you are committing to follow Him.
- If you’ve responded to the Gospel today or want to ask questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the Church?
The church is the community of God’s people who have experienced the saving grace of Jesus through repentance and faith in the Gospel and baptism of the Holy Spirit. The church exists on two different levels: universal and local. The universal church includes every Christian across the world since Pentecost while local churches are its physical manifestation in the world.
- Local churches, including Oak Ridge FBC, exist for the glory of God as a community of disciples who are worshippers of God, family with one another, and missionaries to the world.
- Empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit, the local church lives out this purpose submitting to the authority of Christ under the rule of the congregation and the leadership of pastors (servant leaders) and deacons (leading servants) through gospel ministry that includes gathering regularly for the preaching of the Word and worship, observing the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s supper, building up one another in Christlikeness, conducting church discipline, sharing the gospel with unbelievers, and seeking the good of the world.
- Baptism is a vivid picture of the Gospel and a public testimony to others of a believer’s faith in Jesus. As the believer is immersed in the baptismal waters, he or she symbolically follows Jesus into the death of sin in the crucifixion and rises in the new life of the resurrection from the grave.
- We believe baptism is a step of obedience that follows personal faith in Jesus by following His example when he was baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13-17). In baptism, we declare to family, friends and the world that we belong to the local community of faith and to the greater body of Christ.
- Membership is a covenant with a local body of believers that expresses the family love and commitment that Jesus calls us to throughout the New Testament. In reality, we cannot live out the commands to love one another, hold one another accountable, and encourage one another unless we are committed to specific people in a local church.
- Membership isn’t a hobby or club that we join and then move on from when we are bored or dislike some of the decisions being made. It’s a commitment to people through thick and thin to display the grace, love, and unity that the Gospel produces within us.
- Everyone who wants to become a member of Oak Ridge FBC must meet with the pastor and go through new member orientation. If you are interested in taking steps toward membership, please contact email@example.com.