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Written by Peter H. Holtvluwer Category: We Believe
Published Date Hits: 5832

Paradise Created

Every church stands for something – so what do we believe, you ask? Well, let’s start at the beginning. Based entirely on God’s Word, the Bible, we believe that God created all things out of nothing by the power of His Word. That means that all people – yes, you too - are created for the purpose of knowing, serving, and glorifying their mighty Creator. God placed our first parents Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, to till it and care for it. He further gave them the command to be fruitful and have dominion over the earth. In this way, we people would act on God’s behalf, managing and ruling over all creation for God’s glory. In Eden, God actually walked and talked with Adam and Eve – isn’t that amazing? While they went about their work, they enjoyed a close and beautiful fellowship with their Creator in perfect harmony.

In Paradise, our first parents were free to eat of all the trees God had provided, except one. The Lord arranged it like this in order to test their love for Him. Would they continue in that wonderful relationship of serving and worshiping God, or would they go against their Creator’s command? Sadly, Adam and Eve, spurred on by the devil, knowingly chose to disobey, thinking they would become as wise as God. By eating the forbidden fruit, they turned their back on God and went their own way in pride.

Paradise Lost

It was at that point that everything changed – for Adam and Eve, for you and me, for everyone. Adam and Eve had sinned against God and so broke their relationship with Him. The poison of sin entered into their hearts and minds so that their whole human nature was affected by it. Even worse, because Adam was the father of the human race and represented all of humanity, his sin became the sin of all his descendants. That is why all people everywhere have a sinful heart, for all people are descended from Adam and share in his guilt (Romans 5:12). As God had earlier warned, the punishment of death took root in their bodies and from that day onward their bodies broke down till they died.
It is the same today with all people, none excepted. In fact, that’s why we all see and experience so much misery in this world - because humanity is alienated from God and full of sin. Since we all have a sinful nature, we will all die. Because Adam and Eve had rebelled, they were banished from God’s presence and put out of the Garden of Eden. Our covenant with God was shattered, our Paradise lost.

Turning of the Tide

But…then something miraculous happened! Just as we had dug ourselves into this deep, dark pit of despair, just as we had sunk ourselves into the mire of sin and eternal death, God reached out to save us! Praise be to God, He did not leave Adam and Eve (and their descendants!) in their miserable state of death, but promised them a Saviour who would make things right again with God! No sooner had we revolted in Adam then God extended His love toward us – all by His grace. He promised to destroy our enemy, namely sin and Satan, by the work of a coming Redeemer. Even though Satan and his followers would try to take over and rule God’s good creation, God would not let them succeed. In His mercy, God reached out to give us the firm hope of life!

What follows in history is God’s outworking of His great plan of salvation. Over the course of time, God worked to re-establish a relationship with His people. He entered into a covenant of love with His chosen people and orchestrated all things in order to bring into the world His Redeemer. From Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, to the nation Israel, to King David, God preserved a people who truly did love Him. Finally, when all things were prepared and the time was just right, God sent into the world His only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our promised Saviour! Though Jesus was and remains true God, He took on our human nature so that He might suffer our punishment in our place. In fact, He went so far as to undergo eternal death when His Father forsook Him on the cross.

Think about this carefully. Do you see how God’s love for His created world and for His chosen people shines so brilliantly in this sacrifice of His only Son? Though He was and remains perfect and sinless, He suffered the just wrath of God against our sin so that we might escape our well-deserved punishment. He has breathed new life into us sinners! By His death and resurrection He has once and for all conquered the power of sin and Satan and has begun to restore the Paradise we lost! That’s the amazing gospel of the Jesus Christ!

Paradise Regained

But there’s more! We also believe that this Lord Jesus has ascended into heaven and has been crowned King over creation by His Father. Even as you read this, King Jesus upholds and governs all things – from devil to despot and everything in between. We know, that’s powerful stuff, but that’s our Lord Jesus – powerful Ruler over all things! By His Spirit and Word, He is gathering in His church all over the world, the people God has chosen to save out of this world. As part of that universal church gathered here locally, we worship God and enjoy – alreayd now in this broken and sinful life - a true fellowship with Him through the Holy Spirit. By His Spirit, Christ Jesus even dwells in our hearts now (today!), regenerating our dead-in-sin hearts and preserving us in the true faith against all enemies.

While we press on in this hope, we believe that the Lord Jesus is preparing all things for the final day of Judgment. Then all people and all powers everywhere will have to give an account of themselves to Him. On that great day Christ will make a final separation between the followers of Satan and His followers. While He will cast all unbelievers into eternal hell, He will bring all God’s children into His glorious presence on the new heaven and the new earth. It is there, at last, that God’s people will once again fully share in the perfect bliss of sinless fellowship with God. Then all grief and sorrow and every consequence of sin will be forever banished. God Himself will wipe away every tear from our eyes. It is our blessed hope and assurance that we will one day live with our Triune God in this Paradise regained.

This is what we believe – won’t you join us in this wonderful and true faith? It’s the truth because God has revealed it so in His Word, the Bible. God is calling you too, a sinner like us, to share in this great restoration of life brought about by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All you need do is repent and believe, accepting the promise of salvation. Come join us, His church, in the joy of faith!

The Bible and Creeds

As we mentioned earlier, our faith is based entirely and only on the Bible. We believe that the Bible is the Spirit-inspired Word of God and is therefore the basis for our belief. The Bible testifies to its own validity in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

In all things the Bible remains the foundation and touchstone for our beliefs and practices. In accordance with this, the church of Jesus Christ has at various times and places summarized the teachings of the Bible in written Creeds and Confessions. This was and remains necessary in order to preserve the faith “once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3) against heresy and error. They also serve to promote the truth of the Bible, and to unite believers in that truth. Don’t get us wrong: the Creeds and Confessions never replace or even equal the Bible in authority. Yet, because they do summarize Scripture accurately, they are both valid and authoritative for the church.

What you have read above is an unofficial narrative summary of many of the points of faith taught in the Bible, captured in these Creeds and Confessions and taught in this church. Please do take a moment to review these official statements of faith. May God lead you onward in true faith!

Our Creeds and Confessions

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We worship together twice on Sundays (9:00 AM and 2:00 PM).  Live Stream

The Bible teaches that the Lord's Day has been set aside for rest and worship. Therefore we worship in the morning and the afternoon. Our worship services are formal. The Bible teaches that a worship service is not merely the meeting of a number of people with one another but above all the meeting between God and his people. Reverence and respect are fitting as we worship in the presence of God. The sermon takes central place in our worship services. The Bible teaches that faith comes from the Holy Spirit and is strengthened by the preaching of God's Word. The Bible also teaches that the preaching of God's Word is meant to give direction for holy living.
The opening of Scripture is therefore central to the worship services.

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