Tenents 7 to 11

Tenent 7: The sacraments of baptism by immersion, and of the Lord’s Supper.

Jesus commanded that new believers be plunged in water to symbolise our sharing in the benefits of his saving work.  His death and resurrection are the permanent basis of Christian life.  Therefore he also ordained that he church should meet to remember him be eating bread and drinking wine as symbols of his body and blood.

Why is it necessary that we believe this?
Jesus himself was baptised not to repent of sin, but to identify himself with our humanity.  It was a significant moment in his life and it is the same for us.
God recognises that when we do an act it helps us to appreciate what the symbolic act means.  By being baptised, it helps us understand something of the ‘death’ of our old life and the resurrection of our new one in serving Christ.
Similarly, with communion, this meal helps us to focus regularly and consider what Jesus accomplished when he died for us.  It should be a special time of reflection and worship when we eat this meal.
Really no more need be said, other than Jesus told us to do it.

Pause for thought
In a hectic world full of deadlines and pressure, God has helped us to remember him by partaking in a meal.

Useful Scriptures
Matthew 28:19, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, Romans 6:3-14

 

 

Tenent 8: The divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.

The Bible, comprising the Old and New Testaments, is God’s Word to us.  The Holy Spirit created it by working with and through the human authors so that what they say, God says.  Therefore the Bible is absolutely authoritative for right belief and behaviour.

Why is it necessary that we believe this?
If we do not accept the Bible as God’s word, then we are reading and applying something which is man-inspired. As a result, at its best is flawed, at its worst is disastrous.
The mystery of the Bible is that it was written over thousands of years by many different people, often writing in complete isolation of each other.  But the Bible does not contradict itself, with prophecies made hundreds of years earlier being fulfilled.  This gives the Bible its credibility and authenticity.
The Bible is a complete manual for living.  What is especially relevant is that the Bible records people’s failures as well as their successes.  It shows that God deals with real people and meets them at their point of need, remaining a Lord of mercy at all time.

Pause for thought
The Bible is still a ‘best seller’ above all other books.  There must be ‘something’ in it to make it the most read book.

Useful Scriptures
2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21

 

 

Tenent 9: Church government by Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, Teachers, Elders and Deacons.

Church leadership is provided by men with varying God-given ministries.  They complement each other and together express Christ’s government of his church.

Why is it necessary that we believe this?
The Church is an organisation (a group of people with a common purpose).  Yet the church is unique because it comprises of God’s people, his church.  It has a spiritual dimension which no other group of people have. 

As a result, a straight copy of management structures from secular society would not be suitable or competent to deal with the things of God.  Therefore, God has ‘gifted’ people in the church to lead it. These people are not ‘superhuman’ or promoted into positions, but God’s gift in them is recognised, nurtured and tested.  When the person is found suitable, they may be ‘set’ into their place of ministry (serving).

Pause for thought
If a church is run like a business with no spiritual awareness, then it would quickly become spiritually bankrupt.  The church is a ‘living group’ to serve God, with leaders who ‘help’ people in that function.

Useful Scriptures
Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-11

 

 

Tenent 10: The possibility of falling from grace.

God is faithful and gracious to his people, earnestly desiring and providing for our salvation.  It is possible, however, for a Christian to forfeit salvation by a wilful failure to continue in faith and obedience.

Why is it necessary that we believe this?
Many people think they can do what they like when they have become Christians, because they are ‘saved’.  This is a mis-understanding of Scripture and an insult to God.
God has given us a free will.  He has not created us as robots.  Therefore we have a responsibility to follow God’s ways and serve him.
God has provided everything for us to follow him; his grace and the Holy Spirit, and he desires us to have a relationship with him.  But a relationship is always two-way.  If we fail and neglect God wilfully, there is a danger that we break our relationship with him.  This is the greatest tragedy.

Pause for thought
If you had a friendship with someone who deliberately broke it and refused to have anything to do with you, who constantly offended and ignored you, how would you feel?  I think God feels the same.

Useful Scriptures
1 Corinthians 10:12, 1 Timothy 1:19, Hebrews 3:12

 

 

Tenent 11: The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.

It is our privilege and responsibility to give a tenth of our income to support God’s work.  Further giving should result from increased prosperity and as we are faced both by opportunities to spread the Gospel and the world’s need.

Why is it necessary that we believe this?
God has given us everything; life, health and strength – and even our finances.  People generally don’t like parting with money – to most, it is a precious limited resource.  God, in reality, is not seeking to get our money, but our obedience and if we are obedient in this aspect he has promised to bless us far more.  He can always ‘out-give’ us.
On a more ‘down-to-earth’ point, if people do not contribute financially to God’s church,
Who pays the Pastor’s wages?
Who pays for the church building?
Who pays for the maintenance of the building?
Who pays the bills?
Who helps out people in need?

Pause for thought
Sadly, some people want everything for nothing (or at least 20 pence in the offering).  God deserves far more, he has given us all we have in the first place.

Useful Scriptures
Malachi 3:10-12


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