An Eternity Ahead of Us – John Norton
by John Norton
Hebrews 12:1-2 Isaiah 43:15-19...Download
Please click on one of the following to view our statement of faith regarding that particular category:
|SCRIPTURES We believethe Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, constitute the divinely inspired Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. These Holy Scriptures show people the way to know God and live for His purposes in time and eternity (2Tim. 3:16 -17; 1Cor. 2:13 ; John 17:17 ).Back to ListGOD
We believe in the One true and living God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God reveals Himself in the Bible as Almighty Father, perfect in love and righteous in all His ways; as Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son; and as Holy Spirit, Lord, and giver of life; each with distinctive personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being (Gen. 1:1; Col. 1:15-20; John 16:13).
We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who became Man without ceasing to be God. That Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin birth. That He led a sinless life, performed miracles, died an atoning death, was bodily resurrected, ascended to the right hand of the Father, and will personally return in power and glory (Luke 1:26-35; John 1:14-18; Isaiah 7:14; 9:6). He is Lord and the only Savior of lost and dying humanity.
We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit whose indwelling enables a Christian to live a godly life. He came forth from the Father and Son to convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; and to regenerate, sanctify, comfort, and seal those who believe in Jesus Christ, and to empower them to use spiritual gifts for the carrying out of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 1Corinthians 12-14).
We believe that all men by nature are dead in sins and trespasses, and in this fallen state, man is unable to remedy his lost condition. Jesus Christ is the only Savior of lost mankind, the only way into the presence of the Father (Rom. 3:23 ; 1Tim.2:5; John 14:6).
We believe that eternal salvation is a gift of God brought to man by grace through the work of the Holy Spirit, and received by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was shed on the cross for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 6:28; 10:9-10).
We believe that baptism by water is the New Testament covenant sign between God and His people (Acts 2:37-38; Mark 16:16; Matt. 28:19). We believe Communion or the Lord’s Supper, is for believers in Christ and should be regularly celebrated in remembrance of Him (1Cor. 11:28 -32; Luke 22:19 -20).
We believe the very nature and purpose of God is revealed in His Church. The Church Universal consists of all who live under Jesus’ Lordship, and the Church Local is a body of believing people, joined together and practicing the New Covenant. The goal of His Church is to glorify God and make disciples of all nations (Acts 15:22 ; Matt. 16:18 ; 18:15 -20).
PRIESTHOOD OF THE BELIEVER
We believe in the priesthood of the believer. By the shedding of His blood, Jesus has become the believer’s High Priest and has made it possible for each Christian to have free access to the presence of the Father. In His presence, each one can come to know God and receive from Him (1 Pet. 2:9-10; Heb. 4:14 -16; 10:19 -22).
FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
We believe in freedom of conscience. Each person is responsible for his or her choices and behavior. Pastors and teachers should provide leadership and direction, but service should be rendered voluntarily, joyfully and from a free conscience ( Rom. 14:9-12; Philip. 2:5-8; John 10:14 -18; 2 Cor. 9:6-7).
We believe in world evangelism and accept the commission of Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations, to baptize them, and teach them to observe His commandments. We join with all those believing in Him to accomplish this urgent task, and accept this as a personal commission as well as a command to the entire Church (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:20).
We believe God is the author of all authority, and has ordained civil government for the establishment of order and peace in the nations. He also has ordained spiritual government in His Church, and there should be mutual respect between civil and spiritual authority. Civil authority is separated from church government, but should not be separated from God and His law (Rom.13; Dan.2:21-22; Acts 4:18-20).
TITHES AND OFFERINGS
We believe the Church should be supported by the tithes and offerings of those committed to its mission. We further believe that when God’s people give with a free spirit, there will be ample financial provision to accomplish God’s purpose (Gen. 14:17-20; Mal. 3:6-12; 2Cor. 8:1-7; 9:10-13; Luke 11:42).
We believe Jesus Christ will return to earth in a visible way and Christians are exhorted to be watchful and obedient until His appearing. There are diverse viewpoints concerning the timing and circumstances of His second coming and, until He comes Christians should give full attention to obedience. We believe His appearing will occasion the resurrection of the righteous who have died and who are now with Him (1Cor. 15:50 -58; Acts 1:11 ; 1Thess. 4:13 -18).
We believe in a final judgment at the end of the age. The righteous and the wicked shall stand before Him and be judged. Those who have righteousness produced by faith will be rewarded with His eternal blessings. Those who are wicked will be eternally punished (Matt. 25:31-46; 2 Thess. 1:5-10; Rev. 20:11-15).
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, from whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.
In addition to the above Statement of Faith, the following statements represent our understanding regarding Biblical application of faith and practice. “Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.”
We believe Water baptism is the physical sign of obedience after a person has repented of sin and put their faith and life in Jesus Christ. It also represents a demarcation between the past and the future as we identify with Christ’s death, burial and resurrection to a new life. We believe it is necessary to be baptized into water in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in order to fulfill the command of Christ in Matthew 28:19; Mark 14:16.
Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a separate experience, which may occur at the time of salvation or at anytime thereafter. The Scriptural evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the manifestation of Spiritual gifts in the life of the believer. These Spiritual gifts were manifested in the early Church and continue to manifest under the operation of the Holy Spirit in the Church today. The purpose of the Gifts of the Spirit, as they function in love, are to manifest the wisdom and power of Jesus Christ, to build up the Church until it reaches the full stature of Christ, and to equip the Church to carry out its task to be salt and light in the world (Acts 2:38; Acts 10:44; 1Cor 12-14; Luke24:49).
We believe that marriage should be held in honor by all and is more than partnership; it is union through self-denial. Marriage is given by God as an expression of covenant love and sacrifice between a man and woman. Procreation and maturation should take place in the context of covenant love, security, discipline and identity. The increased divorce rate is a tragedy of our times, and deeply affects all of our lives. We seek to serve redemptively in the lives of those who have been touched by divorce, and preventively in the lives of those who are joined in marriage. “Let marriage be held in honor among all.” (Hebrews 13:4)
It is our conviction that marriage is to be entered into reverently, soberly and in the fear of God. Weddings at Saddleback Covenant Church are an extension of Christian worship, which honor the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. The use of facilities of Saddleback Covenant Church are to be consistent with the faith and practice as referenced in the by-laws and statement of faith.
We believe God has given His Commandments for our good and when properly administered will bless all of society. The moral relativism and situational ethics of present day culture are often in direct contrast to God’s truth as revealed in the Scriptures. The Word of God teaches us to honor life at every level from conception to old age. Life itself is a gift, and we are called to protect the defenseless and unwanted. We believe both abortion and euthanasia are wrongful and preemptive terminations of life. Likewise, biogenetic engineering which dehumanizes and depersonalizes life into non-human research and “throw-away” parts is of deep moral concern. Scientific advances do not negate God’s glory and the inherent value and stewardship of human life (Psalm 139; Gal. 1:15 ; Gen. 2:7).
We believe our identity is in Christ and it is His Word that is to govern our lives and lifestyles. We believe heterosexual marriage is God’s design for sexual relations and procreation. We believe the practice of homosexuality is a behavioral choice that is contrary to the Word of God. Sexual immorality of any kind is grievous to our Creator and we are committed to God’s redeeming grace and love which is able to reconcile and restore (Rom. 1:24 -27; Eph. 2:3-4; Gal. 5:19 – 23).