"You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction,
So stay together, both outwardly and inwardly."
Ephesians 4:4 (The Message)
The apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:3, "Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." He went on in the next 3 verses to list in a very concise and succinct manner 7 basic beliefs of the Christian faith. The Ranchland Church's statement of faith is based on these beliefs as we seek to honor God and keep unity and peace within our church family.
1. There is One God
We believe that God exists eternally in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. We believe God created the universe by his power and word, and that he is all knowing, all powerful, and ever present. We also believe that he created mankind to have a relationship with him. Many people have experienced religion but have not experienced a relationship with God. The Father extends his love to us through the gifts of his Son, his Spirit, and his Word.
2. There is One Lord
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and Savior of mankind. We believe he was virgin born, both God and man, and a model in his life, teachings, and deeds. He lived a sinless human life and offered himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all men by his death on the cross. He took the punishment that our sins deserve. He then was raised from the dead to verify his claim as God's Son and to give us victory over the grave. He ascended to Heaven to reign over his spiritual kingdom and will someday return unannounced to bring his followers safely into his heavenly kingdom.
3. There is One Spirit
The Holy Spirit is a person, is God, and has all the divine characteristics. He is given at salvation to indwell in each believer's heart to enable us to live godly lives. He acts as a comforter, a guide, and an advocate on our behalf. He convicts us of sin, empowers us to live fruitful lives, and gives us spiritual gifts that allow us to serve others.
4. There is One Faith
The Bible is God's word, written by human authors who were under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without any mixture of error. We believe the Bible is the authoritative rule for all matters of faith and practice. His word reveals who God is and how he created us to live. It can be understood by any person who is willing to seek and study. All of our teachings are held in the light of the word to ensure that we are holding firmly to God's purposes and not the religious traditions that men have developed.
5. There is One Baptism
We believe in the practice of baptism by immersion in water as a response to God's grace and our desire to be united with Christ. Fundamentally, salvation is a gift, given to us by God's grace. We are saved, not on the basis of what we have done, but according to his mercy and grace. In accepting that gift, the most elementary response is one of faith in Jesus Christ, accepting him into our hearts and lives to be our Lord and Savior. Accepting Christ involves also the repentance of sins, the confession of Jesus as Lord, and baptism. Baptism is the result of faith and obedience, picturing the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and resulting in the forgiveness of sins, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and our being added to God's body of believers. It is administered, not to babies or children, but to those old enough to be accountable for their sinful condition and to comprehend the commitment of a surrendered life to Christ.
6. There is One Body
"Body" is a reference to the church, the spiritual representation of Christ here on earth. The church, as the body of Christ, is the extension of his character, attitude, behavior, and mission in our world today. Through the church, we accomplish God's purposes for our lives: worship, fellowship, discipleship, service, evangelism. But we do it in common unity (community) with other believers to love, serve, encourage, and accept each other in intentional and authentic relationships. The church is both the universal kingdom of God, consisting of all saved people everywhere who follow Christ, as well as a local gathering of baptized believers in a congregation which exists to minister to each other as well as to the community in which they live.
7. There is One Hope
We believe that following Christ not only gives us a new hope for a better life here on earth, but also hope of eternal life with God forever in Heaven. At death, or Jesus' return, the saved will be assigned eternal life in Heaven while the unsaved will suffer eternal separation from God in Hell. For the child of God, death is a beginning, not the end. We live in a fallen world, because of sin. But when we are saved, hope fills our souls enabling us to live with great joy in spite of sufferings, to live life as God intended fulfilling his purposes and plans for our life, and to have assurance that our salvation and hope of eternal life are secure as we walk in the light of God's love.
"I came so they can have real and eternal life,
more and better life than they ever dreamed of."
-Jesus' words in John 10:10 (The Message)