TFH - What We Believe.png
TFH - What We Believe.png

What We Believe

Word of God

The Bible is the authoritative Word of God. It alone is the final authority in determining all doctrinal truths. In its original writing, both the Old and New Testament are the verbally inspired Word of God.  The divine source and authority of the Scripture assure us that the Bible is also infallible, that is, incapable of error, and inerrancy, that is exit from error. Infallibility refers to the trustworthiness of Scripture, while inerrancy refers to the truthfulness of Scripture.  The Scriptures are a complete revelation of God's will for the salvation of all people (Psalm 119:160; Colossians 1:5; I Thessalonians 2:13; II Timothy 3:16-17; II Peter 1:20-21; Proverbs 30:5; romans 16:25-26). 

 

The Godhead (Trinity)

The Bible teaches that the Father is God, that Jesus is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God. The Bible also teaches that there is only one God. The Trinity is a term used to describe the triune God — three coexistent, co-eternal Persons who are God.  Scripture clearly states that there is one God, who is infinitely perfect, existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The three are not three gods, or three parts or expressions of God, but are three distinct, though not separate persons who are so completely united that they form the one true and eternal God.  None of the three persons was ever made or created, but these three are coequal and coeternal in essential being, attributes, power and glory (Deut. 6:4; Matthew 3:16, 17; 28:19; Luke 3:21, 22; John 14:16-17; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 John 5:7). 

 

God the Father

We believe in God the Father; perfect in holiness, infinite in wisdom, measureless in power, as well as sovereign, majestic, personal, and loving. Our heavenly Father invites us to withdraw and spend time with Him in prayer. To spend quiet time with our Father, can refresh us, uplift us, and renew us. We rejoice that our Heavenly Father concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of people who will turn their hearts to Him.  For those who do, He hears and answers prayer, and He saves from sin and death all who come to Him by faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 6:9; 7:11; John 14:13; James 1:17; 1 John 3:1).

God the Son - Jesus Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. The deity of Christ includes His coexistence in time and eternity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. On earth, Jesus was not part God and part man. He was 100% God and 100% man. The Scriptures declare Jesus virgin birth; His sinless life; His miracles; His substitutionary work on the cross (that is, Christ suffered death as the penalty for our sins, as our substitute, and He atoned for our sins through the shedding of His blood); His bodily resurrection from the dead (He rose from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures); He ascended to the right hand of the Father; and will return again in power and glory (John 1:1, 14; 20:28; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:31, 35; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 3:25, 26; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 2:22; Acts 2:22; 10:38; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 28:6; Luke 24:39; 1 Corinthians 15:4; Acts 1:9, 11; 2:33; Philippians 2:9-11; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 1:3). 

 

God the Holy Spirit

We believe that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person, equal with God the Father and God the Son.  The Holy Spirit dwells within every born-again believer. And having believed, we are marked in Christ with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession. The Holy Spirit helps the believer when he or she draws near to God. The Holy Spirit strengthens the believer with power in the inner being. The Holy Spirit desires to repeatedly fill and empower the believer.  The Holy Spirit comforts, counsels and gives strength to believers in Christ. The Holy Spirit counsels and teaches us as we grow in Christ. The Holy Spirit is not a thing, a force, nor mere power. The Holy Spirit is personal, and we are to worship Him and obey Him just as we are to do with our heavenly Father, and Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps in prayer and spiritual warfare.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit to reveal God and His truth to us. The Holy Spirit will always lead us to revere our heavenly Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; Romans 8:26; Ephesians 1:13; 2:18; 3:16; 5:18; 6:18; Hebrews 9:14).

 

Virgin Birth

The Scriptures tell us that the angel Gabriel told Mary who was a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, that “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will over shadow you; therefore, also that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.”  Both Luke and Matthew state explicitly and unmistakably that Jesus was born of a virgin without the intervention of a human father (Luke 1:34-35; Matthew 1:18, 23).  The prophet Isaiah promised a virgin-born child who would be called “Immanuel,” a Hebrew term meaning “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14).This prophecy was made 700 years before the birth of Christ. The importance of the virgin birth cannot be overemphasized. In order for our Redeemer to qualify for our sins and bring salvation, He must be, in one person, fully human, sinless and fully divine (Hebrews 7:25-26). The virgin birth satisfies all three of these requirements. (a) The only way Jesus could be born a human being was to be born of a woman.  (b) The only way He could be sinless was to be conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20; Hebrews 4:15).  (c) The only way He could be divine was to have God as His Father.  As a result, Jesus conception was not by natural but by supernatural means; ‘that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).  Jesus Christ is therefore revealed to us a one divine person with two natures – divine and sinless human – 100% God and 100% man (Matthew 1:18, 20, 23; Luke 1:34-35; Isaiah 7:14; Hebrews 4:15; 7:25-26).

 

Fall of Man

Man was originally created in the image and likeness of God: he fell through disobedience, incurring thereby both physical and spiritual death.  All people are born with a sinful nature, are separated from the life of God, and can be saved only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible is clear when it says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Bible clearly states for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). The Bible teaches that apart from Christ, all are alienated from God and from life in Him (Ephesians 4:17-18); they are spiritually dead. If a person remains unrepentant and unbelieving in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior throughout their lifetime, their end result is eternal death. 

 

Eternal death is eternal condemnation and separation from God as a result of disobedience, that is, punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:9; Romans 6:16). The only way to escape eternal death is through Jesus Christ, who destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10). By Jesus death on the cross He reconciled us with God, thus reversing the spiritual separation and alienation that had come as a result of sin (2 Corinthians 5:18). By Christ resurrection, He overcame and broke the power of Satan, sin and physical death. [Genesis 1:27; 3:16-19; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:1-4, 8).

 

Redemption

Man was created good and upright, but by voluntary transgression he fell; his only hope of redemption is in Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Gen. 1:26-31, 3:1-7; Romans 5:12-21).Ransom conveys the meaning of a price paid to obtain the freedom of others.  In Christ we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.  In the redemptive work of Christ, His death is the price paid for the release of men and women from sin’s dominion. The release is from condemnation (Romans 3:25-26), sin (Ephesians 1:7) and death (Romans 8:2). Christ secured the ransom by shedding His blood and giving His life at Calvary (Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Ephesians 1:7; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19).   

 

Salvation

Our only hope of salvation is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God.  The Bible clearly states that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).  That if we repent of our sins, and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved (Romans 10:9-10; Acts 26:20). We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ: His death, burial, and resurrection. Salvation is a gift from God, not a result of our good works or of any human efforts.  There is no way apart from Christ to be saved from sin’s consequences. Eternal life requires entering into a personal relationship with God the Father in Jesus Christ.  When we admit our sin and ask forgiveness from it, Christ’s love lives in us by the Holy Spirit.  Why does God save us by faith alone?  (1) Faith eliminates the pride of human effort, because faith is not a deed that we do. (2) Faith exalts what God has done, not what we do. (3) Faith is based on our relationship with God, not our performance for God. Christ was chosen as our redeemer before the creation of the world (1 Peter 1:19-21).

 

Repentance

Repentance, properly defined, is necessary for salvation. Biblical repentance is changing your mind about your sin—no longer is sin something to toy with; it is something to be forsaken as we “flee from the coming wrath” (Matthew 3:7). It is also changing your mind about Jesus Christ—no longer is He to be mocked, discounted, or ignored; He is the Savior to be clung to; He is the Lord to be worshiped and adored. Repentance is the commitment to turn away from sin in every area of our lives and to follow Christ, which allows us to receive His redemption and to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Thus, through repentance we receive forgiveness of sins and appropriate salvation. (Acts 2:21, 3:19; I John 1:9).

 

The Baptism in the Holy Spirit

All believers are entitled to and should ardently expect and earnestly seek the promise of the Father, the baptism in the Holy Spirit and fire, according to the command of our Lord Jesus Christ. This was the normal experience of all in the early Christian church. With it comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4,8; 1 Cor. 12:1-31). This experience is distinct from and subsequent to the experience of the new birth (Acts 8:12-17; 10:44-46; 11:14-16; 15:7-9). With the baptism in the Holy Spirit come such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit (John 7:37-39; Acts 4:8), a deepened reverence for God (Acts 2:43; Heb. 12:28), an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work (Acts 2:42), and a more active love for Christ, for His Word, and for the lost (Mark 16:20). 

 

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

We believe that the gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:6-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, Ephesians 4:8-12) are for the entire church age. They did not end with the first century church. They did not end with the full canon of scripture being written. They did not end with the death of the original apostles. When the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, “Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.” Spiritual gifts such as prophesy, tongues and knowledge will cease at the end of this age. That time is described as “when perfection comes” (v. 10) – that is, when the believer’s knowledge and character become perfect in eternity after Christ Second Coming.  Until then, we need the Holy Spirit and His gifts in our churches.  There is no indication here or elsewhere or in Scripture that the manifestation of the Spirit through His gifts would cease during the church age.

 

We believe the purpose of spiritual gifts is for the strengthening and effectiveness of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7). Spiritual gifts are not a measurement of spiritual maturity. But the believer receives them and is able to operate in them through the working of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). Even though there is a diversity of gifts it is all through the working of The Holy Spirit. We also believe that the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet (1 Corinthians 14:32). This means that the person who is operating in and function in the gifts of the Spirit are fully in control and that the Holy Spirit never forces an individual to do anything they have not chosen to do.

 

That also means the individual will be held accountable if the gifts are misused to bring attention to themselves or to disrupt what God is doing in a public gathering of believers. To combat against misuse, God has provided specific instructions as to how these gifts are to be used in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14.  He desires that we be knowledgeable concerning the nature and operations of the gifts of the Spirit so the gifts are used in the right way, that is, intelligently, lovingly, for the good of all, in an orderly manner, and for edification, for the building up of the body of Christ.

 

Sanctification

Sanctification is the ongoing process of yielding to God’s Word and His Spirit in order to complete the development of Christ's character in us. It is through the present ministry of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God that the Christian is enabled to live a Godly life (I Thessalonians 4:3, 5:23; II Corinthians 3:18, 6:14-18, II Thessalonians 2:1-3, Romans 8:29, 12:1-2, Hebrews 2:11).

 

The Church

The church is the Body of Christ, the habitation of God through the Holy Spirit, with divine appointments for the fulfillment of Jesus' Great Commission. Every person who is born of the Spirit is an integral part of the church as a member of the body of believers. There is a spiritual unity of all believers in our Lord Jesus Christ. The church is the body of Christ, of which He is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23). The body of Christ is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) until Christ’s return.

 

The universal church consists of everyone, everywhere, who has a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Anyone who believes is part of the body of Christ and has received the Holy Spirit of Christ as evidence. All those who have received salvation through faith in Jesus Christ comprise the universal church. 

 

The local church is described in Galatians 1:1-2: “Paul, an apostle . . . and all the brothers with me, to the churches in Galatia.” Here we see that in the province of Galatia there were many churches—they had a localized ministry and were scattered throughout the province. They were local churches.

 

Jesus Christ is the foundation of the Church. No one else is able to fulfill this function. Every believer is a part of His Church, but Jesus is the One who holds it together.  God has given each believer a gift to be used for the good of the Church and to the glory of God. As all believers work together in harmony and love, the Church will benefit and will grow. God’s perspective is that every member of the body of Christ is equally important and all should work as servants to the others. 

 

God has also built a system of government for local churches. He establishes pastors and provides deacons, deaconesses, trustees and other lay leadership to care for both the spiritual and temporal aspects of church responsibility.  And in all of this, a believer’s goal should be to love others and work toward sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with the world.  (Ephesians 1:22; 2:19-22; Hebrews 12:23; John 17:11, 20-23).

 

Water Baptism

Following faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the new convert is commanded by the Word of God to be baptized in water in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Water baptism symbolizes the believer’s total trust in and total reliance on the Lord Jesus Christ, as well as a commitment to live obediently to Him. It also expresses unity with all the saints (Ephesians 2:19), that is, with every person in every nation on earth who is a member of the Body of Christ (Galatians 3:27-28).

 

Water baptism conveys this and more, but it is not what saves us. Instead, we are saved by grace through faith, apart from works (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are water baptized because our Lord commanded it (Matthew 28:19).  Before one becomes water baptized, they must be born again. We believe water baptism is by complete immersion. It symbolizes burial with our Lord; baptized into His death on the cross and are no longer slaves to self or sin (Romans 6:3-7). When we are raised out of the water, symbolically represents the resurrected raised to new life in Christ to be with Him forever, born into the family of our loving God (Romans 8:16). (Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; Acts 8:12, 36-38; 10:47-48). 

 

Communion

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements – the bread and the fruit of the vine – is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4); a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26); and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26). 

 

The accounts of the Lord’s Supper are found in the Gospels (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:7-22; and John 13:21-30). The apostle Paul wrote concerning the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:23-29. Paul includes a statement not found in the Gospels: “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:27-29). We may ask what it means to partake of the bread and the cup “in an unworthy manner.” It may mean to disregard the true meaning of the bread and cup and to forget the tremendous price our Savior paid for our salvation. Or it may mean to partake of communion as a dead and formal ritual.  It may also mean to partake of communion with known un-confessed sin. In keeping with Paul’s instruction, we should examine ourselves before eating the bread and drinking the cup.  Another statement Paul made that is not included in the gospel accounts is “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). This places a time limit on this memorial – we are to continue taking communion until our Lord returns.   

 

Jesus declared that the bread spoke of His body, which would be broken. There was not a broken bone, but His body was so badly tortured and beaten that it was hardly recognizable (Psalm 22:12-17; Isaiah 53:4-7). The fruit of the vine spoke of His blood, indicating the terrible death He would soon experience. He, the perfect Son of God, became the fulfillment of the countless Old Testament prophecies concerning a Redeemer (Genesis 3:15; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53). When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” He indicated this was a memorial that is be continued in the future. It indicated also that the Passover, which required the death of a lamb without blemish looked forward to the coming of the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world, was fulfilled in the Lord’s Supper.

 

The New Covenant replaced the Old Covenant when Christ, the Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), was sacrificed (Hebrews 8:8-13). The sacrificial system was no longer needed (Hebrews 9:25-28). The Lord’s Supper is called in the Scriptures the communion of the body of Christ and since the body of Christ is made up of blood-washed believers (Revelation 1:5) without respect to religious affiliation or denomination, it is not our practice here at The Fathers Heart to restrict access to the Lord’s Table. All who have given their hearts to Christ and who acknowledge Him as their Lord and Savior are invited to participate with us by the of taking the elements of the bread and grape juice (representing the body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ) whenever we partake in communion! 

 

Marriage

We believe marriage is defined in the Bible as a covenant, a sacred bond between one man and one woman, instituted by and publicly entered into before God (Matthew 19:4-6). In Genesis 2:7 the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Then in Genesis 2:18 the Lord God said, “it is not good that man should he alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”  In Genesis 2:21-22 the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and the Lord God took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to Adam.  In Genesis 2:24 we read, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The Garden of Eden was the scene of the first marriage, ordained by God Himself. In consummation of the first marriage, the woman whom God made as a helper for man was not taken from his head to rule over him, nor from his feet to be trampled by him, but from his side that she might be his equal, from under his arm that she might receive his protection, and from near his heart that she might own and command his love. 

 

The relation of husband and wife is most sacred when it is that of two souls with a single thought of two hearts that beat as one. This passage in Genesis 2 gives several points for understanding God’s design for marriage. First, marriage involves a man and a woman. The Hebrew word for “wife” is gender-specific; it cannot mean anything other than “a woman.” There is no passage in Scripture that mentions a marriage involving anything other than a man and a woman. The second principle from Genesis 2 about God’s design for marriage is that marriage is intended to last for a lifetime. Verse 24 says the two become “one flesh.” Eve was taken from Adam’s side, and so she was literally one flesh with Adam. Her very substance was formed from Adam instead of from the ground. Every marriage thereafter is intended to reflect the unity shared by Adam and Eve. God designed marriage for life.

 

When a man and a woman make a commitment to marry, they “become one flesh,” and that is why they say, “Till death do us part.” The third principle from Genesis 2 about God’s design for marriage is that it is monogamy. Even though some people in Scripture did have multiple wives, it is clear from the creation account that God’s design for marriage was one man and one woman. Jesus emphasized this principle when He appealed to the Genesis account to counter the idea of easy divorce (Matthew 19:4-6).Though the world is attempting to provide their own definitions for what they call “marriage,” the Bible still stands. The clear definition of marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life.

Gender and Sexual Identity

We believe it is God Almighty who determines both the gender and sexual identity of an individual.  When God created man, He created them male and female. When God created Adam and Eve, He created them with sexual organs that were distinct to their gender and sexual identity. This was not determined by Adam and Eve; this was predetermined by Almighty God.  God created Man in His image and the purpose of Man is to glorify and honor God. It is to be in right relationship with God. If an individual rejects this truth found in the scriptures and determines in themselves what their gender or sexual identity is, we believe it is sin because it is a clear rejection of God and His word. (Gen 1:27, 5:1-2, 1 Thes 4:8, 1 Cor 11:3-5, Rom 1:18-32, Matt 19:4-9, Mark 10:5-12, 1 Cor 7:12-20, Hebrews 13:4).

 

Healing of the Sick

Healing of the sick is illustrated in the life and ministry of Jesus, and included in the commission of Jesus to His disciples.  It is also a part of Jesus' work on the cross and one of the gifts of the Spirit. 

 

Provision is made in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ for the healing of the mortal body. Matthew 8:16-17: “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness” (Isaiah 53:4). 

 

Prayer for the sick and anointing with oil are taught in the Scriptures and are privileges for the Church in this present age until the return of Jesus Christ at His second coming. James 5:14-16: “Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let the pray over him (or her), anointing him (or her) with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man (or woman) avails much.   

 

The Healings Did Not End With Jesus or the Apostles, they continue with the church.

  1. Jesus said they would continue: Healings did not end with Jesus. He told his disciples they would do greater things. In the Book of John, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I am doing. He will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12).

  2. The Apostles continued His work: Nothing in the New Testament says or even implies that the healing ministry would stop at end of the New Testament. In fact, it says the opposite. Healing ministry will continue throughout the age of the Church through Jesus Body, the Church. The apostles continued his work.

  3. Jesus Is Still The Healer! Jesus is still the healer today. Why don’t we see it as the disciples in the Early Church did? They were full of the Holy Spirit. They knew they were depend upon the Holy Spirit and believed the Words of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, they were fully obedient. Too often, we are not. They fully expected to see Him work. We are often surprised that He does.

  4. Jesus said: “Anyone who has faith in Me will do what I am doing.” 

  5. As stated above: Is anyone among you sick?  Let him call for the elders of the church, and let the pray over him (or her), anointing him (or her) with oil in the name of the Lord.

  6. It is still Jesus who heals, though we pray for one another when they are sick and we anoint those who are sick with oil in obedience to God’s Word, it is still Jesus who does the actual healing. (Psalm 103:2-3; Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 16:17-18; Acts 8:6-7; James 5:14-16; I Corinthians12:9, 28; Romans 11:29)

 

Heaven

Is heaven a real place? Heaven is indeed a real place. The Bible tells us that heaven is God’s throne (Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:48-49; Matthew 5:34-35). After Jesus’ resurrection and appearance on earth to His disciples,“He was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19; Acts 7:55-56). “Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (Hebrews 9:24). Jesus not only went before us, entering on our behalf, but He is alive and has a present ministry in heaven, serving as our high priest in the true tabernacle made by God (Hebrews 6:19-20; 8:1-2). 

 

Heaven is the eternal dwelling place for all believers in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Heaven is a place of “no mores.” There will be no more tears, no more pain, and no more sorrow (Revelation 21:4). There will be n o more separation, because death will be conquered (Revelation 20:6). The best thing about heaven is the presence of our Lord and Savior (1 John 3:2). We will be face to face with the Lamb of God who loved us and sacrificed Himself so that we can enjoy His presence in heaven for eternity.

 

“How can I know for sure that I will go to heaven when I die?” The answer is this – believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31). “To all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). You can receive eternal life as a FREE gift. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). You can live a full and meaningful life right now. Jesus said: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). You can spend eternity with Jesus in heaven, for He promised: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may also be where I am”  (John 14:3). (Matthew 5:3, 12, 20, 6:20, 19:21, 25:34; John 17:24; II Corinthians 5:1; Hebrews 11:16; I Peter 1:4).

 

Hell
The Bible clearly and explicitly teaches that hell is a real place to which the wicked/unbelieving are sent after death.  We all have sinned (Romans 3:23).  The just punishment for that sin is death (Romans 6:23).  Since all of our sin is ultimately against God (Psalm 51:4), and since God is an infinite and eternal Being, the punishment for sin, death, must also be infinite and eternal.  Hell is this infinite and eternal death, which we have earned because of our sin.  The Bible teaches apart from Christ, all are alienated from God and from life in Him (Ephesians 4:17-18). If a person remains unrepentant and unbelieving in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior throughout their lifetime, their end result will be eternal condemnation and separation from God where they will spend an eternity in hell.

The Bible speaks of the reality of hell in the same terms as the reality of heaven (Revelation 20:14-15; 21:1-2). In fact, Jesus spent more time warning people about the dangers of hell than He did in comforting them with the hope of heaven. The concept of a real, conscious, forever-and-ever existence in hell is just as biblical as a real, conscious, forever-and-ever existence in heaven. Trying to separate them is simply not possible from a biblical standpoint. The Old and New Testament use 18 different words and figures to describe the doctrine of hell. Each of these contributes something to our understanding of the complete teaching concerning hell. 

 

The final state of the wicked is described under the figures of eternal fire (Matthew 25:41); the pit of the abyss (Revelation 9:2, 11); outer darkness (Matthew 8:12); torment (Revelation 14:10-110; eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46); wrath of God (Romans 2:5); second death (Revelation 21:8); eternal destruction form the face of the Lord (2 Thessalonians 1:9).  As an expression of God's holiness, truth, and justice, God must punish sin.  To deny the existence of this is to reject the necessity of Christ’s reconciling work on the cross (Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:43-48; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 14:9-11, 20:12-15, 21:8).

 

The Rapture

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.  And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18). 

 

The word “rapture” is derived from the Latin word raptu, which means “caught away or caught up.” This Latin word is equivalent to the Greek word harpazo, translated as “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. This event, described here and in 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 refers to the catching up of the church from the earth to meet the Lord in the air. The rapture of the church is the event in which God “snatches away” all believers from the earth in order to make way for His righteous judgment to be poured out on the earth during the tribulation period.

 

The rapture is described primarily in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:50-54. God will resurrect all believers who have died, give them glorified bodies, and take them from the earth, along with all living believers, who will also be given glorified bodies at that time.  The rapture will involve an instantaneous transformation of our bodies to fit us for eternity. “We know that when he [Christ] appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2). The rapture is to be distinguished from the second coming. At the rapture, the Lord comes “in the clouds” to meet us “in the air” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). At the second coming, the Lord descends all the way to the earth to stand on the Mount of Olives, resulting in a great earthquake followed by a defeat of God’s enemies (Zechariah 14:3-4). 

 

The doctrine of the rapture was not taught in the Old Testament, which is why Paul calls it a “mystery” now revealed: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed”  (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).  The rapture of the church is a glorious event we should all be longing for. We will finally be free from sin. We will be in God’s presence forever. There is far too much debate over the meaning and scope of the rapture. This is not God’s intent. Rather, the rapture should be a comforting doctrine full of hope; God wants us to “encourage each other with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18). (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; Titus 2:13).

Second Coming

Jesus Christ will physically and visibly return to earth for the second time to establish His Kingdom. This event involving Christ’s return to earth with His saints to set up His kingdom occurs at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. The second coming of Jesus Christ is the hope of believers that God is in control of all things, and is faithful to the promises and prophecies in His Word. In His first coming, Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby in a manger in Bethlehem, just as prophesied. Jesus fulfilled many of the prophecies of the Messiah during His birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection. However, there are some prophecies regarding the Messiah that Jesus has not yet fulfilled. The second coming of Christ will be the return of Christ to fulfill these remaining prophecies.

 

In His first coming, Jesus was the suffering Servant. In His second coming, Jesus will be the conquering King. In His first coming, Jesus arrived in the most humble of circumstances. In His second coming, Jesus will arrive with the armies of heaven at His side.  The second coming is spoken of in greatest detail in Revelation 19:11-16, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’ He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Matthew 24:30, 26:63-64; Acts 1:9-11; II Thessalonians 1:7-10; Jude 14-15; Revelation 1:7; 19:11-16).