Things we prefer; things unaddressed in the Bible. For example: musical styles, coffee or tea, Seahawks or...well, never mind that last one.
Deeply held personal beliefs; things that can be found in the Bible. For example: Alcohol consumption, refusing to serve in the military, women in leadership.
The core, Biblical beliefs shared by all followers of Jesus, at all times, in all places and in all cultures. For example: Who God is, who Jesus is, why Jesus came to earth and why He died.
Scripture is God’s Word to us.
The Bible is God’s message to all of us. Written by human authors, over thousands of years, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit (inspired by God), the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and the New Testament are the supreme source of Truth for living on the mission and knowing who God really is.
God is Good.
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He is love. His creation is good- very good. There is one God who exists forever in perfect community as three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus is both Human and God.
Jesus is the Son of God – fully human and fully God. Jesus was tempted just as we are and yet lived a sinless human life and died on a Roman cross as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people everywhere. Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead to show He had conquered sin and death. Jesus ascended to the Father and will return again to earth as the Savior of the world.
We have all sinned.
We are made in God’s image – to be like Him in character, but because humans rebelled against God (remember Adam & Eve?) everyone is born with a selfish nature that “misses the mark.” Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of disobedience toward God called “sin.” Somehow we all think we are smarter than God in some part of our life!
Only God can save us.
God, through Jesus’ life and death, offers us the gift of undeserved
forgiveness. This gift is freely offered, but we must accept it. We begin this journey of faith by saying “yes” to letting Jesus lead. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or trying to be really good people. Salvation is offered in grace and received by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
We will live forever.
We have choices. We can either let Jesus lead us and live forever with God (Heaven) or choose to not let Jesus be the director of our lives and be eternally separated from God (Hell).
The Church is on the mission with Jesus.
When people choose to follow Jesus, God plants inside of them all that is needed to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach their friends, family, neighbors and co-workers how to love God. As people go on the mission with Jesus, churches emerge and God changes the world heart-first.
The Holy Spirit is our Power.
The Holy Spirit is equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make people aware of their need of Jesus. The Holy Spirit lives in every follower of Jesus. The Holy Spirit provides all followers of Jesus with power to live a life of love, understanding, spiritual truth, and boldness in sharing God’s message with others. The Gifts of the Spirit enable Christ-followers to propel the gospel and honor God with their lives.
OUR BELIEFS ABOUT WATER BAPTISM
Who Should Be Baptized
Christians are people who believe that the blood of Jesus Christ, shed on the cross, provides the sole basis for the forgiveness of sin. Therefore, salvation occurs only when a person places his or her faith in the death and resurrection of Christ as the sufficient payment for his or her sin. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are ready to be baptized. Just like a bride and groom show others their love for one another by wearing wedding bands, your baptism is your opportunity to show others that you have accepted Christ and are now walking with Him.
What Baptism Symbolizes?
Baptism is a way of showing others that you have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ. It symbolizes what took place in your heart at the time of salvation:
Acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Sharing in His death and resurrection illustrated by going under the water (dead to our old life), then rising again (new life).
Being symbolically washed clean, our sins being forgiven by His death on the cross.
Because Jesus instructed us to be baptized, baptism is an act of obedience. While it is not necessary for salvation, it demonstrates submission to God. We immerse at newhope because we believe it to be consistent with scriptural teaching (most closely illustrates the believer’s identification with the death and resurrection of Christ) and the practice of the New Testament church (i.e, book of Acts).
Matthew 28:19-20 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Luke 3:21-22 21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
Acts 2:37-38 37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Romans 6:3-4 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
The concept of water baptism may seem strange to you at first glance. Why does a Christ follower need to be baptized? What does water baptism represent?
”Baptismos” is a Greek word for baptism. The word originally had no spiritual, theological or religious significance. It was a common word, means to dip, wash, clean or take a bath.
John the Baptist came preaching, “Repent and be baptized.” Jesus was baptized at the age of 30. The Great Commission says, “Therefore, go and make disciples...baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). In the first sermon preached after the birth of the church Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you.” (Acts 2:38).
So what is the big deal?
Let’s start with a working definition: water baptism is an outward declaration of an inward transformation. Being baptized is simply a bath if a person hasn’t been transformed by the power of the gospel!
The big deal is this: as a Christ follower you are identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Water baptism is a beautiful picture of the Christ follower dying to sin and becoming alive to God in Christ Jesus.
A Christ follower is announcing three things to the world when they are baptized.
1. By God’s grace “I am dead to sin”
When a Christ follower is baptized they are identifying with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Water baptism declares to the world, “I am dead to sin.” My old life is gone. I was once a sinner deserving the wrath of God— now I am dead to sin.
Paul paints this picture in Romans 6:3, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?”
There is something symbolic and powerful when a person is baptized. The very act of a person immersing someone in water is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ death and his body being put into the grave. As you are submersed you are saying, “I am dead to sin” and “I am crucified with Christ.”
2. By God’s grace “I am alive to God”
When a Christ follower is baptized they are identifying with the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Water baptism declares to the world, “I am raised from the dead spiritually.” You are proudly stating: “I once was dead—now I am alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul continues to paint a beautiful picture of water baptism when he says in Romans 6:4, “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
The very act of coming out of the water is symbolic of when Jesus came out of the grave in victory. Death no longer has mastery over our Savior Jesus. You are leaving your old life behind and you are identifying with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
After Paul paints this picture of water baptism he says with a loud shout, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11).
3. By God’s grace “I will live a new life”
When a Christ follower is baptized, they are identifying with the new life that comes by the power of the gospel. Water baptism declares to the world: “I am different; I am transformed; I am living the new life; I am no longer a fan or a foe of Jesus—I am a follower.”
Paul says because of the power of the resurrection “we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4). By God’s grace your life is NEW. TRANSFORMED. EMPOWERED by GRACE.
Water baptism is an outward declaration of an inward transformation.
Everything is transformed by the gospel: My thoughts, heart, soul; my relationships, values, habits; how I spend my money, how I treat people – EVERYTHING!
Understanding the theological meaning of water baptism answers so many questions. People ask me all the time, “I was baptized as an infant, should I be baptized again?” I say, “Infants can’t declare they are dead to sin and alive to God. Honor your parents—but you need to declare to the world you are a follower of Jesus.” Others ask, “I was sprinkled—should I get baptized again?” Ask yourself if this was a time you declared to the world you are a follower of Jesus. If the answer is yes, then the issue of being baptized again is one of personal conscience and conviction.