Fort Avenue Church of Christ’s Core Beliefs

First and foremost, the church, Gods people, are a light to the world.  Our light should be so great that it chases away the darkness of sin, cuts through the thick fog of confusion and breaks through the walls and barriers of addictions, unhealthy dependencies and/or relationships.  Only through this do we believe that by listing our core beliefs, we are announcing the great light of truth.  These beliefs are what we proclaim that each member should be embracing and committing to as a way of living.  And in that commitment, knowing we are the light, we do not hide that light but rather we shine it before all humanity.

Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The Word of God should be the standard by which we live, the ultimate authority in our lives and the standard by which we measure our life’s decisions and expectations.  If we allow anything else to take precedence in these areas, for sure we could walk and lead others into confusion, sin or encourage the embracing of things, which in their own right are good and wonderful, but made more ultimate than God; thus becoming an idol.  The Word is the foundation, by which all things have been made and manifested, thus it should be the very thing we hold to with unwavering fervor.

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

We are committed to being a disciple of Jesus Christ and to the mission he set before us.  That is, Jesus is Lord of your life, the exchanging of yokes (your way for his way Matthew 11:28-30).  That your life be marked by a continual walk by which you love to walk in the light, being open with your life with your brothers and sisters, a loving of the truth and commitment to the body of Christ, the church.  A walk by which you hate the things in the world that bring about sin and brokenness.  In 1st John, John uses the Greek word Peripateo, which translated into English literally means “walk.”  But the Greek word is not talking about your ability to put one foot in front of the other, it means how one conducts his/her life, the way in which you live and regulate yourself.  And yet John uses this to communicate how one should live, a life of devotion to Christ, saying, “Jesus is Lord.”

1st John 1:5-7 (Read all of 1st John)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

We are committed to the acknowledgement of sin in our life and to repentance.  Repentance is the action of turning and going the other way, if the lost world is going East, then we should be going West, as an illustration.  It’s the decision to come clean about where we are, not to be legalistic about it.  But rather it’s a part of walking in the light and getting help with where we are.  Constantly in reflection and asking, “Why am I drawn to what I’m drawn to?”  Have you ever really sat down and wondered why some are drawn to greed, the obsession of gathering riches, no matter who they trample and leave broken along the way?  Or perhaps those who struggle with addictions or stay in abusive relationships?  Or perhaps to the sensuality that the world serves up to us through media entertainment and the selling of styles of clothing?  Being open is the beginning of the breaking of those chains that Satan has on us, it’s a realization that Satan has already lost the battle and Jesus is victorious.  We confess and repent to break the chains that could potentially destroy us, hold us back from being the light we were called to be.

Luke 13:1-5

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”

We are committed to fulfilling all of what Christ expects and that means being baptized into Christ, being made clean and made a new creation, the old has passed and the new has come (2nd Corinthians 5:17).  Jesus himself was baptized to fulfill all the law.  Whether or not others want to argue that baptism has anything to do with salvation is a mute point.  The great commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is a command to the church to baptize individuals, and if we are going to be an obedient people, with the word as our standard, and Jesus as Lord then we will be baptized and declare Jesus is Lord with Joy.

1st Peter 3:18-22

For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

We are committed to continually learning and maturing in Christ.  The last part of the Great Commission, was Christs words that we would be devoted to observing or obeying all that Christ commanded.  This again I feel the need to say, not legalistically in any fashion or to attain salvation by any means.  Nothing we do is a good deed a day that chases our sin away.  Only the finished work on the cross and blood spilled for us is the reason we make it into eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  But we are forever maturing and learning, iron sharpening iron; we call this discipleship.  It’s inviting someone to speak into your life and allowing you to confess and get help with where you are.  A friendship that reminds you that grace does not make sin safe, but rather a fire that will burn if played with.  God’s mercy and grace may save us from eternal judgement, but it will not save us from a life of poor choices and their accompanying consequences.

Hebrews 6:1-8

Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And this we will do if God permits. For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

So to sum up what our core beliefs are:

  • Jesus is Lord
  • Recognizing YOU are the Light to the lost world
  • The Word (Bible) is your standard
  • Walking as a disciple of Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior
  • Devoted to confession and repentance
  • Being Baptized into Christ, being made into a new creation
  • Devoted to discipleship and maturing in Christ

And lastly let me share one last scripture that Jesus spoke to help us understand just how a life like this should be contemplated, Luke 14:25-30:

Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

What this verse is not saying is that Jesus expects perfection, what he expects is that we all count the cost to ensure we take seriously the call to being a disciple and to understand what Jesus did for each of us.  Along the way we will stumble, we will fall and we will make mistakes.  But the church is to be a safe place to be open with where we are, without fear of judgement or rejection.  But rather the family of God that loves all it’s brothers and sisters.  Love, which is devoted to the maturation and growth of others and seeks not to use members as an end to their means.  The church is, as Charles Spurgeon said, “The Dearest Place on Earth.”  Lastly what this verse is saying is that Jesus is Lord, and when you begin this journey, you are saying Jesus you are Lord of my life.  Not my family or friends or my experiences (opinions based on life’s decisions), But rather Jesus, you are Lord and trust me He will complete it.

These are the core beliefs of what scripture calls the people of God, AMEN!