At Sagemont Church, we believe and adhere to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. Some of the key points of theology are summarized below.
The Bible is God’s word to people. In it, God reveals Himself to us. Nobody would know the truth about God, or be able to know Him in a personal way, if He had not first made Himself known. This He did in the sixty-six books of the Bible.
The books of the Bible were written by men inspired by God’s Spirit. Since the Bible is inspired by God, it is without error in the original writings. Every word of it is true.
The Bible is the supreme and final authority in doctrine and practice and, therefore, our church follows its truths rather than man-made traditions.
The entire Bible centers on Jesus Christ. He is the focus of both Old and New Testaments. There is no part of the Bible that can be properly understood apart from its relationship to the Person or work of Christ.
Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 4:1-2; Joshua 8:34; Psalm 19:7-10;119:11, 89, 105, 140; Isaiah 34:16; 40:8; Jeremiah 15:16; 36:1-32; Matthew 5:17-18; 22:29; Luke 21:33; 24:44-46; John 5:39; 16:13-15; 17:17; Acts 17:11; Romans 15:4; 16:25-26; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Hebrews 1:1-2; 4:12; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:19-21
There is only one true God. He has chosen to reveal Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Since there is one God revealed in three Persons, He is best described as a “Tri-Unity” or Trinity.
Though each member of the Trinity has distinct personal characteristics, there is no difference in their essential nature.
Almighty God has intellect, emotion, and will. Though He is not human, He is a personal Being, not a “force”. We know Him as Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, and Ruler of the universe.
God is self-existent. He has always been. He will never cease to be. He continues forever unchanged.
He is infinitely holy and perfect in all ways. He is all powerful and all knowing. He provides care for the universe and for the people whom He has created.
He is fully in control over the entire flow of human history. He exercises His sovereign control according to His gracious and loving purposes.
We, His creatures, owe Him the highest degree of love, respect, and obedience.
Genesis 1:1, 26-27; 2:7; 9:6; Exodus 3:14; 6:2-3; 15:11-18; 20:1-7; Leviticus 22:2; Deuteronomy 6:4; 32:6; Psalm 14:1; 19:1; 90:2; Isaiah 43:1-3, 15; 64:8; Jeremiah 10:10; Matthew 6:9-13; 7:11; 23:9; 28:19; Mark 1:9-11; John 4:24; 5:26; 14:6-11; 17:1-8; Acts 1:7; 17:23-25; Romans 1:18-20; 8:14-15; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4:6; Ephesians 4:6; Colossians 1:15-17; 1 Timothy 1:17; Hebrews 12:9; 1 Peter 1:17
Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God. He became man without ceasing to be God. In taking upon Himself human nature, He identified Himself completely with mankind, yet without sin.
He was conceived in the womb of His mother Mary by a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit and without a human father.
He became man in order to reveal God and redeem sinful people. He redeemed us from the penalty of our own sin by dying on the Cross in our place.
Our redemption and salvation are guaranteed by His physical resurrection from the dead. After He rose up from death, He ascended into heaven where He now sits at the right hand of God.
Since He is fully God and fully man, and since He is without sin Himself, He is the perfect and only Mediator between God and man.
He now dwells in all believers as their living and ever-present Lord and will return one day in power and glory to judge the world and to perfectly complete His work of redemption.
Genesis 18:1 and on; Psalm 2:7 and on; 110:1 and on; Isaiah 7:14; 53; Matthew 1:18-23; 3:17; 8:29; 11:27; 14:33; 16:16, 27; 17:5; 27; 28:1-6, 19; Mark 1:1; 3:11; Luke 1:35; 4:41; 22:70; 24:46; John 1:1-18, 29; 10:30, 38; 11:25-27; 12:44-50; 14:7-11; 16:15-16, 28; 17:1-5, 21-22; 20:1-20, 28; Acts 1:9; 2:22-24; 7:55-56; 9:4-5, 20; Romans 1:3-4; 3:23-26; 5:6-21; 8:1-3, 34; 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2:2; 8:6;15:1-8, 24-28; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 8:9; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:20; 3:11; 4:7-10; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 1:13-22; 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; 3:16; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-15; 7:14-28; 9:12-15, 24-28; 12:2; 13:8; 1 Peter 2:21-25; 3:22; 1 John 1:7-9; 3:2; 4:14-15; 5:9; 2 John 7-9; Revelation 1:13-16; 5:9-14; 12:10-11; 13:8; 19:16
The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal influence; He is a Person. In fact, He is a divine Person. He is not like God; He is God. Therefore, He possesses all the characteristics of God. As a Person, He has thoughts, feelings, and a will. As a divine Person, He is eternal and omnipresent and He knows everything and He is almighty.
As mentioned previously, God has revealed Himself as a Trinity. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son.
The Spirit of God carries out the will of God in creation, in written revelation (the Bible), and in redemption. In fact, the Holy Spirit not only persuades us to be redeemed, He also enters into the life of the newly redeemed person.
Then, from the inside out, He brings about great change. He helps us to turn from wrongdoing; He helps us to understand the Bible; He helps us to serve in a way that pleases God.
In order to do this, to serve God, His Spirit gives each follower of Jesus Christ at least one special gift. These are beyond our natural talents; they are gifts from the Spirit to enable us to worship, witness, and work for God.
If you are a Christian, it was the Holy Spirit who persuaded you to acknowledge your sin and to realize your need for Jesus, your Savior. And then, at the moment of personal salvation, it is the Holy Spirit who enables us to live a life pleasing to God. Since we have Him in us now, we ought to let Him control us. That’s what it means to be filled by the Spirit.
If you are a Christian, you have probably noticed that reading the Bible is different now. It is more meaningful and you understand more of it all the time. You know who did that for you? It is the Spirit of God. He not only inspired specially called people to write the Bible; He also helps the rest of us to understand and live by the Bible.
The Spirit of God opens the Word of God to the children of God so that the children of God look more and more like their heavenly Father.
Genesis 1:2; Psalm 139:7-10; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 1:18; 28:19; John 3:5-7; 16:13; Acts 5:3-4; 28:25-26; Romans 8:9; 12:1-8; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-13; 12:7-13; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 13:14; Galatians 5:18-26; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; 5:18; Hebrews 9:14; 2 Peter 1:20-21
We were created by God. Impersonal matter did not create personal people. We are complex beings and we did not originate from simpler living things. We were supernaturally and directly created by God.
And, what’s more, we are the only beings of whom it is said: “We are created in God’s own image.” This distinguishes us from all other living things. We were created to be as much like the Creator as a creature can be.
God made us in His own image so that we can relate to Him personally. The Creator of the universe desires a relationship with us. Since our purpose is to relate to God personally, we cannot find a sense of identity or worth apart from Him.
We are not only created to relate to God personally; we are created to reflect God publicly. We have been created in His image in order to reflect His image.
We cannot be satisfied if we are not living in alignment with God’s purpose for our lives. We are His image-bearers created to enjoy Him and glorify Him forever.
Though God made us, we have somehow unmade ourselves. From the first person on, we have violated God’s standards. We have sinned. In fact, sin has become part of our nature. Sin is a universal human problem. Everybody does it. Nobody is without it. We have a sin problem. It separates us from God and that separation will last forever.
Sin is the antithesis of who God is. He hates it and will judge it. So you see we have an inherited, natural inclination to do what God hates. And we are entirely helpless to free ourselves from this human inclination to sin.
So what do we do? The Bible speaks about a solution to our sin problem that has more to do with what God has done for us than with what we can do for God. These words, recorded in the Bible, express the despair and frustration of one struggling with the reality of his sin problem: “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?”
And this is the wonderful and freeing conclusion to his struggle: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Our personal problem is sin and a personal Savior is the solution. Jesus Christ is that Savior. Confidence and trust in what He has done for us, by dying and rising and living in us, upon our invitation, is the solution to our sin problem. Apart from Him, all people are hopelessly mastered by sin, are separated from God, and face eternal judgment.
Genesis 1:26-27, 2:7, 16-17; Psalm 14:1-3, 73:27-28, 100:3; Isaiah 43:7; John 3:36; Romans 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23, 7:18-25; Ephesians 2:1-5; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 4:11
All people sin and, therefore, all people need to be delivered or “saved” from sin. Since sin is present in us, and has such strong power over us, we need outside help in being delivered from it.
This is a very serious matter since, among the consequences of sin, are separation from God and judgment by God. He cannot tolerate sin; He is holy.
But God is also amazingly merciful. Therefore, He has graciously provided a means by which we can be saved from the penalty, power, and even presence of sin. The means of this salvation is faith alone in the finished and complete work of Christ who died, as our substitute, on the Cross.
In dying for our sin, Christ bore the penalty due us. This is God’s doing entirely. It is not a result of human merit or effort. Man could never make up for sin through self-improvement or good works. It is the gift of God brought to us by grace and based on personal faith placed in the finished work of Christ who died in our place.
Each of us, as prompted and enabled by God, must make the decision to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Savior. Rejecting His pardon for our sin means we bear the penalty for it ourselves, now and forever.
The person who accepts Christ as Savior can rejoice in the permanence of his salvation. He can be absolutely assured of it. Saved people, Christians, are securely held in the strong and loving hands of the Savior from the point of salvation and on into eternity.
Out of deep gratitude for what God has graciously and mercifully done for us, we seek to live in a way that is pleasing to Him. We have come to know Him personally and now desire to faithfully represent Him publicly.
Mark 10:45; John 1:12, 3:16, 5:24, 10:27-30; Romans 3:23, 5:9-10, 6:23, 8:1, 38-39, 10:9-10; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 1:7, 2:8-10; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:18-19
Angels are spirit beings created by God. Though they can enter the sphere of human life, they are not human. For instance, they never die; they do not marry; they do not reproduce.
The primary purpose of angels is to serve as God directs. They are His agents and messengers.
Though angels are very powerful, as created beings, they are far less powerful than God. The fact that angels have such great power is both good and bad because there are both good and bad angels. There are good angels who worship and serve God and bad angels or demons who serve Satan.
Though all angels were created as holy beings, some rebelled against God and fell from their sinless position. Satan, himself an angel, is the leader of these fallen angels.
Satan hates God and God’s people. He tempts people to do what he has done: be independent of God. In essence, Satan wants us to be our own god. He wants us to be self-governing. He does not want us to trust the one true God.
We are in a spiritual war. Our enemy, Satan, is a spirit-being whose intent is to rob us of spiritual blessings which come from following the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Lord Jesus has given us more than adequate spiritual weaponry with which we are to resist Satan.
God has already judged Satan but His plan for Satan includes a future day of judgment as well.
Angels are wonderful, but are not to be worshipped. Worship the Lord Jesus. He is far superior to angels.
Psalm 91:11;103:20; 148:2, 5; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:14-16; Matthew 20:30; 25:41; Luke 20:36; Romans 16:20; Ephesians 6:10-18; Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 5:11-12; 20:10; 22:8-9
Though we often speak of church as a building, this isn’t exactly correct. The church is people; people who believe in and belong to Jesus Christ, the Head of the church.
Since the church came into being after the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, it did not exist in the Old Testament. It began on the day of Pentecost and will be completed at the coming of Christ for His own, the Rapture.
Though the church is distinct from Israel, all who are united to Christ by faith, whether Jews or Gentiles, are members of it.
The church of Jesus Christ is both local and universal. The universal church is not a particular denomination and does not meet in a particular place. It is made up of all those who have been forgiven and adopted by Jesus Christ.
The local church, however, is an assembly of believers who meet regularly together in order to be the visible expression of the universal church.
Though every Christian is a member of the universal church, sadly, not every Christian is a member of a local church. This is odd since, in the New Testament, there is no record of a Christian not affiliating with a nearby local church.
Since the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus, called us not only to believe, but also to belong, we are to regularly assemble together to worship, connect, learn, pray, serve, and give.
The members of a local church also come together to participate in two practices, or ordinances, given by the Lord: baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
Baptism by immersion is the wonderful testimony of a believer that he has put his faith in the Lord Jesus; and the Lord’s Supper commemorates the death of Christ until He comes again.
In order to do its work, God has provided pastors and deacons to serve the church. They must first meet certain requirements and are then given the privilege and responsibility of carefully shepherding the flock entrusted to them. They utilize their spiritual gifts to help the members to grow and to equip the members to serve.
The ministers of a church must lead lovingly and biblically and the members of a church must let them. The church works best through respectful submission by members to loving, biblical leadership by its ministers.
Luke 24:46-48; Acts 2:1-21, 38-47; 8:36-39; 20:7; Romans 1:16; 16:15;1 Corinthians 10:32; 11:18-20; 28-32; 12:12-13; 15:51-52; Galatians 1:1-2; 3:28; Ephesians 2:19-22; 4:11-12; 5:25-27; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 5:17-22; Hebrews 10:25; 13:17; 1 Peter 2:4-5
The church, the fellowship of believers in the Lord Jesus, is not “spiritual Israel.” In fact, the church and Israel are two distinct groups.
The term “Israel” refers both to a land and a people. The people called Israel are the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the land called Israel is what God promised to them.
God chose the Jewish people, Israel, to inherit the blessings of a covenant He made with Abraham. This covenant, the “Abrahamic Covenant”, provides title to the land of Israel to the people known as Israel.
It is an irrevocable and unconditional covenant which not only provides title to the land of Israel, it also promises a descendant, the Messiah Jesus, who would be the Savior of all who call upon His name.
In spite of Israel’s disobedience, in the future, God will fulfill every aspect of His covenant with her. God will purge Israel of unbelief during the future time known as the “Great Tribulation” or “the time of Jacob’s trouble”. This will ultimately result in her national acceptance of Jesus Christ as her Messiah.
Though, historically, most Jewish people have turned from their own Messiah, there has always been a remnant of believing Jewish people in every generation. This is all due to God’s grace.
Graciously, God will not reject nor replace Israel; graciously, God will not reject nor replace the church.
Though God has a future plan for national Israel, there is no such thing as national salvation. Each of us, Jew and Gentile, must personally put our faith in Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
Therefore, the church must see it as both a privilege and responsibility to lovingly extend the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus to all people groups, including the Jewish people.
Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-15; 15:1-21; 17:1-21; 28:13; 35:10-12; Deuteronomy 4:30-31; 7:6-8; 1 Samuel 12:22; Psalm 105:6-10; Isaiah 4:2-6; 43:21; 45:4; Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 16:59-60; Zechariah 12:10-13:9; Matthew 1:1; Luke 1:68-73; Romans 1:16: 3:1-2, 9:1-5; 10:1-4; 11:1-33; Galatians 3:14-17
The next event in fulfillment of biblical prophecy will be the coming of the Lord Jesus to receive His followers. This is a great source of hope for those who belong to Him by faith.
Believers who are alive, as well as those who have passed on, will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. His return will be literal and bodily and can occur at any time.
Soon after this event, the Lord’s followers will appear before Him to receive rewards according to the faithfulness with which they have served Him here on earth.
Following this, the world, in outright rebellion against Christ, will follow a captivating pretender to the throne: the Antichrist. He will deceive the nations and will lead them in rebellion against the real Christ. God’s holy wrath will be poured out upon a godless world during an intense period of time lasting seven years.
This time of unprecedented judgment of God upon the earth, will commence with the Antichrist deceiving Israel into a peace treaty. Though the tribulation upon the earth will be great, God will use it to bring many Jews to salvation.
This time of “great tribulation” will be brought to an end by the return of the Lord Jesus in power and glory. He will return with His previously “raptured” sons and daughters to establish His 1000 year kingdom on earth with Jerusalem as its capital.
During this “Millennial reign of Christ” on earth, the whole world will be filled with the knowledge of God. And it is during this time that faithful God will fulfill His covenant promises to Israel. Jewish people will repent and turn to their Messiah and He will restore them to the land He promised and which they forfeited through disobedience.
At the end of the Millennium, the Lord Jesus will summon all those who have rejected Him and who have refused His pardon, to a time of final judgment. Unsaved people will join Satan and his false messiah in eternal and conscious torment away from the presence of the Lord and from everything that is good.
Believers, on the other hand, will enter into a new reality where there is no longer any sin or death or pain or tears. It is heaven. It is real. It is characterized by unbounded joy in the presence of the King of kings forevermore. This is the great hope of all those who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.