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GOSPEL & OUR BELIEFS

The Gospel message . . .

You can experience a new peace in your heart by having a saving relationship with God's Son, Jesus!  Here's how . . .

First, you need to admit that you have sinned. In other words, we've all failed to do what God wanted us to do at one time or another.  The Bible says, "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).  Just as one drop of poison would pollute a whole glass of water, so even one sin pollutes us, making us imperfect and unworthy to have a relationship with God.  That's a real problem...

Second, you need to recognize that the consequence of your sin is eternal separation from God.  The Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death..." (Romans 6:23).  Death separates us from life, of course.  But this death isn't just physical death.  This death is also a spiritual death.  As a result of our sin, we will be eternally separated from God in a place the Bible calls "hell".  That's not what God wants for you!  In the very same verse (Romans 6:23), the Bible goes on to say, "...but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."  God has given us the solution to our sin-problem...

Third, you need to understand that while no amount of "good works" can take away your sin, God can.  If you try to clean a filthy window with a dirty rag, all you do is smear the dirt around.  It doesn't clean the window.  In the same way, giving to charity, going to church, helping others, even reading the Bible and praying - all these are good things but they can't erase our sin.  The stain of sin is much too deep.  The good news is, God can make us clean!  The Bible says, "But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).  Because Jesus was perfect He could  pay for our sins by giving up His life on the cross.  That really is good news!  But good news like this has to be received...

Fourth, you need to personally ask Jesus into your life as your Savior.  The Bible says, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe with your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).  Just as a lamp won't light until it's plugged in, we can't be forgiven until we "plug in" to Jesus by receiving Him into our life.  That is, we must place our trust in Him to cleanse us from our sins.  

Won't you do that right now by praying this simple prayer?
"Dear God, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins.  Please forgive me for the wrong things I've done and help me to stop sinning and live the way You want me to.  I'm so glad that Jesus is alive today, and I invite Him to live within my heart, to be my Savior and my Lord always.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen."

If you prayed that prayer then you have already started your relationship with Jesus Christ, one that will last for eternity!  The Bible says, "For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13).  How wonderful!

We'd love to hear from you if you've just invited Jesus to be your Savior!  Write and tell us at pastorjeff@firstbaptistwellsboro.com so we can begin praying for you.  If you're nearby, join us for worship this Sunday so we can rejoice with you at this wonderful new beginning in your life!  If you live some distance away, go this Sunday to a church near you that teaches the Bible and believes that salvation comes through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior.  God bless you as you start to live with Jesus in your life!

Remember, receiving Jesus as your Savior is the first and most important step in having the gift of His salvation but the Bible also tells us to confirm our salvation by living our lives as Jesus wants us to.  ("Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fail." 2 Peter 1:10)  We do this by practicing things like faith, godliness, self-control, love, etc. (2 Peter 1:5-9).  We grow in these things by worshiping regularly at church, reading our Bible, praying, and serving God using the gifts and abilities He's given us.  In other words, salvation can be thought of as a single decision to trust Jesus but we prove the sincerity of our commitment to Jesus as we live our life daily for Him.

We believe . . .

1. ...that the Bible is the Word of God, meant to govern our faith and practices.  The individuals who wrote it were inspired by God in such a way that their original writings, guided by God's Holy Spirit, communicated God's thoughts without any error. (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20,21

2. ...that there is one God, the Creator of the universe, who exists in three divine persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  This mystery, called the "Trinity," has no equal in our earthly experience.  Because of His great love, God the Father has created a way for us to be rescued from our sin and spend eternity with Him. (Genesis 1:1,27; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:1-5)

3. ...that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary by the divine action of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus is fully God and was also fully human.  Because He lived a sinless life, He was able to pay the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross in our place.  After three days Jesus arose from the dead, proving that His sacrifice for us was accepted, then He ascended to heaven where He reigns in glory.  One day Jesus will return visibly to the earth, receiving those who know Him as Savior and ultimately conquering sin to rule over a new heaven and earth. (Matthew 1:18,22,23; John 1:1; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 4:15; Romans 1:3,4; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; Luke 24:51; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; John 14:3; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 21:1-4)

4. ...that God's Holy Spirit works in us, enabling us to see the truth of the Bible and our need for Jesus as our Savior.  The Holy Spirit begins to live in us when we accept Christ as Savior and gives us divine guidance and strength to follow Jesus each day. (1 Corinthians 2:9-13; John 16:7-13; Romans 8:9; Acts 1:8; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 5:25)

5. ...that there is only one method of salvation.  Because each of us sins, every individual must confess his/her own sin, request forgiveness, and by faith receive God's Son Jesus as his/her Savior and Lord.  This salvation is a free gift to us, it cannot be earned in any way, nor can one who has truly accepted Christ as Savior lose his or her salvation. (Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; Romans 5:8; Romans 10:9; Romans 10:13; Acts 20:21; 1 John 1:9; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5,6; John 10:29; Philippians 1:6; Jude 24

6. ...that there are two special 'ordinances' to be observed by the church.  First, the ordinance of baptism is for those who receive Jesus as their Savior.  Those who know Jesus in this way should be baptized in accordance with Jesus' example and in obedience to His command.  We baptize those who are old enough to make a decision to receive Christ as their Savior.  The method we use is immersion, that is, briefly submerging a person under water.  This symbolizes the person's death to his or her old way of life, controlled as it was by sin and rising to a new way of life under Christ's Lordship, that is, living in ways pleasing to God, with Christ's help. (Acts 2:38, Acts 2:41; Mark 1:9,10; Matthew 28:19,20; Romans 6:4-7; Romans 6:11)  Second, the ordinance of the Lord's Supper, also called 'communion', is a symbolic meal consisting of a small piece of bread and a small cup of grape juice.  The bread symbolizes Christ's body offered sacrificially for us on the cross, the juice symbolizes His blood, given in payment for our sins.  By taking these symbols we remind ourselves of Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf.  (Luke 22:19,20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

7. ...that everyone who knows Christ as their Savior has a direct relationship with God.  There is no need for any kind of religious official to act as a "go between" to represent them to God or seek His forgiveness.  Ministers and others can provide helpful teaching and guidance but every Christian can pray directly to God and study the Bible to learn the truth He has given us. (Hebrews 4:16; 1 Peter 2:5; Ephesians 4:11-12; Matthew 6:6-13; John 16:13)

8. ...that after death there are two eternal destinies.  Those who have received Jesus as their Savior will be given eternal life in heaven.  Those who have not received Jesus as their Savior will experience eternal separation from Him in hell.  God's desire, however, is that we not suffer eternal punishment but instead that we turn to Him for salvation and eternal life.  (Acts 24:15; John 3:16; Romans 6:23; Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:15; 2 Peter 3:9)

9. ...that our church should be self-governing and free to make its own decisions, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  We do choose, however, to cooperate in the work of Christ's kingdom with the group of churches known as the American Baptist Churches/USA. (Acts 15:22; Romans 8:14-16; Romans 12:5-8; Ephesians 4:3,4; Galatians 5:25; John 17:20-22)

10.  Our position on human sexuality is best summarized by what's known as "The Nashville Statement", which you can read here.  

First Baptist Church Wellsboro

Located at 25 Central Ave, Wellsboro, PA 16901


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