What We Believe
THE BIBLE IS THE INSPIRED INERRANT AND AUTHORITATIVE WORD OF GOD
We believe that God speaks, through general and special revelation. In times past He spoke to mankind through the prophets but has now spoken through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2). Jesus is God's living Word (John 1:1), and the Bible is God's written Word which is the highest authority. The Bible is inspired (1 Corinthians 2:13, Ephesians 3:5) and preserved by God and provides us all we need to live a life pleasing to Him (2 Timothy 3:16, Proverbs 30:6, John 17:17, Psalm 19:7, Isaiah 55:11).
ALL HAVE SINNED
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out (Acts 3:19)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16) If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9)
YOU MUST BE BORN-AGAIN
To enter God's kingdom, you must be born again. Just look to Jesus Christ, who died for your sins on the cross, and believe in Him and His love for you, and that transformation will take place. Thus the question, "Have you been born again by the Spirit of God?" If not, the process is very simple. Today you're in one of two camps; it all depends on your relationship to Jesus Christ. You can both believe and look in faith to Jesus, who died for you on the cross; or you can continue going on as you are. It's an amazing thing—to be lost; you don't have to do anything. Just keep on doing what you're doing now and you will perish. But, if you look to the cross and believe in the One who died for your sins, then the free gift of God is yours… The gift of eternal life.
THE CHURCH'S CHARACTER
We believe the church is visible and invisible, gathered and scattered. The church is not a place..it's a people! Whenever and wherever the people of God gather to worship, serve, or fellowship, church is taking place. The church is universal in the sense that it's comprised of all believers in Jesus Christ throughout the world. The Church is also local as observed in the gathering together of believers within their perspective communities (Hebrews 10:25). The Church's Calling: The church has been called to be the agent through which Jesus Christ continues the work of His kingdom by the empowering of the Holy Spirit. The church represents the body of Jesus (His hands, feet, mouth, etc.) to a broken and sinful world. The church is called to be a people who are built of the foundation of Jesus Christ, a dwelling place of God, a royal priesthood, holy, loving, worshipful, grounded in truth, extended in service, and reaching the lost (1 Peter 2:4-10, 1 Timothy 3:15, Matthew 20:25-26, Matthew 16:18). Do I need to join a local church? The Bible strongly emphasizes the importance of regular fellowship with other believers (Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:42). The New Testament church regularly met corporately to worship, teach, study, fellowship and minister (Romans 16:5, Colossians 4:15, Philemon 1:2, 1 Corinthians 14:26). It should be a high priority to every believer to get plugged into a Bible teaching church.
A JOYFUL GIVER
We believe that the tithe and offering are both Old and New testament principles. This is not a matter of God needing our money or anything from us, but He desires our worship. Giving to God is an act of faith and worship between the believer and the Lord. Giving under the New covenant should be done with a cheerful and willing heart, not out of obligation or guilt (2 Corinthians 9:7). All tithes and offerings are to support the needs and ministry of the local church, orphans and widows, missionaries outside the local church, and the pastoral staff (1 Timothy 5:17, James 1:27, 2 Corinthians 8:18-21) .
A HEART OF PRAISE
The area of praise and worship can be a sensitive issue among churches. At Devore we believe that everything should be done "decently and in order" as the Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 14. In that passage the context is dealing directly with the gifts of tongues and prophecy. The command is that there should be an order to the exercising of spiritual gifts to avoid confusion.
When it comes to the area of praise and worship in a congregational setting, the Bible doesn't give us specific instruction. Our prayer is that the praise and worship time in our church be Jesus centered and non distracting. Having said that, every one has a different level of distraction. Someone who comes from a more traditional background might be distracted by drums and guitars and visa versa. Therefore, we have to find a good balance that works for our congregation. At Devore we enjoy a little more freedom to express worship by the lifting of hands (Psalm 134:2, 1 Timothy 2:8), Standing (Psalm 135:2) and kneeling (Psalm 95:6). Typically when we see people stand up, the rest of the congregation will usually join them. We will also try to ask the entire body to stand when we see a general movement taking place among the people toward that.
The most important focus is that God is being worshipped in Spirit and truth (John 4:23). We know that there will always be certain people seeking to draw attention to themselves during worship no matter where you go. We do strive to practice biblical guidelines to help prevent those people from succeeding in taking the focus off Jesus.
Christian baptism is, according to the Bible, an outward testimony of what has occurred inwardly in a believer's life. Christian baptism illustrates a believer's identification with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.
The Bible declares, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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" (Romans 6:3-4). In Christian baptism, the action of being immersed in the water symbolizes dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ's resurrection.
In Christian baptism, there are two requirements before a person is baptized: 1) the person being baptized must have trusted in Jesus Christ as Savior, and 2) the person must understand what baptism signifies. If a person knows the Lord Jesus as Savior, understands that Christian baptism is a step of obedience in publicly proclaiming his faith in Christ, and desires to be baptized, then there is no reason to prevent the believer from being baptized. According to the Bible, Christian baptism is important because it is a step of obedience—publicly declaring faith in Christ and commitment to Him—an identification with Christ's death, burial, and resurrection.
THE LORD'S SUPPER
Communion, often called "The Lord's Supper," is a memorial in which Christians identify with the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 10:16, 11:20). It's a time for believers to remember the Lord's broken body and His shed blood for all people (Luke 22:19-20).
- INSTITUTION OF COMMUNION
Jesus Christ instituted communion on the eve of His death when He ate the Passover meal with His disciples (Matthew 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25).
- MEANING AND SYMBOLISM OF COMMUNION
Bread and wine were once served for the Lord's Supper. (Today many churches, including ours, use crackers and grape juice.) The bread symbolizes Christ's body, which was beaten and broken for us as He died for the sins of humanity. The cup of wine symbolizes His blood, which was shed for us as He paid for our sins (John 10:17-18; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:8-9).
- ESSENTIALS FOR OBSERVING COMMUNION
Anyone who participates in the Lord's Supper must first be a believer. Jesus commanded His disciples to observe communion (Matthew 26:26); therefore, a person must have placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ for salvation before taking part in communion. In addition to being believers, we must prepare our hearts to participate in the Lord's Supper. Paul instructed believers not to "eat this bread or drink this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner…" (1 Corinthians 11:27).
Last, we must examine our lives for any unconfessed sin. Paul reminds us, "Let a man examine himself" (1 Corinthians 11:28) to avoid bringing judgment upon ourselves. As we become right with God through confessing our sins (1 John 1:9), we may then participate in the Lord's Supper in a worthy manner.
- PAST SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION
Communion is a time to look back, remembering the Lord's death on the cross. His death was more than just an atoning death – it was a substitutional death. He died in our place so that we might live. He took our sins upon Himself so that we could receive His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).
- PRESENT SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION
Communion is a time to look within, considering our lives in light of our profession of faith. As we enter into a time of communion with the Lord, we are to thank Him for our salvation and the privilege of being His children.
- FUTURE SIGNIFICANCE OF COMMUNION
Communion is a time to look ahead toward the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Paul said we're to "Proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Lord's Supper foreshadows the great Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19).
- Today, we stand between the two most important events in human history: the First and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. When we observe The Lord's Supper as Christians, we become connected to both.
RAISE YOUR CHILD IN THE WAY OF CHRIST
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:14).
CHILDREN ARE A HERITAGE
The Bible says that children are a heritage and a reward from the Lord (Psalm 127:3). God has given Christian parents the tremendous responsibility of raising their children in the ways of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). He entrusts parents with the responsibility of establishing a foundation built upon Jesus Christ early in the lives of their children.
WHY CHILDREN SHOULD BE DEDICATED
In view of this responsibility, baby dedications are actually "family dedications." The entire family needs to be lifted up in prayer so that family members will be empowered to keep their responsibilities.
The Bible gives us an example of dedicating a child to the Lord through the account of Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:11, 26-28. Unable to have children, Hannah wept before the Lord because of her condition. As she was weeping, she made a vow to God and said, "O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, THEN I WILL GIVE HIM TO THE LORD ALL THE DAYS OF HIS LIFE…" (1 Samuel 1:11, emphasis added).
God honored Hannah's request and gave her a son named Samuel. Hannah kept her vow and dedicated (which means "to set apart") Samuel to the Lord.
REQUIREMENTS FOR DEDICATION
To dedicate a child to the Lord is to make a vow to completely submit your child to the will of God and raise that child in the ways of the Lord.
Parents who have not placed their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord will be unable to submit their children to God's will and His ways, because they themselves do not know the ways of the Lord. As a result, we must decline any requests to involve an unbelieving parent in the dedication of a child. We view this as an act of protection rather than rejection, as we cannot encourage someone to make a vow to God that we know he or she cannot keep. The Bible says, "It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider his vows" (Proverbs 20:25). The Bible records instances where God dealt severely with those who broke their vows to Him (for example, read Acts 5:1-11). A believing parent may dedicate a child independently of an unbelieving spouse. Single parents who dedicate their children may not have boyfriends or girlfriends with them on the platform.
RESPONSIBILITIES OF A CHRISTIAN PARENT
Christian parents are to do all they can do to "set apart" their child to God until that child can make his or her own choice regarding a relationship with Jesus Christ. By dedicating a child to the Lord, parents make a vow to raise their child in God's ways and not their own. They commit themselves to this promise and must do all they can do to keep it. The responsibilities God has entrusted to Christian parents include continuously praying for their children (Job 1:5), instructing them in the way of the Lord (Proverbs 22:6), setting a godly example (Proverbs 20:7), and disciplining them as the Lord would discipline us (Proverbs 29:15, 17; 13:24). These responsibilities can only be fulfilled in Christ's strength (Philippians 4:13). As a parent, your devotion to God, or lack of it, will make a resounding impression on the next generation. May your legacy be a godly one.