We believe that all humanity was divinely created in the image of God for the purpose of being in relationship with God.
When Adam and Eve sinned (choosing their way instead of God’s way) they gained not only physical death, but also spiritual death which is separation from God. Their sin affected all of humanity as The Bible says, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory (perfect holiness) of God” (Romans 3:23).
The Good News (“Gospel”)
God loved His creation so much that He sent His Son Jesus to bridge the gap between God and humanity. John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
Who is Jesus really?
The Church consists of all who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in the south of Palestine. He grew up in a very ordinary town, named Nazareth. Jesus was a carpenter, but at the age of 30, He became a religious teacher, moving from town to town. Jesus has been acclaimed as the greatest religious leader who ever lived, as being the most influential person to have lived on our planet, and as being unique to the degree that no one can be compared to Him. But considering Jesus Christ merely on the basis of an exemplary life and His superior moral teaching will not remove the stumbling blocks to Christianity raised by an unbelieving world.
Deity is the only explanation for all that He was and all that He did.
(1) He was pre-existent with the Father. “The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:2, 3, KJV) (also see John 17:5 and Colossians 1:17)
(2) He is the Son of God.
- His enemies admitted: “He…said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” (John 5:18, KJV)
- Peter confessed: “And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:69, KJV)
- Jesus affirmed: “I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30, NIV).
(3) He was sinless, as only God can be.
- Jesus challenged His enemies: “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” (John 8:46, KJV)
- Peter testified: “…Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” (1 Peter 2:21, 22, KJV)
- Paul stated: “For he…made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV)
(4) He forgives sin, as only God can.
- The Scribes said: “Who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:7, KJV)
- Jesus said: “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins…” (Matthew 9:6, KJV) (also see John 8:11)
- Peter wrote: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24, KJV)
(5) He performed miraculous works.
Jesus Christ Became Man:
(1) His miraculous birth was prophesied 800 years before His coming: “Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14, KJV)
(2) The prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30, 31, KJV)
(3) Jesus demonstrated human characteristics: He became tired (John 4:6). He thirsted (John 19:28). He ate food (Luke 24:40-43). He showed feelings (Mark 6:34). He wept (John 11:35). He knew temptation (Hebrews 4:15). And He died (John 19:30).
(3) He is our Savior: “Thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21, KJV) “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 5:31, KJV)
- He is the only Savior. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV)
- He is a complete Savior. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25, KJV)
- He is a personal Savior. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9, 10, KJV)
Faith in Christ is not a blind leap in the dark. It is based on the apostolic witness, which is to say, the eyewitness testimony of credible men.
1. The first evidence for Jesus’ resurrection: the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty.
The Jewish leaders feared that the disciples would come and steal Jesus’ body and claim that He was risen. So they went to Pilate and got a Roman guard to secure the tomb (Matt. 27:63-66). They set a seal on the stone and were there guarding the tomb when an angel came and rolled away the stone (Matt. 28:1-4)—not so that Jesus could get out, but so that the witnesses to the resurrection could get in to verify that the tomb was empty!
2. The grave clothes.
Grave robbers would not have taken the time to remove the grave clothes at the scene, but would have grabbed the body with the grave clothes and left. Or, if they had removed them, they would have left them scattered in a disorderly fashion. D. A. Carson (The Gospel According to John [Eerdmans/Apollos], pp. 637-638) observes, “The description is powerful and vivid, not the sort of thing that would have been dreamed up; and the fact that two men saw it (v. 8) makes their evidence admissible in a Jewish court (Dt. 19:15).”
3. His post-resurrection appearances.
In John’s narrative he cites four post-resurrection appearances of Jesus: To Mary Magdalene (20:11-18); to the disciples except Thomas (20:19-23); to the disciples, including Thomas (20:24-31); and, to seven of the disciples, by the Sea of Galilee (21:1-25). Paul mentions several other appearances, including one to over 500 people at one time, many of whom were still alive when he wrote (1 Cor. 15:6-8). The varied circumstances of the appearances and the different personalities of the witnesses militate against hallucinations or visions. Even Thomas, who at first was skeptical, became convinced when he saw the risen Lord.
4. The changed lives of the witnesses.
John and the other apostles obviously had already believed in Jesus, as evidenced by their following Him. So what did John here believe? He believed in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (see John 20:25, 27, 29). Dr. Carson (p. 638) points out that most of the early witnesses came to believe the resurrection after they saw Jesus alive from the dead, but John came to such faith before he saw Jesus in resurrected form. Thus the stone rolled away and the empty tomb; the grave clothes; the post resurrection appearances; and the changed lives of the witnesses, are all evidence that Jesus is risen.
5. His unique Person and amazing claims.
Everything in the Gospel accounts about Jesus’ person and teaching argues against His being a charlatan or lunatic. The only sensible option is that He is who He claimed to be: the eternal Son of God in human flesh, the Messiah of Israel. He offered Himself for our sins and God raised Him bodily from the dead. He wants those of us who have not seen Him to believe in Him (John 20:29).
What is the church? What is the purpose of the church?
The church is part of God’s eternal plan to make a people for himself who would be “holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4). It was instituted by Christ during his ministry when he commissioned the church to be his unique representative in the world. Therefore, the Scriptures speak of the church as the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12:12-13, 27). The church has been empowered for its ministry by the active, ongoing work of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost. Just as New Testament letters were written to churches in particular places, made up of particular people, the church is not only universal, but also must be visible and local.
The church is also the people of God in the world. In both Old and New Testaments this fact is amply illustrated. The Lord of the church gives gifts to His people to serve one another and to minister in the world (I Corinthians 12:4-7; Ephesians 4:4-7, 11-16). Christians who live in independence from the church may not forfeit their faith but will deprive themselves of the spiritual resources and opportunities God Himself has ordained. Consistent with the Scriptures, we affirm membership in the church.
When the Holy Spirit gives new life in Christ, at the same time He effects our spiritual entrance into the church (I Corinthians 12:13). The Free Methodist Church in Canada is one denomination among the many other legitimate visible churches in Canada and the world. Entrance into the membership of one of our churches is a visible and local sign of entrance into the universal church.