I. Trinity; High Christology (God and Man); Sufficiency and Reliability of Scripture; Justification by Faith Alone; Believers as Sons.
II. Plurality of Leadership; Reverent and Contemporary Praise and Worship Music; Order of Worship; Plurality of Stewardship and Administration; Spiritual Presence in Lord’s Table
III.Sanctification by Faith and Spirit; New Covenant Grace Giving; Lord’s Day not Sabbath; Assurance-part of Faith/ Marrow-Free Grace;Law of Christ
IV. Dordt’s – Sovereign Grace; Common Grace/Presence; Reformed Lordship in All Life -Kuyper and Schaeffer ; Anabaptist -Freedom of Conscience.
V. New Covenant Theology;Baptism of Disciples; Covenantal Continuity and Discontinuity; Children-Holy to the Lord; Abrahamic Promises fulfilled in Christ and in His Seed-by Faith.
VI. Eschatological Pluralism- Amil/Postmil/Historical Premil ; Partial Preterism; Here and Not Yet; Kingdom of God; Physical Return of Jesus Christ
VII. Redemptive-Historical-Grammatical Hermeneutics; Reason and Revelation -in Harmony; Whole Person Interpretative Scheme
VIII. Priority of Word Evangelism; Lifestyle Evangelism; Missions; Social Responsibility
IX. Creationist Worldview and Science; Van Tillian Apologetics -but not against the use of evidences.
Creeds: Apostle’s , Nicene, Athanasian and Chalcedon;
Confessions: Canons of Dordt; SB Abstract of Principles and their Faith and Message; Lausanne Covenant; Manila Manifesto; Christ Fellowship of Kansas City Statement of Faith; New Covenant Confession of Faith;Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism (with some minor changes regarding Law, Baptism and Sabbath); CRC Contemporary Testimony.
Here also is a summary of what I believe : http://wp.me/pnY9k-Bd
And Now- FaithNews
And for those souls searching out there-that needs to find their home (From> http://quiverfullmeanderings.blogspot.com/p/free-gift-for-you.html) :
- You must accept that you are a sinner. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). No one is exempt from this indictment. Everyone has sinned. Romans 5:12 says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” No one is perfect and no one can live up to God’s perfect standard. We are sinners by nature.
- You must accept that as a sinner you owe a penalty. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a). Because of our sin we owe a debt. This debt is a spiritual death or separation from God in the lake of fire known as Hell. Hell is not a figment of someone’s imagination or only a figurative term. Hell is very real. It’s not a place where you go because your friends will be there and you want to have a good time. It is a dark, lonely, seething, burning place, and it never ends. It continues to burn for all time. The worst part is, there is nothing you or I can do on our own to avoid it. Outside of Jesus, it is our final destination. If you are depending on your church membership to get you to Heaven, beware; it’s not enough. If you pray a lot hoping to get to Heaven, don’t depend on that; it’s not enough either. Even if you give a lot of money to a church, it’s not enough to gain Heaven. Many people think if they are good enough, they will be able to slip in through the gate when no one is looking or find a hole in the gate somewhere. Please, my friend, don’t depend on something so shaky. It can’t happen that way. There is only one way to get to Heaven. How?
- You must accept that Jesus Christ has already paid our sin debt.“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Christ was not a sinner, and the Bible teaches that God took all of our sin and placed it on Christ. While Christ was bearing all our sins in His own body, God punished Him in our place to pay the debt we owe. This is not something God promised to do. It is something He has already done. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It is a fact: Jesus Christ has already paid your sin debt.
- You must accept by faith what Jesus Christ did for you. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). In this verse, the world is divided into two groups: those who are believing and those who are not believing on the Son. Those who believe have everlasting life, and those who don’t believe shall not see life.
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Who Can Know the Human Heart?
The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). David said in Psalm 19:12, “Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults.” In other words, we never get to the bottom of our sinfulness. If our forgiveness depended on the fullness of the knowledge of our sins, we would all perish. No one knows the extent of his sinfulness. It is deeper than anyone knows.
But the Bible does not leave us without help to know ourselves. The fact that we cannot know fully how sinful we are, does not mean we cannot know deeply how sinful we are. The Bible has a clear and devastating message about the state of our own souls. And the reason it does is so that we will know what we need and shout for joy when God gives it to us.
Why Must We Born Again?
We are in a series on the new birth. We have heard Jesus say in John 3:7, “You must be born again.” And in John 3:3, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” In other words, being born again is infinitely serious. Heaven and hell are hanging in the balance. We will not see the kingdom of God unless we are born again. So today the question is Why? Why is it so necessary? Why isn’t some other remedy sufficient, like turning over a new leaf or moral improvement or self-disciple? Why this radical, spiritual, supernatural thing called new birth or regeneration? That’s the question we try to answer today and next week.
Diagnosis: We Are Dead
The text where we take our beginning is Ephesians 2. Two times, in verses 1 and 5, Paul says that we are dead in our trespasses. Verse 1: “You were dead in the trespasses and sins . . .” Verses 4-5: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.” So two times Paul describes us as “dead.”
Remedy: “God Made Us Alive”
And the remedy in for this in verse 5 is: “God made us alive.” You will never experience the fullness of the greatness of God’s love for you if you don’t see his love in relation to your former deadness. Because verse 4 says that the greatness of his love is shown precisely in this: that it makes us alive when we were dead. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” Because of his great love for us, he made us alive. If you don’t know that you were dead, you will not know the fullness of the love of God.
I take this miracle, “he made us alive,” to be virtually the same as what Jesus calls the new birth. Once we had no spiritual life, and then God raised us from that state of spiritual deadness. And now we are alive. This is the same as Jesus’ saying that we must be born of the Spirit (John 3:5) and “It is the Spirit who gives life” (John 6:63).
New Covenant Love
So we can say then that the work of regeneration, the work of new birth, the work of being made alive, flows from the richness of God’s mercy and the greatness of his love. “But God, (1) being rich in mercy, (2) because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ.” This is new covenant love. This is the kind of love God has for his bride. He finds her dead (Ezekiel 16:4-8), and he gives his Son to die for her, and then he makes her alive. And he keeps her forever. “I give them eternal life,” Jesus said, “and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28).
Why the New Birth Is Necessary
So the question is: What does this mean? This deadness? There are at least ten answers in the New Testament. If we consider them honestly and prayerfully they will humble us very deeply and cause us to be amazed at the gift of the new birth. So what I aim to do is talk about seven of them today and three of them next time along with the larger question: Do we really need to be changed? Can’t we just be forgiven and justified? Wouldn’t that get us to heaven? But we save that for next time.
Here are seven of the biblical explanations of our condition apart from the new birth and why it is so necessary.
1. Apart from the new birth, we are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-2).
Dead implies lifeless. Not physically or morally lifeless. Verse 1: We are “walking” and “following” the world. Verse 2: We have “passions” of the flesh, and we carry out “desires of the body and the mind.” So we are not dead in the sense that we can’t sin. We are dead in the sense that we cannot see or feel the glory of Christ. We are spiritually dead. We are unresponsive to God and Christ and this word. Consider now how this is unfolded in nine other descriptions of our condition before new birth happens.
2. Apart from the new birth, we are by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).
Verse 3: “We were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” The point of this is to make clear that our problem is not just in what we do but in what we are. Apart from new birth, I am my problem. You are not my main problem. My parents were not my main problem. My enemies are not my main problem. I am my main problem. Not my deeds, and not my circumstances, and not the people in my life, but my nature is my deepest personal problem.
I did not first have a good nature and then do bad things and get a bad nature. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). This is who I am. My nature is selfish and self-centered and demanding and very skilled in making you feel like the problem. And if your first response to that statement is I know people like that, you may be totally blind to the deceitfulness of your own heart.
Paul describes our nature before the new birth as “children of wrath.” In other words, the wrath of God belongs to us the way a parent belongs to a child. Our nature is so rebellious and so selfish and so callous toward the majesty of God that his holy anger is a natural and right response to us.
3. Apart from the new birth, we love darkness and hate the light (John 3:19-20).
This is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved he darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20)
This word from Jesus spells out some of what our nature is like apart from the new birth. We are not neutral when spiritual light approaches. We resist it. And we are not neutral when spiritual darkness envelops us. We embrace it. Love and hate are active in the unregenerate heart. And they move in exactly the wrong directions—hating what should be loved and loving what should be hated.
We saw this last week from Ezekiel 36:26, where God says, “I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Here in Ephesians 4:18, Paul traces our condition back through darkness to alienation to ignorance to hardness of heart. “They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” At the bottom of our problem is not ignorance. There is something deeper.: “the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.” Our ignorance is guilty ignorance, not innocent ignorance. It is rooted in hard and resistant hearts. Paul says in Romans 1:18 that we suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Ignorance is not our biggest problem. Hardness and resistance is.
5. Apart from the new birth, we are unable to submit to God or please God (Romans 8:7-8).
In Romans 8:7, Paul says, “The mind that is set on the flesh [literally: the mind of the flesh] is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” We can tell from the next verse what Paul means by “the mind of the flesh” and being “in the flesh.” He says in verse 9, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.” In other words, he is contrasting those who are born again and have the Spirit and those who are not born again and therefore do not have the Spirit but only have the flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit and that which is born of the flesh is flesh (John 3:5).
His point is that without the Holy Spirit, our minds are so resistant to God’s authority that we will not, and therefore cannot, submit to him. “The mind of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.” And if we cannot submit to him we cannot please him. “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” That is how dead and dark and hard we are toward God until God causes us to be born again.
In 1 Corinthians 2:14, Paul gives us another glimpse into what this deadness and hardness implies for what we are unable to do. He says, “The natural person [that is, the unregenerate person by nature] does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” The problem is not that the things of God are over his head intellectually. The problem is that he sees them as foolish. “He does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him.” In fact, they are so foolish to him that he cannot grasp them.
Mind you this is a moral “cannot,” not a physical “cannot.” When Paul says, “The natural person . . . is not able to understand them,” he means that the heart is so resistant to receiving them that the mind justifies the rebellion of the heart by seeing them as foolish. This rebellion is so complete that the heart really cannot receive the things of the Spirit. This is real inability. But it is not a coerced inability. The unregenerate person cannotbecause he will not. His preferences for sin are so strong that he cannot choose good. It is a real and terrible bondage. But it is not an innocent bondage.
In 1 Corinthians 12:3, Paul declares, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except in the Holy Spirit.” He doesn’t mean that an actor on a stage or an hypocrite in a church cannot say the words “Jesus is Lord” without the Holy Spirit. He means no one can say it and mean it without being born of the Spirit. It is morally impossible for the dead, dark, hard, resistant heart to celebrate the Lordship of Jesus over his life without being born again.
Or, as Jesus says three times in John 6, no one can come to him unless the Father draws him. And when that drawing brings a person into living connection with Jesus, we call it the new birth. Verse 37: “All that the Father gives me will come to me.” Verse 44: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.” Verse 65: “No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” All of these wonderful works of drawing, granting, and giving are the work of God in regeneration. Without them we do not come to Christ, because we don’t want to come. That is what has to be changed in the new birth.
A Personal and Urgent Response
There is more to be said about why the new birth is necessary, but that is enough for today. We conclude by going back to the amazingly hope-filled words of Ephesians 2:4-5: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”
There are two ways to respond to this: One is theoretical and impersonal; the other is personal and urgent. One says: How can this be, and how can that be? The other says: God brought me here today. God spoke in these texts to me today. God’s mercy and love and grace seem desperately needed and beautiful to me today. O God, today, I submit to your amazing grace that has brought me here and awakened me and softened me and opened me. Thanks be to God for the riches of his mercy and the greatness of his love and the power of his grace.
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I deserve to pay my own sin debt, but I do believe that You died for me to pay the debt that I owe. Today, the best I know how, I trust You as my Saviour. I will depend on You from this moment on for my salvation. Amen.
If you have time see also this>http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2013/09/12/what-are-the-essentials-of-the-christian-faith/