Constitution & Bylaws
We declare and establish this constitution for the preservation and security of the principles of our faith, and so that this body may be governed in an orderly manner. This constitution will preserve the liberties of each individual member of this church and the freedom of action of this body in its relation to other churches of the same faith.
I. NAME This body shall be known as the___________________First Church House of God
II. STATEMENT OF FAITH
The Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the basis for any statement of faith. This church subscribes to the doctrinal statements herein outlined and bands itself together as a body of baptized believers in Jesus Christ. We are personally committed to sharing the good news of salvation to lost mankind. The ordinances of the church are Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
A. THE SCRIPTURES
The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture or error, for its matter. It is inerrant and infallible in its original manuscript, which is to be taken as verbally inspired. It reveals the principles by which God judges us; and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is JESUS CHRIST.
There is one and only one living and true God. He is an intelligent, spiritual, and personal Being, the Creator, Redeemer, Preserver, and Ruler of the universe. God is infinite in holiness and all other perfections. To Him we owe the highest love, reverence, and obedience. The eternal God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.
1. God the Father
God as Father reigns with providential care over His universe, His creatures, and the flow of the stream of human history according to the purposes of His grace.
He is all-powerful, all loving, and all wise. God is Father in truth to those who become children of God through faith in Jesus Christ. He is fatherly in His attitude toward all men.
2. God the Son
Christ is the eternal Son of God. In His incarnation as Jesus Christ He was conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus perfectly revealed and did the will of God, taking upon Himself the demands and necessities of human nature and identifying Himself completely with mankind yet without sin. He honored the divine law by His personal obedience, and in His death on the cross He made provision for the redemption of men from sin. He was raised from the dead with a glorified body and appeared to His disciples as the person who was with them before his crucifixion. He ascended into Heaven and is now exalted at the right hand of God where He is the One Mediator, partaking of the nature of God and of man, and in whose Person is effected the reconciliation between God and man. He will return in power and glory to judge the world and to consummate His redemptive mission. He now dwells at the right hand of God and in all believers as the living and ever-present Lord.
3. God the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God. He inspired holy men of old to write the Scriptures. Through illumination He enables men to understand truth. He exalts Christ. He convicts of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. He calls men to the Savior, and effects regeneration. He cultivates Christian character, comforts believers and bestows the spiritual gifts by which they serve God through His church. He seals the believer unto the day of final redemption. His presence in the Christian is the assurance of God to bring the believer into the fullness of the stature of Christ. He enlightens and empowers the believer and the church in worship, evangelism, and service.
Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence; whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore every man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.
Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, who by His own blood obtained eternal salvation includes regeneration, sanctification, and glorification.
1. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace. Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Savior. Justification brings the believer into a relationship of peace and favor with God.
2. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God’s purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual perfection through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person’s life.
3. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.
E. GOD’S PURPOSE OF GRACE
Election is the gracious purpose of God, according to which He regenerates, sanctifies, and glorifies sinners. It is consistent with the free agency of man, and comprehends all the means in connection with the end. It is a glorious display of God’s sovereign goodness, and is infinitely wise, holy, and unchangeable. It excludes boasting and promotes humility. All true believers endure to the end. Those whom God has accepted in Christ, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never fall away from the state of grace, but shall persevere to the end. Believers may fall into sin through neglect and temptation, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the cause of Christ, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
F. THE CHURCH
A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a local body of baptized believers who are associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel, observing the two ordinances of Christ, committed to His teaching, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His word, performing in the Spirit and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth.
This church is an autonomous body, operating under the leadership of Spiritual servants that are called under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In such a congregation members are equally responsible, but under submission to scriptural leadership according to Hebrews 13:17. The scriptural servants of the church are Pastors, Elders, Deacons, and then Members. In equal roles of submission, recognizing that God has ordained leaders to evangelize and oversee the workings of the church worldwide, Apostles and Bishops of this order are respected and revered as spiritual mentors without direct authority over the church but remain in reverence, spiritual fathers to the congregations, districts, and faith ministries worldwide. Recognizing that the greater the respective position it calls for greater humility and service.
The New Testament speaks also of the church as the body of Christ, which includes all of the redeemed of all ages.
G. BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership.
The Lord’s Supper is a symbolic act of obedience whereby members of the church, through partaking of the bread, symbolizing the body, and the fruit of the vine, symbolizing the blood, memorialize the death of the Redeemer and anticipate His second coming. This is an act of Communion with God.
H. FOOT WASHING
Foot washing as given to us by example by our Lord Jesus Christ, (John 13:14,15) is recognized as a tool given to the church for the dismemberment of self-pride, power structures and tradition. This leads us to be given to a spirit of service in all ministries and matters concerning our worldly walk.
I. THE LORD’S DAY
The first day of the week is the Lord’s Day. It is a Christian institution for regular observance. It commemorates the resurrection of Christ from the dead. The Lord’s Day is a day for Spiritual devotion, both public and private.
J. THE WORSHIP SERVICE
Is a time when the Body of Christ gathers together corporately for a time of celebration, wherein we honor, glorify, praise, and worship God in spirit and in truth. “…For the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in Truth (John 4:23-24).
K. THE KINGDOM
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God’s will be done on earth. The full consummation of the kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.
L. LAST THINGS
According to His promise Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth.
The dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. After the judgments of God upon this sinful world in the Great Tribulation, Jesus our Lord will come with His saints to establish His millennial kingdom (I Thes. 15-18).
Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The redeemed of Christ in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their rewards and will dwell in Heaven forever with their Savior. The unsaved will be separated from the kingdom of God and will be consigned forever to Hell, where the worm dieth not and the fire is never quenched.
- EVANGELISM AND MISSIONS
It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples of all nations. The new birth of man’s spirit by God’s Holy Spirit means the birth of love for others. Missionary efforts on the part of all rests thus upon a spiritual necessity of the regenerate life, and is expressly and repeatedly commanded in the teachings of Christ.
It is the duty of every child of God to seek constantly to win the lost to Christ by personal effort and by all other methods in harmony with the Gospel of Christ.
The causes of education in the kingdom of Christ is coordinate with the causes of missions and general benevolence, and should receive along with these the liberal support of the churches. An adequate system of Christian schooling is necessary to a complete spiritual program for Christ’s people.
In Christian education there should be a proper balance between academic freedom and academic responsibility. Freedom in any orderly relationship of human life is always limited and never absolute. The freedom of a teacher in a Christian school, college, or seminary is limited by the preeminence of Jesus Christ, by the authoritative nature of the scriptures, and by the distinct purpose for which the school exists.
God is the source of all blessings, temporal and spiritual; all that we have and are, we owe to HIM. Christians have a spiritual debtorship to the whole world, a holy trusteeship in the Gospel, and a binding stewardship in their possessions. They are therefore, under obligation to serve Him with their time, talents, and material possessions; and should recognize all these as entrusted to them to use for the glory of God and for helping others. According to the Scriptures, Christians should contribute of their means cheerfully, regularly, systematically, proportionately, and liberally for the advancement of the Redeemer’s cause on earth. The tithe is to be considered the starting place of Christian Stewardship.
Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people on the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.
Q. THE CHRISTIAN AND THE SOCIAL ORDER
Every Christian is under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in his own life and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus. The Christian should oppose in the spirit of Christ every form of greed, selfishness, and vice. He should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth. It should be realized that social change must be the result of changed hearts. Therefore, the greatest contribution the church can make to social betterment is to bring individual men to a heart-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
R. PEACE AND WAR
It is the duty of Christians to seek peace with all men on principles of righteousness. In accordance with the spirit and teachings of Christ.
The true remedy for the war spirit is the Gospel of our Lord. The supreme need of the world is the acceptance of His teachings in all the affairs of men and nations, and the practical application of His law of love.
S. RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it. Church and state should be separate. The state owes to every church protection and full freedom in the pursuit of its spiritual ends. In providing for such freedom no ecclesiastical group or denomination should be favored by the state more than others. Civil government, being ordained of God, is in all things not contrary to the revealed will of God, the duty of a Christian is to render loyal obedience thereto. The Gospel of Christ contemplates spiritual means alone for the pursuit of its ends. The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinions of any kind. The state has no right to impose taxes for the support of any form of religion.
A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power.
T. MORAL ISSUES
Abortions: We as a Body believe that abortion is premeditated murder in the first degree. And if anyone willingly participates in the act of abortion is guilty of said crime. Furthermore let us state the “REDEMPTIVE NATURE” of our Savior!
The Bible says in First John 1:9 “IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS, AND CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS".
U. SPIRITUAL GIFTS
At the instant of salvation, we are redeemed from sin unto the Father, Regenerated and Sanctified by the gift and presence of the Holy Spirit and Glorified unto the Father by the advocacy of Jesus Christ our Lord. We are therefore possessors of a form of God (Spiritual Gift) by the presence of the Holy Spirit within us to the fulfillment of the cause of Jesus Christ. The form of the spiritual gift is outlined in Romans 12: 6-8; Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Administration and Mercy. These are the motivational Gifts that are a foundation for all the Manifestations and Ministries of the root Gift. Others are enabelings of the root gift for serving God’s purposes by the will of the Holy Spirit at His pleasure. All Christians possess a Grace Gift empowered by the Holy Spirit for the effectual working of our Heavenly Father for the completion of the cause of Jesus Christ our Lord.
As the parable of the talents teaches the church that it should make investments to increase the kingdom. A return on all efforts is expected. The church should not be always in the spirit of begging but having the sense of propriety and prosperity. The enterprise of the church should be focused on supporting itself through talents and gifting. God gave the abilities to his people to build the tabernacle and endowed wealth to his people through their abilities to provide for His House!
We prescribe to the knowledge that the Holy Bible’s intent and understanding is of simplicity whereby all scriptures can be weighed by the heart and loving intent of God.