What place does the Bible hold at CMC?
We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God. Our belief is based upon 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17, which states: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
We are instructed in 2 Timothy 2:15 to “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” So we urge our people to read the Word daily, both Old and New Testaments, to use the Bible regularly in private devotions and encourage the sharing of God’s Word with the family.
The American Standard Version of the Bible is widely accepted by CMC, and the King James, NIV, and Living Bible are also very much loved by our people. As we study the Word and apply it in our daily lives, we too will be able to declare as David did in Psalms 119:105: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
What about Salvation?
Jesus said, “…”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) “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) 1John 3:10 speaks of the children of God and the children of the devil. Every person belongs to one or the other. We are told in Romans 6:23 that the penalty for sin is death. What can we do in order to escape the penalty of sin? John 3:3 says, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.”
Can we earn our own salvation? No. We can’t earn eternal life or righteousness with God through good works. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” If you haven’t been born again by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior, we encourage you to do so by confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, and you will be saved. “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)
What part does water baptism play?
We believe in and practice water baptism for those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Jesus commanded that all who believe should be baptized. (Matthew 28:19) By the act of baptism, we are testifying of the death and buial of our old nature and of our resurrection to new life in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:1-6) The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 12:13 that by baptism, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body…” we become a functional part of the living body of Christ. The Word of God teaches that the act of baptism signifies total surrender by the believer to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. We believe that baptism by total immersion is in keeping with the Christian’s total surrender to Jesus Christ.
What do you mean by a sanctified life?
Sanctification is one of the most controversial subjects in Christianity. It is not a topic that we avoid, though. On the contrary, we lovingly and briefly state our views as we understand the Word of God and the difference between sanctification and salvation. The words, “sanctification,” “saint,” “holy,” and “holiness” are derived from the same Hebrew and Greek roots that mean the state of being set apart from the secular and sinful for a sacred purpose. They are used not only for people, but also for days, places, and things. See Genesis 2:3, Exodus 13:2, 29:43, and 40:10-13 for clarification.
The Father, Son and Spirit are all a part of our sanctification, or holy life. In 1Thessalonians 5:23, it is the Father who sanctifies the believers; in Ephesians 5:26, it is the Son who sanctifies, and in Romans 15:16, it is the Spirit who sanctifies.
We believe that the Christian should be living a victorious life in overcoming sin. This does not nullify the grace of God in terms of salvation, but rather shows His grace in forgiving us and then helping us to live the life of Jesus. Romans 6:1-6 teaches us the concept of death to self and reckoning ourselves dead to sin. We don’t believe that living a holy, sanctified life means the inability to live a happy life, but that nothing builds for greater happiness than living in God’s holy presence. Our prayer for you is that you may grow in grace and truth in this area of sanctification and that you may discover the joy of living God’s holy life.
What about the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
We believe that the baptism of the Spirit is for today. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” and in Matthew 3:11 we find John the Baptist saying, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Jesus says in John 14:16 that “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.”
At CMC, we worship the same Jesus the early Christians worshipped and just as it was necessary for them to be filled with power from the Spirit to enable them to live the life for which they had been called, we too are in need of this same power. Acts 1:8 tells us the primary purpose of the baptism of the Spirit is to receive power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. We are told in Acts 2:38 and 2:39 that the promise of the Spirit is for all whom the Lord calls and it should be the desire of every Christian to be baptised in the Spirit.
Now, it’s important not to confuse the act of receiving salvation with the baptism of the Spirit. In Acts 19:1-6, we read that the men of Ephesus were already believers (received salvation), but had not so much as heard whether there was any Holy Spirit at all. In verse 6, we read that when Paul laid hands upon them the result was that they received the baptism of the Spirit in the same manner as recorded in Acts 2:4.
There are various ways for a believer to receive the baptism of the Spirit. Luke 11:13 instructs that we have only to ask the heavenly Father. In Acts 2:4 and Acts 4:31, we see that it is given by a sovereign act of God. Acts 19:6 shows that we can receive the baptism of the Spirit by the laying on of hands by a fellow Spirit-filled believer. Have you, as a believer, received the baptism of the Spirit yet? If not, counselors are present at every CMC service to instruct and pray with you that you may receive this gift.
What do you believe about the spiritual gifts?
“When He (Christ) ascended on high, he led captives in his train and gave gifts to men.” (Ephesians 4:8) These gifts and calllings of God are without repentance, according to Romans 11:29. With this evidence, we believe that the gifts of the Spirit are in operation in the church today. We understand the gifts of the Sprit to be those which are recorded in Romans 12:6-9, 1Corinthians 12:8-10, Ephesians 4:11. “Now concerning the gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.” (1Corinthians 12:1)
We believe that the Holy Spirit has instructed us as to how the gifts are to be exercised in our body. And individuals should, before ministering in a gift of the Spirit, be known to be mature in the gift by the person in charge of the meeting. At all times when ministering in the gifts of the spirit, the gifts should be exercised in love. The individual exercising the gifts has a five-fold repsonsibility–to God, to the Word, to leadership, to the unbeliever or unlearned, and to other believers.
When a gift that requires an audible expression is exercised in a meeting, the word spoken should be delivered in a manner whereby all present are able to hear. Just as the Holy Spirit is courteous and orderly, an individual ministering in the Spirit will never disrupt a service. We would like to again state that we believe these instructions are from the Holy Spirit and are the guidelines established for CMC. As in Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
What part does sterwardship play at CMC?
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.” (Psalms 24:1) A steward in the New Testament is one who has been delegated responsibility by Christ to oversee his own house. All things belong to the Lord and Christians are his executors or stewards. Because everything that we are, have, or possess belongs to God and has been entrusted to us by God, we are responsible to God for all he has given us. It is also our responsibility to apply the various Biblical principles in the use of these talents, possessions, and time. We are instructed in God’s Word:
That it is more blessed to give than receive (Acts 20:35);To give in secret (Matthew 6:1-4);To give to him who is in need (Ephesians 4:28);To use our talents wisely (Matthew 25:14-30);That God is pleased with giving and sharing (Hebrews 13:16);That God will not forget what we do (Hebrews 6:10).
We believe that the Christian of today is charged to give a tithe in the same manner as God required His people in the Old Testament, that is, required to give the first tenth back to the Lord. If we are obedienct to God’s commandment concerning tithing, we will then experience the promise found in Malachi 3:10, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” We will also be recipients of the promise found in Luke 6:38 that says, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Since alll we have belongs to God anyway, rather than asking about how to give back to God, the question is really: how much should we keep of God’s provision?
What about Christian unity?
The unity between Christians is bonded by love–love for God and for one another. Colossians 3:14 defines love as the perfect bond of unity while Ephesians 4:3 exhorts us to preserve our unity in the bond of peace. Both intra- and inter-church relationships should therefore be characterized by peace and love. This love should override differences believers have in doctrine and religious practces.
In order for Christians to be unified with one another, we must agree on those teachings that are the foundation of our faith. This establishes the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3-6) that we have with all believers by virtue of being born of the Spirit of God. Foremost in our beliefs are doctrines on who God is and in salvation. We have nothing in common with those disavowing (1) the one true God in three persons whose character is love (2) God’s revelation of himself to man as recorded in His Word, the Bible (3) man’s sinful nature and need for salvation; and (4) salvation through belief in Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross for us, and no other means.
Unity of beliefs is part of the maturing process in the body (Ephesians 4:11-16). It is a goal that we work towards as individual believers maturing in Christ, who is truth. Simply by growing in Him we will have more and more in common with those who have grown in Him. Our basic unity, however, depends merely upon being a member of the Kingdom.