Thanks for caring about what we believe at WSF. Below you will find a very brief overview of some of the core doctrines that shape our beliefs. They obviously are not comprehensive, and are covered in greater detail in other settings such as First Thoughts, which you can find more information on at www.wsfirst.com/go
. THE DOCTRINE OF GOD
Where does the idea of God even come from? Why are there ancient references in historical findings in every culture to some form of deity? Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” God has placed within each one of us a curiosity about eternity. The issue lies not with a person having questions about eternity, but rather with the paths they pursue in attempt to make sense of it all, and to fulfill the inner longing for the things of eternity. This search can lead a person down all sorts of paths that are filled with problems. Below you will find just a few brief thoughts about the doctrine of God. We cover these in much greater depth in one of our Go Points called First Thoughts.THE IDENTITY OF GOD
1. He is living.
· Deuteronomy 5:26- For what mortal man has ever heard the voice of the living God speaking out of fire, as we have, and survived?
· Acts 14:15- Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn
from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.
2. He is personal and knowable.
· 2 Corinthians 6:16- As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.
3. He is Spirit.
· John 4:24- God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.THE "BEYONDNESS" OF GOD
1. He is limitless. God cannot be measured by human minds or scales. He spans the galaxy with his hand.
· He is eternal (the everlasting now).
· Revelation 4:8- Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and
night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
2. He is constant (no fluctuation).
· Malachi 3:6- I the LORD do not change.
· Hebrews 13:8- Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.THE LOVE OF GOD (JOHN 3:16)
1. He is love who gives his son.
2. He gave the only possible gift that he could give that he had not created.
3. His sacrifice was great. THE DOCTRINE OF THE BIBLE
How important is the Bible to our faith? If everything we believe is supported from the Bible, then one must be confident that this source is legitimate and reliable. For many years the church in general has shied away from a scholarly look at the authenticity of the Bible. Our intention will be to expose you to as many new terms as possible and take a brief look at the Bible and its origin and relevance.WHY SHOULD I LET THE BIBLE BE A VOICE INTO MY LIFE?
One of the things that sets the Bible apart from other books is that we believe it to have been inspired by God. What does that mean? God moved on the personalities of the authors to communicate His thoughts to the world. It was not a literal dictation where God overrode the individual. Because it was more than men writing their thoughts, we see the Word of God to be authoritative. Inspiration from the Spirit also makes the ancient writings of the Bible relevant to the world today. If these were not inspired writings, the words would not stand the test of time.HOW DID WE DECIDE WHICH BOOKS WERE INCLUDED IN THE BIBLE?
The word that describes this issue is canonization, which dealt with the recognition and collection of the prophetic writings. The disclosure was complete when the sixty-six books of the Bible were written, and then recognized by their original readers. For following generations to share in this revelation, the Scriptures had to be copied, translated, recopied, and retranslated. This process not only gave the Scriptures to other nations but to the generations to follow. The process of Canonization does not make the scriptures sacred but they were accepted because they are sacred. Canon indicates a Standard or Rule by which writings were recognized as being sacred. ORIGINAL LANGUAGES
There were many methods available to God to speak to people, but he chose to have His words written down in specific languages. Hebrew and Greek are the major biblical languages.THE PURPOSE OF THE BIBLE
Through the Bible, God has written a narrative story about his activity in creation in hopes that you would want to know Him personally. The purpose of reading the Bible is not to see how much information you can acquire about God, but rather to provide a letter telling you about God, himself for the purpose of a relationship. A relationship with God is more than the memorization of facts; it is experiential. As you read the Bible, your goal is to meet Jesus and begin to know what he is about and what living for him is supposed to look like. You would approach a textbook to gain information. You would approach the Bible to be changed. THE DOCTRINE OF JESUS
Two Main Ways to Think About Jesus
1. The Great Physician.
Luke 4:18-19 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has Sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 5:31-32 “Jesus Answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
The early church understood Jesus to be the soul’s physician, predominantly (Origen, 185-254 A.D.). Augustine of Hippo (354-430) said, “Christ is the complete physician of our souls.”
2. The Groom.
Rev. 19:7- Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.SOME KEY POINTS ABOUT JESUS
1. The Virgin birth (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31, Luke 1:35)
2. The Sinless Life (Hebrews 7:26, 1 Peter 2:22)
3. The obedience to willingly go to the cross (Philippians 2:8).
4. The Resurrection (Luke 24:1-6)
5. Jesus was fully God and fully man. (Philippians 2:1-11)
Jesus chose to not use his divinity while here so that he might completely identify with us in every way. He didn’t, however, lose His divinity. Some do their doctrine of Jesus from “below” and some from “above.” The doctrine emphasizing “from below” means that people put there emphasis on Jesus’ humanity. The doctrine from above means that the emphasis is put entirely on his God-likeness. A historical doctrine of Jesus does not try to explain the mystery but seeks only to help the Christian with the main questions that have surfaced over the centuries. THE DOCTRINE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Who is the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is personal.
2 Corinthians 13:14 - May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
The Holy Spirit is our counselor.
John 14:16-17 - And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.
The Holy Spirit has emotions.
Ephesians 4:30 - And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
The Holy Spirit gives joy.
1 Thessalonians 1:6 - You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit helps with energy or power.
Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
The Holy Spirit is all about preparing people.
Eph. 4: 12 - The gifts, positive teacher etc. are given to equip God’s people. Ministry is only done in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit brings awareness. The Holy Spirit helps you face the facts about who you really are and sometimes this process is internally very painful.
The Holy Spirit gives desire. The Holy Spirit emerges as the supplier of authentic spiritual energy and creates an inward hunger to grow closer to Jesus.
The Holy Spirit provides purpose and gifts. The Holy Spirit will help you recognize the activity of God in your life in the area of ministry/vocation. The Holy Spirit helps us find our gifts and then connects them to God’s greater purposes giving each believer a greater sense of fulfillment.