Posted by: pastortomvabeach | April 21, 2015

Thought For The Week April 26, 2015

Many thanks to Pastor Doug Crabb for posting his “thoughts” last week so that I could focus on some other matters.

I have the privilege of serving Christian Chapel Assembly of God as the lead pastor. It is both an honor and a joy that the best people in town would allow me to serve since I often feel like I am the least likely candidate for an opportunity such as this. I consider myself blessed.

I mention that our church is an Assembly of God church and then wonder how many who call this church home or attend other Assembly of God churches really know what that means. I would like to share a bit of our history and then connect that to our most basic beliefs to help you understand how we came into being and what unites us in fellowship. This will take some time so I plan to write the next several “thoughts” about this subject. Let’s start at the beginning.

The Assemblies of God was formed in 1914, and came out of a sweeping global revival that was obviously a sovereign move of God. The core of this move of God was the apparent renewal of the infilling or baptism in the Holy Spirit in much the same way as happened on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. As on that first Pentecost, those who experienced this baptism were speaking in tongues, experiencing supernatural miracles such as divine healing, and influencing large numbers of people to turn to faith in Christ. Those involved became known as Pentecostals.

These “Pentecostals” were quickly rejected by their local churches to the point of being asked to leave or ridiculed when they stayed. Because of this the leaders of the Pentecostal movement felt it necessary to unite and form an organization to support their ministries and maintain fellowship with one another. Rather than form a denomination they felt it best to allow churches to remain independent yet join into a fellowship that would be a vital network for growing ministries under the direction and empowering of the Holy Spirit.

The Assemblies of God was born in 1914 as a voluntary fellowship with leaders who worked together to fund support for missionaries and formally credential ministers. By 1916, it became apparent that this young fellowship should have a formal basis for fellowship based on the Bible that would unite them in faith and provide the theological basis to guide faith and practice and avoid errant teaching or practice. That year the Assemblies of God established sixteen doctrinal standards called the Statement of Fundamental Truths. These standards came directly from the Bible and were established as unifying truths that were vital for successful Christian living. These sixteen truths form a foundation of biblical teaching that can contribute to any Christian’s growth in love for Christ and obedience to His teachings. They for a solid basis for discipleship.

The leadership of the Assemblies of God recognized that the Bible itself is completely adequate to serve as the guide for our belief and our way of living. The 16 Fundamental Truths are only intended as an official standard by which our fellowship can maintain unity and avoid disagreement about what we believe. There is no pretense that these basic beliefs contain all that the Bible has to say about faith and practice but to simply cover some of the essentials necessary to live for Jesus and make Him known.

That’s a quick history which certainly doesn’t cover all it could. I started this way because in the coming weeks, I want to present the 16 Fundamental Truths, one at a time so that you can study them yourself in the Bible and recognize the value of having a standard of faith. It not only keeps us together as a fellowship, it protects us as believers from being lead into error. It also helps us to know that in an Assembly of God church, the Bible will always be the basis of our teaching and the core of our life and ministry.

I personally feel a sense of security knowing our fellowship and its leaders are on the same page and we can hold each other accountable to live and serve according to God’s Word. Most of the 16 Truths reflect the same basic doctrines of almost all evangelical churches today. One distinctive of the Assemblies of God is the Pentecostal heritage of the baptism in the Holy Spirit and its application to our lives today. It is also reassuring to know that these 16 Truths, established in 1916 have not been changed since except to adjust wording or clarification. This is because they are based directly on the inerrant Word of God which doesn’t change.

So, if you are ready, we will start a discipleship journey together and cover some basic Christianity for a few weeks. Who knows, we might get closer to Jesus and then be able to better Make Jesus Known!

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