|Good Shepherd Lutheran Church|
- The first place to begin is with Scripture itself. You need to read and study God’s word. Through the written word the Holy Spirit will plant the seed faith in your heart and keep it deeply rooted so that the devil does not get a foothold on your soul.
- In your search for a church home you will more than likely visit several different churches. If any church you visit does not profess belief in the Trinity, that being the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the one and only God and the Creator of our universe, you do not want to be connected to it. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness... (Genesis1:1, 26) God here tells us that He created our universe and He includes all three persons of the trinity by using the plural “us” and “our”.
- If the church you are visiting does not believe that Jesus is God, but only a great teacher or a prophet, do not be in fellowship with it. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. (John 1:1,2) The Word the apostle John is referring to here is Jesus, the second person of the Trinity. This verse tells us that He (Jesus) was present at the Creation of the world and that He is part of the Godhead.
- If the church you are visiting does not teach that the Bible in its entirety is the true and inspired word of God, you do not want to be in fellowship with it. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21) The Holy Spirit put into the hearts and minds of the writers of the Old and New Testament what He wanted all people to know and what we need to know for our salvation. We cannot pick and choose what we want to believe from God’s word. We either believe it all as it is written, or none of it. This is difficult for people at times. They want to say they love God, but they don’t want to change their lifestyle to conform to His word.
- If you are visiting a church which professes that any lifestyle is okay even when it goes against what God teaches us in His word, you do not want to be a part of it. God does love all people. Jesus died for all people. Forgiveness is a free gift offered to all people, but when we willfully keep on sinning with disregard for God’s word and for the sacrifice Jesus gave for our sins, His sacrifice is useless to us. If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. (Hebrews 10:26) Through faith God will give us the strength to resist temptation and lead a life that is pleasing to Him. When we trust in Him and do His will, He will bless us beyond measure. Only then will we be able to be truly happy. What we lose here on earth for Jesus sake we will gain for eternity. He tells us; And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first. (Matthew 19:29,30)
- Any church which teaches that you must do something for God in order to gain heaven, you do not want to be in fellowship with. The only way to heaven is by Grace alone through Faith alone. For it is by grace you have been save through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. God teaches us law and gospel in His word. The law is a guide for our lives. It is like a mirror that shows us our sin. It tells us how to live and what God expects of us. The Gospel is the good news of how Jesus lived a perfect life for us and paid the debt we owe to God for our sin by suffering and dying on the cross. Eternal Death is punishment for sin. Jesus took the punishment we deserve our sins upon Himself and gave us His holiness. Through faith in Jesus God no longer holds us accountable. We are washed clean in His blood and are holy in God’s eyes. He conquered death and the devil by rising from the dead on Easter Sunday. Because of God’s Grace (His undeserved love) and through faith in His one and only Son Jesus we now have the promise of eternity in heaven. Jesus tells us in John 14:6; I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
- Among the many church denominations in existence today, there seems to be much controversy regarding Baptism – what it means and what it does for us, and who should be baptized.