What We believe

 

At FPCSM, our core beliefs stem from Jesus’ words in Matthew 22:36-40.

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Concisely:

As a congregation, we reaffirm what the church throughout the ages and across the globe has believed and understood to be foundational, spoken in the ancient words of the Apostles Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord; Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic (universal) church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

Of particular importance today we feel are our belief in:

The authority of scripture (i.e. the Old and New Testaments), which for us is authoritative in all matters of life, faith, and practice.  We affirm over all creeds and human wisdom the primacy of scripture, historically reliable and ontologically God’s Word, and to us and for us, a wellspring to which we can turn and a light to our paths.

The uniqueness of Jesus, through whom God became flesh and blood and through whom God has spoken most clearly to the world.  In a day and age in which there is belief in many “gods” and that there are many ways to God, we affirm both the supremacy of Jesus Christ, part of which we see in humility in pouring out his own life on the cross for the sins of the world.

By particular subject and with scriptural reference, we believe:

The Bible
We believe the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and having supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 4:4)

God as Triune (i.e. Trinity)
We believe that there is one God, eternally existing in three persons who are equal in divine perfection, who execute distinct but harmonious functions in the work of creation and redemption.
(John 1: 1-2, 14; John 10:30; Genesis 1:26; Deuteronomy. 6:4; John 5: 19-23)

God the Father
We believe in God the Father, maker of heaven and earth, who is eternal, everywhere present, all-powerful, and all knowing.
(John 4:24; Isaiah 44:6-8; Hebrews 1:3; Romans 11:33-36; Ephesians 2:4-6)

God the Son, Jesus Christ
We believe in Jesus Christ, God's one and only Son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in his virgin birth, his sinless life, miracles and teachings. We believe he died for us on the cross, ascended into heaven, sent his Spirit to us; prays for us, reigns in power and glory and will one day return to earth.
(Hebrews 1:1-3; Hebrews 4:15; Acts 2:22; 1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:8-10; Colossians 1:15-20)

God the Holy Spirit
We believe in the Holy Spirit who came from the Father and the Son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment and to regenerate, set apart and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Christ and that he is an abiding helper, teacher, intercessor and guide. We believe in the baptism with the Holy Spirit, also called the fullness of the Spirit, who empowers us for service and witness to Christ. We believe in the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, etc. from Gal. 5:22-23) and in the use of all the gifts of the Spirit listed in the New Testament.
(John 16:7-I I; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 16:13-14; Ephesians 5:18; Romans 8:26-27; Ephesians 4:30)

The Church
We believe in the universal church, a living spiritual body, of which Christ is the head and all believers in Him are members.  We believe in the local church, consisting of a congregation of believers in Christ, gathered and connected for worship, fellowship, ministry, and service.
(Ephesians 5:23-30; Romans 7:4; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 5:25; Ephesians 4:7,12-13)

Healing
We believe God has given us the power to heal people in Jesus' name. We believe in healing people through prayer, laying on of hands, anointing with oil, faith, love in the community, counseling, etc.  We believe healing can be mental, emotional, physical for the memories, relational, etc.  We believe healing happens at a number of levels and is temporary at best until we are completely healed in new resurrection bodies.  We have healing prayer teams available after each worship service.
(2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 57:18; Mattew 5:29; John 4:47; James 5:13-16)

Eternal Life
We believe that God gives eternal life, life lasting forever, beyond the grave, to those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. We believe eternal life starts the moment we put our faith in Jesus Christ.  We believe the New Testament promises resurrected bodies in the life to come.  We believe death is a gateway to that life.
(Matthew 19:16; John 3:16; John 5:24; 1Corinthians 15:1, John 5:11)

Salvation by Faith
We believe that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ alone; not by our efforts or goodness.
(Luke 17:15; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philemon 1:5-6; Hebrews 11:6)

Baptism and Communion
We believe that baptism and communion are the sacraments instituted and commanded by Jesus.
(Matthew 3:16; Acts 8:38-39; 1 Corinthians 11:23-25)

Ministry of All of God's People
We believe that all Christians are called to the ministry of Jesus Christ, worshiping God, growing in Christ, discovering spiritual gifts, and serving the Lord in the church and the world.
(Luke 10:1-16; Ephesians 4:7-11; 1 Peter 2:9-10)

Stewardship of God's Blessings
We believe that God is the owner of all things and we are the stewards or caretakers of what he has given us to use for his glory.  We believe that our stewardship or management of his resources falls into three areas: our time, our talents, and our treasures.
(Psalm 24:1; Malach. 3:10; Matthew 25:14-30; 2 Corinthians 9:6-12)

More warmly, we believe that:

God is wholly other, unimaginably glorious, completely good, the source of authentic and relentless love, and our Daddy in heaven.

The world and everything in it exists because, out of love, God created it – for His pleasure, to express His beauty, and for His glory.

As the pinnacle of God’s beloved creation, all human beings are endowed with dignity, having somehow been made by God in His own image and so possessing great value to God.

Pain and suffering exist in the world because of human beings’ selfishness and rebellion, having rebelled against God and so distanced ourselves from God, from others, and even from creation.

Redemption and reconciliation are available, as God is not willing to let sin and suffering have the last word but instead is intent on reuniting with Himself in perfect peace both humanity and all of creation, through the sacrifice of God’s Son Jesus, his atoning death on a cross.

The scriptures of the Old and New Testaments describe this, testifying clearly to the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth who is our Savior, Lord, Teacher, Master, and Friend.

The Spirit of God is available to us today as Comforter, Counselor, and God’s Empowering Presence.

The church is called together by God to continue the ministry of Jesus under his guidance – to bring love, healing, grace, truth to all people, exhibiting in every way the kingdom that Jesus came to establish, inviting all who are willing to also follow Jesus.

Hope is available because Jesus will return; love and justice will prevail; and once and for all God, who will be at the center and worshipped, will set the world right.  Forever.

We boldly affirm the things above to be true, not to erect boundaries between us and others but rather to define us and to joyfully affirm both the things we believe and what it is – and Who it is – around which our lives are shaped.

Copyright © 2011 First Presbyterian Church San Mateo