What We Believe
At Living Word UPC, We believe...
Sin is the transgression of the law, or commandments of God (I John 3:4). The guilt of sin has fallen upon all humanity from Adam until now (Romans 3:23). The wages of sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23; Revelation 20:14) to all those who refuse to accept salvation as set forth in the Word of God.
Salvation consists of deliverance from all sin and unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus Christ. The New Testament experience of salvation consists of repentance from sin, water baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which enables the Christian is to live a godly life (Acts 2:36-41).
Water baptism is to be administered by immersion. Paul said, “We are buried with him [Jesus Christ] by baptism (Romans 6:4; see Colossians 2:12), Jesus came up “out of the water” (Mark 1:10), and Philip and the eunuch went down “into the water” and came up “out of the water” (Acts 8:38-39).
Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection are applied to our lives when we experience New Testament salvation: “Repent [death to sin], and be baptized [burial] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost [resurrection].” (See Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-7; 8:2).
Jesus’ last command to His disciples was, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). We should notice that He said name (singular) not names. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not names, but titles of positions held by God. An angelic announcement revealed God’s saving name in the New Testament: “She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
The apostles understood that Jesus was the name to use at baptism, and from the day that the church of God was established (the Day of Pentecost) until the end of their ministry, they baptized all nations (Jews–Acts 8:16; Gentiles–Acts 19:5) in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In fact, Jesus is the only name given for our salvation. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
It was prophesied by Joel (Joel 2:28-29) and Isaiah (Isaiah 28:11), foretold by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11), and promised by Jesus to His disciples (John 14:26; 15:16). The Holy Ghost was first poured out on the Day of Pentecost upon the Jews (Acts 2:1-4), then upon the Samaritans (Acts 8:17), and later upon the Gentiles (Acts 10:44-46; 19:6). “The promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39).
Speaking in other tongues as the Spirit of God gives utterance is the manifestation God has given as the definite, indisputable, supernatural witness or sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6).
It was prophesied by the prophet Isaiah as the rest and the refreshing (Isaiah 28:11-12), foretold by Jesus as a sign that would follow believers of the gospel (Mark 16:17), and experienced by Jews and Gentiles alike.
The gift of “divers kinds of tongues,” mentioned by Paul in I Corinthians 12:1-12 and concerning which he gave regulations in I Corinthians 14:1-40, is given by both for self-edification (I Corinthians 14:4) and for the edification of the church (I Corinthians 14:27-28).
In church meetings the gift of tongues is used to give a public message, and it is to be interpreted. Since this gift can be misused in public, it needs proper regulation (I Corinthians 14:23-28). Not all believers exercise the gift of tongues, which is different in function from tongues given by God as the initial sign of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
Paul said, “Forbid not to speak with tongues” (I Corinthians 14:39) and “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all” (I Corinthians 14:8). Who dares to teach or preach to the contrary?
Speaking in tongues means speaking miraculously in a language unknown to the speaker, as the Spirit gives utterance. Tongues can be classified in two ways, according to function: (1) speaking in other tongues as the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and (2) the gift of tongues as mentioned in I Corinthians.
After we are saved from sin, we are commanded, “Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).
We are commanded to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12) and warned that without holiness no one shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
We must present ourselves as holy unto God (Romans 12:1), cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (II Corinthians 7:1), and separate ourselves from all worldliness (James 4:4).
If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (I Peter 4:18).
No one can live a holy life by his own power, but only through the Holy Spirit. “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8).
God has made Himself known through the ages by miraculous healings and has made special provisions in the age of grace to heal all who will come to Him in faith and obedience. Divine healing was purchased for us by the blood of Jesus Christ, especially by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5; Matthew 8:16-17; I Peter 2:24).
Jesus went everywhere healing those who were sick (Matthew 4:23-24), and He commanded His disciples to do the same (Matthew 10:8). He said concerning those who believe the gospel, “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover” (Mark 16:18). Mighty healings and miracles followed the disciples wherever the gospel was preached.
There is no sickness or disease too hard for God. Any of us, our children, or our friends can be healed by the power of God.
“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him , anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer of faith shall raise him up: and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:14-16).
Jesus Christ is coming back to earth in bodily form, just as He went away (Acts 1:11). He will catch away a holy people (His bride, His church) who have accepted redemption through His blood, by birth of water and of the Spirit, and who are found faithful when He comes.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).
“One shall be taken and the other left” (Luke 17:36). Will we be ready?
The signs of His coming are everywhere. The days of peril are here indeed, with forms of godliness void of the power of God; society and politics corrupted; and people’s hearts filled with pride, blasphemies, unholiness, love of evil, and love of pleasures (II Timothy 3:1-13). These things, together with multitudes running to and fro, the increase of knowledge (Daniel 12:4), the persecution of the Jews and their return to Palestine (Luke 21:24), and scores of other things are warning signs that Jesus’ coming is drawing near.
Wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, storms, floods, distress of nations, perplexity, and people’s hearts failing them for fear are sounding the solemn alarm that Jesus’ coming is at hand (Matthew 24:6; Luke 21:25-28).
There will be a resurrection of all the dead, both just and unjust.
“Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation” (John 5:28-29).
“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God . . . and the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them” (Revelation 20:12-13) (See also Daniel 12:2; I Corinthians 15:13-23.)
"It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). For this reason there will be a resurrection for everyone. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Corinthians 5:10).
The eternal destiny of every soul shall be determined by a just God who knows the secrets of everyone’s heart. “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. . . .Then shall he also say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. . . . And these shall go away into everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal” (Matthew 25:32-34, 41, 46).
We pray together aloud because in the Bible we read,
“They lifted up their voice to God with one accord” (Acts 4:24).
We lift our hands in praise because in the Bible we read,
“Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord” (Psalm 134:2).
We sing with all of our hearts because in the Bible we read,
“Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise”(Psalm 98:4).
We play musical instruments because in the Bible we read,
“And all the house of Israel played before the LORD on all manner of instruments” (2 Samuel 6:5).
We clap and shout unto God because in the Bible we read,
“O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph” (Psalm 47:1).
We dance before the LORD because in the Bible we read,
“Praise Him with the timbrel and dance: praise Him with stringed instruments and organs” (Psalm150:4).
We testify publicly because in the Bible we read,
“I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee” (Psalm 22:22).
We anoint with oil for divine healing because in the Bible we read,
“Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord” (James 5:14).
We allow the operation of the spiritual gifts because in the Bible we read,
“When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation” (1 Corinthians 14:26).