The Spiritual and Daily Life of the Believer and His Local Church

8. All those who have accepted by faith the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior are born again by the Holy Spirit and so become the children of God. This special and personal relationship with God insures His love and attention. God hears the prayers of His children. By their conversion, each believer declares that he wishes/intends to live a new life exhibiting godliness, goodness and love and separating oneself from evil and immorality. The energy/strength for such a life comes from the Holy Spirit who indwells and enlivens the believer and insures his eternal salvation. There is no place for persecution, manipulation, violence, or coercion within biblical Christian ideology.

9. Each and every believer is “immersed into Christ” by the Holy Spirit. By this baptism of the Holy Spirit, God incorporates each believer into Christ in the heavenly places: that is to say, He unites the believer to Christ in the spiritual realm. The Holy Spirit give each believer one or several spiritual gifts thus permitting the believer to function in the churches. The new spiritual nature of the believer pushes him to join himself to other believers in order to have Christian fellowship. Thus, following his trust in Christ, the new believer seeks to be baptized. Faith in Christ is symbolized by believer’s baptism and is therefore necessary in order to join a local church (a Christian fellowship). The New Testament does not intend for Christians to remain unbaptized nor to be without a local church. Each believer actively participates in a local church (of his choice), which (local church) makes the constant effort to remain within the lines of the faith and practice expressed in the Word of God. The members of the local church organize themselves into elders, servants and the congregation (which are the same as the pastors, the deacons/deaconesses, and the members). A biblical church is both autonomous (the members are responsible for the affairs of the local church) and separated from the State.

The Lord Jesus Christ warned us against the growth of spiritual counterfeits. The authentic apostolic gifts served as signs to confirm the gospel in the first century. They achieved their purpose during the lives of the Apostles, and then the Holy Spirt withdrew these gifts. There are no longer any Apostles: there can no longer be any apostolic gifts.

The Word of God has also warned us against those toward the end of our era who abandon the faith (called “the apostasy”). Because of this, the watchful Christian will carefully choose the local church within which he will serve the Lord. In the same manner, each local church will carefully choose those other churches with which it can honorably maintain relationships. Such obedient choices automatically create separation from those other churches which take part in the apostasy or in spiritual counterfeit movements. Just as the individual has the right and the duty to choose those with whom he will associate, so also the local churches have the right and the duty to choose their associations.

10. The two unique biblical ordinances given by the Lord Jesus to the local church are believer’s baptism by immersion and the Lord’s Supper. Baptism by immersion is an image of spiritual baptism (number 9 above). It is administered only to believers and this is only as a symbol and testimony of their personal and active faith in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Likewise, those believers who have been biblically baptized by immersion and who are maintaining a consciously Christian life join together around the Lord’s Supper (in the context of the local church) in order to announce Christ’s death right up until He returns.