The Essentials We Believe
God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. God has eternally existed in three persons which we call the Holy Trinity – The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three persons of the Holy Trinity are co-equal and are one God.
About Jesus Christ
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He is co-equal with the Father. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on the cross. He arose from the dead after three days and thus demonstrated His power over sin and death. He ascended into Heaven and will return again to judge the living and the dead as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
About the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit is present in the world to make all people aware of their need for Jesus. The Holy Spirit also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation, providing the Christian with strength for living, understanding of spiritual truth, and guidance in doing what is right. The Holy Spirit gives to every believer a spiritual gift. As Christians, we seek to daily live under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
About the Bible
The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of God, the Holy Spirit. It is THE supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because the Bible is inspired by God, it is the infallible truth and does not error in leading us to God. Martin Luther called the Bible “the cradle that holds our Savior”.
About Human Beings
People are made in the image of God, to be like God in character. People were created as the crown of God’s earthly creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, all of us are marred by an attitude of rebellion against God called “Sin”. This attitude separates people from God and causes death and all that is “death-like” in life.
Grace is the keyword in understanding what we believe about salvation. We are saved by grace through faith. Only by God’s graceful act on the cross can we be saved. Salvation is God’s free gift to us that is accepted by faith. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. All sins (past, present, and future) were forgiven and forgotten by God through Christ’s death on the cross. Only by believing in Jesus Christ can anyone be saved from the penalty of Sin. When we turn from our lives of self-reliance and self-rule by surrendering our lives to Jesus, we are saved. Through faith, eternal salvation begins now.
About Eternal Security
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, those who believe are secure in that salvation for eternity. As a loving Father, God wants us to be certain about our salvation. When you have been saved, you cannot “lose” it. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security. There is “blessed assurance” in Christ Jesus.
Human beings were created to exist forever in paradise in an eternal relationship with God. Because of sin, death ends earthly life. We will, however, exist after death either eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally connected with God through the forgiveness Jesus won for us on the cross. To be eternally separated from God is Hell. To be eternally connected with God is eternal life in a paradise we call Heaven.
Baptism is about God coming to us to love us, care for us, and make us His own. Through baptism, God promises to be our God, to be faithful to us, and to energize us with true life. In other words, through baptism God "adopts" us as His children. He makes us His sons and daughters. He brings us into a relationship with Himself. That relationship is possible because of Jesus Christ. Though we have been separated from God because of shortcomings and failures, Jesus, through His death and resurrection, has made forgiveness a possibility that we might be able to live in a relationship with God. Baptism is a very special gift. It is the beginning of an exciting relationship with the One who loves us more than any other, who cares for us more than any other, and forgives us more than any other. Like any other relationship, a relationship with God must be taken seriously or it will stagnate and die. In order to truly experience the fullness of what it means to be a child of God, we need to be involved with Him through weekly worship, daily prayer and devotions, and Bible study. The better we know Him, the more we will enjoy Him. Baptism places us into a personal, loving relationship with Jesus Christ. All of His promises -the hope of eternal life, the hope of enthusiastic, joy-filled living here and flow, and the assurance of unconditional forgiveness and acceptance are ours through baptism. Because baptism is God'swork, His promise, we baptize infants. He wants all people to enjoy His love, even children.
Communion is also a special gift of God. In communion, Jesus is with us in a very real, intimate way to love us, strengthen us, forgive us, and encourage us. As we taste the bread and wine, we are reminded of the sacrifice Jesus made for us. But more than that, we receive a fresh touch of love from Jesus Himself. Communion is Christ's "love you". It's a time of reflection, thanksgiving, and celebration.
Who Can Receive Holy Communion?
At St. Luke, we welcome all baptized believers who believe with us that Jesus is given with the bread and wine are welcome to receive Holy Communion in worship. While children who participate in our Sunday School program don't partake of communion until they are in the fifth grade, we respect each parent's decision when to have their children participate in the sacrament. We serve concord grape wine with a ring of white grape juice in the center of each tray. Children not partaking of communion may come forward for a blessing.
Confirmation is a period of time set aside for young people to seriously study the Christian faith. After this period of study, the students re-affirm their relationship with Jesus Christ. For many young people, this is a time when the faith they've heard about becomes alive in a new and fresh way.